Topic: Sports & Entertainment

Tyra Banks and the Fat Suit

Tyra Banks has bolstered her fading modeling career by becoming a TV talk show host, propelled into the role by her display of “attitude” and a willingness to lecture contestants when she was a celebrity judge on a reality show (it doesn’t matter which.) Her recent duties on the creatively named “Tyra” put her into a fat suit, as she attempted to determine first hand what it was like to be obese and unattractive. Disguised as a 350 pound woman, Tyra encountered snickers, sneers and ridicule, and super-model though she is, she saw the light! Nice and kind is the right way for people to treat each other.

“There is no excuse for being rude, insulting and mean,” Tyra announced on “Good Morning America!” Clearly, she had learned her lesson, just like Ebenezer Scrooge, except that he didn’t need a fat suit, having all those ghosts taking him around and seeing himself dead and all. “Women are judged much more harshly based on their weight,” Tyra noted disapprovingly. She asserted that she wasn’t at all choosey about men, and that she had said on her show that she would date a “normal guy.”

Then, with a twinkle in her eye, lovely Tyra related an amusing anecdote. “So a guy comes up to me and says, ‘Tyra, would you go out with me? I’m fat, have no job and live with my mother…I’m a normal guy!’

“And I said to him,” Tyra continued, as the fawning G.M.A host giggled, ‘You’re not a normal guy! You’re a loser!‘”

Wow! That was a short-lived conversion to the ethical treatment of others!

To state what should be obvious, at least to everyone but Tyra, calling a man you don’t know, or even one you do, “a loser” qualifies as being “rude, insulting and mean,” exactly the conduct Banks had condemned, oh, two minutes earlier. I guess she could claim the excuse of not having worn an “unemployed unattractive man” suit, but the lessons should have been fungible. Calling someone a “loser” is arguably even worse than snickering at an obese woman’s weight, because that is dismissing him as a human being, declaring him not merely uncomely but a complete failure. Tyra’s fat suit experience of a few hours made interesting junk television and briefly sparked some semblance of ethical consciousness in her beautiful millionaire’s pampered celebrity head, but it obviously didn’t take; not all that surprising, really, since ethical values like kindness, respect, fairness, responsibility and…pay attention now, Tyra…h-u-m-i-l-i-t-y don’t suddenly bloom into full flower after a lifetime of dormancy. Sure, the super-model had a moment of empathy with women who can’t make a living on their looks, but unlike them, she could take the fat suit off, and her ethical instincts were just like it, recently obtained, easily discarded and quickly forgotten.

Tyra Banks needs to learn that treating others with cruelty and disrespect makes all of us losers. Back into the fat suit, Tyra.

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