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Knit Happens…!

Autumn, I’ve always loved this time of year. The leaves are changing colour, the evenings are growing shorter, there’s a chill in the air and because of all this there’s always an excuse to curl up with a good book and one seriously naughty hot chocolate – When I say naughty I am of course referring to those amaretto laced chocolate concoctions that propel this childhood favourite all the way into adult territory and beyond!

With the weather getting colder, however, all I can think about lately is wrapping up and I’m sure you’re thinking the same thing. The only problem is knitwear, despite being super cozy, has never been what you might call chic. Sure it was always OK to wear around the house, but it was hardly something that came to mind when planning that first date ensemble now was it?

Oh but the times they are a changing ladies and I’m here to tell you that fashion is now firmly on our side – Finally! Apparently designers have just come to the realization that women no longer want to choose between looking good and keeping warm. Seems quite obvious really, makes you wonder why on earth they took so long!

Now before you balk at the mention of the word “designer” let me assure you that the high-street has, as always, experienced that ol’ trickledown effect and as a result we’re seeing some amazing winter warmers including knitted biker jackets, peplum sweaters, novelty jumpers and bodycon dresses in stores such as Topshop, Reiss, French Connection and Mango as well as Brown Thomas!

Of course all this means we now have quite the opposite problem; there is simply too much to choose from. So with that and our collective sanity in mind I took matters into my own hands, scoured the stores, and found what I believe are some of the very best new season knits you need to know about….

(Insert Picture Here)

Centre:

Red Bodycon Dress – Ted Baker

From Top L-R:

Gina Geelong Knit – French Connection

Bat Motif Sweater – J.W. Anderson x Topshop. Also available in BT2 Grafton Street

Cashmere Embellished Sweater – Mango

Knitted Biker Jacket – Iro. BT2 Also available at Netaporter.com

Pink Peplum Sweater – Reiss.

Embellished Cropped Sweater – Miu Miu. Brown Thomas.

Charcoal Peplum Sweater – Ted Baker.

Kapow Sweater – Phillip Lim. Brown Thomas. Also available at Netaporter.com

What’s great about the majority of these pieces is the fact that they will look amazing paired rather simply with your already existing wardrobe staples. Take, for example the “Kapow” sweater by Phillip Lim (A cult favourite by the way!) or even the peplum sweater from Ted Baker both of which would look great with a black skinny jeans and flats by day. Happily, this is a look you can easily make re-appropriate for drinks “after-hours” simply by swapping the flats for a pair of killer stilettos! Believe me, it really is that simple!

For those of you still suspicious of knitwear and its reputation for being stuffy and outdated, however, I suggest mixing your textures in order to keep it securely on the young, fresh, and relevant side of things. When it comes to anything “fashion” you should always consider this one golden rule; opposites attract! So, when putting your look together consider, for instance, teaming a soft and feminine cashmere sweater with a tough leather skirt or pants.

Oh and just one more thing, always no matter what anyone else might tell you, remember that crop tops were never intended to be worn with low slung jeans. Never! To keep a cropped sweater looking chic, sophisticated and subtly sexy be sure to pair it with a high waisted skirt. Tummy cleavage must be kept to a minimum people!

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On The Road…

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn…”

With the help of one all star cast which includes Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams, Kristen Stewart and Tom Sturridge director Walter Salles has finally done what so many before him have only ever dreamed of; brought to the big screen Jack Kerouacs 1957 novel On The Road. Adapting such a well known and well loved novel was never going to be easy but fortunately for the Brazilian director, the novels legion of die-hard fans, and of course all those fantasists that came before him I can honestly say that he has risen to the challenge and done quite the respectable if not somewhat predictable job here. When I say predictable I am of course referring to Salles earlier film The Motorcycle Diaries which On The Road undoubtedly echoes. Perhaps 2004s effort was simply the directors way of warming up? Who knows!

