Hulu’s Shrill, more than just Body Positivity

Some folks are applauding this show as a great boost to the body positive movement, which I agree with. But it also covers a lot of issues that women of all sizes deal with, so you don’t have to be big to appreciate the beauty of this show. It’s a bonus to those of us that are.

So, some of you might have noticed there was no blog or quote of the week last week. Those that didn’t notice, well damn, that stings a little.

Anyways, last week was an odd one for me. I didn’t feel like myself, I had a bit of a cloud over me for a few days; therefore, making it a shitty week.

Although, I wasn’t typing away I was streaming a lot of TV.
Before I continue, let’s get this straight I wasn’t vegged out in front of the screen. Those glorious days are over, I have a kid now, we went to the park, went on urban walks around our neighborhood, and played. But didn’t have the energy or the will to do anything for me, except for showering.

Anyway, I stumbled on Hulu’s “Shrill” with SNL’s Aidy Bryant. I binged the entire show in one sitting, it was rather easy since its only 6 episodes, all less than 30 minutes, and all extremely good. I will say that at first this show, was not something that drew me in. I had seen the image of Bryant holding a water hose in a two-piece and I was not amused.

Usually I’m in on these types of shows, I hadn’t read the synopsis but based on the two piece I knew it was a coming of age story for a “big girl.” When I realized I didn’t have anything else to watch, I clicked on “Shrill.” I’m so glad I did, I f’n loved it! If you haven’t seen it you must see it now, bookmark this post (because there’s spoilers), and then go watch.

So many emotions watching it, anger, happiness, love and frustration.
I think the show does a great job at how many of us feel when we are not a “standard” size or shape. You see a woman putting up with some crap from a guy, because as she states “something is better than nothing” I cringed so hard when I saw this, that I believe I have a new wrinkle in my forehead.
Ha! Kidding, darling, I’m brown we all know my skin don’t crack.

But yea, this part just got me. It’s sad, it really is. As it is there’s already that generalization that “big girls will do anything” during and for sex. The thought is that since the girl is “fat” she’ll do anything because she’s desperate for intimacy. It’s sad and disgusting, and I would like to believe that it is not at all true. First of all, big girls are not the only ones that get lonely and long for intimacy. Second, I know a lot of us big girls don’t just give it up to anyone honey. We have standards too boo!

Shrill’s cast

Annie (Bryant) eventually snaps out and starts demanding a bit more respect from the guy but also from everyone else. But seriously, she needs to ditch this guy. Annie is a smart woman, I’m not sure why she would date a guy like Ryan (Luka Jones). I’m sorry to say that in this case it does feel as if she’s lowering her standards. I don’t get it.

Moving on…

It makes me happy because I see the main character step in to her power. As she realizes that she does not have to be a size 2 to be happy or successful, she steps up and into her power. We are witnessing her transformation, it is a bit slow but nonetheless inspiring. As well as realistic.

Let’s not kid ourselves, I love these stories, I connect with these stories, because I strongly believe I am these stories. Not just with the big girls, but with the ugly or nerdy girls. Or like I like to call them “Real Girls”, for instance:

“Bridget Jones,” I’ve read all three books, I read the last book in less than 48 hours. I’ve watched all three movies, horrible by the way. Only the first movie was great and like the book, the rest were horrible. But didn’t mind that much because I love Bridget and Mark, oh my Darcy, I love that man. The actor of course; Colin Firth, the only skinny English man that makes me swoon. Anyway my love affair with Bridget began when I realized she was a klutz, she was a woman just trying to figure shit out as I was when I read Fielding’s first Bridget novel. She was in her 30’s, trying to find love, trying to quit smoking, trying to get her career going, and trying to lose weight.

She was not preppy, not skinny and damn was she screwing up. As we know this tends to happen when you are winging it and trying to figure shit out as you go along. As we all do, at one point in our lives. I liked that she didn’t have it figured out, she didn’t even know what it was yet. Love, career, health? All or nothing? She didn’t know, she didn’t even know how to go about figuring it out. That’s what I loved, because that’s how I felt when I was introduced to Bridget. I was in my early 20’s still figuring shit out. Let’s also not forget the most important part, Fielding made Bridget Jones’ character crazy about “Pride and Prejudice” as I was. As a bonus she also had a mad crush on Colin Firth who played Mr. Darcy in the movie. Turns out that Helen fielding added this as she is crazy about the movie too.

“Ugly Betty”, “Betty La Fea” and all the movies or shows that follow the same premise. She’s smart, but not that great looking, but then there’s a transformation. A multi-dimensional transformation. She tries to be pretty and plays down her intelligence, realizes that doesn’t work, and then just realizes that it’s not all about looks but about her heart and her own self-love.

