N Things Make a Post

Thanks to This Is Thin Privilege for the shout-out.

Image from the Rudd Center Image Gallery

Image from the Rudd Center Image Gallery.
Not the blogger.

Jeanette took on the “Obese women get only an hour of exercise a year” thing.

…as did This is Thin Privilege.

…as did Marilyn Wann and many commenters on Facebook (signin needed).

On a personal note, my allergies are bothering me much less since Sunday.  Why? I spent over 3 hours Saturday doing “soak, rinse, repeat until the water is clear” on the electrostatic air filters for our furnace. Then waited about 4 hours for them to dry. Fortunately we replaced the windows in a few years back to the inside temp only went down about 10 degrees (and I set the heat UP about 5 degrees before I turned off the furnace to take out the filters).

Also on a personal note, I’m back into the swing of getting allergy shots once a week after an attack of life around November.

#fatmicroaggressions

[Content warning: criticism of fat shaming]

Melissa McEwan at Shakesville started the #fatmicroaggressions tag on Twitter.   (If you’re not familiar, “microaggression” is the concept that specific interactions between those of different races, cultures, or genders can be interpreted as small acts of mostly non-physical aggression; the term was coined byChester M. Pierce in 1970.  I am most familiar with microaggressions via http://www.microaggressions.com/.)

Melissa started with the old chestnut we’ve all probably heard too many times:

"You have such a pretty face."

“You have such a pretty face.”

Others included one I hope to never hear again while sick:

"There's nothing wrong with you that losing x pounds wouldn't solve."

“There’s nothing wrong with you that losing x pounds wouldn’t solve.”

…and one that seems to be declining as my age advances:

"Are you sure you should be eating that?"

“Are you sure you should be eating that?”

Others came fast & furious.

#fatmicroagressions "urrrgh, I feel fat" (said with fear/disgust/shame)

“urrrgh, I feel fat” (said with fear/disgust/shame)

"How do you wipe??"

“How do you wipe??”

Obviously reading this can be upsetting, in part because it reminds of when we’ve had these thrown at us.  But there’s camaraderie in sharing.  Some are common enough to be an in-joke.

"Have you tried dieting?"

“Have you tried dieting?”

Other things fit into less-common portions of the fat experience. Most fat women, for example, wear US women’s size 24 or below…but millions do not.

"We carry sizes to fit every body!" *stops at size 24*

“We carry sizes to fit every body!” *stops at size 24*

And most people probably do not think about who attends conferences on public health in regards to obesity, or why weight bias scholars are often thin and thus don’t have to face fat bias on their own.

No fat people speaking at the so-called "obesity" conference.

No fat people speaking at the so-called “obesity” conference.

Harassing women is depressingly common. Some people might think fat women get to avoid it. They’d be wrong.

Man at a club: "Hey baby, c'mon dance with me." Me: "No thanks." Him: "Whatever. Fat bitch. You're ugly anyway."

Man at a club: “Hey baby, c’mon dance with me.” Me: “No thanks.” Him: “Whatever. Fat bitch. You’re ugly anyway.”

Here the impression is that the fat hate might have been avoided if the writer had complied with his ask. However, when unhappy, he used “fat” as a go-to insult — along with “bitch” and “ugly”. It says something about what our culture does and doesn’t value.

"No one would rape someone as fat as you."

“No one would rape someone as fat as you.”

And here the anger is even uglier.  It asserts the myth that rape is about a man’s uncontrollable desire for an attractive woman.  It asserts that being “rapeable” is a standard to aspire to.  And it is a threat.  The person who states “No one would rape someone as fat as you” claims to know what rapists would do.  By doing this, that person claims to be a rapist.   Implied is also that “no one would believe you so I can do as I please”.  As Amadi notes, this also intersects with the concepts of rape culture and intersectionality. Fat does not exist in a vacuum. 

This is getting depressing, and I’ve barely skimmed the surface.  Feel free to check out the convo or post your own here.

Other posts:

Things I’m reading

Kath as a post at Fat Heffalump on the feedback from her recent interview by Jasmin Lill on news.com.au, Brisbane blogger speaks out against online bullies. Go Kath!

