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Argh, me hearties


I am a huge fan of Kate Harding's Shapely Prose (have I added it to my links list yet? Well, I'm going to), and I heartily endorse her blog for anyone struggling with loving acceptance of their bodies. I usually read it to keep up on size issues, but occasionally the comments are pure comedy gold:

From this entry on the asshat who keeps Oprah on a terrible yo-yo diet instead of allowing the poor woman to understand that with all her accomplishments, she is also a beautiful woman at any size:

spacedcowgirl, on May 5th, 2009 at 9:46 pm Said:
(But yo-yo dieting isn’t bad for you, so no problem! You just join WW over and over again until you die!)

I originally typed “yo-ho” dieting by mistake. I should write a book called The Pirate Diet.

MacNabb, on May 5th, 2009 at 10:40 pm Said:
Mmmm… salt meat and hardtack full of weevils. I’m in!

spacedcowgirl, on May 5th, 2009 at 10:46 pm Said:
Don’t forget the scurvy! It does hurt to eat when your gums are bleeding, so more than likely you’ll be able to “shed quite a few pounds” that way.

A Sarah, on May 5th, 2009 at 10:48 pm Said:
spacedcowgirl and MacNabb, be serious. Do you have any IDEA how many POINTS are in a tablespoon of WEEVILS? You can’t expect to lose weight that way. Better go for the breast of parrot cooked in pam with steamed broccoli and despair.


Steamed broccoli and despair - I've eaten that dish many times.

You know, I read Kate's blog not only because I love what she has to say, but because I still struggle with my own programming about what is beautiful and what is not, including, to my great shame, issues with fat. I struggle every day. I weigh (currently) 144 lbs (thanks, Lyrica!), I'm 5'3", I'm a size 8-10. I am, by all measurements of size except the one promoted by the media, normal. Slim, even.

Yet, when I look at my belly and hips, I see fat. How insane is that? and if I, at a size many women torture themselves to try and achieve, think I'm fat, then exactly who is being rational about fat? I'm taking a wild guess here, and saying: Not the Media. And I think too many of our opinions as a society are formed by looking at the 1% of women who are "thin enough" to be models or movie stars. The women on Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives range from size 0 to size 4. How many of you know a bunch of women who are a size four? That's ten sizes below the national average of 14.

Yes, I struggle. But I know that the way to be happy about my size and shape is to love it as it is. I'm working on it. There is nothing inherently virtuous about being thin, just as there is nothing inherently virtuous about excercising for two hours a day and eating nothing but steamed vegetables. Eat healthy and stay active by all means - I am a big fan of fruit myself, and often prefer it over chocolate, but that doesn't make chocolate "bad", no more than it makes fruit "good". However, assuming that this life shouldn't be enjoyed in all its variety is madness (and, if you're religious, a waste of an incredible gift from the deity of your choice). Life is not something to be endured, and your body is not something to be hated. One could even argue that consistent self-hatred is bad for one's health; it's certainly murder on one's social life.

Just like Kate says in her Don't You Realize Fat is Unhealthy? post, "Poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle do cause health problems, in people of all sizes. This is why it’s so fucking crucial to separate the concept of “obesity” from “eating crap and not exercising.”

Don't confuse my fat acceptance with an endorsement of bad lifestyle habits - but understand that the two do not go hand in hand. Also understand, that as a person who has kept 60+ pounds off for over 10 years, that I am a freak. My eating habits were badly distorted, and I ate to self-medicate the depression I suffered from my teenage years through my mid twenties. I grew up with very fat-phobic family members, and these issues contributed to make me fat, even though genetically, I appear to be predisposed to be fairly slim. But I've been fat, and being fat put me in a much more hostile environment than being thin. ***

And stay away from the side dish of despair, no matter how many people want to push it on you.

***I know that some of you will want to post and say "but being thin is no picnic", but can we not play Oppression Olympics today, please? I know that women get shit at every size, but there's a level of privilege that comes with being thin that fat people don't have, and I'm talking about fat people issues today. 
 
p.s. buy her book!

