The British Television talent show “The X Factor” has reportedly told two contestants that “unless the pair lose weight it will impact their position in the competition and their future career.” When someone laments about the fatphobia inherent in such a pronouncement we are often told that the show is “just being realistic” and that it’s “just how it works.”
And that’s bullshit. This attitude is perpetuating the idea that we should choose our entertainers for their looks first and their talent second. This is how we end up with software to help so-called singers who cannot manage the most basic of skills (if you’re a singer) – staying on key. Not to mention the “Susan Boyle Effect” wherein if someone doesn’t meet the Hollywood stereotype of beauty and they are talented we are absolutely shocked – because we’ve been completely brainwashed to believe that we can tell whether or not someone is talented has talent based on how they look. Which is completely, totally, and utterly ridiculous.
So if the X Factor producers decide that, instead of taking a stand against a world where, in a talent show, not being thin enough somehow renders your talent completely irrelevant, they will use their platform to perpetuate that belief, it’s incredibly sad if entirely unsurprising.
One of the ways that talented people who don’t fit the stereotype are fighting back is by using, Youtube, Vimeo, and other social media to get create a stage for ourselves. And every time we do, we give people an opportunity to realize how much amazing talent they are missing out on because we demand that our performers look a certain way first, and care about their actual talent second. So I invite you to put videos of your favorite fat performers in the comments, and to share them on Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else you can!
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