thanks for sending those two amazing Lindy West pieces my way, I had missed them! I really hope it’s Austin Butler’s win so we don’t ever have to think about this film again

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fuuuck they rewarded that hate crime of a movie w two oscars. i really hoped that would not happen, certainly that Austin Butler had it. ugh.

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Aug 21Liked by Kate Manne

While I agree with this personal viewpoint, I'd like to have a healthy discussion and disagree. I, on the contrary, like this film very much, as it is meant to be viewed in this exact view; honest, multi-faceted, and thought provoking. If you notice in the film, "the Whale" himself mainly lectured, and valued honesty and authenticity. Which is what he valued most in his "evil" daughter. Notice in the film, that everyone that surrounds him is thin, and displays a very straight forward attitude towards him; which is what he asks for in the film. Which is how life often feels, or is perceived as an obese/morbidly obese person. And, you get to see his warped mindset, as he has fallen into grief, and depression because he believed Alan was the only person who loved him unconditionally. He was a shitty guy, and he knew he was. No one denied it, even though they tried to a multiple times. The movie was about being authentic and honest. He was grief stricken and depressed. He gave up, became a shit dad, an unhealthy human being, and he had given up on himself. When a person has reached a point where they no longer feel they have anything to live for, or that life would be better without them, they have programmed their brain to believe that; its very hard to convince the otherwise. I was proud of the realism because you saw moments in the film, where he contemplates if he actually wants to continue his spiral, but ultimately he decides he's at the end-keep going. This movie was not about body positivity; which to me, that means positivity for one's self, to love their temple as it is, or enough to change the things they feel is oppressive or unhealthy (again, this is what it means to me); this film was about a man, who had chosen binge eating as both a coping mechanism, and a means to an end, because he felt, that he no longer had anything else to contribute to the lives of the people he loved. He allowed himself to believe that no one else could love him except a man who struggled with his sexuality and religious beliefs. He refused to allow the love of those around him fill the void that Alan left behind. It's a great discussion piece that helps understand the mindset of depression, grief, and eating disorders.

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Thanks, Kate, for this articulate discussion that I referred to in my latest (new-ish) newsletter. https://heidischauster.substack.com/p/spring-freshness-from-nourishing

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Mar 18Liked by Kate Manne

Yes, you’re so right, Kate. A very timely and necessary piece.

Despite its high-brow façade, it cannot disguise what it is; simply another shallow ‘fat-joke-TM.'

This seems to be an increasing and worrying trend now; masking idiotic and exploitative films under the guise of something 'culturally significant.’

It's the current year already, and thus it’s getting harder to comprehend why such individuals, despite their differences, are treated with such morbid fear, fascination and disgust; as if they alone represent the end product of a failed system; that it is ok to vent satirical spleen on them, when we should admit that it's our own collective failure that has enabled this in the first place.

We do not laugh at alcoholics, or victims of the opioid epidemic which has devastated so many communities: We quite rightly understand them as victims of a predatory system beyond their control, one that uses complex social engineering and huge resources to further its aims to the detriment of wider society.

Yes of course, obesity is a huge problem; it is one of the leading contributors to many deadly diseases.

Nobody is disputing that...

But, in laughing along at their pain, we become complicit in their exploitation from ruthless corporations and oligarchs, who of course benefit from such states of physical and psychological misery.

Worse still, our ‘enlightened’ film makers and cultural icons – those we mistakenly entrust to reflect a deeper and meaningful interpretation of the world, would never dare punch up to take on those truly responsible for the state we find ourselves in, and this film is just another sad reflection of that.

All the best, Max

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Thanks for this excellent piece. I'm livid about the film existing, much less winning two Oscars. I don't care if Fraser is a "nice guy," he's complicit in this film. The fact that anyone could think this is a "compassionate" portrait of a fat person makes me physically ill. Sigh.

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Thank you for this article. I've been confused by all the people saying they shouldn't have used a fat suit because from my perspective it would have been unreasonable to ask an actor to put on *that* much weight just for a role. So then I started wondering if maybe we shouldn't be talking about the internal struggles that might lead to such weight gain. Because that's what I thought the movie was going to be about (I haven't watched it yet and now I won't). I thought it was going to be this deep exploration of the human spirit and how people may find themselves in such a position through no fault of their own. Not just another "ew look, a fat guy" movie. Every time I think we are making progress...

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I read the play and was horrified by Ellie. I wondered if they'd try to make her more human, less demon spawn in the movie, but clearly, they did not. I am not going to lie... I kind of hate Sadie Sink for being willing to even play this character. But then, I'd say the same thing about Fraser, if I'm honest. It's such a shit show of fatphobic, homophobic, asshattery... I don't know why anyone would be willing to take on these characters, and how they could then have the audacity to claim this movie is somehow compassionate. And yet, here we are, and Fraser's an Oscar winner for this pile of steaming shit.

It sounds like the only thing that they really changed is that Thomas, the missionary, wasn't Mormon like he was in the play. Yeah, because THAT was the big problem with this story.

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