CNN’s Size Acceptance Fail

CNN posted a short video about a Facebook page used to mock fat people in a certain area code.  You can watch the video here – there’s a 30 second ad in the beginning.

What I appreciated:

Calling attention to the fact that posting people’s pictures without their permission with the intention of mocking them is wrong, that it’s bullying, and that it needs to stop.

What I thought was highly problematic:

The narrator emphasizing that the girl featured in the video is fat due to medical issues.  This ties into the notion that in general, people are more tolerant of fat people if they know the person is fat due to reasons beyond their control.

Newsflash:  It doesn’t matter why someone is fat – mocking them is never okay.

The narrator emphasizing that the girl featured in the video has been losing weight, because we have to paint her as the “good fattie” (to quote Dances With Fat) who is falling in line with society’s expectations that fat people must be actively working on weight loss.

Newsflash:  It doesn’t matter if she’s been actively trying to lose weight or not – mocking people’s weight is never okay. 

The narrator stating that the girl featured in the video is using this experience to motivate her.  This sends a really contradictory message, and one that’s dangerous to Size Acceptance – it’s basically saying that, while bullying people for their weight is wrong, it’s also motivating.

Newsflash:  Fat shaming is not motivational.  It causes stress, depression, is demotivating, and contributes to social stigma.

* * * * * * *

Thank you, CNN, for attempting to call attention to rampant fat shaming.  But let’s try a little harder to get Size Acceptance right next time.

Octopus tattoo!

I’ve been working on getting a large tattoo since March.  Back in 2011, I got my first tattoo:

Before - Copy

It says:

I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.

It’s from a poem called Diving Into the Wreck by Adrienne Rich, who died not too long after I got this tattoo.

This year, I decided I wanted to complement it with an octopus.  Octopi are wicking fucking smart and incredibly beautiful.

Anyway, here’s the outline of the tattoo, done back in March:

Outline2 - Copy Outline1 - Copy

Little by little, I got it filled in.  I have some minor medical issues, so I did this in very short sittings.  This was the first stage…

Stage1 - Copy

And then we did a little more…

Stage2 - Copy

And finally, it’s done!

Octo1 - Copy Octo2 - Copy

I cannot adequately describe how much I love this piece, how incredible my tattoo artist is, and how proud I am to be able to have this piece of art.

It’s also not doing much to cure my love of tattooing.  Next – more work on my right arm!  :->

Airbus demonstrates how humans are no longer treated as human

CNN posted an article about the patent recently filed by Airbus for saddle-style seating which succinctly summarizes how capitalism has gotten out of control.

The image of the seating alone is disturbing – aside from being ragingly sizeist, it basically treats people like cattle, cramming as many as possible into as small a space as possible with no regard for comfort or personal space – in other words, it’s an illustration of what happens when the almighty $ becomes more important than human dignity.

The article rightly points out that most patents never become a reality, so we shouldn’t all panic at the future of the airline industry.  (Okay, maybe we should, but not for that reason.)

What is upsetting to me is the fact that this idea even made it to a patent.  That somewhere, company executives, who likely have the sort of salaries that allow them to fly first class, decided that this was an idea worth fostering.  When I look at this picture, I find it horrifying.  But other people looked at it, and thought it was a good idea – and that’s frightening.

This is why the airline industry bothers me, why I dislike Big Food and Big Pharma and a number of other industries as well – because it puts profit over human health and human dignity.

Consumers are partially to blame for this.  We’re strangely complacent about some hugely problematic, systematic abuses – I think partially because of the rhetoric we’re all fed (and that some still vehemently believe) that we have the greatest political and economic system in the world.  Calling out its failings and abuses undermines this sort of zealotry, and the rest of us?  I think we’re so used to being treated as subhuman that we don’t find it surprising.  We placidly accept what we should be outraged about.

Because when there’s so much to be outraged about, you can’t sustain the outrage.  No one can.  So you just give up, and accept.

There are a lot of things which I will fight to get people to accept, but there are also things that we should not accept.  Maybe instead of worrying so much about what the fat girl next door is wearing, or what the gay couple down the street might be doing, we need to direct our righteous indignation in the right direction, starting with corporations.

Lots of studies have been done about the sociopathic tendencies of people who rise to the top in large businesses.  And I think a lot of corporations have demonstrated that, as entities, they are largely sociopathic ones.  We need to keep in mind that sociopaths don’t care about the dignity, health, comfort, and rights of others – they only care about themselves.

When we allow sociopathic people and sociopathic entities control over major industries, bad things begin to happen.

Let’s give Airbus some feedback on their design, shall we?

You can write them here:

Find them on Twitter at @airbus

Find them on LinkedIn here:

Leave a note on their ‘Careers’ Facebook page here: 

This week in fat shaming news

A piece from xoJane about being wined, dined, and then fat shamed on a first date. People – if you’re not attracted to your date that’s fine, but no need to give them detailed reasons why you don’t like their body.

This isn’t fat shaming, but I wanted to post it – a writer was body shamed for looking too old (she’s 59).  She shares the amazing detail her date when into about what she could do to make her body more attractive to him – some of his suggestions are disgustingly offensive.  She also writes about how shocked he was when she told him never to contact her again – and how he told her she was overreacting.  I’m so proud of her for how she handled it, and that she shared her story with others.

