Archive for the 'WTF' Category

19
Jul
08

The Weekends Top Ten

I have realized in the last week or so that my choice of literature, coupled with school and the start of a new job has made me more serious than usual. So I thought I would have a little fun. Here are the top ten wonders of my world (which usually only exists in my head) for this week.

1. Why is it that the cover of my Sizing and Sewing for Plus Sizes book has a typical size model as opposed to a plus sized one? (More importantly, why is the photo of a plus sized woman measuring a thin model?)

2. Why are there so many body conscious, relationship obsessed women in my gender studies program? (it just seems a little ironic to me, just when I thought I would find allies. I’m sure they are there I just haven’t found them yet.)

3. Why do the aforementioend women get upset when I tell them I don’t want to go the gym and work out with them even though its a nice gym (sponsored by the university) and it’s free?

4.Why does the “welcome to the team” email from my new boss say be prepared to win, but doesn’t say what we are competing for or who with?

5. Why is it so damn hot outside???!!!

6. Why does the reading list for my fall class seem a lot longer than what I can read in one semester?  (ahhh, grad school).

7. Doesn’t anybody just drink plain water anymore?

8. How can a person rant and rave about how tasty my chilli is and then when I tell them it’s vegan they look like it has suddenly become disgusting because there is no meat in it?

9. Who came up with the idea to have a wet t shirt race?

10. And why didn’t anyone think that a private women’s college may not be the right place to have one?

There you have it folks. These are the kinds of things that come to mind when you  move to a new city where you know no one. I have to entertain myself somehow. Don’t I? Have a great week.

11
Jul
08

Battle of the Bods

When I saw the advertisements for this show my feminist light bulb was flashing red. I was disgusted. So I went to the website to see if this was really as revolting as it sounds. And yes, people, it is. Let’s go over the the shows format.

First there are the women. All skinny. Mostly blond and white. These women are rated by a group of men, again athletic and mostly white. The men rank the women on a scale of one to five based on certain body parts. For instance, the clip I watched was breasts. They are ranked in comparison to each other, by the way. This is the most disturbing part to me. Not only are we going to value them like cattle, we are also going to pit them against each other.

But wait. There’s more. While the men are busy hacking their brains to rank the women, the women are then asked to rank themselves trying to match the men. So, what you hear in the female conversation is some women say “I don’t like my breasts, so I’ll rank myself number 4”. It’s terrible.

What shows like this do, besides the usual female objectification women are measured by their bodies bullshit, is perpetuate the idea that self hatred is normal and criticizing others is normal as well. At the same time, it creates this narrow one dimensional “norm” for women.

I almost feel like its a waste of breath to complain about these things but I can’t help myself. It seems that the secret to reality television these days is to pit women against each other and devalue every redeeming quality they may have.

12
Jun
08

My Beautiful Mommy?

The other day in class, one of the students, who also teaches women’s studies at another university, said that she honestly believes that the way we as a feminist community will able to change society is by teaching our daughters. I would take that one step further and say we should teach our sons as well, but I really think she is on to something. The next day, I excitedly read my new issue of Bitch magazine. In it, I found a review of this book written for children with mothers preparing to have plastic surgery.

I am positive that this is not what my classmate was talking about.

I was in such disbelief about this ridiculous piece of literature, that I went to my local bookstore and read it for myself. What a waste of paper this was. The author should have marketed a series of refridgerator magnets that read “Feeling like shit about yourself is totally fine. Just have surgery.”

Seriously, when the mom explains to the kid why she is having surgery she says something to the effect of: when you get old you get wrinkly, things sag, and you gotta have surgery to make yourself pretty again.

What the fuck?

I want to make something painfully clear here. This book is being marketed to children between the ages of 4 and 9. What kind of message are we sending children so young? Children that young have enough to worry about. Why add a fear of getting old and an anxiety about their bodies?

And besides, when did something like going under the knife become fairy tale material. I read the book and I can tell you there was not one page dedicated to the fact that mommy could die from surgery. Or what happens when you read your kid the book and then something goes terribly wrong and you don’t come out “prettier”? What the fuck do you do then?