Set in the late 1940s On The Road tells the story of a group of young hipsters all of whom are yearning to experience something real, something beautiful. Although the story belongs to Sal Paradise (Sam Riley) the real star of the show is the charismatic Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund) who is all but determined to live his life against the conformist grain. Following the death of his father aspiring writer Sal who is desperate to escape the bout of writers block that has been plaguing him for far too long now, begins frequenting various dive bars with the poet Carlo Marx (Tom Sturridge) only to find little in the way of inspiration or indeed relief. But then, suddenly he meets the freewheeling alpha male that is Dean and everything changes. Both the audience and Sal are first introduced to a stark naked Dean who has apparently been enjoying a tryst with his 16 year old bride Marylou (Kristen Stewart) So fascinated and inspired is Sal by this sexually charged and free spirit who seems so gloriously unbound by the restrictions of life, doing what he wants when he wants, and determined to avoid all sense of responsibility that he actually embarks upon a series of cross country road trips with him. Of course these aren’t just any old road trips rather they are the adventures that inspire Salles furious scribbling of notes for a would-be novel.

Predictably, Marylou joins the guys on the road and it isn’t long before Sal develops a sort of infatuation with the saucy youth but somehow it never feels genuine and viewers get the feeling that he doesn’t really care about her and that this infatuation may in fact be the result of one seriously displaced homoerotic bond with Dean. Hrmmm! Throughout the entire film we the audience are treated to a birdseye view of the non conformist life. A life in which drugs, experimental sex, jazz and black culture are all embraced – eagerly! We are also introduced to a whole host of equally weird and wonderful characters including the eccentric couple that is Old Bull Lee (Viggo Mortensen) and Jane (Amy Adams) as well as some very angry women who have been used and abused by the men of the film such as Camille (Kirsten Dunst – so good to have her back!) Camille, in case you were wondering, is the much more stable woman Dean eventually divorces Marylou for in order to settle down and start having babies with. As you can imagine, that doesn’t exactly work out and the films stud quickly returns, again and again, to the ever tolerant and ever willing arms of his ex-wife. Let the drama (or should I say even more drama?) begin…

Although, On The Road does carry with it a sort of touching sadness whereby Dean eventually becomes the used up and left behind raw material for a book destined to make Sal a wealthy New York big-shot the films impact is at best variable. This, I don’t believe can be attributed to any one thing. A film adaptation of the novel was always going to prove difficult after all throughout the novel there is a complete lack of dramatic structure as the book focuses on not one but several unique journeys which ultimately results in a fitfully episodic narrative. All of these are issues even the best director would struggle to overcome and as a result Salles deserves our respect as do the actors and especially the actresses who give it their all. Truly the women of this film do a brilliant job in each of their respective roles and in my opinion really steal the show. It is, after all, their shrill yet futile anger that proves to be one of the most raw and convincing elements of the entire film. And believe me I hate to say this but Stewart (Best known for her role as Bella in Twilight or perhaps for cheating on Robert Pattinson – the horror) who was chosen for the role of Marylou almost five years ago after giving a stellar performance in Into The Wild is perfect, in fact she is beyond perfect. As a long term fan of cinematography I have to say Eric Gautier makes great use of superb and diverse locations such as New York, Canada, Mexico and Argentina making this film, regardless of its overall success one truly worth seeing. Also wonderful is the overall sense you get when looking at the clothes, the decor and hearing the vast range of music that this film was researched to its very limit which not only lends a wonderful sense of authenticity to the movie but makes it an absolute pleasure to watch.

Just remember this; it is extremely rare for any adaptation or interpretation of a song, book, film or any other creative piece to live up to it’s original self and I can guarantee you will enjoy this film!

Taken 2

“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have any money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”

We first met man-of-his-word Bryan Mills (played by our own Liam Neeson) back in 2008 when kidnap drama Taken surpassed all expectation – Neeson himself said he thought the film would go “straight to video” – and became the unexpected hit of the year and now, four years later, the retired CIA officer is back and at his knife wielding, gun toting, bullet proof vest wearing best. Well what do you expect when a movie made for a mere $25 million goes on to rake in over $225 million? A sequel was inevitable folks. If the above quote set the tone for and told us all we needed to know about the first film it actually does the same again, well, sort of. Only this time the tables have turned and it’s the baddies who are throwing around the threats. Taken 2 is all about revenge you see. In the original Mills not only killed but tortured his daughter Kim’s (played by Lost alum, Maggie Grace) captors and now the fathers and brothers of the dead are back and demanding retribution.

