On the floor the present’s title (My Large Fat Fabulous Life) could appear that it is leaning into the infantilizing “fats greatest buddy” archetype, presenting Thore as a one-dimensional character who’s continuously upbeat. And the present’s branding, at occasions, actually provides off that vibe: Thore is completely satisfied and smiley within the images, the place she wears whimsical skirts and strikes “sassy” poses. Nevertheless, Thore tells me it is when the cameras aren’t rolling that she feels the should be the “fats greatest buddy.”
“I positively do really feel that stress to keep up this actually completely satisfied facade,” Thore says. “One thing that I actually don’t love is after I’m not completely satisfied or bubbly and I am upset about one thing from the best way society is treating me, lots of people will say, ‘Whitney, why do you even care? It does not matter.’ You might be completely satisfied and assured and likewise not completely satisfied about harassment, abuse, medical doctors not providing you with good medical care, and fats discrimination.”
This sort of complexity is what you see on My Large Fat Fabulous Life. Thore says she’s by no means felt any sort of stress from TLC to dilute her points or current herself because the “fats greatest buddy.” And so far as the present’s title is worried, she owns it.
“I like the title,” she says. “To me, it actually embodies every part the content material is about and every part I am about. It juxtaposes the phrase fats with the phrase fabulous, which I feel is actually essential. Generally haters will probably be like, ‘Your life is not fabulous, blah, blah, blah,’ however my life is fabulous.”
Thore particularly loves the title compared to these aforementioned plus-size exhibits—those that make fats synonymous with unhappy.
“I feel there are two extremes. I really feel like once you see fats individuals on TV, it is both the ‘humorous fats buddy’ or a weight-loss present, the place fats individuals are depressing,” Thore says. “And if TLC’s going to select one strategy to model me proper now—we principally take care of completely satisfied or depressing—I might for certain go together with completely satisfied.”
So when will fats illustration on actuality TV transcend these two extremes? My Large Fat Fabulous Life is a cheerful medium, however it’s a diamond within the tough. And Thore thinks we nonetheless have a methods to go. “In motion pictures, when was the final time you noticed a fats particular person and their weight was by no means talked about?” she says. “It simply does not occur. That is the place we’re as a society. I do not really feel like we’ll be anyplace shut to alter in 20 years. I want. However I feel that is positively the purpose.”
To be truthful, there may be some constructive plus-size illustration on actuality TV past Thore. Women like Tokyo Vainness from Love & Hip-Hop and Tanisha Thomas of Dangerous Women Membership fame are no less than bringing physique variety into the combo—however this nonetheless is not the norm. The Bachelor, for occasion, is infamous for having solely skinny feminine contestants. The present broke new floor, considerably, in 2015, when it featured plus-size model Bo Stanley as a candidate, however she was lower the primary week.