Tag Archives: Marilyn Monroe

The Skinny on Fat

The fashion industry has a lot to answer for. I may have posted on this before. In fact I did from the perspective of the fashion designer who used “plus-size” models for a show. Those supposed plus sizes were between size 8 and 12, hardly plus at all and normal for most women.

Well, I also came across the following article by a writer. who dressed in a fat suit to attend several fashion shows. The attitudes about skeletal models and towards overweight people that she experienced just highlights the unrealistic world of fashion. The writer, Kate Faithtfull, is normally a size 10-12 and that would be too fat for being a model. Yet, if you look at her picture, beside one of her in the fat suit, she looks perfectly healthy.

As a child with an eating disorder and therefore a pudgy exterior, I have well experienced the attitudes of people to those not of normal size. Interestingly, when I look back on those pictures of me as a teenager I was pretty near normal size. I have a European, peasant body and will never be stick thin without serious surgery to remove calf muscle from my large, overdeveloped calves (finding high boots is nearly impossible and women with smaller calves than me have problems too), as well as trimming the hips and thighs down to a size I’ve never seen on my body.  I’m sturdy, I have childbearing hips and I will always be curvy. I wear between a size 8 and a size 10, even with this shape.

Now Faithfull padded her body out to size 22 and found some clothes to wear, commenting that it was a good thing her breasts were foam because she’d have trouble finding a bra otherwise. Her male friends were more intrigued by the curves and yes, men often like more curvy women. Black men especially seem to like a woman with some “junk in her trunk.”

Now in recent years that crept up. I was no longer a small in my tops, going to a medium. My size 10 pants were too tight to do up. I should say here that there are a whole host of pants/jeans, which could be size 14 and I would still not be able to get them over my calves. Many jeans that I can get over my hips are then far too big in the waist, because, yes, I’m curvy. It’s not easy for many women whose proportions are not the 36-24-36 proportions to get clothes, though I would argue these days the measurements are more like 36-28-32. At my smallest I 34-22-38.

The fashion industry was never selling to me and I’m not sure who they sell to with their stick thin models in size 2, which a very small majority of any population can wear. Most women are between size 8-14. Many wear larger than that. Just by dint of being tall, can pop you up a size or too.

When I got into watching the Buffy the Vampire Slayer  TV show I was made even more uncomfortably aware of my size by all the teeny women. Willow and Buffy were diminutive, yet Tara was more of a normal size. I’m sure some people thought she was fat but she wasn’t and I bet she wore a size 8 or smaller. After all, she said she weighed around 118 lbs and is around 5.5″. That’s not much weight for that height. Between Hollywood and the fashion world, people are freaked out about being 120 or 150 lbs when those are more natural ranges for people from 5.4 to 5.8. I don’t have the national average in front of me but I know many women who weigh 140-150 who don’t look fat at all.

What hit me over the year or two was that my clothes weren’t fitting. With a great deal of effort (a natural, balanced diet and working out 3-4 times a week) I’ve lost around 20 lbs this year. I think I could lose another 20  though the doctor says 10 maybe 15. We’ll see but I can say now that even if I lose that weight I’ll still have hips and big calves. It’s the way I’m built and it would take a truly anorexic frame to eliminate this and I’d be getting rid of muscle mass.

It’s hard being in a culture that ridicules people for being fat yet seems to reward those who starve themselves. Marilyn Monroe would be fat by today’s standards and she’s still a sex symbol. Oddly the model Twiggy, presenting an anorexic shape in the 60s that took the fashion world by storm (why, I still don’t know) started a trend that doesn’t seem to have ended. I’ll work always at being healthy but give me the Selma Hayeks and Sophia Lorens over Callista Flockhart and Twiggy. Curvy is healthier.


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Michael Jackson: Shooting Star

I grew up with Michael Jackson, or his music anyways. But that’s not hard to say for most of us. After all, when a career spans forty-five years, many people can say the same thing.

As the news rolled in, people and media have expressed their shock, that they were stunned. Sadly, I can say I was not. I have said that I expected that Michael would die an early death, like Elvis, than live to a ripe old age. I have called him a shooting star for years, for he is and was exactly that. A shooting star ascends high into the heavens, or so high up that everyone can see that light. But such a bright light eventually comes to an end. As opposed to a star that shines constantly and brightly for eons and then fades out at the end of a long lifetime, a shooting star seems all the brighter for its briefer lifespan, and that it will descend much quicker. The candle burned out long ago, to paraphrase Elton John.

