Thursday, 19 January 2017

Hatred in our Ranks: Why Lie About It?

Stream of consciousness ahead! I hope that all my readers can benefit from this post, but it is primarily geared towards conservatives and Trump supporters. Let’s open our eyes and be honest here. The left has its fair share of extremists, clowns, bigots, and violent and destructive folks. But I’m focusing on conservatives here because […]

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Fat Bodies Don’t Need Pity or Preaching

no-pity-no-preachingI saw a cooking show recently at a hotel and I made a note to blog about it.  It seems familiar so I looked back and, indeed, it turns out that it was a re-run and I had blogged about it before, so I’m re-posting it. There was a chef whose passion was “healthy cooking.”  She started out by talking about how many people in her family “struggle with their weight”, she teared up as she talked about how sad it was for her to watch.

Then, when she went in front of the judges with a soup that was, to me,  a horrific looking combination of black eyed peas and cabbage – pureed –   she suddenly got angry and went on a rant about how she was “fed up” how there is “no excuse for it.” Happily the judges were not into the attitude which neatly  summed up two reactions that people have to fat people that I find utterly inappropriate and unwelcome.

First – Pity.  Don’t want it, don’t need it, won’t listen to it.  There is nothing pitiable about my body.  As I’ve mentioned before I do not “suffer” from obesity, I do suffer from people’s attitudes about my body.  That’s a suffering that will end as soon as people acknowledge that bodies come in different sizes for different reasons, that there is no wrong way to have a body, and that it’s nobody else’s business at all.  When someone says that they pity me because of my body it indicates that they think there is something superior about their bodies. My body is amazing and I won’t allow it to be treated that way without sticking up for it.  People can keep their pity, and their opinions and assumptions of my body, to themselves.

Preaching is the second issue.  It seems like every time I turn around someone’s trying to score points by giving “tough talk” to us fatties.  Telling us that they are just fed up with us and our big, fleshy bodies like we should care how they feel.  Saying that the world needs to stop “coddling” us, asserting that the world would be better if we didn’t exist,  waging war on us for power, politics and profit.  Suggesting that the problem with fat people is that we’re just not bullied and oppressed enough.  Somehow certain that the reason we’re not thin is that 386,170 negative messages a year about our body are just not enough. That somebody needs to tell us we’re fat. If shaming fat people made us thin, we’d all be thin.

I reflect sometimes on how the achievements of fat people are made more impressive because we accomplish things under the crushing weight of near constant stigma and bullying. Despite the pitying, the preaching, and the constant drumbeat of “your body is wrong”, we keep rising above, keep fighting back.  Just getting out of bed when you know the work water cooler conversation is going to be about weight loss resolutions, or going to the gym when you know the junior high level fatphobia you might face, are gold medal sports some days and we just keep doing it.

So go fatties go! Everyone else can keep their pitying and preaching to themselves, we’re fine.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 



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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Thankful Thursday (early!)

It's good to stop and smell the roses; have you ever done that? Literally stopped on your way to or from someplace to smell a rose? I have and it's a lovely thing to do. Around here we have wild roses in the summer and sometimes you can smell them from a block away, their perfume wafting towards you on a warm breeze. They're not large or showy like some garden varieties, but there isn't anything like their smell. I wish I could bottle it and keep some for a winter's day like today.

In that vein I want to take a second to count my blessings, for they are many! Sometimes I forget that, like when the grater goes by three times and my first thought is "Ugh! I have to shovel that?!" Or when I come home to dishes to do and a messy kitchen because the kids came home from school and threw their stuff everywhere.

So thanks, public employee, for scraping the snow pack off the road and making it easier to get to my appointment later! And for the extra cardio I'll get from shoveling the mess in the driveway.

Mmm breakfast.

These monkeys make me want to be a better person every day. They motivate me to change the world for the better, not just for them, but for their hypothetical kids and everyone else. We're all on this rock together.

This handsome guy. He's just the sweetest, kindest man. He listens when I'm ranting, hugs me when I'm sad, celebrates with me and encourages me and also isn't afraid to call me on my bull. He pulls his weight around here despite working weird hours and traveling more often now. He's an amazing father and husband and I'm thankful for him every day. I wouldn't be alive today if it weren't for him.

A forever shout out to my best friend, Erin, who is a new auntie again as of yesterday and has known me for the longest of anyone in my life who isn't blood related. Erin has a beautiful soul, generous and loving, and I'm in awe of her strength and the life she's built for herself.

Much love to my parents, inlaws, sister and aunts for all their love and support over the years. You are, and will remain, in our hearts.

Thankful for good tunes, celebrity 'likes' on Twitter (Sir Patrick Stewart, Bif Naked and Vincent D'Onofrio!) and free healthcare. Adieu!