I am so sick and tired of the nonchalant way in which society at large deals with the problem of hating one’s body. People treat it like getting your period. It’s as though it’s just a part of life that you have no control over. This is why I love the fatosphere. It’s a community in every way, teaching young women (and old) how to love themselves and that they have more control over this process than they think.

So, in light of this new information I decided something. If the powers that be decided to render all birth control methods incapable of working on me (which is my worst nightmare but altogether possible) and I have a daughter I am going to write a little book of my own, since it’s seems to be trendy these days. The title of this book will be: Don’t Believe Anything You See on TV, and the Things You Read Are Probably Bullshit Too! So there you have it. 

17
May
08

Dear Torrid

Addendum: I recently read an update on Big Fat Blog that features some comments made on Fatshionista regarding Torrid’s involvement in this show.  (I’ve had this post drafted elsewhere for a few days.) Apparently, they aren’t exactly sponsoring it, and their response to this commenter’s email  was thoughtful and even body-positive. I still have an issue with a plus size retailer signing on to a project like this, so my boycott still stands. 

I loved you once. My mom introduced you to me in the form of a grey and pink t-shirt that said “Appreciate Perfection”…with an arrow pointed towards my face. It was subtly saucy, just perfect with the strand of hot pink pearls I bought from you as well. I loved your shirts, your dresses, your adorable flats, and boots that actually zipped up my legs. It was a match made in heaven.

The wonderful honeymoon period was not to last, I fear. When I wrote my Fashion at Every Size post, I had a commenter who mentioned you, and I was sad that I’d not mentioned you and our love in the post. I even told everyone about the cute flats and dress I’d JUST ordered from you. And then…a bombshell from another commenter:

Just so you know, Torrid is now partnering with MTV to do casting calls for a new “boot camp” style weight loss reality show. So they’re about as far from fat-positive as a store that sells to fat girls can be.

I felt as if an icepick had been stuck into my fashion-loving soul. Torrid, the store I considered modeling for when the casting calls came around the country, the store I save money for when the clearance items are 50% off so I can snag great swag, has betrayed me. How could you? When you sold the “Appreciate Perfection” shirt, was that ONLY in reference to my face, as you asked about in your mass email? I always thought of that arrow pointing to me as a whole. Now I get it. Let’s take the attention off of my fat body, and let’s just focus on what I REALLY have to recommend me: my visage.

How disappointing. How disgusting. You are a store that caters to plus size women. Does this mean that if I still wanted to model for you, my curves and rolls are no longer appreciated? This is the ultimate betrayal. You think its okay to have a boot camp style show, that millions of little girls and young women are going to see, all in the hopes of becoming a model…and its sponsored by a store that CATERS TO PLUS SIZE WOMEN?! The cognitive dissonance…it burns.

But now I know what this is really about. Folks can model for you, but only if we are a certain kind of plus size, much like that MADE show I saw featuring y’all. At the time, I hadn’t been enlightened, so I figured that losing weight to model, even for a plus sized store, was par for the course. I now know much better, and I know that if folks want a good representation of what the clothes look like on them, they should be modeled on PEOPLE THAT LOOK LIKE THEM. Why can’t y’all be rebels and put women of varying degrees of fatness on y’alls site? Plus sized women come in different sizes, as do your clothes. But I recognize I’m asking way too much of y’all, as money is the name of the game, and if you were going to let fat women model, there would be no TV deal or advertising for y’all.

I won’t be shopping with y’all again. I’d send back the dress and flats, except I can’t return clearance items. I won’t be recommending y’all to anymore people, nothing. I’m done with y’all. Our relationship, our love, was pure and wonderful, but you have defiled the idea of body positivity by asking women with “pretty faces” to sweat and struggle in the name of a modeling contract. I’m appalled. And I’m done giving you my money. The name that was once sweet to speak has now turned bitter.

Goodbye.

