Apr 242010
 

I had written another blog and was all ready to post it when I heard about ABC and FOX banning an ad for Lane Bryant’s lingerie brand Cacique.

Of course, I had to look it up.   My first thought was, “Are you fucking kidding me?!”   Those women are beautiful.   Next to me they are anorexic thin.   But in today’s societal view of plus-size women they’re fat.   I would peg them at maybe a size 8-10 after a big meal.   Which in today’s world is average.   Quite frankly, they are smaller than average given that there are statistics that state 60% of American women are over a size 14.   Regardless, they aren’t the thin women we are used to seeing in the Victoria’s Secret ads, which I must say, are WAY more risque and sexual than this ad.

I know I need a segue way here but trust me this will make sense.   When I moved to Los Angeles to be an actor and a writer I had no idea what was lying ahead for me.   When I got here I really didn’t know people.   I had a friend who lived here but he was quite busy with his life.   Other than that I was on my own with my ideas, my computer with my dial up modem and my stand-up comedy.   I performed at The Comedy Store and met some people.   But overall I was a loner.   I would play on my computer for hours.   I would go on AOL and talk to men in chat rooms.   I would lie and tell them I was thin because, even though I was on the road to self-acceptance, I had yet to meet a man who liked fat women.   Was there such a thing?   Well, yes, after much embarrassment of having to tell men that actually I was a plus-size woman, “how fat are you?!!”   UGH.   I found there were men who liked big women.   I found BBW (Big Beautiful Woman) chat rooms on line.   A whole world opened up for me.   I was fortunate to meet some great women during that time who are now life long friends as well.

I also subscribed to BBW magazine.   I had read the magazine years before.   I had  even used their personal ads to find romance and didn’t.   So, I knew there was a world  out there that I was interested in.   I just didn’t realize how big the world was so-to-speak.   In the back of one of the magazines there was an ad for a mens magazine for men who like big women.   It wasn’t your standard pink-part magazine.   It looked like it might even be a magazine that women could also enjoy.   So, I subscribed.

bbwIn the meantime, I submitted myself to the BBW Model contest.   I remember when I was younger I had done it and never heard back.   I figured I had nothing to lose sitting in LA hoping to make it as an actor.   I submitted photos.   And, I did hear back this time.   They told me I didn’t make it into their contest but they liked my look and asked that I be a professional model for them.   It was a one-time deal.   It was a great and memorable experience.   At the time, BBW magazine was owned by Larry Flynt.   Yes, Larry Flynt of Hustler magazine fame.   We shot out in one of his porn studios in Chatsworth in the San Fernando Valley.   Hilarious.   They put the mattresses up against the walls so, we would have room to shoot.   There were stacks of all kinds of porn magazines filled with images of every fetish you could think of and some you would be grateful to have not thought of.   It was a kick.   As it turns out, I was the largest model to ever grace the pages of BBW magazine.   At least up until that point.

Then I received my copy of the mens magazine I had mentioned earlier.   WOW!   I was so excited to see this magazine.   No pink parts.   No gynecological poses.   Just very big and mostly, very beautiful women.   In the back of the magazine was a one-page article about BBW dances being offered here in Los Angeles.   The article had pictures of a Halloween party with big women dressed up having fun. Literally, in one sitting, my whole world opened up.     I called and found out about the next dance and within a couple of weeks found myself attending a dance party in a room filled with big women and the men who wanted them.   WooHoo!   Okay, so this isn’t the point of this particular blog.   I promise in an upcoming blog I will tell you all about the dances. And, there is much to tell.

This magazine was like a bomb going off in my world.   I was so excited to read every word.   Sure some of it wasn’t for me.   But overall it was magic. Even the imagery of seeing these big women showing  off their bodies was exciting to me.   Not in a sexual way.   But in a way that had me get that my body was beautiful and sexy.   I was able to look at my body and not be disgusted and angry.   After a couple of issues I did something I never in a million years would have imagined.   I submitted my photos to the magazine.   Yes, I had dim_1a friend take some pictures of me in lingerie and I submitted them for consideration.   Surprisingly, for me, they wanted to use them in their magazine.   Then they told me I was going to be on the cover.   Within a year I went from being a woman who didn’t date to being a woman on the cover of a mens magazine.   Sounds like  a Hollywood story to me.

