This week in fat news…

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In case you haven’t heard, there’s fat shaming in the new Scooby Doo.  Also, apparently a size 8 is considered fat.  And their attempt to throw in a “looks don’t matter” moral at the end of the story?  Superficial at best…and certainly doesn’t undermine the idea that being fat is bad.

Short Q&A about some truths behind obesity research.

Interesting review of a book called Fat Gay Men, which I present without comment as I am neither a man or gay, and have not yet read the book.  (Any gay men want to comment?)

5 tips from a fat positive activist on how not to be an ass when interacting with a fat girl.  I love the general tone of this piece – she’s blunt and unapologetic.  :-)

Interesting article about why nuts are awesome and you should eat them that also drives home the point that fat phobia is so rampant, that we fear all fat – often at the expense of our own health.

This week in fat news…

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This author was fat shamed during a breast cancer scare – luckily she was fine and the doctors who treated her condition after this weren’t total doucherockets.  Has anyone ever had an experience like this?  How did you react?

Republican congressman fat shamed in political ads.  Come on, guys, even Republicans should be treated with respect.  Weight has no bearing on competence to do a job.

PsychCentral explains how fat shaming does not do anything positive.  It actually causes harm.

Australian PSA receives backlash for fat shaming rhetoric, claims it’s not about fat shaming.  Here’s another link about it – it’s disgusting on multiple levels.

And because I like to end on a positive note, here’s a photo set celebrates a variety of real bodies in all different shapes, sizes, and colors – NSFW!

Fat Activism Conference!

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So there’s a Fat Activism Conference happening this weekend!  It’s totally online, and it’s totally affordable!  And included in the conference fee is access to recordings of all the sessions, in case you need to miss a few or can’t log in over the weekend.

You can read more about it and register here.

Clearly the advantage to participating live is the ability to interact, but if you’re at all interested in fat acceptance, size acceptance, weight stigma issues (particularly in healthcare) and how fat/size acceptance intersects with other stigmatized groups, I highly recommend you register, and listen to the recordings later on.

Check out the schedule – it’s a wealth of really great topics and issues.

And here are the organizers, Ragen Chastain and Jeannette DePatie.  I’m so grateful that they’ve put together such an amazing schedule of topics and speakers.  *virtual applause!*

Here’s why asking for help is hard

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This whole “ask for help” rhetoric that we’re seeing a week out from Robin Williams’ suicide is continuing to bother me.  Granted, it’s well-intended, and I definitely appreciate that people are being encouraged to ask for help, especially when resources for getting help are listed.

But here’s the thing – it’s not always as simple as asking a friend or family member for help and support.  It’s not always as simple as picking up the phone.

I can only speak from my experience, so that’s what I’m going to do.  Here’s why asking for help is very difficult for me…

[Note: Content about abusive relationships ensues.]

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The world isn’t ready for fat bodies (but fat bodies are ready for the world)

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I was out with a group of people last night that involved alcohol and unfiltered conversation.  At some point, we were talking about the different effects that different sorts of alcoholic beverages have on us, and one coworker commented that when he drinks tequila, he inevitably ends up naked.  He commented at that point, and again a second time later in the evening, that “the world isn’t ready for that yet.”

[Note: NSFW content - post includes nude photos.]

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Atheists don’t believe in nothing

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It’s always a mixture of amusing and annoying when theists say that atheists don’t believe in anything.  Just because you take the supernatural out of the mix doesn’t mean that we’re left without ethics, a moral compass, a sense of right and wrong, or the desire to do good.

I just means we don’t believe there’s a supernatural reason why we should do these things.  We don’t believe, for example, that there’s an angry god waiting to punish us if we don’t conform to certain standards.  We don’t believe in lightning bolts from heaven, either literally or figuratively.

To illustrate this point, a friend of mine posted this on his FB timeline yesterday…

Fish

(Source of meme.)

Sinful fish?  I don’t think so.  And I don’t think any Christians think so either – it’s a little atheist humor that illustrates the overarching point that we just don’t think there’s some bearded father-figure sitting in a celestial kingdom cataloging the faults over every single human being (or sea creature) on the planet.

Atheists believe that humans can be good and productive and experience growth without any supernatural powers to tell us what and what not to do.