With deepest sorrow and disappointment,

The FashionableNerd

07
May
08

PETA Abuses my Brain Cells

As a vegetarian, I must say, I fucking hate PETA. I really do. I hate them with a passion that burns deep inside my soul. I have always hated them and I always will. They are the biggest waste of tax exempt status that I have ever seen (OK, maybe not the biggest, but close). I thought they had reached their full potential as the scum of the earth with their “I’d Rather Go Naked then Wear Fur” campaign. You know, the one that objectified women’s bodies (because there were no naked men in these ads, folks) in order to promote the cause of animal rights. But apparently I was so wrong.

The newest ad campaign (paid for with their millions of tax exempt dollars) can be seen here. I want to make sure that we are all clear on this concept. Feeding meat to your children is child abuse because it will make them obese. Therefore, forget all of the great reasons there are to adopt a vegan lifestyle. At the end of the day, it will make your kid skinny, and that’s what really matters. Are you fucking kidding me???!!!

Let’s start with the obvious problems. Vegetarianism is not a diet. It doesn’t make you lose weight. If you are losing weight simply by adopting a vegetarian diet, you are probably not eating enough. In that case, it won’t matter how much weight you lose, you are doing your body more harm than good by depriving it of nutrients that it really needs. It is a common misconception (one that drives me insane), that variations in size among people is simply a reflection of what they eat. This may be news to you PETA, but there are about as many explanations for body differences as their are dollars in your tax exempt bank account.  I have a hard time understanding why an organization that takes animal rights so seriously would stoop so low as to sell out veganism as a diet rather than a lifestyle. But then I remember what organization I am talking about and I am no longer surprised. Have  I mentioned that I hate PETA? I really do.

What really makes my blood boil is that fact that although adults may be able to look beyond the obvious fallacies and discern the point that is being made by the controversial advertisement children can’t. (Side note: Elaine, who graciously shared this link with me, offers her point of view as to what PETA was trying to say on her blog.) Let’s be honest, children are cruel creatures. To some children, an advertisement like this perpetuates the idea that fat children should be demonized. To a heavier child,  this says that eating is something to be ashamed of. It also says that the solution to the “problem of weight” for children is to stop eating meat.

This scares me more than anything. As an adult, I had a difficult time transitioning to a vegan way of eating. It took me a few months before I was able to regulate my food intake to meet the specific needs of my body.  Don’t get me wrong, I support anyone who wants to become vegan. I think its a great thing. That being said, this is not a decision that anyone should make in a rash manner. It takes a great deal of research and understanding. And for a child, I fear the effects of the transition would be magnified in an underdeveloped body. I am positive that it is possible to make this transition at any age, but it is not as oversimplified as this advertisement makes it seem.

What is equally upsetting is the use of words in this campaign to evoke certain emotions. The association of meat eating with real forms of physical and emotional abuse is offensive. I agree that feeding children foods that are unhealthy is a way of depriving them of a healthy development. There are children all over the world, however, that are experiencing forms of abuse far greater than this everyday. How dare PETA exploit the emotions connected with these forms of abuse to make a point about animal rights. Seriously, I fucking hate them. Have I mentioned that yet?

Not to mention, phrases like, “Fight the Fat” are forms of verbal abuse against heavier people, vegan and nonvegan. So, let’s fight one form of “abuse” with another form. Clever. Really fucking clever.

So, with this new advertising campaign, let’s see what we have accomplished People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. We have shamed fat children. Condoned the verbal abuse of fat children and adults. Exploited the experiences of abused persons. Most importantly we have created a completely made up connection between veganism and weight loss. Wow. That’s quite a list.

Now let’s see what we have accomplished to further the ethical treatment of animals. Absolutely nothing. Great job.  

25
Feb
08

Fat More Dangerous than Terrorism?

You know, I have to go back to my no-news ban. My psyche was happiest this way. Anyhow, as I clicked through my Yahoo! News today, I see an article that basically tells me that obesity is more dangerous that terrorism. What amazes me is that, well, we’ve talked about this already, but apparently the doctors and researchers wanted me to know and understand that the Threat of Fat is real, and as such, we’ve got to fight it.

I am trying my damnedest to understand this whole theory. Seriously. So, I’ll break down the newest article, and perhaps we’ll learn together.

