James Corden on The Lack of Romance and Sex Scenes for Plus-Size People
Shows like Shrill are changing the conversation around diversity of bodies.
As the conversation around diversity and inclusivity continues in Hollywood, people are expanding the definitions and boundaries not only who gets represented, but the forms that representation takes. James Corden spoke about being a “chubby person” in entertainment during an interview on David Tennant’s podcast. He said, “If you only watch television ― or films ― if an alien came back and they had to take a reading on planet Earth by just watching films or TV, they would imagine that if you are chubby or fat or big, you never really fall in love, you never have sex.”
Body diversity has become a hot topic, as audiences are eager to see themselves reflected onscreen. Statistics show that 68 percent of American women wear a size 14 or above, a number that is not at all reflected in the pop culture we consume. And it’s not just a diversity issue—it is also an economic one. Plus-size clothing sales made over $21 billion in 2016 alone.
And plus-size white men usually have it easier than, well, everyone. Weight is not a deterrent for those men to become movie stars, and we frequently see them paired romantically with thin, beautiful women. But they, like all plus-size people, can also suffer from broad caricature. They are often the butt of the jokes, and played as gross horny creeps or the funny fat friend.
Corden continued, “Certainly no one really ever finds you attractive … You will be good friends with people who are attractive and you’ll often be a great sense of comfort to them and perhaps you’ll chip in with a joke every now and again. As you get older, you’ll probably be a judge in something or you’ll be dropping off a television to a handsome person in a sitcom.”
He followed up by saying, “it felt like if the world of entertainment was a big banquet table, that people are like, ‘No, no there isn’t a seat for you here.’” And if Corden, who is wildly successful and hosts his own late night show, feels that there isn’t a seat for him, then just imagine how women and people of color feel.
Luckily, pop culture is taking small strides towards a nuanced portrayal of plus-size people. Lena Dunham bared all in HBO’s Girls, as a woman with a normal body type who has plenty of sex and romantic escapades. Most recently, Hulu’s Shrill centered on the life of Annie (Aidy Bryant) and follows her through different romances and hook-ups. Shrill is unapologetic and bracingly refreshing with its treatment of sex and romance by celebrating body diversity in every episode.
Hopefully, body diversity will move beyond tokenism and comic relief to explore more nuanced and complex characters. You know, like real life.
(via HuffPost, image: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
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