I Haz the Fatz & Marie Claire is Appauled

If you haven't caught wind of why 'Marie Claire' is trending on twitter or haven't yet been made aware of the VARIOUS  blog posts dedicated to Marie Claire, here's the 'skinny' (pun intended).
Note to editors: When someone hears about news like this on the same day, while abroad, it is most likely bad publicity for your product.

An article, eloquently entitled, "Should Fatties Get a Room? (Even on TV?)" hit the cyber grape vine today in which the author, Maura Kelly, begins to criticize the sitcom, Mike & Molly, and then takes a right turn into a diatribe against fat people.

It all began with a simple question from her editor:
The other day, my editor asked me, "Do you really think people feel uncomfortable when they see overweight people making out on television?" 
And here is one of the gems which shows her opinion and screams (*spoiler alert*) Eww The Fatties Are Taking Over the World attitude:
My initial response was: Hmm, being overweight is one thing - those people are downright obese! And while I think our country's obsession with physical perfection is unhealthy, I also think it's at least equally crazy, albeit in the other direction, to be implicitly promoting obesity! Yes, anorexia is sick, but at least some slim models are simply naturally skinny. No one who is as fat as Mike and Molly can be healthy. And obesity is costing our country far more in terms of all the related health problems we are paying for, by way of our insurance, than any other health problem, even cancer.
Let's get one thing straight Mz. Kelly, no matter what you look like or your size (be it fat, skinny, or in between), you can be healthy! Heck, I know there were points in my life were I was a vegetarian/vegan, working out almost as much or more than my skinnier, junk food eating friends and I was still larger. Haven't you heard the old adage: you can't judge a book by its cover.

But apparently it is all about aesthetics:
I think I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other ... because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room - just like I'd find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine [sic] addict slumping in a chair.
You got that right reader, watching fat people doing a simple task like walking is as painful to watch as a stumbling drunk person or a heroin (note: Doesn't Marie Claire have spell check for their high and mighty writers?) addict slumping in a chair! And don't even get her started on FAT PDA!

But let's get one thing straight, this woman is no bigot:
Now, don't go getting the wrong impression: I have a few friends who could be called plump. I'm not some size-ist jerk. And I also know how tough it can be for truly heavy people to psych themselves up for the long process of slimming down. (For instance, the overweight maintenance guy at my gym has talked to me a little bit about how it seems worthless for him to even try working out, because he's been heavy for as long as he can remember.) But ... I think obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over. It's something they can change, if only they put their minds to it. (Emphasis mine; added to show the ludicrous nature of this woman's thinking)
She has 'plump' friends (Are we talking a size 2? Because you seem to have a skewed view of the human body) so therefore she can't be size-ist, the way a homophobic person can claim to have gay friends to cover his/her bigotry. And please explain to me what you know about how a heavy person feels during the 'long process of slimming down'. Oh, and have you considered the fact that many of us, 'heavy people', might love our bodies just as they are!

But nope, it doesn't matter if you love your body or not, because here are some tips to make you more appealing to the mass populous (note: May I have some facts, please! Maybe some sources!):
I'm happy to give you some nutrition and fitness suggestions if you need them — but long story short, eat more fresh and unprocessed foods, read labels and avoid foods with any kind of processed sweetener in them whether it's cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup, increase the amount of fiber you're getting, get some kind of exercise for 30 minutes at least five times a week, and do everything you can to stand up more — even while using your computer — and walk more.
Ah! That was the missing piece! Thank you, oh skinny one, for the knowledge I have been searching for since birth! Now I shall make a list with these suggestions and post it on that torturous fridge so that I never cross the border into Fattyville, population me, again!

I guess this whole hubbub comes to no surprise to me in a world where Karl Lagerfeld openly hates fat women, curvy actresses are stressed into slimming down (see: America Ferrera, Kate Winslet, etc.), and where large department stores still won't accept that women (and men, for that matter) come in sizes larger than a Large.

So Mz. Kelly, I apologize for my disturbing body and for my love of making out (with partners of all sizes)! But just realize that your hateful words are the epitome of cyber bullying---and it isn't just gay teens who are killing themselves over words just like the ones in your article. So cut the fat-shaming because this isn't your diary, it's the web---and we can all read between the lines of your helpful article.

