Plus Size Sex Symbol? Plus Size Representation on TV.

Whenever I watch television shows, or movies, involving plus-size women, it is always the same old school stereotype: she is sad, with low self-esteem, poorly dressed, has no style and spends her nights at home alone fantasizing about being skinny. Otherwise, she is the funny fat girl who is the sidekick to the conventionally pretty, skinny girl. What about plus size representation on TV?

Drop Dead Diva- Plus Size Representation on TV

Drop Dead Diva- CANCELLED

Enough already! Seriously. Sitcoms, dramas or whatever we spend your time watching, should reflect our country’s reality.

And the reality is…

The average American woman is a size 14, which falls into the plus-size category. We are the majority, and are living lives no different from our sisters of the non-plus-sized minority. In fact, with body confidence movements, and changes in plus-sized fashion, full-figured women are looking and feeling better every day. Plus-sized women are dressing well, going on dates (might I add with very attractive people) and enjoying life just like the women we see on television and in movies. (Hello Hips and Curves

Hips and Curves plus size lingerie Plus size Lingerie- Hips and Curves

(Click on the image to shop these looks)

So, why then is mainstream media not reflective of that?  We can be the sex symbols, the desired ones, the preferred girls, and the girl that gets the guy, on America’s small and big screens.  We are the girl with the great sex life in real life (oh, yes we do have great sex, but that is another discussion, lol!) I’d love to see that reflected in our entertainment.

Why do I care?  Well, let’s be real; For better or for worse, the media plays a big role in what we like, what we wear, and with whom we associate ourselves.  It is important that a medium as powerful visual media is responsible for reflecting its audience.

Social media has made it easier for people of all shapes and sizes to see plus-size women in a more positive light.  Many people love plus-sized women, but are  they really afraid to be seen with us in public? Media would have you to believe so.  It is ridiculous. I feel, that  if beautiful, well dressed, plus size women (like myself) were shown more often, it would erase prejudicial stigmas and make it that much easier for people to be comfortable with who they are and who they want.

Related:   The Top 12 Plus Size Fashion Moments of 2016

Seeing a gorgeous, sharply dressed, plus-sized leading-lady in a positive light on the big screen would be awesome!  Let us show Amber Riley in the position of power, wearing beautiful items and living a great life.

Amber Riley Dancing with the StarsWhy not show a Carrie Bradshaw type full-figured woman? How about Jill Scott in a “Love Jones” style flick. Maybe even a model/actress like Denise Bidot or Liris Crosse, playing the sexy lead role in a Jennifer Lopez or Paula Patton type romantic movie?  The one who is not sad or envious of people who are smaller than her. A woman who is the social leader of her group and has tons of men after her.

Tyson Ford and Denise Bidot

from My Nuvo TV Curvy Girls

Don’t get me wrong—seeing actresses like Christina Hendricks, Melissa McCarthy, Rebel Wilson, and Gabby Sidibe gives us hope that plus-sized women will be seen more frequently in television and movies. But, these writers need to get a little more creative and think outside of their own perceptions and prejudices.

With that Being said, Melissa McCarthy has her movie, Tammy coming out shortly, will you see this?

Plus size actress Melissa McCarthy stars in TAMMY

Watch the trailer for TAMMY HERE

There is so much room for opportunity here.  I wonder who will step up? Who would be YOUR Plus Size Sex Symbol? What do you think about Plus size representation on TV?


Essie Golden is a fashion blogger and plus size model from Orlando, Florida who currently resides in New York. Her blog Golden Kaleidoscope focuses on personal style, plus size community issues, and positive body images.

You May Be Interested In...

Comments (10)

  1. I’m all for plus size women on tv being represented as sexy because I definitely believe it would help in changing so much of the standard perspective that “fat women aren’t sexually desirable.” But I also balk at the idea that women of any size should only be appreciated for their sex appeal when we have so much more to offer. My two favorite fat tv characters are Roseanne and Eleanor Frutt from the legal drama The Practice. They were layered, complex characters who the writers never presented as one-note characters (i.e., not just ‘the sexy one’). Roseanne was a working mother of three who eventually started her own business. Eleanor Frutt was an excellent experienced attorney who never quaked in her shoes when she had to question a suspect.

    Fat women are already seen as sexually desirable by many people who consider themselves “FAs” (“Fat Admirers”) and those who like to fetishize fat bodies (in my opinion, “FAs” and fat fetishists are sometimes one and the same). While I definitely agree that the concept of fat women as beautiful and sexy needs further destigmatization and more normalization, I think the idea of fat women *in general* needs more normalization. In other words, we need to be more visible. Not just as “sexy” characters on tv, but as complex characters – detectives, attorneys, doctors, congresswomen, journalists, artists, scientists, criminals, working moms, single moms, etc. All the roles that we’ve seen thinner women doing. “The average American woman is a size 14” – this is true. So lets see some average American women on tv who are not on a reality show eating bugs, trying to lose weight, or trying to cross the Gobi Desert, but in all those other roles we see being played by Juliana Marguilies, Ellen Pompeo, Kerry Washington, Mariska Hargitay, Courtney Cox, Jennifer Aniston (and all their thin, white counterparts on every Friends-like sitcom), etc, etc, ad infinitum. Lets see Hollywood make a change.

