Archive for July 30, 2013

Why the people at TMZ can go f*** themselves

Anthony Weiner’s wiener is all anybody can talk about these days besides the royal baby. And Weiner’s wiener raises lots of interesting questions…

Why was he willing to risk everything AGAIN just to send a picture of his junk? Is he self-destructive or just a megalomaniac? Is sexting really cheating? Why does his wife continue to stand by him? And why are so many politicians unfaithful sleezeballs?

Sadly, TMZ raised another question about Weiner—a much more offensive one.

They posted bikini shots (shown above and below) of 23-year-old Sydney Leathers, the women Weiner exchanged nude photos with, and said this:

“Sydney Leathers is now going public with the body she once privately photographed for Anthony Weiner … in a bikini photo shoot that begs the question: was she really worth it, Mr. Weiner?”

After asking this question, TMZ had the nerve to INCLUDE A POLL for viewers to vote about whether or not they thought Weiner’s sexting was worth it, clearly implying that Leathers might not be hot enough to warrant ruining his career.

This question is offensive on many levels—it’s offensive to imply that a woman’s worth can be defined by her physical appearance and that it’s acceptable to vote on such an issue.

But it’s also offensive because it implies that Leathers isn’t “worth it” because she’s not super thin.

Why else would TMZ ask this question given that everything else about Leathers fits the American definition of beauty: she has long gorgeous hair, a pretty face, and flawless skin. So they must be implying that she might not be “worth it” because she has real curves.

I don’t know what seems more awful—the notion that we should vote on a woman’s worth based on shots of her in a bikini or the implication that men aren’t attracted to curvy women.

Not only is it awful, it’s just plain ignorant.

Why trash-talk about exercise isn’t helping anyone

Lately I feel like I can’t turn around without hearing about Crossfit…

Crossfit is so awesome!

Crossfit is so much better for you than X!

Crossfit is so much harder!

You should really try Crossfit! 

The comment that bugs me the most is the one implying that Crossfit is a superior exercise program to every other one out there. I go to a local boot camp class, and, for some reason, I keep getting lectured about how much more challenging and rigorous Crossfit is that my boot camp class.

Call me crazy, but since the class is called “BOOT CAMP,” I think it’s pretty freaking tough.

Also, I’m just kind of irritated by the idea that people go around trash talking each other’s exercise program.

The question should NOT be: “Where do you exercise?” The question should be: “Do you exercise regularly?” And if the answer is yes, then THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS. There is no one single exercise program that is so good that it eradicates the benefits of any other exercise program.

Sure, if you’re an Olympic athlete, it matters who you train with. But, for the rest of us commoners, ALL EXERCISE IS GOOD. The problem in America isn’t that we’re exercising the wrong way. It’s that too many people aren’t exercising at all.

And focusing on why or how one program or gym is better than another doesn’t help the people who aren’t exercising. Instead, it sends the message that there is only one right way to exercise, reinforcing the wrong-headed notion that if people don’t exercise that one right way, they shouldn’t bother to do it at all. That’s really no different than saying that there is only one kind of healthy body or one kind of attractive body. It’s just plain wrong, and it only hurts us in the long run.

Night swimming shows me the light

For the second year in a row, my book club convened in a pool this July, and I’m beginning to think swimming together is something women should do more often.

The reason I think that is because seeing all of my girlfriends in their bathing suits was revelatory.

My book club is made up a cross section of women with all different body types—curvy and thin, tall and short, muscular and gangly. Despite this, I couldn’t help but notice how gorgeous we all looked in our bathing suits.

We got changed one at a time—taking turns in the bathroom near the kitchen where we had been eating and drinking for over an hour—and every time another person emerged from the bathroom in their swimsuit, I was stunned by how great she looked.

Maybe it’s because we don’t usually see each other in skimpy clothes, but I was shocked by how shapely and attractive everyone looked in a form flattering bathing suit.

And then it hit me—this is what I’m always talking about on this blog. This is what I’m always trying to convince people. Real women look great just the way they are. We don’t have to change how we look or try to be someone else. We just have to embrace the beauty that is womanhood, in all of its diverse sizes and shapes.

I cannot thank the wonderful women of my book club enough for showing me—in real life—how true this really is.

Taking it to the streets: skivvy style

Last month a group of strong women and men braved the streets of San Francisco IN THEIR UNDERWEAR to demonstrate that it’s okay to accept ourselves the way we are.