Oh and P.S. Mz. Kelly, we fat folks have sex too! Ahhh!

(Give the editor your two cents by emailing her: kschweitzer@hearst.com)

Sex, Purses, & Breast Cancer

Hello, I'm back! Sorry for those still following-- as you know, I'm abroad with the Peace Corps and with limited internet access! But I'm back and I hope (with the help of this new internet connection) to keep up the feminista/film geekiness as much as I can.

Has your Facebook feed exploded with female friends, acquaintances, and co-workers describing where and how they "like it"? Well, the 'I like it' campaign is this year's Breast Cancer Awareness Month viral campaign---unfortunately.

If you haven't yet been made aware, all you have to do is write where you like to put your purse. So you might see several ladies updating their status with these possibilities and more: on the floor, on the bench, up against the wall, on the couch, on the bar, and in the closet. Here is the original message that was circling the web yesterday:
Remember the game last year about what color bra you were wearing at the moment? The purpose was to increase awareness of October Breast CancerAwareness month. It was a tremendous success and we had men wondering for days what was with the colors and it made it to the news. This year’s game has to do with your handbag/purse, where we put our handbag the moment we get home [sic] for example “I like it on the couch”, “I like it on the kitchen counter”, “I like it on the dresser” well u get the idea. Just put your answer as your status with nothing more than that and cut n paste this message and forward to all your FB female friends to their inbox. The bra game made it to the news. Let’s see how powerful we women really are!!!”

Easy enough, no? But what does this viral campaign really do?

All it seems to create is a hubbub for the males in these women's lives. Here are some responses (from guys) I found in my own feed:
"Ok, is it talk about where you like it day?"
"I missed something, clearly"
"Should I think what I want to or just wait for every female friend of mine to let all the males in on the secret? I'll go with option A"
and finally a gem:
"I just like putting my hand in it".

Yeah, keeping the men clueless through sexual innuendo, that's so powerful fellow sistren! This is just as powerful as when Hilary decided to run for President---not.

As someone who has had a lump scare in the past and has lost 6 friends and family members to Breast Cancer I think it is completely ludicrous and disrespectful to use sexual innuendo as 'activism'. And what is with using purses as the secret Breast Cancer item of the year? What do purses have to do with Breast Cancer exactly? Except that women are more affected by Breast Cancer than men, but hello, men have also died from Breast Cancer!

Sure, I agree... a campaign (especially a viral campaign) needs a hook; it needs to be eye-catching and fun. But this goes beyond fun and seems to only pander to the male gaze. Breast Cancer is more than loosing 'ta-tas' as many t-shirts seem to call them nowadays. We're also loosing a person!

Check out these other great links : The Frisky and Salon

I'm Back: The F-Word in My New Home

Hey ya'll, I apologize for the fact that life has been so hectic as P.C. trainee, but I have been posting 'on the regular' here (if you are curious)! I hope to return to regular movie/feminism/other awesome things 'CelluloidGeek'-related in the near future. But for now, how about a slightly tweaked cross-post about feminism/sexism in Guatemala... enjoy.
And P.S. These are my words only and not authorized/endorsed by the U.S. Gov't or the Peace Corps. KTHNXBYE.

No this isn't a post about that F-Word.

Instead, it's about feminism. And since March 8th (this past Monday) was the 99th International Women's Day, I thought what a better time to discuss feminism than now.

Before I delve into the topic at hand though, let's discuss Guatemala  for a little bit.
And to start off, let's play a game... a word association game. So, if I could only use one word to describe Guatemalan culture, what would it be? Hmmm, oh yeah: machista.

