While there are endless examples of fat female characters portrayed in an unappealing light on television, fewer and farther between are positive portrayals of female fatness. When you come across one, even if it's on an otherwise dull show, it's refreshing to see. I'd like to take in a few of those breaths of fresh air here, for your reading pleasure.
In the past year, rapes in the city of Dallas have increased 25.3%. Seriously. Such a huge increase of reported rapes would be shocking anywhere, but in a city where crime of all sorts is down 6.3%, a 25.3% jump in rape is astounding. At a Public Safety Committee meeting on Monday, though, Police Chief David Brown came up with a brilliant solution to decrease the number of rapes in the city. Not really though.
Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
What are your thoughts? What have you been reading?
The conflict between proud statements about viewing things intersectionally and actually being an intersectional feminist is at the core of many problems within the feminist movement right now. Including the feminist pushback to critiques of pop culture that focus on issues other than the depiction of cis, nondisabled, heterosexual, white women.
Mary Elizabeth Williams doesn't want to be sold pants by an ugly person. In her recent article for Salon, Williams maintains that the appearance-centered hiring practices and employee regulations of retail giants American Apparel and Abercrombie & Fitch are just, you know, logical and unproblematic corporate tactics to uphold brands. They're not lookist, they're not racist, and they're not sexist. Based on the evidence, though, we can't give her analysis that much credit.
If you're on a site about feminist response to pop culture (spoiler alert: you are), you have probably heard of the Bechdel Test for movies. Conceived in Alison Bechdel's Dykes To Watch Out For, the test is simple: to pass, the movie in question must feature a conversation between two named female characters that is not about a man. It's a good indication of whether or not a film is at all concerned with women, or if its focus is entirely on men. It's deceptively simple; upon hearing this for the first time, I thought "well, surely almost every film must pass!" But no.
While I am not the movie writer in residence here (check out Snarky's archive for that!) I've found that it's easily applicable to other forms of media, including television! It's not a standard I apply to every single episode of every single television show I watch, but more of something that occurs to me while I'm watching. "Oh," I'll think while watching Tami and Tyra talk about college on Friday Night Lights. "This episode clearly passes the Bechdel test! Awesome!" The Bechdel test is not a way to tell whether or not a show is feminist—that depends on the viewer's interpretation of the show and their definition of feminism—but it's a good way to gauge the development and value of female characters on the show.
There, I said it. No fairy godmother is going to come down and give you fancy One-seeking slippers, there's not some other higher-power-created other half of you waiting equally wistfully for you to walk into his or her life, and there's no ultimate, perfect person out there that, if you make one mistake or break one undefined rule, you'll fuck it up with and thereby end up alone.
The game is called "Hey, Baby", and it is a game about street harassment. It is a first-person shooter where you play as a woman walking around a city fighting off waves of men who approach you while repeating "classic" street harassment lines, everything from the notorious "Smile, baby" to shouted rape threats. Killing the harassers results in a gravestone popping up with their line engraved on it.
Fat fashion, while still leaving much to be desired, has definitely come a long way. I can remember going to Lane Bryant with my mom as a little girl and being horrified by the beaded, sequined, baggy travesties they called clothes. Now the travesties are poly-cotton blend! I joke; Lane Bryant is not my favorite plus size store, but they have improved 110% over the years.