Dietland

*The first 3 episodes*

I want to talk about the TV adaptation of one of my favourite books in recent years (and apparently, my Book of 2016) – Dietland. It’s just started airing in the US and thankfully also on Amazon Prime – which is the greatest weekly treat. The first three episodes are up now and so far so good.

IMDB Synopsis

Plum Kettle is a ghostwriter for the editor of one of New York’s hottest fashion magazines. Struggling with self-image and fed up with how she’s treated by her boss and society, Plum sets out on a wildly complicated road to self-awakening. At the same time, everyone is buzzing over news reports about men, accused of sexual abuse and assault, who are disappearing and meeting untimely, violent deaths.

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My Thoughts So Far

Joy Nash is gorgeous and so likable as Plum – and she’s actually fat! But I can’t help thinking she’s too good-looking and not fat enough – wouldn’t this be even better if she didn’t fit into the ‘beautiful’ ideal at all? (Hate saying anyone isn’t ‘enough’ of anything but hopefully you know what I’m trying to say) – that said she’s so bloody lovely, I want to see her in everything coming up, please.

Julianna Margulies as Kitty Montgomery is PERFECTLY cast – I despise her in every way. What a prize A CUNT

♥ I’d give anything to visit the beauty closet for just one hour – ten minutes, even

♥ It is never tiring to watch abusers get their comeuppance, even when it’s brutal and violent (particularly then)

♥ I really like that Malleck Ferguson is such a poorly disguised version of a well-known fashion photographer and abuser – down to the minute details of his over-the-top glasses and personal style – LOL

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♥ Marlowe Buchanan is also cast well (she’s played by Alanna Ubach) and so far comes across as a bit of an arse with a God complex – proof that heroes and villains aren’t always cast in black and white

♥ Not enough Leeta (Erin Darke) – so they better bring her back again soon

♥ The closing speech at the end of Episode 3 made me cry. I won’t spoiler but it starts with “I don’t hate myself, society does” and it’s important and vital and above all TRUE

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I haven’t seen any violence towards sex workers or porn stars yet but I’ve read a discussion about it on Twitter and I’m not into it either. I know that the book tackles the porn industry on the whole and it opened my eyes when I read it – but I don’t think this should be a judgement of the women themselves, in either capacity. I’ll see when it comes along how I feel but I am hoping that it doesn’t let me down.

I can’t wait until the next episode, TV just got GREAT again!

Anyone else watching? What are your thoughts? 

Revenge Body

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I’m sure most people have read or seen somewhere that Khloé Kardashian (formerly my favourite) has a new show called Revenge Body.

While I haven’t seen it, and probably won’t, I feel I know enough to say it sounds bad. KK gets people to tell their stories, about who they want revenge on (exes/haters) and then helps them lose however much weight they’re convinced is the key to their future happiness. I say helps, I think it’s the trainers and nutritionists, not to mention the ‘revenge seekers’ that do all the work.

The concept of looking banging to fuck off your ex is nothing new obviously and not invented by a Kardashian*. I can’t deny that it is a satisfying notion to bump into someone who’s been hideous to you looking your very best, but the thing about this for me is that it’s all the focused on the body. On looks on the whole.

Like, I get it. Fat is bad. Fat is the last thing any woman would ever want to be because it is so heinous, I get it. Every day it is drummed into me and I get it. We’re nothing and nobody while we’re fat and should always be on some sort of journey away from it, at the very least. Except, I am fat and I likely always will be. I also love myself.  What’s all that about?

Revenge Body and its current publicity campaign has got me thinking about my own RB though. The body I wish to express myself with, to defiantly face the world in. The body I would like to greet every one of my no-good exes with, should I ever be unfortunate enough to bump into any of them (there’s only one horrid one and if I saw him, believe that my RB would be the very last thing on my mind).

This body here. 

My revenge is my defiantly fat and well-loved body. Soft stomach, wobbly thighs, lumps, bumps and dimples.

And the greatest lesson I’ve ever learnt is this: if you can look upon yourself and say, you know what I see my ‘flaws’ and I love myself anyway, then nobody else has the power to take anything away from you. People can’t throw your own imperfections back in your face if you love them.