And as the number of atheists is growing, we’re organizing and beginning to create mottos, missions, visions, communities, and generally structure ourselves a bit.  A major example of this is Sunday Assembly, also known as the Atheist Church, a godless congregation whose motto is live better, help often, wonder more.

They say, “We won’t tell you how to live, but will try to help you do it as well as you can.”

They also say, “Everyone is welcome, regardless of their beliefs – this is a place of love that is open and accepting.”

Love, tolerance, helping others, having a sense of awe and reverence, celebrating life – wow, do these not sound shockingly similar to what a lot of Christian communities profess to promote?  And all of that from a group of godless heathens!  ;-)

Point is, we’re not devoid of values.  We just don’t factor the supernatural into them.

Getting help is not as easy as it seems

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Earlier this year, we lost the amazing actor Philip Seymour Hoffman to a drug overdose, and for a while, it brought the nature of addictions to the forefront.

Yesterday, we lost another great soul – Robin Williams.  While Hoffman’s death was ruled an accident, early reports are that Williams may have committed suicide.

Since then, my twitter and Facebook feeds, as well as many news sources, have blown up with exhortations to people to ask for help and seek treatment.  And while I know that people mean well, it’s a bit misguided to assume that everyone is able to ask for help, or even realizes that they need it.

(Note: Content safe for work, no visuals, but frank discussion of depression and suicide.)

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Michael Brown did not deserve to die

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Yet another unarmed young black person is dead because white people, and particularly cops, feel that using excessive force against black people (and other people of color) is not only okay, but necessary and totally excusable.

Stereotypes allow us to dehumanize others.  They’re all on drugs.  They all have guns.  They all have prison records, or if they don’t, they will.  They’re all dangerous, and will rob/hurt/kill you if given a chance.

It’s all bullshit.

Today, Jezebel posted an article called This is Why We’re Mad About the Shooting of Mike Brown.  It begins,

As a black person in America, it’s getting exhausting to still have to explain, in the year 2014, your right to exist in this country. To explain that you are a human being whose value sits no lower than anyone else’s. To explain our basic humanity. And perhaps, worst of all, to explain exactly why we are outraged.

Gawker’s article is called How “Reasonable” Should the Public Be About the Mike Brown Shooting?

Gawker’s article echoes my thoughts when I read about the protesting and rioting and anger that happened at the candlelight vigil.  I kept thinking…why shouldn’t they be pissed?  Why shouldn’t anyone be pissed?  If you’re not pissed, there’s something wrong with you.

Mike Brown’s death may not have happened the way the cops said – cops who, conveniently, don’t use dashboard cams.  Many witnesses are saying he was shot from 35 feet away, and had his hands up.  He was not a threat from 35 feet away with his hands in the air.

Mike Brown may or may not have confronted the cop – I don’t know.  But it seems clear that he wasn’t killed during any sort of actual scuffle – if there was one, he was killed after it had already happened.

Mike Brown was not only gunned down with multiple bullets, but his body was left lying in the middle of the road, uncovered, for hours.

Many of his friends and family those images of him lying in a pool of blood.

This was a human being.  Not a sub-human, disposable thing – this was a person, and his life mattered.

I do agree with the messages of non-violence – both the NAACP and Mike’s mother are asking people not to respond with violence.

But I don’t agree that people need to be calm.  I think people need to be incredibly fucking pissed off.

I’m glad that the senseless deaths of black people at the hands of white people with guns – be they cops or just people who claim to be “standing their ground” – are finally incurring outrage.

I’m glad that the Renisha McBride trial ended with a guilty verdict.

I’m glad that the FBI is getting involved in investigating Mike Brown’s death.

I’m glad to see things like the “IfIWasGunnedDown hastag on Twitter, raising awareness of how black people are portrayed by the media – and of the stereotypes that they have to face everyday.

I hope that there is some sort of justice for Mike Brown, who would have been starting college today.  Instead, his family is planning his funeral.

I hope there’s justice, but justice isn’t enough.  We need to see some real change in this country.  This HAS to stop.

Forgiveness and Disengagement

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Moving on means just that – to move beyond, to move past, to not stay in the same place.  But I was talking to a classmate this weekend about people who sometimes can’t do that, and how it’s okay to disengage from those people.

