No Pain, No Shame

Whitney Thore

Whitney Way Thore is fat. Don’t worry: I’m not fat-shaming her. Thore tells us in her new memoir, I Do it With the Lights On, that fat is her second favorite F word (feminism being the first, of course). Two years ago she was living with her parents making $8.50 an hour as a small-town radio personality. Now she has a book deal and stars in her own reality show on TLC, My Big Fat Fabulous Life, and she got it all for being fat—fat and a really good dancer.

Maybe you remember her “Fat Girl Dancing” video, which went viral in 2014. Thore danced a modified “Talk Dirty to Me” with her childhood friend Todd. Within two weeks the video had over 6 million views and Thore was on a mini press tour: a surprise flash mob on the Steve Harvey Show—“‘You’ve got good energy. Real good energy”—and appearances on the Today Show, Huffington Post Live, Inside Edition, CNN Headline News, and Right This Minute.

Her Own Woman

Germaine de Staël

According to Biancamaria Fontana, professor of the history of political ideas at University of Lausanne, most of the histories of the French Revolution fail the Bechdel test when discussing Germaine de Staël (1766-1817), the daughter of Jacques Necker. He was one of a series of France’s financial controllers who tried to right the severely listing ship of the state but could not convince the royals, the nobles, or the clergy to pay any taxes.

Not that Fontana ever mentions the Bechdel test, but she does write that Staël, novelist, literary critic, and political theorist, is usually mentioned either for her allegedly scandalous behavior or in connection with the famous men in her life—Necker, Louis de Narbonne, and Benjamin Constant, among others.