So, here at Fattitude we have decided that rather than gripe and rave about the media we see all week to each other – we are going to share our raves and rants with you! If you think there is something we’ve missed that we so have to see – let us know by either commenting below or messaging us on facebook!
Lindsey: This week I am ranting. Randy and I have been giving Denis Leary’s new show, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll a shot. Honestly, I’ve enjoyed Denis Leary in the past and this just seemed like a plot I might enjoy. The story idea is pretty basic: washed up rocker realizes that he has a daughter he never knew about and she is a talented musician. Okay, fine. The first few episodes were cute-ish – some snarky old man humor about classic rock and punk rock versus the likes of Lady Gaga, enough to keep me watching. As the show has progressed, the writers have worked on developing the two sidekick characters – a bass player and a drummer. Both of these men are the original members from the has-been-rocker-dad’s band and now they are in the daughter’s band. The drummer used to do drugs and it is implied that now he has replaced drugs with food. He eats constantly – like all the time. If he is not eating he is preparing or talking about food. As you can imagine there are pointless fat jokes and he is portrayed as a slob. Last week was particularly weird. The fat drummer guy was introduced to a renowned barbecue chef – who was gay. The gay chef invited the food obsessed fat drummer into the kitchen for a rack of ribs that no one else was given access to. The show closer was the fat guy covered in BBQ sauce, gnawing on a rib with one hand and giving the gay chef a hand job with the other hand. The implication was that fat people will do anything for food. Basically, they insulted gay people and fat people so yeah, done with that show.
Viri: In New York we have been bombarded with YouTube’s ad campaign promoting Internet stars that I have know idea who they are. Yes, I’m speaking grandma now. Wrapped trains with images of personalities who cook drunk and teach you how to apply make up. I find myself more enamored at their journey to fame rather than what actually made them famous. Is it the same thing? That’s for another conversation. Why I’m mentioning this campaign is because I recently caught a new ad starring a YouTube star by the name of Tyler Oakley. I haven’t had time to investigate what he does but in his own words, for the past 8 years, he has shared “the real me with the world”. In the ad, he proclaims “me being me, may have even helped some of you guys be you” which launches a video montage of other YouTubers sharing their own stories including one girl who declares, “I’m proud to say that I have a bigger body than most girls.” Whether featuring her voice was his choice or YouTube’s marketing department, it’s out there and it’s airing on network television. The message “Dare to be you” has always been circulating throughout history in one form or another. Depending on when a campaign is launched, it can read as a time capsule celebrating voices that represent new waves of diversity that are joining our national conversation. This ad only has 3 slots for speakers other than Oakley and one is handed to pride in body diversity. This is current, it is relevant and it is important. So cheers to Tyler Oakley and YouTube for reigniting this message with crucial new voices and an epic high five to the girl who dared to be herself.
Melissa Mc: I’m don’t do cosplay, but I have a number of friends who do, so I feel I have a good understanding of the sense of community amongst cosplayers, people who are often seen as outsiders to the mainstream for their dedication to their fandoms. And that’s why I’m always shocked to hear stories of bullying in what is otherwise such a welcoming and tight-knit group. This week, I came across a video from cosplayer Oppai Queen (possibly NSFW), tearfully describing the bullying and body shaming she has experienced at the hands of those within the cosplay community. “I get so much hate for what I look like…I’m not perfect. I’m not a size 4…I’m a size 20.” She explains that cosplay initially helped her learn to love her body, and became something she wanted to bring her daughter into, but now she second guesses that because of the bullying. She recounts the names and insults that have been hurled at her, but asks “Why does it matter what size I am?” The simple answer is – it doesn’t matter. Body shaming, no matter where it happens, is wrong. This bullying is awful, and no one should be made to feel bad about themselves, especially within a community of people that have been known for accepting people of all stripes, as they themselves have also been made to feel like outsiders at times, too. I hope that this is only a minor setback for Oppai Queen, and that the support she’s received from her friends and fans strengthens her resolve to continue with cosplay. She’s too good at what she does to let the bullies win.
The movie is about Suzanne – a women’s studies professor, whose lectures tend to focus on the absurdity of diet culture and societal beauty ideals. But after her husband leaves her, we witness Suzanne staring in the face of her own poor body image and the quest to ‘make it better’. Given, this is not a ‘fat’ woman by my standards, but she is also not the Hollywood-size-zero-beauty-ideal we’re used to seeing either. It was empowering and endearing to watch Suzanne’s journey to body positivity, and I found the plot to be funny and totally enjoyable. There is an overall feminist, positive message to love yourself now and “Beauty is being YOU”, which I totally love. I would totally recommend watching!
Amanda: I stumbled upon the most Zen book at the library . . . in the children’s section, of course. I was in a despairing mood – having a pretty rough “bad body day” – when I flipped through “Buggy Bug” by Raschka. Some children’s books are squeamishly cute, so I thought it’d make me feel better. But “Buggy Bug” floored me. Did I just read a children’s book or a koan? In Buddhism, there’s this concept of emptiness in all things; in fact, in Zen all “signs,” including words, are suspect, as they’re really just mental objects that we fabricate and then erroneously conflate with reality. “Buggy Bug” reminded me that the emphasis that I had placed on my appearance in that moment consisted of an artificial, arbitrary mental association – fostered by my culture – between the ideal of thinness and happiness. I remembered that, besides increasing social capital in certain circles, thinness does little to affect one’s relationship with society and the world at large. I was bugging out over “Nothing!”
* This blog post includes the opinion of Fattitude interns – and does not necessarily reflect the position of Fattitude, Inc.