Friday, 30 September 2016

Does Fat Shaming Make People Fat?

ShamelessIn the past week I’ve received questions from several readers asking about articles they had seen that said research shows that fat shaming is linked to increased weight and asking me if I think it’s true, and what I think of it as an argument against fat shaming.

As far as veracity, there are some studies that show a correlation between body shaming and becoming larger.  (You can find one here, but content warning for all the things I’m about to talk about, as well as the utterly ridiculous, profit-driven notion of using person first language and calling fat people “people with obesity.”) Remember also that this is correlation, with all of its inherent limitations, and not causation.

The larger problem with this can be clearly seen in what I encountered when I started researching for this blog post.  I found tons of articles with titles like “Fat Shaming Just Increases Obesity” or “Fat Shaming Makes the Problem Worse!”

The idea here is that fat shaming is bad because fat people are bad, and fat shaming makes people fat/fatter. This information might be used to convince a weight bigot to stop fat shaming (or not, the comment sections of these articles feature weight bigots doing Cirque du Soleil level contortion to justify their past and future fat shaming.)  Still, it may work, and getting that bigot to keep their BS to themselves may be your goal.  Just be aware that you are making a major trade-off, especially if you are making this argument publicly rather than in a one-on-one situation.

You see, the message that something is bad because it may create more fat people or fatter fat people is, in and of itself, a fat shaming message. Calling fat people a “problem”  and suggesting that more fat people existing “makes the problem worse” is fat shaming. Saying that we want to prevent fat people from existing  is fat shaming.  The message “I don’t want you to be stigmatized, I just want a world where no one who looks like you exists” is absolutely stigmatizing, and adds to the waging of the War on Obesity in which they want fat people to be thin or dead and they don’t really seem to care which.

At the end of the day, I think the fact that some studies suggest that fat shaming may be linked to people becoming larger is not actually a good reason to suggest that people shouldn’t engage in fat shaming – since the idea that fat people should be prevented from existing is fat shaming in and of itself. People (including, and perhaps especially, Presidential candidates) shouldn’t engage in size-based shaming, bullying, stereotyping, stigmatizing, and oppression because it’s wrong, period. It has actually nothing to do with the current or potential future size of their victims.

Did you miss the
Fat Activism Conference?
It’s not too late!

You can still register to get access to all the recordings, transcripts, speaker handouts, and the conference goody bag! Get recordings of all 30 speakers talking about everything from Re-Imagining Fashion from an Inclusive Framework” to “Activism for the Introverted and Anxious” to “Building Fat Patient Power While Accessing Healthcare” and more. The pay what you can option is still available so that money is not a barrier.

Click Here to Register!

Registration closes October 9th (though of course you’ll have time after that to listen and download.)

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.

 

 



via Dances With Fat http://ift.tt/2d0EUNv

Thursday, 29 September 2016

the HAES® files: How to Host a Body Positive Event

by Nicole Geurin, MPH, RD

Earlier this year, I helped to plan and host an event: Health at Every Size®: LIVE!  A morning of joyful movement and interactive presentations.  The goals of the event were to spread awareness of the HAES approach and to raise money for the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH).  The event planning was demanding, but at the same time, it was a tremendously rewarding experience.  In this step-by-step guide, I share my personal experiences in planning a body positive event.  I hope that readers can benefit from my lessons learned and perhaps be inspired to host their own events.

Step 1: Assemble an All-Star Team

Having a great team is the key to hosting a great event.  Recruiting a diverse team with a variety of experiences and perspectives is essential.  Ideally, the team will include people of different sizes, abilities, ages, races/ethnicities, professional backgrounds, gender identities, socio-economic status, and sexual orientations.  I discovered many of our team members online: Facebook, MeetUp.com and the HAES Community website.

Our team included:

  • Nicole Geurin, HAES dietitian
  • Meg White, HAES fitness expert
  • Emily Ireland Cox, body positive event planner
  • Iolande Argent, size positive coach and BBW socialites leader
  • Susan Faitos, licensed marriage and family therapist and IT extraordinaire
  • Keynote speaker Connie Sobczak, cofounder of The Body Positive and author of Embody: Learning to Love Your Unique Body (and Quiet that Critical Inner Voice)
  • Student volunteers
  • Body positive fitness instructors

Step 2: Plan the Details

You know: the who, what, when, where, why and how.

  • Who is your target audience? Our target audience was pretty broad: anyone interested in learning about HAES.
  • What activities will you offer to engage this group? We had guest speakers, movement breaks, information tables, tasty snacks and raffle prizes.
  • Where will you hold the event? Consider location, space requirements, equipment needs, and accommodations for all sizes and abilities.  We rented a room at a centrally located park.  It had space to comfortably seat 50 people, plus room for movement breaks and the information tables.
  • Why are you hosting this event? We wanted to spread awareness of the HAES approach and raise money for ASDAH.
  • How are you going to pull it off? Consider budget and funding sources.  We used YouCaring.com to raise donations for ASDAH.  I also created a WordPress website as a hub to share event information and updates.

Step 3: Market Like Wild

Okay, so it’s probably better to have a more strategic marketing plan.  We marketed the event in every possible way we could imagine.  Here were the most successful routes:

  • Word of mouth – Tell your friends, family, clients, and colleagues. And your friends’ families, clients’ colleagues, and any other network variation you can devise.  Marketing success relies on having a diverse team who can tap into different populations.
  • Facebook – Ah, the power of social media. Facebook events are easy to create and share with others.

We also created event flyers, posted on Instagram, recorded two local news segments, and developed a press release for various news outlets.  Even if these marketing tactics didn’t increase participation, we felt good knowing we were spreading awareness about the HAES concepts.

Step 4: Enjoy the Ride

The day of the event goes by quickly.  You’ve already done all the hard work, so now it’s time to relax.  Remember to take a deep, mindful breath, and enjoy the ride.

nicole1Here is my recount of the event:

It was a drizzly Saturday in May.  What had started as an idea to host an all-bodies yoga class had morphed into a half-day event.  I was glad we decided to host it indoors.  I packed my car the night before with supplies – a Yay! Scale™ for our arts and crafts table, a stack of research articles for our research table, and an entire suitcase full of books for our book display table.  I arrived onsite and we started setting up.  Emily brought signs with body-positive quotes to hang all over the room.  Meg single-handedly prepared snacks for the entire group and printed posters for our talk.  The student volunteers were each in charge of their own information table.  It was fun to finally meet the nutrition students I had mentored for the past two months over the phone and online.  Even more thrilling was getting to meet Connie Sobczak, a leader in the HAES movement who I greatly admire.

Our guests started arriving around 10:00 am.  They mingled and browsed the information tables.  We got started around 10:30 am – a half-hour past schedule.  Whoops! Setting up took longer than expected.  We kicked things off with an introduction, followed by an energizing tai chi warm up.  Meg and I challenged the myths perpetuated by the current weight-based paradigm in our talk, Big, Fat Lies. I was encouraged by audience members who audibly expressed their encouragement—they got it; this was their lived experience.  Next, everyone joined in a lively Zumba® break.  The karaoke party speaker Meg purchased worked great—much better than I had anticipated.  The light show feature was a nice touch, too. The walls danced with color as we moved to the beat.

We took the next ten minutes to hear personal stories from our guest speakers.  They shared their real, raw, personal journeys towards body acceptance and self-love.  It was incredibly moving.  Part two of our talk was titled Health at Every Size: Putting the Approach Into Practice.  Meg and I encouraged the audience to redefine health and to practice compassionate self-care.  We shared our ideas and received lots of input from the audience, too.

Connie Sobczak focused her talk on Cultivating Self-Love and Declaring Your Own Authentic Beauty, two competencies of the Be Body Positive Model.  I was captivated by her beautiful storytelling.  At one point, I looked over and noticed another member of the audience had tears in her eyes.  Everyone was deeply moved.

At the end of the day, we had raised money for ASDAH, sold over a dozen books, and, hopefully, planted a few ideas that will grow into meaningful change.  The entire event was captured by a videographer.  To learn more about Health at Every Size®: LIVE! and watch the event video, visit https://haeslive.com.