This time around the action has shifted from Paris to Istanbul where having just completed a security job for one very rich Sheikh retired CIA officer Mills has invited his daughter and now not-so-estranged wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) to join him for a mini vacation he hopes will make for some good old fashioned family bonding. Whereas it was Kim who was “taken” in the original movie it is now Lenore and Bryan’s turn to be abducted. Certainly, the film opens quite promisingly showing Mills instructing his now miraculously more capable daughter (who can forget just how hapless the poor girl was in the original?) Kim on how to locate him and Lenore using only a map, a shoelace oh and a bunch of grenades – Funny he won’t allow her to indulge in any heavy petting but scaling rooftops and throwing grenades is a-ok with the overprotective father. Sadly from here on the movie takes a turn for the worse. Much much worse.

What we the audience loved about Taken was its ruthlessness. Here we got to follow around a man on a mission who tore around Europe destroying anyone and anything that dared get in his way. And, lets be honest here, the vicious nature of the film gave us a thrill, a thrill which has very unfortunately been “taken” (pun intended) from the sequel. In order to maximise Taken 2’s audience producers opted for a 12A rating in place of the uncut originals 18 which was undoubtedly a smart money making move especially when you consider just how many suckers will spring for the uncut DVD version you just know they’re going to release. As a result, however, moviegoers had to sit through a remarkably watered down and dull action movie jam packed with too fast action sequences and incredibly shaky camera work both of which it seems were partially intended to tone down the violence and make the film suitable for twelve year olds but which ultimately made for surprisingly confusing and humdrum fights and car chases. In fact it was so hard for audience members to work out just what was going on that instead of understanding that one of the very bland baddies had just been impaled on a steel rod many were left with the impression that he had died after suffering a single blow to the face. And no, I’m not exaggerating the editing actually was that confusing!

Ever the professional, a now 61 year old Liam Neeson clearly gave the role just as much as he did Oskar Schindler. As such he remains as convincing as ever as the soft spoken but tough as nails ass kicking father willing to do whatever it takes to protect his family, however, no matter how sorry I am to say it even his potential is wasted here. It’s just so disappointing to see a movie like Taken 2 that has so much promise sell out and ultimately sacrifice everything viewers ever loved about the original simply to make more money. Perhaps I’m being overly harsh here. I know you guys, like me, are curious and I guess if you’re taking a trip to the cinema with the sole intention of indulging in two hours worth of mindless escapism while you crunch popcorn and munch gummy bears Taken 2 really isn’t that bad but for the diehards amongst you I say save your pennies and opt to see this one on Bargain Wednesday.

Warning; The door has been left wide open for Taken 3. Yes, really! Irresponsible really considering Neeson may just have to opt for steroids and a thirty year old Maggie Grace will be forced to pump her face full of botox in order to continue playing his virginal daughter who is just dying to get her drivers license!

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower…

Based upon the critically acclaimed book of the same name by author Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Perks) first published in 1999 and released on the big screen here in Ireland today is undoubtedly one of the best teen movies of all time. Yes, really. Foregoing the kind of condescension so typical of the teen genre Perks tells the story of a quiet and somewhat troubled high school freshman called Charlie (played by Logan Lerman) and his yearlong journey to find himself. This journey he completes with the help of a lovable group of outcasts and one particularly caring English teacher (Paul Rudd) who sees something special in Charlie and quickly becomes his mentor…

Although bright, caring and loyal Charlie enters high-school a friendless and shy loner with poor social skills. Naturally, it is not long before we learn that Charlies “difficulties” stem from the fact that he has been carrying some pretty heavy baggage around with him since his seventh birthday when his favourite aunt (played in flashbacks by Melanie Lynsky) died in a car crash – a tragedy which he cannot help but feel partially responsible for. Sadly that is not all that has gone wrong for Charlie and he is still struggling to come to terms with the recent suicide of his best or rather his only friend. What is it they say, when it rains it pours? Just when it seems the kid is destined to live out his remaining 1,385 days of high-school (Yes, he’s started a countdown!) in total anonymity, a fate we know can even be worse than constant ridicule from classmates – at least then you’re on the map – things take a turn at a school sporting event.

