Eddie Murphy's plus-size offense
Actor's latest movie 'Norbit' called offensive to women, blacks
The following are excerpts from a Washington Post article by DeNeen L. Brown
She is wearing a hot pink nightie fringed by tiny hot pink feathers. Her big, brown legs are polished and wrap around the man lying beneath her. Her makeup is perfect. She turns toward the camera and seemingly growls.
The man lying beneath her, Eddie Murphy, seems to struggle under her weight with a horrified look. The two of them lie on the word "Norbit," crushing the movie title, making it sag like a well-worn mattress.
Above them, the ad asks: "Have you ever made a really big mistake?"
The poster is supposed to invite laughs. But for a number of women, black and otherwise, it's not funny.
In recent years, Hollywood has begun to make some changes in its portrayal and acceptance of black beauty. So you wonder why at this point does it release a film that stereotypes and makes fun of big black women? You wonder who is laughing.
Murphy co-wrote the story and screenplay for "Norbit," about a meek nerd, played by Murphy. Norbit is chased by his obsessed, jealous and overbearing wife, Rasputia, also played by Murphy (in a fat suit). The movie, No. 1 at the box office when it opened two weekends ago, drew harsh reviews from film critics and a series of protests from women and men who found it to be misogynistic and an outrageous characterization of large black women.
Geneva Mays, a real estate agent who lives in Suitland, says she is offended by the movie trailers that show the character Rasputia flying though her bedroom and landing on Norbit, crushing the bed in the fall. "I think it's demeaning to women," Mays said. "I think it's demeaning to women in general because we are all the same. We are just different colors. Women are women, regardless."
Thandisizwe Chimurenga, a community activist, said the movie shows how society feels about large black women. "I'm a big woman myself," she said. The irony, she said, "is there are a lot of men who do like large women. I've been pursued by all kinds of men." She added: "The billboards to me look cute. I was, like, 'Go ahead, girl, do your thing."
Old questions about skin color and beauty...
Some found that the juxtaposition of the two women conjures old questions about skin color and beauty (Kate being lighter skinned than Rasputia), about the light and dark images that haunt so many races and the fairy tales that imply the more fair the complexion, the more beautiful the woman.