 


Nicole Geurin, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and certified intuitive eating counselor with a master’s degree in public health nutrition.  She works as a corporate nutrition consultant in Sacramento, California.  She is also the author of a new e-book, titled 5-Minute Meals: It’s Not Fast Food, It’s Real Food…Fast!  Visit Nicole’s website and nutrition blog at http://ift.tt/2cDZbrb.  Contact Nicole at ngeurin@yahoo.com.

 



via healthateverysizeblog http://ift.tt/2dtQxSb

Kirstie Allsopp Can Eat Me

WTF are you doingKirstie Allsopp hosts a British Television show about real estate. Apparently she’s looking for a second job as an officer with the food police.

It seems that someone had the gall to be in a cafe, eating a breakfast that Kirstie didn’t approve of.  So like any nosy, inappropriate busy body with an over-exaggerated sense of self importance and a cell phone, she memorized his meal and then Tweeted about it.

“Just saw a guy have a glass of coke, a cappuccino, a croissant and a ham & cheese sandwich for breakfast #OurNHSistoast  #worldgonemad

In addition to being ableist language, with everything going on in the world right now, the idea that some dude eating a big breakfast is an indication of the “world gone mad” seems to indicate that Kirstie may struggle to prioritize.

I have some hashtags of my own I’d like to add, including:

#WTFKirstie
#IfIWantTheFoodPoliceI’llCallPie11
#MindYourOwnPlate
#YourBeeswaxIsInAnotherCastle

Some people are even sending her descriptions of their meals on twitter – after all, she’s obviously in charge of judging all of our food and she can’t be in every cafe at the same time…

Luckily most people who responded to this had enough sense to know that this it is stunningly inappropriate. Happily Kirstie realized her mistake and apologized…

…Just Kidding! She doubled down with these gems:

My point is that if we all want a functioning NHS we all need to take a pull.

and

We judge that someone who doesn’t use a seatbelt is an idiot, yet decide to eat yourself to death and it’s all about not *judging*

Let’s dispense with the ridiculous comparison and move on to the actual situation (and not totally rando comparisons thereof) We don’t know the circumstances at all – various responses mentioned that he might have just finished a long workout, or a long overnight shift, or had to fast for a medical test and been starving, or he was just hungry.  To be clear, the guy had a sandwich, croissant, soda and coffee for one meal but Kirstie (psychically, I guess?) knows that he’s “eating [him]self to death?”???

It’s time to get real here – does anybody actually believe that Kirstie seriously thinks  foodshaming strangers on twitter is the key to healthcare?  Or maybe, just maybe, does she simply enjoy being cruel, and is willing to try to try to hide behind the hand-wringing “WON’T SOMEBODY PUHLEEEZE THINK OF THE NHS” drama as a way to mask the fact that she’s nothing more than your average, garden variety, internet troll.

I’m also curious who Kirstie thinks should get to shame and control her food choices for the good of the NHS?  Is she simultaneously a vegetarian, vegan, paleo, raw food,  and macrobiotic practitioner?  If not, then lots of people out there don’t think she’s doing everything that she could for the good of the NHS. Who gets to choose Kirstie’s food? Anytime we’re talking about these “I’m the boss of the personal decisions of other people because of my tax dollars” nonsense, we’re going down a bad, illogical, slippery slope of a  road.

The idea that we should judge people for their food choices, or impact on the healthcare system at all is crap (somebody remind me, what do you call it when someone suggests that people who are “expensive” for society shouldn’t be allowed to exist?)   But the idea that anyone can or should judge a total stranger’s impact on the healthcare system based on a single meal they see them eat as they walk past in a cafe is absolutely ludicrous . If you see food shaming happening, here are some ideas for what you might do.

As for Kirstie, hopefully she’ll find ways to occupy her time besides tweeting out random people’s breakfast orders and concern trolling. We can only hope.

Did you miss the
Fat Activism Conference?
It’s not too late!

You can still register to get access to all the recordings, transcripts, speaker handouts, and the conference goody bag! Get recordings of all 30 speakers talking about everything from Re-Imagining Fashion from an Inclusive Framework” to “Activism for the Introverted and Anxious” to “Building Fat Patient Power While Accessing Healthcare” and more. The pay what you can option is still available so that money is not a barrier. Click Here to Register!  Hurry though, registration closes October 9th (though of course you’ll have time after that to listen and download.)

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.

 



via Dances With Fat http://ift.tt/2dFWmL1

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Raising Body Positive Kids in a Body Negative World

The world is messed up you are fineI’m honored that this post is part of BEDA’s Weight Stigma Awareness Week, please check out all of the awesome work that they are doing.  

I was at an event recently where we were doing icebreakers. The “light hearted” question we were all supposed to answer was “what advice would you give your 10 year old self?” The other women said things like “you can be anything you want!” and “you’ll never use algebra so don’t worry about it so much!”  Everyone was smiling and laughing so when I said, completely seriously “Don’t diet.  Don’t ever, ever diet” it kind of stopped the show. But it started a conversation about the ways that a sizeist world had messed us all up around our relationship with our bodies.

In my work as a speaker, writer, and blogger I’m most often talking with adults who are trying to overcome a history of body image issues and chronic dieting that often goes all the way back to childhood and is perpetuated by our current thin-obsessed culture. When I do speak to and with girls, sometimes as young as third grade, I hear about the extreme pressure to be thin and the fat shaming (both often coming from adults) that is leading to a world where 1 out of 4 children had dieted prior to turning 7, and a staggering 80% of American girls aged 10 have been on diets. Also concerning was the finding that one-third of boys and the majority of girls ages 6 to 8 wish their bodies were thinner, and where the American Academy of Pediatrics reported that hospitalizations of children younger than 12 years for eating disorders rose by 119% from 1999 to 2006. (Children UNDER 12)

One of the things that can help kids deal with this is adults who not only model healthy behavior, but who also point out what is happening and give kids some ammunition against a world where they will be encouraged to judge themselves and each other harshly, and where predatory industries see them as a target demographic.

Role modeling can be tough.  Often adults who have been raised and conditioned by society to have crappy self-esteem and body image are trying to raise kids with high self-esteem and body image, and that can be very difficult to do. I think that one of the best things that we can do for the kids in our lives is to work on ourselves, starting with the way that we talk about ourselves.  

Here are some things that I wish more adults had done when I was growing up:

  • Stop negative body talk, all of it, right now. Start with your own body. Kids believe what we do more than what we say, so if we talk badly about our own bodies, but then tell kids who look like us that they are beautiful, they are going to see right through that. Decide that you are going to talk about things you like about your body, celebrate exactly what you look like and what your body can do. Don’t say negative things about other people’s bodies.  When you watch the Oscar’s, encourage kids to focus on the performer’s accomplishments and not on how they look.
  • Have books and art around that highlight and celebrate a variety of bodies – people of different sizes, shapes, colors, dis/abilities, ages, and more.. http://ift.tt/1N08uMb
  • Talk about health in terms of health and never in terms of weight or body size.  Let kids know that bodies come in lots of sizes and all bodies are good bodies, and let them know that, while there are things that they can do to support their health, it is not a barometer of worthiness or entirely within our control.
  • Make health about fun, not about restriction and punishment.  Talk about what kids can DO to support their health instead of suggesting what they should restrict or not do.
  • I have a talk I give to all ages called “The World is Messed Up, You’re Fine” and I think that’s an important message to give kids.  Let them know that a lot of times adults, including adults we’re supposed to trust, do super messed up things, often meaning well but messed up nonetheless. When it comes to body size and health right now the world is pretty messed up -people insist that bodies are good or bad depending on what size they are and there’s a lot of prejudice, negative body talk, and bullying that happens around size.  There are even some doctors who believe this, and even think that they can make guesses about how healthy someone is by what they look like.  The truth is that people come in lots of different sizes for lots of different reasons and all bodies are good bodies.
  • Be honest – explain the concepts of oppression, and privilege and activism in an age-appropriate way. Yes, in our society people who look a certain way may be treated better, and if you think that’s wrong you can fight to end it.  You can also talk about weight and health – explain that there are some people who may want the best for them, but they are unfortunately ill-informed about the truth about the diversity of body sizes that exist and how health works (maybe start with the story of Galileo.) You can also bridge this lesson to talk about other types of oppression – racism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, classism et al,  areas where they have privilege and how they can use that privilege to help (age-appropriate intersectionality FTW!)
  • Point out the ways that the industries profit from us hating our bodies and trying to achieve some stereotype of beauty that is unattainable and arbitrary.
  • Never encourage kids to diet. Nothing good comes of it.  Research from the University of Minnesota found that: “None of the behaviors being used by adolescents for weight-control purposes predicted weight loss…Of greater concern were the negative outcomes associated with dieting and the use of unhealthful weight-control behaviors.”  Encourage kids of all sizes to appreciate their bodies and see them as amazing and worthy of care. Then work to make sure that they have the resources to take good care of 

Kids are living in a world where companies will try, at every opportunity, to (as my friend CJ Legare puts it) steal their self-esteem and sell it back to them at a profit.  If we can help those kids develop their self-esteem and then hang on to it when the beauty and diet industries are trying to tear it away from them, we’ll give them a fighting chance to make a real change in their own world, and in the whole world.

