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When almost 70% of American women are a size 14 or bigger, movies like Dumplin' are ridiculously important, while movies like I Feel Pretty just feel ridiculous.
For as long as I can remember, I've been fat. The protagonists in the movies I've watched and the books I've read, however, have not been. . .
Luckily, that's starting to change.
On December 7, 2018, Netflix released Dumplin', an adorable, heartfelt teen movie based on Julie Murphy's YA novel about a plus-size girl who decides to enter a local pageant as a protest and instead inspires other outsiders to also enter the competition. I absolutely adore the book, it means a lot to me, so I was pretty nervous and excited about this film.
I didn't expect to sob through the entire film.
In my 24 years of life, I've never seen a girl in a movie or on television express the exact same fears and anxieties I've experienced because of my body. Willowdean is a confident girl who is generally comfortable with herself and her body, but she is aware of how other people view fat bodies and worries about that. For the first time, it seemed like a character on my television actually understood me - something that Netflix owed fat girls after the cruel dumpster fires that Insatiable and Sierra Burgess is a Loser were.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about this is that it's not ending with Dumplin'. Next year, Hulu is adapting the Lindy West memoir Shrill into an Aidy Bryant - driven comedy. Isn't It Romantic?, a romcom starring Rebel WIlson is set to release next year as well! And YA has recently been FULL of fat protagonists - Dumplin', The Upside of Unrequited, and Puddin' are just a few! The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) not only features a fat protagonist, but Amy Spalding's book gives us a fat, gay, fashionable girl who has pink hair and isn't afraid to eat in Abby Ives!!
As body positivity inches closer to being the norm, pop culture seems to be evolving to attempt to accommodate this change a bit. They don't always get it right - like with Insatiable or Sierra Burgess - but when they DO, it's life changing for the girls who need it. Willowdean Dickson is the heroine I needed when I was a teenager. Hell, Abby Ives is a character I needed at the beginning of this year!
The thing is, people are sick of fatphobia. The average woman is a size 16! Stores like Torrid and Lane Bryant make it relatively easy for women of all sizes - not just straight sizes - to be fashionable and trendy! Like always, Hollywood is slow to catch up - I mean, we did have to suffer through Insatiable before we were blessed with Dumplin' - but at least now things are getting better. "Fat Monica" in Friends wouldn't cut it now, and creators and executives in the media industry finally seem to be catching onto that.
At the beginning of the year, Amy Schumer released a movie where her character was constantly called fat and ugly (two things Schumer definitely isn't), and she had to have a brain injury to realize she was actually beautiful. Now, we have Willowdean's brilliant confidence and organic journey towards self-acceptance in Dumplin'. The inclusion of bodies that are outside the usual idea of what is beautiful is a slow process, but it's ultimately a beautiful thing to witness.
from a freshman at OU
Quarantine inspired me to write about my freshman year to keep it positive and focus on all the good things I was able to experience this year! In this article, I will be talking about how I was able to make such amazing friends by simply putting myself out there and trying new things.
Starting in the fall I attended The University Of Oklahoma, I'm originally from Arlington, Texas, go, Cowboys, yay! Surprisingly even though I am not that far away, not many people from my school were attending OU in the fall so I was going to Norman with a fresh start basically. Obviously, for any incoming freshman reading this you always hear how scary it is to start out new and how to put yourself out there constantly. It's, of course, going to be scary when you are moving somewhere new and your normal is completely switched, instead of thinking about it in a nerve-racking way, try thinking to yourself to optimize your time you get to meet new people and grow. This is the mindset I tried to keep throughout my first year of college. From the start, I joined a sorority, which is a great way to meet new people. I applied for as many organizations as I could that I thought sounded interesting to me. I also reached out to people in any way I could to grow connections with people and make friendships! This is how I grew to meet my best friends. My first close friend at OU actually happened because of our moms they gave us each other's phone numbers weirdly enough. I reached out and texted Lauren, who is now one of my best friends. We went out together that night and hung out with so many different people including her roommate who is also one of my best friends now, and formed friendships by joining using through our sorority. If I would have never pushed myself to text her and reach out I would have never found such an amazing group of people who are consistently uplifting me.
They have gotten me through the hard parts of college which have been way more than expected, and have made so many of the tough times fun by them just being there. Throughout freshman year we have been inseparable and have had so many fun memories, From going through using together, to our random trips to Austin, and spring break in Destin, Florida, and can't forget our memorable bar nights. I will not take any of these moments for granted! Quarantine has inspired to not take any of the small moments with the people you love for granted. To my friends reading this, I love you all endlessly and can't wait for many more years of making stupid decisions with you all! Sorry for the sappiness quarantine got to me, Peace to a freshman year I would have never expected!
