Criminal Minds’ Penelope Garcia is a Revolutionary Character We Need -by Selfish Mitch

All female bodies are not the same, nor should they be. AK and I are almost exactly the same age and the same height, for example, but her body is healthiest at a size 0-4, and my body is healthiest at a size 8-12, depending on the brand. I have a broader, more bulkily muscled frame than she does. Her frame and muscles are lean. We’re both beautiful in our own way, and we think all women are too. For us, the goal is to be as healthy as possible, and if we look great, that’s a bonus.

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Kirsten Vangsness as Penelope Garcia  (source http://criminalminds.wikia.com/wiki/Penelope_Garcia)

 

However, if you watch TV or movies, look in fashion magazines and on popular Instagram accounts, you’ll find that the vast majority of women are size 00-4. They might be tall and lean like Taylor Swift, Allison Janney, or Blake Lively, or they may be short and tiny like Ariana Grande and Jada Pinkett Smith, or somewhere in between like Amanda Seyfried and Megan Fox. All of those ladies are beautiful, but Hollywood has a type.

I’m glad that in recent years we’ve seen more representation of different body types in the media. Plus size model Ashley Graham is a great representation of that. Still, have you noticed that in film and television, women who don’t fit in a sample size, like Melissa McCarthy and Chrissy Metz, tend to have story lines that are dependant on weight issues? McCarthy and Metz are both incredibly talented, but Hollywood doesn’t really seem to know what to do with them. Melissa McCarthy is a really talented comedian and seems to really enjoy physical comedy, which is great, but she’s rarely shown as the beautiful, strong, kick ass type. Instead, she’s often in an unflattering wig and clothes that don’t fit, and fat jokes abound. Rebel Wilson is another talented, plus sized actor, and she’s best know for her turns in the Pitch Perfect trilogy, in which she plays a character who goes by “Fat Amy.”

Here’s where Penelope Garcia, who has been played by Kirsten Vangsness on CBS’s Criminal Minds, is revolutionary. Vangsness and I have similar shapes, so when I discovered Criminal Minds earlier this year (I know it’s kicking off its 14th season, don’t @ me), I paid attention. I almost never see women my size represented on screen, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen one as strong, powerful, and put together as this character. Vangsness is a size 12 according to a recent article I found, but she, like most women of my size and shape, can go up and down a bit, especially depending on the brand of clothing you’re buying. She’s not technically “plus sized,” but she’s certainly a body type we don’t see much in Hollywood. She discussed the topic in an interview with Pride.com.

“Stylists on the set of the CBS series have gotten a bit of Vangsness’s do-it-yourself spirit as well. “They kept saying, ‘Can you bring your own clothes? We don’t have anything in your size.’ Because in Hollywood they have size zero and size 22,” says Vangsness, who is a size 12. “But if you lie somewhere between the 12 to 16 range…they keep trying to put you into a size 4. It’s the strangest thing. What ends up happening is they buy four size 2 Marc Jacobs dresses and make one size 12. Then someone out in TV land watches it and is like, ‘I can get that dress.’ No, you can’t because you don’t have a seamstress that will alter exactly to your body. I feel for everybody.”

I feel you, girl. We’re also in that size range where straight sizes fit us strangely and most plus size stuff is too big.

The character of Penelope Garcia is a rich and layered one. She’s a brilliant former computer hacker who leaves the dark web to go to work for the good guys, profiling criminals. She’s strong, witty, and doesn’t apologize for the space her body takes up. She’s confident, a great friend and co-worker, and a solutionary. She’s also a bit of a weirdo, wearing bright clothing and usually a few more accessories than fashion dictates. She has romantic relationships with attractive men and a flirtmance with co-worker Derek Morgan, who is played by the ridiculously attractive Shemar Moore. Their platonic friendship is deep, layered with mutual love and respect, but they never cross the boundary into a romantic relationship. The sexy banter between them would be enough that most HR departments would write them up, but it’s sweet, funny, sexy, and a great break in the middle of serious storylines about psychotic serial killers.

