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Even if racism and body intolerance persist in the "real" world, Hairspray invites us to indulge in the fantasy that, as Edna and Wilbur sing in their duet, “Styles keep a changing’ / The world’s re-arrangin.’” One of those changes, in the film’s world and maybe, hopefully, in ours, is that fat girls rule.
their attacks reflecting current and past policing of nonstandard bodies.
Hairspray, however, rejects such prejudice, as did Waters' version, asserting the sexiness and sensuality of large women's bodies.
In part this is foregrounded by surrounding not only Tracy, but also Edna Turnblad and Motormouth Maybelle (Queen Latifah) with socially scripted and condoned fat intolerance.
Tracy's nemesis on The Corny Collins Show, the perfectly blond and pert Amber Von Tussle (Brittany Snow), and her skeletal mother Velma (Michelle Pfeiffer) viciously deride the larger women’s weight.
It's totally infectious and helps to redeem Travolta's previous awkwardness.