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.



via Dances With Fat http://ift.tt/2d5RR9K

Monday, 26 September 2016

Diet Culture: E’s Story

Does diet culture kill?

My sister E was the oldest of five children; I was the youngest. Growing up in a house where our father was at work most of the time, and our mother was tired most of the time, E did a lot of the work of raising me.

She was one of the most independent minded people I knew. She had friends and liked doing things with them, but she made her own decisions and they weren’t always what her friends would do.

She worked hard, but always on her own terms. She would use up all her vacation, and all her sick days, and she felt no guilt about it. She felt that there was no point working if you didn’t also have fun.

She’d say what was on her mind, pretty much unfiltered. Of course, she came of age in the 1970s, when “tell it like it is” was everyone’s motto. But she also knew how to sweet talk, and she could get me to do chores like no one else could.

But for all this independence, she had one weak point: she was a fat person. She was one of the most beautiful women I knew, but because she was fat, society put her in the “such a pretty face” category. She’s been on and off diets for as long as I’ve known her. They never worked long term, until about 11 years ago.

That’s when she had weight-loss surgery. I tried as best as I could to talk her out of it, but it didn’t work. She had so much self hatred because of her fatness that she wanted more than anything to lose weight and keep it off. She felt that she’d never have a husband unless she was thin, or at least thinner than she was. She knew that I was and am attracted to fat women, and was and am married to a woman much fatter than her. That didn’t matter. She just couldn’t imagine that there were others like me out there. Or maybe it didn’t matter what others thought: it was what she thought, and she thought the worst of herself simply because of her fatness.

I saw her a few years after the surgery at our father’s burial. She was a lot thinner than she had been, although not thin at that point. But she kept on saying how bad a person she was because she still ate more than she should, in her opinion.

At that time she was living near where my dad had lived, where it’s very cold in the winter, and she didn’t spend much time with other people. She talked about being depressed, and going for days without showering or bathing.

A little bit after that, she moved back to New Jersey, where we’re from. She was able to find a fairly nice place to live within her budget, and it seem like she had gotten her life in order. But she was still talking about not bathing or showering, and being sad. Another sister, C, lived nearby, and E had friends nearby as well. But she was still lonely.

C had been sick for decades, and last year, 2015, she died. After that, phone calls from E got fewer. In November 2015, E went into the hospital. She was diagnosed with an iron deficiency, got a blood transfusion, and was sent home with supplements.

She was back in the hospital in December, this time with a gallstone that had migrated to her colon. They wound up removing her gallbladder. In January 2016, she was back in the hospital again, then again in March, and again in April. Since then she’s been in an infinite loop, going from the hospital to a rehab center and then to home, but never home more than a few days until she’s back in the hospital.

Her ailments, according to the hospital doctor who has seen her the most, come down to her not eating enough. Somehow last year, through a combination of her weight-loss surgery, depression, and drugs, she had attained the ability to starve herself. Put another way, she developed an eating disorder.

I went to visit her earlier this summer on our way to a family reunion, and at that point she was in a rehab facility. The problem was, though, she wasn’t getting better. She didn’t like any of the food offered to her, and wanted special food brought in like chocolate flavored Ensure. And sometimes she didn’t like that either.

Her mental confusion increased over that period. She could never understand why she was sick, why she kept going into the hospital, why she was losing her ability to walk and do things for herself.

Eventually E went back home, but this time she had an in-home aide to help her. And for a couple of weeks, it seemed like she was actually getting better.

But she wasn’t. She wasn’t doing the physical therapy, she still wasn’t eating enough, and she wasn’t on a path to independence. A family member decided that the in-home aide was too soft on E, and so she went back east herself to nurse E back to health.

Things didn’t go as hoped. E went back into the hospital a few days later, then to rehab, then back in the hospital. We still have hope, but she’s been in decline for a long time, and it doesn’t look good.

Is diet culture killing my sister? E was an independent woman, but she could never reconcile herself to being fat. When she found a way to starve herself, there was no turning back.




via Fatties United! http://ift.tt/2dyfYkj

Mutiny On Lesbo Island

Originally posted on Saye Bennett:
Note: This post is my long-overdue (sorry! ugh!) response to joannadeadwinter in our on-going conversation  about bisexuality. Specifically, this post is in response to her post, “Shipwreck on Lesbo Island.” Joannadeadwinter made so many excellent points in her most recent post in our discussion of bisexuality that I found myself nodding…

via Dead of Winter http://ift.tt/2dmfavd

Easy Vegetarian Enchiladas Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CambialoConQS #CollectiveBias Hi friends! I am sharing a recipe passed down through my family...

Read more here!

via Skinned Knees http://ift.tt/2dd7wCz

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Routine Planned Cesareans in Older Mothers Do More Harm Than Good


Many care providers push strongly for elective (planned) cesareans in older moms. However, a recent study challenges the wisdom of this common practice.

This extremely large study confirms that planned cesareans as a routine intervention for older moms is a bad idea. It increased their risk for infection, hysterectomy, kidney failure, cardiac arrest, and death.

This is an issue close to my heart as I was an "AMA" (Advanced Maternal Age, or 35 or older) mom for three of my four pregnancies.

In many practices, a woman like me ─ an older "morbidly obese" mother with a prior cesarean ─ would have faced intense pressure for a planned cesarean. I was fortunate to have care providers that didn't pressure me to have a cesarean just because of my age or weight. (Then again, I purposely chose providers who utilized a more low-intervention model.)

But the pressure for a planned cesarean can be quite strong on older mothers in many practices, especially if the mother is a first-time mom or received fertility treatment. One study found four times the rate of elective cesareans in older first-time moms. But why?

Some doctors see vaginal birth in an older mom as so risky that they prefer to just bypass labor altogether and plan a cesarean. Although the risk for stillbirth does seem to go up somewhat as women age, recent research confirms that this risk is quite modest (and not all research finds an increase in risk). Most healthy older women will do just fine.

Furthermore, a recent study confirms that the difference in outcomes between planned cesareans and planned vaginal births in older moms is quite small. Each choice has its own pros and cons to consider.

Risks probably increase as a woman ages; a woman of 54 probably has a much different risk than a woman of 41. However, many women with very advanced maternal ages have safe vaginal births too. Age alone should not be used as an absolute guide for a planned cesarean.

Although the risk for needing a cesarean during labor does increase as a woman gets older, the research shows that the majority of older women who are given a chance at having a vaginal birth actually do give birth normally. Giving birth under the care of midwives or in a non-obstetric unit setting may improve chances for a vaginal birth in older women who labor.

That is not to say that a planned cesarean is never appropriate in an older mom, only that the decision should be a nuanced one. Risks are higher in those with multiples, with those who have their first pregnancies after 40, and in those who required fertility treatments. Older women who have serious pre-existing health conditions, who have multiple major risk factors, or whose babies do not seem to be growing well have a much different risk profile than an older woman who is healthy, has no pregnancy complications, and has a healthy baby who is growing well.

It would be nice to see further research that provided concrete quantification of absolute risks at various ages in combination with various risk factors. That would be more helpful in guiding decision-making.

Still, all the factors must be considered and birth decisions should be made by the woman and her providers together. The decision should never be imposed on a woman by her provider; age does not negate a woman's right to personal autonomy in her medical decisions.

