Thinking Fans Comment Update August 5: Ryan offers kudos to the bigger but still sexy Kim … esther wants to see more age appropriate attire … Aaron says the issue isn’t pounds, it’s Reva’s “white trash” look … and more. See Comments below.
By Damon L. Jacobs
There has been a lot of discussion on the boards about Guiding Light these days. The shrinking budget, the shrinking ratings, the shrinking cast list. Yet there is one thing obviously not getting smaller in Springfield: Reva Shayne’s waistline.
And for this the Soap Shrink couldn’t be happier!
Personally, I am exhausted by the pressure in daytime (and all media) for women to stay skinny and unhealthily thin. It alarms me to know the lengths some of these great actresses will go to in order to conform to such social norms. Say what you will about GL, but thank heaven and Telenext that at least one show is willing to portray a middle aged woman who puts on some pounds and is still portrayed as lusted after and sensuous. AND she still enjoys her lunchtime prime rib special at Towers!
Psychologically, I think it is healthy for a viewer to form a connection to a soap character, and witness her or him overcome obstacles through the years. It helps us to feel that we are able to navigate hardships and struggles in our own lives The soap genre is unique in the way it can allow us to witness and identify with another person’s life changes and development.
But then when you watch that same character going to desperate measures to hold on to their looks from the Reagan years, what does that communicate to us? The message I see is, “You shouldn’t get older, you shouldn’t gain weight. And if you do you may not be loved or respected by others.”
It concerns me that the same genre that can be so empowering and endearing may also be sending out some harmful and dangerous messages, especially to its female followers. And make no mistake, this issue is absolutely biased toward gender. You don’t see the boards flooded with angry fans complaining about Billy’s size, Buzz’s tummy, or Josh’s girth. It is generally accepted that men can gain weight and still be seen as viable love interests. Yet Reva has the audacity to be a large, loud and proud sexual woman. How dare she!
So help me understand, Thinking Fans. Do you believe it’s healthy for the medium to show women and men aging realistically? Or do you prefer to see your favorite characters frozen in time? The Soap Shrink wants to know!
Damon L. Jacobs is a family and relationship therapist practicing in New York City, and the author of Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve, to be published in September by Morgan James Publishing. Check out his new website, www.shouldless.com.