First, let us look at the assertion:

“While we’ve been focusing so much attention on that, we’ve had this silent epidemic of obesity that’s killing millions of people around the world, and we’re devoting very little attention to it and a negligible amount of money.”

No attention? So, the diet industry hasn’t registered a blip on his radar? Silent? See comment about the diet industry. In other words we know full well about this supposed epidemic (which I thought didn’t even exist). I reckon plenty of money is being spent, both consumers and researchers alike, that let us know that the threat and shame of fat is alive and well.

An estimated 388 million people will die from chronic disease worldwide over the next 10 years, according to World Health Organisation figures quoted by the alliance.

“There’s a political paralysis in dealing with the issue,” said [Lawrence]Gostin, an adviser to the US government and a professor at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins universities.

He noted that prevention of obesity and its effects had hardly rated a mention in the current campaign for the US presidency.

It hasn’t? Did Meowser make up the quote out of thin air?Also, there are MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO FOCUS ON. We’re in a war, in case you’ve forgotten. How’s about we focus on getting our servicewomen and men back home? How’s about we focus on providing more jobs so this economy can do better? How’s about we focus on getting better healthcare for folks who can’t afford it? I’m not concerned with keeping costs low. I want folks to be able to just AFFORD IT. We have bigger things to worry about and fix than someone’s supposedly broken waistline.

Like terrorism, some passing health threats get major government attention and media coverage, while heart and lung disease, diabetes and cancer account for 60 percent of the world’s deaths, the meeting was told.

“It is true that new and re-emerging health threats such as SARS, avian flu, HIV/AIDS, terrorism, bioterrorism and climate change are dramatic and emotive,” said Stig Pramming, the Oxford group’s executive director.

“However, it is preventable chronic disease that will send health systems and economies to the wall.”

These “preventable chronic diseases” he speaks of are obesity and lung cancer and the like. Except non-smokers get lung cancer too. And folks can’t exactly explain why that is. Preventable, huh? You can reduce a risk factor, but reduction don’t equal prevention.

There was, however, a part I could actually get on board with:

“We need to build the physical activity back into our lives and it’s not simply about bike paths, it’s about developing an urban habitat that enables people to live healthy lives: ensuring that people can meet most of their daily needs within walking and cycling distance of where they live,” he said.

Thus said Professor Tony Capon. I’m ok with this, as well as the reducing carbon emissions and making fresh food more affordable. I will also note I’m mad I had to wait to the END of the article to find something of some use.

But you know, when it comes to obesity, when it comes to smoking (and other “lifestyle choices”), they have to put the hysterical before the common sense. I just wish folks focused on the common sense more.

03
Feb
08

Don’t Want To Watch The SuperBowl?

 Special Addendum: I would like to send my condolences to the families and friends that were affected by the shootings at the Lane Bryant in Chicago. I send my prayers and healing vibes to you all. While fuzzy animals damn sure can’t fix what y’all are going through, maybe watching them can be a bright spot in your day. Peace and Blessings to you all.

Then you should totally watch this instead.

That adorable clip is brought to you by the good folks at Animal Planet. For the last three years, they’ve done the puppy bowl (it airs at the same time as the SuperBowl.) Hours of cuddly, fuzzy, and chubby puppies playing with their tails, each other, and various squeeky toys. Best show ever.

And I didn’t forget about you kitten lovers!

That is the kitten half-time show. There’s something for everyone!

So, if you’re like me and your favorite team didn’t make it to the Big Game this year, flip to Animal Planet at 3pm (2pm central) and watch adorable animals.

01
Feb
08

Well. It’s Come To This.

I’ve had folks tell me that the best way to get fat folks to lose weight is to ban them from restaurants.

Well. Congratulations, Mississippi! You have been the first state to lose its fucking mind!

You know, I was gonna write a whole rant about this. I had it planned in my head. But seriously? The stupidity of this law…I think my brain is about 5 minutes from going all asplodey. Seriously. And um, y’all legislators do realize that quite a few fat folks come to Mississippi to, well, eat, right? As a southerner (and I lived in Mississippi for a time), I know that some of the best cuisine comes from the Delta. So, you’re willing to a) fuck up people’s livelihoods and b) fuck up the tourism industry just because y’all want to make a statement about obesity?

