Celebrity, Women

Tess Munster is NOT Promoting Obesity. Shut up.

When I first heard the news that 29-year-old Tess Munster, a plus size social media queen who started the #effyourbeautystandards campaign, landed a major modeling contract, I was psyched. At 5’5″ and 260 lbs, she’s the first legit plus size model. (yeah, Calvin Klein, hate to break it to you, but size 10 is not plus sized. You can find size 10 at any store that’s not 5.7.9.)  Munster is gorgeous, and it’s refreshing to see someone closer to my body type as a mainstream model.


However, there are a lot of backwards minded people that take to the comments section to express outrage that Munster is “promoting obesity.” This is so frustrating on so many levels. As a woman who has spent most of her life plus sized, let me tell you–it ain’t easy. It isn’t easy for anyone, but for some reason, if you’re above a certain size, you get shit on quite a bit, even when people are trying to sing your praises. Check out this awesome comment from Sean Stephane Marin on HuffPo Canada’s piece on Munster (yeah, smart move using Facebook to comment, by the way:)


“So we’ve gone from the way to skinny to the Frighteningly Beyond Voluptuous.

Sorry. I’m sure she’s a perfectly nice person. But being a model is about the superficial only, and if this passes for beauty now, I weep for this society. Someone should get this woman to a gym pronto.” 


That’s not even the worst, check out Brea O’Keefe’s comment:


So glad to hear this!

Right now, only 2 out of 3 Americans are obese. We can do better. Let’s shoot for 3 out of 3 by promoting obesity even more than we do. Let’s tell everyone, “Obesity is beautiful!”.

After all, those of us who watch our weight don’t mind at all that our health insurance premiums will go up to pay for all the medical problems (diabetes, heart disease, knee and hip replacements, etc) you’ll have. ; )


I’m outraged. These people are ignorant and I’m so sick of the fat=instant diabetes argument. ANYONE can get type 2 diabetes, even–gasp–thin people! She is not promoting obesity. She is representing a body type that does exist. And several outlets have pointed out that she works out with a trainer. And this is promoting obesity how…?


The thing that really pisses me off is people think that plus sized people don’t know that they’re plus sized, and thus, have to be reminded at every  turn. I’m on the smaller end of plus size and I still get shit–I once had a customer tell me that because of my size, I was going to get type II diabetes. I raged on him and let him know that he did not have the right to talk to me like that, my health was none of his business, all while he was babbling that he was trying to help, it’s how he got type II diabetes, he was sorry. I kept my mouth shut and didn’t tell him that he was likely going to get cancer eating the heavily processed chocolate syrup he was purchasing, so why not go to the produce department and get an apple instead?


I think a lot of these commenters don’t realize that they’re not on Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity council and what they say is not only hurtful, but toxic. It’s annoying and it gets internalized. It’s easy to laugh off, but there’s this little voice that pops up, there must something wrong with me if people keep talking. Why am I so big? Do men only date me out of desperation? I think the people who are shitting on Tess Munster are verbalizing their own self hatred: “how dare this larger woman be prettier than me!! That’s not what society told me!! I’m ashamed that find her sexually attractive!! I’m taking my shit out on her because she’s an easy target!!” 


This just needs to stop. For any size, really–I’ve had friends be whispered about for having an non-existent eating disorder simply because they were thin. I once snapped at a friend trying to help me on a bad day that, because she gets stopped on the street and complimented on her beauty that she knew nothing about the difficulties of dating. Her response: “It may be easier for me to meet [guys,] but it winds up being the same in the end–they either want nothing to do with me, or to just to sleep with me.” Nobody wins. So why can’t we take Munster’s modeling contract as a victory for women of a certain size instead of a forum for obesity and health? Doesn’t it get tiring to shit on people after a while?

Celebrity, Women

Fiona Apple’s Health is None of Our Business

On Thursday night, Fiona Apple was performing in Portland (OR) when a heckler decided that Apple’s set was the perfect time to air her thoughts on the singer’s health.

