I’m not a particularly sensitive person. Euphemisms annoy the hell out of me. I hate when someone makes a thoughtless comment and the media latches on about how it’s really a comment on society and a deeper indication of intolerance.
I’m usually in the “suckitupandgetoverit” camp.
But, over the past few months, I’ve been watching the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.” It’s hilarious. It sums up that post-college late 20s/early 30s life period perfectly. The characters, for the most part, are well rounded – even if they are based on a stereotypical construct.
If you’ve ever seen the show, you know that, for many years, the character Barney was a playboy – even a womanizer. This never particularly bothered me, because this character’s thoughts and actions were so over the top that it was clearly for humor, or even a coping mechanism.
However, I’ve noticed a pattern now that I’m a few seasons in.
The show treats overweight women like they aren’t worthy of attention.
Usually, when Barney is womanizing at his worst, he elicits a groan or at least an eye roll from the other characters.
But when he says anything about “fatties,” the cast nods in agreement.
Since when did being a little overweight become a less desirable trait in our society than being shallow, selfish or incompetent?
This show reinforces to impressionable young women that the worst thing you can be in life is fat.
There have been huge steps forward in the us in discrimination against women, homosexuals, people of minority races and people with disabilities. But it’s perfectly fine to discriminate against someone for carrying a few extra pounds. Employment legislation doesn’t cover body composition – and companies that have body weight or size standards (airlines, for example) have been given clear way to use body size as a discriminatory factor in the hiring process.
Although I’ve been extraordinarily successful in my career, I still wonder when I meet someone new if they’re judging me because I’m big.
So, to the writers and producers of “How I Met Your Mother,” please stop using obesity as a joke. It’s a crude one, at best – and your show is too smart for that bullshit.