The bottom line is that routine use of a planned cesarean in older women simply because of age puts that mother's health at risk. Better to have the mother go into labor and see how labor goes. A cesarean can be done in labor if needed, but this very large study shows that routine cesareans for age leads to greater harm overall.

As the authors of the study conclude:
Planned cesarean section is a key factor significantly influencing maternal morbidity and mortality in healthy women with advanced maternal age. When possible, planned cesarean deliveries should be avoided in this population.
For an excellent review of the overall research around pregnancy in ages 35 and older, please see this article.


Reference

Matern Child Health J. 2016 Jul 29. [Epub ahead of print] Effect of Planned Mode of Delivery in Women with Advanced Maternal Age. Lavecchia M1, Sabbah M1, Abenhaim HA2,3. PMID: 27473092
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to determine the prognostic value of planned primary elective cesarean section versus planned vaginal delivery in women with advanced maternal age. METHODS: We conducted a population-based, retrospective cohort study using the United States' Health Care Cost and Utilization Project's Nationwide Inpatient Sample to evaluate maternal outcomes in women with advanced maternal age delivering from 2003 to 2012. Healthy women who underwent primary elective cesarean section constituted a surrogate for low-risk planned cesarean delivery. Logistic regression was used to compare outcomes between women with planned cesarean and planned vaginal delivery. RESULTS: Among seven million births, we identified 442,067 deliveries in healthy women with advanced maternal age. The planned cesarean group comprised 7.96 % of women in the cohort. When compared to healthy women in the planned vaginal group, women in the planned cesarean group had a significantly higher mortality ratio (2.56/10,000 vs. 0.44/10,000, p < 0.01). The planned cesarean group was also at higher odds of numerous complications, including peripartum hysterectomy OR 1.81 (1.36-2.40), p < 0.01, cardiac arrest OR 5.39 (4.54-6.38), p < 0.01, acute renal failure OR 3.39 (1.78-6.46), p < 0.01 and sepsis OR 2.27 (1.25-4.14), p < 0.01. CONCLUSIONS FOR PRACTICE: Planned cesarean section is a key factor significantly influencing maternal morbidity and mortality in healthy women with advanced maternal age. When possible, planned cesarean deliveries should be avoided in this population.


via The Well-Rounded Mama http://ift.tt/2d2bG1C

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Binge Eating Disorder

This post isn’t really about fatness, but I was thinking about binge eating disorder as a diagnosis. You can take a look at the diagnostic criteria here, but it seems to get into a thorny realm because one criterion is a sense of lack of control. To me, that sounds like saying “addictive behavior” while avoiding that phrase. It leads to some questions:

  • Is binge eating itself a problem, or just a symptom of a deeper problem?
  • Does this diagnosis really help people?
  • Is there an issue with the diagnosis being incorrectly applied to fat people?
  • The diagnosis also mentions distress, disgust, etc. If one binges without these feelings, does one have the disorder?

I don’t have a firm viewpoint, but I’d like to hear yours.




via Fatties United! http://ift.tt/2d8e4Vi

September NAAFA Newsletter

I forgot to post the link to this month’s NAAFA newsletter last week; sorry about that. But here it is, and I’ve pre-clicked for you so that the link below takes you straight to the fat news. Enjoy!

http://ift.tt/2dsThhd




via Fatties United! http://ift.tt/2dirukC

Friday, 23 September 2016

Happy Bi Visibility Day!

It’s Bi Visibility Week, and today is apparently also Bi Visibility Day!  In honor of that, a couple quick things:

  • First, hi, world, I’m bisexual.  (I’ve referred to myself as “mostly straight: in the past, and why it took me a while to actually claim the label of “bi” is probably its own post.)
  • Second, Samantha Field is an amazing bisexual progressive Christian blogger who you should read.  She does book reviews deconstructing evangelical favorites like “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and the Christian romance novel “Redeeming Love.”  (Fat acceptance isn’t her focus, but she calls out fatphobia when she sees it.



via Kelly Thinks Too Much http://ift.tt/2cYyTlg

In Defense of Racists?

Last week and part of this week was vacation; my first ever all by myself drive to and from Sudbury to the Sault to visit with family and friends. It was spectacular in that it was perfectly ordinary; coffee with one friend, lunch with another, hitting Pokestops downtown one night and a sleepover at camp another. It feels like I took a million pictures but it was more like 300-foxes at breakfast, a selfie with my neice, storm clouds and a rainbow while on a walk with mom, exposed rock bluffs and the marbled ancient shoreline of my favourite lake. If you're interested an album will be up on the Facebook page soon.

The serenity of my vacation was ruined by Canadian Soldiers of Odin and straight up old fashioned racism. Watching the news in the evening with my dad was challenging to say the least. He's in his 60s and holds conservative ideas and values; I learned that Hillary Clinton is a lying bitch about Benghazi but at least he also thinks that Trump is a sociopath. We can't let in any more refugees because they're dangerous (I wont repeat what he said here but it stunned me) thanks to the news out of Manhattan and New Jersey. Also, the Soldiers of Odin have set up a chapter in the Sault and are trying to start one in Sudbury, and I just can't even because a FB friend of mine is all for that, and I bet a few other people are as well but haven't said so YET. Sure they're doing food drives and picking up needles and, in some cities, patrolling the streets at night as a neighbourhood watch group, but despite ALL the Canadian chapters so far vehemently stating they're not like the extreme anti-immigrant group in Finland, that they're not racist, just good citizens who want to Do Something, I'm not convinced. 

I spent a couple of hours combing the Sault's FB page and found this manifesto written by one of the admins. Here's a small excerpt:

     "What I fight against is the injustice done to Canadians who are forced to change their way of life to accomodate people who immigrate here. I fight against the basic upheaval of our culture and beliefs under the guise of "tolerance" or "political correctness". I see the Canada I grew up in changing every day and not for better. I almost can't recognize the country of my youth where I was free to say "Merry Christmas" without the fear of someone taking offense to my sincere well wishes. Where we accepted those of other cultures openly and freely but we did not allow them to change who we are on a fundemental level as we are today. Would you come as a guest into my home and then demand that I allow you to wear shoes where we do not and tread mud on my floor? This is what is being done to Canada. This is the threat to our way of life. Please, come to my country, enjoy the same quality of life that I enjoy. But don't ask us to change the rules of our house to make you more comfortable."

The two admins public Facebook posts also have racist memes and similar comments. I'm having a bad attack of NIMBY: Not In My Back Yard. It's one thing to be aware of the racism and small-minded conservative thinking in my hometown, it's another thing to see it walking around out in the open wearing a leather jacket. Soldiers of Odin isn't anti-immigrant or racist? Sure, you keep telling yourself that. By deliberately choosing to start a chapter of SOO they've chosen to take on all the garbage associated with them.

On the other hand, they did go out the other night and pick up a shit-ton of dirty needles in a bad part of town. They actually ARE doing food drives and helping out. But would I say the same if they were the KKK and I lived in Alabama? If I wasn't a white chick who grew up here? Or is the extremism not bad enough? Where do I draw the line to say "Fuck the good people?" People like my dad who have spent 30 years doing volunteer work with Search and Rescue, helping out friends and family alike with home improvement projects, and doesn't buy Christmas presents but donates to the Sault Star Santa Fund instead? Is he my enemy? He's definitely the kind of guy on Twitter I'd take apart for his racism. If he showed up in my FB feed arguing that the SOO group in the Sault was a Good Thing and why the heck does the name matter so damn much? I'd feed him logic until his head explodes.

But he's my dad.

The Soldiers of Odin have done something here in Canada that noone else has been able to do before; give a legitimate face to the anti-immigrant, right wing conservative racism that's been lurking at the edges for a while now. It's one thing to laugh at the good ol' boys in the rural areas with their quads, beer, guns, and their backwards thinking. It's entirely different when those people put on a uniform, declare they're a part of a unified front, and start patrolling the streets. And I worry that if dad was 30 years younger, he'd join them.

 

 



via Fat and Not Afraid http://ift.tt/2d38C3Y

Monday, 19 September 2016

Estimating Fetal Weight Increases Cesarean Risk

Image from Wikimedia
One intervention often seen in pregnancies these days is estimation of fetal weight. But does this improve outcomes?

