Hollywood must stop ignoring the overweight, black woman as love interest
OPINION - White filmmakers have ignored her, while their black counterparts, such as Tyler Perry, Eddie Murphy, and Martin Lawrence, have ridiculed her to make millions...
From Clutch Magazine: If one is to believe that Hollywood truly pays attention to the desires of its audience and explores those authentic nuances on film, then one has to believe that no one is ever in love with — or attracted to — an overweight, black woman.
White filmmakers have ignored her, while their black counterparts, such as Tyler Perry, Eddie Murphy, and Martin Lawrence, have ridiculed her to make millions. Ironically, in the real world these same men are romantically entangled with women who are the direct opposite in many respects. Regardless of how much producers and directors attempt to disguise the “Mammy-Jezebel-Sapphire” trifecta, loud, over-sexed, emasculating and sassy still dwell at the core of how black women are perceived. And as long as we live within those images, or as caricatures of what white America believes us to be, then we are deemed safe for consumption by the masses and the lack of physical diversity in films continues to go unaddressed.
One could argue that there are no overweight, black women cast as desirable, love interests in film because many of us find that unbelievable, and if we find it unbelievable, then Hollywood finds it unmarketable — and the very real love stories of overweight, black women continue to go untold. More to the point, many of us have the audacity to be offended at the sight of an overweight, black woman on screen because deep-down there is a tug of shame, a fear that seeing her on screen will reinforce untrue stereotypes that all black women are overweight — and obesity, for many people, is synonymous with undesirable. Unlovable.
Oh, we scream sisterhood and solidarity, but how many of us paid money — repeatedly — to see black men mock overweight, black women? For many, it’s a way to laugh at them without appearing cruel, and that’s what we have Hollywood believing we want to see. To a very real degree, it comes down to what we have been trained to believe is acceptable in a society where, in many quarters, black is still an insult and “big and black” are fighting words. We’ve seen it recently with the election of Courtney Pearson as the first black homecoming queen at Ole Miss. Not only did many black people rip the girl’s appearance to shreds, many questioned the motivation behind her win, because white people couldn’t possibly select an overweight, black woman to represent them, right? Right?
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