Another day, another delusion. The speech by the character Vanessa on a recent episode of Louis CK has been hitting the circuit of the fat acceptance crowd. Here’s an example of how it is surreptitiously used as support for yet another shaming rant.
Friends, Romance and Hungry Men
Last week my friend Patrick said something really shitty. We were having dinner with a group of friends, and he mentioned seeing a burlesque act that had “shocked” him. Another dinner guest who had also been at the show asked why. He blushed and bent his head down, answering from beneath scrunched-up brow: “Well, because she was, y’know, a big girl. And, she was taking her clothes off in front of people!”
Not only should your friend be given latitude for an opinion, his opinion is not far from how the greater share of men would feel if the performer carried far more than average body fat. This is a truth that many “fat” people attempt to hide by shaming others into not broadcasting it. That most men find excessive fat to be a factor that makes women less attractive in their eyes is something that is unlikely to be changed (much less changed by attempts to shame or coerce.) There’s good reason for it too.
I thought two things at once: First, of course. Of course, he was terribly uncomfortable. What a monster she must have been. And, what modern man expects to see a semi-nude woman over 115 pounds with unstretched skin and a smooth, clean-stripped bikini area. Of course, Patrick deserves nothing less. And, to be sure — being fat is being less.
At the same time, I thought, really? I knew a lot of people thought that way, but what fool says it out loud? There I was, two seats down the table in all my plus-size glory thinking that this person was my friend — not perfect, but a relatively worldly, sensitive man. Up until then, he always had been. But, in that moment he was just another asshole. Because, I’m not a monster.
Apparently, all it takes for someone to become an “asshole” is to express a sentiment that goes against your belief that men don’t generally desire women with a trim body. Furthermore that opinion does not (not even in the slightest) translate to “women who exceed that body fat threshold are monsters”. To imply such a thing is deliberate hyperbole to set up the usual straw man to beat.
Gettysburg with a Side of Fries
Last night’s episode of Louie delivered a knock-out closing scene. By now, you’ve likely read or watched the speech delivered by Sarah Baker as Vanessa, a waitress who badgers Louis into a date, against all fat-girl odds. After rebuffing his advances, and even becoming a little obnoxious, Vanessa and Louie wind up on one of those great first dates — strolling all over town, sharing personal anecdotes, cracking up a little too hard at one another’s jokes. Louis makes a comment about how hard it is to date, and Vanessa replies that it’s even harder when you’re a fat girl.
“You’re not fat.”
That’s when she launches in with an epic, ass-kicking, heart-splitting speech that feels like nothing so much as the ugly, stinking truth:
It was hardly a knock-out closing scene, but you are welcome to expressing your opinion.
As far as the speech (likely written by Louie C.K.), let’s have a closer look.
The True Nature of Sucking
“Louie, you know what the meanest thing is you can say to a fat girl? ‘You’re not fat.’ I mean, come on, buddy. It just sucks. It really, really sucks. You have no idea. And the worst part is, I’m not even supposed to do this. Tell anyone how bad it sucks, because it’s too much for people. I mean, you, you can talk into the microphone and say you can’t get a date, you’re overweight. It’s adorable. But, if I say it, they call the suicide hotline on me. I mean, can I just say it? I’m fat. It sucks to be a fat girl. Can people just let me say it? It sucks. It really sucks.
The character Louie probably wouldn’t have first hand experience. To start, he is already a custodial father (which implies that he was successfully paired in the past). Furthermore, he’s the proverbial 6 feet tall. That’s the key measure of a man in the eyes of most women (and apparently 99% of all women in the western world).
But that’s where the truth and the monologue part ways.
Vanessa says “she” is not supposed to do this (as in complain). Yet art imitates real life where all we hear these days is fat women preaching how people should find them “beautiful” (yes, BBW, fat acceptance, etc… don’t try and say this isn’t part of the feminist mantra). No. What is “too much” for people is the propaganda of political correctness. Fat is not beautiful in the eyes of most observers. Get over it.
Fat women are neither stuck in their predicament, nor are they not part of how they got there in the first place. Those are more inconvenient truths that usually generate a chorus of angry squabbling from those so self-inflicted. To the fat acceptance crowd, it is men who hold some sort of irrational prejudice against excessive fat on the female body. Men generally do not like it. There’s no denying that. However, it is hardly irrational. People have explained why excessive body fat is undesirable practically every time this conversation comes up.