What forgiveness means to me is that it’s a process whereby one lets go of negative feelings, to the point where perhaps they don’t re-embrace their offender, but they at least aren’t feeling angry, vengeful, bitter, and are no longer dwelling on the offense.

Self-forgiveness is much the same, except that when it comes to yourself, do you need to go through the process of re-embracing and liking yourself in order to really be able to move on.

I’ve gotten pretty good at it.  I spent a long time not liking myself, mostly because for a long time, I was told that I shouldn’t, in both direct and indirect ways.  As I got older, I began to realize that it’s okay to be imperfect, it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as we learn from them.  It’s even okay to feel bad sometimes, to have regrets, to feel depressed, to cry.

And, eventually, it’s okay to forgive yourself for the things you maybe didn’t do so well, or the times you weren’t your best self.

I think we probably all know that, right?

But here’s a somewhat more controversial statement – it’s okay to forgive yourself, even when others think that you shouldn’t.

This is a recurring theme in my life, but it’s something I’ve become more adept at recognizing so that I can respond in a way that maintains my goals, growth, and self-care.  There was a time when I would allow others to draw me back into the past, and get into arguments about what I did, or why I did it.  I allowed myself to be put in a position where I was constantly having to justify and re-justify myself, and it was leading me to keep making the same bad choices over and over and over.

Now when I see that happening, when I see someone trying to draw me back into a place where I’m expected to justify myself or apologize yet again for things that I’ve already addressed, I politely let that person know that I’m no longer willing to dwell on the past, or on the particular incident, event, or time period in question.

The reason for this?  If someone hasn’t moved past something, if they’re hanging on tightly to that time eight years ago when you said that thing to them, or generally cataloging your faults and bringing them up whenever they feel freshly wounded, then there’s nothing you can say that’s going to help let go of that catalog and see you for who you are right now.

If someone else hasn’t forgiven you, no amount of groveling, shaming, or rehashing is going to help that.   Someone who wants to see you grovel is someone who wants to see you feel humiliated – which means that that person is perhaps stuck in a place of bitterness and revenge.  And that’s unfortunate, but it doesn’t mean you have to go there with them.

If someone still has issues with something you’ve done in the past, that’s a journey that they need to undertake, and there are times when you need to step back and allow them to do that on their own.

And as much as it seems like you should take responsibility for someone else’s feelings – I mean, I am a big proponent of not allowing intent to excuse impact – in this case, the reality is that you shouldn’t.

If you’ve evaluated your life, your actions, learned, made changes, and experienced growth – that’s excellent.  If you’ve acknowledged past faults and made a commitment to change, that’s all you can do.  And while I know that some people feel like they need the approval and/or forgiveness of others, I personally feel like it’s not essential.  The experience of others is just that – it’s their experience, and while you may perhaps have some impact on it, you have no control over it.

I’m not saying don’t apologize or don’t try to make amends.  I think those things are important.

But if you find yourself in a situation where no amount of apologizing is enough, where someone wants to constantly bringing up what you’ve done, or if you’re dealing with someone who just wants to throw the past back in your face every time they get mad at you, using it as a weapon…then it may be time to disengage, and allow them to have their experience without it derailing the growth you’ve experienced.

This is, like most things, easier said than done.  But  believe me when I say that I know from personal experience how ultimately rewarding it is to free yourself of people who will not allow you to evolve as a human being.

Thanks for dropping by!

I’m seeing an increase in hits to my blog due to my recent essay in Full Grown People – and I want to say, thanks for stopping by!

I mainly blog about Size Acceptance, current events, a little bit about health and food and that sort of thing.  Sometimes I get a little angry (previous entry case in point), but mainly I try to practice tolerance and respect.

I also write a bit about Atheism and religion, and likely will continue to do so.  As I work for a Catholic school, it’s something that’s on my mind a lot.

Gluten free food now actually gluten free (but assholes are still assholes)

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Go America!  You finally caught up to every other westernized country in the solar system by finally declaring that gluten free food has to be – wait for it – gluten free!

And kudos to Jezebel for covering this story, when a lot of other news sources aren’t.

My problem with Jezebel’s coverage is the idea that my legitimate medical issue has been “co-opted by hipster fuckbuckets and other assorted morons (to the point where some equally-big assholes insist that Celiac isn’t a thing or automatically assume people are lying when they claim to have it)”.

