Recently, a photo of a slender Mo’Nique (actress/comedienne/Oscar winner) made it’s rounds on (black) blogs:
Folks noted that she’s now the evil skinny woman, she used to make fun of in her stand up routines. Many stated she probably feels ridiculous that she used to clown skinny women. How it was disingenuous of her to have led “fat women astray” about loving their weight, but then goes on to lose weight herself.
I disagree. I hope Mo’Nique stands strong on her earlier resistance of being pressured to look a certain way. I think Mo’Nique was making a cultural observation about how it was okay for folks to make fun of “fat” women, but folks got all defensive when she poked fun at skinny women. In the Hollywood Industrial Complex, I’m sure as a full-figured black woman, Mo’Nique had to deal with people taking issue with how she looked/not taking her seriously as a budding actress.
There is a myth in white feminism and with black folks, that heavier women are adored in the black community. While black women are able to get away with more voluptuous bodies than white women, there is still a disdain for “fat” women in the black community, just as there is in the white community.
In a lot of black folks minds, it’s one thing to be “thick” like a Beyoncé or numerous video dancers, it’s another to be “fat” like the old Mo’Nique or Gabourey Sidibe:
I have read/heard people say some foul mess about Gabourey (Gabby). Folks want her to feel ashamed about how she looks. They think it’s appalling that the Hollywood Industrial Complex likes to use black actresses that look like Gabby. Why not slender black women like Megan Good? To a certain extent, I understand what they are saying. Racist Hollywood loves to use full-figured/dark skin black women as a way to make the black woman the joke or make her a “Mammy” caricature. However, the truth is skinny black women fair no better in racist Hollywood. They just get to play the crackhead or “hoe” roles. It’s not about how black women look, it’s the fact that racist Hollywood simply doesn’t care about the representations of black women, whether they are “fat” or skinny. All the black women in Hollywood could get down to a size two and would still be regulated to stereotypical characters. Why is there a lack of well-rounded, complex roles for black women in mainstream AND black movies? That’s the question black folks should be asking.
Whatever the reasons why Mo’Nique decided to lose weight, it doesn’t make her fake. She just used her talents to counter the oppression she faced, as a full-figured woman in a lookist industry/society. She made the jokes, because she didn’t want to BE the joke. I think she had sincere intentions and truly wanted to empower other full-figured women. In any case, Mo’Nique is da bomb, no matter what she looks like.