+Size Matters: Hairspray (1988 and 2007)

hairspray-postHairspray is a very interesting film and musical as the protagonist is plus size but the story presents a character of this body type be more than just a source of humor due to “gluttonous practices.” The heart of the story is the theme of acceptance of difference, whether it be size, race or even economic background. The protagonist, Traci Turnblad, uses her privilege and local celebrity platform to bring on a cultural change which in this case involved integrating a very popular dance show. The very title implies the significance of appearance which is conveyed better in the 1988 original with the opening sequence being that of the council members getting ready to  go live on television.

the-von-taseels-vs-turnblads

Colleen Fitzpatrick as Amber Von Tussle, Debbie Harry as Velma Von Tussle, Divine as Edna Turnblad, and Ricki Lake as Tracy Turnblad, Hairspray (1988). Image Credit: © 1988 New Line Cinema

I truly believe that what makes this Hairspray so appealing is the layers that come with it. The story follows Tracy’s rise in dance show scene, the racial conflicts of the 1960s, the socioeconomic differences of their community, as well as the relationship between the two mothers, Edna and Velma, and their daughters, Tracy and Amber. With the live broadcast of the musical adaption set to air tonight, I thought it would be great to take a look at these two very distinct films and how they help set the standard for what makes a great body positive, plus size protagonist lead story.

Continue reading

Not a Production but a Movement: Viva Africa by The Truth UTG

viva africa title card

Image Credit: The Truth UTG

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of going to see Viva Africa, a musical retelling of William Shakespeare’s Romero and Juliet, that deconstructs present social issues like racial profiling, stereotyping, immigration as well as ethnic cultures and tradition. The Truth Urban Theater Group manages to not only entertain as it seeks to educate the audience on the significance of the immigration narrative as it is what connects us, but has also managed to create a great divide.

Continue reading

+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 : Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls by Jess Baker

This is a very short video because the book is fantastic as it is so I don’t feel that I have to go on and on about this work, though I could. I am glad that I took the time to read this when I did and I hope that this video motivates you to buy a copy of the book and to share it with someone. It is definitely a “Must-Read” even if you are not plus size. So if you are thin, I know that the book says “Fat girls” but believe me, you too will appreciate this book. I bought bunch of copies for my friends as gifts for this Christmas just to make sure that Jess Baker’s message spreads as far as it can because it really needs to. (I guess you could say that my shopping started super late this year but it was really easy.) Continue reading

My Two Cents: 3 Things I’d Like to See At Plus Size Fashion Events

I am not one to pretend that I know everything about fashion or the fashion industry. I really have more opinions and critiques about it than actual knowledge of what goes into creating pieces and promotional events. That said, I do think that it is worth analyzing what gets presented to us, especially since I’ve noticed that they tend to be severely lacking. Just last week I attended the Modamix and Addition Elle fashion event at Lord & Taylor in the city and while it was great seeing pieces first hand, styled by the very person who designed them, it left much to be desired. The murmurs that I heard from where I stood assures me that I wasn’t the only one that expected a little more. With that in mind here are just three things that I’d like to see happen at these kinds of events: Continue reading