A Person First, and Overweight Second: Body Image in Doctorow’s “In Real Life”

Diversity in literature (or movies) is about more than race and gender — body image is an important topic to discuss.

The following is an article on body image I wrote for Pop Culture Uncovered. Check it out!

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Pop Culture Uncovered

In Real Life is a graphic novel based on Cory Doctorow’s short story “Anda’s Game,” initially published as part of his 2007 collection Overclocked. It was supposedly inspired by a true story in which a Mexican man announced at a conference that he paid players to amass virtual wealth that he could then sell to Western players.

However, we’re not here to talk about economics or even MMORPGs. We’re here to talk about body image – and both versions’ vastly different approaches to it.

Though a number of things differ between the short story and its comic adaption, two major things remain the same: one, Anda is a young gamer who joins an all-girls MMORPG clan called the Fahrenheits, and two, Anda is overweight.

In the short story, Anda’s weight struggles are a key plot point: she’s medicated for a skin condition called Acanthosis Nigricans which often precedes obesity-related diabetes. She…

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Interview: Corey Hudson

Howdy, everyone! Today’s post is an interview with Corey Hudson, founder of Hearts of Strangers, a movement that encourages people to share their life stories to help — and connect with — others. Everyone’s meaningful living path is different, and Corey has graciously shared the trials, tribulations, and successes of his personal journey.

Corey seated backwards in chair on road Continue reading

The (Simple) Secret Behind Meaningful Living

Everyone and their mother has advice on how you can live more meaningfully — just Google the term to see upwards of 116 MILLION articles on the subject. There are thousands of blogs dedicated to it. To further complicate the issue, everyone suggests different methods to add meaning to your life: find your purpose, follow your passion, get rid of your stuff, volunteer, simplify your life, set (and meet) goals, read more, start a gratitude journal, meet new people…but don’t forget to work and sleep and eat healthy and socialize and stay connected with your family and current friends. Got all that?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that kind of time.

Screen capture of Google search "meaningful living" -- returns 116 million results

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Harvest Moon: An Exploration of Gender Stereotypes

“Video games of varying genres shaped my childhood, but none more so than the Harvest Moon series – which (accidentally) introduced me to characters that broke the gender norms I’d come to accept as facts.”

Check out my recent publication at Pop Culture Uncovered!

Pop Culture Uncovered

Scientific studies laud video games for the variety of real-world benefits they offer players, ranging from neurologically combatting depression to restructuring the way we think. When it comes to gender, though, we rarely hear good news; it’s easy to find discussions on the sexualization of female characters and the harassment faced by cosplayers who dress as these characters.
But that doesn’t mean that there are only negative stories. Video games of varying genres shaped my childhood, but none more so than the Harvest Moon series – which (accidentally) introduced me to characters that broke the gender norms I’d come to accept as facts.

Girls and Flowers
Also known as Story of Seasons, Harvest Moon is a franchise built on a simple premise: your character has decided to revive a derelict farm. Your main goals consist of planting and watering crops, caring for livestock, and creating a life in…

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Ruminations: Are Labels Violent?

In a recent post, I argued that labels can create a sense of community — and are therefore beneficial in some ways. Stereotypes, on the other hand, are problematic, because they restrict how we behave (girls have to be feminine, boys must like sports, etc.).

I’m a firm believer in questioning my opinions on a regular basis — and re-thinking them, if need be. The following is a quote from writer and philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti, who most definitely disagrees with me on labels:

Quote on labels by Jiddu Krishnamurti Continue reading