Saturday, January 5, 2013

Fatgirlslim: Right Here, Right Now

This post is for all the girls out there who would like to lose a few pounds.  This is for all of you who have tried the BeyoncĂ©-certified liquid diet or have considered the lemon juice, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, maple syrup—5-7 days straight.  Yum?  This is for everyone who has binged and purged; this is for anyone who has used laxatives to lose those last five pounds.  This is for any girl who has skipped that one last Christmas cookie; who has rejected a sandwich because “it just has too many carbs” (does anyone these days even know why we need carbohydrates to, you know, live?).  This is for the skinny girl who thinks she’s a fat girl and for all the girls who think it’s okay to label each other “fat” or “skinny.”  This is for the girls who have done none of these things.  This post is for you.

Women’s issues are everyone’s issues, but sometimes we forget how integrated they are in our everyday lives.  I was walking through Sephora with some girlfriends the other day, and attempted to pass by the Bliss section like I normally do: by looking straight ahead so I’m not tempted to drop hundreds of dollars on the totally “necessary” beauty products.  I’ll give them this, their marketing is superb.  They had a line of “Mint Romney” and “Orange Obama” lotion gifts with purchase over the election season that was genius!  

This time, I was startled by a line of products that I had never seen before.  They call it Fatgirlslim, which I guess is a take on the artist Fatboy Slim (well, at least I’d like to think so).  Being the self-proclaimed feminist I am I was taken aback by the title.  Who are you calling Fatgirl?  The disproportionate Barbie-like drawing on the cover of the package?  That fake-tanned Bliss princess?  Or are you calling me Fatgirl?  ‘Cause that Barbie figure sure as hell couldn’t stand to lose even half a pound without dropping below a healthy BMI.

Speaking of healthy, how good can these products be?  I saw Fatgirlslim soap, cream, spray, and some intimidating vibrating machine (and not the good kind).  All of these products supposedly give us women a six-pack (“Pick up a six pack,” says the box with the Barbie sketch), but last time I checked those came from Pilates and sets of crunches.  Are these products supposed to replace the diet and exercise which we have always been told will lead us to a healthy lifestyle?  Have we been deceived this entire time, told we had to actually take care of our bodies when all we need to do is drop fifty bucks on a vibrating tummy-tuck contraption? 

I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll pass.

What do you think?  Am I completely overreacting to Bliss’ Fatgirlslim product line, or is this an issue that deserves attention?

- Sabrina Yudelson

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Should the LGBTQ Community Honor Katy Perry?

In early December, Katy Perry was honored by the Trevor Project, an organization that works to prevent LGBTQ suicides.  The Trevor Project gave KP the Trevor Hero Award for “inspiring LGBTQ youth to find their spark through her video 'Firework'” and “increasing visibility and understanding of the LGBTQ community.”

However, many in the LGBTQ community did not believe KP deserved such an award.  In her song “I Kissed A Girl,” she makes clear that she has a boyfriend (and therefore is straight, not gay or bisexual).  This song delegitimizes lesbians by portraying girls kissing girls as a “phase” that straight girls go through, rather than an expression of feelings between lesbian or bi women.  It furthers the idea that two girls kissing is only socially acceptable for straight girls who are “bi-curious” or hoping to get attention from men.  This song does not appear to “increase visibility and understanding of the LGBTQ community.”

Even more offensive is KP’s song “Ur So Gay.”  (Hint: Her inability to spell is not the offensive part.)  In this song, Katy Perry makes fun of an ex-boyfriend by calling him for being too feminine.  The lyrics include “I hope you hang yourself with your H&M scarf/While jacking off listening to Mozart.”  Rather than using legitimate insults on her ex, KP resorts to the default insult of a middle-schooler: “You’re so gay.”  This song is childish and offensive, and certainly does not further the Trevor Project’s goal of reducing LGBTQ suicides.

Despite these two songs, Katy Perry did positively portray gayness in the music video of “Firework.”  A series of clips includes a boy at a party, who crosses the room to kiss another boy.  Based on the lyrics, we can assume that this boy is embracing his true self.  But is this short section in one video enough to negate the damage done by two of her previous songs?  Should Katy Perry be rewarded for doing some good?  Or is honoring her actually hurting the LGBTQ community, by ignoring and normalizing her use of negative, anti-gay stereotypes?

What are your thoughts?  Is Katy Perry a good role model for the LGBTQ community? What about for everyone else?  Post in the comments!
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- Lauren Dever