The irony is that it is women who usually have an irrational prejudice against men when it comes to dating. Namely, most women will not even consider a man as a romantic interest if he is more than a couple of inches below average height. Some will employ euphemism and hide their prejudice as a preference. Some will proudly broadcast it on their dating profile (6 ft or above only please!) as if it were a badge of privilege. Some will even publicly mock shorter men. Lack of hair is another one of those innate conditions that many women do not accept.
Sorry, Vanessa. Fat women get to complain (even when they shouldn’t) all the time. In the meantime, shorter men can’t say one word lest they be further ridiculed (“It’s your lack of confidence!”, “You’re trying to hard”, etc…)
Why can’t Vanessa really say it? That’s because with few exceptions, a person can do something about their body fat ratio. That’s because, men don’t openly say, “no fat women”. That’s because most men aren’t really holding out for “anorexics”. They just are far more desirous of women who are not too fat or too thin. In contrast, people can’t change their height, yet many women are apparently holding out for 6-foot men.
While we are at it, the greatest distinction between body fat and height? Body fat, does speak to ones lifestyle. One’s height does not. When one is judged by what one is accomplishing it is not irrational. When one is judged by an innate and innocuous trait, it is the definition of irrational.
It may “suck” for Vanessa, but she can do something about it. Try something you can’t do anything about. That is the definition of “sucking”.
Cause and Affection
And, I’m going to go ahead and say it: It’s your fault. Look, I really like you, you’re truly a good guy, I think. I’m so sorry. I’m picking you. On behalf of all the fat girls, I’m making you represent all the guys. Why do you hate us so much? What is is about the basics of human happiness, feeling attractive, feeling loved, having guys chase after us, that’s just not in the cards for us? Nope. Not for us.
How is that fair? And why am I supposed to just accept it?”
While the character Louie can be a representative of guys in some respects, the dishonesty of the monologue is clear here.
Guys in general do not “hate” fat women let alone hate them “so much”.
Most guys don’t find excessive body fat attractive. That is all. How that translates to “hating them so much” is disingenuous. It’s like saying that people “hate” less money. No. People like more money more. Don’t even try to directly translate that to mean “the thinner the better” either. There is a range of body fat that most men like. The “anorexic” exaggeration is a purposeful misconception that the fat acceptance crowd loves to prop up to beat down.
Basic “human happiness”, “feeling attractive”, “feeling loved”, and being pursued are all situations that are the outcome of positive reaction. If one is not receiving these positive outcomes, one cannot, by merely the virtue of it being a response, assign any fault on the observer that doesn’t respond with these platitudes. If the product (namely, your product) is not rated as attractive enough, one can only put some blame on the observer if the judgement is unjust. Being that excessive fat is clearly an indicator of a lack of healthy maintenance (It is well cover what is healthy so all the rationalizing about, how adipose tissue is not “necessarily” unhealthy will be just a whole lot of noise) such a response is not “irrational”. Note too that few of us truly get an “A” for effort in the real world. You get a passing grade for achieving the result. You don’t get anything for “trying harder than the next person”.
Vanessa is essentially demanding a default “right” to being attractive independent of one’s inability to maintain a body fat ratio in the “attractive range”. Why is it not in the cards to be appreciated for one’s lack of ability to be competitive based traits one can alter?
Not fair? No one said the ability to maintain the range of body fat is fairly meted out to each human. Some people are born rich. Should others then not earn money and instead, gripe about how it’s not fair that it was so relatively easy for those with a silver spoon? That is tantamount to what Vanessa is implying.
Incidentally, have a look at what kind of body shape one commonly finds on the women taunting and despising shorter men online (talk about the projection of “hating us so much”).
Just accept it? Really? Is someone holding Vanessa at gunpoint to prevent her from taking steps to get to the attractive range of body fat? Seriously. Talk about delusional.
Louis counters by saying that he has, in fact, dated a fat girl before, but Vanessa instantly calls his bluff:
“No, no, no, I didn’t say have you ever fucked a fat girl, Louis. I’m sure you have. Every guy has. I mean, when I met you, if I had said, ‘Hey, do you want to go to the bathroom and screw on a big can of peaches?’ you would have gone for it. No, I’m saying, have you ever dated a fat girl. Have you ever kissed a fat girl? Have you ever wooed a fat girl? Have you ever held hands with a fat girl? Have you ever walked down the street in the light of day, holding hands, with a big girl like me?”
