Fat People Deserve Better Than “Love Is Blind”

The rise of the surprise hit Netflix series Love is Blind has sparked a major conversation about the cookie cutter bodies of the series’ inaugural cast. The show places participants into soundproof pods where they have 15-minute dates with other singles, sight unseen. During these “dates” they learn about each other and build strong emotional connections.

The stakes are high for the contestants as they are only allowed to see the people they’ve fallen for after becoming engaged. But for the stakes are low for the viewers who are able to see that the contestants’ fears are unmerited since 100% of the cast look like they could have appeared on any given season of The Bachelor or Bachelorette.

As far as diversity goes, the show includes a few non-white people including a bisexual Black man, whose coming-out story is played for high drama and viral clips, but there is no body diversity to be seen.

Many have lamented the show’s casting of conventionally attractive people, a decision that ultimately calls into question the premise of the social experiment. It’s not a reach to say that love can be blind if the bodies are cisgender, able and an “acceptable” size.

Teen Vogue’s Matthew Rodriguez wrote in a recent essay that the show should be more inclusive of bigger bodies but I fall on the other side of the fat coin. But I disagree. We need not fight for a seat at a table where we will be disrespected. I would rather our community be excluded from what would be a harmful, very public, very shameful narrative. Love is Blind is designed for high drama and to exploit sensitive situations. And bigger bodies have been exploited and mocked enough for several lifetimes.

Imagine this: Barnett has fallen in love with Amber and asks for her hand in marriage then the doors to the magical meeting room flew open and Amber was a size 20. I still remember his exhalation of relief when he saw her body so by my math, her being plus-sized would have most definitely garnered a different reaction, which would have been incredibly hurtful to her and to the plus-sized viewers watching her heartbreak.

In my experience, love is not blind; it has 20/20 vision.

Jessica and Mark provided a glaring example of this. Mark is a conventionally attractive guy but he was not Jessica’s type (her type was admittedly Barnett) and watching her force herself to try to love him was painful to watch. His strong emotions for her blinded him to her true feelings, and we watched that train moving full forward toward a massive wreck on their wedding day, all in the name of this spectacle called a social experiment.

My body is already a spectacle as I maneuver around the highly judgmental streets of Los Angeles; I’d rather not watch a plus-sized person be toyed with for ratings on this show.

And then there’s the pervasive fetishism that plus-sized women have to deal with in the dating scene. For every, “no fatties” missive in dating profiles, there are ones proclaiming there love for plus-sized women because they are plus-sized. Every fat woman I know that has discussed the difficulties of finding love has been told, “You know, there are guys who only like big women,” a disheartening (and cringeworthy) statement from the fatphobic people in their lives.

And as if dealing with the constant othering in real life isn’t enough, we get no reprieve in the entertainment that is made about women of size. It is rare to see a plus-sized woman who is loved wholly in broad daylight in entertainment. Bigger women are often desexualized and are rarely shown as subjects of affection. For every Shrill, which follows the dating life of a plus-sized woman with gentle, sympathetic hands, there’s a High Fidelity.

The new Hulu show based on the hit movie starring John Cusack, features Da’Vine Joy Randolph, a dynamic Black plus-sized actress, in the gender-swapped Jack Black sidekick role of Cherise who is completely desexualized over the course of the season’s 10 episodes.

We watch Zoe Kravitz’s Rob go through men like underwear and David H Holmes’s Simon gets an entire episode devoted to exploring his romances but we never even find out Cherise’s sexual orientation. Though Randolph says it will be explored if there is a season two, it is a damning and purposeful admission that did not go unnoticed.

Plus-sized people should be showcased as being deserving of love and romantic feelings and physical affection. I think there should be a dating show that focuses on that without exploiting the subjects. Preferably one produced by a plus-sized person who understands the perils of being single in a dating scene that can be emotionally damaging for women of size.

Showcasing the nature of loving differently sized bodies is one that should be handled with nuance and care. While Love is Blind has proven to us that they are not that show, maybe the public pleas for a show that highlights our types of bodies will lead to one from a source that can handle our pursuits of love with care and empathy.

Aaliyah— Still too soon.

