So 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: Have I talked about this before? I feel like I’m always talking about Masters of Sex. This show is trippy for me. First of all the whole idea – the foundation of the show is that these two scientists want to make bodies and the things that bodies do – particularly sex – less stigmatized. Obvi, this is set in the 50s and 60s so theres sexist themes and racist themes and all kinds of other oppression that still exist only they manifest themselves differently. In season two – there was a fat man who ate himself to death and this whole sell diet pills fraud story line that was yuck – so many women hating their bodies, oh irritating! But I keep watching because, admittedly I think this show is well written and gets to the heart of some really interesting stuff in terms of human behavior etc. I am particularly fond of Ginny – Virginia Johnson, who is played by Lizzy Caplan. From very early on this character is presented as an empowered woman – who does things on her terms – only lately – in season 3 she seems to be bending under the stress of social ideal of what women are supposed to be. She’s called herself a bad mom – she’s a mistress and has become unsatisfied with living in the shadow of her lover. AND – her mother visits and does not stop saying garbage about her body – and her daughter’s body The mother is constantly underscoring the idea that bodies matter for women, that beauty is a female commodity. Ugh. It’s so unsatisfying. It’s still a good show – but I’m just waiting to watch a show that I like and not have to think oops – fat shaming.
Viri: Scream Queens. Yeah, I said it and yes I’m watching it. Although I’ve found myself always conflicted with Ryan Murphy’s work, he does tap into some of my favorite corners of pop culture from my youth in his style and approach. That said, he also consistently offends me with what appears to be “shock value” jokes and scenarios that never seem to prove necessary. Case and point: “white mammy”. In the pilot episode of Scream Queens, the leader of the sorority, Chanel Oberlin, clearly sketched as the worst of the worst, refers to the fat white house maid as “white mammy” because “she’s essentially a house slave.” She also forces the maid to say “I don’t know nothin’ about birthin’ no babies”. The whole thing made my skin crawl and not in a fun scary movie way. Scream Queens explores a sorority house that is central to a slew of murders at a university. The style is campy and outlandish and sets up for a lot of laughs. This, however, felt wrong. I don’t need this racist moment to recognize how monstrous Chanel is. There is an abundance of evidence including the classic hazing ritual of criticizing the pledge’s bodies as they stand in their bras and underwear. The interaction with the maid is even more awkward when you step back and recognize the black female pledges who still desire to join the sorority even after this incident. I’m not going to spoil the end of this episode, but suffice it to say it’s probable that the maid is integral to a larger plot at play. Perhaps there is more to this conversation to be had. I’m not surprised Murphy went there. I watch American Horror Story and that show goes…well…everywhere. But that still doesn’t mean we should brush it off and pretend it’s just another “edgy” moment, because if we do, then “edgy” is going to transform into permission to say anything without consequence.
The Feisty Fox: The other day i was online “researching” some Big Brother season finale spoilers and, as I neared the bottom of the page, I saw the typical suggested links to some trashier than trash articles. I never click on those, but one titled, “Celebrities who Married Ugly Spouses,” caught my eye. I thought, “Who would take the time to write such a lack of depth piece and want to attach their name to such judgmental and shallow garbage?” and have to admit, I clicked to find the answer. It turns out trendelier.com brought this disgusting commentary into the world. I can’t say the write-up is well-written. It reads sorta like a pre-teen diary. Only someone that young and free of life experience could ask why Felicity Huffman (@felicityhuffman) is with William H. Macy (@williamhmacy). I can guess why she is – William H. Macy is one of the most talented actors of our time – but the truth is, only Felicity could answer what drew her to her husband, he to her, and what keeps them together. None of us determine the chemistry between a couple, but any long-lasting relationship is based on something more substantial than appearance. And, simply put, everyone has different taste! From a Fattitude perspective, I can hardly breathe when reading how the writer views Keely Shaye Smith’s (@keelyshayesmith) worth to Pierce Brosnan (@piercebrosnanofficial). “Brosnan constantly declares his love for his wife, which is quite beautiful in a way.” (In a way?!) “Although Keely was way more attractive and slimmer when she first met Pierce, she’s been struggling with her weight for a few years now.” And there’s the rub. She used to be attractive, but now that she’s gotten fat she no longer is. Who set the damn standard, because I think she’s gorgeous! And clearly #PierceBrosnan does too. And by the way, just because he’s handsome doesn’t mean he doesn’t drive his wife crazy. At the end of the day he’s still a guy who farts under the covers and leaves the toilet seat up. I’d love to interview heaps of celebrity and “civilian” couples to learn just what it is that made them click in the first place and what keeps them together for the long haul. Every one of us is seeking different qualities in our life partner. We all have our lists of, “Must Haves” and “Deal Breakers.” Sexual attraction certainly plays a part, but true love runs so much deeper.
Amanda: Have you seen “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”? It’s not the most body-positive show (understatement!). Its plus-size character Artemis, for example, is a kinky sex-fiend. Her sexually is intended to be gross and funny. It falls into tropes like that all the time . . . but, it has its insightful moments. I watched an episode called “The Gang Broke Dee” recently. In it, the lead female character succumbs to depression. The torrent of negativity issuing from the rest of the group has permeated the barriers of her self-image. The show opens with her eating from a box of cake, reasoning, “it couldn’t get any worse,” and she jokes, sullenly, “I can’t even get a bus to hit on me.” During her nightly set at a comedy club, her self-deprecating jokes appear to be a big hit. Without giving away how the plot turns – the driving force of the show is the self- and friend-sabotaging nature of this group, after all – I have to admit, this episode had a silver lining. Dee admits her struggles on stage and, for a fleeting moment in time, exposes some commendable honesty. In the show, it’s the closest she comes to seeming like a real person. It appears that disclosing her struggles, which include body issues, makes her a hit: it launches her into unforeseen success. I think it’s because we all can relate to feelings of vulnerability, esp. pertaining to our looks. That episode reminded me this week that, in terms of art and forging relationships with an audience, honesty can really help. As a body positive activist, I think that admitting our “bad body days” and other issues can not only help us connect but also help us activists think through these issues critically together.
Melissa: So you know I love My Big Fat Fabulous Life starring the adorable Whitney Way Thore, and this week Whitney goes on a first date with the sexy musician Lennie! They go on a date to Wine & Design, and during the date Whitney asks him, “Do you date fat girls?”. So for a second I got worried. What will he say? Why did she ask such a thing? But the truth is, isn’t that the question I always want to ask too? Cut to the chase and let me know if you are fat phobic, or if you are open to true love in any human form. And of course Mr. Lennie gives the best, panty-dropping answer ever about how she is an amazing human being and incredibly beautiful. Ahhh loved it.
SO – WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING – AND HOW DO YOUR FAVORITES GET IT WRONG OR GET IT RIGHT WHEN IT COMES TO DIET CULTURE, FAT PEOPLE AND BODY LOVE????
* This blog post includes the opinion of Fattitude interns – and does not necessarily reflect the position of Fattitude, Inc.