THIS PETITE, NOT PUSSYFOOTING AROUND! (My response to New York Time’s and Vanity Fair’s Freelance Writer, Maria Ricapito):
It appears to me that “ignorance” remains bliss…to some people. Freelance writer, Maria Ricapito, wrote and published an article entitled, “Tiny but Tough: The Newly Empowered Petites” in the Sunday New York Times, this past week. I am a bit agitated over her lazy and gratuitous assessment, and her lack of better descriptive words towards petite actresses in the industry – allow me to quote:
“…TINY women are shattering stereotypes and appearing as aggressive characters spoiling for a fight…it’s an easy visual joke, albeit a cartoonish one: THE LITTLE GIRL may look like a pussycat, but just wait until she slugs the evil goon – blammo!”
Apparently, Miss Ricapito must live in a “cartoonish” sort of world since over 70% of the women in America are 5’5” and under. Are we to believe that each time she sees a petite woman, actress or not, she sees them as, perhaps, the petite “Penelope Pussycat (Pepé Le Pew’s love interest)” or maybe even “Marge Simpson” (is she even petite?)? It sounds as ridiculous as her article, with all due respect.
What exactly is Ricapito’s point, or what is it that she’s really trying to convey to the reader by depicting 5’2”, petite actress, Gabrielle Anwar’s character (from USA Networks show, “Burn Notice”) as a, “former bomber…who wears “miniskirts”… while she picks locks, shoots guns and disables cars with plastic explosives?”
What’s the damn point? She wrote an article about “petite” actresses seeing some “serious action of late” – what does this have to do with “miniskirts?”
“Hollywood, too, has given us gun-toting heroines who look like they shop at Gap Kids in their time off.”
Although the sentence written right after this one lists the movie “Kick-Ass,” starring 13-year-old, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ricapito can’t possibly consider Moretz a “petite” since, technically, she hasn’t finished growing yet…or, can she? Again, this is just more of the same – uneducated and insensitive conjecture towards the petite population, whether intentional or not.
In Ricapito’s defense (and in my, “feel-sorry-for-her” assumption mode), she appears to really have no clue as to how her gauche-gaffes grind against the petite-grade. For example, although she’s correct in generalizing the “violent femme” character as an “enduring male fantasy,” and she’s also correct in referencing the “Lolita” type character as a symbol of “Grrrl power,” she clearly has no idea how insulting it is to reference a “petite” as a “cute-as-a-button, PowerPuff Girl” – especially when an actress is an actress, and she’s just wanting to be taken seriously.
Perhaps Ricapito’s idioms are what she considers just colloquial speech? Well, I might be more inclined to believe this, but even after her email interview with Kim Williams Dahlman… and, even after Williams explained to Ricapito (in an e-mail interview) that the inferences drawn by others often depict petite women as, “weak, fragile, delicate and even childlike,” Ricapito continued her repartee, saying…and I quote:
“It’s anybody’s guess why these anti-archetypes [petite actresses] are striking a chord. Perhaps American [sic] feel powerless in an era of gushing oil, ongoing wars and a slippery economy, and want to believe that the little people can vanquish the big bad guys. If so, it might be a good sign for the small-stature [sic] Elena Kagan, who is, after all, said to wield a mean gavel.”
Okay, wait…WHAT!? What a paragraph!! Ricapito goes from 0-60, covering a whole host of topics in “a single bound” (eh, hem…speaking of super heroes!). How did she go from, suddenly, being an expert on who the “archetype” is for film Femme Fatales and heroines, to…the economy and American’s “feeling powerless,”…to the petite, evidently “gavel-wielding,” Solicitor General and Supreme Court Nominee (by her best-friend, “Barack Obama,”…God help us!) of the United States – Elena Kagan?
WHAT I WOULD SAY TO THE “PETITE” BASHER
Miss Ricapito: Your demeaning article, and sudden revelation (and sorry…but, oh soignorant interpretations) of the hardworking “petite actress” working in today’s action film industry, is pointless, and full of ineffectual verbiage. As a writer, I try to gather as many facts and truths (from both sides of the fence, regardless of which side I’m going to jump on) before presenting my idea or article for the public to read (mainly because I want to edify them about the topic I’m writing), which, once presented, I passionately back up every word; here, I see you have not.
Your article, clearly, demonstrated your lack of knowledge about the 70% of women in America (who are petite). Your article told me that you either have really bad “one-liners,” or, you’ve just awakened from a really long coma and have just NOW realized there are, indeed, “petite actresses” working in the entertainment industry (like, hello…where ya been?). Where exactly were you trying to go with this piece? It feels all over the place, with really no edification purpose…or point.
Why are your eyes, just NOW, opening to the fact that we do have, strong, amazing, petite, “heroine-femme-type” talented actresses out there? (Could it possibly be because, from a very young age women are “conditioned” to view “beauty… strength… heroism,” as, “long…gawky…amazons?” See my point?).
Why didn’t you throw some contrast in your article with amazing works performed by petite actresses, like, say…the popular-petite, 5’3″ Demi Moore, in the 1997 movie, “G.I. Jane,” or the gorgeously-petite, dynamic duo of 5’1.5” Selma Hayek and 5’3” Penelope Cruz, in the western, gun-slinging movie, “Bandidas?”
Or, how about “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” one of the top grossing action-packed, female-fighting films (grossing over $128 Million and winning over 40 awards) with Michelle Yeoh (5’3.5”) who plays a petite, sword-swinging, female warrior? Now that’s something to talk about! Obviously, these are only a few, strong performing petites, in the industry today; clearly, we can go back even further in time…if you need?
However, for some reason, given you are a writer for Vanity Fair, New York Times, as well as other amazing publications, I get the crazy-feeling that you understood the meanings of your word choices, and chose them carefully, hmm? How wonderful would it be though, if a writer, such as yourself (are you petite?), could actually publish a piece about the truth of the “majority”(petites), about the fight they’re up against in the fashion and modeling industry (just imagine), and about the TRUE heroism that comes from the 5’5” and under, working-woman’s perspective (after having to be in an Amazon realm)! Now that’s a story…please write it!
Proudly Written By: Tana Corporon
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