They can say “God look at your fat arse!”, and you can say “I know, it’s good right? MASSIVE!”.**

So fuck fat haters, diet chatters, guilt trippers, old boyfriends who treated you like shit, people who think you should lose weight, self-appointed doctors, ‘well-meaning’ relatives, men in white vans, men in any capacity, anybody who thinks they have the right to comment on anybody else’s body or looks, myself included. And fuck self-doubt.

Fuck them all.

*I’m not a Kardashian hater, promise.
**I make it sound easy, don’t I? It’s not easy, but it is satisfying when you start to really believe it. 

Girl, Bye.

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You know what true power is?

Cutting things out of your life that hurt or anger you. No argument, no “Fuck you”, just a “Girl, bye” under your breath and you’re off. I’m currently angry and bewildered by a particular incident that happened on that wonderful barometer of how shit people can be: the internet. Specifically, Facebook.

Someone I know recently posted a status update about ‘promoting plus-size’ (and how wrong it is), and even though I should never be surprised by the general lack of sympathy toward fat people, I did expect better from this individual.

Sadly (not really), she’s no longer going to be part of my life, on any platform or in the flesh (in my case, substantially more flesh). I don’t conform to who she wants me to be nor deserve any sort of respect based on what she’s saying apparently, so I’m stepping out.

I know, I know that us fats are all just asking for trouble being the way we are. We’re all going to die horribly because we wear bigger dress sizes. We certainly don’t live active lives, how can we? We all eat shit, swerve veggies and more or less just mainline Digestives on the sofa in front of the TV day in day out. You got me.

We don’t deserve to dress nicely or enjoy fashion or beauty, life or love. We don’t deserve basic respect either while we’re here. A sweeping statement on Facebook with a Daily Mail supporting link is definitely the way to go to reach people if that’s really what you want to do. And if people are alienated, feel personally let down by your attitude, all the better right? They deserve it, the pigs.

People do not respond well to being bullied. Being hateful (even in the form of faux-health concern) will not help. If anything it will make people far less likely to make the best choices for themselves. It will make them feel like shit. It will stop them living their best lives.

How dare this person promote a love yourself mentality and then screw over all the overweight people on her friends list? Oh wait, maybe she doesn’t have any overweight friends? (She doesn’t now). She is blonde, slim and beautiful after all, and it seems not tolerant of anyone who doesn’t fit a similar ideal?

I haven’t spoken to her about this and I won’t. I’m not interested in a debate. I don’t care what she thinks or says. Chances are that she thinks she’s being helpful and that her arrogant ‘motivation’ comes from a good place. I really don’t care.

Girl, bye.

You can bet I’m exercising this mentality in all areas of my life. Brexit was a good way to measure people’s true selves and unfortunately, a handful of people fell short of what I want in my life.

There are doubtless things I say and do that alienate me from people that I don’t even register and that’s their right too. Life’s too short for bullshit and I’m done.

Click, click – over it.

Ghostbusters (2016) (Film) Review

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It’s 2016 and I’ve just been to see a Ghostbusters film. What is this madness?

A lot has been made of the decision to “reboot” such an 80’s classic and with an all-female team of ghost hunters no less. If we’re frank, most of the comments about its impending release have been negative, or at least these are the easier ones to remember.

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This is my favourite picture of anything, ever ❤
The die-hard Busterites have been up in arms about their beloved films being tampered with in any way which I understand, yet it’s very hard to separate this train of thought from that of the misogynists who can’t bear the thought of women in any context other than draped over the bonnet of a car or making a sandwich. That’s before we even think about the racial slurs against Leslie Jones, whose only crime in life was to take a role and not be white.

I’m only touching upon this stuff because I want to focus on the way the film made me feel but the way Leslie’s been treated is appalling. And while I doubt justice can be served to an army of cowards hiding behind their keyboards, I hope she’s engulfed in love and continues to feel great pride in what she’s accomplished with this film. Because it’s fucking ace.

I’m not reviewing in the traditional sense, nor giving anything away because that would be foolish. I hope everyone goes to see this film, even if they have misgivings because it has been joyful to tap back into my childhood for a few hours. As with the whole Pokémon Go phenomenon, I think we’re learning recently that there’s a huge space in our lives reserved just for nostalgia. I blame Trump, British Politics and all the violence in the world, in no particular order.

But to the film. If I were asked to review in just three words, I would say:

Loved. Every. Minute

I did. I smiled like a dufus from beginning to end and threw my head back to laugh out loud a hundred times. Sure, sometimes I was guffawing at a fart joke but what else do you need on a balmy Hump day evening?