If someone body shames you for any reason…tell them that they can fuck right off, and go find people who will love you, appreciate you, and support you in positive, healthy ways.

In case we haven’t already made it clear, lots and lots of studies show that any shaming behavior is *not* positively motivating – it’s demotivating.  And fat women are shamed, on average, three times a day.

I was proud of E! Online (and MTV as well!) for posting this story about a nineteen year old woman who believed her instagram was deleted due to her size.  She had been posting pictures of herself of bikinis, and bra/panties – no different or any more revealing than a lot of thinner women using the same site.  Luckily, Instagram realized their mistake and restored her account.

But this is something that women have to continue to fight – this notion that it’s okay for *some* women to dress a certain way, but not all women.  This notion that it’s okay to police and report bodies that we don’t like.  Newsflash: All women are allowed to wear bikinis.  All women are allowed to post photos of themselves in said bikinis on Instagram.  It’s your right to dislike it, but it is not your right to try to make them to stop.

This rather short Salon article touches briefly on the sexist undertones in fat shaming.  Fat shaming happens more often to women, because what we look like still matters more than who we are and what we do.

This article out of Ireland accurately reflects the difficulty in talking about, and assigning responsibility to, obesity.  They talk about the culture of silence in Ireland, the AMA’s ruling and how Irish medical experts feel about it, and the fact that Big Food is partially to blame for targeting lower socioeconomic groups.

I don’t agree with everything in this article, but I think it’s important because Irish experts have noted that you can’t just blame an individual – there are a number of factors at play – and you can clearly see the conflict happening over who is accountable for the fact that bodies are getting larger and larger.

Huffington Post UK explains why being slightly overweight is better than yo-yo dieting, and being thin doesn’t mean your body isn’t storing fat in really bad places.

Europe is on a roll!  Cosmo UK calls out the Daily Mail for allowing a hateful article about how fat people should hate themselves just a week after running an article about why fat shaming is harmful.

Fat shaming happens to men, and to athletes – here’s a link to the story about MLB player Prince Fielder being fat shamed.  As the article points out, you can be athletic, healthy, and still have visible fat on your body.

We need to think about what goes into our food

I’m beginning to veer into a health specialization within my psychology degree, and being that I have an interest in size acceptance, those things intersect in many ways.  One of those ways is food – I spend a lot of time thinking about how food is marketed in America, and food availability.

Theoretically, food is plentiful and available.  In reality, there are a lot of cheap and unhealthy foods that are plentiful and available, but healthier options?  Sometimes not so much.

If you need any sort of special diet, for example, you’re going to spend more.  If you have Celiac or are otherwise gluten intolerant, your food bills go way the hell up.  If you’re like me and can’t digest gluten, dairy, or soy, not only are your options limited, but your grocery bills are higher.

It was having to go gluten free that got me interested in how food is processed and marketed in our country – it’s ridiculous the foods that can contain wheat products.  It’s often used as a filler.  And because I had to read labels, I began to, you know…read the labels.  And I wasn’t always too impressed with what I saw.

Just because something says it’s healthy, contains healthy ingredients, or has an organic label, doesn’t mean it’s actually healthy or organic.  And the FDA is not on the side of the public when it comes to helping people understand what they’re consuming.

Here’s some stuff you should read about what’s really going on with the foods you eat:

This article explains that a lot of healthy foods are actually full of sugar, and too much sugar is a big problem.  But we’re not looking for sugar – the author points out that we think about health in isolated terms.  In other words, we’re focused on one or two things – fiber, calcium, whole grain, etc. – that we don’t look at the big picture of what we’re consuming.  Often, healthy and organic foods are misleadingly loaded with sugar.  Even natural sugars in excess are bad.

Start looking at how much sugar is in the things you buy – even stuff that you wouldn’t think has a lot of sugar.  You’ll be surprised how much sugar you’re actually consuming.

Even the wine industry is not exempt from criticism these days – one CEO is pushing winemakers to be more transparent in their labeling processes as well.  Apparently winemaking isn’t always the pure artisan industry that many people think it is.

A really great article about Monsanto, and how it is being (slowly) exposed for what it really is, as people become more and more aware of what’s being put in their food.  It talks a lot about propoganda and GMOs as well.  There’s a reason why Big Food is desperately trying to keep transparent labeling laws from going into effect nationwide – because if people know what’s in their food, they may opt not to buy it.  They may demand change.

An educated public is a public with power.  They don’t want us to have power – they don’t want this country to be a democracy in its truest sense.  We’re a country run by corporations.

Corporations value profits over the greater good, and there are a lot of people with a lot of money fighting really hard to make sure they can keep misleading the public in order to increase their profits.

The best way to challenge this industry is to keep questioning it.  More and more people are beginning to question whether GMOs are really a good idea.  More and  more people don’t want meat from animals given hormones.  More and more people are beginning to become squeamish about products with a lot of high fructose corn syrup.

This is progress.  Keep educating yourselves – the only person who’s going to look out for your health is you.

Big Food and the FDA sure as shit don’t care.

A fat acceptance advocate’s review of ‘Tammy’

Over the weekend, I went and saw Tammy, the new Melissa McCarthy movie which she co-wrote with her husband, Ben Falcone.  And while I agree with some of the criticisms that the movie has been receiving, I’m happy about what the movie did – as well as what it didn’t do – with its title character.

*Warning* – Spoilers ahead. 


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