 

 



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Terrible Trend – Private Message Diet Spam

pm-diet-spamI’ve been hearing more and more about a disturbing trend of people marketing their weight loss products through private message on social media.  It’s been happening for a while, but based on the number of e-mails I get about it it’s gaining a lot of traction.  Today Marjorie posted an example on my FB wall. In some cases a person joins a fat positive group and then starts private messaging people. In others they just look for fat people’s profiles and then spam them.

Let’s start with what should be blatantly obvious: This is disgusting.  This is harassment. This is objectively terrible. This should never, ever, happen.  While people who are the victims of this are allowed to handle it in whatever way they prefer, nobody is obligated to tolerate this in any way, nobody is obligated to look for “best intentions,” nobody is obligated to put up with this or hold back their profanity-laced rant.  And that would be true even if there was a chance in hell that their products would lead to long-term weight loss.

People are allowed to do whatever they want with their bodies.  People are, at least for now, allowed to sell weight loss methods that almost never work. None of that, in any way, justifies something like this:

 

Image may contain: text

Private message that says the following (all spelling and grammar from the original.) “Hi Ashleigh, I’ve just been here looking through your photos and I’ve noticed since after Christmas your face looks a little fuller, I don’t mean to cause offence this happens to a lot of people! I don’t no if you know but I work for [redacted] and we have some amazing products that will benefit you in loosing the weight.  If you would like to discuss more please reply to this message and we can get things sorted asap [smiley face emoji]  Thank you x

Nothing will ever justify this. (I’ll also point out that it’s creepy AF – why is this person randomly looking through someone’s photos and comparing face shapes between them?) If this has happened to you, the first thing to know is that THIS SHOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED TO YOU!  So what do you do?  Here are some options:

Ignore/Delete/Block 

Say nothing to the person, block them and move on with your life.

Reply

This could be anything from heartfelt paragraph about the dangers of fatphobia, and the chances that this person could be sending e-mail to people whose eating disorders will be triggered, to a fully annotated paper about Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size. Or you could just say “How fucking dare you? This could not be more inappropriate and you need to stop doing this right now!”

Report

Send their information to the company that they are representing.  Perhaps something like:

“I wanted to let you know that [insert name and social media link] is representing your company poorly by sending unsolicited messages like this [quote message.] Obviously you know that this is inappropriate, offensive, and in addition to being fatphobic could end up triggering eating disorders.  I hope you’ll address this before more people are harmed.”

You can also report them to the social media site that they used to send it.

Name and Shame

They are so comfortable sending this out, surely they won’t mind if you let other people know about this fabulous opportunity.  Take a screenshot and send it on its way on social media.

Again, you get to decide how you deal with this, all I care about is that you know that it is well and truly bullshit. If you have other ideas for responses, please feel free to leave them in the comments!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.



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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

MasterCard Telling Our Weight to the Airlines?

travel-companiesIt was recently reported that MasterCard filed a patent for  “a system, method, and computer-readable storage medium configured to analyse the physical size of payment accountholders based on payment transactions, and allowing a transportation provider to apply the physical size of payment accountholders to seating.”

They are suggesting that they can guess your size, and the size of all of your family members, based on what you buy, and then report that information to transportation companies.  Their patent application states that this information might be used thusly: “for the comfort of their passengers, transportation providers should avoid seating physically large strangers next to each other”.

Riiiiiiight.  Also, in lieu of drink service, airlines will start handing out bags of magic beans courtesy of MasterCard. I seriously doubt that Mastercard is going to the time and expense of patenting this so they can give it away, so if this goes into effect (and they may not act on it, even if the patent is approved) we can assume that travel companies will be paying them for it, and passing that cost on to us – and by us, I mean fat people.

Let’s get real here. Travel companies decided to start a business that moves people from place to place. Then, despite the fact that people come in many sizes, they built their planes, trains, and buses to only accommodate people up to a certain size.  Now they try to charge people larger than that size up to twice as much for the exact same service (travel from place to place) in ways that are indefensible unless you think “we hate fat people” is a reasonable defense.  And now Mastercard is saying “Hey, let us help you out with that.”

Again, this is a patent that MasterCard has applied for –  they may not be granted the patent, and if they are they might not choose to use it.  But I’m not excited about doing business with a credit card company that is excited about helping transportation companies engage in sizeism.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.



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Sunday, 15 January 2017

The double standard of not taking women seriously

In the Washington Post, a few days ago, Petula Dvorak wrote that next week’s Women’s March on Washington won’t be taken seriously unless we step away from “well-intentioned, she-power frippery” like the pink pussycat hats.

While she has a point that we need to focus on the serious issues, she misses the fact that we can be as serious as she wants and still not be taken seriously, simply because we’re women. Hillary Clinton was nothing if not serious during her campaign. She put out reams of policy documents, and she discussed the issues in nuanced detail. The whole time, she was criticized for not being warm enough or likable enough. There is no appropriate level of seriousness where a woman will be both likable and respected. It just doesn’t exist.