The writing overall is very strong and of course it is, it’s written not only by Paul “Bridesmaids” Feig but also Kate Dippold who has Parks & Recreation (2009) and The Heat (2013) under her belt. It is a female-centric film with gender reversal very much at the forefront but it’s done well and is never mean or dismissive.

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Chris Hemsworth‘s Kevin the Receptionist for example is objectified to the hilt but in the nicest possible way and even though his prettiness far outweighs his intellect, he never feels 2D and that’s skillful writing if you ask me.

The ladies are spectacular and I have huge affection for each of them. McCarthy is gorgeous, Jones is hilarious and wonderfully expressive. Wiig brings vulnerability to the role of Erin Gilbert while making me really buy into her childhood history with BFF Abby Yates while Kate McKinnon, lovely, lovely Kate, adds an injection of kook to engineer extraordinaire Dr. Jillian Holtzmann.

Holtzmann, FYI has caused the internet to implode with lust, as gay and heterosexual women the world over are crushing hard all over her character. While her sexuality is not openly stated at any point, we’ve given enough material to reach our own conclusion. My conclusion is that it’s fucking awesome to see four interesting woman helm a movie without a sniff of patronising love story on the horizon. In fact, scrub that, the love story is about their unswerving loyalty to one another.

Twitter also remarked that this is probably the first film you’ll see that doesn’t make you feel bad about your body and it’s true. I loved seeing big bodies onscreen and I, for one, am stoked Melissa McCarthy is out there being an attractive, sexual and funny fat woman who gets shit done while being someone I can identify with.

(Also, two posts on this blog mentioning Kristen Wiig and McCarthy in a row. You’re welcome).

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Honestly, I’m not here to criticise this movie in any way, I’m just not going to do it. The effects take me right back to 1984, the acting is hammy where it needs to be (the main villain) and the music, oh god that theme – it’s still everything. The cameos were also fun but I don’t want to spoiler them.

I’ll sign off here just by saying that I’m glad this is such a strong film. Those haters are going to hate regardless but I’m delighted it touched me the way it did. So far I’ve heard nothing but praise for these modern-day Ghostbusters, which was respectful to its forefathers by taking its own path and I’m closing my ears to anything but because I don’t care.

I ain’t afraid of no troll (I am).

Dietland (Book) Review

 

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It’s only the first few days of June and I think I’ve already found my book of the year.

I’m going to try to review this without giving much away because I think it’s a fun, dark and interesting look at society, feminism, revenge, beauty and self love, amongst other things – and I want people to read the hell out of it.

Dietland gives us a fat protagonist, Plum which is a treat to find in literature. Or at least, it’s less common to have a fat character presented in a positive light. This seems to be changing, however despite placing a lot of ‘fat main character’ books on my Amazon wish list recently, it still feels like a novelty.

That last statement might not be strictly accurate btw. I should say that I haven’t noticed main fat characters much in the books I’ve read but I would be open to recommendations on books that do feature them. As many as possible! Ones that aren’t the DUFF or end up having massive makeovers to deem themselves acceptable, obvs.

Alicia ‘Plum’ Kettle is deeply apologetic about the fact that she’s fat, so any change in this attitude is a way down the line. More than apologetic, she is obsessed in her quest to lose weight and become her real self – just ‘Alicia’.

Here in the current day, Plum fills a wardrobe with clothes she’ll wear when she’s skinny, when she’s had the stomach stapling surgery she’s booked in for and can finally transform into her true self. She’s been on a diet for most of her life and tends to stick to the safety of her immediate environment to avoid drawing attention to herself. Which doesn’t work really but hey ho.

She works for a big magazine, answering personal emails to her shithead boss, Dear Kitty, who doesn’t have the time to do it herself. Plum spends each day in the local cafe sending advice to ‘her girls’, on anything from self-harming to sexual abuse and life’s what it
is. Kind of in limbo until the real living begins – when she’s thin.

A quick aside from me: I love Plum because I’ve thought like her and I know a lot of people have and still do. I’ve tried to stop this damaging thought process and accept that how I look now is more than likely how I will always look. The concept that “Life begins” at a certain (and mostly impossible) point is incredibly sad.

