Saturday, August 22, 2009

Five Flavors

Most of the time when you have a large* male character in a work of fiction you have a good idea how he is going to be portrayed:

1. Big, Dumb, and angry

2. Big, Nice, and timid

3. Big, Aggressive, and protective

4. Big, Smart, and repressed

5. Big, Dumb, comic relief

Not a lot to choose from eh? This has bothered me for a long time. To have an entire subsection of the population be limited to a small (and pretty insulting at times) range of character doesn't leave a lot of room to find someone like yourself to identify with. Mind every single large male character in every work of fiction doesn't fall into one of these four groups its just that most of the popular ones do, which is what makes it hard to find one to identify with. I'm sure some of you have noticed how large men are treated in fiction but I'm betting a lot of you haven't if for no other reason then you are not a large man. Lucky for you I'm going to take some time to inform you on the subject.

In the near future I'm going to take on each of the descriptions I mention above and break down what is "good" about it and what is bad about it (hint if you look at the descriptions the problem is usually in the third adjective) with an example character. Also I may touch on how this differs from fictional large female characters. Hopefully this will be an educational experience.

* - You'll notice that I'm using large instead of fat. The reason for is because of what society imagines to be fat. Sloppy, lazy, unkept, nonmuscular, etc... There are lot of male fictional characters out there that aren't small by any means but do not fit the words I just mentioned. So I'll split the difference and call them all large since that is the one thing they all have in common.

Edit - As I write the five parts to this I will update this main post with links to the respective parts.


frau sally benz said...

Can't wait to read more on this. I was actually thinking about this recently because I've watched a few movies lately with Omar Benson Miller and was looking at how differently (or similarly) he's cast in his roles. Anyway, looking forward to your thoughts.

Danny said...

Thanks for taking the time to read it out. It just bothers me when women try to shut me up by saying that fat men are worshiped while fat women are condemned so I have finally decided to start speaking my mind on it.