Tag Archives: fat

S(Monday) Scraps 106

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1. WEIGHT: How not to be a dick to your fat friends. Spot on advice from Marianne at XOJane.

2. HOLLYWOOD: This clip is old, but man is it good. Watch Dustin Hoffman have a few on-camera epiphanies while talking about dressing like a woman in Tootsie.

3. RACE: Kiese Laymon on multicultural writing, what it means to be a “real black writer,” and the state of modern publishing. For Guernica.

4. ABORTION: My second favorite dude comedian, Rob Delaney, writes for the Guardian about why he’s pro-choice.

5. SEX ED: The always excellent Marianne Cassidy on the sex education she wish she’d had (but never got, because she grew up in uber-Catholic Ireland).

6. WRITERS: Roxane Gay at The Rumpus applies the Vida test to race and publishing. Guess what percentage of NYT book reviews were of non-white writers?

Related Post: Sunday 105: Bodies that matter, old cities, tiny islands, literacy tests

Related Post: Sunday 104: Bookish pie charts, bro Venn diagrams, the Girlfriend Zone, etc.

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Filed under Body Image, Books, Education, Gender, Hollywood, Media, Really Good Writing by Other People, Sex

Watch This: Lindy West Explains Away the Trolls

It will get sad before it gets better, but man it’s so good.

Lindy West is one of my faves on Jezebel these days, and to her point, I had no idea what she looked like until this video. Who gives a shit, right?

Related Post: Anita Sarkeesian and a story I’ve been avoiding.

Related Post: The worst of all Facebook pages.

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Sunday Scraps 77

1. GENDER: The Stranger has brilliantly skewered Rolling Stone’s annual “Women Who Rock” issue by turning the tables and throwing the dudes a bunch of ridiculous softball questions.

2. WEDDINGS: As a soon-to-be maid-of-honor, I was tickled horrified by this bride’s instructional email to her bridesmaids (Gawker).

3. FOOTBALL: Now that this ref strike is over, hear how it went from the scab side with a Time interview with replacement ref Jerry Frump.

4. POLITICS: Apparently, some foreign governments are learning about democracy through viewings of The West Wing. The Atlantic explains why this is perhaps not the most realistic model…

5. WEIGHT: Author Jennifer Weiner writes for Allure. What’s a fat mom to do when her thin daughter pulls a Mean Girl move and calls another girl fat?

6. RAHIEL: Urban Cusp founder Rahiel Tesfamariam, born in Eritrea, now an internet celeb, sums up her epic tweet series on her path to success.

Related Post: Sunday 76: fast food nation, Zadie Smith, xkcd, and Vice Magazine.

Related Post: Sunday 75: Moms-in-chief, best word ever, library tattoos

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Filed under Art, Body Image, Gender, Media, Politics, Really Good Writing by Other People, Sports

Conan and Holley

I’m Olympics obsessed, of course. So many things I love in one place, ancient history and inane traditions, global unity and bizarre nationalistic fervor, and the appreciation of bodies for pure achievement. Triple win!

Holley Mangold

With that effusive enthusiasm out of my system (as if), I do want to talk about one little hiccup in Olympics coverage. Here’s a tweet from Conan O’Brien about American weightlifter Holley Mangold:

I predict 350 lb. weight lifter Holley Mangold will bring home the gold and 4 guys against their will.

Yikes. Really Conan? This is the kind of low-blow hack I expect from Daniel Tosh or Rush Limbaugh. Let’s take it apart a bit, yes?

1. Fat People Are Funny – This comedy trope is so old (think Yo Mama jokes) that you get zero points for tapping into our collective fascination with laughing at fat people. We are trained to think that adding weight to someone makes them an ideal target for jokes (Monica’s fat suit on Friends, Gwyneth Paltrow in Shallow Hal, Rob McElhenney’s real weight gain for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), but this lazy comedy at it’s laziest, and offensive to boot. Would we tolerate someone pointing and laughing at a black character just because he’s black?

2. Nobody wants to have sex with a fat person: Another age-old, boring, inaccurate trope. People have preferences about their partners, sure. Many people prefer thin people, either because that’s where their libido takes them, or because that’s what their friends, the media, commercials, etc. tell them is what they want. All you have to do is scratch a little below the glossy surface, and you’ll find that people’s tastes are as varied as there are people. It’s called the internet, do a little research.