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Photograph not mine

One seemingly ordinary day, Plum notices that she’s being followed by a dark-haired girl who appears to be making notes about her in a journal. She’s used to comments and people taking her picture on the street but somehow senses this is different.

Little does Plum know that her stalker is about to change her life completely and in the most dramatic way possible.

Running alongside Plum’s ‘rebirth’ is news of a  feminist terrorist organisation named by the media as “Jennifer”, who are committing violent acts of retribution against rapists and abusers, as well as major media outlets and the porn industry.

Sweet and fluffy this book is not and I love it all the more for that. There are horrific descriptions of some of the acts, by both the terrorists and those they are carrying out revenge against. It doesn’t shy away from rape culture and it’s powerful stuff.

Plum’s story is wonderfully empowering and I actually love her. I feel like in many ways she is me, she is every woman and when she starts to figure out where she belongs in this world and begins to enjoy the space she takes up, I may have whooped.

I also love many of the supporting characters who open Plum’s eyes to the all the bullshit out there, without too much personal judgement. Plum undergoes such a transformation by the time you reach the last page that I think it would be impossible not to feel happy for her – and it probably won’t be in the way you’re expecting.

Does Plum undergo the weightloss surgery she’s so focussed on, and start that brand new life that’s been waiting for her since she was a teenager?

And the question you’ll no doubt be asking yourselves: what has the mysterious “Jennifer” got to do with Plum, if anything at all? Find out by picking this book up ASAP.

My Thoughts:

You may not agree with everything that takes place within this book but I think for the most part, any woman can identify with the exhausting notion that we have to look and be a certain way to be deemed acceptable by society.

The issue here is not just fat but beauty on the whole – from the tips of our toes to the roots of our hair. And beyond beauty, there’s an interesting comment on the porn industry that made me think a lot more about it.

I find stories like this empowering while others may not and that’s okay but I think the story fits in a lot with the way I’ve been viewing myself over the last year which might be why it resonates so. I’m learning that I don’t have to be sorry for anything, let alone the amount of space I occupy.

I really just want to read this all over again.

Book details:

Dietland
Publisher: Atlantic Books; Main edition (5 May 2016)
ISBN-10: 1782399291
ISBN-13: 978-1782399292
Bought paperback (new)

If you read this book, or anything similar, please let me know. I’m always up for a good recommendation ❤

Get Me Bodied

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Last night I fell into bed at the usual time utterly exhausted. Had I climbed a mountain, or run 10k? Nope, just the usual: spent more than a ‘healthy’ amount of time on Twitter.

I can’t blame my favourite social media app for all these feelings of inertia but a conversation started on there that began to melt my brain, and then got me thinking about all the other negative talk I hear on a day to day basis.

It gets to the point where you can feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders and for a moment there I wanted to shout; “Stop the world, I want to get off!”.

Then I remembered that the new patch on my denim jacket urges me to consider what Kathleen Hanna would do and I know I can’t just lie down until it passes. Not that this blog post will change society in 350 words obviously, but at least I can get it off my chest.

It’s about bodies (who knew?).

The thing that triggered me yesterday was news of a plus-size issue of Glamour magazine. Cool. But apparently, or at least this is how it looks to the outside world, they’d struggled to actually fill an entire issue with ‘acceptable’ women of size so they’d turned to Amy Schumer as one of their poster children.

She’s not plus-size in my eyes but by that stage I didn’t know what dress size she was so, whatever (obviously it wasn’t going to be a large one). Schumer, on social media, reposted the cover with the a “Hey Twitter, what are your thoughts?”. She went on to say she had nothing against being plus-size but that as a US size 6 (plus-size begins at 16), she doesn’t consider herself to be in that category. She also claimed she was never told or asked that she’d be in this edition, and that she’s offended by it.

This whole thing does raise the question of why she’s so bothered about the association to this label, especially when she’s started off by being so body positive. I get that the label is not for some. Ashley Graham wants to be referred to as sexylicious ffs! But from what I’ve seen, Amy has made a career out of fat jokes about herself, I guess she just doesn’t think it’s cool that anyone would consider her that way, beyond herself. It’s just such a mixed message.

I’m not saying she’s wrong for raising the point of how this labeling could affect young people but I just… I’m tired of it all.

Not even to mention the fact that they could have filled this issue with hundreds of incredible fat ladies who aren’t models and made this issue actually something special.