Closet Puritan has a thoughtful response to some of the conflation between “Fat people are more common in communities with a Walmart” and “Eating more processed food from Walmart makes people fat”.

This Adipose Rex has some musings on Christianity and the body:

This Advent I am thinking about how if my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, then this flesh itself is sacred — this same substance worn by the God of the universe, and shaped into God’s image. If I really believe in the words I recite every week, the resurrection of the body, then this is not some temporary meat-costume I will abandon so my soul can flit off to an immaterial heaven, but the too too solid flesh that will dance in the hereafter.

This reminds me of The Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise and Other Incendiary Acts by Hanne Blank, which I’ve been reading. From the introduction:

Exercise—by which I mean regular physical movement that puts your body through its paces—is crucially important because it is something that makes it possible for you and your body to coexist in better and more integrated ways. It builds a bridge across the mind-body split. [...E]xercise gives your body to you. [...] Most of all, it teaches you that your body is not just a sort of jar made out of meat that you lug around because it’s what you keep your brain in, but an equal and in fact quite opinionated partner in the joint production that is you.

And over on the HAES blog, there’s an interesting discussion on healthism & privilege.

Music Monday: I Made My Bed & I Sleep Like A Baby

This song’s been around for quite a while now, but given the ongoing death threats going around the net it seems a bit timely.

And how in the world
Can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they’d write me a letter
Saying that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over.

Yes, that verse was written in response to a death threat.

(I also just love the line “I made my bed & I sleep like a baby.”)

“Not Ready To Make Nice” was written by Natalie MainesMartie MaguireEmily Robison and Dan Wilson.

Opting Out Of The Illusion Of Immortality

Deb Burgard has a terrific post on the latest “being fat makes you die, damnit” study

Masters’ central argument seems to be that even though the repeated findings for decades of rigorous research (reviewed by Flegal, 2013) has found that BMI and mortality are only weakly correlated, and that higher BMI may actually correlate with longevity in old age, this set of findings must be wrong, because 1) fat elderly people are more likely to be unable to participate in the surveys due to being “institutionalized” more than thin elderly people (no citation), and 2) there are apparently going to be major differences in longevity between people who were fat in their 60′s in 1995 and people who will be fat in their 60′s in 2030 because of the latter group’s “longer exposure to the obesogenic environment.” I guess that is an interesting thought experiment, but if you look at current trends it would seem that fat people are more likely to be healthier in the future if we continue to improve access to healthcare and continue the progress in managing hypertension and diabetes.

Catastrophizing isn’t exactly new in writing about fat, but it does get attention, if only because it gives the fear-of-fat industry something new to write about. Deb responds to this in an inspiring way:

My body […] is not a cautionary tale, a ticking timebomb, or a battleground for corporate adversaries trying to make money on marketing to fat people (weight cycling industry! workplace wellness programs! Big Pharma!) or trying to save money by hoping fat people die  (health insurers! HMOs! Cost-of-obesity policy wonks!).

My death will not be a point for one side or the other.  I am opting out of the illusion of immortality[…]. I am going to live as well and as long as I can, and then I have to get off the bus. It is not different for any of us, and the best use of my time is to make this world a place that gives every one of us the maximum chance at happiness and well-being.

I’ve buried both of my parents. At the risk of sounding trite, it brought home the very real fact that people don’t live forever. Turning that into marketing just feels wrong.

Rape of Women (not Men) in fiction, Kickstarter, and A Kitten

Discussing rape in fiction in her brilliant essay titled “The Rape of James Bond”, Sophia McDougall asks writers to ask themselves:

“Would I ever write a story in which the male hero is raped as part of his origin story, or as the nadir he had to fight back from, or to inspire someone else to take revenge?”

And if you would, yes, I think perhaps you should go ahead and do it. If done very well, and respectfully, it could even help to destigmatise the experience of male survivors. It could help to diminish that sense that rape somehow defines female experience.

And if you would not, ask yourself why not. And if there’s any part of you that answers, that you wouldn’t find a male survivor of rape heroic, that it’s too humiliating to even think about – then, for everyone’s sakes, until you can honestly find a different answer within yourself, you need to not be writing about rape at all.

