Earlier this week, former "SUPERMODEL," 'Victoria Secret' spokesperson and Executive Producer of AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL, Tyra Banks, did a segment on her show 'TYRA' about the negative discrimination facing women suffering from obesity. Tyra donned a fat suit that her professional makeup artists and staff equipped her with in order to go undercover to expose the harsh treatment, ridicule, and insults that overweight women face in American society. This is not however, the first time that Ms. Banks dealt with this particular issue. In fact, she addressed the same subject about last month in October on her show. Tyra was made to look like a 350 pound woman and was set up on a series of anonymous blind dates to check her potential suitor's reaction to an unexpectedly plus size female dining guest. The exposé was disingenuous to women because Tyra was in fact, acting out a scene or script; playing a role just for the sake of gathering information.
Tyra broke down a little in front of her guests and studio audience because of the way she was treated and the pain she felt as she emulated the lives of the women she wanted to profile. One of Tyra's guests was quite astute when she had second thoughts and was reluctant about even appearing on the show because she asked herself why Tyra was doing this in the first place. She did get some conciliation from Tyra's ordeal and her bravery to at least bring this treatment of women to the attention of the public; but here again, this is not new and there weren't any greater insights into the issue of obesity or a commitment to treat people differently because of their physical shape or size.
At the end of the day, Tyra can take off her fat suit and go about her business as usual lifestyle, but there are countless women who have to live every day of their lives the way Ms. Banks was pretending to do for a few hours, so how can what she experienced be of any real benefit to these women who have to suffer with not only the verbal and mental abuse, guilt, and shame, but the serious medical health issues as well? To be honest, Ms. Banks might not be the best choice because she is not the girl-next-door and is not representative of the average woman, nor can the average female relate to her anyway. Even Tyra admitted that she discriminates and have said some unflattering statements against women who are like the one she portrayed, but she vowed that she would never do it again.
One can only wonder if she came to that conclusion based upon what she experienced or because she knows that it is wrong, and how many of Tyra's close friends, and not just a casual acquaintances are large-and-in-charge, are in her inner circle; or are the spaces reserved only for those svelte, waif-like nymphs who are nimbly able to slip through in their famous fashion designer Haute Couture clothing and accessories. As a side note: Talk about an irony of contrasts; just within a day or two after the airing of that show, two of the most beautiful women in the world, Halle Berry and Beyonce Knowles were Tyra's guests, and of course, Ms. Banks just had to show out a little with the "GIRLFRIENDS," "Miss THANG," and the 'Diva' conversation going on. When Beyonce was on the show, Tyra talked with such pride about being considered as part of the Knowles' family, like a play big sister and all of that, but would she also be as enthusiastic to be adopted into the family of someone like Gabourey Sidibe starring as Claireece Jones in the movie, "PRECIOUS?" You be the judge.
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November 13, 2009
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