+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

Q & A With Journalist & “The Souls of Black Girls” Documentary Producer, Daphne Valerius

thesoulsofblackgirlsLast November I had the privilege of attending a screening of a documentary involving the representation of black women in media entitled, “The Souls of Black girls.” Featuring Regina King, Jada Pinkett-Smith, the late Gwen Ifill,  and Rapper Chuck D to name a few, this film presented hard truths that are often ignored even now, ten years after it was first produced. The screening and the discussion that followed left me wanting more, so I reached out to the creator and producer, Daphne Valerius for some insights as to her film and the planned sequel that is in the works.

Host, Producer and Entrepreneur Daphne Valerius

Check out my talk with her below.

Disclaimer: Responses have been edited for clarity and length.

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+Size Matters: Glee

I’ll be honest, I didn’t get into Glee until I heard that Darren Criss of YouTube/StarKid fame was cast to play a new character during Season 2. (As of today I still haven’t completed season one, mostly because I can’t stand the character of Terri, Will Schuster’s first wife.) An American musical dramedy, Glee aired on Fox from 2009 to 2015. The series initially focused on performing arts-loving Spanish teacher William Schuster reinventing the McKinley High School Glee Club, the New Directions, challenging outcast students to follow their dreams by taking part of the show choir competition circuit. While they work on their performances the members of the New Directions struggle with low self-esteem, relationships, race, sexuality, bulling, eating disorders and other social issues. Though working to present show had a lot of flaws (many of the serious issues and problems are resolved in a very ridiculous, unrealistic way) though that still doesn’t take away from much of the positive representation it brought on. Glee is rare in that it made a point to have racial, gender and size diversity with its protagonists, antagonists and supporting cast. They weren’t completely left in the side lines, and even better was the fact that the story lines of these characters rarely dealt with the fact that they were different. Note that I said RARELY, and I will get to that in a minute. As always we will start with the good by looking at four of the plus size characters of Glee. Continue reading

+Size Matters : My Mad Fat Diary

So last spring I was focusing on my master’s exam and my 30 page paper that goes along with it. This is a choice that you can make to avoid writing a full length thesis and is supposedly easier, but really isn’t. Anyway, I started a studying regime in which I would study, study, study then rest, followed by more studying and writing. It was a pretty hectic time, yet it was during one of those “treat/rest sessions,” that I went onto Tumblr and was exposed to a show that would change everything. I follow a blogger on Tumblr, whose username is Ursula The Sea Bitch, and she had posted gifs labelled Finn and Rae. I was surprised to see a female plus-sized character actually have a romantic interest who is “conventionally attractive.” Without even knowing anything else about the show I immediately liked her post.  A couple days later she posted  another gif set that included the title, My Mad Fat Diary. Continue reading