Tag Archives: culture

Natalie Portman aka super-skinny Black Swan, jokes about being Fat.

15 Jan

Last night I watched the 2011 Critics Choice Award. And Natalie Portman won the the Best Actress award for her portrayal of a ballerina in Black Swan. I haven’t watched Black Swan yet, the trailer still creeps me out, but I’ll catch it on DVD once it’s out.

Btw, I love the white and black gown, very Roman goddess-like, and I thought she looked thoroughly glowing. Thank goodness that she gained weight back, she was x-tra super skinny in Black Swan. And she’s pregnant with her first child, not that you really notice in that dress, lol.

Natalie Portman

Image: VH1

I wasn’t a big fan of her acceptance speech. Why? She thanked the Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky, saying that, “You made me very skinny and now you’re indirectly responsible for getting me fat.”

The Black Swan director introduced her to her boyfriend and baby-daddy. I’m pretty sure that she was joking about the ‘fat’ part, but if she truly thinks she’s heavy now, she’s in for a surprise a couple of months down the road. Just saying.

But Natalie Portman also shared a ‘helpful hint’ (not!) she received to help her transform herself into the skinny ballerina she portrayed in Black Swan. After working out, practicing and rehearsing for the ballet scenes, Natalie was told that if she feels hungry at the end of the day, to drink a glass of skim milk. One glass of freaking skim milk.

So she starved herself thin for this role. And you know what? I’m even kind of okay with that, because it was part of her twisted job description. She’s her own judge if she wants to do that to herself and risk her health. She got paid to be tough on her body–like a boxer who risks a knockout in every match.

But because she happily shared this anecdote in her acceptance speech, I wonder how many women will think that if Natalie Portman lost weight that way, it must be okay and omg, even healthy? That starving yourself is a great idea to get thin? How many women will think this?

Too many, I fear. And that is part of the reason we have such a warped body image these days. And that’s the reason why I wasn’t keen on her acceptance speech, her jokes about being fat, her ‘funny’ weight-loss tips. Not funny for many, many women watching the show.

Otherwise, congrats on your Critics Choice Award for Best Actress, Natalie. May you gain a couple of pounds more and have fun being fat pregnant!

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“Embrace Me”, Body Confidence Project

14 Jan

This is sort of an update to my post about the Special K Challenge and the blogger who wrote a concise and enlightening post why the cereal Challenge should get lost.

The ‘I came to run’ blog has started a new project, called Embrace Me. And you are invited to participate:

It is in this spirit of acceptance that I’d like to start Embrace:Me, a project designed to encourage body confidence and treating yourself with a healthy, accepting attitude.  I feel strongly that by adopting a more positive attitude toward our own bodies, we can combat the effects of the pressure we feel from external sources, and from ourselves.  To show your support for Embrace:Me, I would love to hear your stories–stories of accomplishments, of body confidence, of anything that makes you feel good about yourself.  Maybe even a story about why you don’t have to justify your reasons for embracing the person you are to anyone else.

Please check out the complete post about the project Embrace Me on the blog ‘I came to run’.  And if you haven’t read her initial post about the Special K Challenge yet, it was sheer awesomeness and you should read it stat. She also has an update on her blog. She spoke with someone from Kellogg directly! You can get to her blog ‘I came to run” here.

Now, instead of the music I was listening to, there’s a radio ad running about a “Get Thin Today’ product, promising you a new life. But we already have a life, don’t we? What message is that sending to women, saying that your current life sucks because you aren’t thin?

Everything you plan to achieve in your future is just that, plans and goals, we all have something we want to achieve. We fail, we succeed or it’s something in-between, it’s called life. We all struggle with something.

But we are already worthy of love, happiness and acceptance right now.

I love that one blogger was able to rock Kellogg’s marketing boat. Love it. It’s an encouragement that you can really make a difference, however small, raise awareness and empower women. We only need to speak out, even if we think no one is listening.

Holly Madison vs Las Vegas Producer

13 Jan

Holly Madison is the star of a new burlesque Las Vegas show called ‘Peepshow’. And the producers apparently ordered Holly to lose weight, saying that she is too fat to get into the costumes for the show. (Source: Radar Online)

Image: Reuters

“I just feel like I market myself as a sex symbol, I don’t market myself as a fitness model or a professional dancer so I feel like the way I look is fine!” Holly said.

Yes, you look fine, Holly, a bit on the plastic side, but to each his own. Seriously, this smells like a marketing stunt to get free publicity for the show (I guess I just contributed).  If it isn’t a PR stunt, then this is another example of  what’s wrong with the world. No wonder we have so many eating disorders if the likes of Holly Madison are publicly told that they are too fat.

