Fat Performance and F.A.F.A.F.Rs

Tonight I’m off to a talk on Fat Performance by Scottee.

I’ve always been interested to see the break-through performers who are larger than average, as back in my day the only people I got compared to was Dawn French, Jo Brand and – once – Hattie Jaques.

All comic actors. There were no serious, larger female actors. For a man, it was never newsworthy, but for a female? It always seemed to hit the headlines. And even when it was one of the aforementioned plus size alumni, the papers would always have to describe them. ‘The rotund actress plays a vicar…’ ‘The curvy brunette appears in this theatre…’

When I auditioned for drama schools at 18, I was told it would be pretty useless as I’d never get a lead role. It took me until quite recently to figure out that actually meant ‘You’d never get a lead role on anything so we’ll never get recognition for training you.’

It’s Ok. It only took me 12 years to get my confidence back to get on a stage…after realising I was just going to have to make my own leading role.

But there just weren’t lead roles for fat girls. I’ve been in three performances of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, and I played Bottom every time. Because that was the funny part, that was the big part… (Even though if they wanted to be historically accurate, larger girls should have been playing all the lead roles as the Greeks thought fatties were Da Bomb, yo.)

Even now it’s hard to find fat actors appearing in anything that aren’t F.A.F.A.F.R – Fat Actors For A Fat Reason. Especially when it comes to the humble featured or guest part.

Y’know the ones…the extras who have a couple of lines, or the Victim/Baddy of the week. They’re not repeating characters, and they’re certainly not main. They’re just the one’s who pop up. For A Fat Reason.

I notice them.

I notice them because I know, I just know that their first scene isn’t going to be their only scene. We’ll come back to them, and it will be For A Fat Reason.

Case in point –

So I’m watching House of Cards last night, and some people are demonstrating against an educational bill. Lead character Zoe pops over to get an interview, and she heads straight to a specific one.

‘Hello,’ thinks I. ‘A fatty on the front row?   photo 1

‘Hmm… my spidey sense is tingling…’

And right enough! A few minutes later, our dastardly hero comes out to ruin the protest by offering free food from the opposition. And who’s the first person to cross the picket? That’s right…

 

photo 2

Bad Fatty!

photo 3

There’s a few others that they’ve scattered in for good measure. But this girl obviously ignored the brief and decided to just look fabulous. Good on you…

photo 4

And lo…HollyUnderwood is happy.

 

photo

 

This kind of F.A.F.A.F.R shit happens all the time. Next time you watch anything with a plus size woman (yes, woman. Again, being fat is something men can totally get away with. Like going out with skinny girl and not get accused of being someone’s fetish), just wait for the storyline that meant they had to specifically get a fat girl in.

Cos heaven forbid we have a fat girl on TV just because she’s a good actor.

 

 

 

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