Fierce, Freethinking Fatty Feminists

Fierce, Freethinking Fatty Feminists.

I might be a late bloomer to feminism, even though my mother was active in the women’s rights movement in its early years. In the 60s and 70s, she was active in the Civil Rights, Peace, and Women’s Rights movements. Sadly, she has since gone to the other end of the spectrum and become quite conservative in her thinking. Despite the fact that I spent most of my childhood and teen years in a conservative church, I now understand that I am definitely the flower child of a flower child. I have moved far from that mindset, more toward her earlier mindset. I might not have had as much early exposure to everything because she started changing her belief system around the time I was 8, but my mother has taught me a lot more about equality than she may realize. I’m proud to be the product of her protests and activism. ♥

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My Least Favorite Time of Year…

I have to admit that I have come to dread New Year’s Day and the first three months of the new year. I don’t hate this time of year because it’s winter. I don’t hate this time of year because I have to deal with idiot drivers who can’t seem to remember from year-to-year how to drive in snowy and icy conditions. I don’t hate this time of year because there’s less sunshine to help brighten my day.

So why do I hate it? Because it’s the time when diet companies, diet pill producers, and everyone around me starts pushing the irritating-as-hell concept of “skinny = good, fat = bad.” This insidious mindset is EVERYWHERE. TV, radio, billboards, magazines, snail mail, email, online, etc. I can’t seem to escape it, no matter how hard I try.

When I’m watching TV, even on channels that are obviously programmed for a male audience, I keep my remote handy so I can hit the mute button every time a diet advertisement appears. As you can guess, my thumbs get lots of exercise with that task.

Then there’s the radio adverts. I don’t subscribe to a satellite radio system, so I listen to our local stations. The stations that don’t have me inundated with offers of “free” fat-busting pills are the public radio stations. I listen to them until I can’t stomach all of the political shenanigans in the world or until I really need some music to keep me going. I also listen to morning radio shows to keep tabs on the local traffic, and sadly, there are more than enough of the diet pill offers during the morning commute to nauseate me for the rest of the day.

I get my fair share of spam emails trying to help me become skinnier, even if the companies attempt to market this as an attempt to help me get fit. Yeah, I can read between the lines and know exactly what you’re hawking – that all-elusive, rarely-achieved perfect body.

And then I get bombarded with it at work. Weight loss programs and contests, co-workers constantly bitching about good and bad foods, people in the hallway talking about having to exercise to work off that snack they just ate. If I have to hear certain co-workers comment one more time about not being able to eat something because it’s bad, I’m going to use that food item as a weapon and show them how bad food can actually be. It’s so damned insidious everywhere I go, and I was tired of it after the first diet company advert of the year.

April cannot come soon enough. That’s not to say that there won’t still be diet adverts on TV and radio or in magazines and online, but they will be significantly lower in number. The comments from co-workers will be less frequent. In the meantime, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing – ignoring and/or muting when necessary and blocking out the annoying conversations at work, and enjoying time with my family, friends, and furbabies.

What does domestic violence have to do with this blog? Everything

Everyone is focusing on going pink this month, but Caitlin lists some very good reasons to wear a purple ribbon. Her story is powerful and moving. I’m grateful she shared it.

Fit and Feminist

purpleribbon

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but because it happens to share the same span of 31 days as the much more high-profile Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the subject doesn’t get nearly as much attention.  Is it because it’s easier for people in our society to talk about women’s boobs than women’s black eyes?  Perhaps. (I do have to admit that this collection of tacky pinkwashed merchandise made me feel a little grateful for the fact that domestic violence awareness has escaped the grasp of of corporate America and thus escaped being Jingle Jug-ified.)

But I think that part of it might have to do with the fact that there is still a lot of shame surrounding domestic violence in our society.  At least, I feel that way.  I used to write more about it on this blog, but then the audience for the blog blew up and my…

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Even if Weight Loss Would Solve it All

Even if Weight Loss Would Solve it All. – If you don’t read another fat acceptance post in your life, you must read this one. The great links to studies that show the futility of mindless rounds on the dieting ferris wheel are a resource worth noting. Ragen does it again, and this post is just one of many reasons why I jump over to her blog every time I receive a notice of a new post.

Permission to Geek Out – Granted.

Preach on, Sister Fangirl! I gleefully claim my fangirl status, and I refuse to let anyone tell me I can’t enjoy what I want to in life. I write fanfic. I frequently squee over events in my fandoms. I unabashedly embrace what I love. – Permission to Geek Out – Granted..

Both Sides Now

On the other side are Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size which insist that basic human respect and the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are, in fact, inalienable and not size, healthy, or healthy habit dependent.  They also suggest that liking and appreciating ourselves gives us the best platform for making decisions about health and self-care, and that, if health is a priority for us, healthy habits are our best chance for our healthiest body (though of course there are no guarantees.)  I’ve looked, and lived, at both sides and now and I am so happy that I did.  This side is better by leagues and I’ll never go back.

via Both Sides Now.

With these words, Ragen speaks volumes about what should be and what we are fighting for and working toward. This is what I want for everyone. This is what everyone deserves. I’m tired of the idea that fat is automatically bad and unhealthy while thin is automatically good and healthy. People of all body types and sizes can be healthy and fit, just like people of all body types and sizes can be unhealthy and unfit. And why is another person’s body any of my business anyway? If I keep my focus on my body and doing what I want for me, then I don’t have time to worry about the next person.

