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Fans and the media come to Melissa McCarthy’s defense

“Not again,” I thought to myself when I flipped on the TV to ABC News and heard the teaser for a story on actress Melissa McCarthy (Identify Thief, Bridesmaids, Mike & Molly):

Size matters? The red hot controversy tonight. The actress that makes so many of us laugh and the critic making so many of us steaming mad.

I didn’t even want to think about what hateful ugly things were being said about this beautiful and talented actress because of her size. I didn’t even wait for the story to come up–I grabbed my phone and pulled up Google News to see the headline for the USA Today story, “Melissa McCarthy trashed in scathing review.”  I clicked right on it, expecting the typical–happy, successful fat people are bad health role models and should be chastised, or the like–but what I found was a defense of Melissa McCarthy against a vile and vicious attack from reviewer Rex Reed (I won’t dignify his remarks by repeating them. Click on any the USA Today link to get the full details). [Read more →]

February 9, 2013   No Comments

News Anchor Fights Back Against Criticism About Weight

A big curvy shout out to Jennifer Livingston, the Wisconsin news anchor who took to the air to respond to a viewer’s criticism about her weight, claiming, “Surely you don’t consider yourself a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular. Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain.”  (Article and video here.) [Read more →]

October 3, 2012   No Comments

SYTYCD: Big Girl Dancing Beautifully? What?

SYTYCD Judges Nigel Lythgoe, Mia Michaels, Adam Shankman

SYTYCD Judges Nigel Lythgoe, Mia Michaels, Adam Shankman

So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD), a show that has traditionally treated big dancers only as a joke, finally gave some praise to a big-bodied dancer and admitted to its own prejudice in a Susan-Boyle-esque moment. SYTYCD’s new season premiered this evening with the requisite audition rounds. A very brave Megan Carter, 18 years old and a dance major in college, danced a beautiful audition before a stunned and moved panel of judges.

In her pre-dance interview, Megan shares that she has been dancing for 15 years, and describes herself as “obviously thicker than other dancers.” She credits the curvy Mia Michaels, an Emmy-winning show choreographer and new SYTYCD judge, as her inspiration for finding the courage to audition for the show.

As she begins to dance with grace and skill, the camera cuts to the judges for that Susan-Boyle-shock moment. Judge Adam Shankman, choreograper, producer, director (the re-make of Hairspray being among his most popular), exclaims incredulously, “What? What is going on?” grabbing Mia Michaels by the arm. [Read more →]

May 27, 2010   6 Comments

What “The Biggest Loser” gets wrong … and right

Tonight marked the Season 9 finale of  “The Biggest Loser.” Anyone who reads this blog probably realizes that I am not a big fan of the show. This is not because I am opposed to weight loss, but rather I am opposed to the way this show encourages weight loss: extreme exercise and severe caloric restriction, rather than healthy sustainable diet and exercise. The New York Times published a great article in November 2009 about the dangerous nature of “The Biggest Loser” approach:

Rapid weight loss can cause many medical problems, including a weakening of the heart muscle, irregular heartbeat and dangerous reductions in potassium and electrolytes.

In pursuit of the big money prizes, former contestants have admitted to using dangerous weight loss techniques, including self-induced dehydration. And anyone who has ever used an extreme diet or exercise program knows how easy it is to gain it all back: almost all participants report some weight gain (on average 20%) after the show, and two season winners, Ryan Benson and Eric Chopin, regained all the weight they had lost.

[Read more →]

May 25, 2010   No Comments

Farewell “Lost” and Your Curvy Love Story

I was so glad to see the return of Rose and Bernard in the series finale of “Lost.” Rose and Bernard are a great curvy love story–Bernard adores Rose, and Rose has zero issues with body image. While now at the end, Lost seems to be a story about the enduring nature of love, the love story of Rose and Bernard was always my favorite. Just as a side note: Rose makes an interesting contrast to Hugo “Hurley” Reyes, a big guy who becomes a big hero in the end, but who also open struggles with issues surrounding body image.

With that nod to curviness of “Lost,” I’ll add, I’m still processing the overall meaning of the finale. As of an hour after the airing of the final episode, my current take on the meaning of it all is: we live, we love, we die, and in some version of the afterlife, we get to make it all OK. Not necessarily where I thought the show was headed, but thought provoking nonetheless.

If you have comments on the curvy aspects of “Lost” or just have thoughs on the series in general, I’d love to hear them.

May 24, 2010   No Comments

Recognizing altered images when you see them

Kate Winslet photoshopped by GQ

Kate Winslet photoshopped by GQ

While I don’t always agree with the commentary attached to the images, Newsweek has created a fascinating gallery of before-and-after photoshopped images of celebrities and models. I personally don’t have a problem with some retouching of photographs. Lighting, camera angles, body position can radically alter the look of a photograph as well–tabloids have created an entire industry based on “bad” photographs. I take issue with the fact that digitized images are portrayed as capturing the way the subject of the photo looks in person.