    1. You win love. thank you for really dropping some gems of love and reminders! Yes, interestingly enough, Roseanne for some reason reminded me of my nanna, so it was my norm growing up… I saw her as whole, well-rounded, and living a full life. But then the fact that I saw her as such proved to be why she and other plus size women on TV is much needed. You are quite right and here’s to change being affected..

  2. Not that this is the norm on television, but I’ve always been pretty impressed with the character of Donna on Parks & Rec, played by comedian Retta Sirleaf. She’s not the lead, but her character always has style, sex appeal, and confidence. She’s never “the fat woman,” she just a woman. I don’t think her weight has ever once been mentioned in any way on the show. I’ll never forget the episode when she was chilling in a newly opened club (she’d bought into the club as a partner), with a drink in her hand, smoking a cigar, surrounded by gorgeous men who appeared to be fawning over her. And she looked *very* at home. The show gives the distinct impression that this is pretty much how her life goes when she’s not at the office. Now if only the rest of these shows would get their act together…

    1. I LOVE her and interviewed her on the blog! Did you read it?? I do love her and her wholeness as a woman! Thank you sooooo much for the reminder and there are others who are slaying it too!

  3. I believe tv and movies try not to represent real life, but they try to give us an ideal and the ideal they are projecting is a skinny pretty young woman… All others can only dream of being like that ideal. This is what does not change the situation and the stories. I once interviewed an emerging Italian plus size actress whom I had only seen in stereotyped roles and when I asked her if she thought that there were too many stereotyped roles for plus size women she said she did not think so. She did not even realize…

  4. Imma reach WAY back but I remember that Raj’s mom on “What’s Happening” had her share of admirers and her ex-husband was a good-looking dude whose character was clearly still attracted to her when he appeared.
    We have been back-sliding for a while in terms of the types of bodies that are seen on TV (and now just as a punchline) as well as in terms of diversity (when we had a lot of black families on TV who just HAPPENED to be black).

    And she wasn’t fat but Florida Evans was “solidly built” (you know the type…probably not a large size but just solid) and when they killed off James she wasn’t single for long either. Weezy Jefferson would be another.

    Of course, the aesthetic over the ideal female body has been getting smaller over the past 30 years-40 years (Curvy was in during the 60’s, then in the 70’s ppl got really skinny but in the 80’s, the women were not plus-sized but WAY curvier than they are now). You can see how actresses who were around in the 90’s and were already small got SUPER DUPER small in the 2000s’ (like Teri Hatcher and Demi Moore).

    It’s sad b/c in real life, you see all kinds of couples but on TV, being fat has become the cheap and easy joke, although I like some of Melissa McCarthy’s characters b/c I’d say that for example her character in The Heat had the same kind of thing going on as Retta on Parks and Rec (who is the only reason I can stand any part of that show). She had guys showing up that she was clearly blowing off and had no interest in dealing with again.

  5. I love this post. Yes! seeing plus sized women on tv as the lead character would be HUGE! I’m not talking just the smaller end of the plus sized spectrum, but i’m talking about the whole thing! When people think of curvy the person that immediately comes to mind is Sofia Vegara who I LOVE!! right down to the accent! and she is certainly curvy without a doubt, but for lack of better words….she isn’t big enough! LOL….she’s not plus sized she’s curvaceous, but plus sized women can do that too….sure some of us don’t have flat stomachs, and can’t be nipped really tiny in the waist, and I think those are the women in particular that don’t get to be the strong professional woman who has a GORGEOUS guy chasing her, but she’s too involved in her career as a power attorney, or a decorated detective to give him the time of day! The times that we do randomly see a plus sized woman on the screen, not only is she always the funny friend that adds the comic relief, if she ever is in a semi leading role (i use that term loosely) she’s a smaller plus sized woman that producers and writers think are still acceptable by the general public, you know…she’s kinda thick, but her stomach is flat, there’s no “jiggle” to her wiggle, and she appears height/weight proportionate for the most part, and while I love all my plus sized sisters…smaller scale to larger scale, lets get real! Most plus sized sisters don’t have flat stomachs….we have rolls and back fat, so come on Hollywood! We’re not going anywhere, and we’re just as sexy as anyone else! Need a demo? Call me! Hollywood is my backyard! 🙂 Thanks for this post!!

  6. It’s crap. No real man wants bone. We like meat! I am happily and gratefully married to a “plus size” woman. I wouldn’t change one curve on her delicious body for one anything. I have many friends who have what I like to call “women with real bodies”. Healthy women. Women with beautiful skin that glows and beautiful hair that always seems to be silky soft. I would love to see more of what I have on the silver screen. My wife exudes sensuality and is the sexiest woman alive. Hollywood has no idea what a huge audience it is not catering to. One day they may wise up. I do believe that it is becoming an issue that has no choice but to be addressed.

  7. i agree, its hard for me to even like Hollywood because it hides behind so many lies and such. Yes there are plenty of plus size woman who look great or they are borderline plus ( think Mindy Project) At times I wonder why theres such a bad dressed plus size community in Hollywood or they are a smaller friend best friend but only in the spot light in a bad way.

Post a new comment