I actually came to this show on Saturday night from a very different perspective. I have been modeling for the past couple years, known as a “pretty” girl for a long time but only started believing it more recently and have been skinny forever. I grew up with my own body issues but none of them pertained to weight (unless you want to count a friend asking in high school if I was anorexic and random people giving me flack for being a picky eater and not choosing to put things on my plate I didn't like). I work in the entertainment industry & have done more networking in this world of fashion through my legal and creative pursuits though I haven't gotten to a level where one might label me as part of the problem.
Despite my perspective being different, I found this a very entertaining and insightful show with a powerful message worth listening to. The ladies in this piece are extremely talented and clearly you can see the work and effort put into this show. The choreography was impressive and on point, the acting and the telling of stories was pitch perfect and you could tell these performers cared. Some of the highlights of this show are the skit on diet pills and the drugs they contain (for the first time, someone actually tells you WHY diet pills are bad in a clear, digestible way instead of giving a general “they're unhealthy for you” explanation that you see on most sitcoms), the routine using measuring tape, and the skit incorporating the slogan of Cover Girl: easy, breezy, beautiful Cover Girl.
This show deserves serious praise for diversity in casting since mainstream media typically portrays eating disorders as a white, straight girl problem. There were black women as well as lesbians speaking here so this was a far fuller picture of the issue than you'd ever see in the average presentation or venue. It also didn't feel like the company was saying “we're being diverse with these inclusions” but were telling these stories organically and sincerely. That is what true diversity is about.
I also like that while this is a subject generally considered a downer & controversial, the company managed to present its message with humor, class, dignity and without taking away from the seriousness; they even ended this show on a more hopeful, happier note than you might have expected going in. In the talkback after the show, we learned that the company all wrote this show together and oftentimes the woman who did the monologue actually wrote it herself.
Having dealt with people skinny shaming me and others I know, I think it's worth mentioning that while this show is quite direct and graphic when it comes to confronting the media's image of the “perfect” girl and what we should aspire to be as women it never said that being a model or fitting that ideal is a bad thing if you look that way naturally. I did not see a single shred of skinny hatred or the proclamation of “real women” being used to bash women like myself who did nothing to get where they are and have no reason to start conflict with others for not being thin.
Girl Be Heard will be performing this show on Saturday, February 20th at 2 and 7 pm. If you'd like to find out more about Girl Be Heard or get involved in their endeavors on eating disorders or other subjects, you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org
They also can be found on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and Instagram (GirlBeHeard).