Having plucked up the courage to sit beside and introduce himself to an outgoing, funny and gay senior by the name of Patrick (The sensational Ezra Miller who played Tilda Swintons psycho son in We Need To Talk About Kevin) from his school shop class Charlie makes his very first friend. It is through Patrick that he is introduced to Sam (Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame) another senior with a reputation for being somewhat promiscuous – You needn’t have read the book to see where this one is going folks! With this begins the greatest adventure of Charlies life thus far as he is taken under the wing of these seniors and becomes acquainted with the finer points of adolescence such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, cool bands (truly the films soundtrack which features numbers from the likes of Pavement and Cracker is just sublime!) drugs, style and of course romantic and sexual relationships.

While the movie does of course get many things right (hence its opening to rave reviews in America) one of Chbosky and Co.s greatest achievements is the way in which they manage to capture the excitement that goes hand in hand with the wet yourself like fear of being a newcomer to a crew of older, infinitely cooler and seemingly self possessed role models. Starting off as a sort of surrogate brother we see Charlie become a sort of repository for the groups deepest and darkest secrets and eventually a fully fledged and truly loved member of the gang. Watching the groups friendship deepen and strengthen over time Chbosky somehow manages to make us, the viewers, feel as if we too are becoming beloved members of the group. Now, when people say this kind of thing I’m usually the first to dismiss it with a cynical wave of the hand and a “Yeah Yeah” but believe me, you will get sucked in, and you will become invested in these characters and their respective stories no matter how hard you try to resist. Despite drawing attention to all that teenage angst and hardship this is one of those movies that will leave you feeling nostalgic for a time when making mixed tapes (or in my case CD’s) was your sole passion in life and a way to express all the goings on of your hormone-addled brain, a time when friendships meant the world to you and crushes were so intense you felt you would die if your feelings weren’t reciprocated! Certainly this is one of those rare films that could potentially achieve the legendary like status of others such as The Breakfast Club.

Despite being the films biggest star I have to say Emma Watson gave what was perhaps the weakest performance of the entire film. Naturally there are those who feel the actress has truly escaped her Harry Potter past in which she played Hermione Granger but it seems to me that the actress has yet to graduate as it were. Perhaps it’s just that I can’t see the super smart and clean living actress as the promiscuous dater of losers that is Sam or perhaps she was just concentrating too hard on getting that American accent just right but for some reason there was a disconnect. Whatever you do however, do not let that put you off as Logan Lerman gives a stellar performance as the young Charlie and Ezra Miller is a superb and scene stealing tour de force from start to finish!

While there are countless coming-of-age movies out there detailing the harsh realities shy kids and outcasts must face up to during adolescence not many can compare to Perks which can only be described as a heartrending and hauntingly honest production. Undoubtedly this comes as a result of Chboskys getting the oh-so-rare opportunity to direct this, the film version of his novel. As we all know there are countless horror stories out there about how beloved works are destroyed by uncaring and clueless directors and producers whose goal is to make a quick buck but with Chbosky directing this was never going to be an issue. As such his genuine affection for and understanding of the story, its setting and its characters shines through in every single scene. From the very beginning viewers get the sense that this undertaking was a real labour of love for the writer/director. Speaking to reporter Karen Durbin, Chobsky elaborates;

“Charlie was my guardian angel. In my mid twenties I went through a bad break up. It was so painful, I was either going a little crazy or I was going to write something. I’ll never forget it. It was a Saturday morning, and I woke up thinking about this boy and two older friends flying at night through Pittsburgh’s Fort Pitt Tunnel. And I realised that I’d had the title The Perks of Being a Wallflower in my mind for years.”

Charlie, as it turns out soon became the guardian angel of many others. Beginning work on the film Chbosky told his cast and crew “Whatever you’re doing on this movie, you may also be saving a life” and no, he wasn’t exaggerating. Since the novels release over a decade ago the author has received a myriad of letters from readers the world over claiming that it has helped them to make it through the darker times ultimately saving their lives. Is it any wonder then that the director wanted so badly to make the film version of this beloved work a success? It was no longer about him alone, now he had an obligation to his fans and boy did he come through.

Leaving the theatre and stepping back into the light of day I felt both old and young all at once and so will you but there is nothing quite like the feeling you are left with, knowing as you walk away that you have just experienced something good, something raw, something real. Perhaps now Hollywood will finally realise that authors do in fact know a little something about their own work?  One can only hope!

