Exploring the Beauty Myth

Published February 11, 2011

Kevin Smith, who spent his entire career making movies that proved he doesn’t give a rat’s ass what the world thinks (his first one involved having sex with a corpse in the bathroom of a gas station store), told Joy Behar that he lost 65 pounds as a result of being forced off of a plane for being too fat. He didn’t sue the airline, or make a movie defending the rights of the overweight; he made himself less large. And by changing his appearance in the aftermath of another’s disdain for it, Smith unwittingly became like every woman who has ever dieted, changed outfits 10 times, or taken an extra class at the gym because a man, family member, co-worker, or even a stranger had glanced or commented in a way that showed they thought things could look better.

Though Smith’s weight loss seems a likely victory for his life span, it is not something for feminists or anyone else to cheer about, as it simply signals that fat discrimination is now not just hurled at or felt by women. That was clear before (ask any chubby boy in middle school), but as the market grows for man Spanx, lipo, and a host of other goodies intended to get males down to a smaller size, it seems like the Beauty Myth has taken more victims.

Written by Ayana Byrd


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