Common sense solution: Don’t diet, let out the costumes.

MTV Recap: “I Used To Be Fat”, Dominick

12 Jan

This week’s “I Used To Be Fat” is about Dominick, 18. MTV shows him on the day of his high school graduation. His family is Italian. I feel myself reminded of the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” you know, where the Greek family is all about food and lots of it. And MTV portrays Dominick’s food-loving family as his major obstacle in his quest for weight loss. Clearly, pasta is the devil incarnate. Ah, well, since I recapped all other episodes, why stop with Dominick’s.

Image: MTV

For Dominick, his weight gain started when the kids from his basketball team called him fat.  He lost his confidence, stopped doing sports, and withdrew inwardly.

Now, at graduation, he wants to say goodbye to his old self. He worries about his mom, who is overweight. He’s sick of being the big guy. Dominick wants to lose weight, he’s 306 lb,  and his Italian mother is the ‘bad guy’ here because she shows her love with food. It’s pasta four times a week, everyone, that can’t be good.

Saran arrives, his personal trainer, and they have a sit down at the table:

Saran: “Give me your summer then I’ll give you your life back.”

Where is Dominick’s life right now… Is he dead? Is there like a place where the ‘life’ of fat people hide until they’ve slimmed down? Just wondering…

So, he has 110 days to lose weight before he starts college. Which means a weight loss of 5 lb a week during the next 16 weeks. Is that healthy goal? I don’t know.

Saran, the trainer, checks out the fridge. And she throws away the packaged pasta. Why the heck do they throw away perfectly fine food? At least donate it to a food drive or something similar, this is seriously messed up.

Saran pulls out the guilt card—admonishing Dominick that he has never been in a gym and now has to suffer for it. Seriously, you can be active and healthy without ever setting food in a gym, just saying.

During the first workout, Dominick throws up into the trash bin. Saran blames the mother that Dominick isn’t in better shape, because, clearly, look at the overweight mom, she has let herself go—nice, Saran, go ahead and insult people because they are fat. Wouldn’t a good trainer be able to assist in a workout that doesn’t result in throwing up? Just wondering…

We see them on the tennis court. Playing tennis is something Dominick would love to do. But we actually don’t see them batting a ball over the net. Instead, he runs around with Saran piggyback style on his back. After he collapses on the ground, they have this conversation:

Saran: “Did you see what just happened today?”

Dominick: “I didn’t puke. I pulled through it.”

Saran: “Is this a new Dominick?”

Dominick: “Yes, it could be the new Dominick.”

Why are they talking about him in the third person? Is he still not alive yet? Is his ‘life’ still in this mysterious place? Will Saran give Dominick his life back soon? Questions, questions…

Saran has a chat with the mom, saying that Dominick doesn’t want to “lose her.” Basically implying that if the mom doesn’t start working out, she’ll die. Thus pressured, Dominick’s mother promises to work out. (Not a bad thing of course, I just dislike the delivery, also, God knows where the life of Dominick’s mom currently is…)

Three weeks later, Dominick weighs  281 lb. Did I mention he likes to wear a shirt with a muffin icon and the word ‘stud’ above it. I let you figure that one out.

Saran is back and makes a trip into the kitchen to check out the pantry…there’s whole wheat pasta now and even green beans, so she’s happy. Dominick is cooking—good for him—he seems to really enjoy it.

Dominick wants to go to culinary college and leave home. The mother cries for two days because she doesn’t want to let him go—empty nest syndrome and all that—I guess it’s understandable, but you can’t hold your teenager back.

Saran is on his side, encouraging him to stand up to his mom and follow his goal. Then she sits on his back while he’s doing his exercise. Well, at least someone is having fun here.

Finally, it’s his last day. Dominick’s hitting the gym again—reminiscing about his first day and how he threw up.  So Saran suggest doing a ‘crazy interval’ just to see if he throws up again. He burns off a thousand calories and doesn’t throw up—it’s a success, I guess. It’s also more than a bit cruel, this challenge. Needless to say, the trainer is proud.

If you care for numbers: Dominick went from 306 lb to 219 lb in 110 days.

We see him on his first day in culinary school (it’s in Chicago) and Dominick feels confident, more than he ever felt during high school. (Is there anyone out there who ever felt truly confident during high school? Anyone?) He lives with a couple of roommates and cooks for them, which I found awesome.

A month later, he visits his mom and his family and he shows off his skinny jeans. He’s proud of finishing something most of all. (And his mom has lost 64 lb.) MTV already has an update on Dominick, you can check out his video here.

