LEGITIMATE REASONS TO HATE ON PAULA DEEN. SPOILER: HER WEIGHT ISN'T ONE OF THEM


Oh Paula. You sure have gotten a lot of attention lately, haven't you? 

In case you haven't been following the controversial Southern Queen, I'll break it down for you real fast: an ex-employee from her restaurant has the media's attention for reporting that while working at The Lady & Sons, Paula would make racist jokes and use the N-word. When asked if she did in fact use this word she responded with  "Of course" and thus the lawsuit began. Her plans to re-create a wedding that was Civil War themed with "slave" waiters was the buttercream icing on the two layer racist cake. Jackson, an Ex-General Manager also reported sexual harassment and personal assault from Paula's brother Bubba Hiers. Paula has been dropped by millions (ok, maybe just a lot) of business partners and is now on tv in tears asking those who haven't made mistakes to come forward because she'd like to meet them. This story is pretty boring, but it brings up some interesting issues.

This isn't the first time Paula has incited a media riot. She has long been hated on for "encouraging" Americans to consume traditional Southern recipes; y'know the ones made of oil, butter, and every other fat. Paula was in the news when she announced that she had Type 2 Diabetes ("Serves her right!" the public said) and then "selling out" by collaborating with a drug company that addressed diabetic options. She was also attacked for being fat before losing a significant amount of weight ("Good for you!" the public said) last year.

Thanks to the recent hooplah, I've come to clearly realize how (half) wrong we are. There are several totally acceptable reasons to hate on Paula Deen, but there are also reasons for our society to get off her back. I shall now outline them for you, because I'm just that awesome.


Acceptable Reasons to Hate on Ms. Dean:

Blatant bigotry. Pretty obvious, right? No tolerance for those who perpetuate hate towards a person (and subsequently an entire demographic) especially when it's based on looks. Instant asshole status, as far as I'm concerned. A few quotes:

“Well what I would really like is a bunch of little n***ers to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around. “Now, that would be a true Southern wedding wouldn’t it? But we can’t do that because the media would be on me about that.”” - via

“It’s just what they are- they’re jokes… most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks… I can’t determine what offends another person.” -via

“The whole entire waiter staff was middle-aged black men, and they had on beautiful white jackets with a black bow tie. I mean, it was really impressive. That restaurant represented a certain era in America… after the Civil War, during the Civil War, before the Civil War… It was not only black men, it was black women… I would say they were slaves.” -via

The end.
Responsibility shirking and major backpedaling. I'd love to be able to give some serious stink eye to every person who wont take goddamn responsibility for their mistakes. Yes we make them (some are more stupid than others) but to not own it? Groannnnnnnnnnn. She did post a beggars apology clip (interesting article about apology culture here), but took it down afterwards. What fucking gets me is her tearful interview on the Today show where she swears up and down that she only used the word once, and it was because a person literally held a gun to her head. See above quotes for an easy bullshit-o-meter conclusion. C'mon y'all. Children tell better lies than that.

Lack of Southern pie recipes. I love the Red Velvet, Tiramisu, and candy recipes but I NEED MORE PIE INSPIRATIONZ! Pie making happens to be my seasonal obsession which just highlights the tragic underexposure of the Southern staple on her website. ALL OF THE PIES PLEASE PAULA. Kthanx.

Unacceptable Reasons to Hate on Ms. Dean:

Her weight: We all know how I feel about this.

"You may not agree with a woman, but to criticize her appearance - as opposed to her ideas or actions - isn't doing anyone any favors, least of all you. Insulting a woman's looks when they have nothing to do with the issue at hand implies a lack of comprehension on your part, an inability to engage in high-level thinking. You may think she's ugly, but everyone else thinks you're an idiot." -Erin Gloria Ryan

Attacking Paula over her weight is embarrassingly simplistic, and is sadly only exacerbated by the fact that she works as a chef for a living. I also really dislike how our culture then patted her on the back when she dropped several sizes. I don't care if you're concerned about her health; her body is not public property.

Because she's a bad role model. It's amazing to me that I have to explain this. Listen carefully guys: Paula is not responsible for your decisions. We're all grown-ass adults for chrissakes; lets not insult our intelligence by saying that just because someone deep fries food they are responsible for our health. I, for one, am smarter than that and guess what? Even if she stopped cooking, Southern food would still exist. Yep, it's the truth.