This protest, which occurred in front of a downtown location of Victoria’s Secret, was called Operation Real Bodies Real Love and included women of all sizes—whether they were fit or curvy.

About Face, who sponsored the protest said that “Wearing only our bras and underwear, we were making a statement about what real bodies look like (and how much we love them) in the face of the violently unrealistic, Photoshopped images we see in the media every day – Victoria’s Secret models included. These images can be extremely harmful to young and old minds alike, causing issues such as negative body image, low self-esteem, lowered or negative moods, dieting, and eating disorders.”

When I first heard about this protest, I thought there would be a lot of heckling and name-calling, but as it turns out, the protestors were met with words of support and cheers, proving that Americans are ready to dump unattainable ideas about beauty.

I admire the hell out of these women and hope that I, too, would have enough courage to stand on the street in my Jockey underwear and Target bra.

For now though I’ll have to simply content myself with signing their body acceptance pledge.

Hope you do the same.

New Yorkers raise the question: is walking the answer?

Almost everyone in New York is relatively fit.


I just returned from a week-long trip to New York City for work, and I was shocked to see, after I got home and back on the scale, that I’d lost a few pounds.

While I was in Manhattan, I ate out every meal and didn’t worry about choosing food that was not high in fat or calories. I also drank soda or juice with every meal (something I usually only do once or twice a week). I’m not saying I didn’t eat any fruit or vegetables or ate junk food the whole time I was there. I’m merely saying that I wasn’t vigilant about watching what I ate since I had enough to worry about as it was. I also didn’t make time every day to workout (which I always do at home).

So why did I lose weight?

It was obvious to me while I was there that the main difference between the lifestyle of someone who lives in New York and someone who lives in the middle of the country is transportation.

When you live in New York, you have no choice but to walk … you walk to restaurants, to theatres, to the subway. Some people also walk or bike to work. I even saw people walking to the gym.

Believe it or not, old people walk in Manhattan too!

At one point, we were walking with a 71-year-old and could barely keep up!

Two elderly women playing croquet in Central Park.


Simply put, for New Yorkers walking is a way of life.

After every single meal I ate in Manhattan, I had to walk either back to my hotel or to the subway at the very least. More often than not, I opted to walk all the way back to my hotel even when the subway was an option. As a result, I never felt bloated or like I’d eaten too much. Even when I came close to overeating, the walk home always made me feel better.

I also noticed on my trip that New Yorkers are MUCH thinner than people in the middle of the country, where everyone is becoming bigger. But not in New York, where a truly obese person was as hard to find as a free parking spot. I’m not talking model-thin, but just generally fit, and the people I saw who were overweight were not greatly so.

From my way of thinking, this has to be primarily about the walking.

While I was there, I asked a few of the people I saw about their exercise routines, and they all admitted that they don’t really work out even though several of them had gym memberships.

But they ALL admitted to walking several times a day.

Not only do New Yorkers walk more, but they also have more access to fresh fruit… when I was a kid growing up in New Jersey, there was a hot dog cart on every corner in Manhattan, but now there’s a hot dog cart AND a fruit cart on every corner. In one block near Union Square, I saw THREE DIFFERENT WOMEN cutting up mango that they were selling in small plastic bags.

I don’t think I have to tell you that there isn’t anybody selling fruit on street corners in middle America. Yes, we have farmer’s markets, but most of those are only open once or twice a week and only located in certain parts of town. New Yorkers have access to fresh fruit EVERYWHERE.

It’s strange to admit this because there’s currently a debate raging about inner cities that have “food deserts” (places where working class people can’t get food), but clearly that is not a problem in Manhattan.

So what’s a person in the middle of the country to do?

Years ago, I said that we need to be moving our bodies more often—not just once a day but all day long—and I still believe that’s true.

I’m not going to recommend that we all do something silly like have walking meetings at work—that just sounds ridiculous and hard to sell—but I am going to insist that we find ways to incorporate movement and exercise into our lives all day long… even if it simply means getting up from your desk every hour or so to walk around the block.

Otherwise, I fear the unthinkable might happen… people in middle America will just keep getting bigger, giving New Yorkers yet another reason to act like they are better than the rest of us.

When your mother says she’s fat
…a cross post by Kasey Edwards

Originally appeared on The Daily Life and republished here with permission.


Dear Mum,

I was seven when I discovered that you were fat, ugly and horrible. Up until that point I had believed that you were beautiful – in every sense of the word. I remember flicking through old photo albums and staring at pictures of you standing on the deck of a boat. Your white strapless bathing suit looked so glamorous, just like a movie star. Whenever I had the chance I’d pull out that wondrous white bathing suit hidden in your bottom drawer and imagine a time when I’d be big enough to wear it; when I’d be like you.

