A for Effort, but Louis C.K. Does NOT Speak for This Fat Woman

13 May

All over my Facebook feed today, I saw  posts referencing last nights episode of the FX show that I have just discovered, Louie.  I know, I am late in discovering the show, but in my defense, Louis C.K. really reminded me of someone who I disliked and I have been unfairly punishing him for having the face that he does, and while I respected him as a comedian and found him funny, I just couldn’t bring myself to watch the show.  I have forgiven Louis for being genetically cursed, and we’re cool now.

I DVR the show and hadn’t watched the episode and had planned to tonight. Today, thanks to Facebook and every site being connected to every other site, (really, I can’t tell who the original poster is, but if Huffington Post has something, then Gawker does, then Slate, then Jezebel might if it’s related to women, then Huff Post Women does…and it goes on and on) I saw that on last night’s episode, C.K’s titular character (every time I use the word TITULAR I giggle, then I make sure I am using it correctly, then I giggle again…because tit) is asked on a date by Vanessa, a woman who works in the comedy club where Louie works as a comedian.Vanessa is *GASP* a fat girl. A fat woman. She’s fat. Louie turns her down and they end up going for coffee and wandering around the city and getting to know each other where, depending on which site you read, Vanessa launches into a speech that is either “magnificent” and she gets all sassy and speaks for all fat women everywhere by calling Louie out on his shallow reasoning for not wanting to go out with her (which presumably is simply because she is fat) OR she gives a speech that is male apologist bullshit that was written by Louis C.K. himself (as the whole show is of course) that does nothing but make excuses for men like Louie who are taught by society to not want to date fat women.  Excuses and apologies.  If you don’t watch the show and you are confused regarding the name, Louis C.K. is the comedian/writer whom the character Louie…um…C.K. I think… is based, on the show called Louie.

louis ck

As a fat woman myself, and one who has tried to preach body acceptance and being comfortable in one’s skin, fully realizing that picture looks different to everyone, I was excited to watch the show so that I could form my own opinion on this groundbreaking episode. I assumed it would solve so many problems that exist in the world today regarding body image and fat shaming. I hope your tongue is firmly planted in your cheek when you read the above. I don’t think Louis C.K. has the ability to bring about that kind of change, but if he DID, I would welcome it (and he’s right about common core testing too).

I liked the episode, as I do most episodes of Louie.  However,  Vanessa did not speak for me.  I don’t “blame” the men like Louie who have turned me down, as Vanessa does, and of course there have been men who have turned me down. I don’t now, and don’t as far as I can remember, look at my weight as anything other than what it is. This is my body style, this is my body.  Right now,  I am on the heavier side than I am the most comfortable, but not by much. The thing is, for whatever crazy reason, I don’t land on my weight as a reason to be rejected. I just feel like there are SO MANY other reasons why someone would turn me down (and yes, that’s funny…but it is true). I assume if I’m flirting with someone and they are not reciprocating that they don’t like brunettes, or that I snorted when I laughed, or that I was just too sarcastic for them, or that I looked disturbingly like their mom or ex or someone they despise, or more often than not, that they are gay. Me being plus-sized is really towards the bottom of the list of things that I feel badly about, even though everywhere I turn it seems that people are telling me I SHOULD feel badly about it.

I have mixed feelings about the character of Vanessa and the speech overall. I feel like her character does tend to reinforce the stereotype that fat girls are desperate, and should basically bribe someone to be interested in them. In the episode, Vanessa gives Louie a couple of hockey tickets that are said to be worth over $1000.  She does this because she is leaving her job at the comedy club and she wants to do something nice for Louie. When she gives him the tickets, he asks her out for coffee, even though when she asked him out before he turned her down. Vanessa and Louie laugh and have a good time until Louie tells Vanessa she’s “not fat” which sparks the speech linked above.

vanessa

I want Vanessa to be a bad ass and realize that browbeating some guy to hold her hand who doesn’t want to is beneath her, but she’s only 30-something, it took me at least another decade to get that.  I also want Louie to see her for the seemingly funny and feisty woman that she is, and not just her body type. On the other hand, perhaps Louie wasn’t turned off by Vanessa’s weight at all. She comes off EXTREMELY desperate, and maybe that’s what did it. Whatever the reason Louie wasn’t into Vanessa, I want Vanessa to realize that just because he isn’t, there will be others who will be.   I have a physical type that I am drawn towards, but all bets are off if that person can’t make me laugh. Who knows what Louie’s type is and what his triggers are. Human beings are complicated. He is ALLOWED to not be into her though, and she is ALLOWED to be pissed off about it, of course.

I like seeing people who look different from what we are used to seeing on TV, absolutely. I WANT us to get past this obsession with body types. I don’t know if people will think differently about women who are fat because of one episode of Louie, but I do think it’s probably a good thing that so many people are talking about this episode. Fat shaming is a real thing that actually exists, and that is ridiculous. I’m still waiting on the fat woman character who is incidentally fat, it is not a plot point, not anything she is bitter about, it just is who she is. She can be a giant mess in other ways. Maybe she’s divorced, and has two sons. Maybe she’s trying stand-up comedy. Fine, that’s me, but I would be a fantastic character. Think of all the people I would annoy because I refused to be concerned with my weight. It would be so much fun.

 

7 Responses to “A for Effort, but Louis C.K. Does NOT Speak for This Fat Woman”

  1. bensbitterblog May 13, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

    Sadly I always think the same thing when it comes to saying Titular. By the way, don’t you think it is funny that Louis CK is considered fat too. He jokes about it all the time, but no one even mentions that. I’m way overweight too, but people don’t care. It is a double standard and one that is rarely talked about.

    • Amy May 19, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

      Major double standard and it sucks that it exists, but I do acknowledge that it does.

  2. Deech May 14, 2014 at 9:42 am #

    You know? The same can be said for the woman who is 6’4″. or the guy who looks like poindexter. You have me curious to see if Vanessa ever runs into a guy who is really into her but she is not into him because he is a geek or because he is too short…things like that. That would make an interesting episode, methinks.

    • Amy May 19, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

      Agreed dear Joker, agreed. 🙂

  3. Tits McGee (@jessikate) May 16, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

    Oh my goodness. You absolutely NAILED the reason I wasn’t impressed by what I heard about this episode but I couldn’t quite articulate what the problem was. The whole thing still makes me feel judged for being fat, even though, like you, it’s not really anywhere the top of the list of reasons I worry people might not like me. If someone turned me doesn’t for being fat I’d tell them they were a moron and go on with my life.

    Thank you for writing this.

    And at the risk of being that internet weirdo, I think if we were to meet in person we would hit it off like whoa.

  4. Tits McGee (@jessikate) May 16, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

    The episode is advocating fat *tolerance*, not acceptance, which is a start, but the message of “You’re loveable even though you’re fat” feels like a version of “You’re okay even though you’re gay/black/female/disabled/poor/uneducated/etc.” – all things that are a basis for discrimination and oppression. But fatness, since a person CAN choose to lose weight and/or surgically modify their body, still makes that person a target in someone’s eyes.

    It’s really hard to do at times, but loving yourself enough that you can stop caring about someone else’s perception of you is the best way to counteract discrimination.

    • Amy May 19, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

      First of all, thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.
      SECOND of all, I love your name Tits McGee.
      THIRD, I agree with everything you have said in both of your comments. Come to Florida and let’s hang out!

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