Dieting Sunday, Sep 21 2008 

Article in Question

The article says 26% of women are on a diet, which is the lowest rate in two decades.

Once you know where to start looking for it, you see this subtle thing that happens in the media. The article could have easily taken a “people are eating healthier and not focusing on their weight” tone.
“That view is echoed by Kelly D. Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, who says that diets are “notoriously ineffective,” and posits that many overweight people may have simply given up.

Marge McMillan, 60, is one who says she’s given up on diets, if not on slimming down. A veterinarian who lives in Medford, McMillan tried the low-carb Atkins diet and Weight Watchers but threw in the towel on both. Now, she’s just trying to eat healthily. “Diets don’t work,” she said. “You lose the weight but regain more.”

So, in these two paragraphs, we have the idea that overweight people have to give up. Give up on what? On a failing idea? On the idea that we should pursue something that only 3% of people succeed on? The woman in the second paragraph certainly doesnt seem that she has “given up” on anything. It actually seems that she has a much more healthy attitude on eating and weight. But, the “medical establishment” thinks she has given up.

“Still, the emphasis on healthy eating may also be motivating many people to stop dieting, some say. “The way health is being approached today is to eat healthier foods, not to eat less,” says Balzer. Indeed, foods once shunned as fattening – nuts, olive oil, avocados – have been reborn as elixirs, valued for their anti-inflammatory or nutrient-rich qualities. Even chocolate, once a dietary pariah, now enjoys a reputation as a flavonoid-rich disease-buster.”

This paragraph is ambiguous. First, it still holds the idea that “dieting” should be a normal way of eating for people. It also has the idea that there are “fattening” foods, even if they are “healthy.”

Lastly, the 2nd page talks about how there hasnt been a new “diet fad” to energize tired dieters back into their dieting ways. Even after parroting the “calories in calories out” and “eat healthier” ideas, they still think there is this “magic pill” that will make fat people skinny. Except for major surgery (hey, I had my stomach cut out for the chance to be smaller), there is no way to make fat people thin.

(The most ambitious study that I had showed that average weight loss after 3 years was 6.6 pounds. Yeah, for someone “obese” thats not going to change anything.)


Sex Positive Ideals Friday, Sep 19 2008 

In class, we were discussing talking to parents/kids about sex, and a student said something along the lines of “I hope my children never talk to me about sex.”

This made me sad. I would love to live in a world in which children felt comfortable talking to their parents about sex, but more importantly, that their parents felt comfortable sharing suitable information to their children. Just like many parents are not comfortable with talking with their children about marijuana (because they did it when they were young), most parents dont talk to their kids about sex.

And, the *way* that we talk about sex has to change as well. And, yeah, im doing research on condom use, so I am kinda perpetuating the myth that “sex education is about safer sex.” But its not just that, we need to empower people to make their own sexual decisions, and how to negotiate their romantic relationships (and their non romantic relationships as well), how to communicate with others, and how to get the sexual pleasure that they deserve.

(Full disclosure, I dont talk to my mom about sex. 🙂 I could once I am married, but she doesnt really want to know anything until that point.)

Sex and Dating Wednesday, Sep 10 2008 

No, not intercourse, but Sex. Biological sex. Or, as most people tend to think, “penis or vagina.”

In the What Intersex does to the Gay Marriage Debate, we learned the intricacies of making a dichotomous male/female distinction. A penis, or lack of, does not necessarily indicate male or not male status, and as there isnt a good reliable measure of “male or female,” the answer remains ambiguous for some people.

In Where the Bois Are, one lesbian remarks “If only you didn’t have a penis.” Which is what it comes down to with sexual orientation, the orientation of your partner’s genitals. Men are worried that the cute girl they are hitting on has a dick under her skirt, and women worry (slightly less) that the penis attached to their partner isnt enough for them (or there at all).

But, we dont look at genitals when choosing our dating partners. And, the vast majority say that they wouldnt leave their partner if their penis was cut off in an accident. Yet, apparently “having” that penis, for heterosexuals, is a big part of what determines acceptable dating abilities.

So, if you sleep with a man who has a vagina? Or a woman who has a penis? Who the hell cares? Apparently many people do, on most places on the sexual orientation spectrum.