Both indoors and outdoors things to do in beautiful Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
In 2017, I moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina - one of the most touristy places on the East Coast. And ever since then, I've befriended locals and done some exploring on my own to discover new, fun things to do in Myrtle Beach. Here are just a few of my favorites.
1. The beach - duh!
Myrtle Beach is absolutely beautiful, and it's one of the reasons I moved here. Pay $10 a day for garage or street parking and enjoy a day in the sun.
2. Boardwalk at the Beach
Not to be confused with Broadway at the Beach, the Boardwalk runs right along the sand and offers a strip of restaurants, bars, arcades, and shops.
3. Broadway at the Beach
Broadway is a little more in-land but a whole lot of fun. It is an outdoor shopping center located on a body of water. There are a ton of shops, restaurants, bars, and clubs, as well as family-friendly activities such as mini golf, high-speed boat rides, and an amusement park!
4. Broadway Grand Prix
5. Barefoot Landing
Barefoot Landing is another super fun, beautiful shopping center on the water.
6. Brookgreen Gardens
Brookgreen Gardens is an amazing spot in Murrells Inlet to view gardens, sculptures, and seasonal lights shows.
7. Duplin Winery
"Sweeten your day with a wine tasting" is Duplin Winery's slogan.
9. Huntington Beach State Park and Atalayla Castle.
Have a picnic in the park and browse a real life castle.
10. Live music
There is live music every day at Lucy Buffett's LuLu's in Barefoot Landing! There is also live music all over Myrtle Beach, including Friday nights at King Street Grille and Sunday nights at the Boathouse.
11. Market Common
I'm biased towards this one because I work here, BUT Market Common is a gorgeous shopping center on Grand Park lake. There are so many shops, restaurants, and bars, it could take up an entire day.
12. Myrtle Waves Water Park
I love a good water park!
13. Pier 14
Have lunch on top of the ocean at Pier 14.
14. Ride the SkyWheel!
The SkyWheel is Myrtle Beach's icon. It is also one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the United States.
15. Riptydz Rooftop Bar
Enjoy drinks, watch the game, and play cornhole on the rooftop bar at Riptydz, overlooking the Atlantic.
16. 810 Market Common
810 is one of the most fun places to be in Myrtle Beach. It's a bowling alley that also has a bar, pool tables, table tennis, dart boards, trivia, live bands, a mini golf course, a bakery and ice cream stand, and so much more!
17. Coastal Grand Mall
I love walking around good ol' Coastal Grand.
18. Carolina Comedy Club
Get your kicks at this new comedy club at Broadway.
A must-experience for anyone visiting South Carolina. Cookout burgers really taste like they were cooked out an outdoor grill!
20. Dave & Buster's
Who doesn't like Dave & Buster's? It has games, drinks, and prizes, great for date night, a friendly group outing, or family fun.
21. Eat Mexican food at Abuelo's
Abuelo's is by far my favorite restaurant in Myrtle Beach.
22. Enjoy bottomless mimosas at the Brass Tap
The Brass Tap offers bottomless mimosas for two with the purchase of two brunch entrees every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It's an experience.
23. House of Blues
See a show at North Myrtle Beach' very own House of Blues.
24. Medieval Times
Dinner and a show!
25. Osaka Chinese buffet
This is my special little hole-in-the-wall place but I'm sharing it with you all to give it some exposure. This Chinese buffet is so good and so reasonably priced.
26. Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum
Also known as the odditorium.
27. See a movie at Grand 14 Theater
This is my favorite movie theater in Myrtle Beach.
28. See a show at the Alabama Theater
View amazing shows at the Alabama Theater in North Myrtle.
29. Take a tour of New South Brewing
Check out Myrtle Beach's own brewery, that produces beer such as the Dirty Myrtle.
The NBA Playoffs are here. It’s kind of funny that my history kind of started out in the same place that basketball’s did too.
Basketball was originally created by James Naismith, a Presbyterian minister who taught P.E. at YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. He invented the new game to keep the young men occupied inside during the winter. Borrowing ideas from rugby and a game he used to play as a boy, “duck on the rock”, he thought of nailing up boxes to throw a ball into. He couldn’t find boxes so he used peach baskets instead. The rest of the rules he made up in about an hour.
His first rule was that the ball can be thrown in any direction with one or both hands. The second one was that the ball can be batted in any direction with one or both hands, but never with the fist. The third rule is that the player can’t run with the ball and must throw it from the spot where he catches it. The ball must be held in or between the hands and the arms or body must not be used for holding it. He also said no shouldering, holding, pushing, striking, or tripping an opponent.