According to E! Online, it went down like this:


“Fiona! Get healthy! We want to see you in 10 years!” the female heckler yelled out, according to Stereogum. Apple was said to be visibly distraught and proceeded to yell back, “I am healthy! Who the f—k do you think you are? I want to get the f—k out of here. I want the house lights on so I watch you leave!” The lights reportedly did come on and the very vocal audience member threw out one more remark while exiting, saying, “I saw you 20 years ago and you were beautiful!”Apple subsequently began to cry and expressed her frustration to the crowd. She managed to collect herself enough to perform “Waltz (Better Than Fine),” but she sang it while slightly sobbing. She soon became very emotional again and, apologizing to the audience, walked off the stage, thereby bringing the show to an end.



This pisses me off for a myriad of reasons. Who does this heckler think she is? Is she a relative? Is she Apple’s doctor? Is she just trying to get attention? From any stand point, that’s just wrong. Going to a Fiona Apple show is not the same as going to say, a One Direction concert–Apple plays small venues, 1D plays arenas and stadiums, where if you scream anything, they will most likely not hear it as 20,000 other people are screaming things at the same time. Also, this was a personal attack under the guise of concern. It was not the time nor the place for this heckler to say anything to Apple.


Fiona Apple performing



While we have published posts that do talk about body types and health of women in the media, they were never to shame, they were written to critique the gossip blogs that were spinning these stories into national concern. This piece is written to critique the person who heckled a performer to the point of tears because she feels they don’t appear to be her definition of healthy. Yes, her appearance has changed over the years, but that’s still no reason to heckle someone when they are onstage in front of an audience. Even people commenting on the story on other blogs/social media sites share the sentiment of, “oh, that sucks, but Apple obviously has an eating disorder and/or heroin problem. She was skinny when she was in the “Criminal” video in ’97, but she had a youthful glow about her, so the heckler kind of has a point.”



What point? To call out someone’s appearance and then decide that they may or may not have a serious addiction/disorder? To make a singer/songwriter cry in the middle of her set? To shame her for being what they feel is too thin? To point out that her appearance has changed over the years?  It’s bullshit. It’s so rude, and unnecessary. Apple’s health is none of our concern as she has not chosen to disclose any details in regard to the matter. Was she endangering herself at the concert? Was she endangering her audience? No? Then this heckler is just being mean to get some attention (which sadly, she has succeeded in doing.) And also, I would like to point out that just because someone “looks” like they may have an eating disorder or drug addiction doesn’t always mean that they do.


So what’s your take? Was the heckler right to call out Apple, or is this just more shaming?

News, Women

MMA Fighters With Breast Implants Can’t Fight In Louisiana

Last Wednesday, the Louisiana State Boxing and Wrestling Commission passed an emergency ruling prohibiting female fighters with breast implants from competing in MMA tournaments unless they have permission from the doctor who performed the surgery. Why? A few weeks ago, a fighter was forced to withdraw from a match after her implant ruptured.  Okay, they’re worried about the safety of the fighters, that’s actually kind of nice. That’s not what concerned the commission–apparently, this issue was so serious, it warranted a hearing at the Louisiana state capitol where commissioner Harold Williams decided that “if [women] want to look good, then they don’t have to be in the ring.”


If that weren’t bad enough, the meeting didn’t come about of concern for women’s health, it came because apparently, not only is it expensive to fix boob jobs, but “I don’t know of a single plastic surgeon who is going to allow his artistic work to be messed up,” says Dr. Thomas Ferguson, a member of the commission.



Are you serious? While we’ve discussed the darker side of plastic surgery, ultimately, it is a personal choice. So what if someone wants to compete in MMA matches and get breast implants? Women in sports have it rough–they have to be camera ready, yet if they’re too pretty, they’re just models with a bit of athletic ability. That being said, if they’re too “unattractive,” they’re butch punchlines. It’s really not fair, and this ruling isn’t helping. It’s also infuriating that it seems the doctors aren’t concerned about the fighters, but about their work–that the fighters are just sculptures, not human beings. I understand that it takes time, but come on, at least acknowledge that these women are humans.


This seems to have started from a place of concern–a fighter had a breast implant ruptured. But now, thanks to sexist comments, it’s turned into something else. But you have to admit, there is definitely some sexism behind the whole thing–one ruptured implant causes a moratorium while severe head injuries continue to happen left and right? It’s not like implants rupture every day–and yes, there can be serious health risks if one does, but there are women who have had ruptured implants that weren’t MMA fighters.


