Actress changes narrative for overweight women

Jacquelyn Hurtado/ Staff Writer

On Sept. 20, 2016, the hit show “This Is Us” aired on NBC, introducing us to a very important female role model known as Chrissy Metz. On the show, Metz plays a 36-year-old overweight woman named Kate who struggles with her appearance and love life.

Ever since “This Is Us” gained popularity, Metz has used her platform to talk about the portrayal of overweight women on television and the difficulties she has faced in the entertainment industry. Having only 81 cents in her bank account when she landed the role of Kate, Metz has come a long way.

I first heard of her when I was nineteen years old and finishing my first year of college. I was trying to decide if I wanted to major in broadcast media with a television production track. However, I was scared that my appearance would stop me from becoming successful in the broadcasting industry.

Metz showed me that women who are slightly overweight don’t have to try and fit the mold of societal standards. They can be both successful and beautiful without having to go through a major physical transformation.  

“If you don’t accept yourself for who you are right now,” Metz said in an Entertainment Weekly interview, “you can’t ever become the person you are meant to be.”

Not only did she inspire me to start accepting my figure, but she also taught me more about the issues with fat shaming.

Metz said that many people are afraid of fat people and, therefore, must be educated.

This resonated with me because two-thirds of men and women in the United States are obese, according to the American Diabetes Association, but they are not represented on television.

More than half of Americans don’t fit the ideal body image, yet the people who uphold these standards in the television and broadcasting industry still ridicule and ostracize the fat community.

Metz stepped onto the small screen as Kate and showed everyone that overweight women are humans, too. We have a right to pursue the career paths we desire without being limited by our size.

“…I don’t find my identity in my weight,” Metz said in a Glamour interview, “I’m so much more than the weight that I carry on my body.”

Because of her influence, I took the leap and decided to pursue broadcast media despite my fears. Even though I look different and may never succeed, there’s always that little voice in my head saying, “but wouldn’t it be cool if you did?” and she encouraged me to follow it.

Metz gave me the courage to stop allowing my body to stop me from exploring my dreams. Even if I become an anchor or a cameraperson or end up choosing a different career path altogether, I feel comfort in knowing that I will never regret my decisions.

For many years, overweight women have lived in the shadows, but Metz has welcomed them into the spotlight.    



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.


Photo retrieved from Chrissy Metz Official Facebook.

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