My Mad Fat preoccupation with body imageBy TheStudentGuide
...and the TV series which make us feel human about it.
My Mad Fat Diary, the TV series modelled on the book of the same name written by the brilliant Rae Earl, came to a lovely and fitting end last night (along with the confirmation that it will return with a second series which will start filming this summer).
My Mad Fat Diary is the biographical account of the diary written by a 16 year old (and 16 stone) depressive Lincolnshire teenager who has just spent four months inside a psychiatric hospital. The series has (amazingly) been light hearted and funny (including some real prize quotes and descriptions — “gushington central” and “vomitorium” anyone?) but at the same time it has dealt with some very pertinent issues. And it’s really great to find a programme which can balance the two.
Rae has real problems accepting her body image, which is not the archetypal skinny size 6 we are force-fed every day in the mass media. She hates it herself and is convinced that those around her pre-judge her and base analysis of her character upon it. And she is not far wrong. A group of troublesome boys from school make it their business to comment on her appearance every time she walks past and there is a fantastic scene in episode 2 where we see her unzipping a fat suit and climbing out to reveal a body more accepted in today’s society.
My Mad Fat Diary is not alone in addressing problems of body image in society. The main character in the truly brilliant Girls (currently airing its second season on HBO and Sky Atlantic) is Lena Dunham’s self-penned and portrayed Hannah Horvath who herself becomes embroiled in distaste for her larger frame.
In The Student Guide offices, we have loved every minute of these two series; because they’re funny and they’re brilliant pieces of comedy, yes, but also because of the issues that they are addressing. We want to see normal people experiencing normal problems and messing things up because it makes us feel human ourselves; it reminds us that real life is not what we see in the adverts. And yes, a lot of Rae’s self-loathing comes from the fact that she doesn’t think boys will reciprocate the sexual feelings she has towards them; and a lot of Hannah’s time in Girls is spent swooning over an unsuitable and undeserving target, however I guess that’s real life as well isn’t it? We want to see more of series like these because these are the REAL reality shows, telling it like it is. And we cannot contain our excitement for the next instalments. Well done My Mad Fat Diary and Girls, for flying the flag for real girls.