Butter. But, but, but... butter is a necessity for cooking and baking! Its what makes pie crusts flaky! And scones airy! And pastry cream delicious! A person who hates butter is no friend of mine.

Of course hatred is a wasted emotion, but I'm trying to give you legitimate reasons to disagree with her actions and then correct those superficial opinions that hurt society as a whole. Except for the butter one. That just hurts bakers, but I care about that too.

What are your thoughts? How fucked up are we with our judgments? Or are we not fucked up at all?

30 comments

  1. The butter one doesn't only hurt bakers, it hurts me too 'cuz I luuuuvs me some butter. BTW, speaking of things I luuuuv the ad link to the left for Curvy Girl Inc doesn't seem to be working properly. And that breaks my heart. :(

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  2. Have I mentioned how much I love you! A lot of my family are busy trying to get her show back and support her because they believe it was only the one slip up years ago, they refuse to do their research and see that it was years and years of bigoted and racist comments and actions.

    Yes, I love you, and I make a helluva pie!

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  3. I am currently avoiding a reply to my mothers email asking me my opinion on this issue as she finds it, and I quote, " I think it sucks and is so unfair and unjust love mommy." Unquote. I just can't deal with getting into this with her. LOL! It must be their generation. SMH.

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  4. That's what really bothers me about her supporters. They think she is being unfairly picked on by the companies dropping her, ignorant (what else would they be supporting what she said) of the lawsuits that prompted her coup de grace statement.

    They don't seem to get that it's not just that she admitted to saying it, but how nonchalantly she said it as if it were not only no big deal, but that her casualness implied that it was shameless and commonplace to marginalize a group of people with such hateful language.

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  5. I admit I was ignorant to a lot of facts, since I'm not a Paula Deen fan and really never thought about her until now. I wasn't aware that it was years of this behavior that have led to the lawsuit and not just a single instance. It's definitely opened my eyes to the facts of this case.

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  6. As a person who is not of English mothertongue, I would like to ask, what is an 'n-word'?

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    1. Nigger. Or negro. It's like calling a Native American an injun. Or a Chinese person a chink.

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  8. I agree with your sentiments; I could never see a wedding like that today without wanted to hurt the planner.
    And a good southern pie starts with sweet taters, butter, and an old cookbook written by southern church ladies, I don't need no Paula Deen fo dat!

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  9. I'm having a similar issue with the gov of NJ - Christie. I don't agree with him on many things, not least of which is his stance gay rights, but I find myself in the uncomfortable place of feeling bad for the man every time someone decides to make jokes about his weight. Criticize his politics, sure, but how is his weight relevant? Hint - it's not.

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  10. You summed it up so nicely here. The real Paula Deen...the one we didn't see on TV....has come forward, and she ain't pretty.

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  11. You summed it up perfectly here. The real Paula Deen...not the one we see on TV...has come out now, and she ain't pretty.

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  12. Here is a link to the actual lawsuit: http://www.atlawblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Jackson-v.-Deen-et-al.-Complaint.pdf
    By the way, in reporting & discussing this issue, by saying "The N Word" instead of actually saying "nigger", we are STILL giving that word all the power.

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    1. I wonder! There are some words that originally didn't have the negative connotations like "fat" as just physical adjective as an ancient word "cunt" for female genitalia... but isn't this word different because it's always been derogatory?

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  13. When she got slammed for her Southern cooking, I was amazed at how stupid the media and haters were being. I had never heard of her until then, so it ended up giving her more press and spreading the Paula Deen empire. I lived in the South, and while there, I picked up some of those wonderful 'church ladies' cook books. They are some of my favorite cookbooks. On the same subject, I also said, just change the channel if the food, her looks, or her behavior is offensive. If you are able to get the Food Channel, then you have cable and you have way more channels than one. If you don't like fried food, knowing the effects it has on your personal body, then don't make it, or eat it, your decision. Here we are fighting over rights to women's bodies, yet we want to blame a chef on TV or McD's for our weight. Then the question becomes: Can we be left alone with that huge choice of what to do with our bodies. We apparently can challenge the right to kill a baby in our womb, but we can't be legally responsible for our weight becuase Paula Deen's food was on TV. When one thinks about the media and what is being said, like stand back from it a minute and look at all the arguments, it is stupid. In NY they are banning all soft drinks, and Monster is now going to be sued for the death of a person. Did someone force all those people at gun point to drink sodas and did someone force the other person (can't remember much about the case, didn't seem important at the time) at gunpoint or French Firing Squad to drink the Monster drinks? I think not. Were people forced to watch Paula Deen? If they watched her show, were they forced to make the foods she did? If they made the foods she showed, were they forced to eat them? That solves that problem. Now about her speach behavior: sorry to say, but there are a lot of people in the south who do use the 'n' word, and it is very disrespectful, and most people around them look at them with great disdain. There are deragatory words for everyone of us, but is this person starting this case now simply to get money now that she has gained fame, or he is making a statement such as Martin Luther King, Jr. would have done? Reverand King would have brought attention to others who were persecuting the African American, not just a suit against one person who happens to be in the spotlight. I am not making light of what she said, it was wrong, and she is being really flipant about the whole suit. She is a rich white Southern woman who is getting a bit of her own karma back at her. Now can we discuss more important things like healthcare for the poor and old, education cuts, and food with GMO's?

