Archive for the 'Other Issues' Category

25
Mar
09

Does our body dictate what kind of person we are?

Tonight, I was walking out of my cultural theory class and I had a conversation with one of my classmates that went something like this:

Classmate: My legs hurt.

Me: Why?

Classmate: I’ve been working with this personal trainer. I’m trying to become a better person.

Me: Through working out?

Classmate: Well, I can’t treat other people right before I learn how to treat myself. 

My first thought, as I suppose you can tell from my immediate reaction, was that going to the gym is not the way that I would love my body. This is because gyms contain 2 things that I dislike most in life: (1) exercise machinery and (2) large groups of women in spandex. 

Secondly, I don’t think there is anything wrong with working out or attaching a certain level of pleasure to it (although I don’t understand it). But, it seems to me that there is something very dangerous about employing it in this context. If we gauge our own ethics by the way we “treat” our bodies, do we then make external judgments about the bodies of others?

Being a vegetarian I feel like I walk that fine line. Although, my commitment to vegetarianism has more to do with my impact on the world than that of my own body I have to be very careful about not making judgment about what other people choose to put into their bodies. 

My classmate, who is also my friend, derives her belief about exercise from a distinctly religious context. She, too, is a vegetarian, because her religion equates diet with the way she treats her body as well as the way she treats the world. She extends this tenet into a belief that working out has some sort of attachment to morality based on this relationship. 

Did I mention that I just got out of cultural theory class? Sorry if my academic brain took over there. The point it that this is certainly not the first time we have all heard this logic before. That looking good by this narrow, exclusionary standard of beauty makes one a better person. And when it is explicit in that way it is very easy to critique because it seems so transparent. But the subtle ways that these ideas permeate our culture at so many levels…That really scares me.I really believe that it is this subtlety that allows violence against people who don’t fit these arbitrary standards to not warrant the sort of reaction that those of use in the fatosphere would expect. 

And because I was not able to share my thoughts with my friend during our short goodbye, I am so grateful to be able to flesh out my thoughts here. So, with that I am going to attempt to recover from the worst flu and get some rest.

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23
Mar
09

Taking a Bite of the Big Apple Part Three: The Serious

TRIGGER WARNING: PLEASE READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

It has taken me some time to get this post up, partly because my thoughts are so scattered, and partly because I’ve had to confront some of my own inner demons. But I think part of my continued healing comes from reading other folks’ experiences and taking the time to face my own.

So, in the first post of the series I told you all about my outfit I wore to an event I went to my first day in NYC. The event was a book launch and panel discussion for an amazing book called The Cries of Men: Voices of Jamaican Men Who Have Been Raped and Sexually Abused, written by O’Brien Dennis.  This book is raw, and I had a rough time reading it. Sometimes, it got a bit too real, too much…sometimes people’s prejudices, which Dennis outlined beautifully, got to be too much for me and I had to put the book down and walk away before I lost all hope in humanity.

But I wanted, no, needed to finish it.

As I listened to Dennis’ story, my heart broke. It broke for him, it broke for other men who share his experience, and it broke for women who have been through this too.

For Dennis, this book was groundbreaking in more ways than one. Men rarely admit to being sexually abused, or hell, abused in any capacity because it isn’t seen as “manly”. In Jamaican culture, homosexuality is frowned upon (a vast understatement, let me tell you), and the publishing of this book basically insures he can never go back home.

As I listened to the panel, my mind wandered a bit.  What makes me so sad is that society is structured to where those who suffer traumatic experiences are not allowed to by societal norms to share what they’ve been through and ask for help. They’re made to feel ashamed, dirty, worthless, the whole nine. They’re made to feel that the abuse was their fault, that they somehow wanted what happened to them.

It ought not be this way. Period. Yet every day another boy or girl, man or woman goes through the exact same thing, and maybe one or two might seek help.

Now, this post is short, because I don’t want to ramble. I want y’all to take my snippet in, go read the book, go read other books like it, and do what I’ll be doing: go find a place and volunteer. Be that shoulder for someone who is being shamed into silence.

And if you are someone who is/has been that person shamed into silence, please, please, don’t go through this alone. There are resources and I beg of you, seek them out and take them.

09
Jan
09

Updates and Happy New Year!

I hope everyone enjoyed saying goodbye to 2008. I know I did.

So, I’ve been absent for some time. I don’t think I realized how time consuming retail is during the holiday season. Or how angry customers can be.

Yeah.

Outside of that, I’ve had some other projects I’ve been working on. I’ve got a cookbook in the works. I don’t have an agent or anything yet, just an idea and a pile of recipes I’ve been trying to make some sense of. I might post some of the potential ones here, if y’all don’t mind my experimenting on y’all. 🙂

I’ve also signed on to help BuddingStarlet edit her first novel she’s got in the works. More on this good news as it develops.

My co-blogger passed all of her classes last semester with flying colors! Woo!

Now that’s all out of the way, on to bloggy business. I have about three posts or so in the works: one health related, and two shopping related (yay clothing reviews!). And since I’ll be doing a bit of traveling this year, I’ll be doing some airplane related pieces as well.

One of my resolutions this year was to dedicate more time to doing things I love. So, expect to see much more of me in 2009 than you saw in 2008! Anything you want to see me tackle this year? You know the deal: drop me a line in the comments or send me an email.

Have a great weekend, y’all. See you next week.

03
Nov
08

How I’m Gonna Unplug From The Election

Well, I’ve been avidly following the election, not that I’ve had much of a choice in the matter, and I’ve found something that helps me cope.

PUPPIES!

