Sexism and Female Figure

blog pic august 16th

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019.

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged anything. For those of you who listened to last week’s Podcast entitled Fatphobia and The Lies I’ve Been Told, this is pretty much piggybacking off of that podcast and adding more thoughts to the topic because I feel that there is so much more to talk about regarding this very important issue.

I read and re-read Virgie Tovar’s book You Have The Right To Remain Fat and she spoke so much to every problem I’ve had basically since I was a small child. I was raised to keep quiet, to be obedient and to just accept life the way it was without getting angry or fighting back. There were pressures regarding my weight and for nearly forty years I’ve tried every diet in the book to try to “fit in” with society and act and be just like everyone else. For years, I’ve blamed myself for looking differently than others. For years, I’ve blamed myself for being outspoken, for advocating for myself, for not allowing people to tell me how things are going to be, especially men. This has created so much friction for me in terms of finding full-time work.

In my twenties, I was much quieter in the workplace and just took life as it was, as I was raised to do. I was dieting on and off, wearing compression garments that made me sick to my stomach and produced too much acid reflux and would make me nauseous and made it harder for me to use the bathroom. I would slap on tons of makeup, do my hair, wear loud jewelry and wear sexy clothes because I wanted to be recognized as a beautiful, sexy, vibrant woman. After I went to school to work on my masters and Ph.D., my mind changed. I began questioning everything. I realized right away that everything I had been taught in the past was a lie to keep me submissive and to keep me obedient and to keep me “normal” and suitable to the eyes of those in society, particularly men. I was trained that if I didn’t diet excessively that I’d die early from diabetes, heart failure, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. etc. etc. I’ve had an active eating disorder since I was in the first grade. I went from being anorexic to binge eating to being anorexic, and so on and so forth. I was so anxious, so neurotic, and made myself so sick for so many years. I saw my mother go through something similar. She married someone who was shallow and superficial and only cared that my mother was thin and never gave her the positive feedback she so desperately needed to hear in her life. My mother was always beautiful, my mother was always strong, my mother raised four kids essentially alone while my father did everything in his power to not come home until later in the evening where he would just end the day sitting on the couch watching tv until he fell asleep. The last thing in the world he wanted was to be near my mother. She developed such a complex throughout her life. But there was no need for it. She was and is the most perfect woman I can think of. She has beauty and grace and is such a fighter. She endured so much and keeps fighting each and every day and for what? So she can take care of a man who treated her so abhorrently throughout her life. She is a special type of hero as I watch her give my father such quality care each and every day while he is lying in the hospital bed in our living room. The man who called her every name in the book just because she enjoyed her food. That was her only flaw, food. I, to this day, never quite understood how it was such a sin to be full-figured.

I am my mother’s daughter to the T. I have her figure. I enjoy eating good food but the difference between her and I is that I’ve stopped caring what other people think of me. I don’t feel that societal pressure to be thin and perfect. I don’t wear compression garments anymore, I barely shave my legs and pits. I only wear makeup on special occasions and I have tiers of the type of makeup I will put on.  I call light makeup “Tier 1” makeup where I’ll wear a light BB cream, some blush, some gloss, some mascara, some cream-based eyeshadow and setting spray. Then the next level is “Tier 2.” When I worked as a sub/teacher full-time, I had “Tier 2” every single day. It was expensive, it was exhausting and I realized many years later that I wasn’t putting this on for my sake I was putting in on for other people’s sake. So that I wouldn’t look like a monster to them. So that I’d look pleasant in their eyes. So they wouldn’t have to suffer looking at this grotesque Grendel that I truly believed I was. Dressing the part and wearing all that makeup gave me attention I didn’t even want. I was sexually harassed in the workplace at my last teaching job. This crusty, old, toothless man on the brink of retirement kept coming on to me and kept saying wildly inappropriate things to me. He would tell me I smelled good and would ask about my perfume. Our students went on a class trip to this facility that taught kids about the workforce. One of the booths had a medical set up and he asked me to disrobe and put on a patient gown and wait for him to examine me. I was so desperate at the time for full-time work that I dutifully kept my mouth shut. But if I was the me that I am today, I would have ratted out his dirty disgusting ass so fast. This loser would also fall asleep in the middle of class and the whole building knew and no one said or did anything to reprimand him. They used fear to keep the non-tenures in check but now I have such an “I don’t give a fuck” mentality. I feel so empowered after all of the things I was able to accomplish that I don’t feel tied to these superficial rules or unspoken understandings. I realize that I won’t sacrifice my standards for anyone ever again.

