Thigh Gap Schmigh Schmap

Hey there, Beauty Coup d’etat Darlings! It’s Friday Feminist Funtimes!

Combing through the bookmarks I’ve made on Potential Blog Topics, I stumbled on this ridiculous phenomenon from last summer. I have two thoughts here.

One: Why would you want your legs to resemble hot dogs?
Two: WHY WOULD YOU WANT YOUR LEGS TO RESEMBLE HOT DOGS??

This icky tumblr is a side-effect of the aggravating Thigh Gap obsession that has been sweeping the Internets for some time. Thigh Gap is also responsible for the obnoxious, twee, red carpet pose known as Pigeon Toed. **No One Stands Like This In Real Life**

Thigh Gap, for the blessedly uninitiated, is when you put your legs together and your thighs don’t touch. Most supermodels have it, and as we know, looking like a supermodel is a completely reasonable and attainable goal for the average woman.

good-luck

Sidebar: if you want to be a supermodel, you better have a Thigh Gap or you are totes fatty fat fat.

Take this Pintrest board, for example. Some of these gals look perfectly healthy and probably always have had/will have that lil’ space between their thighs. Other photos here scream only one word at me: HUNGRY.

Now I’m no stranger to coveting the Gap. When I was a roly-poly 10-year-old, I told my grandma that I was fat. When she asked me why I thought that, I told her that my thighs touched. My older sister was skinny, I explained to grandma, and her thighs didn’t touch. My chubby thighs smooshed right up against each other.

My grandma, one of the best people who has ever lived, turned to my wee, impressionable self and said “Oh darling, that just means when you grow up you’ll have shapely legs, and men will adore them.”

Not only was my grandma an amazing woman who drank whiskey out of teacups, she was totally f*cking right. My legs are kind of incredible, if I may humbly say so myself. They’re a star attraction of my curvy frame. And I have never not once in my entire life had a Thigh Gap. Because the truth is that some bodies are not built for Thigh Gaps. I have a decent dip in my waist, some visible ab muscles (she works hard for the money!), delicate bones, a sizable JLo, and thighs that touch.

Of course I want to start an Anti-Thigh Gap Revolution, involving pictures of sexy thighs that touch. But, curious fact, if you don’t have a Thigh Gap obsession, odds are good you don’t have that many pictures of your thighs. All of my burlesque-era photos are on a different computer, so I’ve done a little improvising.

Here’s me in leggings having just hiked up a mountain in Hawaii. Lookin’ good, thighs that carried me up a mountain!
hike
Here are my thighs right now, today, mere moments ago, in a Classic Thigh Gap (CTG) position. As you can see, gap schmap.
thighs 1
Lastly, here’s the top of my gams with feet on the floor, ankles together – another CTG pose.
thighs 2
Ohmygodyouguys!!! Is that a tiny space I see between my legs?? Is that the floor we’re seeing through an infinitesimal amount of space betwixt one thigh and the other??? OMG GUESS WHAT??

I don’t fucking care.

boo-yah

There’s Room in this City for all my Girls

Hello Beauties, this is S, reporting to you from a pretty spectacular Sunday where I just marathoned the last three episodes of Broad City while chomping on a banh mi sandwich. (Is saying ‘banh mi sandwich’ redundant? Like Rio Grande River? Either way, it’s a baller food item and I recommend eating one, much in the same way I recommend watching Broad City!)

Broad City

Broad City just got picked up for a second season, which is just the best news. Originally a web series created by Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer of UCB, Broad City was picked up by Comedy Central and is produced by none other than Smart Girl Amy Poehler.

The people love it. (How Broad City Became TV’s Funniest Comedy- Slate) Great right? HOWEVER, amidst all this well-deserved praise lurks a bunch of predictable, annoyingly titled articles drawing comparisons between Broad City and another show I happen to like very much, HBO’s Girls.

Annoyingly Titled Articles Comparing Broad City to Girls:

Why Broad City is the Anti-Girls

5 Things Broad City Offers that Girls Doesn’t

Girls vs. Broad City: Which Show is Actually the “Voice of a Generation”?

Broad City vs. Girls

We Settle the Broad City vs. Girls Debate Once and for All

…and the list goes on! Come on, is that really how it’s gotta be? Pitting women against each other…literally? Broad City vs. Girls? Why? Is there only allowed to be one show about women on TV at a time?!

I don’t accept this!