Yeah. That’s it. This just might be the STUPIDEST fuckin’ thing a state has done. It’s like Jim Crow all over again. Unbelievable.

So, if y’all wanna get your protest on (and you KNOW these folks are getting an eloquent angry letter from me), here’s some contact info, via JoGeek.

If there are folks there in Mississippi that are not registered, y’all please go and make that happen. Tomorrow. Because there’s no telling what else will be proposed in other states. Make swift work of this, and go forth and snuff out this scourge.*

*And when I say snuff, people? That’s a synonym for “stop”. I am NOT, under any circumstances, advocating violence of any kind. Trust me, a legal action (voting against this, protesting, writing eloquent angry letters) gets one much farther than acting like a brute.

17
Jan
08

It’s Official: I’ve Heard Everything

Via JoGeek, I have now learned that driving while fat is on the same level of driving under the influence.

Folks, I don’t make up the news. I just report it.

So, researchers in Australia have found that folks with higher BMIs pose risks on the road, because with higher BMIs come a greater risk of lethargy.

Study supervisor Dr Sara Lal says driving with sleep apnoea is effectively the same as drink driving due its similar effect on brain activity.

Wait, so all fat people have sleep apnea now? I wasn’t aware, considering, I, you know, DON’T HAVE IT.

Ms Pe Benito said the results defied some of the conventional wisdom about the differences between young and more seasoned drivers.

“For young drivers we found that the strongest predictors of crashing were body mass index (BMI) and regular alcohol consumption – as distinct from driving under the influence of alcohol,” she said.

“Obesity is a significant risk factor shared with older drivers. High BMI goes hand-in-hand with increased levels of lethargy, the rapid onset of fatigue and slower reaction times.

Good Lord. Did I get Bingo yet? Oh, boy. So, essentially, my fat makes me lethargic, fatigued, and slow to respond. And all of that plus a car equals accident, y’all. But see, it was the last part of the second article that struck me.

“However, there was no significant difference in brain activity and mood between young and older drivers and no association found between mood and driving performance,” Ms Pe Benito said.

Now see, this statement in and of itself lets me know that the study is bunk. It’s either that, or the good folks Down Under don’t have a such thing as road rage. In just about every state I have lived in, I’ve heard reports of folks driving badly while angry. And I don’t mean just speeding. I mean speeding to pull up next to to the offending car to shout obscenities, throw objects, or in the most extreme cases, to shoot into the car. In all seriousness. There have been children murdered in road rage incidents. But there’s no significant difference in brain activity and mood?

Oh, and will this study provide a new police charge: DWF (that’s driving while fat, natch)? And is it considered a double offence if the person driving is both fat AND drunk? The mind boggles, y’all.

You know, I say this every time a “study” is released to the world: I want to know where the research money is coming from! I can discover foolishness too. I can! Just give me a reason, and where to look for it, and I PROMISE you I can deliver some grade A foolishness.

But you know…I don’t think my foolishness could ever top this one. At all.

13
Jan
08

In Which I Question Some Folks’ Sanity

So, BuddingStarlet gave me a call today to tell me that there was an American couple that plans to open a theme park in Haiti.

I’m all…ok. Why is this news?

Her: “Guess what the theme is?”

Me: “I don’t want to.”

Her: “You shouldn’t, but I’m gonna tell you anyhow. It’s slavery. Tourists come to the park and get to experience slavery.”

You know, I’ve seen and heard of many things in my short time here. But never, EVER in a million years did I think folks could actually decide that slavery would be an excellent idea for entertainment. So, I’m thinking…maybe people are playing a joke. Nobody could possibly be that insensitive to a barbaric event in history. So I Google it.

Yep, people really ARE that fucking insensitive

So, for folks who manage to find this post via a search (either because you want to know more about it, or because you, like me, couldn’t believe it) I am a Black woman, and anything I have to say about this from here on out is gonna be biased. Prep yourself for it now.