Had sex with a fat girl? No. Not every guy has. That male “sex at any cost” attitude is yet another myth. Some women love to hold on to their delusions with anything they can use.
Aside from the fetishists (a.k.a. “Chubby Chasers”) most men (well, virtually all men) are not interested in women that are either too fat or too thin. Men will hold hands, kiss, or otherwise woo those they are interested in. Apparently it is so hard to accept that you are the biggest factor in your own body fat content that one has to blame men for being so selective.
Bash of Titans
Listening to this speech, I teared up with hurt and rage and all that nonsense that clogs up the psyche of a woman who’s never been skinny. Because, I, too, have felt inhuman. Comments like Patrick’s are the least of the meanness and disregard I’ve been treated with by guys since the days of Duck, Duck Goose! I’ve got my own merry band of trolls on this very site who beg that I cover my big fat face with a paper bag whenever my photo accompanies a story. The fat-girl bashing is real, and so is the subtle, insidious invisibility that cloaks us in the eyes of more people than wish to admit it.
Never been skinny? It’s not about being “skinny”. As far as most men are concerned, for the purposes of being attractive for mating, it’s about being in the body fat range they find attractive. As far anyone is personally concerned, it’s about being comfortable with in your own skin.
If you are feeling “hurt” or “rage” because most men don’t find women with a certain range of body fat attractive as a partner you are feeling “hurt” or “rage” over a basic instinct. Furthermore, it would be equivalent to feeling “hurt” or “rage” because one is rejecting a relationship over the way you wear your hair or the way you dress.
Yes, it is the same, because your lifestyle is your choice. Barring extreme medical conditions (and it is surprising how many plaintiffs will claim they are afflicted with the rare extreme case) your body fat content is a personal choice. People “think” they are applying enough effort, but the presentation is testimony to whether it was or wasn’t. That is all.
A guy doesn’t find a certain level of body fat to be attractive as a visual performance with the intention of stirring amorous intent, and, you find that “mean”? What? He is has no liberty to state his desires? Talk about self-absorbed.
Fat girl bashing?
Based on your wholly dishonest argument here, you are unlikely ridiculed for being “fat”. You are likely admonished for being self-righteous and delusional.
The irony is that it is the surreptitiously based “arguments” and self-righteousness of the fat acceptance movement that is insidious. Just the three letters of BBW says it all. Who are “big women” to decide for others what is “beautiful”. People decide that for themselves. It would make sense if the aversion to excessive fat was not innate or irrationally based (like heightism) but it isn’t either. This is what every fat acceptance advocate doesn’t want to admit.
Cultural Justice League of America
But, there are others who feel differently — many more than you think. This may stun the Patricks of the world, but there are men who manage to find fat girls attractive; men who don’t need to be guilted into hand-holding with six-minute monologues about cultural injustice. You don’t need to be a fetishist to see the beauty (sexiness? Too far?) in a woman who shops in the big girl’s section. You don’t need to be visually impaired to fall in love with a fat chick. We’re not all self-deluded charity cases who’ll take whatever we can get.
While there are many that deliberately pursue a certain elevated level of body fat, most men prefer a similar range. It is not a cultural injustice. It would be one if the exhibited trait was something that was innate, involuntary, immutable, is not a manifestation of body maintenance issues, or erstwhile unconnected to life style and health. However, it is. If anything men allow quite a lot of leeway when it comes to body shape. In contrast, it is surprising the number of women that will not even consider a man as a man if he is a couple inches under average height. Some will even refuse to be seen with anyone beneath 6 feet.
While women (regardless of body fat content) are usually not delusional charity cases, the prevalence of illogical arguments used to support fat acceptance says that at least the “delusion” exists.
To Err is you, “Man”
This speech also says something pretty nasty about men and how lacking they can be. It’s a generalization that hurts both men and women, because it reinforces the notion to all of us that a man is not okay if he holds hands with a fat woman. Louis CK clearly falls (or, perhaps, once fell) into the category of Men Who Don’t Date Fat Chicks Because, Nah. With this speech he shines the light on his own shortcomings. That’s what he does. That’s what we love him for.
That a man will not lead a woman on that he does not find attractive enough to date is saying something “pretty nasty” about men? Seriously. This is the grand mal of the deluded.
People, not just men are appreciated for being honest. This doesn’t imply that the epitome of honesty is a bout of Tourette Syndrome, but it does say that misleading others emotionally is wrong. Plainly wrong.