Shosh Smash(Shosh Smash)

In the words of Jay-Z*, there are eight million stories out there in the naked city. I’m not a mathematician, but I think that means a little over 4 million of those stories are women’s. Broad City is not ‘the anti-girls’. Girls requires no antidote, there’s room on TV for all kinds of shows about women. Shows that vary in tone and message, content and execution, style and story.

Both Girls and Broad City just keep getting better and I’m excited to see more of both. We really do not have to choose. There’s room in this city for all my girls.  And maybe soon, we’ll even see some shows about women who live in the flyover states. -S

Five It

Dance

*This line is actually a direct quote from a 1940s film noir entitled Naked City. But, still, Jay-Z. And also, A Tribe Called Quest.

How Beautiful Beauty Can Be

Tomorrow, our lives are going to change. Tomorrow brings new Oscar winners, immortalized in the annals of history. It also brings my annual fancy-dress Oscar party, which is always a monumental event. It brings more much-needed rain to the New Mexico earth.

But TODAY brings with it the launch of one of your new favorite websites, Afrobeatnik.

Here are some words we will use when discussing Afrobeatnik: fashion, filmmaking, sustainability, vintage, modern, diverse, inclusive, fabulous. And it is all very, very real.

Snuggle in for this special Saturday edition of Beauty Coup: an interview with site founder Angela Moorer - a wondrous, inspiring woman – and prepare to fall in love with Afrobeatnik. #beautyrevolution

BC: How did Afrobeatnik come about?
AM: Pretty much by me just, combining everything I cared about… I’ve been working for the past year with a non-profit with a great mission that I really support, but I’ve been doing more administrative work, and in the past there have always been more creative things that I’ve been tied to, I’ve put more creative things into what I’m doing… so I think I’ve felt a little restricted. And one thing I’ve learned, when you restrict someone enough, pretty soon they’re just gonna burst… Afrobeatnik was this bursting of me kind of being ready to do something creative, something that I care about, and to collaborate with others as well.

BC: That “combining everything you cared about” aspect, I noticed that right away. It isn’t just about representations of beauty in fashion… or on-screen, it combines both of those things and approaches fashion in an ethical manner…
AM: I mean, I’ve been interested in sustainable fashion for a couple of years now. I always wanted to work in fashion, but I never thought it was going to happen because when I got to know the industry itself I wasn’t inspired (by the fashion industry). I find myself more drawn to non-profit work, so if I was going to work in fashion it would be in some independent capacity.

We’re just kind of doing our own thing. We’re not really a part of any industry quite yet. I’m working with four different artisans …to upcycle vintage and to upcycle used materials and to share fashions that we think are beautiful. We’re not confined by anything, we’re not defined by anything, and it’s a really fun place to be. I’m excited to launch to see what the response is to it.

BC: I’m excited, too! S and I want to buy a lot of your clothes.
AM: Haha, awesome!

Like this:
skirt
And this:
dress

BC: In your own words, tell me about the mission and goals of Afrobeatnik.
We’ve got a pretty varied mission, but it’s all positive, and it’s all related in some way. The mission really started with the idea of Diversity. When I moved to Seattle from the tri-cities (Eastern Washington) there were a lot more different people. Growing up, Black History Month was an extremely scary time for me, because of the feeling of isolation – being the only black kid in your class, pretty much feeling alone in every aspect according to the way that you look. When you’re growing up, trying to figure out identity and who you are, your outside appearance impacts that… When I moved to Seattle and I found a community… I really thrived as a human being. I found that working in more diverse places, with people from different backgrounds, different countries, even… the more people I interacted with who were different from me, the more of a whole person I felt like I became. I understood the world a little better.

Another part of our goals in the Individuality aspect, which is tied to identity. Who you are within a community, while still remaining connected to that community. We tend to feel isolated by our differences, and what I would like to do is find ways to feel united by our differences – to love and appreciate all aspects of ourselves as individuals, and to love all aspects of others as well. I think they’re closely related – Diversity and Individuality – which is why I tied them both in. I wanted to make them both prominent values, but also separate.

Lastly we have (the value of) Sustainability, which is kind of just built into the way the company works. My personal preference is always thrift shopping. I barely buy anything new. For money’s sake, for uniqueness, I feel a lot of pleasure buying used. With vintage clothing especially, there’s this charm about it, this distinguished factor. You know it’s got some interesting history. So that’s why we decided to go vintage. As for the artisans – the handmade, upcycling work that we do – sometimes vintage clothing has gone through a lot, and it needs some work, you know it needs a little facelift; to be modernized in some way. Originally I brought on one person for basic repairs, but found all these items that could be turned into something really cool… So from there I brought on more artisans who were interested in upcycling things and wanting to make something new out of something old. And I think that’s what sustainability is about. It’s about reusing things …getting full use out of something, reinventing, giving new life. It’s crazy to me that some of this stuff might’ve ended up in a trash can somewhere. Our handmade collection launch is tied to earth day in April, but we’ll have a few things on March 1st as a preview.