Ever since I got laid off from my last teaching gig, I changed so, so much. As a writer, I read voraciously every article, I follow everyone’s social media, I read people’s thoughts, current events, what is really important to people and I’ve read so much about feminism, sexism, people fighting to be accepted in life and in the workforce and a fire awoken within me. I realized how fooled I was. I was re-living my mother’s life hiding in the shadows because of my physique, feeling guilty and ashamed for being heavier than the societal average. I fell for all those gimmicks and things that we hear about in commercials or see on t.v. or in the movies. The work culture shaming me into not buying that chocolate chip cookie that I really, really wanted.

I follow this body-positive woman on social media who discussed getting fat-shamed in public under the guise of being complimentary. She stated that the person sang the song “Baby Got Back” while she walked past her suggesting her backside was large. She brought up such a wonderful point stating, “How is that an insult?” I wrote and commented on her post and discussed my own experiences with being insulted over my figure also through similar means. The years I’ve spent substitute teaching, I was body shamed so many times by the students and they used supposed complimentary means to give me the hint that I was viewed as undesirable. They would tell me that I looked like Nikki Blonsky, Adele, or any other perceived fat celebrity out there. I knew it wasn’t a compliment. I remember when I first started substitute teaching, I was a lot thinner and I was once compared to both Amy Lee from Evanescence and Drew Barrymore. Why are we trained to view being compared to thinner actresses as a compliment but being compared to fat celebrities as an insult? I’d kill to be ANY of those celebrities fat or thin. They’re successful, rich, and financially set for life. Why wouldn’t I want to be any of them regardless of their physique? I’m so happy that I am able to live in a world where I finally see more representation in Hollywood of women who look more like me. I admire Nikky Blonsky, Adele, Britney Young, Chrissy Metz, Lena Dunham, Tess Holliday, Beth Ditto, and all the curvaceous and wildly talent beauties of Hollywood. I would love and be honored to be compared to any of these amazing women!

I just recently had my annual physical expecting to hear horrific news about my health. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that I am in damn good shape. No high blood pressure, no high cholesterol, no diabetes. My doctor said, and I quote, “You look like a healthy thirty-eight-year-old woman to me.” Thank you! That’s all I needed to hear. Now don’t misconstrue my words. I recognize and understand that some individuals have a genetic predisposition to have heart failure, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. But I don’t have any of these issues. I remember my last doctor before I switched to the wonderful doctor I have now, he told me that someone my age that looked how I looked should be taking Lipitor.  He said this without doing any bloodwork. He based it strictly on how I looked! He also told me without doing any tests that I have sleep apnea. Just by looking at me. I don’t snore. I only snore when I have a cold and I sleep the whole night and don’t wake up gasping for air. I can’t believe I allowed myself to be mistreated for as long as I was with that horrible, horrible doctor!

I feel so free now. I realize that other people will have their opinions. People like what they like and that’s fine. Just like some people might prefer rock music and others prefer country music. Some people prefer to go to the gym and exercise and others prefer to enjoy food and not be slaves to what others think of them because that’s what it all boils down to. Anyone who says they want to look good for themselves is full of shit. You do all of that so that others will compliment you and praise you for being dutiful and doing your job at being socially acceptable to look at. Who wants to be fat-shamed? No one. So we are brainwashed and manipulated into being good boys and girls and starving ourselves so that people won’t mock or make fun of us. We are in a society now with raised awareness where we now respect and accept people of all races, abilities, sexual orientation, etc. How is body shape any different? We aren’t the last classification that you’re allowed to mock or make fun of. We, like everyone else, deserve respect.