Bigger babies are more at risk for getting stuck, which is called "shoulder dystocia." Although the actual numerical risk for shoulder dystocia with big babies is not very great (and small babies get stuck too), the risk for shoulder dystocia is higher with a bigger baby. Most of the time it is resolved without damage, but in some cases babies or moms are hurt, sometimes seriously. In rare cases, babies even die. Damage from shoulder dystocia is one of the main reasons care providers get sued.

As a result, a big baby make many care providers nervous. So they routinely employ estimation of fetal weight near the end of pregnancy, either by hands-on estimation or by ultrasound estimation. But the critical question is whether estimating fetal weight actually improves outcomes.

Here is yet another study that shows that estimating fetal weight does NOT improve outcomes and that it increases the risk for cesareans. 

In this very large multi-center MFMU study, a baby estimated to be above 4000g (8 lbs., 13 oz.) was more than twice as likely to be born by cesarean. A diabetic mother with a baby estimated to be above 3500g (about 7 lbs. 12 oz.) was more than nine times as likely to have a cesarean.

This relationship persisted even when adjusted for actual birth weight and other variables, showing it was not just about the baby's size. The mere prediction of a large baby (whether baby was actually large or not) increased the risk for cesarean, suggesting that it is the way big babies are managed that makes the difference.

This is a particularly pertinent issue for women of size. Because "obese" women tend to have larger babies on average, care providers can get very anxious about fetal size in their pregnancies. Fear of big baby (and the resulting interventions) is one of the top drivers around the outrageously high cesarean rate in high-BMI women.

Sadly, this study does not directly address the effect of fetal weight estimation in the sub-population of obese women. It would be great to have data actually examining a practice that is so common in the management of obese women.

However, this is a very large and very powerful study showing that the practice of estimating fetal weight is harmful in pregnant women in general.

And it is just the latest in a long series of studies that show that the common practice of estimating fetal weight increases the cesarean rate.

Given that it is such a common practice in obstetrics these days, the practice of estimating fetal size before birth needs to be re-evaluated. 

There are times when estimating fetal size can be appropriate, but most of the time it is more harmful than helpful. Care providers need to stop using it routinely.

And its use especially needs to be evaluated in the management of women of size.


Reference

Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Sep;128(3):487-94. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000001571. Association of Recorded Estimated Fetal Weight and Cesarean Delivery in Attempted Vaginal Delivery at Term. Froehlich RJ1, Sandoval G, Bailit JL, Grobman WA, Reddy UM, Wapner RJ, Varner MW, Thorp JM Jr, Prasad M, Tita AT, Saade G, Sorokin Y,Blackwell SC, Tolosa JE; MSCE, for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units (MFMU) Network. PMID: 27500344
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association between documentation of estimated fetal weight, and its value, with cesarean delivery. METHODS: This was a secondary analysis of a multicenter observational cohort of 115,502 deliveries from 2008 to 2011. Data were abstracted by trained and certified study personnel. We included women at 37 weeks of gestation or greater attempting vaginal delivery with live, nonanomalous, singleton, vertex fetuses and no history of cesarean delivery. Rates and odds ratios (ORs) were calculated for women with ultrasonography or clinical estimated fetal weight compared with women without documentation of estimated fetal weight. Further subgroup analyses were performed for estimated fetal weight categories (less than 3,500, 3,500-3,999, and 4,000 g or greater) stratified by diabetic status. Multivariable analyses were performed to adjust for important potential confounding variables. RESULTS: We included 64,030 women. Cesarean delivery rates were 18.5% in the ultrasound estimated fetal weight group, 13.4% in the clinical estimated fetal weight group, and 11.7% in the no documented estimated fetal weight group (P<.001). After adjustment (including for birth weight), the adjusted OR of cesarean delivery was 1.44 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.31-1.58, P<.001) for women with ultrasound estimated fetal weight and 1.08 for clinical estimated fetal weight (95% CI 1.01-1.15, P=.017) compared with women with no documented estimated fetal weight (referent). The highest estimates of fetal weight conveyed the greatest odds of cesarean delivery. When ultrasound estimated fetal weight was 4,000 g or greater, the adjusted OR was 2.15 (95% CI 1.55-2.98, P<.001) in women without diabetes and 9.00 (95% CI 3.65-22.17, P<.001) in women with diabetes compared to those with estimated fetal weight less than 3,500 g. CONCLUSION: In this contemporary cohort of women attempting vaginal delivery at term, documentation of estimated fetal weight (obtained clinically or, particularly, by ultrasonography) was associated with increased odds of cesarean delivery. This relationship was strongest at higher fetal weight estimates, even after controlling for the effects of birth weight and other factors associated with increased cesarean delivery risk.


via The Well-Rounded Mama http://ift.tt/2cPcO79

On spaces for fat activism and scholarship

As a super fat person living in New Zealand, I am rarely afforded the opportunity to hang out in fat spaces offline. I don’t know many fat people who embrace that identity, so I am always keen to have access to spaces designed by fat people, for fat people, about fat people. One of those yearly spaces (albeit online) is the Fat Activism Conference(FAC). This began in 2014, organised by Ragan Chastain of DancewithFat and Jeannette DePattie from The Fat Chick. This year, I’m pleased to be part of the organising team; doing my part to encourage that speakers are invited from all parts of the world, not just the Western Northern Hemisphere. And I’m excited that my radio show, Friend of Marilyn, has come on board as a Gold Sponsor this year!

2016-08-20-22-47-08

There’s a lot to love about this conference. It’s online, so you can access it from anywhere in the world on your phone or computer. If you can’t join the conference live (like me, due to time differences), you can listen to the recorded sessions at your leisure. Plus, this year they are providing transcripts. FAC runs from 23-25 September 2016.

The keynotes this year are Jill Andrew, Charlotte Cooper, Caleb Luna, and Dianne Bondy. Other speakers include Bevin Branlandingham, Alysse Dalessandro, Rajah Jones, Gloria Lucas, Mirna Valerio, and me (find them all here). One of the things I LOVE about these kinds of events are the opportunities afforded to fat people to share their stories – their truths – their experiences. Fat people are excluded from the narratives around fatness in favour of “experts on obesity”.

Another great aspect is the accessibility of FAC. There are passes at affordable prices, that gain you access to the sessions and transcripts, plus extras. And there is a pay-what-you-can-afford option too! Fat activism is important because fat hate hurts people of all sizes – and while we may not be able to change everyone’s mind about fatness, we can damn sure make it illegal to discriminate against us for our size. And we can strive for a society in which fat people are able to lead their lives the way they want, without apology or shame.

Register now to attend FAC 2016 (this is my affiliate link)!

If you are interested in fat scholarship, then make sure to check out FSNZ16!

(re-posted from the Health at Every Size blog)

Fat Studies: Identity, Agency, Embodiment (FSNZ16) was the second Fat Studies conference I’ve hosted in New Zealand. It provided a space for Fat Studies scholars and fat activists to come together and share pedagogy, scholarship, and activism. It was well supported by my Institution and received a great deal of media attention across New Zealand. Having hosted Fat Studies: Reflective Intersections in 2012, colleagues, admin, and the media alike, were not confounded by the idea of a Fat Studies conference this go around; a Fat Studies conference no longer seems odd, or, as odd, to the people in New Zealand.

cat1We had 22 speakers from eight countries across four continents; 5 of them joined remotely (a New Zealander with a sick child on the day, and individuals from Australia, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom). All of the presentations were well received; one of the most popular was from a postgrad student, Jessica Maclean, who shared at the start that it was her first academic presentation. Our two keynotes were fantastic. Having two keynotes: one academic, Katie LeBesco, and one activist, Substantia Jones, drew attendees from across two crowds and acknowledged that Fat Studies is a discipline heavily influenced by both scholars and activists alike.

While we had presenters from 8 countries, I was disappointed that we were a space that (re)produced white supremacy; both keynotes were white, most speakers and attendees were white. This was further reinforced by the pictures supplied by presenters to use in the promotion material; we only had one picture from a POC to use in our materials. The organising committee had sought to ensure we had POC on the committee, and that our CFP reached out to feminist spaces, student spaces, and spaces for people of colour. We worked especially hard to engage with the indigenous communities in New Zealand. When all was said and done, though, we failed to produce a conference that represented a diverse group of voices. We are working on strategies to ensure that future FSNZ conferences do better, including a commitment to having a POC as a keynote.

