I need to understand why there isn’t more flack on the media about the movie DUFF coming out.
In a social media world where women are literally freaking out that untouched pictures of Beyonce hit the internet, when a kid from Walmart becomes famous because he’s adorable or where your own mugshot can get you a modeling contract… why aren’t the rest of us—with leveler heads—not losing our minds over this movie?
Let me start by saying that no, I haven’t seen DUFF and I won’t. It’s not because I don’t love the stars Mae Whitman and Alison Janney, because I do. And because of their involvement, I researched the crap out of this movie; I figured that it had to be different than the ‘ugly, loser high school girl gets makeover, makes fun of her hot friends and gets the guy.’ Most articles I read said the DUFF doesn’t change her inner personality, but does get the proper fitted bra, new clothes and the guy.
Oh wait? You don’t know what a DUFF is? Well, it is the designated ugly fat friend, who apparently exists in every group of friends.
Yes. Take that in for a minute. Because even if our daughters go to the movie and see the happy ending, they’ll also see someone, probably not unlike themselves, being told that she is the DUFF.
I spent the first two thirds of my life feeling like this person and just hearing about this movie has brought my teenage self-esteem issues bubbling to the surface.
Was I fat? No. Was I ugly? No. Did I feel that way all through high school and university? Absolutely.
Did I have a boyfriend who was popular in high school? I did actually. A couple. Did it help me feel like I was up to par? God no. It led to anxiety of why this guy would choose to be with me. And when one broke up with me to get back together with his very beautiful girlfriend, well, let’s just say that probably wasn’t a self-esteem win.
I was told I was the DUFF once. Not in those terms because in our day we didn’t come up with the cute acronyms. I was at a bar with my best friend in university. She was surrounded by guys and I was standing at the bar. Some guy came up and said, ‘Wow it must be really hard for you to be friends with her.’ Even typing that 25 years later makes me feel sick. My eyes welled up at the bar, my friend saw and came rushing over to ask what was up. That night, some guy learned that even a beautiful woman can rip your head off if she feels like it.
It has taken me a lot of life experience, soul searching and acceptance to get where I am today. I’m down with me. I think I’m just fine! But it’s taken me 45 years to get to this place.
But I’m not the target demo for this movie. If I had seen this in high school – I wouldn’t have been able to get past the scene where her neighbour tells her she is the fat and ugly one there to make her hot friends feel good about themselves. That would have gnawed at my self esteem to a point of insanity.
I want girls today to know they’re enough. I want boys to know that too. I never did. The stuff I missed out on because I didn’t makes me sad.
I want movies like this to just stop getting made. I want them to stop thinking that it’s putting out a ‘be yourself’ message because they’re not. To me, we haven’t moved a step forward from Grease—where the songs are catchy, but the message is clear. Change yourself to be popular because Danny Zuko doesn’t want the DUFF.