I realize being back in the dating pool since my break up, I am having a bitch of a time finding someone, not because of my looks. I’ve had guys tell me how sexy my figure was and people automatically assume that fat girls are “Down to Fuck” which is how one guy described me. What I’m finding to be the issue is that I consider myself wildly ambitious with my writing, intelligent, outspoken, and fierce, and have accomplished quite a lot over the years since I started this venture. Money doesn’t equate success to me. The amount of time, research, writing, creating, executing, marketing, blogging, attending webinars, reading books, social media, etc. Doing all of that and then finally seeing your work printed that’s what success looks like to me. Not the money in my wallet or bank account. Not my hair or makeup or pretty clothes or handsome men who give me attention who will only end up mistreating me in the future. That doesn’t matter to me. Being a successful writer, that matters to me. I’m done with superficiality. I want something real and I realized going back to dating that I may never find another man to be with and I’m at peace with that. I realize that men don’t want strong and independent and smart women. They want obedient, thin, submissive women who will spend hours praising them and allowing them to be successful while the women are barefoot and pregnant making jam in the kitchen. That isn’t going to be me. So until I find a happy complement to who I am, someone who appreciates me for every flaw, my makeup-less face, my greying hair, my clothes with stains and tattered fringes, my sandals with holes and broken straps, my hairy pits and hairy legs, my stubbled face when I don’t want to use depilatory measures to remove my facial hair. This is me. The real me. The unabridged me. The unafraid me. The me who no longer conforms to societal pressures. I don’t have to lose weight to fit in because I’m a metabolically healthy woman who is smart, sexy in my own way, independent where I can be given my finances, and I will pleasantly surprise you when I finally make it as a famous writer someday.  And I will do it looking just how I look today. Like the me I want to be, not what you want me to be.

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Thanks for stopping by and reading. Remember if you comment to keep it positive and nurturing. Only positive contributions get published on my blog. I don’t even read negative ones they end up getting deleted after reading the first few words so don’t waste the time or energy being mean or cruel. It’s unnecessary, foolish, and futile.

I am currently working on my new project. I am nowhere near ready to announce what it is yet. I like to keep things pretty quiet until I have a good working copy of what I’m doing. When I’m ready I will blog about it and let you all in on my latest project.

John of Art’s audiobook is currently in production (Thank you, Chris!).

Click on the link below if you’re interested in checking out any of my writing. Thanks so much! Have a great weekend everyone!

PSG Lopes/ The Moonlit Goddess Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/psglopes

 

Some Thoughts on Amazon’s The Boys

blog post august 5th 2019

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019. 

I just finished watching Amazon’s The Boys and have some observations I’d like to share with you all. First of all, I absolutely loved the idea of seeing superheroes, for once, being heavily flawed, culpable, and not as infallible as they’re always depicted. I also really liked how “The Boys” were “the good guys” or anti-heroes, really.

I have always had several issues with superheroes that I never voiced out loud for many years. My views may be seen as a widely unpopular opinion but here goes anyway. I always quietly noted all of the violence, all of the deaths, especially all of the collateral damage that was done while superheroes purportedly “saved the day.” You rarely see the superheroes acknowledging or taking a moment to apologize, to grieve, or to recognize all of the senseless lives lost and if they do it’s a mere afterthought. These superheroes are always larger than life characters who were given these powers and decided to dedicate their lives to being noble while saving the world from crime. But what if it’s not so black and white as we’ve been accustomed to while watching or reading tales in the DC or Marvel Universe?

The Boys provides a view of what it might really be like living in a world with superheroes in this day and age. We are heavily tied to technology and you can’t get away with anything these days without someone catching your actions on their phone and posting it to several social media outlets. You have to be careful with what you say, spin your words in a way that will get people to follow you, believe in your actions, and even pick a group, and with this show, in particular, the religious community and have them support your cause. In this world, they were made to be superheroes at birth and it wasn’t by some freak accident or some other hackneyed cause that became commonplace with superhero origin stories. We see how the individuals who are known as “The Seven” cope with their superhero status and how they unravel in front of our very eyes in quite a sight to behold.