But all of that changed when, one night, we were dressed up for a party and you said to me, ‘‘Look at you, so thin, beautiful and lovely. And look at me, fat, ugly and horrible.’’
At first I didn’t understand what you meant.

‘‘You’re not fat,’’ I said earnestly and innocently, and you replied, ‘‘Yes I am, darling. I’ve always been fat; even as a child.’’

In the days that followed I had some painful revelations that have shaped my whole life. I learned that:

1. You must be fat because mothers don’t lie.
2. Fat is ugly and horrible.
3. When I grow up I’ll look like you and therefore I will be fat, ugly and horrible too.

Years later, I looked back on this conversation and the hundreds that followed and cursed you for feeling so unattractive, insecure and unworthy. Because, as my first and most influential role model, you taught me to believe the same thing about myself.

With every grimace at your reflection in the mirror, every new wonder diet that was going to change your life, and every guilty spoon of ‘‘Oh-I-really-shouldn’t’’, I learned that women must be thin to be valid and worthy. Girls must go without because their greatest contribution to the world is their physical beauty.

Just like you, I have spent my whole life feeling fat. When did fat become a feeling anyway? And because I believed I was fat, I knew I was no good.

But now that I am older, and a mother myself, I know that blaming you for my body hatred is unhelpful and unfair. I now understand that you too are a product of a long and rich lineage of women who were taught to loathe themselves.

Look at the example Nanna set for you. Despite being what could only be described as famine-victim chic, she dieted every day of her life until the day she died at 79 years of age. She used to put on make-up to walk to the letterbox for fear that somebody might see her unpainted face.

I remember her ‘‘compassionate’’ response when you announced that Dad had left you for another woman. Her first comment was, ‘‘I don’t understand why he’d leave you. You look after yourself, you wear lipstick. You’re overweight – but not that much.’’

Before Dad left, he provided no balm for your body-image torment either.

‘‘Jesus, Jan,’’ I overheard him say to you. ‘‘It’s not that hard. Energy in versus energy out. If you want to lose weight you just have to eat less.’’

That night at dinner I watched you implement Dad’s ‘‘Energy In, Energy Out: Jesus, Jan, Just Eat Less’’ weight-loss cure. You served up chow mein for dinner. (Remember how in 1980s Australian suburbia, a combination of mince, cabbage, and soy sauce was considered the height of exotic gourmet?) Everyone else’s food was on a dinner plate except yours. You served your chow mein on a tiny bread-and-butter plate.

As you sat in front of that pathetic scoop of mince, silent tears streamed down your face. I said nothing. Not even when your shoulders started heaving from your distress. We all ate our dinner in silence. Nobody comforted you. Nobody told you to stop being ridiculous and get a proper plate. Nobody told you that you were already loved and already good enough. Your achievements and your worth – as a teacher of children with special needs and a devoted mother of three of your own – paled into insignificance when compared with the centimetres you couldn’t lose from your waist.

It broke my heart to witness your despair and I’m sorry that I didn’t rush to your defence. I’d already learned that it was your fault that you were fat. I’d even heard Dad describe losing weight as a ‘‘simple’’ process – yet one that you still couldn’t come to grips with. The lesson: you didn’t deserve any food and you certainly didn’t deserve any sympathy.

But I was wrong, Mum. Now I understand what it’s like to grow up in a society that tells women that their beauty matters most, and at the same time defines a standard of beauty that is perpetually out of our reach. I also know the pain of internalising these messages. We have become our own jailors and we inflict our own punishments for failing to measure up. No one is crueller to us than we are to ourselves.

But this madness has to stop, Mum. It stops with you, it stops with me and it stops now. We deserve better – better than to have our days brought to ruin by bad body thoughts, wishing we were otherwise.

And it’s not just about you and me any more. It’s also about Violet. Your granddaughter is only 3 and I do not want body hatred to take root inside her and strangle her happiness, her confidence and her potential. I don’t want Violet to believe that her beauty is her most important asset; that it will define her worth in the world. When Violet looks to us to learn how to be a woman, we need to be the best role models we can. We need to show her with our words and our actions that women are good enough just the way they are. And for her to believe us, we need to believe it ourselves.