(links added)

On a different note, people are talking about Kickstarter a lot.  Indie musician Marian Call, who organizes some of the most organized shows I’ve helped with,  organized a very successful Kickstarter for her first-ever tour of Europe.  And did the tour, and has released the live album that the Kickstarter promised.  Oh…and blogged about it.

A lot of it comes down to making sure you will have supporters, and not expecting them to sent by central casting.  Pre-Kickstarter, Marian had done other fundraisers, both quiet ones and auctions. She knew who would want to contribute and what they’d want.  Marian also has 3 bullet points that are variations on “know your audience”, “respect them too” and “like your audience”. But she also points out the financial side:

[Once] you deduct 10% for Kickstarter/Amazon and then 15% for taxes, and then you really add up the cost of fulfillment, you might be earning only $2-3 at your reward level that seems to profitable. [On the NUMBER SMASH page of my public budget] I calculated what each reward level would cost me, and then I wondered how many people would go for higher-return vs. lower-return rewards. What would people buy the most of?  If everyone went for necklaces & USB drives, could I still actually afford to do my trip?  I worked through a couple different scenarios to get a good estimate of what rewards would cost me — and how much I would need to ask for to wind up with $7,000 to make it to Europe & back (the answer is about $11,000, so $4000 would go into fees & fulfillment).

And:

Does anyone want you to make the thing you want to make? Are people clamoring for it? Because — this is an important distinction — there is art you make because other people want you to make it, and there is art you make because you must make it. [....Y]ou only want to crowdfund something people want and need and get super excited about.  [If they don't]  I’m not saying don’t make it. I’m saying fund that thing in another way.

Not everything has an audience.  Or has found their audience, at least.   If you’re interested in Kickstarter, either as a funder or a fundraiser, you may find Marian’s writeup useful. (Also longish and conversational.)

And here’s a video of a kitten playing with a Roomba.  Happy Friday!

Things to Read

If you can (not allergic to eggs etc) get your flu shot. Yes, really.

The Kindle edition of A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband “Master” by Rachel Held Evans is $1.99 right now. I enjoyed it, and not just for the debunking of the “Wives are required by God to appear pretty/sexy” meme.  (Rachel is also the author of “How to win a culture war and lose a generation“, “15 Reasons I Left Church“, and “15 Reasons I Returned to The Church“.)

Guns do kill people (at least in the US) in one graph.

How the late Jack Klugman helped people get needed medical care.

The Fat Nutritionist post on “Stuff people assume I believe vs. stuff I actually believe” is cool, but it’s sad that it’s needed.  (See also comments on how if I keep exercising I’ll lose weight.  No, not necessarily, and that’s not the point anyway.)

And check out Barry Deutsch‘s take on “Reality Television“.

Things to Read

Free speech means that yes, you get to say anything you want (with some legal limits regarding libel and slander laws, advocating harm of another person or threatening someone with death or bodily harm, blackmail, all that), but free speech also means that other people get to say what they want, too, whether you like it or not.

Free speech does not mean the freedom to not be called an asshole.

Free speech also does not mean  you get off scott-free for saying legally actionable things about or to other people.

Threatening people is not protected under free speech.  Just in case you were getting any ideas.

Polimicks

I felt that people would look at me and assume I was diseased, and shudder and move away. And even though I was doing something ostensibly good for my health, this understanding and awareness that people find me gross did not make it easier or more rewarding to care for my health.

The Fat Nutritionist

FYI: Things to read & do

One of video links going around Facebook of Jennifer Livingston linked to The Fat Nutritionist site for more information on fat acceptance. Michelle is handling the sudden influx with her usual grace, but if you want to help her cope with the many comments (or, y’know, just have some busy threads to watch) you might want to head over. :)

Charlotte Cooper has a thoughtful post about the common experience of being criticized when being fat out-of-doors.

