Tag Archives: Camryn Manheim

It’s July! Let’s Have Some Links


Debbie says:

In 1998 when Camryn Manheim was up for an Emmy, which she won. Designers lined up to make her dress, like they do (or did?) for Emmy nominees. Manheim, ever the fat activist, refused to take an offer from any designer who didn’t otherwise make plus-size clothes.

leslie-jones-768Leslie Jones, star of the upcoming Ghostbusters remake, complained on Twitter and found a designer, Christian Siriano, to make a gown for her. At least some of the fashion press thinks this is Jones’ fault. Kara Brown reports from Jezebel:

Pret-a-Reporter talked to Hollywood stylists who perfectly exemplified the stereotypes of the thin-obsessed, catty, narcissistic fashion industry.

 In addition to arguing that designers who have complete control over what sizes they make and still only produce the smallest sizes available do not have a size bias, stylist Jeanne Yang suggests that it would be a financial burden to create a new dress for a woman starring in what will likely be one of the biggest movies of the summer and who will soon be snapped thousands of times on the red carpet. …
It sucks that Jones had to complain on Twitter to get a nice dress to wear and that Christian Siriano was the only designer to step up, but hopefully he will do her right and she’ll show up on the carpet looking like a queen and making those fools wish they weren’t such brats.

All I can say is “Still? After all these years?”


In the class of “how was this ever not true?” towards the end of June New York City passed a law providing tampons and pads to all women in public schools, shelters, and correctional facilities.  As Mattie Kahn said at Elle:

New York City is leading the crusade to free women from shelling out for a public health imperative. No one is forcing high schoolers to pay for toilet paper, dudes! 

“Tampon taxes” are going away, but seriously: how did anyone ever think that supplying menstrual products was not a necessary thing?


Medium went to Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal to show us a biting overview of how female firsts are covered, from Amelia Earhart to Hillary Clinton. Hint:  the woman’s accomplishments are often not given any credit. Here’s just one of my favorites:

December, 1903, OSLO, Norway — “Ignoring voice vote, rigged Nobel Prize committee hands award to Marie Curie.”

Bee also cites reports about Billie Jean King, Sally Ride, and … Joan of Arc! Sadly not surprising, but well worth the two-minute read.


I really liked B.A. Beasley’s essay at The Toast on genderqueer parenting:

You see, there’s no such thing as a parent. We only have mothers and fathers.

Here’s what I don’t mean: I don’t mean that women and men are hardwired to parent differently. I don’t even mean that the social construction of gender is so overpowering that overcoming motherhood or fatherhood is difficult for individual parents. I mean the social category of parent just doesn’t seem to exist.

I say this despite the fact that my social world is filled with people who are deeply invested in egalitarian parenthood. I personally know inspirations in the realm of splitting reproductive labor. They are not doing it wrong.

But all the good people in the world making all the right decisions about sharing, pitching in, and helping each other out can’t fix the fact that every form you complete, every book you read, every law you face, every policy you confront has two categories: mothers and fathers.

There’s a lot more: very thoughtful and some of it very personal. If the topic interests you, read the whole thing.


Discussing a different aspect of families, social circles, and social expectations, Amalthea Aelwyn at Queen of the Chaos Circle wrote a long, detailed advice column for the families and friends of people with autoimmune diseases. Her piece has over twenty bullet points of things to think about and do: here’s just one that struck me.

  • She will already be her own worst critic. In her head, she will most likely be struggling to avoid chewing herself out regularly.   Nothing you can say will possibly be as harsh as she is on herself.  So she needs you to be especially careful of the things you say to her, and how you say them.  It’s okay to have your own feelings, and to express feelings, but you always have a choice in how you say something. There is a big difference between grumpily demanding “why do I have to stop eating wheat (candy or whatever else), just because you’re sick all the time!?” and saying “I wish there was a way to make you better, so we wouldn’t both have to skip candy and soda.” The first statement becomes an attack on a person who can’t help that she has this problem. The second statement is a way to express your frustration in a way that shows you care about her, and know that she misses those things too. It is even okay to be mad at her disease, but it’s not okay to take that mad out on her. Tell her that you are mad at her disease, too, if you want. But don’t yell at her for it. She can’t help it.

I have both family and several friends with autoimmune diseases. I found this a hard read, the kind I sometimes push against saying either, “That’s not fair to me!” or “But I already do that!” in my head, which usually means it’s things I need to hear. I’ll come back to it again and again when I need it.


Finally, Casey Chan at Sploid features an adults-only video by SuperDeluxe that takes those of us who want to go there (not for everyone) through a sex-doll factory:

Being inside a sex doll factory and watching all that plastic nakedness get shaped is much more haunting than it is titillating. It gets unsettling, like if you were trapped inside a scene from a horror movie and couldn’t get out. But it’s also somewhat intriguing, just to see the mixture of products and body parts that they put together in a puzzle to shape a doll.

The queer parenting link is from zulu. Otherwise, links are from my regular reading, which includes Feministe, Shakesville, Sociological Images, Feministing, io9, and TakePart, along with other sources.

Amateur and Professional Eye Candy

Lynne Murray says:

My name for the way television culture skillfully and constantly tells us what’s beautiful, sexy, and hot–and what isn’t–is “Team Entertainment-Fueled Eating Disorders,” a team whose only goal is to dominate and destroy our traditional cultures and our own personal perceptions, which I call “Team Just the Way We Are.”