Of our registrations, many of those were online registrations.  One of the drawbacks of hosting FSNZ is that many people are unable to attend a conference in New Zealand in person. Online attendees were able to live stream the two days, and submit Qs for presenters through Twitter; online participation allowed access to those unable to join us in New Zealand, and live tweeting allowed for engagement with those not in the room. Live Tweeting of FSNZ16 took place by four individuals in attendance, along with the organiser. Presenters were requested to provide 3-5 tweets (or bits that could be revised into tweets) beforehand; in total, the conference account (@FSNZ2016) tweeted about 325 times during the two days.

Financially, the conference was tenuous. Many academic conferences are now supported or sponsored by industry; this has almost become an expectation within academia. As we do not have a large industry that could support us, FSNZ16 relied solely on registrations and financial support from the University. This makes us vulnerable to budget capacities of the institution, and to the willingness of the fat community to support the conference. In fact, we are still looking for fat community support, ascat2 registration remains open until 30 September for those who wish to access the recorded presentations from the conference. The price has been dropped to 25NZD/18USD, and we hope there are many out there who are willing to support us and ensure that FSNZ happens again!

Before the conference kicked off, a spoken word event was held at the public library. Fat Out Loud was hosted by Dr. Jenny Lee and myself, and we were thrilled to have six readers share stories about being pregnant while fat, being a fat child, negotiating life with an anti-fat mother, rejecting suitors who won’t be seen with you in public, and the role of chairs in the lives of fat people. You can find videos of two of those readings in this playlist. The closing night of the conference, The Adipositivity Project exhibit opened at Te Manawa, a local art gallery and museum.

For me, one of the most valuable aspects of the conference is the opportunity for community. To be in a space for fat people, with fat voices at the fore, is rare for me. As Kath Read of the Fat Heffalump wrote,

cat3But most of all, what I valued the most was the community.  This was a room full of people whom I did not have to educate from scratch.  This is almost unheard of for me – I spend the majority of my time engaging in Fat Activism 101, where I constantly have to justify the right of fat people to have a life of dignity and respect – something I have been doing for almost 8 long, long years.   I did not have to explain to any of the attendees the basic tenets of fat activism.  We spoke a common language, and are approaching the topic from a similar direction.  Not to mention, generally speaking, people engaging in fat studies are not looking to eradicate, cure or prevent fatness.  They’re looking at what it means to live in a fat body, how society treats fat people and how we can maintain fat people’s rights.

If you are able to support Fat Studies scholarship, please register for FSNZ16. You’ll get the full programme, along with recorded presentations from the two days. If you’d like access to the videos, but cannot afford the registration fee, please let me know and I will arrange for a scholarship for you!

 

 



via Friend of Marilyn http://ift.tt/2cZYNZu

The Curvy Girl Lingerie Show

Yesterday, September 18th, I had the privilege of being Tigress’ guest for The Curvy Girl Lingerie Show in Campbell, California. I had the same privilege last year, but this year felt different. This year I wasn’t too nervous or too awkward. I mean, I fully appreciate and enjoy my own special brand of quirky-awkward-endearing. I work with what I got, ya know? No shame in that. But last year I was a bit lost, I think, and most uncertain of myself, for whatever reasons. This time was different because there was more time provided for the models to mix and mingle before the show and I was in the best company around!

I was thinking a bit about what I might wear a few days before, but hadn’t really decided on anything. In fact I was worried I’d come up with nothing very interesting or exciting at all. I was almost resigned to this fact when I remembered that I’d ordered this lovely mint tutu from Society+ during their last flash sale (plus a ten dollar coupon I had found, too)! Without actually trying it at all, I soon started to put together the outfit in my head the night before. Uncertain of colors matching or how hot or cool the weather might be, I sort of forgot about it as I fell asleep Saturday night.

The next morning I fell into a frenzy of productivity, though I haven’t a clue how that happened! Ha-ha! I threw a load of laundry in the washer and headed to Peet’s and Trader Joe’s for my twice monthly grocery shopping trip.  Ohmigosh! TJ’s was full of assholes! Straight up! I found myself doing all I could to resist the pressing urge to actually growl at people, they were that rude! In the end I felt compelled to do something to cleanse my soul. After a frustrating experience taking several attempts to load my paltry three grocery bags into the backseat of my car, I was returning my cart to the corral when I saw an older lady nearly done emptying hers. When she grabbed her last item I snagged up her cart, connected it with mine, and pushed them both into the corral. She was so sweet and expressed her thanks profusely! When I explained how I needed to do something for myself to feel better and took the soonest opportunity with her cart she exclaimed at length my kindness and wished me so well I nearly forgot about how I was treated in that store. We parted with my wishing her, “A fantastic Sunday!” which seems odd to me now but neither of us questioned it. Ha!

I headed back home to finish my laundry and get ready for the Lingerie show! Only, I ended up giving my puggyman a much needed and overdue bath, too, but he hated it. Ha! He’s always good, but I could tell he really wasn’t happy about it at all. After his bath we played a lot and he wore himself out with his silliness. Worked out well since it gave me some needed calm to get ready. Once I decided what I wanted to wear I tried it on to make sure it worked and whoa it did! Better than I could have hoped! This outfit was everything! I had half thought to save the skirt for my birthday but what’s the point in saving things for only special occasions??! Psshht! So I did  my hair, put my outfit together and then did my nails. I went fairly neutral in colors for my nails since my outfit was very colorful.

When I left the house I noticed people stopping and staring at me as I walked towards my car. Thinking little of it I had no idea what would be in store for me the rest of that day. Everywhere I went it seemed this outfit produced a strong reaction! The venue for the show was in downtown Campbell. A quaint area of affluent folks and charming storefronts. I found a parking spot nearby in the shade and was happy for it once I got out of my car and realize what a hot day it was. As I entered the venue and shown my ticket I was immediately accosted, in the best possible way, due to my outfit. This tutu from Society+ was the real winner of the day! I felt like a celebrity! Everywhere I went folks wanted their picture taken with me. It was a bit overwhelming but in such a positive sort of way!

I ran into old friends and made a couple of new ones. It was such a blast! Not that I didn’t enjoy myself last year, but I think I didn’t want to be noticed at all last year and so that sort of colored my experience. But this time?! Whew! I could barely walk two steps without someone remarking on my outfit! And at one point, whilst chatting with Tigress and some friends at the bar, channel 7 news approached us and asked if any of us would care to be interviews. Well, Tigress fell right into it with the reporter and tried to bring me along but I chickened out! She was such a natural though! So full of grace and calmness and charm! It was really something to behold! Then it was show time and she had to dash off to get ready.

The show was fantastic as always! This year they featured 40 models, some professional, most were amateurs and some were outright celebrities in our big fat world. It was truly a success in every way! The food was fabulous (the cheese!) and I had remembered to bring cash for the bar this time and thoroughly enjoyed my two vodka-crans. The air conditioning was perfect and I didn’t sweat a bit! While seated I grew acquainted with a friend of Tigress’ who is also a model. Then two sweet ladies sat beside me and one confessed to following me on facebook. I always worry about acting strangely in such situations, but she and her friend were delightful and we chatted quite a bit before the show.

After the show I waited for Tigress to come out so we could take pictures and we did and I’m so glad! She is a great friend indeed and so good at taking photos and insisting upon selfies and such. I love that woman so much! I cannot even tell you!!! And so here ya go, the outfit of outfits!

img_20160918_173520img_20160918_173548 img_20160918_173534

All of this was of course after one of the very busiest and craziest weeks I’ve had yet at my new job! I organized and put on a traditional Swedish crawfish party called Karftskiva! I had never experienced this particular festivity and it was definitely one of those everything that could go wrong did go wrong adventures, but in the end it was a success and we all had a blast! Note the deep blush of my cheeks after so many shots of aquavit! Whew! Whatta night!!!

img_20160908_164203kraftskiva-2016

My job is so hard, y’all! Sometimes I have to snuggle very tiny puppies…it’s the worst!!! Ha-ha!
img_20160902_155952 img_20160826_164041

I’m feeling on top of the world, if not incredibly tired, too. I’m really quite happy, though. And reading a lot of Jane Austen. I think I’m on my seventh of her books at the moment. I’ve gotten the girls on my team to say things like, “Her countenance is most agreeable” and the like. Ha-ha!