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Shemar Moore and Kirstin Vangsness photo source

What Penelope Garcia doesn’t do is whine about her weight. She doesn’t come into the office bitching that she only eats carrot sticks and still will never be the size of her gorgeous, athletic, thin, co-worker and close friend, J.J. Nobody suggests Keto or Paleo or the Cabbage Soup diet to Garcia. I haven’t heard anyone say, “Oh, Penelope. You have such a pretty face. Have you tried Pilates?” They do invite her out for drinks, confide in her and love her, and she pays that all right back. She’s been on the show for 13 years, and I’ve never seen Penelope Garcia give a fuck about her weight. She’s healthy, she’s happy, and she loves herself. She doesn’t hide her figure in oversized black sweaters; she flaunts it in bright, sometimes crazy, but flattering patterns. Her hair color changes often, and her makeup is bright. This is a woman who isn’t trying to blend into the wallpaper, making self-deprecating jokes, and waiting to start her life when she hits a magical number on the scale. In a world where people call Beyonce fat and where Scarlett Johansson has been turned down for roles because she’s too curvy, Penelope Garcia living her best life is what we need more of, especially since Vangsness is entering her 14th year of playing this groundbreaking character and I don’t see other shows stepping up and showing other 3 dimensional average sized women. Think about this: Criminal Minds premiered just months after Friends Joey, Chandler, Ross, Phoebe, Rachel and Monica took their final bow. I loved Friends, of course, but the Monica fat shaming was a bad trope. In fact, in the episode about what could have been in alternate futures, tiny Courteney Cox was in Monica’s fat suit, portrayed as an awkward 30 year old virgin who had never been in love and doesn’t seem to have any rich relationships in her life. We haven’t evolved enough since then.

But, Mitch, you say, there are other female fictional characters that appear on screen with more weight than we’re used to seeing. Surely, they can’t all have fat plotlines! I haven’t seen every movie or TV show ever made, so that might be true. I think we’re close with the amazing Aidy Bryant on Saturday Night Live. In fact, she did a Weekend Update segment as herself discussing how hard it is to get roles that don’t revolve around her size. She was once offered a part in a movie. The character didn’t have a name-it was just “Ugly Fat Friend.” Aidy is anything but ugly, and to keep up with SNL’s production schedule, guest starring in other TV shows, and doing stand up and other projects, she must be pretty damn healthy. The great thing about SNL, whether you’re a fan or not, is that the actors often do the sketch writing as well. They have more control over what they do and how they’re seen.

Click play to see Aidy owning this song along with her female castmates and guest star Saoirse Ronan.

We also have the hilarious Katy Mixon headlining her own show on ABC, called “American Housewife.” The show was originally entitled, “The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport.” I have to admit, the character is super relatable to me. Katy’s character, Katie Otto, seems pretty happy with who she is, and she has a loving, supportive, thin, capable husband (which is something I’ll get into in a separate post.) The character and her family move to a super affluent area so their children can have the best education possible, but they’re a middle class family in an area like the Hamptons or Calabasas, and the other moms are tiny, mean, and judgemental. Katy keeps it real, and seems to be happy with herself, but it is hard for her to not fit in with the other moms, even if she really dislikes most of them.

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Mixon playing Katie Otto, who is not having any of this bullshit today. Image: https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/television/2016/10/09/american-housewife-tackles-weighty-subject/HA5mA0bUWzPBrpT5q0LCOI/story.html

She actually creates extra trouble for herself by pushing back against the other parents. She thinks these people are all shallow and materialistic, and for the most part, they are. She’s concerned about her children’s values changing to reflect those of the new community, and she fights it pretty hard.  Still, there are several fat jokes in this show, and some of them are pretty cheap. Also, I think it’s important to note that Katie doesn’t make an effort to know most of the juice cleansing, work out clothes wearing, luxury SUV driving moms, so she’s also being judgemental based on looks. I still call it a bit of progress, just not badass Garcia progress. I do want to note that American Housewife has a different kind of progress-Katy’s best female friends are women of color, and one of them happens to be a lesbian. I love the real-life aspect of that. She has friends who don’t look just like her, who come from different backgrounds. She and her husband are very much in love and rarely put each other down, especially not to the extent we see in other sitcoms. They are portrayed as partners, which is good to see.

In today’s society, even though racists and homophobes, abelists and misogynists still run rampant, they’re being called out.  It seems like fat jokes are the last frontier for jokes about people. Hell, even Glee, the show that had a “very special episode” and set it’s social justice warrior mission to music every week, had unchecked fat jokes.

Still, it’s TV. It’s the movies; it’s not real life, right? In today’s society people are influenced by pop culture. TV shows, movies, reality stars, and even the President drop cruel words into our ears and onto our screens, and those words embolden people. We become a sum of our experiences, and if we are constantly taking in “jokes” about fatness, about people being different sized, that seeps into the general consciousness. When Trump calls Rosie O’Donnell a disgusting pig and says Heidi Klum is sadly, no longer a 10, it makes people think it’s OK to say those things as well. (Along with all of his other problematic opinions on “others”.) Sadly, I still hear people refer to people they care about as, “my fat friend? The one who you met at my party two years ago?” That’s the rub about being considered average or larger sized in our culture. You’re reduced to one characteristic; two if you’re lucky.

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I look different in these photos, but I have the same heart, mind, sense of humor, love, and ambition. Who I am doesn’t change with the way you see me. My self esteem no longer lives and dies by the scale. I’m stronger than that now, but many girls and women aren’t.

 

The fat funny girl. The fat girl with great hair. The fat girl who shouldn’t wear skirts that short. The fat bitch. The fat girl who’s got a great personality. The fat girl who is actually really pretty if you get to know her.

So, how do we react to this? How do we stop it? We can support movies made by female directors and screenwriters. Women, even women in Hollywood, have friends who are more than their weight, and that can come through in their storytelling. We can vote with our dollars for TV shows and movies who are doing it right.

In this world, we can use the internet to tell people exactly what we think of them. The comments any celebrity’s instagram will tell you that. So often people tell them they’re fat, they’re unworthy, unattractive. Don’t do that. If you know people who do that, call them out. Tweet at producers and studios that you want to be represented and respected on screen.

Most importantly, love yourself exactly as you are, exactly as you look right now. I’m working on losing weight put on by some medication right now, because the sudden weight increase has been hell on my joints. I’m working on becoming healthier, and for me that’s about 25 lbs of less fat and more muscle than where I am right now, but I’m not putting my life on hold until my favorite jeans fit again. I still love myself and know and respect myself and my journey.

If you have someone in your life that you see as overweight or fat and that’s part of your description of them, even if it’s only in your internal dialogue, stop that shit now. That person is aware of their weight. You don’t need to tell them. They know about diets and exercise, and if they want to work on losing weight or being healthier for themselves, that’s their journey. It’s not yours. It’s fairly likely they are their own worst critic, so you don’t need to tell them that something is tight or doesn’t look good on them. No, not even if you’re “just worried about their health.” Their health is their own damn business. I have friends who eat like shit, don’t exercise, and binge drink regularly. They almost never have people tell them to change because they’re damaging their health. I polled my friends. Unless they’re over size 10 or they’re size 00 or 0, nobody remarks on their “health”. In fact, I have one friend who drinks daily and smokes like a chimney. Nobody said a word to her about her health until she gained a bit of weight. So fuck that.

Everyone’s body is different. I look thin, strong, and healthy at 155-165 lbs if I’ve been working out. AK, who is my height and age, would look completely different at that weight. That’s my peak healthy weight, but for her, I’m not sure if she hit that weight when she was pregnant and felt huge. I have very thin friends with health problems and a friend who is a size 4X whose doctor constantly remarks on how healthy she is overall. Low blood pressure, great cholesterol numbers, etc. She’s working on losing weight, but she’s doing it her way. You don’t get an opinion or comment.

I’m hoping AK will write a post soon about her experience with people telling her she’s too thin. We hit opposite ends of that spectrum, and that’s not OK either. Sorry this is long, but I have words.

-Love, light, health, and the incredible badassery of Kirstin Vangsness AND Penelope Garcia,

Selfish Mitch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 2018 Birchbox vs July 2018 Ipsy- A Selfish Mitch Review

I was going to do these separately, but they both came when I was out of town for a few days, so I thought it would be great to open them at the same time and see what we’re working with. Both boxes are $10 a month with free shipping, and it’s a fun, inexpensive way to spoil myself and try things I’d probably never pick up in the store.

Which box did you prefer? What piece did my puppy steal?

I also talk about self care and why it’s so vitally important. It’s important for everyone, but the way AK feeds her soul is very different from the way I feed mine, and my neighbors and other girlfriends do something completely different. We’re here to give you ideas, but you don’t have to do what we do. Find what works for your life; find what sets fire to your soul, and do that.