A magazine will put a model on the cover, completely recreate her body digitally, and use this illustration of a human being to sell diet, beauty, and fitness “secrets.”  The secret is that you are not looking at a real body, so no amount of creams, crunches, or carb avoidance will make your body look like a body that exists only in a digital file. And as you will see from the Kate Winslet photo above, photos for print publication are ALWAYS retouched in some way, even if it would appear that no retouching is necessary. She herself commented that she thought she looked just fine before the retouching, which included narrowing her thighs, lengthening her legs, and flattening her stomach. (I’ve always liked this image as an example of digitally altered photos, because you can see her reflection in the mirror behind, and clearly the body shape isn’t the same.)

I don’t feel bad when I look at unrealistic body types in cartoons (except maybe when looking at Lara Croft). I know that these bodies aren’t real. We’ve got to have the same understanding of print images used to sell–they aren’t real, so no need to beat ourselves for not looking like they do.


February 25, 2010   2 Comments

PZI Jeans Warehouse Sale Saturday, Dec 12 Only–Up to 75% off

If you are in the Atlanta area, you can get up to 75% Off on Saturday, December 12 by visiting PZI’s Tucker, GA warehouse. Please note the discounts for bringing items for donation. Click on the images for links to the full size image.

PZI ad 1

PZI 2

PZI 3

December 12, 2009   1 Comment

“Thunder Thighs” May Make You Healthier

Thanks to one of our Curvy Fabulous Friends for sending us this article: Skinny thighs could spell your doom.

It’s becoming common knowledge that the fat carried in the thighs has some health benefits, particularly as relates to cardiovascular health. Doctors believe that a certain amount of muscle mass and lower body bulk is needed to ensure proper glucose and lipid metabolism, that are important in preventing disease.

I find this article to be interesting on two levels:

  1. Thinness and disease
  2. Media coverage of weight-related research

This isn’t the first article suggesting that thinness comes with its own health risks; however, I find this interesting: People whose thighs measured less than 60 centimeters, or about 23.6 inches in circumference, had nearly double the risk of life-ending disease. And those with stick-thin gams (less than 18 inches around) were at the greatest risk. A woman with a 23.6 in thigh (depending on height, of course) would be about a size 6 or 8 (according to president of the International Sports and Fitness cited in the article). That’s not considered to be exceptionally thin.

This leads me to the second point: If this story went the other way (thigh size over size 8 = poor health), it would be covered by every news source out there. But, as of today, I’ve only seen this one article. I haven’t seen CNN cover this news. I haven’t seen Sanjay Gupta suggesting that women under size 8 should try to gain weight.

This illustrates the weaknesses in the way weight and health are studied. Body composition is just one of many factors contributing to health. You’d think that the above article would be way more newsworthy than the ongoing media barrage against overweight, simply because it defies conventional wisdom. But, clearly it is not. (This article appears on MSNBC.com’s “Body Odd” section.)

I think about all of those women out there who are hating their thighs, average-sized women who despise an element of their bodies that may, in fact, contribute to longevity. So sad.

December 10, 2009   1 Comment

Thankful for Beth Ditto (and Love Magazine)

love_bethditto-400x516

Thank you, Beth Ditto, and Love Magazine, for:

1. Showing that beauty comes in all sizes (Love Magazine chose to feature Beth Ditto as a fashion icon on the cover of it’s first issue, even though the magazine is not a plus-size magazine–just a fashion mag)

2. Photoshopping this photo to actually make Beth look bigger–when does that ever happen?

In a previous post we commented on whether images of plus-size models make plus-size women feel better about themselves. Beth Ditto is truly “plus-size,” and she is photographed beautifully. This definitely makes me feel better about my own beauty.

November 29, 2009   13 Comments

Belly dance and body love

Belly dancer/model Amani (she’s in the PZI Jeans ad) shares a bit of her philosophy about dance and loving your body.

If you are in Atlanta, Amani is hosting “MEOW! That’s HOT!” a show & workshop with the curvy fabulous dancer Raksanna on September 13, 2009 (1:30-3:30 & 4:00-6:00 PM) in Roswell at The Open Mind Center (1575 Alabama Rd.). Visit Raksanna’s website or Amani’s website for more details.

I’ll be there, getting my curve on!

September 3, 2009   2 Comments

“My Mom Is Fat!” – Empowering children and body image

I just received this release from “Sydney & Spencer’s Mom,” about her new book, My Mom Is Fat! I just heard a segment on NPR on the presence of social hierarchies in children, belief systems and attitudes that are established by the time they reach kindergarten. I think this book is a great way to address one of these hierarchies.

A 24 page, fully illustrated children’s book – cost of $9.95 (US) retail.  Available August 31, 2009 on the website www.mymomisfat.com and local area bookstores.

IT seems to be very topical now with more fat people featured in reality TV shows and commercials.  The problem is body image starts in the preschool stage of development.

This is a heart touching ode to Mom. Written in cognitively correct ® way; without a single negation and showing all the abilities of Mom and her wonderful body image.