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    1. "Now can we discuss more important things like healthcare for the poor and old, education cuts, and food with GMO's?" YES! THOSE ARE MY FAVORITE SUBJECTS!!!

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    2. Please tell me you are not being facetious. I have many more 'more important' issues than what the media constantly focuses on. It is a shame in this day and age we have to dig to find the truth and the real issues. They should be covered in the media more than this other silly shit they cover. Oh! And we have yet to see Kim K's baby pictures, and that is big news! I am so out'a here!

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    3. Hi Rene, sorry you misunderstood. I thought that it was well known that I am very concerned about many "important issues", as advocacy is my full time job.

      I often like to offer an alternative point of view on stories that the media covers; i.e. this article is about holding a person responsible for their actions vs looks. Size discrimination is a legitimate issue and deserves discussion as well:)

      <3

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    4. Hi,
      After I wrote the reply, I noticed on the FB page you addressed homelessness (or judgments made without knowledge), and abortion. I thank you for your reply, and so promptly, I am impressed since I know you are the 'bomb' now! I continue to read and be inspired by your words. I am very happy for your success, and may you reach many people. Thank you.

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    5. Hi,
      I am glad we are on the same page. I did notice after I wrote back to you, you had addressed homelessness (or judgment w/out knowledge of the person) and abortion. Very commendable causes.
      I applaud your success of recent and hope you can reach many who need a 'heart adjustment' as well as 'attitude adjustments'. Thanks for getting back to me so promptly, as I know you are the 'bomb' now, and very busy. Thank you for your inspiration and great posts.

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  14. All I have to say is : she could have lied about using the word and didn't. The fact that she is being fired for using the word almost 30 years ago after being robbed with a gun to her head is beyond me. The statements you wrote are what the woman (who is white) is suing her for supposedly saying.

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  15. Thank you for laying this all out simply! These are the reasons why we should be upset. These are the reasons that don't fucking matter and you're wasting your time thinking about them. Very well written, as always. :)

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  16. I would have to agree with you here Jes. Like a lot of Canadians I had never heard of Paula Dean until the media started slamming her for her weight and cooking. I didn't agree with that at all. But now that the more racist side of her has come out I really cannot support that part of her at all.

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  17. Until recently I had no idea who Paula Deen was. I probably saw pictures of her and thought to myself, wow sexy woman. But when any person opens their mouth and spews hate and disrespect, they fall off my radar in to the compost heap of stupid idiots and what a pile it is.

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  18. I agree with this list 8000%. Thank you for doing this post. :)

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  19. How is it that we proceed in judgement and disgust for Paula's obvious racism but we don't hold others accountable? How many other-than-Caucasian comedians and even non-comedians referred to "whites" as crackers or honkies or....?! Seriously, the finger should be pointed inward if things are going to change!

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  20. I've been a fan of Paula ever since I saw the first episode (for me) of her show which was dedicated to her love of her deep fryer. I knew she was a woman after my own heart. In fact, her cheeseburger meatloaf recipe is still my go-to recipe for meatloaf. When Food Network was launched in the UK I couldn't wait for her show to be on here (it never was, instead it's all Guy Fieri and I'm not a fan).

    When I heard about this situation I was unsurprised and then I was mad. Not at Paula (I was just disappointed that my assumptions about her were right) but at everyone who's ignoring the fact that America is actually still freaking racist.

    This article pretty much sums up how I feel about it all. http://afroculinaria.com/2013/06/25/an-open-letter-to-paula-deen/

    Color me unsurprised her weight is seen as a valid complaint about her when the real issue is not just Paula. :/

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