Of course, I told my mother.   I had to let her know.   In hindsight, I probably didn’t have to let her know.   It might have been easier on her to not know for a variety of reasons. This wasn’t a magazine that you would find on shelf in a bookstore.   It was a subscription-only magazine and you had to know about it to find it.   But for whatever reason I told my mother.   There was probably some veiled in-your-face attitude on my part too.   It wasn’t our finest moment as mother and daughter.   Sure, it worked out in the long-run but, wow, in the moment, she wasn’t pleased.   It didn’t matter that I told her I was covered.   I told her I wasn’t completely naked.   I told her it was so liberating and freeing for me and that I felt so beautiful and sexy.   None of that mattered.   The fear for her was what if someone found out.   What if one of their friends found out, or worse, saw the magazine.   What I said to her was that if one of their friends found out than we would know a lot more about them they would about us.   Really!   If one of the husbands of my mom’s friends saw the magazine we would definitely know what he liked.   Angrily, I said to her, “If I was in thin and in Playboy completely naked showing off every nook and cranny of my body you would be less upset than you are about this.   In fact, you would be proud.   Your anger is because I’m fat!”   Like I said, not our finest moment. Ultimately, it brought us closer being able to be so honest with each other.   Just ask our good friend Oprah.

So, back to the banning of the Lane Bryant ad.   Is it really because it is too sexy for television?   Or is it because the women are fat?   And, what about the Victoria’s Secret ads on television or even the Playtex bra commercials?   They are all women in bras with the difference being the Lane Bryant models are larger than the other models.   In my world, they certainly aren’t fat.   Could it be some manufactroversy (a manufactured controversy that is motivated by profit)?   I really hope that because of this controversy more people see the ad than would have seen it before.   I am sure more people are talking about it.   I certainly am!

 Posted by at 4:32 pm

Step Away From the Refrigerator

 Life in Los Angeles  Comments Off on Step Away From the Refrigerator
Apr 172010
 

I know I have been kind of beating the same drum for a while now.   And, really, it’s the drum I have.   To use another cliche, it’s the hand I’ve been dealt.   It’s the bed I have so I’m going to lie in it.   It’s my cake so I’m going to eat it. I can mix a million metaphors and it all comes down to the fact that I am a fat woman living.   Yes, living and living well.   As I have said, time and time again, I live an amazing life with a loving and wonderful husband.   I have great friends and a beautiful family.   It’s a pretty sweet deal.   It isn’t everyday that I deal with some kind of personal attack because of my size.   It isn’t everyday that someone posts on my blog that I am a pig or that someone drives by and hollers some obscenity followed by a fat descriptor at me.   It isn’t everyday that a hostess leads me towards a booth in a restaurant where I know I won’t be able to fit.   It isn’t everyday that I drive with someone else and find the seat belt in their car won’t fit me.   It isn’t everyday that I walk by some women in a store and they laugh as I walk by and then whisper to each other.   Or, like today, it isn’t everyday that I walk by someone in the grocery store who makes a “tsk” sound as I pass. No, these things don’t happen everyday.

One of my better qualities, or maybe it’s one of my faults, is I try and see the good in people.   If not the good, at least I try and look at them and see what it is that has them be the way they are or do the things they do.   Like the person who posted that nasty comment on my blog the other day or the people who were so nasty about Kevin Smith on his ill-fated Southwest Airlines flight.   It always seems people’s bad behavior comes from some kind of fear.   It makes sense that if someone is afraid they may indeed act in a way that, under normal circumstances, would be considered inappropriate but in a situation where they are, say, protecting themselves it would be considered self-defense.   Hear me out on this.   We live in a climate of fear these days.   We are afraid of the financial crisis in the US, the unemployment crisis, the housing crisis, the oil crisis, the health care crisis, the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, the powder keg that is Iran, the fear of North Korea, the war on drugs, high sales tax, the IRS, taxes in general, etc., etc….I think I have made my point.   The list goes on and on and on with terrifying things impacting and affecting all of us in one way or another.   Given those issues, issues over which we feel that we have little or no control but to live in fear and try and function in our daily lives under the constant duress and fear weighing us down,   I can see how when the picture of obesity is painted as a global issue that needs to be dealt with it would seem like the easy solution would be to say, “step away from the refrigerator fatty!”   It certainly seems like it will be a lot easier to fix that problem, to wage that war the way it’s drawn rather than, let’s say, finding a solution for Middle East peace.

If the recipe for being thin really was as simple as just eating less and exercising wouldn’t everyone be thin?   It’s like those “get rich quick” infomercials with the guy saying, “I made my first million just sitting in my house and doing essentially nothing and you can too!”   I am sure a lot of you (I know some of my audience will definitely know this) have heard the “fact” that 95% of all diets fail.     It’s has been said and has been used to further many agendas of different diet programs as well as by fat people who are just tired of being berated.  What I have found in my limited research is that most dieters gain back ALL of their weight.   UCLA did a series of studies showing this in the late 90’s. Some statistics are skewed based on how long it takes for someone to gain back the weight they lost.   So, if someone loses 50 pounds and keeps it off for 5 years and then gains it back plus an additional 10 pounds or so in the 6th year then the diet was a success.   Can you imagine if that was your business model?   Can you imagine if you were to sell someone a product with no guarantee that statistically is proven to fail at least 95% of the time?   In a nutshell that is the diet industry…a multi-billion dollar industry scam.

