Body Image

Lena Dunham and the Creator’s “Less-Than-Perfect” Body On-Screen

Lena Dunham 'Girls'

Every time someone calls to question the fact that Lena Dunham parades her rolls of fat in front of her audience, we need to examine why they’re questioning it. Is it because they’re wondering how it serves the narrative of ‘Girls’? Or is it because they’re balking at “less-than-perfection” (according to normative societal conventions) in the female form?

‘Shallow Hal’: The Unexpected Virtue of Mockery

"Only a man this shallow could fall in love this deep."

Its challenge to fatphobia is covered in fat jokes and gross-out humor, tailored to trigger our prejudices. We can laugh, if prepared to question why. We can sympathize, if braced against an awkwardly half-choked, giggling snort. Humor strikes faster than self-censorship.

Whispers of a House Mouse: Attempting to Disrupt ‘Cinderella’ in 2015

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However, just as with the rest of the movie, I also felt an anxiety about those scenes as I felt the weight of my daughter, sitting on my knee at this point in the movie. If the goal to be attained is the love of a wealthy man in just about every film marketed to her, and if her initiation into girlhood isn’t going to be completely mediated by me (though how I wish that were possible), what are my choices?

Body Image on ‘Total Divas’

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As you can see from the image above, there’s nothing wrong with the way either of the women in the sketches look. And as reality shows are wont to do, everything is tied up in a nice little bow by episode’s end, with Eva realizing she has issues that she needs to work on. “I’m a normal girl who has her own insecurities,” she says.

Seed & Spark: Latinas in the House!

Irene and Emma

BUTS started as a joke we had about our bodies. We are both pear-shaped women. (And God bless Lena Dunham for putting that silhouette out there without apologizing or qualifying it.) However, as our beauty standards still predicate, the hourglass figure rules. But our “hourglasses” had all the sand in the bottom! We would laugh about it and pad our bras when going to auditions.

‘The Mindy Project,’ Selfies, and Feminist Ambivalence

Mindy Kaling on 'The Mindy Project'

Mindy Lahiri knows she’s hot, she’s comfortable saying it (“bet you didn’t think with this bod that I had brains too, and pretty good boobs”), and she takes it as a given that others generally agree. When Mindy slaps a stranger in a case of mistaken identity, she regrets it not because he was innocent, but because he’s a European immigrant, and “he’s gonna go back to his country and say ‘In America, hot girls can do whatever they want.’ That’s a bad message, Danny!”

The importance of Mindy categorizing herself as a “hot girl” is that it means all the times she says her ass won’t quit isn’t just her blowing smoke to cover up her insecurity over her body. Furthermore, the other characters on the show generally DO agree.

The Horror of Female Sexual Awakening: ‘Black Swan’

Natalie Portman in Black Swan

What disappointed me most, I think, was that Black Swan could easily have been a progressive film with a positive, young woman-centered journey out of repression at its center. It could have recouped that gender-centric childhood ballerina dream of so many little girls into a message about determination, hard work, personal strength, and emotional growth. Instead, Darren Aronofsy has produced an Oscar-winning horror film. That’s right: I said HORROR. While that might seem like a stretch, it seems clear to me that the horror I refer to is the possibility of changing an age-old story. The horror of Black Swan is the absolutely terrifying idea that a young woman might make it through the difficult process of maturation, develop a healthy, multi-faceted sexuality, and be successful at her chosen career at the same time.

The Flattening of Celine: How ‘Before Midnight’ Reduces a Feminist Icon

This is a guest post by Molly McCaffrey. Before Midnight movie poster There are numerous reasons why Before Midnight—the third film in the Richard Linklater Before Sunrise/Before Sunset trilogy—is an important film. Jesse and Celine in Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight It’s an important film first and foremost because it’s a film about […]

Wedding Week: You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You: ‘Muriel’s Wedding’ and the Promise of Bridal Transformation

This is a guest post by Jessica Freeman-Slade.  As much as they contain all the elements of great cinema—gorgeous photography, lighting, costumes—weddings are hard to capture on film because their machinations and motivations are so terribly complicated. Even a film like Father of the Bride can’t distance itself from the fact that weddings are logistical […]

Wedding Week: ‘Shrek’: Happily Ever After Gets a Green Makeover

Princess Fiona This is a guest post by Megan Wright. When I first watched Shrek, I can’t really remember how I felt about Fiona, aside from the fact that I thought it was fantastic that she was fighting Robin Hood and his Merry Men. As the years passed, I bought the movie, and it was […]

Travel Films Week: Protecting Olive in ‘Little Miss Sunshine’

Movie poster for Little Miss Sunshine This is a guest review by Melissa Richard. Look around… this place is fucked! I don’t want these people judging Olive—fuck them! You’re the mom—you’re supposed to protect her! Everyone is gonna laugh at her, Mom… please don’t let her do this. Look, she’s not a beauty queen. She’s […]

Let’s All Take a Deep Breath and Calm the Fuck Down About Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham and the cast of Girls Written by Stephanie Rogers.  Dear Lena Dunham Haters, I’m sick of the Lena Dunham hate. I’m not referring to the criticisms of Dunham, which are—in most cases—valid and necessary critiques of her privilege, especially how that privilege translates into her work. The first season of Girls in particular […]