Naismith defined a foul as striking the ball with the fist. And if one of the teams made three consecutive fouls, it’s a goal for the opponents. The eighth rule is that a goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the ground into the basket and stays there. When the ball goes out of bounds, it can be thrown into the field and played by the first person touching it. The umpire worked with the referee and his job was to judge and note fouls, so he could tell the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made. Another role the referee had was to judge the ball and decide when the play was in bounds, which side it belongs to, and keep time. Naismith decided that the game should have two 15-minute halves, with a five-minute rest between. And the last rule was that the side scoring the most goals in the time limit would be declared the winner.
The game caught on quickly because graduates of YMCA traveled widely and it was a simple game to play indoors during the cold winter. Naismith trained the first great college basketball coach, Forrest “Phog” Allen, who played for him at the University of Kansas and won 771 games as a coach himself. One of Allen’s star players was Wilt Chamberlain, who became one of professional basketball’s first superstars. At one game, he scored 100 points himself.
In 1898, the first professional basketball league was formed. Players earned $2.50 for home games and $1.25 for games on the road. Starting in 1994, Juwan Howard, a star player for the Washington Bullets (Wizards now), had competing offers of more than $100 million over seven seasons. Several of the National Basketball Association teams have foreign players, who return home to represent their native countries in the Olympic Games. The team of top American professional basketball players is called the Dream Team, representing the United States in recent Olympic Games. Becoming more popular internationally, Argentina won gold in basketball in 2004, the first time a Latin American country won the basketball honor.
I think it is really cool that the game started with KU basically, because that is where I’m from and I grew up in Kansas City. My dad is actually an alumni of KU, but he never played basketball with them. He loves playing pick-up games with me, and since he didn’t have any sons, I was the one he taught. I grew up playing basketball on club teams, but never at school.
Me playing basketball in 3rd grade, 2003
Playing basketball in 6th grade, 2007
And I actually always hated going to watch basketball games because I just wanted to be on the court myself playing. I remember going to a lot of Midamerica Nazarene University home games because many of the alumni went and brought their kids. It’s kind of funny that my history kind of started out in the same place that basketball’s did too.
At least, that's what I keep telling myself.
I met you when I was in middle school and I thought boys still had cooties. I wore flared jeans, Aeropostale shirts, and had the dorkiest braces ever. I cared about what other people thought of me, and I definitely cared a lot about what you thought, too. You were older, and your friends made fun of me when I talked to you. I pretended it didn’t bother me, but it did. I sat two rows in front of you in class, and constantly tried to think of reasons to talk to you. Your hair was a curly mess. It still is. You graduated from middle school a year before me, and I missed you. I don’t think you even knew my name.
I met you in high school when you were a really popular sophomore, and I was just trying to figure out how to open my new freshman locker. I didn’t like myself all too much at that point, but you made me like myself a little bit more. We danced at homecoming. Your friends still laughed. It was awkward for a while, but we’ve always been a little bit awkward. I liked the days when we walked home from school together, but I just liked you in general.
I met you behind my friend’s car when you became my first kiss. I said it was lame, but I didn’t really mean it. I had never held hands with anyone before.
I met you at the end of my driveway two months later when I told you it’d be better to just be friends. I guess I wasn’t ready for a relationship, but you were. I still remember feeling my heart in the pit of my stomach. We lost touch for a while, and it hurt. You graduated from high school, and left for college. I knew you’d change, but I was happy for you. The distance eventually healed the parts of our friendship that fell apart, and we were okay again.
I met you in college when we both had grown up a lot. I was a new person, and so were you. I cut my hair short, got some tattoos, and cared a lot less about what people thought. You started to dress differently, and became friends with people who stopped laughing. I liked you, but I kept it to myself. We’ve always been bad at communicating about important things, so I repressed it.
I met you the night I let my feelings pour out of me in a hallway that smelled like sweaty boys and alcohol. My guard was up, but I let it down because I trusted you. I don’t trust many people, and you know why. Repressed feelings turned into a kiss, and then a kiss turned into you saying, “It’s complicated, I told you it would be. I don't want to sacrifice our friendship.” So here we are, having the same difficult conversation we did years ago. You were hurt when I wasn’t ready, and now I understand why.
I keep meeting you at the wrong time.
1. Brittany Morgan, National Writer's Society
2. Radhi, SUNY Stony Brook
3. Kristen Haddox, Penn State University
4. Jennifer Kustanovich, SUNY Stony Brook
5. Clare Regelbrugge, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign