Shrill and the fat gaze

Here is the thing about Shrill (the show on Hulu). It has a fat gaze. Almost always, when fat girls, women and people perceived as women see ourselves in a visual medium, it is thru the lens of how thin people view us. Never how we see ourselves.

The headless fatty local news footage is the thin gaze. Fat suits are the thin gaze. We hear all the time, only what thin people think of us. Fat girls almost never get a say in any this.

We see Annie as she building her confidence, but Shrill never visually makes her the butt of a joke. She is dressed fashionably. Her entire body is frequently framed, full length.

When she has close ups, they are on her FACE, not used to display the physical attributes of fatness as objects of horror or as fetish objects. Her body is treated like a THIN WOMAN'S BODY would be treated.

Annie is allowed to eat on camera in a normal manner and in a weird manner and in other ways. The act of a fat woman eating is treated as a normal fact of life, not as something grotesque or as some kind of mean joke. She is allowed to eat like thin women do.

So while we do see Annie deal with the discrimination and heartache that is surviving fatphobia- We are not actually seeing her being shamed thru the thin gaze, where fat shaming is played for laughs or so some thin hero can show up to save her. Thin heroes never show up.

We are on her side b/c no matter what is said to Annie by a character, the story has visually framed HER as the protagonist, and therefore the person deserving of our sympathy. We want her to win.

We are allowed by the show to see Annie's reactions, her upset and disappointment, her sweetness, and her joy. Annie is allowed to feel an entire range of emotions. She is allowed to be a full person, which we never see under the thin gaze.

Annie gets to be funny! And not ALWAYS as self depreciation. She is a person in a way that fat girls are never allowed to be.

And the moment where she follows the woman in the red jumpsuit, was such a brilliant and totally visual way to show the liberation that fat activism offers. And how when we are proud and visible, we can change lives without even knowing it.

Wow. I'm gonna be thinking of that scene for so long It stole my breath away.

And all the little things that you know a thin person would never know about. Annie's face going tight and closed in the same way I can literally remember feeling on my own face, in the same moments in my life. How could a thin person know that. They don't.

I know everyone is raving over the sex scenes and I get it. But seriously when was the last time you saw a fat girl eating on TV And it wasn't like a joke or some gross out scene or a chance for the fat girl to give a tearful apology speech about weight loss.

No tearful apology speeches by the fat girl for not whittling herself down by carving off enough of her soul.

Someone needs to make that glitter rainbow dress too, like bitch MAKE THAT HAPPEN FOR ME.