Mo'Nique's F.A.T. revolution

The host of a reality beauty pageant for the "Fabulous and Thick" says it's time for women to feel comfortable in their own skin.

Published July 10, 2006 2:36AM (EDT)

"Mo'Nique's F.A.T. Chance," a beauty pageant for "Fabulous and Thick" women, begins its second season on Oxygen this coming Saturday. I missed Round 1, but I'm definitely going to check it out after reading an interview with the kick-ass comedienne in yesterday's New York Post.

"I hope that when women walk away from the show  they sleep better at night and wake up feeling better about themselves," Mo'Nique told the Post. "If the media never ever says, 'We think fat people are beautiful,' so what? We don't need their approval. Now you be a fat man, a gay man, a black woman, a white woman -- whomever you are -- when you say goodnight, it's like, 'Oh! You know what, I'm OK.'"

It's hard not to be inspired by Mo'nique's message -- though it's also hard to imagine it truly penetrating our thin-obsessed culture. Her message may also raise tricky questions about the potential dangers of fat acceptance. As Broadsheet's Katharine Mieszkowski noted in a post about "F.A.T. Chance" last March: "As our nation's waistlines widen, are we -- finally! -- widening our beauty standards, too? Hooray! But if so, is that really a good thing, given the health risks associated with being overweight or obese?"

Mo'Nique, who had just returned from the gym before the interview, seems to advocate a healthy lifestyle -- and a healthy relationship to food. She told the Post that she wished celebrities like recently booted "View" co-host Star Jones, who is rumored to have had weight-loss surgery, would return to the "F.A.T girl" fold. (FYI: Oprah, Queen Latifah, Camryn Manheim and Rosie O'Donnell are also deemed "F.A.T." by Mo'Nique.) "What I say to those beautiful women is, come on back! Be healthy, but come on home! Don't be afraid of that big juicy steak with that baked potato and sour cream, baby, on top of it! That is heaven!" Sounds downright revolutionary, doesn't it?

It's worth noting that opposite the interview with Mo'Nique was the Post's weekly "Hot List" -- 10 things the newspaper is currently "obsessed with." Item No. 3, titled "Notoriously B.I.G.," read: "They don't call it the big house for nothing -- just ask the artist formerly known as Lil' Kim. Ten months in the pokie and the pint-size rapper packed on the pounds. We suggest a call to Janet Jackson for some weight-loss advice."

We suggest a call to Mo'Nique instead.

By Lori Leibovich

Lori Leibovich is a contributing editor at Salon and the former editor of the Life section.

MORE FROM Lori Leibovich

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