3. All Women Care About Is Attention From Men: Obviously, in the midst of Holley Mangold’s epic, amazing Olympic dreams, the thing she’s most concerned about is convincing men to have sex with her. Her coach calls her “one of the most athletic people” he’s ever met. She played football, she breaks barriers, she is the definition of a bad-ass. She may bring home a gold medal because she can lift 562 lb above her head, and hold it there. Read that number again. I mean, seriously, what? But no, obviously, the things she’s most concerned about this week is which Michael Phelps wannabe she can bone.

4. Male Rape Would Never Happen! Hilarious! We’ve talked about this a lot lately, but there’s a very specific kind of rape joke that is funny, and it’s one that undermines rape culture, not one that makes fun of rape victims. This is not that kind of joke. There are male rape victims in the conventional “stranger in an alley sense,” and there are men who have been coerced, manipulated and compelled into sex they did not want to have. The double whammy of Conan’s joke is that a) men always want to have sex and so male rape isn’t real, except b) they’d never willingly have sex with a fat woman. Yowza.

There’s probably more in there to address. There’s a point to be made about hypersexualizing overweight people (she needs four men to satisfy her!), and something about dehumanizing (this has a distinct cave-woman vibe, right?), but I’m kind of all ranted out.

My point is this: We spend 3 years and 48 weeks out of every four years focusing on women’s bodies as though they are solely objects of desire. There is no better opportunity than the Olympics to focus on the awesome capabilities of the human form, and the tremendous dedication of athletes that attempt these insane feats. For two weeks every two years, can we just focus on that?

Related Post: What is your body for, and how Title IX changed my life.

Related Post: Fat-only yoga studios?

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“Fat Habits” and “Skinny Solutions”

MSNBC has a super annoying list called “7 ‘Fat Habits’ That Keep You Fat.” First of all, let’s congratulate them on the witty title…. I mean damn… that is some professional shit right there.

Funny...the called it "Today Health" not "Today Thin"....

Second, let’s take a closer look at the list. The tips are not bad and I don’t doubt that they are nutritionist-approved. It recommends that you eat at the table, not while standing. No screens during mealtimes. Plate it, don’t munch from the bag. This all sounds like smart, easy, logical ways to approach “becoming a more mindful eater.”

The only part I take issue with (and I only take issue because it is so damn pervasive), is that each of these habits is labeled “Fat Habit” and the response is labeled “Skinny Solution.”

We’ve talked about this before. Skinny is not the same as healthy, and fat does not automatically equate with unhealthy. “Healthy” absolutely has to be a more robust measure than a number on a scale. I’m not suggesting weight isn’t a component, only that it is one of many and arguably not the bottom line.Telling people they have to be skinny in order to be healthy is not productive, and it might discourage people who do want to make changes but don’t see the “skinny” moniker as attainable.

How hard would it have been for MSNBC to rework this piece with the bad habits labeled “unhealthy” and the good habits labeled “healthier?” Being a more mindful eater is probably valuable advice to huge swaths of the population (self included), but why do we have to go fat-shaming while we’re at it?

Related Post: This woman is a great example…. she runs 50Ks and she’s not a toothpick.

Related Post: Ugh… but discriminating against thin people is also not the answer. Tell it to this yoga studio.

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Sunday Scraps 15 (Special Hamptons Edition)

Note: Nothing is really special about this Sunday Scraps edition except that I’m writing it from the Hamptons… because I’m cool like that. More accurately, because I have cool friends who are willing to share.

1. COMICS: Artist Megan Rosalarian Gedris is examining gender in comic books with a neat little illustrator trick. She’s keeping the ridiculous costumes, but replacing the bodies of the sexed-up female superheroes with male counterparts just to see what happens.

2. LANGUAGE/BASEBALL: Letters of Note has this excellent memo from 1898 instructing players on inappropriate language. On the no-no list “you prick eating bastard.”

3. BOOKS: The Guardian has a list of the hundred best non-fiction books. I have read a mere five. Pathetic.

4. SEX: My adoration for Ariel Levy knows few bounds. I very much enjoyed her essay in Guernica about her two first times. It’s a meditation on the meaning of virginity and intimacy in this day and age.

5. BODY WORDS: Great post by Virginia at Never Say Diet about the word “fat” and its many connotations. When did an adjective that describes a figure become such a derogatory term for all things horrible?

6. GAY: From the NYT, fascinating account of an “ex-gay” who went from editing a gay magazine in San Francisco to Bible school in Wyoming.

Related Post: So few posts since last Sunday (secretaries, Biggest Loser, Detroit demolition etc), but such is life! Vacation trumps blogging!

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Filed under Art, Body Image, Books, Gender, Media, Really Good Writing by Other People, Sex