In the wake of all the backlash from the movie Sierra Burgess is A Loser, I wanted to view the movie myself before letting other opinions taint my idea of the movie and its themes. I was excited most of all to see Shannon Purser as the main character after falling in love with her as Barb on Stranger Things. I loved that I was finally going to see a female lead with someone who looks so much like my peers and get to be in love. However, the movie did not seem to disprove the feelings of those who scrutinized the movie.
While I won’t rehash what everyone has ultimately said about the controversial script, casting, and themes of the movie, I will say I am very disappointed that the movie industry used a bigger girl as a way of drawing in an audience for her to be incredibly problematic. She was so unlikeable after all her nefarious behaviors that by the end you didn’t believe or root for the forced union of her and Jamey, and you were left annoyed at her lack of repercussions—further instilling the societal views that you can’t be fat, beautiful, confident, smart AND get the happily ever after.
I am proud of directors for trying their hand at broadening their horizons with casting leading female protagonists who aren’t just the typical white skinny female (even though those women are just as beautiful), which is something that has been overdone and is part of the problem of harmful beauty standards. But in this day and age, we should be celebrating the differences in human beings and how incredibly complex we are. Yet, the movie industry still continues to miss the mark in representation and, quite frankly, just come across as lazy.
It seems as though Netflix has been using this current trope of how fat girls aren’t “conventionally pretty” and have to somehow fit into those standards to be a romantic heroine. The only way Sierra Burgess was able to have a relationship with someone was to pretend to be someone else, which not only encourages young girls to lie about who they are in order to be loved, but also romanticizes the notion of “catfishing”.
It brought this thought to my attention: why in 2018, with a world so incredibly progressive in this social climate, do we STILL lack diverse films, specifically representing full-figured females, women of color, or even both, as the main protagonists?
I am a full-figured woman of color and have been in love and have many of my peers who are also full-figured, and have gotten their happily ever after. It is real. And we have to stop creating this content that allows our future generations to believe that there’s only one type of person deserving of love.
We have to stop creating content that says you can’t be beautiful AND smart.
We have to stop putting out these ideals that people are killing themselves to become, and start creating content that promotes body positivity and self-love and happily ever after being attainable for more than just one ideal group of individuals.
Author: Tea Campbell
Author Bio: Tea is an aspiring writer from Columbus, Ohio. She bides her time as a corporate representative on weekdays. She is driven by her love of words and the sharing of her favorites with like-minded women. She’s inspired by love, connections and the journey to a better well-being. While she’s still figuring out how she fits in the cogs of the social media machine, you can catch her reading, writing on pieces of paper in her purse or proclaiming her shameless love for all things 70s, specifically Stevie Nicks.
Link to social media or website: Instagram @sw_eet_tea