LoveLiveGrow has a nice FA 101 post. (I ran across it when I was looking to see if Stef still had the alt.support.big-folks FAQs online in one of my “yes I have proof fat acceptance predates the web” moments. ;)

Oh! In non-FA, the ebook of Feed  (Kindle Edition) is $1.99 for the month of October.  Feed is by Mira Grant aka Seanan McGuire and it’s the best political zombie thriller about bloggers I’ve read.  And I don’t even like zombies all that much! :)

QOTD: Health

The debate about what exactly health means goes back to ancient Greece. Does health just mean living a long time? Does it mean feeling strong? Are athletes the epitomy of health? In fact, athletes suffer more injuries and illnesses than the rest of the population because they push themselves so hard. So who represents health? What about spiritual health? Ethical health? It’s amazing how much we project onto body type these days, through our grossly oversimplified idea of health.

Ben Spatz

Go Away Stalkers

Online harassers are being discussed again (or maybe it never stopped).

I don’t have a solution.

I do have a rockin’ dance track for it, though.

To quote the artist:

“Go Away God Boy” was written in roughly three hours, after a telephone call with my friend the poet Mia Nutick, also known as the Wicked Fairy Apologist.  Mia had had the misfortune to attract an online stalker on her BLOG.  While not uncommon for most of us, her situation had yet another layer of weirdness to it:  this particular stalker was convinced — and wanted Mia to be convinced, as well — that he was Jesus Christ.  The real thing.  Not just a zealous person wishing to convert others to Christianity.  No, no; he went way beyond that.  He was also apparently pretty rude, as the only reason Mia had ever acknowledged his presence, and thereby attracted his attention, was in defending her friends from his unprompted criticism.  In the course of our phone call, Mia related the short version of the sordid tale to me.  To conclude, she said, “I think that the issue is somewhat resolved now, but I’m still asking all of my friends to send as much ‘Go away God Boy’ energy in his direction as they can!”

Lyrics, downloads, and more are here.

Things to Read

As others have noted, Paul Campos’ piece on how the US “Let’s Move” campaign aids and abets bullying is worth reading.  Besides noting that advocating for “child obesity to be eliminated” paints a “pick on me” sign on anyone who isn’t model-thin, Campos also cites studies that have tried healthy interventions with children in the past.  Result?  The kids got healthier.  They didn’t get thinner.

Consider the first lady’s major policy goals: She wants children to eat a healthy balance of nutritious food, both in their homes and at school, and she advocates various reforms that will make it easier for kids to be physically active. These are laudable goals in themselves, but there is no evidence that achieving them would result in a thinner population. Indeed ambitious, resource-intensive versions of Mrs. Obama’s initiatives have been implemented on a smaller scale, for example by the Johns Hopkins University Pathways program, which attempted to improve the diets and increase the activity levels of Native American children in three states, while educating their families about health and nutrition. The program had some success in all these areas, but it produced no weight loss among the children as a group. The same basic results, improved health habits but no weight loss, were obtained in the Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Health, a similar program involving thousands of ethnically diverse children in four states. Pursuing comparable initiatives at a national level might be worthwhile—these programs did, after all, result in improved health habits among the children who participated—but there is no reason to think the kinds of reforms Mrs. Obama is advocating will make American children thinner. The perverse result could be that an initiative that might have been judged a success had its primary focus been on producing healthier children will instead end up being used as another example of a failed Big Government program, simply because it did not produce thinner ones.

[Links from the original; emphasis added]

Campos also points out that dieting is often linked to long-term weight gain.

…and on a less serious note, Seanan McGuire wrote a brief description of sci-fi conventions and 10 tips on how to cope with one.  Whether you’ve been to a con or not, it’ll likely make you smile.

QOTD: Why Stigmatize Fat Kids?

From Pattie Thomas’ post at Psychology Today in response to a “Cease to be obese crusade” billboard on how kids should exercise:

Why do you have to promote weight loss in order to promote exercise? If you really believe in the calorie in/calorie burned model, promoting exercise and healthy eating for every one would automatically solve the “obesity” problem, would it not? Is it necessary to promote hatred of a fat  body in order to get someone to lose weight? Is it not important to promote play, movement, and sportsmanship among all all kids? Why single out obese kids?

I think the most telling thing about those who are promoting the “healthy children” initiatives that this billboard represents is that the promoters do not trust the calories in/calories burned model.

