Dear Media, Fat Women Are Not Punchlines.

Late one night I found myself looking for something to watch on TV. As I was flipping through the guide on my TV I immediately got excited when I saw one of my fave shows from back in the day was on TV. I flip to the station and begin watching the show. I found myself laughing and enjoying myself. I was even more excited when I saw that 3 more episodes were coming on after the current episode goes off. Now into episode two, I found myself chuckling, but not laughing as I had done before and by episode 3 I found myself completely turned off by the show. I was somewhat upset because that show used to be one of my favorites and they rarely ever play it on TV anymore. Here I was with the nerve to not even enjoy it in its entirety. I tried to just brush it off and turn over and go to sleep, but I couldn’t because my brain was wired. Something was bothering me, but what could possibly be my problem at 2 in the morning? I laid there and recounted my day. Nothing stuck out. I searched my brain for random thoughts like “what if we experience an earthquake right now”? And “why aren’t brussell sprouts called lil cabbages? That’s way more intriguing than brussell sprouts.” Nope that’s not it either. I started to think deeper and then I thought about the show I just finished watching and then I realized what my issue was. Nikki Parker. Nikki Parker may have ruined it for fat girls.

download (5).jpegNikki Parker is a fictional character played by comedian and Academy Award winning actress, Monique. Monique portrayed Nikki Parker, a single mother who goes back to college and earns the degree she didn’t get a chance to earn when she was younger due to the birth of her daughter, Kim. Nikki is smart, loyal, vibrant, dependable, and charming. Hair always done, some of the outfits she wore on the show were questionable, but for the most part she always looked good. I’m sure reading this you’re just like “what the hell is her problem? Nikki Parker seems like a perfectly fine character to me.” She is honestly however, while watching the show I found the grievance that had me up and salty at 2 a.m. My problem is Professor Stanley Oglevee aka Nikki’s kryptonite and the “relationship” they had.

Nikki Parker would literally lose her shit every time that man was around. During the shows five year run, Nikki Parker repeatedly stalked and harassed Professor Oglevee. She ran off just about every date/girlfriend he ever had. She even went as far as to purchase burial plots for him and her without his consent. She broke into his apartment numerous times and the list goes on. Mind you all of this was done in the name of “love”. However, the love between the two didn’t kick in until the last two episodes of the final season when Professor Oglevee finally realizes that he is in love with Nikki. Please note he did not realize he was in love with her until she became engaged to be married and had finally stopped paying him any attention. It was then that he felt cupid shoot him in the ass. Oh I forgot he was also hit in the ass that one time he got drunk because he was upset about getting fired from his job and good ole Nikki Parker was there to comfort him in his time of need. They end up doing the bedroom boogie and Nikki ends up believing she’s pregnant. She eventually finds out that she wasn’t. Professor Olgevee is so upset that he gleefully rejoices in her face and offers no type of emotional support about the situation…because you know…he was done with her the next day when he woke up without his beer goggles on.

So here I am at 2:30 a.m. hotter than fish grease. When I was a kid I loved this show and I still love this show, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t wonder how damaging this show was to the already fragile reputation of fat women. The reason I was upset was because Nikki Parker went to the most ridiculous extremes to gain the attention and affection of a man that consistently ignored her, belittled her, gloated about the girlfriends he had (throughout the seasons), and has even slammed the door in her face on countless occasions. Watching the show at 22 years old upset me because I realized that that kind of treatment of fat women is not just on TV, but it is in real life too. The stereotypes perpetuated in that show are still thriving today and in the end she still chose the man that basically ignored her until she was literally about to say I do to someone else.

Let that sink in. Professor Oglevee ignored and demeaned Nikki Parker for about 98% of the shows run. He was intimate with her only under the influence of alcohol and went back to his rude ways after the deed was done and rejoiced once he found out that she was not pregnant after their one night romp. This same man then realizes how in love he is with Nikki Parker only when he realizes that he will lose her to another man. Where was this love when she was in love with him? Where was this love when he was slamming doors in her face? Where was this love when she supported him and cared for him in spite of his nasty treatment of her?

