Recently, there have been more and more shows depicting plus size women in all types of scenarios, such as Shrill, Insatiable, Dietland, GLOW, This Is Us, Insecure, etc. However, there is one show in particular (in my opinion) that delves a little more into a time where a woman’s self-esteem is freshly developing: adolescence. My Mad Fat Diary, an E4 Uk show centered on Rae Earl, a plus size teenager navigating life while also battling self-hate, touches on topics that are a bit more sensitive, yet relatable, to women who have actually grown up in a plus size body and have felt the deepest lows possible attributed to society’s standards. Here’s 10 reasons, in no particular order, why My Mad Fat Diary is a must-watch for all plus size women.
1. It’s based on real diaries of a plus size woman.
Rae Earl, the author of My Mad Fat Diary (MMFD), recounts her experiences growing up plus size during the 90s, a time when girls weren’t allowed to be anything but thin and standardly beautiful. Fat forward two decades, and we’re still dealing with the same issues. Not to the extremes we used to, but plus size women are still lacking representation and are still struggling in a world that makes them feel like they should be ashamed. By getting the perspective of an actual plus size woman, MMFD just resonates more with plus size viewers.
2. It’s relatable for women who grew up plus size, no matter what time period.
I’m saying it now: ALL plus size women can see themselves in Rae Earl, it doesn’t matter if she’s a 16-year-old girl living in Lincolnshire in the 90s. Most plus size women grew up plus size, which is why this show will hit home for a lot of them. You’ve been a teenager, the time when your self-esteem is probably at its lowest, and then you throw your size into the mix. This show perfectly depicts that reality, and gets you right in the feels.
3. It portrays what it’s like dating as a plus size woman.
Not only does MMFD show the awkwardness and insecurity felt when trying to date as a a plus size woman, but it also shows viewers to not put too much work into hesitancy. Rae pulls the stud of all studs, Finn Nelson, and that should be a reminder to plus size women that we DO have sex appeal and we ARE attractive. Sure, people are going to have their preferences, but someone’s preferences may include you. (Do not confuse preferences with fetishes, okay?)
4. It normalizes sex for plus size women.
Yes, a plus size woman has normal sexual encounters in this show with a boy who is actually into her. Shocking, right? I don’t even have to go into it in more depth because the idea of plus size women having a regular sex life is just that simple!
5. It discuss the jagged journey of recovery and mental health.
Not only does My Mad Fat Diary delve into mental health, but it does it in a way that isn’t shielding. With teenagers being the focus, one would think mental health would be approached in simple, timid ways. However, that’s not the case. Within the first episode, Rae is coming out of a mental health facility months after self-harming. Throughout the show, her mental health doesn’t play a defining role in her presence, but it does show the reality that those with mental health issues experience, especially those who are unhealthily self-conscious.
6. The plus size character isn’t just a sidekick – she’s the main character.
Finally! A show where us plus size women aren’t outcasted to the sidelines next to a main character providing comedic relief because that’s apparently all we’re good for. Rae is the main focus, which allows the show to go in depth into actual weight-related topics and triggers. Everything expressed throughout My Mad Fat Diary is from her point of view: family, friends, dating, sex, counseling, anxieties, insecurities. MMFD gives a voice to the big girls and represents not only our struggles but how we can overcome them.
7. It teaches you that the best thing to be is yourself.
As cliche as it sounds, it’s true. Despite all of the self-rejection and self-hated Rae felt, she learned that people enjoyed simply because of who she was. She recognized that she has been accepted all along by her newfound friends, and she didn’t have to pretend to be someone she’s not. Being plus size, it’s hard to think of people accepting you right off the bat. You almost feel as if you need a redeeming quality about yourself just because you think people will find your size intolerable. False!
8. It touches on the challenge of insecurities for anyone, not just those who are plus size.
Throughout MMFD, it shows the struggles of the other characters alongside Rae, who she thinks have everything together because they’re fit. She reunites with her friend, Chloe, someone she’s envious of because she finds her to be the definition of perfection. However, Rae doesn’t know of the demons Chloe faces on her own. Rae is consumed in her own self-hatred that she forgets others are dealing with challenges themselves. The show serves as a reminder to remember that you’re not the only one who deals with insecurities, and that it’s normal for those you see as “normal” to be fighting through their own problems.
9. You’ll find yourself being kinder to yourself.
Once you see yourself in Raw, you’ll recognize the harm you’ve been doing to yourself with the negativity that crowds your mind. You imagine yourself saying all of the derogatory things you think about yourself to a younger version of yourself, and it couldn’t be more heart-breaking. If a teenager, in the most awkward years of her youth, is able to grow and learn acceptance, then so can you.
10. It reminds you of the courage it took to get to where you are now.
My Mad Fat Diary will remind you that you have lived another day in a world that makes you seem unworthy of respect and love, and that is the ultimate sign of courage. This show will change your entire perspective of yourself. Not guaranteeing 100% satisfaction with yourself 24/7, but you will have a newfound sense of self-respect. Whether you’re a teen now or an adult, your journey to where you are has taken a lot of strength, and it’s something you should take pride in every day.