That Michael Jackson was a brilliant musician and stage presence, the greatest pop icon of his time, is obvious by the number of albums he sold and the money he made. It’s irrefutable. That he lived a happy and normal life is arguable. The signs are not so hidden at all that Jackson was a troubled and unhappy individual. Like many of us, I’m sure he had his moments of happiness, but like many of us he was also unhappy with who he was. And he had the money to do something about it.

He was a good looking, handsome black child who grew to adulthood and was still attractive. Looking at those early pictures of Michael, you can see he is still black, his hair curly yet fashionable. Slowly his wide, broad nose, narrowed and narrowed again to the skeletal aberration that it became. I certainly hope that the plastic surgeon who mangled Jackson’s face doesn’t advertise that he did the great Michael Jackson. Of course, Jackson also had surgeries to change the shape of his jaw, his lips, his cheekbones, his eyes until the face does not resemble the earlier Michael Jackson at all. How much plastic surgery is needed for a burn of long ago? Not that much, I would think.

He took to straightening his hair, getting rid of any semblance to the negroid curl. And his skin turned white. It’s said that he suffered from a skin pigmentation problem, vitiligo. On white people this sometimes shows as a darker patch, or a pinker patch of skin. On black people, it shows as white or pinkish skin. This could possibly be true but any person I ever saw who had this condition, where the melanin starts to leave the skin, had it in patches, not an overall and even discoloration. Though it’s possible that he started with this and had a chemical depigmentation performed using monobenzone, to even out the skin tone. He also did not exhibit conditions of albinism, evident by the darkness of his hair and eyes. (The Philipines, as one example, sells many skin lightening soaps.) There are numerous ways listed on the internet on how to lighten your skin tone. Michael Jackson had the money, which gives you the means, to do this to the extreme. Perhaps it started as a pigmentation problem but I believe he went in search of being a white man.

These extreme examples of changing his body indicate how unhappy he was with who he had been born. And proves that money can’t buy you happiness. He was too famous to walk anywhere without being recognized, therefore negating his chances of having normal life experiences. As Michael grew farther away from a normal life (even as a child in a performing family he was more used to spotlight than to family life) it became more unattainable.

Where were the family and friends that could bring him back to center? His family wasn’t a good example as they all lived in the limelight to one degree or another as well. If Michael’s only friends were other stars (as often is the case) then they may have been his yes men, only telling him how wonderful he was, never saying, Michael you’ve gone too far. Or Michael, you’ve got to eat or you’re going to die. But if there were those who tried to balance Michael’s extremes, maybe he just didn’t listen. After all, he was rich and powerful in the music world.

Michael lived in fantasy palaces, with private zoos and was probably happiest when he took his creative genius into the realm of  music where he was an innovator and a leader. I was never that in to pop music but I would argue that there is no better music for teenagers, because pop music is catchy, upbeat and fast enough to engage a young mind. Yet Michael was seen as a god, not as a man. I’m sure he was a romantic icon for enough teens as well.

We have a tendency in our world today to put rock/music stars and movie stars upon pedestals. They are our modern gods. But we (people, the masses) are a fickle lot, that get bored too quickly and demand too much. If our gods slip up, we will pull them down, we ridicule them and we hate them for the fame and money and beauty that we cannot hang onto ourselves. We will pick at their every flaw and as their pedestal crumbles we will hack it to pieces.

And then Michael, the unfathomable recluse who invited children into his palace, was charged with child molestation. Whether true or not, such an accusation is devastating and scarring to the core. It could not do other to a man estranged from a normal life who could only live on the idolization of his fans. Even the supposed three children he had with the rather plain woman (who disappeared from the scene shortly after) were suspect. No matter how a man bleaches himself, or suffers pigmentation problems, they won’t transfer to his children. And black being more dominant than white would show in the features, yet these kids (the few pictures that exist) are more white than anything else, one especially being extremely white.