What’s your take, LivLunatics? Is the Louisiana State Boxing and Wrestling Commission right, or is this just another way to keep female athletes down?

Celebrity, Women

The Women of The Wolverine

I went to see The Wolverine last night, and was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t that I thought the film was going to be bad, I was just surprised to see that women played such a big role–and not just as a sexy villain or damsel in distress.I’ve mentioned before that women in comic book movies are kind of a mixed bag. While they’ve come a long way from just being the love interest/damsel in distress and are also the heroes or love interests with awesome careers, there’s still an element that comic book movies are meant for men.

While I’m not going to call The Wolverine a feminist film by any means, it was a nice surprise to see that women were such a major part of the story, and not just as a prize of sorts. Before reading further, here’s a quick summary of The Wolverine for those not familiar with the X-Men/Wolverinefilms as I can’t write one myself without giving too much away and pointing out differences between the comics and the movies the way my inner Comic Book Guy wants to.  If you’ve seen the film, you’re good to go.

The Wolverine has four major women: Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Mariko (Tao Okamodo), Yukio (Rila Fukushima), and Dr. Green/Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova). Now, I know there may be some people who are confused as to why I’m celebrating these choices when Jean Grey haunts Wolverine and spends her time in the film in a lacy white nightie, Mariko is a damsel in distress and gets kidnapped more than once, and Viper’s powers are sexualized (she uses her tongue a lot, I’ll leave it at that.) Again, I’m not saying that The Wolverine is a feminist film by any means, but without these women, there would be no story.  And the women put twists on the tropes.

Jean in a nightie is more than just serving as eye candy to the men in the audience–it’s a symbolic choice, as she is dead. She is at peace, and the white suggests a rebirth as she was downright evil in the last X-Men movie she appeared in. Mariko, while initially presented as a docile, innocent woman, is not a typical damsel in distress. Unlike when Rogue (a mutant with the ability to really mess people up by stealing their memories/powers, mind you) got kidnapped in the first X-Menfilm and screamed her head off while waiting for Cyclops and Wolverine to save her, Mariko fights back. She’s not afraid to stand up to Wolverine, either. She is proficient in knife throwing, and is super important to the climax of the film, which I’m not about to give away as the film just opened last weekend.

While Viper is sexy, she is not one to be messed with. She is a mutant who is immune to every poison known to man, and is responsible for infecting Wolverine, who is supposed to be an immortal quick healer, making him invincible. She is also a brilliant biochemist, not just a woman who uses sex to get what she wants. She is cold, she is uncaring and doesn’t have a change of heart at the end, which is refreshing. I was also impressed with her final fight scene, after expecting to be disappointed (again, the film just opened last weekend, I can’t give too much away!)

rsz_yhdfjsfuyohiI haven’t even touched on Yukio, who may be my new favorite character. A mutant who is able to foresee death, she is also an assassin who is very proficient with a sword. While it’s easy to dismiss her as an anime character come to life, she is not a stereotypical giggly school girl meant to annoy Wolverine–she’s a serious warrior meant to assist him, yet is not cold and heartless, she has personality, which is rare–female sidekicks either have to be stone cold bitches or goofy cartoon characters. Yukio hits the balance.  At one point in the film, she tells Wolverine that she is his bodyguard, and is also a decent part of the climax, which I loved. She’s also featured on the Russian theatrical poster (pictured, left) along with Viper–however, unlike Viper, who appears to be modeling the latest in green raincoats, Yukio is ready for a fight, not gazing adoringly at Wolverine.

While women still have a ways to go in terms of comic book movies, I feel that The Wolverine is a step in the right direction, perhaps taking a cue from the Joss Whedon directed The Avengers, where the women actually fought instead of just being eye candy princess-y types. While the audience for comic book movies will always be largely men, it’s nice to see that they’re realizing that women like comics and comic book movies too. (I’m pretty sure they included a scene of Wolverine getting a bath and haircut to appeal to women, not gonna lie.) Maybe soon, we will get that Black Widow or Wonder Woman movie!

So, LivLunatics, what’s your take on the women of The Wolverine? Are they a step in the right direction in terms of women in comic book movies?


Holy Sexism, Batman! What is up With Geek Culture?

