Monday, July 14, 2008
Is Wall-E a Sizist? . . .
I read a great article this morning about accusations that Wall-E is a sizist (or the people that made the movie are, at least). Now - I saw the movie Wall-E (or about 65% of it at least - Ava and I spent most of the middle of the movie walking in and out and around the theater where we saw it and Joy, Ava and I ultimately just left the theater with about 30 minutes to go). I've seen plenty of movies and I've seen sizism. Wall-E is NOT sizist.
The premise of Wall-E (stop reading here if you are eight years old and are still hankering to see the latest Disney/Pixar film and don't want the experience to be "spoiled") is that humans, having exhausted the earth's resources, are floating around in space while little robots clean up the debris of our lifestyle and occassional ships return to earth to see if carbon-based life has resumed. So Wall-E is a cleaner and he falls in love with Eve (a robot that is searching for and FINDS proof of life) and he makes his way back to the ship, deep in space, where the humans are hanging out. And by "floating around space" and "hanging out" I mean our future generations are literally floating (on these chaise lounge looking things) and hanging out (as in too fat for even their oversized moo-moos).
Yes - ALL of humanity is fat in the movie. Very, very fat. Very lazy too. They DRINK all of their meals because actually eating is just so . . . very "ambitious" - but the movie is NOT saying that fat people are lazy.
The movie is saying that being lazy makes you FAT. The humans have to re-learn how to walk, for instance. They don't have to relearn how to be skinny.
I'm here to tell you though - 32 years of life later- Wall-E could have EASILY been the latest example of a movie where the fat person is the evil-doer, the butt of the joke, the scorn of society or the least-desirable person in the room. Cartoon movies, live action movies, computer generated flicks, NO MATTER . . . we bigguns have been wronged plenty of times in the past.
It is what it is. I'm not complaining about any of those other movies and I won't complain about this one either. ONE thing that I would point out . . . when I first started dating Joy, our niece Lexy was only three (she had JUST turned four when I first met her) and she seemed to be totally afraid of me and would barely speak to me. I eventually assumed - based on a comment she made while we were watching TV together - that my size made her somewhat distrustful of me and might have implied that I was a "bad person" - if I was anything like the fat guy on the TV. Maybe the larger issue is that we need to present images to our young that don't further negative stereotypes and assumptions . . .
I DO think that groups like the National Association To Advance Fat Acceptance need to exist and have every right to go after any movie (or person, or group or whatever) that they think is going after our fellow obese persons - no different than any other group that organizes to help raise the level of all humanity but, in this case, I have to disagree with my fellow "fats" that Wall-E did us any real wrongs.