Don't believe me? Well here are some stats to back up the machismo (which were brought to our attention during one of our weekly training sessions, sorry I didn't get the actual source... pretty sure my jaw hit the floor when I saw this and completely forgot to cite!).
Without further ado, Guatemalan gender issues in convenient 'percentage form':
  • 30% of Guatemalan women surveyed think it is acceptable to be spoken to innappropriately
  • 70% of Guatemalans surveyed agree women should remain in the home
  • 54% of Guatemalan women surveyed agree to be submissive/docile to men
  • 53% of Guatemalans surveyed agree that men determine # of children in family
  • 60% of Guatemalans surveyed think that men are the economic decision makers
  • And finally 4/10 Guatemalan females surveyed think men are the superior gender
I'm not sure about you, but these stats are frightening--especially when you see the effects of machismo in everyday life.

For example, being a proud feminist, I decided to decorate my netbook with a 'Feminism is for Lovers' sticker; nothing fancy, just a plain sticker with a strong message on it. One night, after my host family came in contact with the sticker, they decided to sit me down for dinner and 'scare me' with a wonderful (read: disturbing) bed time story (which I will paraphrase/embellish below).
There was once a strong, feminist in town who would fight for women's rights with her fog horn and picket sign. Day in and day out, she would rile up the women to stand up for their rights and rebel against the machismo in their homes and communities; singing songs that would make Rosie the Riveter and Margaret Sanger jump for joy. Well, one day the feminist took a little longer than expected to come home from a rally, but instead of being welcomed by her husband, she was brutally beaten while her ten year old son watched. As she cried for help, all the other 'smarter' women in town laughed their tushes off because the feminist should have known that it is a woman's job to please the husband first rather than go off galavanting and looking for trouble. The next day, the feminist appeared bruised and fragile, without her picket sign or her fog horn, because she had finally learned that her husband and son come first.
Yeah, these are the wonderful tales I was told after dinner; and let me remind you, this was all because of a sticker!

And these real stories (which come up alot) that are supposed to teach women their role in life don't even scratch the muggy, machista surface. In fact, the place you see machismo the most is on the street.

From the moment a woman (no matter the age) steps on the street, wearing anything from greasy sweatpants to t-shirt/jeans, it begins. A slew of suggestive comments shush chuch noises, whistling and general cat-calling from males ranging from 10 to 60 years old. Yeah you heard me, it can be anyone from a ten year old boy (who hasn't even felt the pangs of puberty) to a wrinkled, liver-spotted older gentleman of sixty.

Most of the time, I can deal with the general nuissance, but there are times when things so vile come out of these mouths that I just want to jump off the highest (5 ft, joke) building! I've only had to deal with this for three months and yet I look at Guatemalan women who have dealt with this their whole lives and ask, How do they do it?

While most of the population seems to be sticking to status quo, I have already seen amazing men and women trying to bring in different notions into culture through Women's groups and other organizations. In the future, in fact, I hope to partner up with my site-mate and give self-defense classes (as a secondary project) to women in our area. Who knows if it will be well received, but with the success of some of the other experimental organizations and notions, maybe we too can make a difference here.

P.S. In related news, what kind of crap is this youtube video trying to promote.

I can feel myself reacting the way I do in real life situations here while I'm watching this. This Calvin Klein ad is disgusting and offensive beyond belief. What do you think?

Original story posted here.

Some News from Me to You

Hey to everyone reading this out there.

This morning I boarded a plane and am heading abroad to volunteer with the Peace Corps.

Although my resources (including a reliable internet source) will be limited, I do not want to leave you high and dry. While my posts *(on this blog) will no longer be as regular as they have been these past few months, I promise you that I will be back to write about feminism, film and my life whenever I am able!

If you are interested in reading about my travels and work with the Peace Corps, you can check out my other blog specifically dedicated to my life in the Peace Corps.

So sorry again for the disrupted service, but hope you are having an amazing 2010.

See you on the flip side.

For Your Consideration...

The best part of the new year for me, is the fact that the award season is just around the corner (though sadly, I won't be able to enjoy it for the next two years). Critics Choice, Golden Globes, and the Oscars, oh my!

While 2009 is over and done with, the past year offered a great selection of films. Below are a few (non-blockbuster; unlike some good films out there: Avatar, Julie & Julia, Inglourious Basterds) films that are up for consideration and that I think you should really check out!