I’m seeing a disturbing trend in geek culture, true believers. I see many blog posts and news stories posts calling out the sexism and misogyny within the culture. Don’t get me wrong, I like that it’s being called out. It needs to be called out. I just don’t like there’s this awful attitude towards women in geek culture in the first place. This awful attitude goes beyond the trouble with the roles of women in comic book movies–I’ve seen posts asking a photography company to stop using cosplay images on body pillows, reposts of angry tweets directed at Feminist Frequency‘s Anita Sarkeesian and her vlogs on video games, and posts documenting sexual harassment at various sci-fi/comic book conventions.


What the hell is going on?Aren’t geek guys supposed to be shy and nice and excited whenever a girl shows interest in something the mainstream considers “lame?” you may be thinking. Oh wait, I see the problem. Geek culture has become mainstream. CBS airs The Big Bang Theory (pictured at left), a sitcom where two physicists are the lead and not only do they talk about science, they talk about comic books, sci-fi movies and tv shows, video games, computer parts, conventions, so on and so forth without any shame. San Diego Comic-Con is no longer just about comic books, it’s more of a pop culture convention if anything–I just read that the cast of How I Met Your Mother will be going this year. Last I checked, HIMYM was about a man searching for his soul mate, not about a superhero or captain of a futuristic space command center.  I feel that a lot of these geeks see this as an invasion, and are fiercely trying to hold on to things that are no longer considered quirky or unique to their subculture.


When women get involved, it’s tricky. I feel there’s a sense of “women are trying to take over, trying to make it PC, change everything we love and grew up with.” It doesn’t help if the woman in question is considered “hot” or “attractive,” more mainstream. The vicious attacks against Sarkeesian to me are partially these guys saying “Hey, you’re a hot girl, I’m supposed to show you what video games are, you can’t know this already, who are you to say that there’s sexism in Super Mario Bros.? I hate you! You’re taking away my special thing.” If the women aren’t discussing these games, they get accused of not being a part of the fandom, they’re just seen as women who like to dress as sexy versions of Princess Peach, The Pink Power Ranger, Wonder Woman, etc. They’re not real geeks, they’re not welcome–so what are they supposed to do?


I feel a lot of this is tied into the “nice guy” thing–that certain guys feel that these women, who, if it weren’t for the popularization of geek culture, would have no interest in it, owe them something. “I’m a nice guy, I’m sweet, we both like Power Rangers, but you’re still going after a guy I think is a jerk because he looks like a guy who gave me a swirly in 6th grade? Fuck you, bitch, you probably don’t actually like the show, you just think the costumes are cute, you’re not a real fan!” It’s ridiculous, and has actually made me wary of “geeky guys” for that reason. Just because they’re not “meatheads” does not mean that they’re exempt from being jerks.


So what can we do to change this? Keep calling it out. If women want to do cosplay, they can be whomever they damn well please–they’re not dressing up to impress the men in attendance, they’re dressing up because they love a character and want to show their appreciation, get into the spirit of the convention. They didn’t ask to be body pillows, and they certainly didn’t ask for you to grab their ass while being photographed with you. Anita Sarkeesian isn’t shunning video games, she’s just letting people know that they can be problematic with character design and the roles of women within the stories. That’s all.


What’s your take, LivLunatics? The the mainstreaming of geek culture a fad, or is there no such thing? Are people being too protective of their favorite superheroes and sci-fi icons? Why the hate towards women?

Celebrity, Women

Enough With Rape Threats.

Trigger Warning: Rape

Writer and comedian Lindy West is finding herself faced with rape threats. Why? Because she dared to call out rape culture in comedy.Last Thursday, West (below) appeared on FX’s Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell to have a debate with comic Jim Norton about censorship in comedy, with focus on rape jokes in particular, and how they contribute to rape culture. The debate has caused a great deal of controversy. West described the feedback as:

“And how did they try and prove me wrong? How did they try to demonstrate that comedy, in general, doesn’t have issues with women? By threatening to rape and kill me, telling me I’m just bitter because I’m too fat to get raped, and suggesting that the debate would have been better if it had just been Jim raping me.

This isn’t just coming from anonymous trolls. Local comics — whom I know and work with — have told me to shut the fuck up. One hopes I’ll fall down a flight of stairs. (He later apologized—to my boyfriend, not me.)”