P.S. Now based in Los Angeles with his wife and newborn baby, Chbosky is writing a second book. This one he describes as an emotional horror written in tribute to one of his favourite writers Mr Stephen King. Watch this space folks!

Breast Friends … Why Not Get Your Shop On While Supporting Breast Cancer Research?

As you may or may not know October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I know what you’re thinking, “we’re all too familiar with breast cancer and it’s often tragic consequences” yet the fact remains, women the world over are still, for one reason or another, failing to take those steps toward putting into action early-detection plans which are essential to overcoming this terrible disease.

According to The National Breast Cancer Foundation women need to start creating detection plans which include setting reminders for themselves to administer regular breast checks at home and of course to schedule breast exams and mammograms. While it is true that we can in fact base the regularity with which we choose to schedule these exams on our individual ages and health history’s it would be unwise to place too much stock in either factor. When it comes to our health we must begin to appreciate that no matter how young or vigorous we may seem that none of us are immune.

In addition to taking these steps to help ourselves to prevent/detect early on-set breast cancer it is equally important to help those already afflicted with this life threatening disease. Although contributions may take many forms it is particularly important to donate to various charities and support groups that conduct ongoing research into both the prevention of and treatment of breast cancer. Making it that much easier to part with our hard earned cash are those companies which have pledged to donate a percentage of the purchase price of specific products to Breast Cancer Research in honour of this annual campaign. These companies include, Clinique, Origins, Aveda, Bobbi Brown and the especially generous Estee Lauder which has pledged 100% of all profits from the sale of their Evelyn Lauder Dream Compact to this worthwhile cause!

So why not get it while it’s going guilt free and treat yourself or a loved one to something nice or just get a head start on stocking fillers for Christmas all while raising money for further research into the treatment of this terrible disease and encouraging women everywhere to take greater control of their health? Like I said this is one of those rare win/win cases! Below are just a couple of those limited edition products you can buy in order to support the cause but remember this; it’s not all about the money, sometimes all we need to give to make a difference in this world is a little bit of our time. Earlier today in fact Estee Lauder proved this to be oh-so-true by announcing a pretty fantastic way Facebook users can now make the most of their time online. During the month of October the company will donate $1 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation for every post that is made on their own Facebook timeline. And if that’s not easy enough a way for us all to do a little good I don’t know what is!

Clinique Chubby Sticks are absolute must haves and now with 4euro from each sale going to The Clinical Cancer Research Trust we have one fantastic excuse to splash out on yet another shade, this time in the form of the easy to wear Pink With A Purpose! Purchase at Clinique.com or Brown Thomas Ireland.

Treat yourself to this deluxe Evelyn Lauder Dream Compact and every cent you spend will be donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. So that’s one gorgeous gift for you and one generous donation to charity. Talk about guilt free shopping! Purchase at House Of Fraser (also online) or Brown Thomas Ireland.

Origins Mini Make a Difference Hand Treatment and Peace of Mind Gel complete with key fob are handbag essentials you can get your hands on for a limited time only. They’ll set you back 12euro but 2euro will go to charity so it’s not all bad folks! Purchase online at Origins.co.uk, Debenhams, and Dublin’s own Dundrum Town Centre.

Gaga’s Body Revolution; Resisting or Reinforcing Harmful Beauty Standards?

Lady Gaga’s weight is not exactly something I want to discuss but with all the attention it’s been getting lately or rather the type of attention it has been receiving it has become all but impossible to avoid the matter. In fact it would actually be unwise to ignore it at this stage given that as of yesterday it became a serious and indeed a feminist issue.

It was just last week, after Gaga appeared on stage looking perhaps a little larger than usual, that the press turned into a bunch of Mean Girls reminiscent of Gretchen, Cady and co from the movie of the same name. As per usual, the media took the most unflattering pictures of Lady G (there have been claims that certain pictures were actually further distorted to portray a more exaggerated version of the singers weight gain) and printed them front page alongside cruel, dangerous and highly irresponsible headlines including the following;

 “Porker Face! Has Lady Gaga Put On 2st On The ‘Drunk Diet’?” (The Sun – Who Else?)

