Double Chin, Double Standard

In a few hours, chatter of whether New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is too fat to be president will be moot, as all bets suggest the tough-talking former federal prosecutor will close the door for good on a 2012 run.

I'm in Trenton for that spectacle, but while I wait, wanted to get a few words in on the issue adroitly addressed today by my colleague, Matt Katz and previously by ABC's Jake Tapper, among others.

Fat is the word many Americans associate with Christie, Katz wrote in the Inquirer, just as black was the only thing many knew about Obama at this stage in the 2008 presidential election campaign, political observers say. And just as Obama addressed his mixed-race background in a March 2008 speech in Philadelphia - and presidential candidate John F. Kennedy spoke of his Catholicism in 1960 - Christie would be pressed to address the "girth issue" in a significant way during a presidential campaign.

The debate is fair and timely, but incredibly depressing given what isn't being said: No way we'd be talking about any of this is Christie was a she.

Think about it. Can you name a single obese woman in a position of power, elected or otherwise? Even a significantly overweight woman couldn't get elected tax collector in most parts of the world.

Even in this allegedly enlightened age, entertainment -- music and comedy, mostly  -- is just about the only high-profile gig where women of immense size regularly fill a stage and command respect. By happenstance, Melissa McCarthy, the breakout star of Bridesmaids who just won an Emmy for her work on the CBS sitcom, Mike & Molly, recently hosted Saturday Night Live.

McCarthy killed it, going for broke in every sketch. In her monologue, she warned her kids to go to bed because Mommy was about to get "inappropriate." She did not disappoint. The lady's a comedic genius.

But with each audacious routine -- Arlene, the office sexual deviant, was my personal favorite; watch below only with headphones at work, it's that raunchy -- I shuddered.

When a man is as big as Gov. Christie, we're allowed to mull his fitness for the highest office in the land and to envision him as the most powerful person on the planet. When a woman is, we laugh.

-- Monica Yant Kinney


Click here to read more from the metro columnists.