There are people who are waging the war against obesity by calling it an “epidemic” or a “pandemic.”   I have heard newscasters say, “the obesity epidemic is spreading and has now become a world-wide pandemic.”     Well, for goodness sakes, keep your children indoors and away from fat people!!     Okay, that’s ridiculous, right?   Is it?   How many of you have heard that more and more people are getting fat?   How many of you have heard that people are fatter today than they were years ago?   Well, according to the CDC (The Center for Disease Control and Prevention here in the US) who produced two studies in regards to obesity both in the United States and in the England this isn’t the truth.   This so called epidemic just isn’t.     These studies were published in January 2010 in The Journal of American Medical Association.   One study was about obesity in children and adolescents and the other was about adult obesity.   These studies show that these claims of a worldwide obesity pandemic are false and that statistically there have been no significant changes in obesity in women over the last decade and for men no significant changes over the past five years of the decade.

All of this reminds of me of the movie “Wag the Dog.”   We can’t deal with all of the woes we have.   And, believe me, we have a lot of woes.   So, rather than deal with the real issues we throw out this overblown hyped issue and scare people into thinking they have to make a difference because lives are at stake. By doing this we stop paying attention to the real issues all the while forgetting and overlooking there is a human aspect in this “war.”   Fat people are people with feelings just like other people.   We bleed when we are cut.   We cry when we are in pain.   We put our shoes on one foot at a time.  

When I was young I had a friend I loved being with.   We would hang out and talk about boys and life and our futures.   Then one day she told me we couldn’t hang out as much anymore.   When I pressed her to tell me why, she told me.   It turned out her mother was afraid that by spending time with me she would get fat.   Like it was contagious.   As if she would catch my fat cooties and then balloon out out control.   It didn’t happen.   She didn’t gain weight.   Maybe her mother had her vaccinated before her daughter succumbed.   This was long before we had a “War on Obesity.  ” This was long before the so-called epidemic.   And, it hurt then and it stings now in the retelling.   As I will say again and again, I am really fortunate.   I have a great life.   Like I have a protective coating or a shell protecting me, just a bit, from this ignorance.   What about those people and children who don’t have that?   What about the people whose self-esteem isn’t whole?   What about those people who are already unhappy and are lonely and sad because the world has told them there is something wrong with them that needs to be cured?   Is telling them to eat a piece of celery and join a gym really the cure?

 Posted by at 6:51 pm
Apr 162010
 

First, I want to say to those of you concerned that I am in a “funk.”   Please don’t worry.   This is a good place to be.   They always say that when you know where you are going there isn’t room for creativity.   Well, if that is really the case then the whole world is my oyster and I am pearl diving for creativity.   I am definitely up for something.   I understand what is going on with me is a product, or symptom if you will, of circumstance not of some chemical imbalance.   I don’t need “happy pills.”   I need an outlet that will have me make a nice living, allow me to have a voice and make a difference.   The blog, for now, will give me two out of those three.

Clearly, the topic of being fat is near and dear to my heart (forgive the puns…they will be plentiful…) but I feel like I need to make this quick clarification before I go on.   Since there is a lot of misinformation out there regarding fat people I want to make a couple of things perfectly clear about myself for those who don’t know me and for those who do but aren’t sure:   I do not want to infringe upon your space in anyway whether in a movie, a restaurant or on an airplane,   I shower daily – I don’t smell, I don’t sweat profusely (unless I am exercising or it’s hot, duh), I am not sloppy, and I am not lazy…

I also want to say, I am not standing on a soapbox or shouting from a rooftop that people should be fat.   I am not a cheerleader for some fat movement nor am I a fat cheerleader. What I am saying is be healthy, be happy, and stop being so cruel and ignorant.   With that said, I posted what I did yesterday because I am and was upset and dismayed by what I have been seeing in the media and in the world in general.   This hatred towards fat people has become unbearable.   This morning I saw I had a notification that there was a comment waiting for approval on yesterday’s blog.   Now, I am not completely foolish.   I have comments set to only post upon my approval.   I woke feeling good this morning.   I woke feeling positive.   And, then I read the comment on my post from yesterday.   It was EXACTLY what I was talking about.   In case you haven’t seen it, I will post it for you here.   It is a perfect illustration of what I said.

“Listen fatso, obesity is a choice. You know what you’re getting into the minute you open the fridge door.   You can choose to stop being ridiculed for   being a selfish glutton anytime you want. Pig!”

