Beth’s Big Break (A Stock Photo Curiosity)

YOU GUYS. I did a google image search for “TV” (I have my reasons!) and found this:

Beth 1

This gem is entitled “overweight woman eating fast food and watching TV.”

So many questions.

The first, I suppose, would be…WHY? This is obviously a stock photo that someone took with the purposes of selling it, with NO specific project in mind. So, this photographer & co. were putting together pictures of business professionals, kids playing in parks, families enjoying their lives, and they thought to themselves, “You know what we really need? A chubby chick.”

“But,” said his companion, “what would we have a chubby chick do?”

“Eat, obviously,” said the photographer rolling his eyes, “what else?”

“She can’t just be eating, Jim.”

“Okay, we’ll put her in front of the TV.”

“With what, a burger or something?”

“Or a pizza.”

“Or fries, or a comically over-sized sandwich.”

“You know what, Harold, let’s just use it all!”

Okay, so the fine people at have made their decisions and it’s time to shoot these glorious pictures. Let’s assume they hired this woman through a general modeling call for “real looking women”. For the purposes of this article, let’s call her Beth. Beth shows up to the studio super pumped that she has a gig, and they sit her down in front of a smorgasbord. What in the sweet HELL did they tell her to do???

Beth 1

“Hey Beth, awesome work, but could you pretend the burger is your only friend? Oh, and point the remote at the TV, but don’t look at it, like the light hurts your malnourished eyes… yeah, just like that. This is definitely going to be a big seller. Okay, now lay on a PILE OF BURGERS and shove a hotdog into your face, looking at the camera at the worst angle imaginable. No, yeah, you’re doing great.”

Beth 2

“Oh man, this is obvious gold, but I think we need to tell a story here. Why don’t you offer your disgusting fast food to a beautiful thin person, to really show that fat people eat terribly, and skinny people are the picture of health. You cool with that? Awesome, you’re the best, Beth.”

Beth 3

Beth is smiling, but her eyes are saying, “kill me”.

It took a TEAM of people to make this series of stock photos a reality. A BUNCH of people got together and thought this was a good idea.

I am choosing to believe that Beth agreed to this photo shoot because had her family held hostage. What other reason would this beautiful plus-sized model have for promoting a negative body image to the world wide web?

The truth is, these ridiculous pictures showcase an attitude that is far too prevalent in today’s society – that overweight people have only themselves to blame. I can’t narrow down my many experiences where people have given me advice on how to lose weight. Eat less. Exercise more. Do a cleanse. Stand on your head every night and recite an incantation. What these well meaning and misguided people don’t realize is that I am no different from them. Yes, I indulge from time to time, but on the whole I’m not eating chocolate for breakfast and an entire pie for lunch (not EVERY day, at least). I’m not allergic to exercise. I am the size I am because that is how my body formed, and I am confident enough in my curves to keep them.

Everyone is different. I don’t accept the social rule that states if you were born with a lower metabolism, or thunder thighs, or a little jelly, that you are sentenced to a life of struggle. Yes, we should all strive to be healthy so we can live good long lives. No, we shouldn’t strive to be what we are not.

So Beth, I hope in your next photo shoot you are hiking, or playing dodge ball, or eating alongside your thin friend, who enjoys food just as much as you. I hope companies like recognize that you should not be portrayed as lazy, or glutinous. I hope they see that they are just as guilty of perpetuating a dangerous stereotype as fashion stores and beer commercials.

And I hope you, Beth, know what a total babe you are, but more importantly, I hope you know that we do not owe society our beauty. It doesn’t matter what they want, or what they think. 

Eat that pizza if you want to, Beth. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, or the way you look.


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