Thank you so much for reading. Do consider submitting a guest post if you’re so inclined.

Rad Fatty Love,
<3
S

I’m looking for guest posts!!! Please consider submitting!

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (body positive always, funny sometimes):
http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS  Or get the same “shared” content on twitter: @NotBlueAtAll
I also have an Instagram, I rarely use it but would like to more…encourage me to?:
http://ift.tt/1NpWevR
And as always, feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers:
notblueatall@notblueatall.com
If you would like to give money to support this blog via paypal, you may do so here: http://bit.ly/1P2cZgO



via I'm Not Blue at All http://ift.tt/2degB2a

School Dress Code – No Fat Chicks

know fat chicks

Design by Kris Owen

Brookhaven Elementary school in Mississippi prioritized students not seeing a 9 year old girl in a “too snug” t-shirt, over that girl’s education.  She was removed from her classroom and put into in school suspension her mother then brought another outfit which was also deemed inappropriate.  The school has verified that they are standing by their decision.

Let’s start with pictures of the “offensive” outfits:

 

dress-code-1 dress-code-2

According to the family, the school’s issue with both outfits was that the shirts were too tight and “Because of my nieces’ body, if she wears a larger shirt it comes past her knees, which is in violation of the dress code.”  According to The Daily Leader, the school’s dress code states that:

“…all tops must be size appropriate and should neither be overly baggy nor overly tight” and that “tights or legging/jeggings worn as outerwear, spandex, bike shorts, bathing/swimming wear, sleep wear (including pajamas). are not permitted.”

First of all, the idea that clothes are “size appropriate” is super messed up (as we discussed regarding prom fat shaming  here and here) and the fact that they wrote fat shaming right into their dress code should tell us a lot. This takes the issues in which dress codes are used to sexualize girls and prioritize boys having a “distraction free environment” over girls getting an education, and adds fat shaming to that mix. These dress codes also fail to take into account the difficulties of finding (and affording) clothes for fat kids that the kids like and that aren’t “too loose,” aren’t “too tight” etc.

But mostly what I want to say is that this kid is fricking nine years old and she deserves to be able to go to school to learn in pants and a t-shirt without having to worry about being dragged out of class in front of her peers and put into in school suspension because of a ridiculous fat shaming dress code and the sizeist teachers and administrators who choose how and when to enforce it.

Want to learn more about how to deal with sizeism like this?  Join us at the Fat Activism Conference:

THE FAT ACTIVISM CONFERENCE:
TOOLS FOR THE REVOLUTION! 

This year we have a kick ass line up of speakers talking about everything from Re-Imagining Fashion from an Inclusive Framework” to “Activism for the Introverted and Anxious” to “Building Fat Patient Power While Accessing Healthcare” and moreThis is a virtual conference so you can listen by phone or computer wherever you are, and you’ll receive recordings and transcripts of each talk so that you can listen/read on your own schedule.  We also offer a pay what you can afford option to make the conference accessible to everyone. The Conference will be held September 23-25, 2016

Click Here to Register!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Check out the Body Confidence Blog Carnival! Eleven days of awesomeness

Like my work?  Want to help me keep doing it? Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, 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.



via Dances With Fat http://ift.tt/2ddtqJY

Thursday, 15 September 2016

the HAES® files: On Having a Place for Fat Scholarship

by Cat Pausé, Ph.D.

Fat Studies: Identity, Agency, Embodiment (FSNZ16) was the second Fat Studies conference I’ve hosted in New Zealand. It provided a space for Fat Studies scholars and fat activists to come together and share pedagogy, scholarship, and activism. It was well supported by my Institution and received a great deal of media attention across New Zealand. Having hosted Fat Studies: Reflective Intersections in 2012, colleagues, admin, and the media alike, were not confounded by the idea of a Fat Studies conference this go around; a Fat Studies conference no longer seems odd, or, as odd, to the people in New Zealand.

cat1We had 22 speakers from eight countries across four continents; 5 of them joined remotely (a New Zealander with a sick child on the day, and individuals from Australia, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom). All of the presentations were well received; one of the most popular was from a postgrad student, Jessica Maclean, who shared at the start that it was her first academic presentation. Our two keynotes were fantastic. Having two keynotes: one academic, Katie LeBesco, and one activist, Substantia Jones, drew attendees from across two crowds and acknowledged that Fat Studies is a discipline heavily influenced by both scholars and activists alike.

While we had presenters from 8 countries, I was disappointed that we were a space that (re)produced white supremacy; both keynotes were white, most speakers and attendees were white. This was further reinforced by the pictures supplied by presenters to use in the promotion material; we only had one picture from a POC to use in our materials. The organising committee had sought to ensure we had POC on the committee, and that our CFP reached out to feminist spaces, student spaces, and spaces for people of colour. We worked especially hard to engage with the indigenous communities in New Zealand. When all was said and done, though, we failed to produce a conference that represented a diverse group of voices. We are working on strategies to ensure that future FSNZ conferences do better, including a commitment to having a POC as a keynote.

Of our registrations, many of those were online registrations.  One of the drawbacks of hosting FSNZ is that many people are unable to attend a conference in New Zealand in person. Online attendees were able to live stream the two days, and submit Qs for presenters through Twitter; online participation allowed access to those unable to join us in New Zealand, and live tweeting allowed for engagement with those not in the room. Live Tweeting of FSNZ16 took place by four individuals in attendance, along with the organiser. Presenters were requested to provide 3-5 tweets (or bits that could be revised into tweets) beforehand; in total, the conference account (@FSNZ2016) tweeted about 325 times during the two days.

Financially, the conference was tenuous. Many academic conferences are now supported or sponsored by industry; this has almost become an expectation within academia. As we do not have a large industry that could support us, FSNZ16 relied solely on registrations and financial support from the University. This makes us vulnerable to budget capacities of the institution, and to the willingness of the fat community to support the conference. In fact, we are still looking for fat community support, as cat2registration remains open until 30 September for those who wish to access the recorded presentations from the conference. The price has been dropped to 25NZD/18USD, and we hope there are many out there who are willing to support us and ensure that FSNZ happens again!

Before the conference kicked off, a spoken word event was held at the public library. Fat Out Loud was hosted by Dr. Jenny Lee and myself, and we were thrilled to have six readers share stories about being pregnant while fat, being a fat child, negotiating life with an anti-fat mother, rejecting suitors who won’t be seen with you in public, and the role of chairs in the lives of fat people. You can find videos of two of those readings in this playlist. The closing night of the conference, The Adipositivity Project exhibit opened at Te Manawa, a local art gallery and museum.

For me, one of the most valuable aspects of the conference is the opportunity for community. To be in a space for fat people, with fat voices at the fore, is rare for me. As Kath Read of the Fat Heffalump wrote,

cat3But most of all, what I valued the most was the community.  This was a room full of people whom I did not have to educate from scratch.  This is almost unheard of for me – I spend the majority of my time engaging in Fat Activism 101, where I constantly have to justify the right of fat people to have a life of dignity and respect – something I have been doing for almost 8 long, long years.   I did not have to explain to any of the attendees the basic tenets of fat activism.  We spoke a common language, and are approaching the topic from a similar direction.  Not to mention, generally speaking, people engaging in fat studies are not looking to eradicate, cure or prevent fatness.  They’re looking at what it means to live in a fat body, how society treats fat people and how we can maintain fat people’s rights.

If you are able to support Fat Studies scholarship, please register for FSNZ16. You’ll get the full programme, along with recorded presentations from the two days. If you’d like access to the videos, but cannot afford the registration fee, please let me know and I will arrange for a scholarship for you!