BC: We’ve talked a lot about the fashion aspect of Afrobeatnik. One of the things that struck me the most was your ambition to use portions of your profits to make short films and documentaries that feature underrepresented cultures, women and minorities. What inspired you to tackle films as well as fashion?
I got into film a couple years ago… I did a certificate program at UW, and I learned a lot, it was fun… But, unfortunately, film communities are very tight-knit, and I’m not the kind of person who can’t wait around for someone to give me an opportunity. So I decided to try and raise the money to make the films I want to make. We’re at the basic stages of it. Once we start making some profits to get equipment we need and hire a mentor to help guide us, once we get those things in place we’ll begin the final idea. We’ve been throwing ideas around of what we want to do, and we’ve settled on a narrative web series featuring traditionally underrepresented women We’d like it to be funny, diverse, and full of culture, but also relatable. We talk a lot about the TV show Girls, we have discussions about all the things we think they’re doing wrong, and all the things we think they’re doing right, and I think one of the things that’s great about it is that it’s relevant, it’s current. A lot of people relate to that show. But the show obviously lacks diversity, it lacks culture. We wanted to tackle… something like that, in a narrative fashion, but we wanted to… bring in something a little bit deeper.

BC: I think that’s a really cool ambition. What are your thoughts on the importance of representative images across multiple mediums (print and screen)?
That has a lot to do with why I actually started this (Afrobeatnik), kind of my whole journey of self-acceptance and coming to terms with my own beauty and individuality. Growing up, I didn’t see people on TV that looked like me, and when I did it was always with straight hair, or really really light skin. I didn’t see myself represented in media, and I think that sends a message to young girls that they’re not important or they’re not beautiful. The message is that you need to assimilate to a certain culture or a certain ideal of beauty… when that’s the only ideal of beauty that you ever know. That’s why it’s important to get these images out there. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about Lupita (Nyong’o), she’s all over the place , and she’d not someone you’d traditionally see in Hollywood. It’s inspirational, not only for me or for an adult who’s more sure of herself, but especially for young teenagers and little girls growing up. By sending these messages through these images, we’re confirming that beauty exists in places beyond the norm, and I think that’s incredibly important.

(Insert some serious Lupita fangirling for the next several minutes)

BC: I love your (Afrobeatnik’s) tagline, “We want to show the world how beautiful beauty can be.”
AM: Yeah, exactly.

BC: Let’s go back to the fashion. Where do you find/curate the clothes for Afrobeatnik?
There are a lot of different processes going on since we’re so new… We’re attending estate sales, those are awesome resources where you can find the best vintage. And also working with consigners in the area, which is a whole other part of outreach. We do have consigners who seem pretty interested in providing consistent inventory. Besides that, we also – mainly for our upcycling projects – what we’ll do is order wholesale vintage… We get a shipment and sometimes a piece looks great and we can sell it as is …sometimes the clothes need some upcycling done – repairs, like a hem, hole or buttons – other times the print/fabric is good but the design is not modern enough for everyday wear, so we turn it over to the upcyclers. We’ve only really started the upcycling program as of February, so… there’s a lot that needs to be tackled, so we’re trying to grow the artisan team.

BC: Who are your models?
Honestly, we’re not picky at all about our models. The whole purpose was to show real women in the clothing and to make sure the representations of women that we’re throwing out there are unique people, people who are often not seen. Most of the models are either friends of ours or people we’ve found through Craigslist. It’s interesting because people seem to be ready to hop on to a project …when they find out what we’re about. It’s great. Our models are very diverse. We’ve got all kinds of races and sizes, they’re inexperienced, and they’re real.

BC: I love it. I can’t speak for others who are ready to hop on this kind of project, but seeing that kind of wide representation (in fashion images) makes you want to get involved. I want to continue this effort to show a multitude of different types of women. I think that it speaks to people. It’s something we’re all experiencing on some level right now, as a movement.
AM: Totally.