Michael Jackson’s life had become a circus, the star on its descent. The millionaire who owed millions. When I recently looked at a progression of pictures of Jackson through his life and I saw how thin he was (not just slim, but very thin) I knew he suffered an eating disorder as well. This fits in with someone so desperate to change into someone else. Anorexia starves the body on all sorts of levels. Not enough nutrients to feed the muscles or the organs and then those organs must work harder. Anorexics, unless they try to seek help and recover, often die of heart attacks when the strain on their hearts become too much. It really was inevitable.

Michael Jackson may have had other conditions too; it’s not clear. But one thing that is, is that he was fighting his body his whole life. To be so gifted and die so conflicted. Could most of us ever hope to shine so brightly? Could any of us fear to burn so painfully? I feel sad for his life, that he couldn’t have loved himself more. Michael Jackson joins the other shooting stars, the famous who died suddenly before their flame burned out naturally: Jimmy Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, River Phoenix, Princess Diana, John Lennon and many others.

Reports are saying that he died of a drug overdose or a cocktail of deadly proportions. Not really a surprise. Jackson was reportedly addicted to painkillers (Vicodin, Demerol, etc.)  since the face burning episode. Put on top of that, the numerous surgeries and his anorexia and you have a collapse just waiting to happen. A bit of a star’s standard way out, whether planned or accidental. This shopping list of pharmaceuticals does support my theory of a man disenfranchised and unhappy with the way his life continued to unfold. So he closed the book.

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Sex and Politics

As long as there have been people, there has been sex, obviously. But as long as there have been more than two people having to get along in a group, there have been politics. And I’m betting that as long as there have been politics, sex has often been involved.

Sex has been exchanged for power for millennia. Look at the Egyptians. They married brothers and sisters to keep the bloodline pure and royal. All in the family. And throughout the middle ages brides of nobles and royalty were locked into marriage contracts with other rulers so that borders could be expanded, loyalty could be guaranteed and tithes could be exchanged. For the little people, the peasants, they got to arrange their own marriages in most cases.

I’m sure there were illicit affairs happening in the 19th century. After all, the Italian Renaissance of several centuries before was known for the nobles being married to one woman and having several mistresses along the way. Even the Borgia popes had mistresses. Sexually transmitted diseases, gonorrhea, syphilis, etc. were widely known and spread. In fact, I believe it was syphilis that was called the Neapolitan disease because it was rumored that Italian sailors went to foreign ports, brought back the disease and spread it through the known world in seven years.

Along came the 20th century, North America. JFK was purported to have had an affair with Marilyn Monroe and also with other women. He wasn’t the first, nor the last. Then came the famous Cinton-Lewinsky affair. Or maybe it was just a blowjob. I don’t know if she inhaled or not. Millions of dollars was wasted of the taxpayers’ money to find out if Clinton had sex with Monica. (And what kind of freak keeps a semen crusty dress anyways? That is particularly disgusting.) Polls showed that really, the public didn’t care.

Truth is, human nature/culture often includes affairs outside of marriages, whether known about or not. People joked that the Europeans wondered what was wrong with US presidents if they didn’t have a mistress. (I’m not sure if women were allowed equal on-the-side benefits or not, but I doubt it.) That Europe rolled their eyes at all the “scandal” of presidential love affairs. The Italians would know; they’ve been doing it for centuries.

When it comes down to it, what does it matter who a person sleeps with, as far as politics are concerned? Affairs should be between the politician, their spouse and any other directly related parties. It should not include the public or the media. The nation should keep its nose out of the politicians’ bedrooms. The only exception would be if state secrets were being divulged to any lovers. Maxine Bernier, Canada’s “past” foreign affairs minister had a girlfriend where he left his important papers laying about. Whether she stole them or he was just careless, in either case he was dealing with important state papers.

But over the years, at various levels, political officials have lost their jobs because they were with prostitutes or had affairs. And really, I don’t care what they do on the side as long as they do their jobs well. Not one person could stand up to scrutiny that dug into all corners of their lives. And then it comes down to, who judges and on what grounds? Sex and power. Sometimes sex is used to gain information. And sometimes it’s used to be with the powerful and famous. But I’m all for seeing how all our politicians do in politics and n leaving their bedroom antics alone.

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