I’ve been watching these cute little guys and gals for about a week, and my favorite time to watch is when I get so overloaded with the foolishness of the election and politics and the economy and OMG I NEED TO MOVE OUT OF THE COUNTRY…yeah. Click my bookmark, click the play button, and watch squirmy puppies.

So, while I’m thinking about it, y’all that can vote, have voted/will be voting, right? Now, even if you’re not fond of the two candidates in the forefront (because there are other people running, of course), feel free to write someone in. Like the car keys I don’t have as I don’t have a car (they prefer to be called Fictional Car Keys.) Or you can write in my mom’s actual car keys (FashionableMom’s Car Keys), and that’ll be just fine. Just vote. And don’t get caught up with the projected winner and decide to stay home. A projection is a speculation without proof. So go provide the proof tomorrow, and then come home and watch squirmy puppies and wait till dawn. Because I sure won’t be watching election results tomorrow. I think I’d develop an ulcer.

29
Aug
08

Mixed Bag

I have been very busy these past couple of weeks. I’ve finally decided on school (when I send the application, I’ll expand on that a bit more), I’ve been working extra hours (yay more money to live on and save!), and all in all, I’ve been having some major happy body days. It’s all been coming up lovely at FashionableNerd central, y’all. How have y’all been? Feels like I haven’t spoken to y’all in a month of Sundays!

Now, tomorrow, I go to finally buy my bridesmaid’s gown. I’ll be going to David’s Bridal, and hopefully I won’t have any problems, be it from the salespeople or my diet-mind. Something about trying on formal gowns just sends it into overdrive. But my mom will be there with me, so I’m sure I’ll be ok. Deep breaths.

Last night I witnessed history. I thought I’d have more to say about it than that, but I’m still kinda speechless and spellbound by the speech and the man who delivered it. I am so excited to be old enough to appreciate a Black man running for President, and excited that he is really and truly a viable candidate. And while I won’t be voting for her running mate, I’m excited that Sarah Palin, a woman (!) is running for VP on the Republican side. I’m being positive today, so the fact that I think that McCain is pandering? That’s gonna have to wait till next week, during the Republican National Convention.

Besides a wonderful bit of feminisim coming in that McCain post (and y’all know IntellectualFeminist will have PLENTY to say on that), I’ve got some other things in the works for y’all. Since things around here are settling into a more manageable rhythm, I’ll be able to post much, much more, especially about the election, racism, and of course, my raison d’etre, fat.

So, to end this rambly, disjointed update post: sales! In the States, it’s Labor Day Weekend, and that means sales for everybody. Lane Bryant has an awesome sale going on, as does Macy’s. Looking for an awesome makeup sale? Hard Candy has everything for 50% off. Need some sweet-smelling soaps and lotions? Head over to Bath and Body Works for their Labor Day sale.

Ok, that’s it from this end. If shopping goes well, y’all will probably see me Tuesday, if not, I’ll be back tomorrow. Have a great weekend!

11
Aug
08

In Memoriam

I’d originally planned another post for today, but I’m still bummed that a King of Comedy and Black Moses have both passed. So, in honor of Issac Hayes and Bernie Mac, enjoy.

 

 

A warning for the Bernie Mac clip: he had (*sigh*) some very crass humor and a filthy mouth. So, NSFW.

I’ll have something of some real substance (and is actually relevant to the site) later on this week.

04
Jun
08

On The Democratic Primaries

I am a Black Female Democrat. And I’ve been watching the Democratic primaries with avid interest. When it was confirmed that Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were actively seeking the nomination, my response was IT IS ABOUT FUCKING TIME.

Seriously. In a melting pot such as this, in a supposedly progressive country as this, why the hell did it take so long for there to be two viable candidates that were female or Black? I think I danced around my room a bit when the news was confirmed.

But then, I did a bit of research…and while the women that we know of that ran either for the Presidency or on a ticket (Shirley Chisholm and Carol Mosley Braun, to name a couple) were relatively famous, there were actually 35 other women that have run. Yeah. For real. Jump over here and check out twelve other women who wanted to join the big dance. And no, Senator Obama isn’t the first Black man to run. Jesse Jackson, Alan Keyes, and Al Sharpton all ran. So then, what makes this election so historical?

This year, a woman and a Black man actually had a CHANCE.

Now, I don’t mean chance as in them having the time or that discrimination prevented it (at least, not this time). I mean that America finally has the mindset to rally against the White male archetypal president. We could also be sick of the president we currently have (FN Rant: My CAR KEYS would make a better president than we have now. And I don’t have a car. End rant.) and want some relief from the foolishness the current administration has lavished upon the American people since Bush first stole the election. Yeah. I said it. And I meant it. (/bitter Former Floridian) And while I am a cynic and die-hard conspiracy theorist, I am excited to be able to witness the time where a woman and a Black man can not only just run, but be real viable candidates for president.

When I was a little girl, I used to tell people I want to go to law school, become a lawyer, open my own practice, and be the first Black woman president. Folks would smile and tell me to aim for the stars. And while that dream hasn’t died, I am excited and hopeful that by the time I’m old enough to run for President (I’m 23 now), that the first Black woman president title will be taken. In fact, my hope would be that by the time I’m able to run, we won’t have to worry about breaking gender or racial boundaries. It’ll simply be another election. That will be when we know we’ve made true progress in America.

And as for the Democratic Primaries dragging out for so long? While I am an Obama supporter, I would genuinely been happy with either senator. But I wanted there to be a daggone nominee already! So, once I saw the results of last night’s primaries, this song popped in my head:

I just want it to be over. This presidency…I just want it to be over. And with the quality of these candidates…we’ll have something wonderful to look forward to.

ETA: If the video up there isn’t working, click here so you can see it. It’s Keyshia Cole’s “I Just Want It To Be Over.”

 




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