I’m tired of fat people still not having it better in 2016. I’m tired of insidious fat talk seeping into my every day life and never being put in check. I’m tired of Amy Schumer’s poor comic delivery if I’m honest.

Most of all, I’m tired of thinking about my own body all the time. Like, all the shitting time!

Out for drinks on Friday I found myself talking about this vessel I call my body wayyyyyy too much and it was only because one person in my party likes to bring it up. I’m not sure why: to make me feel different? Special? Not good enough? It’s likely not malicious but it’s helped me on my way to typing this out. Shut up about it already!

Normally I’m all for this chatter. I’m getting better at it and I accept myself a hell of a lot more than I did ten/two years/one year/six months/a day ago but sometimes I just feel worn down. I think it’s the beauty industry altogether, with fat just being one branch of it.

And you know what else, I’m a privileged fat person at that – I’m white, at the smaller end of the plus-size spectrum and I’m represented a hell of a lot more in the media and all around than a lot of other women. So I have much less of a right to be moaning right now.

So, before my head falls off (at least I’d lose half a stone, amiright? BOOM):

  • Is it okay to be fat? Yes.
  • Do fat people deserve the same considerations as thin people? Yes.
  • Is it a form of rebellion to love yourself despite the fact people around you are telling you not to? Yes.
  • Is it okay to hate yourself every once in a while, despite all your body po personal achievements? Fuck yes.
  • Is it okay to be thin and beautiful? Yes.
  • Is it okay to opt out of triggering body talk? Always yes.
  • Is it okay to call someone up on their casual fatphobia? Yes.
  • Is it okay to feel down about bodies in general and write an incoherent post about it on your blog? God I hope so.

Finally:

  • Is it okay to dislike Amy Schumer (not for this) but still sort of enjoy Trainwreck (2015)? I don’t care what the answer to this one is TBH.

That’s where I am head wise today. If I were given the opportunity to be a brain in a jar for a while I might take them up on it just for another perspective.

One day you know maybe there won’t be the need to assess women by their size and conversations like this will be a thing of the past. I look forward to that day but until then, call me plus, give me clothes that fit and less of the fucking attitude.

What’s on your mind today? ❤

Casual Fat Phobia

tumblr_n0we6pICYS1s36ymko3_1280I’ve recently decided, whenever someone I know on social media makes a casual fat phobic comment, I am going to casually ‘unfollow’.

No words, no rage; just a simple click or two of that sweet, sweet button and I’ll be on my way.

I can’t take it anymore. Sure, these people have every right to an opinion but don’t they realise what they’re saying? Fat people shouldn’t be the butt of every joke; the ultimate cautionary tale.

You like food but are so lucky to have your mother’s metabolism, otherwise you’d be 15 stone? The horror. Being slim might be what you strive to be and to maintain, but it isn’t every person’s goal. Some people look different and are different – and insinuating that an overweight person is awful and ugly and undesirable is frankly, bullshit.

Some people weigh 15 stone, or more. Are they lesser creatures, placed on this earth to sneer at; to think “Thank God I don’t look like that.”? Posting pictures of ‘fatties’ too, well that’s just a waste of everyone’s time. Honestly? Look inside yourself.

What about the “I’m such a heffer!” girls? I’m more inclined to say that if they want to beat themselves up all day about how fat and disgusting they are then let them knock themselves out.

Body image is a tricky one because they might well genuinely loathe themselves and that’s their perogative, just because I see a perfect 10 doesn’t mean they do. But in saying “I’m so fat!” and pinching imaginary rolls, it can become a bone of contention. If you’re saying that about yourself, what the hell does that make me?

But back to the first type. Shame on you for shaming others, shame on you for your casual discrimination. Shame we can’t be friends anymore.

(Not).

NB: I do get it, phobia of this kind has been drummed into us as women, as soon as we were old enough to understand it, maybe even before that. We’re beaten about the head hundreds of times a day by a beauty ideal that isn’t realistic. We’ve grown up being told we should strive to look a certain way. I’ve not always been so cool with myself, some days I’m still not and I haven’t always been as supportive of other women, ‘different’ women. I’m not proud of that but I am proud I now have strong enough self-esteem to address it. We’re all on the same side and we should be all about building each other up, nothing less.

Simple, innit?