Women aren’t demeaned and brushed aside because of pink hats or signs with glitter.  Things that are pink and sparkly are viewed as trivial and infantile *because* they’re associated with women. Look at the snarky comments about Teen Vogue and the absolute shock that people who write about fashion and celebrities for teenage girls might also know a thing or two about politics.

Also, matching hats have been kind of a thing in the last election. Funny, I don’t recall anyone criticizing Trump supporters’ “Make America Great Again” baseball caps as insufficiently serious, even though no one could point to what they meant by great or what period of greatness they wanted to go back to. There’s nothing inherently more serious about a red baseball cap than a pink knit hat with ears, except that one is coded as masculine and one is coded as feminine.

For that matter, Dvorak alludes to the fact that feminists will be criticized no matter what we do or don’t do when she mentions bra burning.

Bra burning. That’s the trope that folks have been using to dismiss feminists for nearly half a century.

In fact, no bra was burned at Miss America protests in 1968 and 1969. Feminists threw false eyelashes, mops, pans, Playboy magazines, girdles, bras and other symbolic “instruments of female torture” into a trash can. But the Atlantic City municipal code didn’t allow them to set it on fire.

Yet because the idea of a burning bra was so lurid, it eclipsed the fact that in the 1960s, women couldn’t get a credit card without a husband’s signature, couldn’t serve on juries in all 50 states, weren’t allowed to study at some of the nation’s Ivy League schools, couldn’t get a prescription for birth control pills if they were unmarried, were paid 59 cents for every dollar that men earned and could easily be fired from a job if they got pregnant. Among other outrages.

Because of this stunt, she argues, feminists were painted as foolish and extreme, and attention was drawn away from the serious issues they were fighting to address. But, as she points out, no bras were ever burned. That didn’t stop bra-burning from being a go-to insult against feminists. If anti-feminists need excuses to dismiss us, and the impossible double standards of sexism don’t provide them with one, they’ll just make one up.

 

 




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2016 wrap up

And in such a timely manner, too.  As I said in my previous posts, I’m super busy this month with some theater projects, but I hope to get back on track with CPBS in February.  (This would be a great time for a guest post…. hmu with your pitch…)  In the meantime, I wanted to share my ranked list of 2016 films, as I have the past few years.

2016 was unique for me in that I took on (and completed!) the #52FilmsByWomen challenge.  You can check my final list out on Letterboxd.  I unfortunately didn’t get around to some of the feminist classics I was hoping to see (e.g. Cleo from 5 to 7, Jeanne Dielman…, and I’m a bit ashamed to say that I couldn’t make it all the way through Daisies or The Night Porter), but I did have some pleasant surprises in The Love WitchThe Diary of a Teenage Girl, Margaret Keller’s experimental films, Pariah, and The Fits.  Also, feminist film critic hot take:  Meshes of an Afternoon and Born in Flames are essential viewing.

I decided to keep the intentional diversity train rolling in 2017 by making it my goal to watch 52 films directed by people of color.  You can check out my list of films I’ve watched thus far, want to watch, and sub-challenges I’ve set for myself here.

Any way, on to my ranked films of 2016.  I didn’t get to see as many films as I did in 2015, so a lot of the Oscar frontrunners are conspicuously missing.  Overall I wasn’t blown away by 2016, but I am pleased with my top 10 and hope to make repeat viewings, especially with Hunt for the Wilderpeople.  I also ended up watching more shorts than usual, most of which I didn’t include.  I’m not sure how to categorize them versus feature-length.

  1. Moonlight
  2. Mustang
  3. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
  4. The Lobster
  5. The Witch
  6. The Love Witch
  7. Embrace of the Serpent
  8. Green Room
  9. The Handmaiden
  10. Under the Shadow
  11. Sing Street
  12. The Fits
  13. Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World
  14. The Illinois Parables
  15. Two Trains Runnin’
  16. Love & Friendship
  17. Don’t Think Twice
  18. After the Storm
  19. Demon
  20. Keanu
  21. Maggie’s Plan
  22. Another Evil
  23. Sunspring
  24. Night of 1000 Hours
  25. The View from Tall
  26. Everybody Wants Some!!
  27. Imperfections
  28. Southside with You
  29. Pushing Dead
  30. Into the Forest
  31. The Intervention
  32. Afterimage
  33. M.O.P.Z.
  34. Hail Caesar
  35. This House Has People in It (not inclusive of website)
  36. White Girl
  37. Wiener-Dog
  38. Middle Man
  39. Midnight Special
  40. 1:54
  41. The Shallows
  42. Tallulah
  43. Operator
  44. Anomalisa
  45. Soul on a String
  46. Dog Days
  47. Bad Seed


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