The 2016 Rio Games are the first Summer Olympics since the Marvel Cinematic Universe took over the world: The Avengers was still in theaters during the London Olympics, and since then, we’ve had seven more movies and nine seasons of TV. The MCU has been joined by multiple DC universes, plus various Spider-men, X-Men, Deadpools, and yet another Fantastic Four. As never before, the superhero has been firmly lodged in our collective consciousness.
The Olympics offer a real-world counterpart to superheroes. Without radioactive spiders or super-soldier serums, Olympic athletes demonstrate impossible powers every four years. Each time a record is broken, the athlete exceeds the previous limit on human capabilities.
Neither happens in a vacuum—both superheroes and athletes complete narratives far greater than a list of records and abilities. They stand astride the existing fissures in society, especially regarding gender, which is particularly tied to the expectations placed on bodies. In many ways, they show us how far we have come and our hopes for the future, but of course, they reveal how far we still have to go.
Let’s face it: finding media of any sort that’s ready to delve into fat acceptance is few, far, and in between, especially when it comes to heavier girls and women. As we here at LGG&F are all about body positivity no matter one’s size or looks, I feel it’s important to share when we come across pieces of media that may focus on addressing on some of these issues. Or, if not addressing these issues head on, at least acknowledging that they do exist and that these standards we force on people in the name of beauty are ultimately harmful. Additionally, it’s good to point out that while body acceptance might be a topic or a theme in said media, that it may not necessarily be tackled in the best way. This is the case with the manga Pochamani.
While we’ve already looked at this cute shoujo series once before, I wanted to look at it a bit more in-depth concerning the issues it covers now that I’ve read it for myself. And while I still had my disappointments, I discovered that there was more beneath the surface than I was originally expecting.
Fandom. If you’ve spent any decent amount of time on the web outside of Facebook, chances are you have run into at least some aspect of this. Fanart, fanfiction, costumes, blogs, roleplaying; the list is literally endless. And why not? Getting inspired by a work is one thing, but being able to share it with other people is the delicious topping of your choice on the proverbial sundae. It’s a great place to meet friends, improve as an artist, and just in general enjoy yourself. As you can probably tell, I could go on and on at lengths about the benefits of fandom in general, but this isn’t about that. No, sir. Welcome to the “dark side” of fandom.