AMC’s Dietland premiered on Monday night, and social media erupted with thousands of people tweeting how they finally found a show to relate to and identify with. The main character, Plum Kettle (Joy Nash), is a plus-size woman who candidly illustrates what it is like to live in a society that constantly tells her she doesn’t belong because of her looks.
“I learned to live inside myself. My body was just a thing I used to move my head around” –@DietlandAMC
— Tess Holliday (@Tess_Holliday) June 5, 2018
Based on Sarai Walker’s 2015 debut novel of the same name, the show follows Kettle whose job at a teen fashion magazine perpetuates the hatred of her own body. It also meshes with the story of a mysterious terrorist group known as “the Jennifers” that kidnaps and kills men known for abusing women. Dietland is part fashion- and beauty-industry satire, part thriller, part murder mystery, and part body-positive and inclusivity tent pole.
Plus-size model and influencer Laura Lee tells Yahoo Lifestyle that Dietland is more than just a show for her fellow colleagues. “Dietland has changed the game on TV for all us plus ladies in Hollywood. They are showing us as we are big, beautiful, and fabulous,” she says.
For Lyz Lupo, founder of online body-positivity platform Style & Curve, watching Dietland was like revisiting her younger self. “I went from one diet after another, eating just a little during the day, then times of binge eating and vomiting; I did all of this too because I thought I am not good enough for the society,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. But today, things are different for her, as they look a lot like how Kettle is portrayed in the show. “I am totally the confident woman from the first episode who leaves the Weight Watchers meeting shouting that she is a goddess and an unicorn.”
Body-positive advocate and influencer Manon Edwards shares a similar sentiment. “I’m happy a show like this one is out with this message on TV screens. It helps people and ourselves [as plus-size women] understand what it’s like to be a plus-size woman. This theme has been ignored for too long,” she says. “I have never seen such honest reality before.”
And thousands online agree.
Holy shit #dietland is so fucking real and we are so in. Hard to explain how much it means to see these unspoken parts of my reality lovingly confronted on prestige TV.
— Jaclyn Friedman❄️ (@jaclynf) June 5, 2018
Okay we are FINALLY getting a TV show with a fat protagonist who not only stays fat, but rebels against diet culture, finds feminism & fights for female empowerment
— Megan (@bodyposipanda_) June 3, 2018
Even plus-size men are relating to the show too.
I get I’m a big fat white dude and this isn’t really made for me, but I’m identifying HARD with Plum and #Dietland.
— Luke Lucas (@BigLukeLucas) June 5, 2018
obsessed with that confident fat girl!!! and the Waist Watcher lady saying she was in “so much denial” is such an accurate portrayal of what fat girls deal with when we say we love our bodies. #JoinTheRevolution #Dietland #ad @AMC_TV
— gabifresh (@gabifresh) June 5, 2018
Despite 40 percent of Americans being overweight, plus-size people are underrepresented in the TV, movie, and fashion industries. Generally, if there is any plus-size person in the show, it usually follows the same plot: He/she/they struggles to lose weight and finally finds happiness once this goal is achieved. For example, Kate Pearson (Chrissy Metz) in This Is Us and Monica Geller (Courteney Cox) in Friends, a high schooler who discovered joy as a slim adult.
The message of Plum Kettle learning how to unapologetically embrace her size and the show’s plot centering on topics besides her weight are what resonated with Edwards, who says she has never encountered such a storyline.
“When [the characters] lose weight, they are like ‘oh my God, I love myself even now that I look banging.’ But why they didn’t think that way before already? I’m sick of characters who always want to lose weight to be happy. Fat people can be happy.”
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