BC: Do you have a Photoshop policy?
There’s no specific policy… but we don’t do retouching as far as body shape… skin… the other day I was retouching a photo where the model was sweating a bit, so I retouched that. But like, pimples, you can see on our launch flyer on our website (and below), the model had a little bit of a breakout, and that’s real and that’s natural and that’s the way our photos are gonna remain.

See?? Didn’t I tell you that you’d fall in love? If you’re in Seattle, you lucky duck, you should totally go to the Afrobeatnik launch party tonight. I would if I were you. And all of us should definitely support the Afrobeatnik website and shop their fabulous frocks and keep our eyes peeled for their savvy, spectacular web series! Cheers to these lovely ladies and their amazing work.

Afrobeatnik-launch-party-flyer-2-FINAL

Weight Watchers Encourages the Little Girl in all of us to Slim Down

Hey, remember when you were a little girl and you dreamed of growing up to be a mermaid, a princess, or a mermaid princess? Ladies, Weight Watchers is here to tell you that it’s not too late for your limited, feminine dreams to be realized. So, why not shoot for the moon, go for the gold, reach for the stars, and DREAM BIG? It’s not too late for your dearest, wildest, fiercest wish to come true: to weigh less.

Anything is possible, after all.

Little girl drawing

Nina

Eleven years ago on April 21st, I was taking a jazz dance class in downtown Minneapolis. When the instructor walked in, she said we were going to do something different that day, because Nina Simone had died.

Moving to the stereo, our instructor played the tune ‘Since I Fell For You.’ The first time through, we simply listened. That voice – the clarity, the range, sultry and a touch androgynous – singing of love and loss and longing.

I was grateful. To Ms. Simone for creating such powerful music that has always affected me deeply, and to my dance instructor for taking the time to honor a great woman, wholly unique in her spirit and talent.

Today would have been Nina Simone’s 81st birthday. In her 70 years on this earth, she stirred us and moved us and inspired us to rise up. I am not a dancer, in the strictest sense of the word. But I have never felt more like a dancer than on that day eleven years ago, as my body moved in tandem with women I don’t remember and will never see again, to the seductive, haunting sounds of the masterful, soulful, divine Ms. Nina Simone.

Join us, on this day of Friday Feminist Funtimes, in thanking Nina Simone for all that she gave. And do yourself a favor – go listen to her music.

Nina+Simone

#beautyrevolution

Why the New Name? or How Real Living Beauty became Beauty Coup:

The Internet is a strange place.

When I was 15, that series of crazy dial-up noises would connect me to a chat room – before the phrase had nefarious connotations – where I could talk to people from around the globe. My “handle” was DelphiniumTwinkleQ. The Q was silent, because I was 15.

theinternet

This chatting with people who lived All Over the Planet felt like magic. When I was in China two years later, my mom and I could send a piece of “e-mail” to my dad, and we would get his reply the very next day. It was a crazy, topsy-turvy, whole new world.

a whole new world

Almost 20 years later, we are immersed in that new world, our lives all but run by the technological advances we’ve made. Through social media we reconnect with old friends and cultivate professional relationships. We develop creative projects with people who live on different continents. We write blogs and meet strangers and those strangers become friends (hi, Jennie!). Some of our closest friendships evolve primarily through texts, emails, and instant messaging chats. We share our opinions and are cheered on, challenged, shamed, scolded, bolstered and championed by the voices of people we will never meet. We rally behind causes with countless like-minded unknown individuals, and we change the world.

This is what I see happening right now with how women are perceived and valued. We are rising up as a collective voice to challenge absurd standards of beauty, to recognize our inherent diversity, and to be valued for all that we are.

we can  do it

Thanks, in part, to the Internet, companies are dropping sexist practices, a teenager in Pakistan stood up to the Taliban and started an international movement, there are more shows to watch (good shows!) featuring a variety of complex female characters, women are shattering glass ceilings left and right, a toy company aimed at training girls to be engineers aired their best ad yet during the Advertising Mecca, and like our efforts here at Beauty Coup (BC Represent!), numerous self-confidence movements, features, and projects (fun projects! clever projects!) emerged, showing us what women really look like (even celebrity women), spreading joy, and bolstering a sense of self-worth in women and girls.

Real Living Beauty served us well. It helped me and S (and sometimes Lou) introduce ourselves to all of you. It allowed us to share our many (many, many) opinions. It provided a forum for us to discover and share a wealth of wonderful people, projects, shows, books, programs, and so on and so forth, and to call out the jerkwads who really get it wrong. And we’ll continue to do all of that.

However. It’s time to call this Internet phenomenon what it really is: A Revolution.