Pattie Thomas also goes on to note that if it’s really about health, good nutrition and exercise should be the point.   Apparently it’s not.

Ban Fat Marriage?

Yes, I know that Dan Savage’s screed on banning fat marriage is trying to illustrate the point that gay marriage bans are ludicrous.   Fellow Stranger writer Lindy West has already responded with a solid “why fat hate doesn’t work” aimed at those who don’t want to get it, and I don’t disagree with it.

However.

I do think Dan seriously missed the boat bringing up the silly “fat is contagious” thing.  It totally weakens his argument!  No, the better argument is this:

  1. Fat is frequently inherited, even among children who are raised by thin adoptive parents or twins raised separately.
  2. As anti-gay legislatures are constantly reminding us, only married heterosexual people have children.
  3. Therefore, to prevent fat people from passing on their fatness to children, we should not allow fat people to marry.

See?  Much more logical!

See also:  Parents-to-be shouldn’t diet.

PS: Brian at Red No 3 has a good post on this as well.

Things to Read

This is kind of a mishmash ;)

If you’ve seen comments about “dickwolves” and PAX and wondered what it was about, JetWolf has a nice summary.

Author Seanan McGuire addressed why fixing the US healthcare system is so terribly, terribly important this week.  Seanan has discussed why she needs health insurance here and here.

Seanan’s new CD, Wicked Girls, is available for ordering at CDBaby.

Alternet has a well-done piece by Judith Matz on “Why dieting makes you fatter”.  It references Linda Bacon’s Health At Every Size study, Traci Mann’s survey of diet studies, and other research.   If you’ve been into fat acceptance a while it’s mostly things you know, but it’s good to see getting wider play.  It might also be a useful “FA 101″ piece.

A 3-part Q&A with Linda Bacon is over at PyschCentral, too.

Ragen at Dances With Fat has a great post on respecting others’ choices while discussing Fat Acceptance and HAES.

Anything else?

On Decoupling Exercise and Weight Loss

From obesity researcher Travis Saunders comes this excellent post on how Canadian public health efforts to increase activity work against their own aims by tying exercise with weight loss:

[T]he average weight loss in response to a moderate increase in physical activity levels is very modest, and it’s likely that many people would see no weight reduction of any kind.   Even if it’s in the range of 5% of body weight (which is unlikely over the long-term), it’s probably substantially less than most people are hoping for. In which case the individuals who are only exercising for the sake of losing weight are going to get discouraged pretty quickly [...]

Further, this overwhelming focus on the relationship between inactivity and obesity may lead some lean individuals to conclude that they have no reason to be physically active since their body weight is already in a normal range. [...]

[A] single session of aerobic exercise results in measurable improvements triglyceride levels, HDL (good) cholesterol, and insulin sensitivity, even though it has no real impact on adiposity.   Further, it has been noted that mortality levels are lower among obese but fit individuals, as compared to lean but unfit individuals, suggesting that we really do need to be promoting physical activity as a healthy behaviour for everyone, not just those who are overweight or obese.

Travis writes at the Obesity Panacea blog.  Obesity Panacea focuses on the science (or lack thereof) behind popular weight loss products and discussions of the latest news and research regarding obesity, nutrition and physical activity.   It isn’t an explicitly size-acceptance space.

[Bolding and links within the quote are from the original.]

Microagressions

Microagressions is a site about venting those little racist/sexist/classist dings that hit throughout the day.  Some examples:

“Excuse me, do you speak English?”  Man at the bus stop.  I am an Asian American woman.  I was reading Jane Austen.  In English.


“Wow, from talking to you on the phone, I’d never know that you were a fat girl. You don’t sound fat at all.”  My friend’s grandmother, upon our first meeting.


Woman in store:: You’re so skinny, you must be anorexic.
Me:: No, not anorexia – Grave’s disease.


My friend tells me that he doesn’t think women should be engineers because when women join a traditionally male profession, average salaries go down whereas when men join a traditionally female profession, salaries go up.  We are both majoring in engineering, and I am a woman.

If you want to vent, it’s a good place.  If you want to get a better understanding of some of the fail out there?  Also a good place.