“Lady Gaga Looks ‘Gaga-gantuan’ During Amsterdam Concert.” (NY Daily News)

“The Fat Lady Gaga Sings.” (Examiner)

Even the International Business Times felt the need to weigh in (no pun intended – really!) with their own vitriolic headline which read; “Is Lady Gaga ‘Fat’ From All Of That Marijuana Smoking In Amsterdam?”  Really you would think the IBT of all publications would have more important issues to cover. As you can see the F-word reigns supreme here people. Clearly this is no longer about simply selling newspapers. No, this is a cold hard case of bullying and fat shaming. Whenever messages such as these are publicly broadcast they become malignant. Quickly their poison spreads throughout the world affecting, in turn, each and every one of us – even if we don’t necessarily realise it at first! Making this all the more horrifying however is the fact that Gaga has openly spoken about her experience with eating disorders in the past. In February of this year the pop star was quoted saying;

“I used to throw up all the time in high school. So I’m not that confident. I wanted to be a skinny little ballerina but I was a voluptuous little Italian girl whose dad had meatballs on the table every night” She also admitted “Weight is still a struggle, every video I’m in, every magazine cover, they stretch you – they make you perfect. It’s not real life… I’m gonna say this about girls: The dieting wars have got to stop… It’s making girls sick.”

Somehow, despite all this the media still found it appropriate to hit out at the star and mere months after saying she was looking “worryingly frail” too. At one point even Elton John admitted he was worried about the singer and her tiny frame. It seems a woman can never get it right huh?

Not one to take things lying down Gaga hit back at the press yesterday by posting on her website several photographs of herself in her underwear alongside the caption “Bulimia and Anorexia Since I was 15.” And with this she launched her latest project The Body Revolution encouraging people everywhere to “make our flaws famous, and thus redefine the heinous.” Later the singer explained that she was joining the revolution to “Inspire bravery” and to “Breed some m$therf*cking COMPASSION.”

Thus far the world’s reception of this project has been overwhelming. Since the page launched fans all over the world have begun uploading pictures of themselves which display skin conditions, scars, the effects of eating disorders and disease. Accompanying them, are comments from Gaga herself such as “Emily Rose recovering from anorexia. We support your bravery and have compassion for your pain (and huh gUUrl, you don’t need to diet ur FINE AS HELL)” There is also the following “My assistant and best friend Sonja. Stage 2 breast cancer. Just had double partial mastectomy from DD to C. Yesterday was first day of radiation. Looking good b*tch. She is so brave. Her boobs look even better.” Following suit fans are posting similar comments telling one another just how amazing and gorgeous they all look.

Naturally, as with any move Gaga makes, there are the lovers and the loathers. While the majority are celebrating the stars Revolution applauding her for using her influence and celebrity for good and for simply making this conversation happen others remain less than convinced. Anything that encourages body diversity is a good thing, obviously, but some are worried Gaga’s Revolution is inadvertently reinforcing rather than resisting harmful and outdated beauty standards. Although confidant that the singers compassion for her friends and fans is genuine critics are questioning why the singer couldn’t just leave her supportive comments at “She’s so brave” and skip the whole “her boobs look even better part”  I hate to say it but it’s not all that hard to see where these people are coming from. After all, who cares if her boobs look great, the woman is a cancer survivor, isn’t that what’s important? And what if they didn’t actually look any better? And when it comes to Emily Rose if she wasn’t “FINE AS HELL” would she need to diet until she were? Yes, everyone wants to feel pretty, that’s just the nature of the human condition but why, critics are asking, can we not work to shift the conversation away from appearances once and for all?

Certainly, Gaga’s sharing of her story has already inspired many people and will, I’m sure, continue to do so. Only launched yesterday there remains a lot of room for Gaga to do a whole lot of good and truly that is excellent but while we are having these conversations about the resisting of increasingly narrow beauty standards and the temptation to judge others based on their appearance, shape, size or any other purely physical attribute would we not do better to avoid the topic of “looks” entirely? Telling people they are worth more than the sum of their looks while simultaneously ramming down their throats that they are “gorgeous,” “hot,” and “damn fine” kind of defeats the purpose now doesn’t it? Then again, if one influential pop star and her millions of fans can do anything to turn the tide, inspire compassion and actually make the fat-shamers feel the shame for once then more power to them…!

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