 


Cat Paus̩ is the lead editor of Queering Fat Embodiment (Ashgate). A Fat Studies Researcher, her research focuses on the effects of spoiled identities on the health and well-being of fat individuals. Her work appears in scholarly journals such as Human Development, Feminist Review, HERDSA, and Narrative Inquiries in Bioethics, as well as online in The Huffington Post and The Conversation, among others. She hosted Fat Studies: Reflective Intersections in New Zealand in 2012, and Fat Studies: Identity, Agency, Embodiment in 2016. Cat is also involved in sociable scholarship; her work is highlighted in her social media presence, Friend of Marilyn, on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, iTunes, and her blog. Her fat positive radio show, Friend of Marilyn, is travelling the world this year Рmake sure your city is on the tour!

c.pause@massey.ac.nz   Skype: phdcatnz   Twitter: @FOMNZ



via healthateverysizeblog http://ift.tt/2cpDOub

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Alright, I’m Going There…What is Butch/Femme exactly?

Open thread here on the topic of butch/femme. What is it? How can you identify a real butch or a real femme? How can you identify a real example of any “type” of lesbian out there? I have seen a number of views presented, from purely essentialist to purely chosen/presentation based. Yet I can’t seem […]

via Dead of Winter http://ift.tt/2cKt3o3

Back to the Future?

The poplar across the street has leaves as bright yellow as miniature suns; they remind me of the fabled trees of Lothlorien. I noticed a few peeking out a couple of weeks ago and may have cringed a bit. Ryan laughed and said "Why are you always surprised to see the leaves changing at the end of August? Every year you're caught off guard." In part it's because while I'm always actively on the search for signs of Spring in February, I'm denying the change to Fall in late August/September. Ryan loves fall; the cooler days and crisp nights, the gorgeous fall colours on the trees in our area (Northern Ontario puts on quite a display!) and back to school for the kids.

This is Kat's first year of school while Gabe is a pro headed into grade 5. The bus picks them up at the end of the driveway and drops them off the same; the girl next door is babysitting for us on days we're not home soon enough (which is most of them) so we don't have to futz around with the after-school program or anything. Both kids had excellent first days, though they were nervous about making friends and finding their way around. Katherine is 'sweet and adorable' according to the agenda I get, and Gabe's teacher told Nana that he's quite stubborn but bright. They're both off to a great start and I couldn't be happier.

This is a big change for me as last year there was a lot of taking the kids across town on city buses; my mornings are my own again and it's amazing. I have time to tidy and read or write, get my head in order before going to work. If this is what the rest of the year is going to be like, I'm 100% ok with this. Before I was a parent I had no idea how much work parenting was, how organized you have to be, how on top of everything. I struggle every day to feel like I've done My Best and done Enough to make sure the kids are ready to face the next day, nevermind the rest of their lives. Already, after only a few days, having the mornings back has helped me center and focus on what's important; being prepared and having a routine we can trust. This is next level Adulting for sure.



via Fat and Not Afraid http://ift.tt/2cteeWf

I'm still fat, I'm still dancing, things are happening

It's nearly three years since I went to see Project O dance a piece called O. This sparked a chain of events that has seen me become a dancer. I always did dance, at clubs and around my flat, but things are different now. I have worked with choreographers and I've been part of a show, I have been welcomed into dance community in London, I have been in a film, I have been commissioned to make pieces, I've been to classes, I've been reviewed in the blimmin' Guardian.

Dance is now a big part of my life. By this I mean that at nearly 48 I am really getting to know my body and understand more about how it is a means of expression and feeling. I'm making space for this through thought and action. I'm annoyed that it has taken so long! Hopefully I have plenty of time left to refine what I'm learning.

I go to the studio regularly and it's exciting every time. Fat people are so used to being surveilled that being in a space where you can experiment with movement without being overlooked or judged, in complete privacy, feels like absolute freedom.

I made little digital timelapse films of these sessions, which condenses three hours into 20 seconds or so. I edited them together into a short film. Even though it verges on comedy and I'm trying to challenge the idea that fat people dancing must always be the joke of the century, I really love seeing us zip around so quickly! The short film gives you some idea of what might happen when two fat dykes spend time in a dance studio. It is fun, funny, and there's a lot of other stuff going on too.



By the way, I always come away from a session thinking that I hardly moved, but then I see the timelapse and recognise that there is a great deal of movement. I suspect this is one of the ways in which I have internalised fatphobia: the erroneous belief that thin dancers move dynamically and constantly, fat dancers do not.

One of the pieces that my partner and I have been developing is a dance called But Is It Healthy? This is the question that people always ask whenever I talk about fat stuff in public. Sometimes I place bets with friends and colleagues about whether it will be the first question.

When people ask me if fat is healthy or not, they are looking for a yes or no answer, and they expect someone to have that answer, which they believe is based in expert scientific research. But it is an impossible question to answer, not least because fat people are a diverse group, health is constructed in myriad ways, and expert science is not incontrovertible.

I have become sick of this question. Whilst I cannot control who asks it, I can make choices in how I answer. So now I have a dance that I can do whenever it arises, and this feels a lot more satisfying.

I will be dancing a longer version of But Is It Healthy? at The Wellcome Collection's Obesity gallery, part of their permanent display. I have many things to say about this space, but more about that some other time. The dance will be supported by a lecture, original music and a zine. More details coming soon.

Wellcome Collection Friday Late Spectacular: Body Language
Friday 4 November 2016

via Obesity Timebomb http://ift.tt/2ce4DE0

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Come for the Clothes, Stay for the Stomach Amputations?

WTFReader Jen was in her local mall, trying to get herself some clothes at Torrid, a store that caters to plus size people.  What she got instead was a big sign advertising a free seminar about weight loss surgery. (To be clear the surgery is expensive, deadly, and can lead to horrific short and long term side effects, but the seminar about it is free.)

Now, I think that people are allowed to get weight loss surgery. It’s legal and it’s their body, they can do what that want – get weight loss surgery, jump out of a helicopter wearing skis, amputate their arm, whatever.

I don’t think that these surgeries meet the criteria for ethical, evidence-based medicine, but that’s a subject for another time. Even if you think that WLS should be an option, it does not follow that it’s ok to advertise it outside a store where fat people are going to buy clothes.

torrid-1 torrid-2

The idea that all fat people are seen as a “target demographic” for a surgery that is objectively dangerous is messed up. The fact that spending tons of money convincing us to have this dangerous, often deadly, surgery forms a profit center for companies like Mercy Care (and I don’t think that a facility that profits off this surgery should probably have to call themselves Have No Mercy Care) is more than a little ethically problematic.

The fact that anyone – whether it was “Mercy” or the mall – would force fat people who are trying to buy clothes to walk past a sign that advertises a dangerous, often deadly, medical procedure is just totally fucked up.

It’s bad enough that doctors suggest that fat people put our lives on the line to get this surgery, but I think it crosses a whole other line when fat people can’t buy a shirt without being given the message that our bodies somehow require (expensive, dangerous, deadly) surgical intervention.

In good news, activists were all over this.  Jen posted about this on Facebook, and while people made suggestions that included everything from permanent marker, to a tasteful drape, to re-purposing a Torrid dress,  someone called the mall.  They were told that the mall had already received calls and that the sign had been moved immediately.

It sucks that fat people are seen as a target demographic for the weight loss industry, but the good news is that if we are a target market, then that means we have influence. The more we work together, the more we throw our weight around, the less nonsense we’ll have to put up with.  Thanks to the actions of a few, every fat person who wants to buy some clothes at Torrid at this mall will do so without becoming the target of the predatory marketing of a dangerous and often deadly medical procedure!

Want to learn more about throwing your weight around?  Join us at the Fat Activism Conference:

THE FAT ACTIVISM CONFERENCE:
TOOLS FOR THE REVOLUTION! 

This year we have a kick ass line up of speakers talking about everything from Re-Imagining Fashion from an Inclusive Framework” to “Activism for the Introverted and Anxious” to “Building Fat Patient Power While Accessing Healthcare” and moreThis is a virtual conference so you can listen by phone or computer wherever you are, and you’ll receive recordings and transcripts of each talk so that you can listen/read on your own schedule.  We also offer a pay what you can afford option to make the conference accessible to everyone. The Conference will be held September 23-25, 2016

Click Here to Register!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Check out the Body Confidence Blog Carnival! Eleven days of awesomeness

Like my work?  Want to help me keep doing it? Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, 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.



via Dances With Fat http://ift.tt/2cVZjqB