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Everyone is going nuts about this Aaliyah biopic that Lifetime butchered. I sat down and watched the whole thing so I could come to my own conclusions. Poorly cast? The worst since The Michael Jackson Biopic starring Flex. Poorly written? Well, it was cheesier than Velveeta. I could go on and on. I mean they cast a 90lb actress to play Missy Elliott, who is famously curvy. It is as Hollywood-ized as anything I’ve seen this year that is not self-mocking.

I watched the whole thing and wished it were a better representation of the the r& b princess that I and all of my girlfriends so desperately wanted to be like. They butchered her essence and condensed her life down into a few shoddy misplaced events. That is why everyone is so mad. We all loved her and rooted for her and we all were taken aback when she died tragically at 22. She set the tone for an entire generation of pop r&b stars. The audacious street styling of Rihanna is owed to Aaliyah blazing the trails with her midriffs and baggy pants. Ciara’s entire career could be considered an ode to Aaliyah, vocally and physically. Teyana Taylor, Nicki Minaj in her early career, “Soldier” from the last Destiny’s Child solo album. People pay homage to Ms. Houghton to this day.

Aaliyah meant a lot, symbolically, to a lot of people who are still young enough to hate Lifetime for dishonoring her legacy with a rushed, careless, and bland scripting of her short life.

From a teenager’s perspective in the ’99 and 2000, Aaliyah was cool, pretty, and marched to her own beat. We all tried to mimic her “Are You That Somebody?” dance moves with friends. I, myself, am guilty of ruining my mom’s eardrums trying to hit her falsetto notes.

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I mean, Aaliyah meant so much to me as a kid that I paid to see the tragic, “Queen of the Damned” movie twice and bought it on DVD. She made me want to have a bad accent and even worse vampire teeth. She was a trailblazer and she did it without showing everyone the insides of her cooch, the areola of her boobs, or the crack of her ass. She proved that sexiness is from within and not based on how much skin you show. That’s a crucial lesson from my bootleg thinkpiece.

Happy Birthday Rust Cohle! (Matthew McConaughey)

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“Life’s barely long enough to get good at one thing. So be careful what you get good at.” -Detective Rust Cohle.

Matthew McConaughey is good at acting. The man knows how to deliver a line and a great Oscar speech. He also plays a mean bongo drum. Let us celebrate the birth of the man who gave us 12 months of tremendous performances in gems like Interstellar, True Detective, Dallas Buyers Club and the most parodied Lincoln car commercial in the history of car commercials. May the McConaugh-ssance continue for years to come.

Happy 45th birthday, Mr. McConaughey!

Mad Max Fury Road: Panty Dropper

It was a typical Sunday morning filled with Coco Puff wishes and dreams of the future. But this would prove to be anything but a typical Sunday because yesterday my world would be blessed with the trailer for Mad Max Fury Road.

In case I haven’t made it abundantly clear, my dear readers: I have an enormous para-social crush on Hollywood’s Tom Hardy. Now this isn’t some bandwagon, flavor of the day “I’ve loved him since he was Bane” type thing. I’ve been rolling hard for Tom since 2009. 5 solid years of Fan-demonium. I stan for him like others stan for Beyoncé.

Have. Mercy. Tommy

All proclamations of undying love aside, I have been waiting to see this trailer since I heard my dearest Tommy had landed the role that would finally display his acting chops for the masses (sans facial mask and wacky voice).

This trailer did not disappoint. If this is what the near future looks like then I better start doing push-ups, invest in some charcoal colored makeup, and a nice Wilson’s leather coat.

2015 can not get here soon enough.

Barry Watson from 7th Heaven is how old?

Matt Camden

I had to triple take IMDB this morning. Matt Camden from 7th Heaven—or Barry Watson as his parents named him— turned 39 today. Seriously, I used to get the (Teaching Mrs.) tingles watching this guy every Monday night as the bible thumping Matt Camden on 7th Heaven.

See kids, Barry Watson was the original Taylor Kitsch.
Taylor Kitsch

He was the first notable incarnation of John Carter——brooding, dark eyes, shoulder-length Vidal Sassoon-ed hair. Barry was a demi-god back in ’96. I’m not sure why his star did not continue to rise after 7th Heaven left the air, but he was the champion reason why I bought BOP! magazine back in the day. Wherever you are Barry, just know that Taylor Kitsch owes you a round of drinks and pair of sneakers because without your heart-throbbing success, he could’ve never battleshipped his way into America’s heart.