Many women have argued that to convince all women that they are beautiful is counter-productive, because it’s still a focus on Beauty. I disagree. I believe these are the seeds of the Revolution. As long as women are caught up in insecurities about their physical appearance – consumed by “Am I too _______?” or “Am I _______ enough?” – they cannot focus on the things that truly matter. When women feel beautiful, when they Believe They Are Beautiful, they are able to set aside cosmetic concerns and put their energy into so much more.

Revolutions can start anywhere – lunch counters, basements, buses, campuses, meeting halls – this Revolution started on the Internet. This Revolution starts with Beauty. If we do not feel Less Than due to the supposed confines or mythical shortcomings of our physical appearance, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.

limit

Some of you will say that feeling beautiful isn’t important. That women can accomplish anything even if they don’t feel beautiful. I don’t entirely disagree. What I will say is that the efforts to make women feel less than beautiful, to sidetrack us with the idea that we must be vigilant about improving our appearance in accordance with the standards of men, these are tools of oppression. If we already feel beautiful, we become impervious to those methods of control. We become greater than our oppressors. We stand up, and we demand our due.

beyonce-you-ready

And because I couldn’t pick just one:

rock this b

And:

high five

Welcome to Beauty Coup.
#beautyrevolution

Beauty Coup

No Surprises Here

Would we really call this a Reveal? I suppose the fact that it’s a casting director doing the talking sort of makes it news. Sort of. But are any of you surprised that this is the state of things for actresses in Hollywood? If you pay any attention to Hollywood, you probably aren’t surprised. If you’re an actress, I’d say you’re not the least bit surprised.

For our purposes, let’s define Hollywood Unconventional as not thin and/or not crazy gorgeous. For men we’ll call it not built and/or not crazy handsome.

Watch me name some “unconventional” famous actresses off the top of my head: Melissa McCarthy, Rebel Wilson, Frances McDormand… is Rachel Dratch still famous? Um… Octavia Spencer.

For los hombres we have Jonah Hill, Seth Rogan, Hank Azaria, Michael Cera, Woody Harrelson, Barkhad Abdi (newly famous, but he counts), Danny DeVito, Bill Murray, Tom Hanks, Steve Carrell, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Woody Allen, Ben Stiller, Sean Penn, Owen Wilson, John Goodman, Adam Sandler, Hugh Grant…

So this isn’t a scientific test, and you have no way of knowing how long I sat here considering each list. The point is I fizzled out pretty quickly when trying to come up with lady celebs, and each male celeb I thought of reminded me of another.

If you do a Google image search for Actor, sure there are a lot of handsome faces, but there are lots of different types of faces as well (focusing on the men – women pop up under “actor” now and then).

For some curious reason, a Google image search for Actress turns up a lot (A LOT) of Bollywood actresses. I would love to know the analytics for why this happens. So I went with a Google image search for Hollywood Actress. Seriously, I might as well be googling Lingerie-Bikini Model, or quite simply Boobs. Aha! There, waaaaaay toward the bottom of the first page: Meryl Streep. You know what’s unfortunate about that joke Tina told at the Golden Globes? That sh*t is funny because it’s True. The producers of the film ‘Nebraska’ probably cast June Squibb because they couldn’t afford Meryl Streep.

Tina Fey, on Meryl Streep: “(She’s) so brilliant in ‘August: Osage County,’ proving that there are still great roles in Hollywood for Meryl Streeps over 60.”

So, what’s a struggling actress to do? Take a cue from our friends of color – plan to work twice as hard for half as much. If you’re an actress and also a woman of color, I’m afraid you may have to work three times as hard for that half. (Gabourey Sidibe! There’s one more. Lily Tomlin! She isn’t of color but I just thought of her. Two more!)

Essentially every working actor I know will tell you this is part of their career mantra: audition, audition, audition. Like the casting director Ms. Jones contends, if you’re an actress you’ll have to make that mantra: audition, audition, audition, audition, audition, audition, audition, audition, audition. And as an “unconventional” actress who traversed the Tinsel Town Jungle, I can attest that you will find those people who want to hire you because you are talented and you work your ass off, regardless of how you look in lingerie.

OR pull a Mindy Kaling (three more!) and write a hit play that gets enough attention to lead to a job for you on a new TV show that also turns out to be a hit, write a role for yourself on that show, and be so utterly charming and successful that you eventually pitch and sell and star in your own show that only gets funnier with each new episode.

We here at RLB, we believe in you. Break a leg!

your thing