 

With peace, light, and one less lip liner,

Selfish Mitch

Mitch Unboxes Her Summer 18 Fab Fit Fun Box. Is It The Best FFF Yet?

Spoiler alert: I think so. I still have my ipsy to unbox, but I’m trying to train myself to be a little more patient. Waiting for things falls under that category, yeah?

Tell us what you think in the comments. What’s the best part of this box? Also, I don’t have a discount code here because apparently 6 youtube views don’t make you an “influencer” (!!I’m Shocked!!)  but if you google you can find one. I think this one is worth it.

 

Peace, love, and primer. All the primer.

-Selfish Mitch

Birchbox X Vogue X Selfish Mitch

There’s really not much I enjoy more than a super thoughtful gift from me to me. That’s why I decided I should try out Birchbox. My add-on box with a collaboration between Birchbox and Vogue arrived before the regular birchbox, so we’re going to check that out here. I also ordered a few more little treats that came in this package, including an eyeshadow palette that I’m fairly certain is a HUGE mistake. Check it out below and let me know what you think.

My Winter Skin Is Thirstier Than a Former Disney Starlet on Instagram (A Story About Kitnapping)

If you know me, or if you have read this blog at all, you know that I’m pretty invested in self care. Some of it is because I have a chronic illness and run a few businesses, including ohmmygodess.com, and I have to make choices every damn day. A lot of times I don’t like those choices; for example, I often have time to reach out to all of my real estate leads and clients OR time for a long phone call with a BFF. I have time to get my ass to bed on time or blog. I have time to spend in my photo studio getting clothes ready for sale OR time with my husband. It’s not fun having to choose all the time.

I’ve been totally absent from this blog for what, a month now? I came down with three different strains of this year’s flu and a case of bronchitis, and I had to choose only the most urgent things I could do every day. Had I been inspired I’d have probably blogged instead of another task, but I was cranky and tired and overextended and didn’t have love to share with you all. I started feeling better Sunday of last week, and started planning a normal adult personal professional life, and then…my neurologist’s office called and said that my insurance company had approved a minor back surgery I’ve needed for about six months, but they gave a 10 day window and Wednesday (less than 48 hours) was the only time that the doc and the surgical center had available, so they needed me there or it might never happen. Fuck the American medical system, but we work with what we have. Let me arrange my life and figure out how I’m going to pay my $3900 copay and deductible in two days. Seems reasonable. Again, fuck all of them.

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I *might* have also ordered three identical unicorn onesies on the way home from back surgery. But I got a deal, so whatevs.

So, surgery Wednesday afternoon, and Wednesday night someone invited me to a Perfectly Posh party. I’ve heard of this MLM company and their pampering products from a few friends who swear by them, so I’d wanted to try it for a while. I’m also a cheap bitch, and that leads us to one of my favorite hobbies: Kitnapping. Kitnapping is the term for signing up as a sales rep for a multi level marketing company with absolutely no intention of being a “BOSS BABE {INSERT 47 EMOJIS HERE}.” I don’t hate MLM, and in fact, I feel compelled to work Beachbody as a business since I used their workouts, meal plans, Shakeology, and challenge groups to lose 70 lbs. It’s not my main job,  but you can’t lose 70 lbs and get hundreds of selfie likes and NOT want to help other people do the same. With anything else, though, no. I’m here to get the starter kit for free, buy a few more things for myself at a discount, and then quit. Most of them can be viable businesses if you choose to work them like businesses, but I’m a great Realtor and passionate about that, first and foremost, so it won’t work for me. I’m not trying to discourage you, but please do your research. f you want to know why MLM’s have a 90+% failure rate, look at bitches like me. We sign up to get the goods, then GTFO. http://www.scarymommy.com/mlm-failure-rate-99-percent-lularoe/

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Seems a little early to talk about love, since we just met, but OK.

Anyway, as the title of this post indicates, I have the WORST dry skin in the winter. Even in Arizona, when January 21 found me cursing myself for not getting the motor to operate the top of my convertible fixed earlier because it was 85 degrees, I had alligator skin. So, induced by still working the surgical drugs out of my system and the nurses commenting, “You poor thing” when faced with my scaly legs, I decided to jump on the Perfectly Posh kitnapping wagon.