Happy Birthday Barry.

Ben Affleck meet your new best friend, Ramen Noodles

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On April 29th, things are about to get real for Ben Affleck and a host of other celebrities. Live Below the Line,a campaign dedicated to challenging the way people in the U.S. think about poverty announced that Ben Affleck would be participating in this year’s Live Below the Line challenge, which requires participants to feed themselves on no more than $1.50 per day for five days next week, from April 29 to May 3.

Ben Affleck meet your new best friend, Ramen Noodles. They’re 4 for $1 at a market far from your house. And if you’d like a healthy alternative, the $0.99 Store now sells produce.

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Click on the pictures for more info about this awesome campaign.

Pain and Gain and how I can’t get past Marky Mark’s past.

Michael Bay has done it again.
Michael Bay has done it again.

“Pain and Gain” is the newest addition to Michael Bay’s testosterone-filled, candy coated, vapid filmography. The film stars The Rock and Mark Wahlberg as poor, bodybuilders who decide to kidnap, attack, and rob a slew of people for personal gain. Based on a real story, “Pain and Gain” is experiencing major opposition from everyone involved in the real life chaos that occurred a few years ago.

Upon googling the story, I came upon a troubling news story about Wahlberg’s checkered past that I just can’t get past.

No Pain No Gain
No Pain No Gain

He led a life characterized by incidents of petty crime, drug dealing and racism.

He harassed a group of African American school kids with racist epithets, and when he was 16, again using racist language, he attacked a middle-aged Vietnamese man and left the man blind in one eye. Wahlberg was arrested for attempted murder, plead guilty to assault, and spent 45 days in jail.

And though the right thing to do would be to try to find the man and make amends, Wahlberg says, he admits he hasn’t done so — but says he’s no longer burdened by guilt.

“I did a lot of things that I regretted and I certainly paid for my mistakes,” Wahlberg says. “You have to go and ask for forgiveness and it wasn’t until I really started doing good and doing right, by other people as well as myself, that I really started to feel that guilt go away. So I don’t have a problem going to sleep at night. I feel good when I wake up in the morning.”

Marky Mark was throwing epithets at Black people! But he was a frickin’ white rapper! How does that even work? Yuck. I mean double yuck. I mean, on a scale of 1-10 how many Hail Mary’s do you have to say for blinding a man because of his skin color? 100? 1000? Jesus wept. While we’ve all done things in our youth that were unsavory——the violence and bigotry in his past just leaves me unsettled. Is Wahlberg still straight up loony tunes with a dash or two of that Dog the Bounty Hunter/Jesse James racist streak? The world may never know..

In defense of Diablo

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I’m very confused by this weekend’s box office results. Diablo Cody, Oscar winning screenwriter, and Megan Fox, every hetero American male’s dreamgirl, released a horror/comedy movie featuring Fox and a lesbian kiss yet it only managed to take 5th place, taking in a little over $6 million in it’s opening weekend. What?!

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So why didn’t the movie perform to expectations? Megan Fox did a complete blitz marketing campaign, from a zillion magazine covers to starting feuds with Michael Bay and mental health. Dangerbowie.com saw a 200% increase in site views because of the last Megan Fox post. Even writer Diablo Cody was out there pimping it strong but to no avail. Perhaps the R rating killed the chances of a large portion of it’s would be audience. There was also talks on the interweb about how the horror comedy genre just doesn’t play well to Americans. What “they” are saying  is that we (Americans) will watch giant robots come to life and breakdance, we can get into teen angst vampires, but the concept of Evil Dead or Gremlins just don’t do it for us commercially? Bollocks.

I firmly stand behind this project because it is so rare that you get a movie written, directed and starring women in non traditional roles.It’s always the same  romantic comedy that paints a one sided picture of the ditz/chubby/awkward/dumb girl who eventually gets the guy. They took Jennifer’s Body and spun in it in an entirely different direction and kudos to them. I hope that this softer opening weekend doesn’t prevent these ladies from continuing to make movies that feature women in different societal roles. Long live Diablo!