Fat Monica From "Friends" Isn't Even Fat

Fat Monica From "Friends" Isn't Even Fat

A skinny girl in a body suit does not a plus-size person make.
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Anyone who has seen the television show "Friends" is familiar with Monica Geller's younger-self, Fat Monica. In high school, Monica was approximately 100 pounds heavier and possessed every negative stereotype ever assigned to plus-size people. She was always eating, always a slob, and always naive. Not only do the stereotypes present a problem, the use of the nickname Fat Monica for a skinny actress in a body suit is just offensive. Even in a body suit, Courteney Cox, the actress who portrayed Monica, could hardly be described as fat.

Body positive activists and bloggers all over the world are attempting to reclaim the word "fat." The word was not invented with a negative connotation. We, as society, made it into a bad word. We made it into a taboo, something that little boys would call little girls to make them cry. Like small children, the characters of "Friends" use the term as a weapon against one of their best friends in an attempt to make a joke. Fat Monica is not a part of the body positivity movement. Not even close. The use of the word "fat" in this context is derogatory and incorrect. A plus-size high schooler is hardly an anomaly and anyone who identifies as such would be distraught to see a character that represents them being made into the butt of a joke. It's not funny to tear other people down.

Further, the tropes used by the writers who created Fat Monica are an ongoing issue in the film and television industry. Plus size people are often portrayed as unclean or unhealthy. Weight does not equate to health or cleanliness or even beauty. A plus-sized actress is just as capable of playing a character with depth and emotion or a character with a romantic interest as a thin actress. The television series "My Mad Fat Diary" does a phenomenal job of portraying the life of a person who happens to be plus-size, as opposed to a plus-size person's life.

While it is true that the first episode of "Friends" that included Fat Monica aired in February of 1996, and times have changed in the last two decades, many TV shows and movies today are still guilty of the same crimes. Take Melissa McCarthy's character in the popular movie "Bridesmaids." McCarthy's character Megan falls victim to the stereotypical overeating and ever present hunger of plus-size characters, but she also is characterized as grossly sexual, overly masculine, and loud and abrasive. It is hard to find one appealing characteristic attributed to her.

Fat Monica and Megan may be fictional characters, but they are still a blatant example of fat-shaming. If it is okay for Monica's own friends to make fun of her weight and use it as a weapon against her, it becomes okay for the audience to do the same to their friends. Like it or not, people mimic what they see on the big and little screen. It's time that we spread a message of love and acceptance rather than one of ridicule and seclusion.

Cover Image Credit: Fucsia.cl/

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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A Second Person Has Achieved Long-Term Remission Of The HIV Virus

A second man has had long term remission of the HIV virus.

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Over a decade after the first man, known as the Berlin Patient, was declared HIV-free, another patient may also be cured. Though it's too early for scientists to say for sure, the London Patient has been in a long term remission for around 18 months without the help of medication. Both men were treated with a bone marrow transplant. However, these stem cells carried a rare mutation in the genes that affect the production of the CCR5 protein, which HIV viruses latch onto to enter the cell. The virus cannot latch onto the mutated version of the protein, thus blocking its entry into the cells.

With the transplant of these HIV resistant genes, the body effectively builds a new immune system free of the virus.

After the Berlin Patient went into remission, scientists tried and failed to replicate the cure and were unable to until the London Patient, whose HIV count has reduced into undetectable numbers. While this is extremely helpful, bone marrow transplants are not a viable option to cure all HIV infected people, as it is an extremely risky process and comes with many side effects. Even so, scientists are developing ways to extract bone marrow from HIV infected people, genetically modifying them to produce the same mutations on the CCR5 gene or the inability to express that gene at all, and then replacing it back into the patient so they can still build resistance without the negative effects of a bone marrow transplant. There have also been babies whose genomes have been edited to remove the CCR5 gene, allowing them to grow up resistant to HIV.

This does not eliminate the threat of the HIV virus, however.

There is another strand of the virus, called X4, that uses the CXCR4 protein to enter the cell. Even if the editing of the CCR5 allows immunity against one strand, it is possible for a person to be infected with the X4 strand of the virus. Despite this, immunization against one strand could save a countless number of lives, as well as the vaccine that is currently in the stages of development for HIV. Along with the London Patient, there are 37 other patients who have received bone marrow transplants, six of which from donors without the mutation.

Of these patients, number 19, known as the Dusseldorf Patient, has been off anti-HIV drugs for 4 months. It may not be a complete cure, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

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