Definitely yes to the latter.  Why there are so many passionate Celiac and gluten intolerance deniers out there is beyond me.  Why people care so much about what others eat or don’t eat, or how people manage their various symptoms is really, really baffling.  If you can eat gluten, and you want to eat gluten, then eat it.  If you can’t or don’t want to, then don’t.  Why is this even a debate?  Really, why do people get so heated about it?  Do you really have nothing else to do with your time than sit in comments sections denying that gluten intolerance exists because you don’t have it and you read a summary of a study that this one guy did so clearly you know everything and you must be right?

I love the “Well, I’ve read the studies” people – no, you’ve read studies (or, more accurately I suspect, summaries of studies) that support your opinion.  You have not read the gamut of literature on gluten, wheat, and grains.  You know how I know that?  Because I do read it.  If you can’t do more than say “But the guy who came up with gluten intolerance debunked it so clearly I’m right and you’re wrong!” – that’s when I move the fuck along, because you’re not worth wasting my critical thinking skills on.  That’s what I call infomercial rhetoric.  (I’ll let you noodle that one on your own.)

But as much as the infomercial-rhetoric spouting gluten intolerance denier annoys me, the first half of that Jezebel quote that bothers me more, because it feeds into the second half.  It’s not “hipster fuckbuckets and other assorted morons” that upset me as someone who can’t have gluten.  It’s people who call people who refrain from gluten for non-medical reasons “hipster fuckbuckets and other assorted morons” that really piss me off.

Judgmental much?  Why the fuck do you care why someone doesn’t eat gluten?  I can’t have gluten for medical reasons, and I don’t care that other people refrain for non-medical reasons.  So why do you care?

Really, why do you care?

If you say you can’t or won’t eat gluten, I respect that.  I don’t need to know your motive for refraining from gluten, nor do I think it matters.  Your body, your choice.  You decide what goes into it and what doesn’t, and other people’s opinions about your medical or distinct lack of medical issues doesn’t fucking matter.

You hear that, gluten intolerance naysayers?  Your opinions don’t fucking matter to those of us who don’t eat gluten.  We’re going to refrain from gluten whether you like it or not, and there is nothing that your overblown and desperate sense of righteous indignation can do about that.

Really – I want to know why it bothers some people so much that someone might not eat gluten.  And why just gluten?  Why is there no uproar about lactose intolerance?  Or people who claim to be allergic to cilantro?  WHERE ARE THE PRO-CILANTRO PEOPLE?  WILL SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CILANTRO!!!

See, this is where I really feel for vegetarians and vegans, because they take a lot of shit like this.  I personally disagree with a lot of veg views on animals – I have a close friend who’s vegetarian because of personal beliefs about animals, and I disagree with some of what he believes.  But I would never, ever shame him or anyone else for what they choose not to eat – or why they choose not to eat it.  I support my friend, his lifestyle, and all the research and thinking and writing he’s done about an issue that he feels is important.  In fact, when he launches his blog, I will be the first one to help signal boost him.

Why?  Because I’m a decent human being who doesn’t think that everyone needs to think, act, and eat exactly the way I do.  I’m a person who is capable of being supportive of people whose views don’t 100% align with my own.  I’m proud of him.  I want to see him add his voice to animal rights and food processing issues and vegetarianism/veganism.

But that’s just me.

So congrats, America, for finally making gluten free products actually gluten free.

Now, about that raging judgmental asshole problem…

An Atheist Among Christians

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I have an essay published in Full Grown People about what it’s like to be an Atheist working at a Catholic university. You can check it out here!

FGP is a great publication that publishes essays about full grown people in transition, dealing with growing pains, and coming out the other side a little bit wiser, or at the very least, a little bit more contemplative.  I’ve really enjoyed the essays I’ve read there.

 

Stuff you should read (esp. if you’re white)

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So there are two articles up on Salon that talk about racial issues which I think are important to keep talking about.  Just last night, I was talking to someone about we have this myth in America that equality is something that’s been achieved and that sexism and racism are things of the past.  Even as a white woman, I can clearly see a lot of areas in which American needs to major improvements to how women are treated.

Same for race – we pay equality a lot of lip service, but it is by no means consistently practiced.

(Content:  Totally safe for work, no visuals.  Discussion of racial and gender issues.)

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