8 Plus-Size Bloggers Rate Netflix's Dumplin'

For fat girls everywhere, the release of Netflix’s Dumplin’ was always going to be highly anticipated. The movie adaptation of Julie Murphy’s 2015 young adult novel was three years in the making. Exploring many problems for the plus-size community, the story follows a fat protagonist who has a point to prove by entering a beauty pageant in her small town, one that has never had a plus-size contestant before. Dumplin’ resonates with a community that struggles to find positive representation in the media.
Willowdean Dickson, played by Danielle Macdonald, is angry at herself and the society she’s in for making herself, her aunt and her plus-size peers feel unworthy over their weight. Instead of changing her body to fit in, Dickson is leading a revolution against the skinny standards that have held fat people back. By introducing a lead who is mostly content with her body, Murphy and now Netflix are providing a fat positive story in movies for teen girls.
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A teen romance that explores a struggling mother/daughter relationship and the typical problems of growing up, Dumplin’ is elevated by specifically showing the difficulties of growing up fat. To further explore why exactly a teen film can have such an effect on a whole community, we asked eight plus-size influencers to explain exactly why Dumplin’ is a revolution for fat representation. Click through to read their reviews...
Dumplin' is available on Netflix now
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Michelle Elman, Scarred not Scared

"Dumplin’ is rare in providing a fat protagonist that has a storyline that doesn't involve weight loss. It demonstrates what it is like to live as a fat person and the judgements and opinions that you might face from society on the whole, while also showing it is possible to not internalise and accept this treatment as acceptable, or even worse, deserved. Until this movie, the narrative of being fat and happy is seen as an illusion or even a delusion. Dumplin' made it real by showing that fat and confident is possible: weight loss not required."
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Bethany Rutter

"I love the way Dumplin’ gives not one but three fat female characters different stories! It goes to show the power of having fat women write our own narratives rather than having them thrust upon us."
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Corissa Enneking, Fat Girl Flow

"Dumplin' is everything I needed as a teenager. It's not just one lonely fat girl showing the world she's worthy. It's a fat aunt, a fat friend, a fat main character, and SO MANY people who love them. Not in spite of their fat, but because of who they are. Because they're incredible humans. Dumplin' doesn't just show us that fat babes can face adversity, it shows us that they can be the star of their own life. It shows us that fat people can be as diverse and interesting as every other character. It shows us that fat people don't just care about shrinking, or about desperately getting someone to love them."
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Ashleigh Owen

"Dumplin’ succeeds in representation because you can tell Dumplin’ is written by a fat woman because it gives you an insight into the struggles we face within society but it also glorifies fat people as being beautiful, talented, powerful and sexy... which they are!"
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Michaela Gingell, Cardiffornia Gurl

"Dumplin’ is a film every fat girl needs to see. Showing that no matter your size or shape or the numbers on a scale, you’re capable of living a life you want and achieving what society says isn’t possible. A refreshing narrative that doesn’t put the fat girl at the butt of the joke, the third wheel friend, but shows how fat women are empowering, confident, and just as normal as any other female on the planet."
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Danielle Vanier

"Dumplin’ gave me, as a fat 32-year-old woman, everything I needed to see as a fat 16-year-old girl. Growing up a fat girl, in a world that detests fat bodies, was hard. It’s hard for those going through it now. To see my body represented in such a positive way is so rare. Dumplin’ is a beautiful film and I hope every fat person comes away from the film as uplifted as I am."
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Grace Barber-Plentie

"I loved Dumplin’. I’ve already read the book twice, so I was really anticipating this film. While the film definitely condenses a lot of the storylines from the book, it in no way avoids any of the intelligent and resonant points that the book makes. In fact, it’s actually refreshing that the film’s romance between Willowdean and Bo is relegated to a side plot – Will is a character with a life so rich that romance is an afterthought. Also it’s so important to see a film that understands how self-esteem works – even though Bo gives Willowdean a pep talk on how beautiful she thinks she is, both he and the film’s script writers are well aware that the only love Willowdean needs is her own.

In short, Dumplin’ the film is everything I loved about the book – it’s light and fun, but it’s a narrative about fatness from a fat woman so it feels authentic. If I had one complaint, it would be the claims people are laying on the film that it’s 'the fat girl film they’ve been waiting for'. While I do think Dumplin’ is one of a kind and much-needed, to say it’s the first film of its kind is to overlook other coming-of-age films about fat girls (especially ones who aren’t white), such as the brilliant and underrated (if problematically titled) Real Women Have Curves."
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Amanda Elliott, Amanda Apparel

"What I really appreciate about Dumplin’ is that it doesn’t just show one way to be a fat girl. Aunt Lucy is gregarious, ultra feminine and over the top. Millie is energetic, kind and on the conservative side. Will dresses for comfort, is a hard worker and cares deeply about her friends. Of course it’s great to see fat characters chasing their dreams, but it’s also so good to see them doing mundane daily things like working a crappy part-time job, swimming on a hot day, or working through conflict with their loved ones."
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