What really sets this story apart is not just the rarely-seen subculture it inhabits (gay San Francisco hipsters), or the diversity of its fresh cast, but the story that’s never been told before: skinny guys who delude themselves into thinking they aren’t thin enough. It’s edgy, it’s irreverent…and it’s laughing all the way to the plastic surgeon!
I knew satire would allow audiences to approach the themes in a more entertaining and safe way, but I wondered how outrageous we could go with it. As I looked more carefully at gay media, I realized outrageous would be perfectly fitting because the level of body imagery in gay culture is outrageous! The vast majority of models and actors are shirtless (or less!) and represent the culturally-defined “perfect” body: tight tanned muscles, six pack abs, etc. We also see advertisements for teeth whitening, gym memberships, personal trainers, weight loss supplements, liposuction, hair removal, hair implants, pec implants, butt implants, and crotch enhancing underwear.
Is it any wonder gay men have one of the highest rates of eating disorders per capita of any group? Or that entire communities (e.g. skinny hipsters, fuller-figured Bears and Cubs, and muscular circuit party men) form around body types?
I feel very excited and grateful for the response the film has been getting. At every screening I’ve attended, audience members have come up to me afterward to share personal stories and to thank me for making this film. It’s been unexpectedly touching, and I realized the power of opening a dialogue about these issues: it isn’t just about my voice or perspective, it’s about starting a conversation and giving people a chance to laugh at something that may have pained them. It’s about showing audiences they are not alone in their insecurities and fear of rejection.
Skinnyfat tackles some weighty issues. But it’s the humor that carries the message.