Beautiful Gatorade Bottle Shaped Bodies

Original Picture by Richard Sabel. Someday I’ll get Photoshop, until then – behold my Mastery of MS Paint.

Jordan Ramos, a self-described plus-sized college student, was repeatedly denied access to a dance platform in a bar on two visits. She was told by bouncers “‘Look, you will never get up on this platform. Go back to the dance floor where you belong,’ and ‘You’re not pretty enough and you’re pregnant.’

Ramos tried to pursue legal action but was told that she had no recourse because there is no law against size discrimination.  Ramos puts her case succinctly “”We all paid the same cover to get into the Union, but we’re not given access to all the same things they have to offer.”

There is an unspoken contract between TV Producers, Filmmakers, bouncers at bars, and camera guys who roam through crowds  on mardi gras and carnival – a contract that they will maintain the status quo,  they will use their power to reinforce the cultural stereotype of beauty and to put down all other bodies. To show fat people as headless torsos to reinforce the idea that we are less than human, that we deserve to be made into objects of ridicule.

They constantly reinforce the idea that beauty only comes in one size.  Then they use the fact that people buy into something that is constantly shoved down their throats as proof of the concept, never taking responsibility for their role.

Which is to say that they will not be the ones to change this.  We will.  We have to keep pushing to see people of size dance on platforms and be in films and on TV including our heads and legs. But we have to start with challenging our own perceptions, as I was recently reminded.

A year or so ago, I joined a plus-sized cabaret in Austin.  You may remember that I blogged about how excited I was about the opportunity to be part of challenging the stereotype of beauty and sexiness.  I had wanted to be in a plus-sized cabaret ever since I saw The Glamazons on America’s Got Talent.  It was sold to me as a professional dance group.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be an embarrassment and when our “Director”stopped singing and then said  “I’m sorry y’all, I burped”  INTO THE MICROPHONE while the rest of us dancers tried to writhe sexily in our fishnets, black lace bras and unbuttoned men’s shirts,  it was time to go – though it took me some time to come to terms with it.

I decided not to start my own group in Austin because it seemed tacky to compete, but now that I’m moving to LA one of the first things I am going to do is start a plus sized cabaret that I can be proud of.  So I posted on Facebook “As soon as I get to LA I’m going to start a plus size cabaret.”

I was soon told by a friend that thing had gotten ugly on the Facebook page of the director of the the cabaret I had been in, claiming that I had “stolen her idea” (apparently she feels that the concept of a plus size cabaret initiated with her.)

I checked it out. The first thing she did was call me a Fat Bitch, then another member of the group chimed in to say that I was a “Gatorade Bottle Shaped Bitch”.  It went on for a while, until someone suggested that perhaps women who claimed to be all for body positivity should not criticize me for my body.  She was told by way of explanation that the “Gatorade Bottle thing went way back”.  Charming.

The point of me telling you this story is that I get hate mail disparaging my body all the time, but this hurt more.  It’s not that the insults were clever – obviously they weren’t, but there is a whole different sting when it is fat on fat hate. Going for the cheap body insults is just classless. We face so much hatred from the outside world, we should never, never do it to each other.

We are fed the single standard of beauty incessantly and so I don’t think that there is any shame in having a knee-jerk reaction sometimes about bodies that don’t look like the stereotype.  I think that there is a problem with not challenging those feelings, or, you know, luxuriating in them. I use a little mantra – whenever I have a knee jerk reaction I think to myself “I will not be a tool of this beauty lie – all bodies are beautiful.” Then I consciously adjust my thoughts.

I believe that all bodies are beautiful – including the Gatorade bottle shaped ones and yours!

UPDATE:  I made my dream come true and More Cabaret is putting on it’s first solo show on September 8th.  Buy tickets to watch locally, or watch on your computer wherever you are through our live streaming!

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Published in: on May 1, 2012 at 7:12 am  Comments (15)  

15 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow she called you all those names and accusing you of stealing her idea? She might be the only one she knows with the idea, but I hardly think she was the first ever. Good luck with it when you move to LA.

  2. From this moment on, when I hear Argent’s “Hold Your Head High” I shall think of you. Celebrate yourself and dance proudly through a world your acts are changing with every step. Blessings!

  3. I actually got really excited at the title of this – I thought Gatorade had a new ad campaign with bottle-shaped bodies and I was like yay! How awesome would that be, a badass commercial with big bodied athletes? Also, I use two big chunky Gatorade bottles as my water bottles when I’m working hard. I guess I get excited over small things…!

    • That’s what I thought at first as well! How cool would that be?

      I’m confused…aren’t plus sized cabarets about showing off a body type outside the typical norm? If this woman feels superior to somebody else because of their body size doesn’t that pretty much deem her whole operation null and void?

      And plus size cabarets have been around forever….

      • Sounds like we need to sharpen up our animation skillz and have AT it! oxoxox

  4. she sounds like a winner

  5. What a nasty person. The entire reason you started with her group was because you had already HAD the idea of a large-sized cabaret but went looking to see if someone had started it. I guess she thinks she’s the only person in the country who ever had that idea. *eyeroll*

  6. I once got into a verbal (yet written) altercation with someone on one of my FB groups because she repeatedly shared fat jokes and shaming-type pictures of fat people on the group’s wall. When I called her out on her fat hate, her reply was she couldn’t possibly be fat-hating because she herself was fat.

    In all honesty, sometimes the people that are most cruel to fat people are other fat people. And it definitely sounds like there was some of that going on with the group you left.

    Congrats on your move to LA!

  7. Ragen, you will do fine in Los Angeles. Good for you.

  8. Thank you for your mantra: “I use a little mantra – whenever I have a knee jerk reaction I think to myself “I will not be a tool of this beauty lie – all bodies are beautiful.” Then I consciously adjust my thoughts.”

    When I have a knee jerk reaction about size I feel like a fraud. But maybe I am just human?! Thanks for making me feel better about this and for giving me the words.

    And ignore the haters…people be hatin’…

  9. I’ll just leave this here and say I watched this when I was young so the idea is hardly new (please be aware it is a comedy dance routine and they do go for a couple of easy laughs but they really can dance).

  10. I broke the cardinal rule and read the comments on that Jordan Ramos article. Y’know, I really should be hardened to it by now, but every time I read shit like, “Men don’t like fat women”, or “she should just go on a diet”, or “maybe she should go to the gym instead of a club”, it rips a little piece of my soul away. Seriously- if she’d be black, Jewish, Asian, Hispanic or Native American, and they’d stopped her from dancing on the bar for those reasons, there would (well, you’d hope), be an outcry. But, because she was fat, it was OK. Oh wait, I forgot. She could just get thin if she wanted to. Silly, silly me. 😦

    People can honestly suck arse. Which I why, Ragen, I continue to be beyond grateful for people like you on the internet.

    Apparently, the bar issued an apology to Jordan. Here’s the article, if you want to take a look. Unfortunately, the comments on here aren’t much better.

  11. Geez, if somebody liked an idea I (thought I had) invented and started up something similar in another city, I’d be psyched. Clearly your instinct not to start another cabaret in the same city was a good one, can you imagine their vitriol if you had? By the way, Ragen, thought of you last night at my first Bikram yoga class in many years, where a fat pretty girl was doing all these crazy poses while I was falling on my face. Turns out she’s a dancer, of course!

  12. LA is ready to welcome you, Ragen!!
    And the LA Fat Mafia sooo has your back should anyone ever criticize you in the future. How tragically sad that fat-hate is flung so carelessly and cruelly from other fat people! 😦 The Fat Mafia frowns on that. And you really don’t want to piss us off…

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