In the Name of the Moon!

Many children of my generation (the 90’s) were presented with female empowerment through the Sailor Moon anime. I was introduced to this series through the ’90s American dub which eventually lead me to reading the manga and hunting down the Japanese version (subbed of course). The story follows fourteen year-old Usagi Tsukino (known as Serena to  American audiences via the 90s dub of the anime) and her friends, who transform into planetary sailor soldiers using their powers to protect the Earth from evil forces seeking to destroy it.  As the series that sparked my interest in manga, anime and cosplay (which has only grown in the years since) it holds a very special place in my heart.

So in honor of it being June 30th, the canon birthday of Sailor Moon/Princess Serenity herself, Usagi Tsukino, I’m sharing  a few of the messages and themes from this series that had a profound influence on me as well as a generation of young men and women.  Disclaimer: A version of this post was published on the 4 Real Women International blog site in 2014 but has since been take down.  Also while there are so many incarnations of Sailor Moon (the manga, the 90’s anime, the stage shows known as Sera Myu and the live action series, PGSM) this blog post will only make reference to the manga and the ’90s anime. Continue reading

+Size Matters – Body Positive vs Offensive Narratives

This  year marks the first time that I’ve made a point to have a Netflix account. It started with me opening what must have been my eighth account under a different email address for another free trail and after I ended up getting charged for one month since I forgot to cancel it, I figured I might as well give this service a try for a year. Thus I too have taken to binge-watch sessions after work well into the early hours of the morning of many shows and movies.

For the most part I’ve taken to watching anime and catching up on shows that my friends were raving about years before, like Sherlock. Yes,  I’m “tardy to the party” but hey at least I’m here now, haha. Anyway, I say all this because Netflix originals were on the very bottom of my “To Watch” list and with shows like Insatiable being  produced by the service, I feel that I was right in not going that route with my new streaming binge-watching habit.

Image result for netflix insatiable

Image Credit: Spoiler TV

Honestly, when the online petition reached 100,000 signatures back in July I believed that the show would never be an option to be streamed on Netflix but obviously this didn’t stop production. Sure this is old news by this point but it still warrants a bit more discussion as it demonstrates the significance of narratives that are presented to an audience – well, at least I think it does.

The basic plot of the show is as follows: a formerly overweight teenager turned beauty queen sets out to get revenge on everyone who tormented her when she was bigger. According to the creator, the show is meant to tackle major social issues attached to weight and fat-shaming through comedy and satire. She has even gone on the record to say that the backlash the show got at the release of its trailer was nothing more than a form of censorship. [Insert eye-roll here] Continue reading

The First Sunday in June – BTS of The Ocean’s 8 Project

When we decided to go ahead with this project we did not anticipate how hard it would be to schedule a date for when the photo shoot could happen that would work for all those involved. Originally set to be some time in late-April or May, we ended up having to push it back to the first Sunday in June. Jonquel and I found this to be a bit funny considering that the MET gala takes place on the first Monday in May. I guess you could say we took it to be a sign. We did luck out because it was unseasonably cool day which worked in our favor since we all had to wear jackets,  and blazers, some even had fur and leather as part of their outfits. Jonquel actually fur and leather.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to do BTS vlogs for any blog shoots that I do because of how funny and crazy they often times are so I figured this would be a good place to start doing that. Especially since “The Ocean’s 8 Project” is the most ambitious project to date I’ve ever undertaken. So sit back, relax and check out how we got it all done. (In addition to a short feature in the end as to the reasons “why.” )

Photographer – Kayla K. (@kaylakleinphotography)
MUA – Steph S. (@stephora_beats) Continue reading

The Ocean’s 8 Project – Amita Style Capture

Photography by Kayla Klein

When the first trailer for the all-female spin-off of the Ocean’s Eleven film series, Ocean’s 8 dropped, Jonquel and I couldn’t stop talking about it. Both of us are big film and anime nerds so we spent a lot of time geeking over the ensemble cast of diverse women that made up the heist team. However, though it is continuing the tradition of the comedy-heist film, the alluded street style and gala looks made it clear that this movie was also very much a fashion film that will definitely influence future trends. ‘

Soon after that the conversation shifted from being excited to see the film to using it as a platform to demonstrate that size doesn’t limit style by recreating outfits based on each heist-member’s looks from the film. Very much like the concept of the film, Jonquel and I took extra care to recruit some of our influncer friends, who we felt shared a love of film and fashion as great as ours, casting them in roles that matched their individual style and/or personalities.

Disclaimer:  This sponsored project  was not conducted in association with the Ocean’s 8 film. Continue reading

+Size Matters : Fat Monica & the Reformed Fat Friend Trope

When I started my blog back in January of 2015 I did so with half of a notebook full of  potential post titles, and blog topics I wanted to cover. These topics included race, fashion, life in NYC, beauty routines and dating, however, even with all those note-filled pages only only one item was underlined, and highlighted under a section I had entitled “+Size Matters” — Fat Monica. It was a blog topic that I had been pushing back discussing because it is a problematic aspect of a popular character from a beloved 90’s sitcom. However, once 2018 started I decided to start the year with another entry to the +Size Matters series. Why? Well we are just finishing off the third week of January which traditionally is when the pressures of diet culture reaches its zenith due to the  weight loss resolutions pushed at the start of the new year. So its basically the perfect time to look at  the very damaging  trope that Fat Monica embodies, that  of the “reformed fat friend” which perpetuates diet culture and the “value” that is attached to thinness especially when it comes to women’s bodies.

To be clear, I know that this particular “Friends” character has pretty much been analyzed to death and for good reason. “Friends” was and still remains to be a popular series, even with its problematic lack of a diverse cast though set in New York City, but it is definitely gaining some strong criticisms  at the moment since it is now streaming on Netflix. People are doing a double take at the sexism, homophobia, stereotyping and fat-phobia/fat shaming that is present in almost every episode. Continue reading