Comments

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finocchio
May. 7th, 2009 03:06 pm (UTC)
Adding to the SP love. Be sure to get your readers to get the new book by Kate and Marianne, Notes from the Fat-O-Sphere.

I look at myself and I see fat. That's because I am fat. And I'm ok with that. :) Fat should be a descriptor, much like "tall" or "red-haired" or "swarthy". Not an insult. Maybe someday.
sskipstress
May. 7th, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
I use "fat" and "short" to describe myself because that's what I am. When my friends hear this, they tell me I'm not fat or short. It's not that they're blind, it's that there's a negative connotation associated with both words, and my friends don't like to see me put myself down. I'm not putting myself down, though. The words are descriptors and for me, they are accurate.
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situveuxmoi
May. 7th, 2009 03:12 pm (UTC)
"the two do not go hand in hand."

THIS.

I think if more people were on that particular idea, we'd all have healthier body images.

One of my favorite models? Crystal Renn. She went from being an anorexic-for-the-job model and having a major health problem because of it to one of the most gorgeous models out there (at least to me). She looks healthier to me than any of those women on Grey's Anatomy. Except Sara Ramirez. She's pretty cool too.

Good Post. :)
kass_rants
May. 7th, 2009 03:16 pm (UTC)
"Do you have any IDEA how many POINTS are in a tablespoon of WEEVILS?"

Oh! I'm dying. DYING! LOL
attack_laurel
May. 7th, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC)
I know, right? Funny, funny people. :)
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baronessv
May. 7th, 2009 03:17 pm (UTC)
The women on Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives range from size 0 to size 4. How many of you know a bunch of women who are a size four?

I've been thinking about this a lot as I've been catching up with Heroes over the past week. I imagine a lot of people look at the cast and think "Oh what a pleasantly diverse group of people!", but all I can think is "Yeah, but these women aren't even remotely representative of any group of women I've met." Sure, we've got two fat guys, but we all know it's "okay" for men to be fat. It would really make my millenium if someone would put together an ensemble cast that actually contained a variety of female body types. But I'm not holding my breath.
sileas_1
May. 7th, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
If someone did put a variety of different sized women in a tv show, you can bet that the fat one would be the secretary providing the comic relief, or depressed or oppressed in some way while the skinny one would be a corporate executive of some sort.
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elizabethnmafia
May. 7th, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC)
Thank your for choosing this topic today.

This morning while I was at the gym doing my workout a group of about 5-6 women came into the weight section for their own workout. They were obviously together and loudly chatting about American Idol. Well, American Idol turned into Biggest Looser which turned into a discussion of one of their friends who had lost a lot of weight but now was very judgemental about what other people around her ate. Some of the women were understanding and some didn't think it was ok. And then one of the women said "Well, I'd rather be bitchy and thin that fat and nice".

Her statement really struck me, and not in a good way. I think the worse part was that several of the other women were in agreement with her. It was upsetting to hear and I've never been so happy that I was done with my workout. Where are we that sentiments like this are ok? I don't think it can be anywhere good.
attack_laurel
May. 7th, 2009 03:25 pm (UTC)
I am the attack laurel, I know all and see all - and write about it at just the right time. It's part of my mysterious aura. :P

(Kidding. But I'm glad it made you feel a bit better. I'd much rather not be a bitch at all, thanks. *eye roll*)
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Since I can't edit my post . . . . - susana_stitches - May. 9th, 2009 12:53 am (UTC) - Expand
wulfsdottir
May. 7th, 2009 04:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks for being a mirror* today. I'm burning my BMI chart. Well, okay, really, I'm just going to delete the file, but with the same ferocious determination that would be involved with burning it if it were in paper format.

I've passed along a link to the BMI Project, and added Notes from the Fat-O-Sphere to my list of books to obtain.

*There are two ways of spreading light; to be The candle or the mirror that reflects it. -- Edith Wharton
reasdream
May. 7th, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC)
Amen to the "separate 'obese' from 'not eating health and being lazy'"!!

