chapter  7
Who’s behind that Fat Suit? Momma, Madea, Rasputia and the Politics of Cross-Dressing MIA MASK
Pages 20

Ever since the remake of Jerry Lewis’s legendary 1963 classic The Nutty Professor, starring Eddie Murphy as overweight scientist Sherman Klump, a variety of American movies about corpulent characters have become big box offi ce. The emergence and popularity of comedies lampooning heavy people is not surprising given the zeitgeist. In the late twentieth and early twenty-fi rst century, there are predictions that obesity is an American cultural dilemma and a global health epidemic. In the late 1990s there was already “a growing consensus that obesity-not smoking-was going to be the major public health issue of the new millennium.”1