Holding someone’s hand is like wearing an outfit. Both are a statement of who you are. Why do you think there are women that hold out for “6 foot men” only? It’s because they believe in this association so much that they think the worth of a trophy (as in the visibly “tall” man) is inherited by the possessor. The perceived associated worth means they will wear nothing if they can get a “six foot man”. If you believe it so innocuous, then go and be seen in public holding hands with the next short and bald old guy you meet (in context of course, no excuses like “I already have a boyfriend”). What? You have a problem with that?
Men don’t date women they don’t find attractive enough to date. Those reasons are based usually based on rational and achievable attributes. Women in general are far less accommodating. It’s time to stop trying to enlist others to support your delusions.
The Fat and the Fantasy
For me, it sucks to be a fat girl, sometimes. And, sometimes, I realize it’s really not that bad. Most of the voices in my head are old, knocking around from childhood and adolescence. When I listen to them, that’s when it sucks — not when I’m out walking around in my city or hanging out with my boyfriend, neither of whom treat me as anything less than who I am. In fact, I experience so much more of the other side of the story that when I hear a shitty comment about plus-size burlesque performers, I’m sort of stunned.
If it sucked that much to be something you are in control of (and you are no matter how you try to deny it, body fat is largely in your control) then you should do something about changing it. If you don’t mind it, then don’t change it.
Whether you like it or not, the preference of your friend is shared by most men. Furthermore, it is a preference that is entirely achievable by practically everybody. Unlike height or a persistent full head of hair it is not innate and immutable. Unlike six-pack abs, it is not extreme. Unlike one’s ethnicity, it is something that is a direct reflection of you.
What is interesting is that all these contrasted attributes are commonly things that are “must-haves” when it comes to women in the online dating circuit. Sorry. Men are nowhere near the morally bankrupt state of the typical First World entitled feminist.
The Joker and the Queen of Denial
Don’t get me wrong — I was overwhelmed by the speech in last night’s Louie, and it’s something that needed to be said, especially by a comic who inhabits this very double standard on stage, constantly. But, this monologue shined the light on his own problems (and his problem with his problem). And, if that self-awareness leads more guys to look at their own ugliness, then great. Because, that’s what it’s really about — their ugliness.
Well, most sentient individuals are completely under whelmed by the cliché and typically dishonest protest we see in your article.
It’s something that didn’t need to be said for the umpteenth time. In as many iterations, it is steeped in false notions and is merely someone playing the “victim” card and has no right to do so. It was said to gain acceptance by the deluded in the audience which is clearly part of the targeted demographic of the series.
Double standard? What double standard? We do not use the same yardstick to physically judge the sexes. This is the false premise of this claim of “double standard”. If it were so: five o’clock shadows would have the same attractive value on a woman as it would on a man. Both men and women would look best with that 0.7 waist-to-hip ratio. Delicate and graceful hands would be as ideally “manly” as they are ideally feminine. The list goes on.
No. This is more of the convenient obfuscation that feminists love to use as a foundation for their poor arguments. They want “equality” when it suits them, and dichotomy when it doesn’t (as in remonstrating against “shitty” attitudes on insensitivity while maintaining the right to have their own “preferences” even when the preferences are based on fallacy).
A more honest view of the situation shows that the Louie character is hardly as far from the ideal as Vanessa would be to most. Louie has some body fat but has the lean bulk that women would like. Yes, “fat” men are not usually fat without some muscles. That is something that the “double standard” argument conveniently ignores. Furthermore, Louie is 6 feet tall, and he looks like he is of the locally privileged ethnicity (although he actually isn’t, but we are talking about visual attraction). So, to sum it up, for a man of his age, he is visually not that far from the attractive range.
On the other hand, double chins are double chins. That’s all that people will see. You can attempt to say that is “superficial”, but it is a fair assessment of the person’s lifestyle (It’s curious how everyone that looks the same seems to claim the fitness level of an amateur athlete here. “I run 5 Km’s every other day. I spend hours hitting the free weights…” right. Sorry. The canvas does not lie about what the artist has been painting.)
No. The ugliness is not with the men or really any observer of a trait. The truth is that the fat is in the observed and no one is saying it is “ugly”, they are saying that too much is undesirable to them. True ugliness? That is more like being in denial and projecting one’s dissatisfaction and inability to mitigate that disatisfation onto others in an attempt to shame them into silence.
That is the real ugliness.