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So Hamish Blake got fat.

Hamish got fat

Hamish Blake got fat. And it’s hilarious.

Had he asked me, I wouldn’t have used the word fat to describe him physically. I’d have said padded. Or maybe…. cuddly. But in the first Hamish & Andy podcast of 2011, fat is the adjective Hamish chose for himself.  “I’m fat. Let’s deal with this,” he announced before explaining how he’d gained weight for a film role, despite there being no mention of it in the script.

His character Dino, Hamish said, was “a 28 year old emotional sort of bogan” in the film called Two Little Boys, which is set in 1992.  And in Hamish’s artistic interpretation? Dino was not a buff guy. “What I’m saying is good actors add layers to their character,” he observed, “and I’ve put about sixty on mine.”

And so it went. I laughed. Out loud. A lot. Is this bad? I certainly wasn’t laughing at fat people. I was laughing at Hamish because he was laughing at himself. Admittedly, I’d laugh if Hamish read an excel spreadsheet but more than just funny, he made it seem like no big deal. Just something that had happened to him. Slightly unfortunate. A bit inconvenient. Like a too-short haircut or sunburn.

Now let’s pretend Hamish was a woman. Called Hameesha (sorry, stay with me). Imagine that while on holidays, Hameesha –also a famous TV and radio personality – packed on some kilos and when she returned to work, her weight was brought up on air. Do you think she’d be having a big laugh about her new size with her comedy partner? Would anyone else? Hell to the no.

Hameesha would be feeling intensely self-conscious and would be mortified if anyone brought up her weight publicly or privately. Her manager would be fielding offers from diet companies and women’s magazines, all throwing money, all gagging for Hameesha to publicly detail her deep unhappiness about her weight, her inner struggles with food and her outer struggles with her bum.

With or without her participation, stories would appear asserting how much she “hates her body” or sarcastically gushing over her “new curves” next to paparazzi shots of her looking as big as possible while swimming or eating ice-cream. If and when Hameesha lost weight, there would be twice as many stories about how much she “loves her new body!”.

Hamish Blake and costars on the set of Two Little Boys

And if she didn’t look skinny enough in the ‘after’ picture?

The photo would be altered. With a couple of clicks she’d be stretched to make her look anything up to a foot taller and three sizes smaller. Her thighs, waist, upper arms and bum would be carved into by Dr Photoshop. And her stretch marks, freckles and cellulite would be obliterated by a computer. A few more clicks and hey presto she’d look like a Victoria’s Secret model. Isn’t that BRILLIANT? Aren’t you INSPIRED?

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And you’d never know about this deception because magazines don’t have to tell you. You’ll just be drinking your latte and flipping the pages and you’ll be all, “Wow, Hameesha looks amazing, how did she DO that?” and then you’ll waste time reading about her diet and exercise tips when in fact you’re looking at a non-existent body created by a computer.

Anyway. That stuff just doesn’t happen to blokes. They gain weight, they lose it. Or not. They don’t treat it like some deep character flaw. It rarely becomes their life narrative. It’s just what they weigh not who they are.

A few days after laughing along with Hamish, I came across another man joking about his weight gain. Labour MP, Richard Marles, wrote for The Punch about how politics has made him fat since being appointed to the role of Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs in 2010. “The Pacific is a big place full of big people with big hearts and big appetites,” he wrote. “Hospitality is defined by copious servings of food. By the time Christmas arrived I had been in the job for just three months with a net mass increase of 8kg: roughly 2kgs every three weeks. My bum looked like a dead heat in a zeppelin race. At this rate, within a year I’d be big enough to become my own Pacific Island.” He went on to admit that when he tried to button his shirts, “my face would turn blue and my eyes bulge.

MP Richard Marles

Imagine a female politician writing about her big bum and not being able to do up her jackets? Or admitting that the only way she could squeeze into her jeans is by removing her internal organs first? Not many votes for a woman in that. Just disdain and unwanted media attention.

The female narrative of weight loss – as told by the media – is one of shame followed by redemption and salvation wrapped up in a morality tale.

No wonder it causes some women to prioritise it over most other things. Even sex. 51 percent of the 2500 women surveyed by US Fitness Magazine said they’d give up sex for a year if it meant they could be skinny. That’s a long time.

I wonder if Hamish, Richard Marles or any man on earth would trade sex for a six-pack? Nah, I don’t need thinking music to answer that.

Here is the welcome message from Hamish and Andy which led to hundreds of emails from viewers asking “What’s happened to Hamish?”:

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