Sexuality Is Not Only for Thin People

Riya Dasgupta, Staff Writer

When you open up your television, maybe to log onto endless hours of Hulu or Netflix, what is one thing all your shows and movies have in common? Or, the better question is, what is the one thing they are all lacking? While LGBTQ representation has increased substantially in many forms of media, the number of characters that are plus size stands next to none.

Sexuality is not only for thin people, but the media would rather have us believe so. The National Library of Medicine states that “whereas one in four women in reality are obese, the television figure was three in 100; whereas 5 percent of all women in reality are underweight, nearly one in three portrayed on television were underweight.” Additionally, “men in real life are three times more likely to be obese than their television peers; male television characters were six times more likely to be underweight than their counterparts in real life.” This carries onto the 12.1 percent of LGBTQ characters shown on screen, shoving the plus size LGBTQ population smaller and smaller. Overweight and obese television characters are also more than often associated with negative traits, giving people a bad portrayal of plus size LGBTQ characters.

Films are not the only type of media affected. Music artists such as Sam Smith have a history of not being commonly accepted by the media. Moreover, others such as Harry Styles, who have a very similar style of music and fashion to those like Smith, are constantly raised up by both their fans and the media. There is only one huge difference between these two artists, and guess what it is. To be fat and queer is unacceptable, but Sam Smith being fat and queer and happy is what sends people over the edge. Watching someone live their best life through an identity that society deems wrong is triggering to people who refuse to accept others for who they are. Sam Smith’s new music video, “I’m Not Here To Make Friends,“ has hundreds of people mad about them portraying who they are. @Mztty, Matt, tweets that he is “sick of seeing people trying to push this on everyone” and that “the bloke is very clearly mentally ill.”

While some such as Matt hate for no reason except the fact that they are not willing to accept change, there could be some form of reasoning as to why more LGBTQ characters are not plus size. TV stars who fit society’s standards of “beautiful” can help boost a show’s ratings, spreading more awareness about the show. This can be important for minorities displayed in the show who might not otherwise have a say or be recognized for the people they are. In this case; however, our minority of plus size LGBTQ characters are not even displayed in the show! Without proper representation, plus size LGBTQ characters will never make it onto the screen, leaving a generation of people feeling unseen.

The media needs to wake up and realize that sexuality is not only for thin people before it is too late.