I shook my head recently when I read about New York Observer film critic Rex Reed’s personal insult toward actress Melissa McCarthy. In a review of her latest offering, “Identity Thief,” he called her “tractor-sized” and as big as a “hippo.” Isn’t it interesting, I thought, that a man, who himself is part of a marginalized and often supressed segment of society [Reed is widely believed to be gay.] wields his pejoratives so freely when directed toward another similarly ill-regarded community, the “un-thin” or “un-commercial.” The part of our population that still hides in a closet of self-hatred. The part of our population, fearful that they won’t be accepted or seen for anything other than their physical appearance. You don’t have to be overweight to be part of our collective; you just have to have a self-loathing of some physical feature you feel you possess. Surely, this is something that everyone can relate to at some point in their lives and certainly, unless he was blessed to have grown up amongst royalty, Rex Reed himself must have had to deal with.
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Discriminating against women because of their weight is a very real problem and it goes all the way to the jury box. A new study at Yale University observed 471 adults in mock court cases for four individuals, of whom they were presented pictures: a skinny man, a skinny woman, an obese man, and an obese women. As reported by Yale, “Male participants rated the obese female defendant guiltier than the lean female defendant, whereas female respondents judged the two female defendants equally regardless of weight.” Skinny male participants were more likely than their heftier brothers to negatively judge an obese female defendant. Yet there was absolutely no difference in how guilty the skinny and obese men were judged. Keep reading »
Years ago, I had a conversation with a group of my close male friends and the age old question came up: Can men and women really be just friends? My boy Otto said, “No way! Guys always want to sleep with their female friends.” My friend Steve interjected, “Of course! I have a platonic female friends and I love them to death.” But then my friend Yorell said, “Yes, men can have platonic female friends, but only with women that are unattractive. If she’s pretty, there is no way you can be just her friend. That doesn’t mean it’s not a genuine friendship, but if you get the opportunity to smash, you will. Unless … she’s ugly.” Keep reading »
Update, 3:40 p.m.: Ooof. We now hear via Just Jared that these quotes are supposedly fake. Christina’s rep has said she never made these comments to Billboard. We’ll keep you posted on this weird story. [Just Jared]
“During the promotion of my album ‘Stripped (in 2002), I got tired of being a skinny, white girl. I am Ecuadorian but people felt so safe passing me off as a skinny, blue-eyed white girl. The next time my label saw me, I was heavier, darker and full of piercings! Let me tell you, that wasn’t an easy pill for them to swallow. They called this serious emergency meeting about how there was a lot of backlash about my weight. Basically, they told me I would effect a lot of people if I gained weight – the production, musical directors. … I told (my label) during this ‘Lotus’ recording, ‘You are working with a fat girl. Know it now and get over it. They need a reminder sometimes that I don’t belong to them. It’s my body. My body can’t put anyone in jeopardy of not making money anymore — my body is just not on the table that way anymore.
– Christina Aguilera spoke to Billboard about her new album Lotus and hit on something that women in the music biz can be somewhat skittish (understandably) to discuss publicly: the way your body is part of your product as much as your voice. It’s always struck me as an unfair double standard. I mean, Cee Lo clearly is not getting called in and being told to drop some weight. And it’s especially dispiriting that a singer with a phenomenal voice like Christina Aguilera has to deal with that shite. Good for her for putting her foot down! Between this and Lady Gaga’s admission last week that’s she’s battled anorexia and bulimia, it’s really the week of pop stars speaking out — and we’ll all be better for it. [New York Daily News] [Photo: Splash News]
I was recently contacted through my website by a pregnant black woman who inquired about hiring me to perform standup at her baby shower. She and her husband were diehard comedy fans, and thought it would be fun to have a comic perform for their guests.
“How did you find me?” I asked. “I Googled ‘Fat Black Female Comics’ and you were one of the women that popped up!” she answered. “Everyone knows that fat black women are the funniest comics alive!”
After I hung up the phone, I sat there for a moment trying to figure out if I should be offended or not. While I understand that she was trying to be complimentary, I’m not sure if I am flattered by someone thinking that I am automatically funny just because I am plus-sized and black. Then I thought about the $1,500 she offered to pay me to stand in the middle of her living room and crack jokes for 30 minutes, and I instantly felt better. Throughout my career, I’ve been paid much less to do far worse. There was plenty of time for me to be offended later, but for now it was time to get paid!
Comedy is hard work, no matter what you look like. The perception that fat black women have an edge up, purely because of the size of their bodies, diminishes the amount of hard work, discipline and creativity that it takes for us to create this art form known as comedy. Furthermore, I think it’s crazy that someone would assume that all fat black women are funny.
On the other hand, I get it. Keep reading »
“I’m not going to starve just to be thin. I want to enjoy life and I can’t if I’m not eating and miserable.”
– Here’s Kate Upton in the UK’s Sun saying she doesn’t give an eff that some “thinspiration” bloggers think she’s fat. An anonymous blogger who calls herself Skinny Gurl at a pro-anorexia site called Skinny Gossip had written of Upton: “Huge thighs, NO waist, big fat floppy boobs, terrible body definition — she looks like a squishy brick. Is this what American women are “striving” for now? The lazy, lardy look? Have we really gotten so fat in this country that Kate is the best we can aim for? Sorry, but: eww!”
Last week, in response to the ensuing controversy, Skinny Gurl promised she would remove the Starving Tips Of The Day from her blog and include links to resources on eating disorders and mental illness. [Huffington Post]
Our society is full of new fads: new phones, new computers, new styles and, apparently, a new view on what the perfect woman should look like.
Years ago, women aspired to have that curvaceous bod, the body that men loved and clothing flattered, the body that allowed women to look defined yet healthy. But lately, that image has become dangerously morphed. Curves have become a major no-no in the fashion world, in the movie world, in the real world. Girls everywhere are reading magazines with advertisements featuring models who are slim enough to be mannequins and coiffed enough to look like bombshells. See the problem with this is the definition of what a model truly is, something that I think this society seems to have forgotten. A model is supposed to be an example, and an example is something representative and worthy of striving for. Young girls who have not yet even had the opportunity to come into themselves are being taught or told to imitate the scary skinniness some of these “models” represent. Read more …
“I don’t think Adele would deny that she was fat. And I bet she doesn’t. Karl Lagerfeld used to be fat himself, so you gotta think about that. He’s obviously not proud of that fact. I also think that people give him way too much power! He’s just an eccentric designer who makes amazing art but doesn’t always say the coolest shit. …
I doubt, and I hope, and I’m pretty confident, that [Adele] does not think about Karl Lagerfeld, ever. I bet that is the last thing on her mind at night. She’s falling asleep on her 85 Grammys and however many millions of albums she’s sold and however many millions of dollars that she has, and is just probably thinking, like, ‘You know what – all right!’”
– Leave it to Beth Ditto from The Gossip to be the voice of reason on Karl Lagerfeld, aka Uncle Karl, aka that old dude who designs for Chanel and seems to get away with saying all kinds of horrible things like calling Adele “a little too fat” and fashion groupies French-kiss his arse anyway. I co-sign everything she said. [London Evening Standard via Fashionista]
Fat-shaming. Maybe it’s happened to you, or maybe you’ve perpetrated it against someone else. Fat-shaming is making people feel uncomfortable, wrong or bad for being overweight or obese. Some fat-shamers will tell you that they’re doing it as a means of encouraging the overweight person to lose weight, but most, oh, sane people will argue that fat-shaming does little in the way of motivation, and actually harms.
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