You have A-Train who is fighting to keep his status as the fastest man alive, facing the reality of aging and the limitations of his body and toying around with Compound V to help him maintain his status as a renowned and beloved superhero. He inadvertently kills someone while speeding through residential streets with little regard for anyone but himself. He even sacrifices his own beloved Popclaw to cover up one of his many messes. To what end do your actions persist without consequences? One of the most poignant moments in the series is A-Train’s last conversation with Popclaw before killing her where he recalls what foods she ordered on their first date. He told her that he was impressed by her choice and loved how she wasn’t afraid to be happy. That was the most authentic moment that character had the entire season and that was the only chance we got to see A-Train being truly vulnerable, away from the Compound V, away from the influences of Homelander and Stillwell and Vought.

These “supes” as they’re known, are so scripted and violated and destroyed mentally as they’re constantly reminded by those around them how privileged they are to be apart of this elite group but what they had to do to get there is just way beyond what the average human being would tolerate just to become famous.

I always equated superheroes with the popular kids in high school. These are the kids who naturally excelled at sports, the beautiful young girls who were cheerleaders or chosen homecoming and/or prom queen, the Ivy-league bound kids, etc. These were the kids that I had the least in common with growing up. I was always awkward, shy, overweight, never pretty, plain to look at, unremarkable in every sense of the word. I’ve been bullied, fat-shamed, emotionally tormented, and so on my entire life and it has become something I’m used to. With every hardship I’ve endured and whenever I happen to tell my story to other people they always tell me how they are so impressed by how level-headed, smart, and accomplished I am. They tell me how strong I am to have gone through everything I’ve gone through and never turn to drugs, or alcohol or worse. I take my pain and I turn it into something positive. My weapon of choice has always been my words. I use words to make sense of my feelings. I use words to educate others to be better people. I use words to teach people tolerance, positivity, compassion, empathy, love, and respect.

I’m no superhero. I often end up sympathizing with the villains sometimes. Not that I’d ever condone any of their abhorrent actions. I can just sometimes relate more to their backstories and can understand how these villains did not have the mental fortitude to turn an extremely negative and unfortunate event in their lives and turn it into a positive.

This show, I realize, relies heavily on karma to serve these so-called heroes and heroines their just desserts. From A-Trains broken leg, to Translucents unfortunate demise, to The Deep’s gill violation,  to Queen Maeve’s coming to terms with letting all of those people die on that plane and the bitter loneliness she exhibits on a day to day basis just being her, to Homelander’s desperate need to father a child only to find out that he had a child as a result of his raping Butcher’s wife but only finding out several years later that the child actually survived. All of those cliched colloquialisms apply here: Fate catches up to us all, You get what you deserve, You reap what you sow. You get the point.

This show had raised so many thoughts and questions and I was really impressed from beginning to end. I was kind of dragging my feet starting this series and I rolled my eyes at the mere thought of watching yet another superhero driven series. This concept highly fatigues me and the concept has to be really mind-blowingly good for me to not fall asleep or even forgo watching it altogether. I really liked how the tables were turned and made what we would normally consider the villains as the kind of heroes/anti-heroes of the story. I liked how the superheroes weren’t always perfect, were heavily flawed, and weren’t even good people most of the time. I liked how Starlight was the young ingenue getting into something she thought was so noble and worthy only to be disillusioned and wrecked practically from day one after her sickening encounter with The Deep. We’ve all had moments where we find out that some of our heroes are not good people in real life and how scripted the majority of people whom we admire actually are and how Hollywood lies, and how things are absolutely not always as they seem. Thanks for reading my observations. I’d love to hear about your thoughts on the show. Remember, if you decide to leave a comment, only positive comments will be published, so keep it clean, keep it polite, keep it respectful, folks.

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My new novella, John of Art, is out now and is available for paperback and Kindle ebook on Amazon. It is also available as an ebook wherever ebooks are sold. If you’d like to get a copy of the paperback, just click the picture below and it will lead you to Amazon to purchase your copy of the new novella. Thanks to all of you who have already purchased your copy. I am in the process of making the paperback available through other platforms and my voice over artist is currently working on the audiobook and that will be released in September most likely.  Currently, I’m working on a couple of new things. I am working on possibly doing some book signings. I have just sent out a few inquiries regarding that so I don’t know if that will happen yet but will let you all know if and when that actually occurs. Thanks again and have a great week everyone!