Media Representation

The first time I felt represented in the media was in 2007. I was seven years old, sitting in a dusty movie theater in a town close to my own. I was accompanied by family friends: a girl about twelve, a boy my age, and their mom. I remember sitting in the uncomfortable, itchy blue chairs with a kiddie popcorn box on my lap. On the screen was the movie musical Hairspray. Ever since I was little, I have been the big girl. There was never anyone I saw in the media that looked like me, though. There were beautiful actresses such as Vanessa Hudgens and Miley Cyrus, who were seen as the perfect role models for girls. They had perfect hair, unlike my untameable, frizzy curls that were comparable to a bird’s nest. 

Hairspray, however, showcased a girl who looked like I did. She was protesting in the movie, taking action against segregation, which is what pushed me to later want to be involved in the fight for equality. People seemed to ignore the fact that she was doing something monumental and only focused on her weight. Even after leaving the movie and hearing about it months later, it seemed like all people remembered was her body, and not in a positive way. When I watched the movie, I had been mesmerized by the fact that I was looking at someone I could relate to; even at a young age, though, I was saddened by how the girl was perceived. I remember fighting with children at school that would joke about her weight, saying in the real world she wouldn’t have ended up with someone as attractive as Zac Efron. I never got that out of my head. Growing up, I had the mentality that I was never going to be loved or be in a relationship, and truthfully, I still have that mentality. To this day, I hardly see myself being represented in the media. Most plus size models are only a size 12 or 14 and can pass as a normal size. The movement for plus representation has not come far enough, but I hope that changes soon.

Text by Bridget Fitzpatrick and Visuals by Faith Sumastre

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