How “Shrill” is changing the way we see fat women on TV


Katie Zimmerer

Like many millennials that do not have cable, I was binge watching Hulu when I saw a new trailer for the show “Shrill” staring Aidy Bryant from “Saturday Night Live.” While I have never really been a huge fan of “SNL,” I’m always interested in shows that are not only funny but seem to have an awesome message and positive representation of fat characters.

As I finally got to watching it, this show– an adaptation of the book by Lindy West– was everything I was hoping it would be. The main character, Annie, is an aspiring writer with a boss who is not very encouraging of her “outlandish” stories. All this is taking place while juggling her friends, a useless boyfriend, her overbearing mother and her sick father.

Over the course of the six episodes of the first season, Annie learns to stick up for herself and be unapologetically authentic.

This is something we normally never see coming from a plus-size characters, let alone a main character. Usually, the plus-size women on television or movies are perceived as self-loathing or are relegated to cruel punchlines.

The character of Annie is different. At the start of the season, Annie is done feeling unappreciated in her career and her personal life. She takes the time to feel confident and be around other women who feel the same.

Photo courtesy of Hulu

My favorite part of the entire first season was a body-positive pool party hosted by a plus-size woman and mostly everyone there was plus-size as well. No one appeared self-conscious in a swimsuit, and the women there were just enjoying being in the moment. Never in my 23 years of life have I seen something like this on a TV show. It was so cool to see these women feeling so free and confident in their own skin.

Shows like these are hopefully changing the way we see plus-size women being represented in media. The show does an excellent job of presenting all the sides that come with claiming your own individuality and self-worth. While most of the storylines in the show touch on being fat, it isn’t what the whole show is about.

By watching “Shrill,” I think women, no matter what size they are, will take away the notion that there will always be people in this world that have something to say about the way you look. The most important thing we as women can do is not only support other women, but love ourselves with no hesitation.