L-R: Angelica Vale (Mexican version), Ana Maria Orozco (Colombian version, original Betty), America Ferrera (American version)

I’m a sucker for these, like seriously. I’m currently watching the latest version on Telemundo “Betty en NY”, they follow some of the same themes from the original version which is the Colombian “Betty La Fea,” which you guys, you have no idea how much I loved that novela.

I connect to these because in some way I always thought of myself as a nerd. I never thought of myself as extremely attractive but I always considered myself intelligent. There’s also something else that connects me, you see in these novelas there’s always a fairy godmother type. Someone that teaches and helps with the “ugly duckling’s” transformation. This person helps our main character heal, step into her power, embrace self-love, and helps her with her exterior makeover. Well, you see I had that too. I was 19-20, when I met my fairy godmother, she was my same age and we became really great friends. She introduced me to what I call “big girl stores,” she was the first person to teach me that being big does not mean you cannot be feminine or feel beautiful. I grew up believing that thin was beautiful; therefore, fat was ugly. I hid behind dark colors and baggy clothes. But my fairy godmother guided me through it, clothes and make-up, I was tapping into my goddess, which I didn’t know existed. Did I mention that she wasn’t big? She was actually way thinner than me.

She did have a big bootie like me, and like the stripper says to Annie, “You tell men what to do, you have the big tits and the big ass” that’s what my fairy godmother taught me too.

I stopped wearing men’s pants (yea I did), stopped trying to cover my butt and hips. Took the time to do my hair and make-up, get a mani-pedi, purchase sexy undies. Before her, I would have never-ever walked into a Fredericks or a Victoria’s Secret.

Now this might not be for everyone, but it was for me. To this day, it’s different, but I still do it. I love dressing up, I love how I feel after a do my hair and I love feeling badass and sexy in my Red Lipstick.

In Shrill we witness how Annie is going through something similar, she is for the first time (it seems) surrounding herself by women that are full of self-love, and are not ashamed of their bodies. They dress sexy, feminine, and they are not afraid to express or demand their needs. Annie is finding her voice as she is gaining her confidence.

We also see how she is becoming a bit selfish in her relationships, this tends to happen. We are so not use to being all about us, that when we realize we can in fact be “all about us” we get a little carried away. On the flipside, this is also the time when you start losing friends because they are not okay with your change.

There’s so many issues that are covered in just six episodes. I for one learned about the weight requirement for the morning after pill. Seriously, when you buy it, a pharmacist does not tell you that there’s a weight limit when taking the pill. This was news to me, thank you Shrill.

Also the abortion scene, I enjoyed how ‘boring’ or how undramatic they portrayed this. I understood her dilemma, I’ve faced it too. Obviously, I kept it but her thoughtform was the same one I had. I appreciated the fact that they didn’t overdramatize this moment, because for many of us it isn’t as dramatic as many make it seem.

Annie during her abortion

Women get abortions, it’s a fact and a right. Women get them for many reasons, some are painful reasons others are not. The writers did a great job at depicting a woman being sure of her decision; she had doubts, but at the end she knew what was right for her. We don’t see that often on screen, we see women crying, feeling guilty, shamed or stigmatized. But here we saw a woman exercising her right to choose what to do with her body and feeling empowered by that decision. I wasn’t the only one that thought this was a great scene, check out what others thought about it.

Some folks are applauding this show as a great boost to the body positive movement, which I agree with. But it also covers a lot of issues that people of all sizes deal with, so you don’t have to be big to appreciate the beauty of this show. It’s a bonus to those of us that are.

You can think of it, as Annie is being portrayed by Aidy Bryant, who happens to be big.

But to be honest, I do believe…this one is for US, the big girls.
This show is based on Lindy West’s book, “Shrill: Notes from a Loud Women”. She has been quoted as saying that she wanted someone that looked like her to play the main character. West even makes a cameo in one episode, which I believe represents the ‘fairy godmother’ for Annie. Although, there’s so many others and so many great moments, the pool party alone was such a vital moment in the story.

Bottom line: Watch the show, it’s great. The writing and acting is on point and you will seriously enjoy it. It covers so many issues that we all deal with, that I’m sure something will resonate. We all have our insecurities and some of us have been held back by those insecurities, this show is exactly about that.

Watch it and let me know what you think.
I’m off, got some online shopping to do. Going to buy West’s book and a two piece for the summer season. I was not lying when I said that pool scene was everything.

Adios Amores!

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