I think Dominick did great on “I Used to be Fat.” Good for him for pursuing his career goals. Before the weight loss, Dominick seemed like a really nice guy with a love for funny, graphic t-shirts. He seemed the same after the weight loss. Whatcha think?

Vintage Ad: Wanted, 1000 Skinny People To Gain Solid Pounds of Flesh

7 Jan

This is a vintage advertisement from 1953: Wanted: 1000 Skinny People To Gain Solid Pounds of Flesh on Chest, Arms, Legs and Body – or Money Back! The ad promises a money back guarantee provided if consumer has not gained weight in 10 days after beginning usage of the product Poundex. According to the ad, Poundex was vanilla flavored and contained B12, B1 and malt.

Copyright: Medicine and Madison Avenue On-Line Project - Ad #MM0731, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

The thing I found funny was that the 1953’s ad singles out the guy’s butt only, but the girl should have well rounded cheeks, arms, boobs, butt, hips, thighs and calves. No pressure, ladies, no pressure. 

MTV recap: “I Used to be Fat”, Marci

6 Jan

I watched the first episode of MTV’s “I Used to be Fat”, (which was about Gabriella, recap here), so I tuned in for the second episode. This time around it was about Marci, 18, who wants to lose weight. But that’s where the similarities to Gabriella’s episode ended.

MTV I Used to be Fat, Marci

Image credit: MTV

Marci’s episode was very different from Gabriella’s. In a nutshell: Gabriella was a happy teenager and wanted to lose weight to please her pushy mother, imho. Gabriella seemed to have everything—friends, a social life, a homecoming queen tiara. I thought she looked happy and confident just the way she was.

Marci has no friends, no social life, nothing. She doesn’t look happy or confident. Marci rocks the gothic look, with dark eye makeup and black clothes. She sits in her room all day, watches TV and eats. This isn’t a great lifestyle, no matter what dress size or age. Marci was taken out of 6th grade because she was bullied for her weight. Since then she was homeschooled and sheltered.

What are her goals in life? Her first goal is first to win friends. (Well, there’s one. Heather, a pretty blonde, who has a crush on Marci’s trainer.)  Marci’s second goal is to go shopping for cute clothes. Well, cute clothes come in many sizes, but you can’t always find them in the boutique around the corner, granted. Not her fault, though.

And Marci’s third goal is to lose weight. Marci weighs 250 lbs  and has 89 days to lose 90 lbs—that is her goal. Her personal trainer is ex-military and offers her a very straightforward, boot camp style workout, lots of tough love. I did like that he inquired about Marci’s goals besides weight loss, and he seemed to listen. I liked that he hugged her, sweat or no sweat. Of course, he also used the phrase “you are so fat!” to shame her into working out harder–that’s where he lost all brownie points again.

But they did a variety of exercises, including boxing, and Marci seemed to enjoy it, which I thought was great. A way to vent your frustration.

Marci’s mother seems like a very gentle, loving mother who never denies her daughter anything, including driving her daily to fast food joints. Marci’s mom is a pushover—or so Marci’s trainer says. The family never eats together, but Marci eats her fast food alone in her room. Marci’s parents are divorced since she was four years old and ever since she was given everything her heart desires. Food became her source of comfort and love.

Marci learns how to chop onions and peppers. She never prepared her own meal before. Why her mother never involved Marci in the kitchen before I have no idea. But I thought that part was great about the show, mom and daughter together in the kitchen, cooking. They tried out something new together, which is so much more important than losing weight.

Then there’s more exercise, more sweat, and after losing 50 lbs, Marci and her mother go shopping in celebration, but the cute clothes still won’t fit. If I were Marci, I’d blame the clothes, not myself. But it was set up like a personal challenge so I fully expected that she visits the shop again after more weight loss.

And after 89 days and losing 90 lbs , Marci has achieved her goal. So she goes shopping again and lo and behold, the ‘skinny’ dress fits.

I thought what Marci needed most were friends, lots of them. She seemed like a girl starving for friendship. She wasn’t self-confident or happy at the start of the episode. In the end, it was quite fun to see her turn the tables and boss her trainer around on the lawn. We see her leaving for a Halloween party, dressed up like a dark angel with black wings. She feels gorgeous and amazing and confident.

I felt Marci gained something positive from the show, even though I don’t agree with the method it was achieved. She learnt how to cook, she had fun working out, she seemed to have a new sparkle in her eye. Marci did it for herself, not for anyone else—well, if you don’t count anyone who ever bullied her for being a “fat girl”. I thought the overall message was that you have to lose weight to have a happy social life, to find friends. Which isn’t true. But you don’t gain self-esteem by sitting in your room all day, every day, so how could Marci possibly have developed a healthy self-confidence?

I wish someone could have taken Marci by the hand and introduced her to new people, social activities, volunteering, anything really, to get her in contact with people outside her immediate family. It wasn’t about losing weight for her, she seemed lonely above anything else.

(Related post: I Used to be Fat, Dominick)

Fat “Hello Kitty” Girl vs The Millionaire Matchmaker

5 Jan

Well, that wasn’t pretty, or romantic, what happened in last night’s episode of The Millionaire Matchmaker. Robin Kassner, a plus-sized, rich publicist, is looking for love and sees herself next to a Matthew McConaughey type. Patti Stanger introduced her as a Jessica Simpson kind of girl, only fat.

(I guess this posts falls again under the “crap I watch so you don’t have to” tag.)

I’ve watched the show before and it came to no surprise that Patti Stanger was neither very gentle, nice nor diplomatic with the plus-sized Robin. Patti calls her a plumby dumpty, but, actually, Patti is verbally abusive to all her clients, so why stop with the fat chick, right? I’m cool with that.

But Patti also thinks that Robin doesn’t deserves a hotty hunk along the lines of Matthew McConaughey. Because Robin is fat. Well, I’m not cool with that statement.

But that’s just theoretically speaking. Because while I was fully prepared to like Robin–and she is adorable with her love for the color pink and ‘Hello Kitty’ stuff–she is also pretty annoying. So, being fat doesn’t guarantee that I like you, honey 🙂

Anyho, Robin picks a plumber as her date and they both have what I’d call a disaster of a first date. Even though I didn’t get the impression that Robin was enjoying herself with the guy–they went bike riding–she still offered to buy him a motorcycle and a car. And then she became a tad t0o touchy feely with him. If the roles had been reversed, the outcry would have been louder.

In the end, Patti refused to continue to work with Robin, calling her superficial… There’s a part of an interview with Robin, via Huffington Post:

They filmed me for three weeks and then they spliced and diced it to create a compelling story. It’s a reality show on Bravo so their job in the editing room is to create maximum drama.

I haven’t seen the show yet but from the previews I would say I was portrayed in a way that communicated an exciting story. The previews make me look superficial but in real life I just a simple Connecticut girl making it in a big-city world.

I’m fully prepared to take Robin’s word for it. It’s a reality show after all–heavily scripted. In any case, who’s to say what you “deserve” or don’t “deserve” in life because you’re a plus-sized chick? Surely not a show like The Millionaire Matchmaker.

Fat Pig, Broadway Debut with Julia Stiles, Dane Cook, Josh Hamilton

4 Jan

Neil LaBute’s play Fat Pig is going to be a Broadway production in 2011. Julia Stiles, Dane Cook and Josh Hamilton are already on board.

 

Fat Pig, the book. Soon on Broadway.

 

 

If you’ve never seen the play, there’s also a book with the same title:

Cow. Slob. Pig. How many insults can you hear before you have to stand up and defend the woman you love? Tom faces just that question when he falls for Helen, a bright, funny, sexy young woman who happens to be plus sized-and then some. Forced to explain his new relationship to his shallow (although shockingly funny) friends, finally he comes to terms with his own preconceptions of the importance of conventional good looks.

If you’re unfamiliar with the play, Fat Pig tells us the story of story of Tom (Hamilton), an eligible bachelor who falls for the beautiful, bright and plus-sized Helen. Tom is overjoyed with his new relationship but his shallow co-workers are less enthusiastic. Tom shrugs off their objections but eventually the cruel jabs of his acerbic friend Carter (Cook) and Jeannie (Stiles), a former flame, force him to question his own values and the importance of conventional good looks. Source: Playbill.com

The role of Helen isn’t cast yet. Fat Pig will officially debut in the Belasco Theatre in midtown-Manhattan on April 26 this year.

What I like about the play is that Helen has come to terms with society’s view of her. She’s a self-confident librarian, single but content. Helen is fat without shame or apology. Tom struggles to accept his love for Helen because she falls outside of the mainstream ideal of beauty. The pressure he gets from his friends to find a “normal looking” girl is too much for him. And he suffers for Helen because of the abuse she receives for being fat.

In the play, there’s no happy end for the couple. Even though they love each other, they part ways. Tom turns out a coward, choosing public opinion over the girl he loves. And it’s Helen who stays strong, she’s the one you root for, she’s the one who ultimately leaves Tom. Helen is portrayed as a confident women, comfortable in her own skin. I think Neil LaBute’s play brilliantly analyzes society’s devotion to today’s ideals of beauty and questions our own ability to stand up to it.

Anyone read the book, seen a previous play?

The Bachelor Recap—Brad Womack Encore, season premiere. Is he here for the Right Reasons?

3 Jan

Brad Womack is back! The most controversial Bachelor ever! It’s been three years since Brad kicked two hopeful girls to the curb. But after three years he’s a changed man. He’s crawling in the dust. The poor dear, he suffered panic attacks. Especially after reading in the interwebz what a jerk he was. He went into therapy, he blamed his father for all his commitment issues—always a popular choice. Brad deprived the female population three years of his oiled, bare chest. But, hey, he’s a villain, don’t you dare think he’s hot.

If you haven’t noticed, my recap of The Bachelor is unapologetic sexist and very judgmental. Also, this post isn’t about fat chicks, so I go with the tag #this-isn’t-about-fat-chicks-sorry.

But now, now he’s ready. All his brothers are married, with kids, and that’s what Brad wants too. Honestly, I fear he’s looking for a babymaker.

Anyho, the girls are introduced. Gosh, sorry, at that point in the season, I can’t remember all the names. But there’s a nanny, a dentist, a manscaper, a girl who takes care of dead people aka funeral director. Brad, I’m sure there will be a girl who will guard and protect your heart and take care of you after you say your final goodbyes.

Then DeAnna and Jenny (spelling?) turn up and give Brad a hard time. Well, you can’t say he doesn’t deserve it. Again, Brad confirms how serious he is, how much therapy he went through. At this point I start to feel sorry for the poor dear. It must be hard, to be a hot millionaire with commitment issues. And, how many times can you apologize before you start grating on my nerves?

Brad’s worst fear is rejection—so our sensitive host Chris tells him to not screw up this time. No pressure.

The Bachelor Brad Womack

Image: ABC

The women arrive—apparently they don’t know that the new bachelor is evil Brad—and the first girl slaps him in the face because he deserves it. There’s a girl with vampire fangs…hmm, I suspect she’s only there so the viewers will feel sorry for Brad and forget that he was a jerk. And there’s a chick who can do a high kick–does that hint at sexual prowess?

After 30 very pretty women in a variety of colorful dresses—and a nutcase or two–greeted Brad, he feels undeserving. Well, hold on to that thought, pal—a little humility goes a long way. Did I mention not a plus-sized girl in sight?

Brad’s changed, or so he tells us over and over again. “Soul Searching” is the key expression. The single ladies are skeptical but no one wants to leave when Brad offers them an easy out. They are still holding out for a Brad-takes-his-shirt-off moment. One girl asks him if he could handle her big butt. OMG, is Brad there for the right reasons? Did I mention that I love this show?

He gives the first impression rose to the chick (a nanny) who told him that she’ll be his friend. Sigh. If Brad had some balls he’d have given that first rose to the girl who slapped him. But, clearly, guys love girls who aren’t tough on them.

Brad picks 20 out of the 30 hopefuls. How the heck does he remember all the names? And why pick vampire-chick? And high-kick girl?

I’m going to dub this season “Brad, Is-He-Here-For-The-Right-Reasons? Season.”

ABC shows quite a few spoilers for what’s still to come in this season. Next Monday can’t come fast enough. How about you? Did you buy Brad’s change of heart? Is Brad Womack deserving of a second chance? Do you even care, lol?

The Bachelor, ABC. Will you watch?

3 Jan

I’ve watched past seasons of the Bachelor. Why? Because it’s plain ol’ entertainment. It’s cheesy and awkward. It’s rarely romantic but oh the drama. I probably agree with everything negative you can come up with regarding the show. I’ll still watch it–it’s like a traffic accident, you can’t look away. I’ve also watched the season where Brad Womack famously dissed the two girls in the finale, not proposing marriage to either of them. Now Brad is back, still looking hot.

The Bachelor

Image: ABC

It should be noted that The Bachelor has nothing to do with the general theme of my blog. Unless, maybe, Brad Womack will be able to pick from a batch of plus-sized girls? I don’t think so. But I’ll watch it just in case I’m mistaken. Maybe women of every age, hair color and dress size are represented. Maybe Brad falls for a curvy, red-haired, plus-sized girl, who knows. So I have to watch, there. (I might write a Bachelor recap of the first episode, but not sure yet.) Edited to add: Yes, I did a Bachelor Recap here.

And about the age–I just had a sneak peek at the single girls at the ABC site. Most of them are in their early, mid-twenties. Brad Womack is 38 years old. Ahaha, the old double standard. Good luck to all the single ladies, I wish you strong nerves, you’ll need them.

Look at the time, show’s about to start and popcorn isn’t ready yet… Will you watch how the Bachelor breaks hearts again or do you hate the show?

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