Monday, April 14, 2008

Florida Manatees


Have you heard about the Florida Marlins baseball team's new acquisition? The Marlins have put together a plus-sized, male cheerleading squad they call, "The Manatees."


From the Marlins' official site, calling for participants: "The Florida Marlins are looking for big bellies with the biggest jiggle, big feet with the best dance moves and enthusiasm that will rock Marlins fans out of their seats."

A recent Today Show piece dedicated to the Manatees showed one cheerleader, who lifted his shirt to reveal his belly, and said, "Why have a six-pack when you can have a keg?"

It's funny, right? A Miami Herald.com article declared: "Manatees cheerleaders put the giggle in jiggle." According to press releases, the fans seem to appreciate the comic interludes the Manatees provide. And female attention follows suit. . . One fan, captured on Today, cozied up to the squad, and squealed, "They're so cute!"

Does this represent a step toward fat acceptance (in men), or just another way to mock the fat? Would female "sea cows" inspire the same attention and praise?

18 comments:

Tabitha Ray said...

I personally think this is horrible. I do not think this is a step towards fat acceptance, I think this is an excuse to laugh at fat guys.

violet_yoshi said...

I agree with Tabitha, the name says it all. Manatees, ooh how clever. Where'd they get that name from? Did they hold a naming contest with schoolyard bullies, hey any bullies 5 and up, send us in your idea for a name for our fat cheerleading squad! Seriously, they might as well have.

Laura said...

I think that... well... maybe sometimes it's ok to laugh.

Anonymous said...

I might go with Laura on this one... it does seem like it's a step towards fat acceptance, because at the very minimum, the Manatees themselves have accepted their fat to the point where they can shake it around in public. :-)

Cty said...

I think that the potential problem with this is that it's being set up by a group of people who don't have any track record - for or against - fat acceptance. We don't know if the men are being set up to take a fall, but given the way fat people in general are treated, I think it's easy to be suspicious.

At the same time, I was thinking that there are a number of fat positive performing groups that can and do poke fun at themselves and at society in general without being disparaging about their bodies. It can be done... I just don't know (yet) how this group is intended or how it will be accepted.

himawari said...

I am feeling rather torn on this. I think it's more along the lines of "let's laugh at the fat guys," unfortunately, although it DOES bust stereotypes that fat people are lazy and would rather sit on the couch and eat doritos. The thing that bothers me most is that I imagine that a fat women's dance troupe would probably encounter much more violent opposition.

Why can't there be a dance troupe with people of all shapes and sizes? Would it be so bad to not separate people out by body type and have everyone participate together?

Fauve said...

I think it's cute. It's telling, isn't it, that men can be laughed at And laughed *with* (and still be considered "attractive" by some) even though heavy? No one would think anything positive of the "sea cows", however. The name, alone, is bad. (Lady Manatees might work). In terms of this being offensive; it's not. We need to *lighten up*, mentally, sometimes. There is much cruelty against obese people (which I know of, firsthand), but this is not cruel, imo. It's not offensive to me. It's rather delightful. Men always get more of a free pass on aging and weight, of course, which is unfair. But women can be their own worst enemies, too.

Megan said...

No, I don't think it's offensive. But I do think it's yet another indication that fat men are much more accepted than fat women.

gypsyjr said...

It's really disappointing that they seem to be going for the cheap laughs with this (because fat men having anything to do with athletics besides watching them from the sofa is HI-larious, right? *sigh*) but at the same time there's something to be said for owning your laughter. If you can make someone laugh at you intentionally,it kind of gives you back some of the power society is constantly trying to take away from fat people. And I like keg guys's attitude. So I don't think it's entirely horrible, but it's hardly a great step forward.

Pungo said...

I think it's powerful, but only if the guys do routines and don't just make themselves the subject of endless "fat joke" comedy skits. I'd bet that they couldn't find enough fat women to form a cheerleading team, because women are far more often so selfconscious about their weight. I'd love to see the team go co-ed eventually!

Anonymous said...