A Single Man (Directed by Tom Ford)
I will go on record as saying that this was, by far, my favorite movie of 2009.
Sure, the story of the marginalized outsider has been done before but never like this. Ford's attention to aesthetics pours over the audience so delicately that one does not mind the languid pace at which the story is moving (a pace reminiscent of time in Japanese and Chinese poetry), but instead one willingly accepts it.

A Single Man revolves around George Falconer (Colin Firth), an English professor recently widowed by the untimely death of his longtime partner (Mathew Goode), and his desire to escape a world that not only refuses to accept his true self, but has left him nothing but empty sentiments.

From the reverse fade to black at the beginning to the fade to white at the film's conclusion along with Ford's beautifully established relationship between color saturation and emotion within the story, I resigned myself, body and soul, to Ford's vision.

In short, this film was nothing short of inspiring.

An Education (Directed by Lone Scherfig)
A beautiful coming of age story about a cultured sixteen year old girl, Jenny (Carey Mulligan), living in suburban London during the 1960s and her struggle to follow her chosen (and more than capable) path of studying English in Oxford or discovering the joys the world around her has to offer.

While Jenny already preferred to intertwine French into her daily speech, rather than the Latin taught at school, and listened to Juliette Greco albums, as opposed to practicing her cello, her immersion in this new way of life comes when David (Peter Sarsgaard), an attractive and suave dark horse, swoops in to 'help'.

With the script set in the sixties, Jenny's character shows a feminist awakening which begins with a naive girl following her father's chosen path who then evolves into the poster child of the time period: knowledgeable and strong woman who realizes that one's life is not made or destroyed by a man's influence.

Bright Star (Directed by Jane Campion)
Based on the three-year romance between poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish) that was cut short by Keats' untimely death.

Jane Campion (one of my favorite directors, just fyi) again proves that she can unravel the heart's strongest emotions with her decadent character development and mise-en-scene. I felt like I was par taking in a smorgasbord of beauty and discovery which held Nature on a pedestal and humanity in a delicate lock of emotions, which is typical of Campion's style.

Each line that was uttered was said with meaning and seemed to reveal some fragility.

Honorable Mentions:

Up in the Air
The fact that this film started with interviews of recently fired employees amazes me. It is a lovable comedy which has the audience sympathizing with Clooney's 'victims' at first, but end up feeling sorry for Clooney's character as the story progresses.

The story was compelling and the acting from new actor, Gabby Sidibe, was heroic. Although I found the script rather complicated because it seemed like we were 'looking' at an issue rather than diving deep into it, Sidibe saved the film for me. Oh and can whoever was in charge of the awkward zooms during the tense moments of the film be fired. It definitely removed me from what was going on in the film.

The Lovely Bones
This is the Peter Jackson I knew with Heavenly Creatures. Vivid colors encapsulate the beautiful scenery and a time past while minute details give way towards weighty chracter development. If you haven't read the book, I hope this leads you to flip through the beautiful text. There is so much that wasn't included, but this is one time I can say that the film adaptation stays true to the novel.

The Hurt Locker
How would you feel if you woke up for work every morning not knowing whether you would live or die before your day was over? Unlike you or I, who shudder at the idea of disarming bombs in wartime for a living, there are people who are made for this. Katheryn Bigelow's film is an adrenaline rush wrapped in an action thriller that kept me at the edge of my seat until the very end.

Feel free to skip:

It's Complicated
If you've seen Something's Gotta Give, you will probably feel a deja vu coming on. In three words: It's been done. Sure it was funny and heartwarming at times, but the only thing that kept me watching was Meryl Streep. Watch it, but don't expect anything novel.

Maybe I expecting an adaptation of Fellini's 8 1/2 that spoke to a modern audience, but Rob Marshall seemed to deliver a skin deep musical that only seemed to dazzle the audience with Penelope Cruz gyrating on objects and fellow actors. Along with somewhat mediocre songs (which I will blame on the broadway musical), Kate Hudson seemed to be a part of the film for a total of five minutes only to be a part of a musical number where she speaks the words rather than sing. While some redeemable qualities include the staging/mise-en-scene and Marion Cotillard, I felt a little betrayed coming out of that theatre.

Have you seen any good movies lately?
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