So, here’s what you get. A big box that says, “I’m part of the company I love!” (That’s a little much, PP People, since the folks who order your starter kit likely don’t know much about your business, even if they love your products.) It has a bunch of catalogs and I’m assuming other business shit I will never look at. There’s only one bag that says, “Pampering for Me,” but hi, have we met? This shit is ALL for me. There’s not a way that a MLM paying 20% commission for affordable skin care products is going to overtake my income from selling houses. Still, I’ve heard amazing things about this so let’s get it on.

It was 4 pm on a Sunday when I opened this, so conveniently, I needed a shower. I chose these two things since they looked like they should go in the shower.

So, I grabbed the “Show and Gel” and was VERY disappointed. I was confused about the hype on this crap because here is a body wash gel with zero foaming action. Well, it turns out you should read the back of this because it’s like lotion for the alligator people like me, not a body wash. My bad; so I had to use the soap that was already in my shower. I also used the BFF exfoliating facial gel, which made me feel fruity clean on my face, which is a thing I like. When my dumb ass got out of the shower, I used the Show and Gel like you’re supposed to, and I’ll be damned if it didn’t make my disgusting legs look human again, so that was a win.

Since that worked, I decided to try a mask. I chose the pineapple one that is sampled, and I smelled like a fucking pineapple and I got puppy kisses as a result, so that’s a win.

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Gratuitous dog picture, but the little one did keep trying to lick my face with the Pineapple mask. If you don’t think they’re cute you’re a monster.

That shit did NOT want to wash off, so I didn’t like that part. Rinse, rinse rinse, rinse, and still. Pineapple face. If you’re following us on Instagram, you can see my 42 year old clean face with a pineapple mask in our story. (If you’re not following our Instagram, what are you even doing with your life?) When I finally got rid of the pineapple, I used the Gel Yes! because it’s the only facial moisturizer sampled in that big ass kit, which I thought was strange, since they include approximately 623 samples of hand cream . Still, I used the goods and my face still feels as soft as a 33 year old’s. (Estimated age, I do not have a 33 year old face to feel at the moment, and even if I did, that would be an awkward conversation).

I finished off with the Sassyooma “Big FAT Yummy Hand Cream,” which has a great orange-y citrus smell and actually took me closer to human and further away from reptile, which is obviously a good thing. It came in a little sample packet that said to use a pea sized amount on your hands, but I used all of it and used it up my arms, on my neck, and a little on my face, and it’s my favorite so far. (Does anyone actually use a portion of a free sample and roll the dice that the other part of it will be good when you come back to it?) I feel like if I kept using it, I’d become fully human in a week or so. Of course, because my brain is THE WORST and crazy inconvenient, I react to the word “yummy” like most people react to the word “moist” so of course I can’t just fucking enjoy things. WHY CAN’T I JUST HAVE NICE THINGS?

Anyhow, what I’ve tried so far seems pretty legit, as long as you have the reading skills of a third grader and employ them before you squeeze out 1/6th of a bottle of lotion onto your shower poofy thing expecting it to foam up like body wash.

Want to try out some of this stuff and support this blog at the same time? Order from Selfish Mitch Perfectly Posh If you have questions, I’ll be happy to answer if I know anything. At this point, based on what I’ve tried and how much stuff is in the starter kit, I would recommend kitnapping Perfectly Posh for $99 and some shipping. I’m not sure how I feel about it as a gung-ho business opportunity. Yes, the kit is $99, so that’s a hell of a deal for over $300 in retail products. I know from social media and my own research that the products are well received and wanted, but if you’re looking for a MLM to really sink your teeth into and grow a business, I can’t say I’d recommend a company that overuses the word yummy and pays out 20% for products that are pretty affordable. I do know people personally who are working this as a business and doing well, so I could put you in contact with them if you’re interested in the opportunity.

Thanks to Angie Welker for letting me kitnap on her downline. I think it’s totally ethical to buy a starter kit from any MLM for your personal use, with no intention to work it as a business besides passively sharing your link, with one caveat. If you’re going to be selfish with it and keep it all, just be honest with the person you’re signing up under. Angie was the rep running the Perfectly Posh Party and I signed up “under” her in the business. I was straight with her that I wanted the kit for myself and would provide an honest review, but that she didn’t need to follow up me with me as a downline business person because I’m not going to have parties in person or on Facebook. Don’t be a dick. Be honest with everyone involved if you’re kitnapping.

-With love and citrus smelling soft skin,

Selfish Mitch