The older we get, the more loved ones we lose to accidents and illness. Their passing is always tragic and far too soon. I sometimes think about what these friends – and the people who love them – wouldn’t give for more time in a body that was healthy. A body that would allow them to live just a little longer. The size of that body’s thighs or the lines on its face wouldn’t matter. It would be alive and therefore it would be perfect.

Your body is perfect too. It allows you to disarm a room with your smile and infect everyone with your laugh. It gives you arms to wrap around Violet and squeeze her until she giggles. Every moment we spend worrying about our physical ‘‘flaws’’ is a moment wasted, a precious slice of life that we will never get back.

Let us honour and respect our bodies for what they do instead of despising them for how they appear. Focus on living healthy and active lives, let our weight fall where it may, and consign our body hatred in the past where it belongs. When I looked at that photo of you in the white bathing suit all those years ago, my innocent young eyes saw the truth. I saw unconditional love, beauty and wisdom. I saw my Mum.

Love, Kasey xx

This is an excerpt from Dear Mum: a collection of letters from Australian sporting stars, musicians, models, cooks and authors revealing what they would like to say to their mothers before it’s too late, or would have said if only they’d had the chance. All royalties go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. (Published by Random House and available now.)


Kasey Edwards is a writer based in Australia and author of four books including 30-Something and Over It, 30-Something and the Clock is Ticking, and OMG! That’s Not My Husband/Child. You can visit her website at and follow her on Twitter here.

The AMA piles on the hate, forgetting that “obese” people can be healthy

Two week ago, the American Medical Association (AMA) declared that obesity is a disease.

They did this even though the AMA’s Council on Science and Public Health “said that obesity should not be considered a disease mainly because the measure usually used to define obesity, the body mass index [BMI], is simplistic and flawed.”

Not only is the AMA’s decision problematic because the BMI scale is unreliable, it’s also problematic because obesity in and of itself is not a disease. Though obesity is a condition that can be associated with diseases such as high-blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease, there are plenty of obese people (myself included) who are healthy.

In fact, according to Abigail C. Saguy, an Associate Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at UCLA“more than half of ‘overweight’ and almost one third of ‘obese’ people” are healthy.

Not only that, “almost one quarter of ‘normal weight’ people” are unhealthy.”

You may be wondering how someone can be “obese” and still be healthier than some people who are not overweight.

Dr. Saguy says, “One explanation for this discrepancy is that physical fitness and/or nutrition—rather than weight per se—may be what really matters. Several studies have shown that physically fit ‘obese’ individuals have lower incidence of heart disease and mortality from all causes than do sedentary people of ‘normal’ weight.”

So what does that mean?

It means that we can’t use weight to determine health.

Instead, we need to look at physical activity and eating habits, which are what really determine health.

But it also means we have got to stop judging a person’s health based on how they look. That’s going to be hard to do because it’s easy to assume that if a person is overweight or obese, then they have poor eating habits or don’t exercise. But that’s simply not always the case, which is why so many of those people—remember we’re talking about 33% of obese people and 50% of overweight people—are still healthy.

This is a point that hits close to home for me since I fall in that 33% of people who are technically obese but still healthy (with low blood pressure, low cholesterol, a low resting heart rate, and a very active lifestyle).

Moreover, I fear that if Americans don’t learn to understand that being overweight does not equal being unhealthy, they will continue to use dangerous dieting techniques to drop pounds fast. And these diets almost always lead to weight gain—and more health problems—in the long run.

Sadly, the AMA’s decision to classify obesity as a disease is only going to cause more people to feel pressured to lose weight and diet, which is why it’s no surprise that some critics fear this classification “could lead to more reliance on costly drugs and surgery rather than lifestyle changes” and that it’s possible the AMA did this to help pharmaceutical companies sell anti-obesity drugs, two of which were introduced this year. “Some people might [also] be overtreated because their BMI was above a line designating them as having a disease, even though they were healthy.”

And how could this classification not lead to these kinds of problems? If someone says that being obese means you’re diseased, it’s perfectly normal to say, How can I be cured?

Which is why calling obesity a disease is incredibly dangerous and irresponsible.

The Heat as postmodern feminist art: how McCarthy and Bullock blow off misogynistic bullshit

…a guest post by Dr. Molly Kerby

If you can’t stand The Heat

well, it goes without saying, you should go watch the movie!

I admit that I was reluctant to see The Heat and walked into the theater with a giant chip of skepticism on my shoulder. The photo-shopped playbills of Melissa McCarthy, the seemingly anti-feminist clips I’d see on talk shows, and the juxtaposition of the fat girl versus the skinny girl all made my radical blood boil.