Can you imagine saying that to someone?   I can’t respond to them personally because they made up an email address so they could hide behind anonymity – like a coward would – and post this.   It is pretty disgusting.   I am not going to get into the whole misinformation about obesity being a choice.   I don’t know how I am being selfish.   Am I taking up too much space?   Do I use up too much oxygen?   Did I eat the last cookie that you wanted?   Then there are all the things I want to throw back at this person.   It won’t make a difference.   You can’t fight ignorance with anger.   It doesn’t make a difference.

There is an enormous amount of cowardice in these bullies.   For so long they would hide in the comment sections on blogs and news articles on the net.   They were afraid to show their faces and creep out from underneath their rocks.   Unfortunately, now, those cowards are spilling over into our mainstream media under the guise of trying to help fix a problem that is more like punishing the innocent.   These bullies, many with their own agenda, are coming out in force to wage war against the obese.

MeMe Roth is one of those bullies.   (It is poetic that her name is MeMe.)   She is an undereducated and over-hyped “expert” who is part of the War on Obesity.   She is one the people who is out to destroy Ronald McDonald for making our children fat.   She claims he and “his cohorts are pervy child predators.”   Honestly, after reading a lot about her I think she has an eating disorder.   She is terrified of being fat.   Her family (mother, grandmother etc. are fat) so her actions in life are directly correlated with her fear of becoming obese.   While I think she needs some help I honestly believe she is a danger to herself and to society at large. She says she “wants to make the world a better place for fat people…by preventing people from becoming fat in the first place.”   What you should know is she has a BA in journalism and took an 8 month course on nutrition from an unaccredited school.   She considers herself a “Health Counselor, Integrative Nutrition.”   It reminds me of something comedian Dara O’Briain says, “A dietitian is to a nutritionist as a dentist is to a toothiologist.”   I think I am going to take a class in neurosurgery from the Learning Annex next weekend.   That way if this acting and writing thing doesn’t pan out I’ll   have something to fall back on.

 Posted by at 3:16 pm
Apr 152010
 

They say that no one is as hard on you as you are.   Or they say, “You are your own worst enemy.”   Those aren’t the same.   But lately I have been in such a funk.   Unlike Picasso my blue period has not been prolific or inspired.   Well, maybe a little inspired.   I just haven’t had the gumption to write anything down or do much for that matter.   Sure I look for jobs.   Yes, I have gone out on some auditions.   Certainly, I have thought about producing my one-woman show.   I have done a lot of thinking and over thinking and obsessing.   Nothing has come of any of it.   Maybe a small fire is smoldering inside of me that could use a bit of stoking.   I am working on that.   That’s why I’m here writing now.

I think the downward spiral came for me a couple of months ago when director Kevin Smith had the run-in with Southwest Airlines regarding whether he needed two seats to fly on their airline.   I don’t feel like getting into my whole take on the situation and how I think Southwest Airlines has bad business practices and handled the situation poorly.   But what I will say is that Kevin Smith’s situation shined a powerful spotlight on the hatred towards fat people.   People were posting such ugly and dismaying things on websites regarding this incident that I literally found myself sickened and filled with despair.   “Lose weight you fat fuck!!” is just one of the many comments that were posted aimed at Kevin.   Really?!

I have much gratitude to, of all people, Stephen Fry and Craig Ferguson.   Craig had Stephen on his show.   It was with just the two of them and no audience.   How did this help me?   Stephen talked about trolls.   Those horrible people who post on websites just to get a rise out of people.   They go there and say mean and nasty things because they can’t get away with saying them in life.     It helped a bit.   They said to not read the comments.   Those people don’t matter.   Who cares if TwilightFan13 thinks I’m disgusting because I’m fat? Really, who cares?

The problem is, I care.   I care a lot.   I care not just because it’s me and I want people to like me but I care because it pains me to think of little fat and chubby boys and girls out there who, just like I did and do, wake up everyday into a world that thinks there is something wrong with them that needs to be fixed and changed.   It makes me so sad to hear Kevin Smith talk about “passing” or being a “normy” on his   Smodcast (podcast) inferring there is something wrong with him as he is.   As if he lost weight then he would fit in and be normal.

There is so much awareness right now about this subject.   As you know there is a “War on Obesity” in this country right now.   Michelle Obama is out there teaching people to eat right so they don’t fall prey to the “Obesity Epidemic.” It’s as if fat people no longer have a voice.   It’s as if we are truly second class citizens.   It’s as if we aren’t human beings but rather animals who have no self control or self worth.   We are being treated as if we just don’t know any better and we need the government to step in on our behalf.   Wow, this is so incredibly violating and infuriating I can hardly sit here and type this.   It’s a good thing I have great blood pressure.   Because if there is going to be a War Against Lisa Brounstein, I won’t go down without a fight.

 Posted by at 4:10 pm