Fighting the Good Fight

I have been meaning to post here for a while. But we all know what good intentions are good for, right? Paving the road to parts heretofore unknown. I also had every intention of having a happy post, but today I have a heavy heart. Last night I received a call from my mom with some sad news. The youngest daughter of a family we used to go to church with has died. That, in and of itself, is sad enough, but she was 33 and we’re unsure of the circumstances of her death. I don’t know if it was a physical health ailment or by her own hand due to mental health issues. What I do know is that she was too damn young to die. I used to babysit her and her older sister. The last time I saw the family was 14 years ago when my mom hosted a bridal shower in that little town nestled in the hills of East Tennessee. It seems surreal to think of her as not being alive, and honestly, until I saw the obituary myself this morning, I was in a bit of denial. I don’t want to think of this young woman as dead, of no longer being alive. It hurts, and it hurts a lot more than I want to let on to my parents.

It hurts because I know in many ways she was like me. It hurts because I know she had a hard time seeing herself as being pretty. This is where I break out the plain speaking about the damage caused by fat-shaming and fat-stigma. I remember when she was 7 or 8, she came to me and confided in me that she saw me as a role model. She said I gave her hope that she could be big and pretty, because I was big and pretty and active. She inherited her father’s build. It’s hard enough being a fat woman in this society, but to be a fat woman with a masculine build is even worse. There is privilege among fat women, because those with an hourglass figure or a pear-shaped figure are treated differently than those with a circle figure or an apple-shaped figure. You’re somehow perceived as being more feminine if you have the curves. You’re somehow perceived as being more womanly. I’m calling bullshit on this asinine way of thinking. Just because this young woman inherited her father’s build does not make her less feminine or womanly.

Lest this post get derailed and be only about the physical appearances, I also want to speak to the fact that she was an intelligent young woman. She was musically talented. She was an interesting human being. She was so much more than just her looks. My hope is that somewhere along the line she realized what an amazing creature she was. I hope that someone took her by the hand and told her it was okay to be fat. I hope someone showed her a way other than hating herself. But I suspect that she didn’t have someone to do that for her, because we live in a society too wrapped up in achieving the socially-accepted ideal of skinny. One thing I’ve noticed is that it’s okay to be stupid as long as your skinny and beautiful. I’d like to call bullshit on this asinine way of thinking too.

I want to honor the women and men involved in fat acceptance who are putting themselves out there and dealing with the trollish asshats that wish death and other ill things upon them. I want to honor the women and men of size who are not waiting for someday and the magical thinness to go out and do the things they want. I want to honor the women and men of size who are doing amazing things simply by living their everyday lives to the fullest. 

I will mourn this lovely human whose candle has been snuffed out far too early. My heart goes out to her family and her friends at this time. My thoughts are with them, and I know I’ll be shedding a few more tears for this loss. I also know I’ll be fighting for the day when young women like her can go about their lives without having to worry about fat-shaming and fat-stigma!

They Will Not Keep Me Down

They can try, and they will…but no one will keep me down! Thanks again to Ragen for her inspirational post.

Dances With Fat

I discussed before my love for Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If”.  One of the stanzas has come back to me recently as I’ve been dealing with some trolling.

Something that I’ve found in my experience with trolls is that people who revel in their bigotry will stoop to any level to keep the people they are oppressing down.  I’ve dealt with this in many ways but most recently I’ve seen it around a piece I wrote about doing a 5k with my dance team.  As usual, many of my haters experienced a failure of reading comprehension.

The piece was about being an athlete, doing an athletic endeavor unathletically.  Specifically I wrote “I struggled with not being “good” at the 5k.  I benefit from a tremendous amount of athletic privilege, and the athletic things that I do are typically things at which I am naturally talented and have put many…

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What is Happenning in Istanbul?

Doing my part to boost the signal.

İnsanlık Hali

To my friends who live outside of Turkey:

I am writing to let you know what is going on in Istanbul for the last five days. I personally have to write this because at the time of my writing most of the media sources are shut down by the government and the word of mouth and the internet are the only ways left for us to explain ourselves and call for help and support.

Last week of May 2013 a group of people most of whom did not belong to any specific organization or ideology got together in Istanbul’s Gezi Park. Among them there were many of my friends and yoga students. Their reason was simple: To prevent and protest the upcoming demolishing of the park for the sake of building yet another shopping mall at very center of the city. There are numerous shopping malls in Istanbul, at least…

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the HAES® files: What If??

Why it’s so important for me to advocate for myself…I never know when it will impact someone else’s life in a positive manner and give them the strength to advocate for their own needs.

Health At Every Size® Blog

by Deah Schwartz, Ed.D, CTRS, CCC

What if I told you an obscene number of girls between the ages of three and sixteen are being abused against their will and that:

  • The victims are unwilling and passive?
  • The targets of the abuse are the bodies of the victims?

What if I told you the collateral damage of the abuse includes:

  • Increased feelings of self-hatred and damaged self-esteem?
  • Development of guilt feelings and self-blame?
  • Development of maladaptive behaviors in order to cope with the abuse (e.g., restrictive or binge eating)?
  • Disassociation from the body?

What if I told you that frequently, adults stand by and do not intervene?

Most of you would be fairly certain that I was talking about sexual abuse.  And you wouldn’t be completely incorrect. When a girl is sexually abused, she is an unwilling victim who paradoxically feels guilty and blames herself.

Because the abuse is focused on…

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