Can Hollywood learn to tell stories about women above a size 4?

The character Kate in the Emmy-nominated ‘This Is Us’ has won acclaim for Chrissy Metz. But body image advocates say Kate also personifies a principal narrative for the fat person in Hollywood: In order for a character of size to be worthy, he or she needs to be trying to lose weight.

Published Sept. 15, 2017

LOS ANGELES––Sonya Renee Taylor has complicated feelings about the NBC series, “This Is Us.”

She was thrilled to see that one of the show’s main plotlines centered on Kate, a woman whose complex relationships with family, food, and love are exquisitely portrayed by Chrissy Metz. Nothing like that had been produced – would even have been possible – in the 1980s, when Ms. Taylor was growing up. “There were not bodies that looked like mine on television,” she says.

But the fact that Kate’s story revolves largely around her misery over her weight doesn’t sit well with Taylor, a performance poet who runs a company called The Body Is Not An Apology and advocates for what she calls radical self-love.

“Hooray, there’s this fat woman in a lead role,” Taylor says, “but when do we get over the idea that fatness is the worst thing that can happen to you?”

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