How can we, as a society, still support the stereotypical image of the “fat” person being portrayed as lazy, disheveled, and crude? How can we position that stereotypical image in contrast with the “skinny,” organized/poised, Yale graduate? Have we, as women, made no progress toward equality?’

I thought to myself, this is so wrong on so many levels that I will never be able to sit through the entire film without walking out of the theater in disgust. Fortunately, my admiration for the artistic talents of both Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock peaked my curiosity.

I went to see the film.


The film began with an introduction of each of the main characters and unapologetically reeked of a cliché mismatched cop-duo movie. Melissa McCarthy plays Shannon Mullins, a foul-mouthed Irish detective in Boston from a dysfunctional family, and Sandra Bullock portrays the pathetically single, workaholic New York FBI agent, Sarah Ashburn.

I seriously felt like I was watching the introduction to Lethal Weapon 5.

The plot to bring down the infamous drug lord and save the big city is even triter than the characters themselves. All elements of the film seemed obvious and sophomoric.

Then it dawned on me that in my haste to judge this popular culture display of what I saw as sexism and fattism, I had lost the point of the film.


So, let me start by sharing this disclaimer: I am not a third-wave or postmodern feminist. Rather, as a second-wave feminist, I believe to truly move on the next wave of a movement, there should be significant evidence of social change in the era left behind; that has not happened.

That being disclaimed (not dismissed), this film is very much a postmodern/postmodern-feminist statement.

As we delve into critical feminist theory, contradictions, interpretations, and competing analyses challenge the foothold of attempts at a generalized understanding of feminism. By this I mean that no two feminist scholars see the analytical context of anything in the same way; the same will no doubt be true for the critics of this film, most of whom will totally miss the point.

Instead of dwelling on the never-ending discrimination of women in male-identified jobs, sexism in the workplace, and obsession with bodyism (particularly females) the movie constantly, and consistently, faces it head on.

One of the most poignant scenes occurs when the albino DEA agent broke into a monologue about female law officers letting their estrogen and emotions cloud their judgment on the streets. Both Mullins and Ashburn blankly and silently stare at him until he is finished.

My instincts told me as this scene progressed that one of them was going to punch him in the face (they’d done a lot of that already in the film), but it never happened.

Before simply walking off, Mullins made a rude joke about his girlfriend being a flour sack with a hole, and the scene was over.

No debate ever ensued about women rights or equality, nor was there any dialogue about the DEA agent being sexist. It was as if both of them had heard all it and dismissed it as benign; they had work to do.

Countless examples of this ideology continue throughout the movie.

The male “cop-turned-bad” drug lord calls the albino DEA a misogynistic pig, which elicits no response from either Mullins or Ashburn. They just shake their heads in agreement and the scene moves on. Again, at the end Ashburn is passed over for a promotion, but nothing is ever said about discrimination – it just “is.”

Almost every stereotype about women in the workforce (in particular, law enforcement) is in this film, but it is shelved by the unlikely duo as if it was yesterday’s news.

In my critical perception of The Heat, the film is an example of postmodern feminist art.

One of the most compelling arguments of postmodern feminism is that gender is socially constructed through language. The idea is that what society regards as feminine is only a reflection of what is constructed as masculine, especially though our patterns of communication (both verbal and nonverbal).

Third-wave feminists have added that reclaiming derogatory language in order to change the connotation should be a central focus of revolution. An example of this ideology are the Slutwalks that began in 2011 aimed at reclaiming the word “slut” and attacking the notion that what women wear contributes to their victimization. The same is true for third-waver’s ideas of physical presentation in general; dress, weight, body modification, piercing, tattooing, etc.

In The Heat, slurs about weight, appearance, race, and gender fly from both (and all!) sides throughout the film:

—Mullins verbally attacks her boss in the beginning of the film and rants about his “small balls” for what seems to be five minutes

—The albino DEA agent refers to  Mullins as the “Campbell’s soup kid” all grown up

—Mullins tells the albino DEA agent he looks “Evil as shit,” a reference to the 1978 movie Foul Play in which another mismatched duo (Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase) solve a case involving albinos, dwarves, and the Catholic Church.

—Mullins refers to Ashburn’s Hispanic boss as “Puss in Boots,” a reference to Antonio Banderas’s charismatic character in Shrek.

The list goes on and on.

Similarly, we can hypothesize that, like language, other things, including body image—the subject of this blog—are socially constructed and most definitely treated in that same manner as language in this film.