Recently while messing around on YouTube I found a particular kind of short video created by and shared among mostly female fans using still photos of their favorite actors, set to music. I saw several for the male lead of the Twilight films, Robert Pattinson. Most of these videos are aimed at the sensibilities of a heterosexual female audience. The shifting focus returned to the actor’s eyes, mouth, hands, full body shots, glancing torso shots and occasional lingering views of the belt buckle and crotch.

The points of focus reminded me of the first segment of the movie New York Stories: “Life Lessons,”  directed by Martin Scorsese. Notice how whenever the painter hero, played by Nick Nolte, examines something–be it his paint-encrusted palette, his lover’s foot or the lips of his next conquest, the camera narrows its focus down to a tight close-up of that object.

This demonstrates both how many artists see, and precisely how Team Entertainment-Fueled Eating Disorders trains our eyes to zero in on certain physical characteristics as hot and desirable–and others as disgusting–and constantly reinforces these lessons.

Lest you think that “hotness” is purely frivolous idea, consider that Facebook, a multibillion dollar business and networking tool, stemmed from a college kid in a dorm room putting together a version of “hot or not” that captivated fellow students. Much of what we consider “hot” is brought to us directly by state-of-the-art creative talent for surefire psychological manipulation.

Let’s do a little fluff dry on the brainwashing:

The connection between what our eyes have been trained to define as beautiful, or sexy, and body size, brings up a disturbing study we’ve discussed earlier on how three years of Western television created eating disorders and body hatred among young women in Fiji who had previously shared their culture’s traditionally positive attitudes toward generous body proportions.

Thinking about how mass media affects our perceptions shows me just what those three years might have looked like on the ground by dissecting the unequal contest between the two teams. Team Just the Way We Are was severely outgunned. Team Entertainment-Fueled Eating Disorders employs highly studied image manipulation to create entertaining and continually changing dream worlds (in which nothing important ever changes). The choice between a new, sexy, professionally produced version of reality and the same old everyday life as endorsed by older relatives is going to pull most viewers, including the young women of Fiji, toward the flashier option. Slow-moving, non-aggressive, self-accepting real life can’t compete.

Team Entertainment-Fueled Eating Disorders’ hard-core media salesmanship engages with Team Just The Way We Are’s self-acceptance, which is subtle, private and not easily commodified.

So am I arguing for a hopped-up, sexy, fat, beautifully produced appreciation of the fat figure?

Yes. Training the eye to see beauty is a dynamic process.No one will finance it, but with the currently available software it can be done free of charge. It will take real digging to find the images to create it. When a fan of a conventionally hot actor puts together a YouTube clip, she can find glamour shots, candid shots, and stills from his films with ease.

Glamour shots of fat actors and actresses are harder to find. There just aren’t that many fat movie and television performers, and many of them are only seen in comic settings. No fat actor in recent memory has evoked the kind of intense interest Edward Pattinson does.

As I posted here in 2009 on fat actors and actresses, Hollywood has barred and marginalized fat people from the beginning. The only real difference over the years has been the continuously shrinking dress size of the leading ladies and the increasing call for leading men to display the kind of conspicuously defined abdominal muscle architectural mass that once was only seen in professional bodybuilders.

In a moment of curiosity, I decided to go looking for some objectification material for fat movie or TV stars. Chubster (mainly a fashion site) has a nice shot of Jorge Garcia. Men in Full also features Jorge Garcia and is a good resource for a generic set of images of fat men. Other than that, the closest thing I could find for fat men was simply a list of fat actors, hardly a sensuous appreciation.

Jorge Garcia as Dr. Diego Soto

I couldn’t easily find bear or chub sites by and for gay men who like fat men. For myself, material tailored to gay erotic fantasy often doesn’t synch with my vanilla heterosexual female fantasies.

One generalist site lists “hot fat men” including Presidents Taft and Cleveland–and Kublai Khan! Seriously, Kublai Khan died in 1294, and he may have been a hot fat guy but it’s really hard to know!

I wondered if fan videos existed for any fat actresses. I did find one with Camryn Manheim, which  appears to be composed by a person heavily invested in cleavage. I personally think it doesn’t do her justice; I’ve seen her in person and she’s breathtakingly beautiful. You don’t have to go to Les Toil’s pinup site to find gorgeous pictures of Manheim. Curvy Her offers pictures of several curvy women–models, musicians and actresses including Manheim.

Robert Pattinson looks to me like a young Marlon Brando. For a few crazy minutes I thought about finding some free software and images and making my own YouTube appreciation of the older Brando, who was as sexy at 300 pounds as he was in his thinner days. Because he’s a cinema icon so there would be images of him around even at a larger size.

Then sanity dawned and I realized that I lack the fire-in-the belly fannish obsessiveness needed to fuel the task. Also, words are my area of expertise. I can’t afford to derail my fiction writing into a graphic project that I would likely abandon in frustration after wandering for days down the Primrose Path of Procrastination. Sorry, Marlon, I still think you were hot all along!

We finally have some tools at our fingertips to fight Team Entertainment-Fueled Eating Disorders on something like their own terms. Hotness is a social construct and anything constructed can be broken down into its individual components, retooled and rebuilt differently. Go Team Just The Way We Are!