Amazingly, a med student I know said she was in lecture and they were looking at possible treatments for some disease/syndrome and one of the items listed was "weight loss; the doctor teaching pointed to that and said "this? ignore it. sure, it might help, but if a person comes in who is overweight, you saying 'lost weight' isn't going to magically make it happen." Even if he meant "they aren't going to lose it because you tell them," at least some people in the medical profession are finally realizing that "Lose Weight" is not a sufficient prescription!
nitesongofafish
May. 7th, 2009 04:11 pm (UTC)
pirate food
Just for your information, there _is_ a Pirate Diet book out there -- of a sort. Fans of the Patrick O'Brien novels of early-19th-century British Navy life have come up with a cookbook featuring shipboard recipes: "Lobscouse and Spotted Dog."

http://www.wwnorton.com/pob/spottedd/welcome.htm

Or only eat foods starting with the letter "Rrrrrr!"

- Johannes
the_gersemi
May. 8th, 2009 07:10 am (UTC)
Re: pirate food
My favourite would have to be the Millers in Onion Sauce. Yum.

I think my pet rats are giving me very disturbed looks right about now...
mistressrhi
May. 7th, 2009 04:46 pm (UTC)
My fat is irrational. I'm thinking about getting it some therapy. (grin) It certainly doesn't pay any attention to the advice I give it!
pinkleader
May. 7th, 2009 04:56 pm (UTC)
I admit that I had small hopes that weight loss would be one of the many benefits of adopting Ladybug. No weight loss that I've seen yet, but I am stronger (specifically in thighs and arms) and have more stamina. When working a desk job, walking at least a mile a day makes a difference.

stupid desk job...
noxcat
May. 7th, 2009 04:58 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, eating crap and not exercising does go hand in hand with obesity nine times out of ten. It is the most common cause of obesity by far. Medical conditions that cause obesity are rather rare, and a lot are treatable.

Obesity is a visible sign that something is wrong, whether it be an emotional issue or a medical one.If you look at the bmi, I am just barely under the 'obese category' (I managed to drop this past moght with a 6 pound weight loss driven by surgery and exercise) But the bmi isn't an accurate calculator, and the medical establishment is beginning to realize that.

But I'm not talking about the size 14 woman - so she's rounder than a model. Men actually prefer that. I'm talking about the truly obese - the size 22s and bigger. These are the people it's truly bad for, and in no way can it be considered acceptable. It puts a strain on the cardiovascular system. These are the people that need to figure out what is going on to cause the symptom of obesity, and take steps to correct it.
finocchio
May. 7th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
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aeliakirith
May. 7th, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
I think it was a post from you that led me to Shapely Prose, for which I thank you. A lot.
wombatgirl
May. 7th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
You've often posted about size issues and about race issues - have you done much musing on the combination of the two? Have you noticed how how acceptable it is to be large seems to vary by race?

(I'm hoping this comment will spark a little discussion, but I'm about to get on a plane, so I have to wait to see what happens until tonight, darn it!)
_medb_
May. 7th, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC)
Have you noticed how how acceptable it is to be large seems to vary by race?

Your comment reminds me of a friend talking about the area I now live in (she used to live in the same area- it's near the area called "Little Jamaica" in our city)- she'd walk down the street and get catcalls from Jamaican men and she's not huge but definitely not thin. Apparently they were particularly impressed with the 'extra junk in the trunk', as she put it. ;)
ashti25
May. 7th, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC)
Timely for me, as well, since I have been furious at my doc's office for using shame as a weight-loss "motivator". I want to ask them (sarcastically) if that works.... I'm guessing it doesn't, since the sign by the scale is obviously YEARS old.

Sometimes conversations about these issues seem to slip towards that old game....

"I have a medical condition and a healthy appetite.

You sometimes eat for emotional reasons.

She is a disgusting pig who wolfs down everything in sight and never stirs her lazy a$$ off the couch."
sorcha715
May. 7th, 2009 05:32 pm (UTC)
What about someone who gains 100+ pounds in 3 years and is now fat and bitchy?
attack_laurel
May. 7th, 2009 05:58 pm (UTC)
Come sit by me and we'll be just awful about everyone else behind their backs. ;)
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