One thing I noticed, above all the rest, is that the two women never shopped for sexy lingerie, drooled over dresses they couldn’t afford in store windows, engaged in “girl talk,” cooked, or cleaned. Neither of them made overreaching attempts to transform the other in ways that always appear in “chick” movies. Ashburn never told Mullins she needed to lose weight so she would be prettier, happier, or healthier. They did not have a “make-over” scene so that everyone could gasp at how pretty they looked when they “acted” like women. Mullins seemed to have a very active sex life, so there was never any innuendo that she could “get a man” if she wasn’t fat. To the contrary, Ashburn was the one who had the “dull” life; not because she was “ugly” but because she worked too much and was too serious and “stiff” (a trait most often given to men in movies).

Third-wave feminism posits that making autonomous choices about self-expression can be empowering acts of resistance, not simply internalized oppression. In other words, we may not be able to change the system as radical feminism suggests, but we do have the power to not conform to societal norms.

While that might seem like an oversimplification, it’s not at all.

I started my journey as a feminist with the idea that overhauling the system was the only way to make change. As I continued on through the many twisted passages, I realized that I might not be able change the system. What I did eventually grasp, however, it that I did not have to be an active part of that system.

And, that’s what this movie is about.

It acknowledges all of the elements of the misogynistic bullshit that are engrained in our language and institutions and then just blows them off.

Yes, I liked the movie.


Dr. Molly Kerby is an assistant professor in the Department of Diversity & Community Studies at Western Kentucky University (WKU). She teaches in the gender & women’s studies graduate and undergraduate program as well as the Masters of Arts in Social Responsibility and Sustainable Communities (SRSC) degree program.  She is a social justice scholar and activist. Molly has been a resident of Bowling Green, Kentucky, and member of the WKU community for almost thirty years.

Before Midnight Part II: Why Photoshop is evil

As I said in my last post, Julie Delpy’s appearance in Before Midnight was truly inspiring because she looked both gorgeous and real at the same time, her flaws highlighting her beauty rather than hindering it.

But sadly even Delpy’s natural beauty wasn’t enough for the film’s publicity department to leave it alone:

The Photoshopping here is obvious:

1) Celine’s body, especially her waist, is much, much thinner. (This is most notable if you look at how much less negative space there is between her waist and her arm in the original.)

2) Her arms are not only thinner but also less curvy.

3) The area around her stomach has been darkened to make her tummy appear flatter.

4) And her hips and thighs are more narrow.

So why did the promo people feel the need to alter Delpy this way? Wasn’t she attractive enough the way she was to sell Before Midnight? Did they really think that more people would see this small independent film because she appears a little bit thinner and less curvy in this publicity photo?

I fear that the answer to that question is, yes, they did think that, and they thought it because that’s how all women look in advertisements: thinner and less curvy and less real than they do in actual life.

But the rub, of course, is that no one looks like that in reality, and in these two photos we can see why that’s a good thing. Because the curve of Delpy’s arm is so beautiful, her stomach is so wonderfully maternal, and her thighs remind me so much of mine.

If we ever needed evidence about why Photoshop is evil, this is it.

Before Midnight Part I: Why we need more actresses who look like Julie Delpy

My piece on Before Midnight appears at Bitch Flicks today, and I hope you’ll read it.

In that piece, I talk about what’s wrong with the writing in Before Midnight, the third film in the Richard Linklater Before Sunrise/Before Sunset trilogy.

But I want to talk here about what’s right. And what’s right in that film is how real Julie Delpy looks.

In Before Midnight, Delpy has a few wrinkles…

fleshy arms…

big hips and thick thighs,

a real butt and real hips…

and a bit of a stomach…

Simply put, Delpy looks like a real person—flaws and all.

Despite this, she also looks stunningly beautiful, sending the important message that we can look real and have flaws and still be beautiful. 

If we had more women on our screens who looked this real and this good at the same time, we would probably all feel a lot better about ourselves and have more attainable role models.

In the Nicole Holofcener film, Lovely and Amazing, Emily Mortimer plays a struggling actress obsessed with her appearance.

In one scene, she stands stark naked in front of another actor (played by Dermot Mulroney) and asks him to describe her flaws. But when she tells her mother what’s wrong with her appearance, her mother balks and insists she is “lovely and amazing.”

That about sums about how I feel about Mortimer’s supposed flaws.

And Delpy’s too.

And all of the rest of ours for that matter.

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