Representation Matters

Last week I mentioned that representation matters. And boom! A perfect example fell into my proverbial lap. Sit right down and let me sing you a song of representation, folks.

A friend and I went to see Newsies at the movies. If you’re not familiar, it was a 1992 movie musical that was turned into 2011 actual musical that then got filmed for a 2017 movie. It’s absolutely terrific, and I highly recommend it if you like things like singing, dancing, the newsboys strike of 1899, and handsomeness.

Like Jeremy Jordan as Jack Kelly!

Here’s why Newsies is relevant to BFD. There’s a character in the show, Medda Larkin, who sings a show stopper called, “That’s Rich.” And what stopped my show was that the actress, Aisha De Haas, wore a costume that shows her upper arms.

I sat there in the dark watching her with my mouth half open. I couldn’t believe a woman with non-firm arms was bare-armed on the big screen. And she lifted her arms up while she sang. She wasn’t hiding, or ashamed, or covered up. I felt surprised and astonished and perfectly giddy! When you have spent your whole life barely seeing your body represented anywhere (least of all in a positive light) it’s incredibly… validating to see a body like this. Check out the trailer below—the Medda scenes happen super fast around 20 seconds (the picture above is a screenshot).

Women in particular are taught to be ashamed of their upper arms. I have known a lot of slim women with what I would consider small, firm upper arms who refuse to go sleeveless because their arms aren’t good enough. Like we have some moral obligation to have triceps like Michelle Obama! I’ll never have arms like hers. Even 100 pounds ago, I still had flabby, flappy upper arms. They may not conform to society’s idea of what a woman’s arms “should” look like, but they are strong and powerful and mine.

Seeing arms that look like mine on the big screen? This is what I mean when I say representation matters. Seize the day!


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