Can anyone…anyone at all…explain to me how in the mauve hell this could be considered entertainment of any kind? Because by calling it a theme park, that automatically designates the place as a forum for happiness and fun. There wasn’t a damn thing about slavery that was entertaining, happy, or fuckin’ fun. And if these folks saw the happy, I for damn sure want to see the history book they were taught from, cause my personal research as well as studies in school don’t reflect that ideal AT ALL.

Now, I was wondering where the inspiration for the park came from. I wanted reasons. Answers! Now! Well, I didn’t get that. Not from this article, anyway. What I got was:

Mrs Bluntschli said: ‘Slavery is a terrible wound. Germany is still suffering trying to get over the Holocaust, and this is a Holocaust that happened for centuries.’

Alright. I think I’m gonna do some reading between the lines here. Is she saying that perhaps in folks experiencing slavery, they can maybe understand it? And then this will silence the folks (both black and white) that say, “You don’t understand how the slaves suffered!” And in so doing, make people leave slavery in the past? And I ask this because I have had countless debates on how Black people always harp on slavery and use it as a scapegoat for all of the issues that Black Americans suffer.

I’m about to piss some folks off, so I apologize in advance.

Slavery is an issue today more than anything else because of the lack of equality on all levels. Hell, I came into this world with two strikes against me: I’m Black and I’m a woman. I, as many Black women, have to work twice as hard, because I’m fighting against both racial and gender stereotypes. All of this stems from the view of the Black woman slave: we’re not good for much more than cookin’, breedin’, and obeyin’. In twelve hours, these people expect to actually show how women were raped and brutalized, their children ripped from their arms and taken to God knows where, never to be seen again? In twelve hours, these people think that simulating being kidnapped and forced onto a slave ship is gonna adequately show the inhumane and unsanitary conditions my ancestors had to face? How these slaves were bound and stacked into compartments so that they couldn’t even move to pee? Cause you KNOW they had to relieve themselves on each other. They had no option. They were stunted intellectually because knowledge is indeed power, and just learning how to read could result in slaves being deliberately blinded? See, whippin’ ain’t all that the slaveholders had to do. It was all out psychological warfare. Is any of that being simulated?

Oh, and once all that is done, will they have to go out into the world knowing that for the next hundred or so years, their descendants are gonna be spat upon, raped, lynched, shot, bombed, sprayed with high power hoses, and attacked by guard dogs? Cause that’s the next link in the understanding, now. Don’t just half-step.

All that ranting is to say that no amount of simulation is gonna teach anybody anything they didn’t know about slavery. With the advent of the computer and Internet, people can look up and read horror stories from slavery times till they’re blue in the face. And they still won’t know the stigma that is being a Black person in America unless they instantly transform into a Black person and have to live in a world where folks with the same education level don’t get the same jobs and pay, get followed through stores by salespeople that are CONVINCED they’re gonna shoplift because of the color of their skin, or pulled over because they’re in “the wrong neighborhood.”

Oh, and please don’t give me that foolishness that “Blacks need to let slavery be in the past and move on.” Because as I’ve stated above, in 200-fuckin-8 we are STILL feeling the consequences of slavery. We can’t move on, because way too often I hear about folks being discriminated against in one form or the other. And now folks want to scream reverse racism because of affirmative action. I know what you’re thinking. “You’re always saying you want equality, but affirmative action doesn’t promote equality because it’s only for people of color!” Good point. However, in an ideal world folks wouldn’t have to worry about that, because they’d be accepted on merit. In a day and age where a person with a more ethnic name has a harder time getting hired, I’m sorry, but I worry sometimes if folks would ever hire people of color at all if not for affirmative action.

I understand the need for folks to know where they come from. I do, seriously. But you can’t make me believe that a 12 hour experience is gonna mirror 400 years of torture. You just can’t.

It’s times like this I question folks’ sanity. Or at least, their humanity.

For the record: I’m aware that this park focuses on slavery in Haiti, and not slaves in America. However, I still have a problem because slavery issues intertwine. I’m sure quite a few of y’all are aware of the issues that Haitians face both there and here in the States, should they even make it here. It just isn’t right on ANY level.




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