(Which is another rant: defining sexual orientation in a world without dichotomous genders/sexes.)

"Asking for it" Monday, Sep 8 2008 

Just go ahead and assume there is profanity on every link here 🙂

Strongly worded rant about women “asking for it” (Warning: Very strong language)

I also read Rape Prevention Myths. and, the more strongly worded Shakesville Post

These resonate with me, for several reasons. I am a feminist; I think men and women are equal. I also think that while women have made several strives towards equality, the “movement” towards equality cannot reach its goal without the male side making changes. I think changing the rape myths is a HUGE part of how things will change.

We teach women to be scared for their safety, to watch their backs walking to their car, to not get drunk if they have to go home alone. Women should fear strange men, but the men in our lives we can trust. (Never mind that the VAST majority of rapes occur with men the women are intimately involved with, only a very small percentage are strangers).

But, the media distrusts statistics, and instead focuses on sensationalism. Women need to fear rape from the big black man on the corner, when it is more likely (statistically) that her meek boyfriend will be the one forcing her into sex.

What we really need to be doing is teaching women (and men) that women (and men) are people, individualistic, and worthy of the utmost respect. That sex is wonderful and meant to be joyful and fun and exciting, and that rape is a form of violence that is meant to show that women are still property and objects in our society. The idea that rape prevention is a women’s only issue is absurd and almost damaging.

Empowerment, and not fear.

Passing Wednesday, Sep 3 2008 

So, I apologize in advance, dear reader, as i will be talking about fat quite a bit. I also link to Wikipedia, even though it has issues, I think it is a good way to get an overview of a subject.

During the readings for today, it talks about images of women, and “passing.” Passing as a straight person, or as an American, or how to synthesize and integrate different parts of one’s identity.

As a fat person, I didn’t “pass.” Sure, I could “manage my stigma” (how I hate that phrase), but, really, who was I kidding? I was fat, everyone could see it, just as if I were black or in a wheelchair. But, while most people in this current age wouldnt make fun of someone for being black, somehow it was perfectly acceptable for people to point at me and laugh for being fat.

Now that I’m smaller, I am starting to “pass” more. and its an interesting experience. I can both see exactly how horribly I was treated before because now I am not treated in the same ways. No one looks at me in disgust when I get on the bus and I am looking for a place to sit. The other day? I sat down next to someone, and they didn’t try to squeeze themselves against the window so they wouldn’t have to touch me! Amazing!

I watched a racist video this morning. Link to Sociological Images. This video is part of the “Censored Eleven” in that Warner brothers has promised to never show or release these cartoons in the US because of the racist ideas protrayed.

The video, watched today, can be seen as clearly racist. So many different stereotypes, one would Never see anything like this being currently made. But, yet, we can still make fun of fat people. Search youtube for “fat” and you get many video blogs of people saying horrible things about fat people, and current movies (Wall-E, which I have not seen) that portray fat people as lazy people that eat a lot. And this is still acceptable.

(Side note: My aunt has a copy of Song of the South, which my family watched last winter vacation. My family did not see what was racist about the film. Not the Br’er rabit stories, but the story about the boy and the “plantation,” they saw nothing wrong with it. So far still to go.)

Size Acceptance Tuesday, Sep 2 2008 

I found a new blog! Click on the link to the side.

I found it from another size acceptance blog, and it had a post that spoke to me. Does the Fat Acceptance community want everyone to be attracted to fat people?

Short answer: No.

Long answer (that deviates from theirs): Patriarchy has created a situation in which women’s bodies are seen as physical objects. Women must conform to a very narrow set of societal expectations in order to be seen by the majority as “pretty.” In my opinion, the size acceptance community needs to not focus on fat as an object of attractiveness, but to fight the opinion that one can find another attractive based solely on their physical appearance.

Ive found little tiny people attractive, i have found very large people attractive. I can find some people physically attractive, until they open their mouth and dumbness comes tumbling out. Im sorry, I am not going to bed with someone who is not smart.

I find people attractive based on their personalities. Yes, I will admit, initial physical attractiveness has something to do with it, but I can also see how what is “stereotypically” attractive is dictated by society and the media, and not by actual people and their interpersonal lives.

But, the media rant will be saved for another day.