Tamara Tunie and Joy Nash in Dietland

Fat Shaming Meets Feminist Revenge Fantasy in Dietland

Reality collided with fantasy last night on AMC with the premier of Dietland. It’s the story of Plum Kettle, a smart writer for a shallow teen magazine who calls herself fat and just tries to fade into the scenery. But along the way, she gets noticed by feminist terrorists who are torturing unrepentant rapists and dumping them out of airplanes. So naturally, they recruit her to join their campaign and change the world – one person at a time.

“Anyone can see our Plum has a secret rebel heart.”

Taking Down Beauty, Fashion, and Diet Industries

She works for a perfect villain, Kitty Montgomery, answering letters from teens seeking Kitty’s advice.

Plum is saving her pennies to pay for a gastric bypass and participating in a parody of Weight Watchers. If you’re looking for anything about health, forget it. Bariatric surgery does nothing but put you in a diaper for the rest of your life in this worldview. And support groups are just wicked tools for destroying a woman’s identity.

No, this is a morality play that has no use for shades of gray. It deals with the extremes of misogyny and abuse heaped especially on big women. And then for relief, Dietland offers a revenge fantasy where the bad guys get what they deserve.

Dietland succeeds in driving home the reality of our fat-hating culture and the daily insults people suffer because of it. Jaclyn Friedman captures it in a tweet:

Hard to explain how much it means to see these unspoken parts of my reality lovingly confronted on prestige TV.

Will this smart, funny, and raw show become a phenomenon or a spark that fizzles? Hard to say. But Slate says Dietland is “the show we need right now.”

Click here, here, here, and here for more perspectives.

Tamara Tunie and Joy Nash in Dietland, photograph © Patrick Harbron / AMC

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June 5, 2018

One Response to “Fat Shaming Meets Feminist Revenge Fantasy in Dietland

  1. June 05, 2018 at 2:26 pm, Susan Burke March said:

    I started to watch it, and turned it off. I hate black & white, like nuance, and hate revenge fantasy even more.