All children get their body image from their parents.  If you love the way you look unconditionally, you will be able to fully support your child’s positive and health body image.

This book features [the author] and [her] children mostly, pictures are original photos taken by Stephen Mazzella [the author’s] “husband”.

“My Mom is FAT!” by Sydney & Spencer’s Mom (Bryce Conway) is a very personal book, showing both mom and child that you are both loved and loving irregaurdless of how you look.  There is even an opportunity for the child to declare what makes their mom so special.

It’s time to start a new generation of children who are exposed to a positive way of thinking about their body and how it’s all about their abilities.

August 25, 2009   No Comments

Why Julia Child is Curvy Fabulous

My take on Julia Child (“Julie & Julia”) as a curvy fabulous role model.

And here’s my quote on Julia Child in the August 8, 2009, Atlanta Journal Constitution article: Enthusiastic Food Fans Hit the Theaters:

“Julia didn’t find herself until she was 50,” declared Angela Stalcup, among the gaggle of gals who ascended for lunch on the roof of French American Brasserie, then took in the foodie flick at Regal Atlantic Station.

“Sometimes we’re in such a rush to find ourselves. She was this very powerful, curvaceous woman who unapologetically loved food and loved herself. The lesson is you can be a star by being yourself.”

August 8, 2009   1 Comment

Who Really is a “Real” Woman?

You hear the use of the term “real women” a lot lately, particularly to refer to women who are bigger than a size 2. Yet, I always think: aren’t all women “real” women, regardless of size? While use of the word “real” to describe a group or category of women is probably not often meant as an insult to those not in the group being described, it really is a loaded term.

A friend of mine sent me this thought in response to a comment that large breasts are the sign of a “real woman” with the subject header, “Curves or no curves, women can’t get a break”:

So, let me be clear about this . . . If you don’t have big boobs you’re not a real woman???

Okay, so, if you’re “curvy” you’ve got body image issues (“I’m too fat”) and if you’re less endowed in the chest or the tush area you’ve got body image issues (“I need bigger boobs,”I need booty implants”)…

Obviously there are people who like big, small, curvy, slender…it’s all good.

Just don’t judge any of the others as not “real”.

I am in complete agreement with this point–large or small, voluptuous or skinny, we are all “real” women. As another friend mentioned to me last night: we need to see a diversity of sizes, shapes, colors, and backgrounds represented. Now that’s “real.”

What are your thoughts on the use of the term “real woman”?

August 5, 2009   8 Comments

More To Love — Let the crying begin

Just a few, quick comments on More To Love, Episode 2:

  • Hope they’re buying waterproof mascara by the gross–oh, the crying of it all!
  • I’m tired of hearing the absence of life experience blamed on body size. Example: “Because I’m big I’ve never been on a private jet.” Plenty of thin women have never been on a private jet, either.
  • Most of the woes of these girls come from the fact that they are in their 20s, not from their size. The thin 20-something girls of the world all feel pretty much the same way, too.
  • Given my relationship with bathing suits, gotta love the swimsuit portion of the show.
  • In fact, love all the clothes on the show–that’s why I’ll keep watching.
  • Sad to see the senior cast member voted off so soon–Arianne, you are fabulous!
  • This really is following a classic reality show script: the cryer, the catty one, the girl all the other girls hate.

If you want really intelligent discourse on size, race, and media, check out the article on  Fatshionista : Thoughts on Intersectionality, Or, Why There’s No Dark-Skinned Fat Black Women on More to Love.


August 4, 2009   4 Comments

Retouching photos to make models look larger?

Thanks to Rachel at The-F-Word.org for this great article on the issue of “too thin” models in high fashion. She presents a very balanced, nuanced look at the issue of “blame” regarding the use of underweight models.

This excerpt really struck me:

Vogue magazine editor Alexandra Shulman sent letters “not intended for publication” but seen by and reported on by The UK’s Times to Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano and fellow designers at Prada, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, Balen- ciaga and other top fashion houses accusing them of forcing magazines to hire models with “jutting bones and no breasts or hips” by supplying them with “minuscule” garments that have become “substantially smaller” for their photoshoots.  The garments are typically sent to magazines six months before they appear in shops and editors have no choice but to hire models that fit the clothes or risk failing to cover the latest collections from leading designers, explained Shulman.  “We have now reached the point where many of the sample sizes don’t comfortably fit even the established star models,” she noted in her letter, adding that Vogue is now frequently “retouching” photographs to make models look larger.

I thought about this post in light of the latest fashion contorversy: Calvin Klein’s NYC billboard featuring what appears to be a threesome (or foursome, depending on how you read the scene). Though the overt sexual nature of the image is striking (particularly for a billboard), what caught my eye was the emaciated appearance of the main “couple” in the scene. The young woman’s arm is so frail looking that it looks like she would struggle to lift it. And her makeout partner is equally gaunt and frail. It just looks sad to me.

June 16, 2009   7 Comments