Code Word: Health
aka All the problematic themes in Brittany Runs a Marathon.
“Culture isn’t a costume” has been a guiding theme for parents in assisting their kids in Halloween/school plays/etc. We know we don’t need to make our skin darker to exude the essence of Moana or Harriet Tubman or Oprah or Sonia Sotomayor or Flojo so we are SHOCKED when people do. For the privileged, race, in so many ways, is easier to navigate than fatness conversationally, because the boundaries are more culturally accepted to be obvious to all; if you don't see how blackface is offensive, good luck explaining that or getting anyone to accept an apology. We know it’s problematic to say to a person of color, “but this isn’t about race”. That’s white privilege- it’s rarely about race for some, but for others EVERYTHING is about race; your experience is actually defined by your race.
We do not extend that same grace to fat people. Maybe because we see fat as a problem to solve, we see obese bodies as something that needs fixing. Just a little love and concern, like an overgrown yard. A person can’t change the color of their skin, but they can change the size of their body, right?
This is where Brittany Runs a Marathon begins for us, with a fat suit. The epitome of privilege. A burden to be discarded as the story progresses, revealing the treasure within. If the story isn’t about weight loss, then weight loss shouldn’t have been in the story. That's just where our objections begin as we break down all the themes we were disappointed to see in this movie...and the disordered eating patterns we cannot pretend weren't there.
Trigger warning: Fatphobia, eating disorders, eating disorder recovery, drug abuse, prescription drug abuse, are just a few of the things we saw in this 'feel good' movie about a woman who starts running and loses weight....and THEN realizes her issues were still present and proceeds to pretend her personal journey is still complete without doing the necessary internal work to manage them.