Fat Monica From "Friends" Isn't Even Fat

Fat Monica From "Friends" Isn't Even Fat

A skinny girl in a body suit does not a plus-size person make.

Anyone who has seen the television show "Friends" is familiar with Monica Geller's younger-self, Fat Monica. In high school, Monica was approximately 100 pounds heavier and possessed every negative stereotype ever assigned to plus-size people. She was always eating, always a slob, and always naive. Not only do the stereotypes present a problem, the use of the nickname Fat Monica for a skinny actress in a body suit is just offensive. Even in a body suit, Courteney Cox, the actress who portrayed Monica, could hardly be described as fat.

Body positive activists and bloggers all over the world are attempting to reclaim the word "fat." The word was not invented with a negative connotation. We, as society, made it into a bad word. We made it into a taboo, something that little boys would call little girls to make them cry. Like small children, the characters of "Friends" use the term as a weapon against one of their best friends in an attempt to make a joke. Fat Monica is not a part of the body positivity movement. Not even close. The use of the word "fat" in this context is derogatory and incorrect. A plus-size high schooler is hardly an anomaly and anyone who identifies as such would be distraught to see a character that represents them being made into the butt of a joke. It's not funny to tear other people down.

Further, the tropes used by the writers who created Fat Monica are an ongoing issue in the film and television industry. Plus size people are often portrayed as unclean or unhealthy. Weight does not equate to health or cleanliness or even beauty. A plus-sized actress is just as capable of playing a character with depth and emotion or a character with a romantic interest as a thin actress. The television series "My Mad Fat Diary" does a phenomenal job of portraying the life of a person who happens to be plus-size, as opposed to a plus-size person's life.

While it is true that the first episode of "Friends" that included Fat Monica aired in February of 1996, and times have changed in the last two decades, many TV shows and movies today are still guilty of the same crimes. Take Melissa McCarthy's character in the popular movie "Bridesmaids." McCarthy's character Megan falls victim to the stereotypical overeating and ever present hunger of plus-size characters, but she also is characterized as grossly sexual, overly masculine, and loud and abrasive. It is hard to find one appealing characteristic attributed to her.

Fat Monica and Megan may be fictional characters, but they are still a blatant example of fat-shaming. If it is okay for Monica's own friends to make fun of her weight and use it as a weapon against her, it becomes okay for the audience to do the same to their friends. Like it or not, people mimic what they see on the big and little screen. It's time that we spread a message of love and acceptance rather than one of ridicule and seclusion.

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In Defense Of Being 'Basic'

There's nothing wrong with liking popular things.

Let’s admit that calling someone “basic” is an insult. But why? When you say someone is basic, you’re essentially saying they like things that lots of other people like — and what’s wrong with that?

Being different from everybody doesn’t mean being any better. While I applaud the spirit of not being afraid to stand out, there is no intrinsic good in it. Likewise, there is no intrinsic virtue in going with the crowd. These two lifestyles are totally morally unattached.

It’s easy for people to think that if they are different from others, they are better. They’re all doing it one way, and I’m doing it another, so since I am so bold and original enough to do it differently, I must be doing it better! In reality, the only significant difference is that thinking you’re better than someone because you don’t like "Stranger Things," in fact, makes you worse. "Stranger Things" is a great show and you're missing out. It’s won 5 Emmys and has been nominated for 13 more, no small feat. If it’s massively popular with fans and with TV critics who are probably much smarter than us then why would liking it be bad? The same goes for "Grey’s Anatomy," "Friends," and just about every other popular show.

This brings up a larger point, that popular things are usually popular for a reason. L.L.Bean boots became so popular because they’re very high quality and are built to last a lifetime. Starbucks has been so enduring because they offer a delicious variety of handsome-looking drinks. Also, those semicolon tattoos may be overused at this point but you can't deny the reason behind them is pretty cool.

So what’s wrong with liking the likable?

When being basic is considered bad, usually, the only logical reason given to justify that is that basic people can’t form their own opinions. They just go along with everything and let the mainstream dictate everything they like and don’t like.

Essentially, they are told what to think and accept it readily. However, of course, no one is really like this. That would be some impossible extreme; Plato’s theoretical form of a basic girl.

It’s easy to see a girl wearing an oversized sweater or a guy in a golf polo and immediately judge them, placing them into a category beneath you. In reality, every person is a person and has their own opinions, and sometimes most of those opinions are shared by many others. But in a country so divided, is it so bad for us all to agree on things as innocuous as taste in music and fashion? It’s a cliche but we need to treat people as human beings with dignity and not as some mindless stereotype.

To be honest, I feel bad for those people who think they’re better than others because they’re not basic. These people are just unhappy and unhappy people always seem to think that the key to being happy is to make happy people unhappy. Let so-called basic people enjoy what makes them happy. Just because you can’t get any joy out of what they like doesn’t make you special. The more things you like, the happier you will be.

So, instead of bringing others down to feel good about yourself, how about you make yourself feel better, let go of all pretense and admit that Camila Cabello’s songs are really really catchy.

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