Hello! I have never commented before but have read every single entry and think your blog is incredible. I actually want to comment about the Oprah show today. I was wondering if you might take the time to watch it and let us know what you think. Mariah Carey was the guest. Oprah announced that Mariah's beaten Elvis Presley's record for the most #1 singles. And I thought that might be the focus of the episode. On the contrary, the focus was on Mariah's dramatic weight loss and strict diet and exercise regime. I was already in a bad mood prior to turning it on, and I found myself near tears after watching it...though I couldn't seem to make myself turn it off. Anyway, I won't keep going on about it. Hopefully you'll check it out. Thanks for the blog!

Jeannie from Ohio

Scarlett. said...

I would say it is in a way poking fun, and again showing it's more acceptable to be male and fat than it is to be female.
Well, that was my gut reaction anyways... although I saw something in Glamour the other day with a troupe of fat ballet dancers... which again could be seen as acceptable but I still feel like people will just laugh or make jibes, since it seems to be promoted as a novelty show.

Rachel said...

I think the guys are cute, too, but I'm also with Megan. Fat men encounter weight-based discrimination, but at much higher weights. A recent Yale study found that women report feeling weight-based discrimination at 13 pounds above what constitutes an average BMI. Guys didn't report experiencing the same kinds of discrimination until 68 pounds above a normal BMI.

Roseanne was mocked and ridiculed for her weight; Jim Belushi gets a trophy wife and is revered by worlwide.

Anonymous said...

I think it's more along the lines of fat acceptance. As for the name... well manatees are indigenous to Florida, and their sports teams have fish names (Dolphins, Rays) so it makes sense to name them the Manatees.

And I'm sure the guys who make the cut CAN DANCE. We had a similar group where I live, called the Beefcakes, and those men could MOVE and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them. They exuded total physical confidence and yes, sensuality.

blissandbeauty said...

I'm not sure what I think of this, but can I just say (and maybe this is just me or it's a bad photo), but a few of the men don't look plus-sized to me (a few in the back). Perhaps this is because I'm used to larger men not being seen in a negative light?

Di said...

If plus sized women were to step up and form such a troupe, the misogynistic hate fest would know no end. As it is, it's socialized as funny because the guys doing it are letting their self-hate out in self-mockery, thus "saving" unfriendly onlookers from the need to do it.

In a different world, this might be OK, even funny. But these days? It just makes me sad.

Anonymous said...

Fatness is an abuse in general way, but these people proved that fatness is not a curse. These people accept their fatness and take challenge to do anything. So it is not funny.
________________________________
jerry
Addiction Recovery Florida

Anonymous said...

LOOK IF EATING IS A DISORDER THEN
EVERYONE HAS A DISORDER.

DID YOU EVER THINK THAT MAYBE THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE FUN OF THOSE WHO CARRY A BIT MORE BULK AROUND MIGHT HAVE A PHOBIA DISORDER. THEY ARE CERTAINLY OUT-OF-ORDER.

SOMETIMES IT'S WORTH
CARRYING THE GIRTH

WHAT IF YOU WERE TO BECOME VERY ILL BUT WAS A SKINNY-MINI. WHAT WOULD THERE BE FOR YOUR BODY TO UTILIZE AS A RESOURCE UNTIL YOU GAINED YOUR STRENGTH BACK. NOTHING BUT SKIN & BONES

EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY, AND BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE BECAUSE IF YOU WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO BE PROUD TO BE ALIVE THEN GOD WOULD TAKE YOU OUT OF HERE. AFTER ALL, THAT IS WHY HE IS GOD AND HE CREATED ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL.

DON'T WORRY ABOUT PEOPLE WHO ARE HUNG UP ON WEIGHT, BECAUSE THEY ARE FAT BETWEEN THE EARS AND ARE TOO HUNG UP ON WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE AND WHAT THEY LOOK AT TO ENJOY THE LIFE THAT IS GIVEN TO THEM.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF BUT DO IT FOR GOD AND YOURSELVES. YOU KNOW HERITAGE & GENETIC POOL, NOT TO MENTION GROWTH HORMONES IN THE FOOD CHAIN HAVE MORE TO DO WITH BODY TYPE THAN WHAT YOU EAT.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVES AND BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE.
BECAUSE GOD DOESN'T MAKE JUNK!!!