Need a program (virtual or in-person) to empower teen girls around media messages? See our menu.

Size double standards are alive and kicking on primetime TV

Fat girls can’t date skinny guys.

At least that’s how some viewers reacted to Glee’s pairing of Noah “Puck” Puckerman (actor Mark Salling) and Lauren Zizes (Ashley Fink).

In an interview with Access Hollywood, Rosie O’Donnell spoke about how many plus-sized women actually find the Lauren and Puck combination upsetting since it would “never happen in [a real] school.”

While perhaps it is unlikely that a couple like “Pizes” (as Puck calls them in the “Rumors” episode) exist in every American high school, it’s worth pondering why people are up in arms about this particular issue.

Large guys with skinny wives or girlfriends are present in numerous TV shows (such as King of Queens and The Sopranos, as well as in pretty much any Judd Apatow movie) without so much as a feeble peep from viewers.

So why all the ruckus about Lauren and Puck?

Here is an example of the double standard when it comes to weight for men and women. Men are allowed to grow a beer belly and love-handles, while women are expected to stay a size two all of their lives.

Perhaps the uproar over “Pizes” is simply due to its novelty; viewers aren’t used to seeing a large girl dating a thin boy. Perhaps other TV shows will follow suit and introduce more couple like Lauren and Puck.

But for now it seems that TV watchers everywhere will continue to witness this strange phenomenon: A society in which men are allowed to have curves while women are not.


Brittany Hopkins is currently working toward a B.A. in Psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She hopes to go on to work as a licensed psychologist specializing in eating disorders and body image issues.

3 thoughts on “Size double standards are alive and kicking on primetime TV

Add yours

  1. Keep in mind that it is moslty MEN behind the cameras – of course they want to make it normalized that ‘hot babes’ would love to be with an average, plump male. That way, they don’t have to work so hard to look good and just live a comfortable life. It becomes normalized in the media, and then the real world. What great power! While we women put so much emphasis on looks that we keep ourselves down from good men, good jobs, and good experiences because “we don’t look good enough.”

  2. Every day I walk out my door I see plump women with slender men (I also see vice versa) they stay with their women and they love them. After years these same couples are still together. Its not unheard of or uncommon.

    But what entertainment would it make to see a fat girl with a skinny guy? It doesn’t entertain men enough, they want a hot girl thats it. No, not a hot guy with a hot girl, because that would be competition. An ugly guy with a hot girl, then it makes us feel like we can all score.

    Seriously these TV broadcasters need to understand what real men are like they aren’t all adolescent boys.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *