Proposal: Do we want to be fat or skinny?

The US can’t seem to decide it’s ideals in terms of nutrition.  On one hand, every company is now promoting itself through the ways they can benefit a healthy lifestyle.  Numerous new apps are pointed to fitness, for example, and even fast food chains are trying to give customers seemingly “healthy options.”  From organic food to activewear commercials, the general consensus seems to be toward a healthier, more informed living.

On the other hand, we can’t stop idealizing poor lifestyle concepts. The Victoria’s Secret fashion show and other modeling ideals promotes nearly starving women, and photoshop makes every picture fit the mold of a “perfect” woman, no matter how beautiful or healthy the female already is. On the other side of the spectrum, shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo or Huge, featuring a viciously unhealthy lifestyle, are some of the most watched on television.  The number of “Fat TV” shows keeps growing, and they’re not even about competing to lose weight anymore.

My mashup will show these contradictions, from the idealization of beauty to health to the reality of the situation – that people still choose to go to McDonalds.  To do this, I will take clips from “Fat TV” shows to show that fat people are dehumanized in our culture, clips from older nutrition commercials that promote “health” and fitness, and clips that show the contrasting side of promoting nutrition.  The mashup will be a majority of advertisements in which the viewer will be able to see some of the many contradictions we see every day and the stark contrasts between the types of natural bodies people have.

One possible risk is the wrong message being portrayed, and the mashup appearing to criticize overweight people.  The juxtaposition may come off as trying to subject others to a certain lifestyle, so I’ll need to carefully make sure that I am not pinpointing certain individuals, but that show the larger scale of the problem.  I’m not sure about the music that I want to use yet, but I want to find something upbeat and contemporary because I feel like it goes with the theme.

One way to make an unexpected turn is to take the “skinny” side of the argument into the brutal.  One of the clips in the ABC’s of Death is X is for XXL, in which an overweight woman is so overwhelmed with seeing skinny models that she literally cuts off her fat in her shower with a knife and emerges bloody and skeletal before she dies.  If I contrast moments of extremism like these with the fitness images, I can show the pressure of the society, and why so many search for an easy route.

About Katlyn Slough

I am an undergraduate student at Rowan University, currently studying Creative Writing and Rhetoric. It is my ultimate goal to write for a living, no matter how I wind up writing. For this blog, I'll be looking at the visual components and aesthetics of movie posters.

One comment

  1. Hi Kat,

    I understand the appeal of this kind of topic and many students have approached from a variety of different perspectives–and if were the undergraduate version of the mashup assignment, I’d say, yes, go ahead. However, at this level, I’d like you to find an issue that is more opaque and less mainstream than this one. Look, for example, at the human trafficking mashup and the diamonds mashup that are on the assignment page. Those were undergrads doing close to grad-level work in the videos, especially in terms of the issue selected and the approach to presenting it. I know you have even more sophisticated understandings of the world and how to approach various subjects. Let’s explore those.

    Please post a new proposal by Monday and tweet me so I know it’s online. Email me any questions you have.


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