How ironic is it that you truly don’t know what you got until it’s gone, but the two never truly had one another. There was no real relationship displayed between the two on the show besides Nikki being the cat and Oglevee being the mouse. How is it that at this time he now sees that she is the one? What changed? It was not her looks or her attitude that changed. It was her consistency. The minute her interest shifted to another man so did her behavior towards the professor. No longer did she chase him, track him down, or even have a general concern for what he was doing or who he was doing it with. On TV they can call that love, but in real life it’s far from it. Nikki Parker rewarding Professor Oglevee by being his wife was not the way to go. How can she choose a man that treated her so badly?

I found myself angry at the ending of the show. Though I know the show was solely for entertainment purposes it still annoyed me. I thought back to all the things fat women are believed to be past and presently. Maternal, violent, desperate, low self-esteem, angry, ugly, smelly, and the list goes on. I thought about how still to this day we work so hard to prove that we are not the “Rasputia’s” and “Baby Dee’s” of our society.

I thought about the ridiculous lengths Nikki Parker went to win her man. I thought of all the negative stereotypes that were displayed in her quest to be with Professor Oglevee. That was not love it was borderline criminal. She stalked him, harassed him, unlawfully entered his home, she even donated her blood to this man!I thought about how negatively fat women are treated in today’s society. How men are so quick to disrespect fat women all because of their size. Of course Nikki Parker is not solely responsible for the images of fat women today, but she definitely did not help our situation. Imagine watching that show and seeing how bare minimum you had to be just to get her to stick around and how little you had to do to get her to marry you. She’s so blindly in love that nothing else even resonates as an issue and that is a problem.

I see on social media so often images and ideas that say that fat women should be happy with what they get or worse if they do have someone then the question of exactly what did she do to get them comes into play. It is as if to say if you’re fat then you can either not get a man or you have to do something to get him. As if your love, time, and attention isn’t enough. That is the Nikki Parker mentality. The idea that you don’t deserve me and if you have me it’s because you do for me. She jumped through hoops to prove her love to a man that needed 5 whole seasons to see that she was the “one”, but on what grounds?

On paper, if you eliminate the extreme behaviors, Nikki Parker is the perfect woman. It’s hard to say if her looks or her behavior or even both played a role in why it took forever for Professor Olgevee to realize his “love” for her, but either way I still say he didn’t deserve her.

Maybe I’m so triggered because so many plus-size females characters are portrayed so negatively in media. She’s either maternal like a “Mammy”, aggressive like a “Baby Dee”, wrong on soooo many levels like a “Rasputia” or delusional “like a Nikki Parker”. Not all plus-size female characters are completely negative, but most of them are not helping the case of fat girls worldwide. Because once the images portrayed in the media are then projected onto real life fat women. The idea that fat girls are like your mom or they suck good dick because they imagine a penis is like a hot dog (BUT IN REAL LIFE WHO THE HELL THINKS LIKE THAT!!!), or the worst idea of all…that fat women will be happy with whatever they can get. That a man can be bare minimum and a fat women will want them just because she just wants to be loved. It’s 2017 and all professor Olgevee’s ARE CANCELLED!

All this leaves me wondering, when is our 180 moment going to come? We have the Ashley Grahams, the Lizzos, the Danielle Brooks, and the Chrissy Metzs, but I want more! I want more sex scenes, more bossed up plus-size babes on the big and small screens. I want us involved in more major campaigns. I want us on the forefront. I want less airtime for negative imagery surrounding fat women and maybe within the next year or two a fat woman having a sex scene i.e. Gabourey Sidibe on Empire won’t be so shocking and the “but I can’t even get a text back” memes will seize to exist.

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This is not about opinions, it’s about allowing fat women to multi-dimensional and showcasing a character, that depicts FAT women in a positive light. One that shows us on all sides and not just as angry, maternal, delusional, loud, and crazy beings. We are more than that and it’s 2017 so I wish the media would act like it!

To all the fat girls showcasing us in our true lights I appreciate you! To all the fat women fighting for our equality thank you! To all the people who support fat women you are appreciated! And to the media…do better!

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