This is rage inducing for so many reasons–West’s point was that one has to understand the situation behind a joke before they make it. When people don’t get the joke, taking it too seriously or calling the offended “too sensitive,” it contributes to a big problem. Telling someone they’re “too fat to be raped” or “it would have been better if the show was just [Norton] raping you” is unacceptable, especially when the response is to someone saying they’re uncomfortable with a very violent sexual act. The reason rape jokes are particularly sensitive as it’s so complex–the way our society handles it is women get taught “don’t get raped,” rather than teaching men “don’t rape.” (Men get raped too, and women can be rapists, yes, but the prevalent problem seems to be with men raping women.)

These responses are only proving West right–our culture is so messed up when it comes to dealing with rape culture. This isn’t a matter of whether or not she’s hypersensitive, this is a matter of a woman who is being threatened with violence simply because she didn’t agree with a man’s take on rape jokes. It happens more often and in more subtle ways than outright saying “I’m going to rape you.” On Twitter a few weeks ago, Katy Perry commented that she wasn’t a fan of Chief Keef’s song called “I Hate Being Sober.” Keef’s response?

“Dat (sic) bitch Katy Perry Can Suck Skin Off Of my Dick […] Ill (sic) Smack The Shit out her.”


Instead of calling him out on his vulgar attitude towards her, Perry wound up apologizing to himKaty Perry apologized to Chief Keef. Not the other way around. The scary thing is, Chief Keef is only seventeen, and thinks it’s acceptable to talk to women or anyone like that. “But he’s just a kid! He doesn’t know any better, he’s just being stupid” some people may think upon reading this exchange. Yes, he is stupid, but that’s no excuse for talking like that.

West and Perry’s experiences are examples as to why we need better education about rape and rape culture. West and Perry should not be faced with threats of sexual violence for expressing distaste over an opinion/song. Perry had no reason to apologize to Chief Keef. She was the one being threatened, not him. I’m finding more and more people who think it’s okay to use rape as a verb. It’s not. It’s not just a word, it’s an act of sexual violence that our society doesn’t seem to have a real grip on for whatever reason.

What’s your take, LivLunatics? How can we teach about rape/rape culture in a way that will get people to stop making light of such an awful and complex thing? What do you think of West and Perry’s individual responses?

Celebrity, Women

Rex Reed Calls Melissa McCarthy “Tractor Sized”–How Mature.

I don’t understand why body type has to come into play during film reviews. Unless it is an essential part to the role an actor is playing, there is no need to make comments. Someone forgot to tell New York Observer film critic Rex Reed that it’s not necessary.

In his review of the Melissa McCarthy/Jason Bateman action comedy Identity Thief, Reed not only trashes the film, but McCarthy’s appearance as well. He calls her “cacophonous, tractor-sized” and a “female hippo.” He also goes on to say:

“Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) is a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success […] Poor Jason Bateman. How did an actor so charming, talented, attractive and versatile get stuck in so much dreck?”

Rex’s criticisms are very mean spirited. It’s one thing not to like McCarthy’s performance, but why is it necessary to throw in comments about her body size, especially when she’s been so candid about her struggles with weight loss and accepting her curves. In the November 2012 issue of Good Housekeeping, McCarthy said:

“I don’t really know why I’m not thinner than I am. I don’t really drink soda, I don’t have a sweet tooth, and we eat healthfully at home […] Sometimes I wish I were just magically a size 6 and I never had to give it a single thought, but I am weirdly healthy, so I don’t beat myself up about it — it wouldn’t help, and I don’t want to pass that on to my girls.”

As a woman who has spent most of their life plus-sized, I can tell you, seeing these criticisms is hurtful. Sure, it’s easy to laugh it off and call Reed an asshole, but these messages get internalized, that once again, plus-sized people are being told they’re disgusting and should be locked away, never to be seen. It’s sick. Clearly, Reed is not going to be responsible for the end of McCarthy’s career (which doesn’t appear to be slowing down at all,) but as a professional, he should keep his criticisms about the film itself, not the appearance of the actresses–Bateman got away with being “attractive.”

I’m sick of the sexism and fat shaming in Hollywood, aren’t you, LivLunatics? Ugh. Are you sick of criticisms like Reed’s? Have you seen Identity Thief? Did McCarthy’s figure ruin the film?