by Chris Bodenner
A few more readers chime in:
I think both dissenting readers are missing the bigger point of that Louie monologue, which is the absolute, irrefutably true statement that in our society, it’s harder for fat women than fat men. I’m writing that sentence as a fat (not BMI of 25 “overweight”) but a full-on fat man. I’m not saying I don’t get judged for my weight or deal with societal repercussions (I do), but there isn’t a doubt in my mind that a women of similar proportions would have it SO much worse. Why?
For starters, our species just loves double standards for women (remember: men who sleep around are studs, but women who sleep around are sluts). But also men are more superficial than women when it comes to dating, and so the pressure to not be fat pushes harder in one direction. Chubby men get a lot of passes (we get to be “husky” or “rugged” and get called affirming things like “big man” or “teddy bear”), that chubby women don’t. They just get told to stop eating and start running.
Another is less sympathetic:
Here’s a radical idea that deserves a place in the debate: The choice of a mate is an individual choice, and it is completely irrational to choose a mate you’re not physically attracted to, unless that’s the only choice you have. Maybe there’s a genetic component for mens’ general attraction to slimmer women, or maybe it’s the cultural forces of mass media. It doesn’t really matter. In either case, the fat girl in Louis CK’ show is essentially asking him – and the rest of the men she likes – to somehow transcend those forces and give her the love she wants.
Um, screw that. Fat or slim, short or tall, clever or dull, wildly successful or hopelessly unemployed, nobody gets to dictate to their crush. Not unless you’re Kim Jong Un, who seems to be doing fine with the ladies.
The scene is self-flagellation, and I understand Louis’ guilt. It’s important for us men to be conscious of the ruthless prejudices that are at the core of our libido, if only because that will help us to cope with the same prejudices that govern women’s attraction. On the other hand, how is Louis doing her a favor by taking her hand? By feeling sorry for her, is he really doing her a favor? What kind of future does a couple like that have?
It’s ridiculous. For some wildly entertaining cognitive dissonance, check out this comment thread on Jezebel. On this feminist blog, women readers routinely rail against the injustice of men who have the audacity to prefer slim women to the heavyset, and yet when those women are challenged to be honest about whether they’re attracted to short men, turns out these ladies have a prejudice of their own. Overweight women at least have the option of exercising and dieting to lose weight, whereas short men can do nothing about their height.
My advice to the fat girl on Louie: Life isn’t fair. Deal with it.
Update from a reader:
By way of introduction, I am a 5’8″ man with a 6’3″ wife. The height difference between us is my most defining physical characteristic as her sheer height is hers. She has dealt her whole life with inane questions about basketball (she hates sports) and lame pickup lines (“Hey, I’d love to climb that mountain”).
She has had female friends tell her that they couldn’t imagine marrying a man shorter than they are. And we aren’t talking about women like my wife who are at the far right end of the height distribution, either. I’ve had men tell me they are envious of my facial position when we dance.
What the actual fuck? Why is this such a thing?
Every now and then, I look across the room and think, “Jesus Christ, she’s tall.” Most days I don’t notice and neither does she. In fact, the nicest thing she’s ever said to me is that she thinks of me being taller than I am. Maybe she’s just compensating, but I love her for it. The only downside is that by the time my kids are thirteen, I’ll be the shortest one in the house and they’ll hide their pot on the top shelf where I can’t see it. Assuming it’s still illegal by then.