A while back I wrote about “the myth of the naturally thin woman.” I hypothesized that while there are a few women in this world who truly can eat whatever they want without gaining weight, most women have to make at least a minimal effort to eat healthy and exercise regularly if they want to maintain a good figure. In the last ten years or so I’ve noticed a trend on television shows that once again, tries to do away with common sense and all logic and presents us with a new standard: the skinny glutton. The skinny glutton is every man’s dream. This woman retains a slim figure but unlike other slim women who subsist mainly on salad (with dressing always on the side) these women eat whatever the hell they want. And it goes beyond that. Because these women don’t just eat whatever they want, they eat portions that are so huge that no regular human being would be able to eat the same amount without his or her stomach exploding. So without further ado, here is just a sampling of some skinny gluttons.1. Grace Adler – Will & Grace
Grace Adler is definitely a skinny glutton. Her character is known for her boundless appetite and the fact that she will eat just about anything. One of the gags I noticed on Will & Grace was for Grace to unknowingly eat a meal meant for a group of people. There was another episode when Grace’s husband Leo wants to give Grace a cake to apologize for an indiscretion but he has to abandon that idea when Will points out that Grace “eats faster than she reads.” And as seen in this gif, Grace will eat food in just about any form. The idea of such a thin woman having an insatiable appetite is kind of funny but the joke got less believable as Debra Messing became skinnier each season. It was hard to believe that Grace could down an entire cheesecake in seconds when we could clearly count the bones visible in her décolletage.
2. Rory and Lorelai Gilmore – Gilmore Girls
Gilmore Girls is another show that features skinny gluttons. I don’t know if everyone would consider Lorelai and Rory skinny but just like Debra Messing, the actresses portraying these characters seemed to slim down over time. Anyway, the insane love of junk and takeout food is a constant with both Gilmores. Virtually every episode features both Gilmores overeating and often includes an extensive description of what they’re eating. For instance, in one early episode they stop at the supermarket to pick up a “few” snacks for their weekly movie night. For this one movie night they buy marshmallows, jellybeans, Hershey’s kisses, peanut butter, cookie dough, chips, Cheetos and Twizzlers. Throughout the series jokes are made about how it’s a wonder that they maintain such slim figures and furthermore, how they are still alive. Seriously, anyone who actually eats like a Gilmore girl would probably end up with scurvy. But what’s even more annoying is the times when male characters congratulate them on their voracious appetites. It’s one thing to have a healthy appetite but it seems ridiculous that women are only congratulated if they “eat like a man” aka eat a large amount of greasy food on a regular basis.
3. Liz Lemon – 30 Rock
Alright, I really don’t want to hate on Liz Lemon. I’m pretty sure that part of the reason 30 Rock is so popular is because millions of young women can relate to Liz’s love of food (especially cheese), her inability to have a normal relationship and her general awkwardness. And her gluttony is definitely played for laughs, like when she tries to shotgun a pizza or sings about her night cheese. But once again, it’s a bit unbelievable that a woman can gorge herself on all types of food and remain so tiny, especially since Tina Fey used to look like this:
I wouldn’t necessarily say that she looks fat here. But it reminds me of a Jack Donaghy quote when he tells Liz that if she wants to be on TV she either has to “lose ten pounds or gain sixty, there’s no in between on TV.” Also, it’s a far cry from how she looks now:
4. Lucy Kelson – Two Weeks Notice
Okay, this one is from a movie. Lucy, played by Sandra Bullock, is a high strung lawyer who overeats any time she’s stressed out. And because she works for an entitled rich boy with no sense of boundaries she is stressed out pretty much all the time. Just like the other characters I’ve listed here, Lucy repeatedly eats enough food for a group of people (every time she orders Chinese she has to admit that she is ordering just for herself) and even eats food that doesn’t agree with her, just because she can’t resist it. Not that I would know anything about that.
So that’s the end of the list. My issue with these characters is not so much the fact that they overeat but that they create an even more unrealistic standard for women. Now women aren’t just expected to be thin but they are expected to be thin while eating a steady diet of junk food. Most characters like this are congratulated by men for actually eating. But it’s not enough for women to just eat normally, it has to be overdone with feasts of chilli cheese dogs and bacon cheeseburgers. And since these women are on television and in movies they are always going to be thinner than the average woman. I long for the day when women are depicted at average sizes, like a 10 or 12 and eating regular meals. I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for it though. After all, don’t forget what Jack Donaghy said.