Tag Archives: fat

The crapness of music videos

Whenever I go to the gym I tend to put my earphones in and try to avoid watching the music video screen, which is huge.  Instead I focus on the display on the treadmill, other people at the gym, or the TV shows on the tiny screens.  However, every now and again I see something interesting out of the corner of my eye, or a film clip I actually like, and I catch myself watching the music videos… and wow, some of them are terrible.

As a generalisation, the film clips shown at my gym, when sung by male singers, feature women as objects, as tits and arses, as thin, gyrating people who are clamouring to have sex with the singer, or the viewer.  Interestingly though, those film clips of songs sung by women, have women front and centre, as entire beings, and generally as free agents.  The two messages don’t really go together, and I am increasingly grossed out by the male-dominated film clips at my gym (hence me not watching them).

This is a gym, a gym that believes to be fit and healthy, one has to be slim and preferably muscular.  This gym believes that I have joined solely to lose all that fat that keeps following me around, because clearly fat is an unwanted thing and not part of who I am.  And that being fat is a bad thing, and being thin is a good thing.  None of this has been said to my face, but it really doesn’t have to be with all the posters extolling the virtues of their boot camps with before and after photos.

So imagine my surprise when I saw a film clip of the Beth Ditto song, “I wrote the Book”.  Here was a proudly fat woman, singing a great song, dancing like she had every right to, and in the film clip being desired by several gorgeous men.  I was amazed – mostly because I had completely failed up until this point to even notice Beth Ditto (not watching film clips didn’t help), and also because this was so subversive.  I was exercising at the gym, an activity that many people looking at me would assume be because I hated my fat body and wanted to be thin (I just want to be fit and strong), and here I was watching a proud fat woman, dance and be desired, knowing that although outside the gym this is actually a normal part of life, inside the gym it was subversive.

So thank you to whoever programs those songs for sneaking in a Beth Ditto song.  Please note that I’d like a whole lot less of the “women as sexual objects” and a lot more of the “everyone, regardless of who they are and what they look like can have a good time” clips for the future.

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Linkspam – end of January 2012 edition

From the new and awesome blog Queereka, “Sunday School Salutations” which is soon (probably already has) launched a sex advice column and is seeking questions:

The most instructive answer I got was “your first column must contain at least two (2) hymen jokes.” However, this answer is mostly useful because it is pretty bad advice, at least as regards the goal of this column and this blog. I mean, not to get all RAWR HETEROSEXISM on my friend (who was, of course, making a joke), but one of the goals I have for Sunday School in the first place is to tear down the dominant narrative about sex. Raise your hands, dear readers: did your first sexual experience involve hymen rupture?

Yeah, mine didn’t, either.

The Huff Post lists some very interesting tech failures at marketing products to women, noting that women are already big consumers of electronics.

On Monday HSN announced the results of a survey by the international research firm Parks Associates that asked 2,000 adults about purchases they wanted to make before 2012. The results showed women outstripped men in their interest in owning electronics, with 18 percent of women planning on buying a tablet before 2012 (compared to 15 percent of men), 20 percent of women wanted a laptop (only 14 percent of men did) and 20 percent of women planning on purchasing smartphones — compared to 17 percent of men, Mashable reports.

The MailOnline has an interesting piece on the BMI of models and how they would be ranked as anorexic.  This article is NSFW – there is nude “plus” size model posing with a “straight” model.

Tesseral Harmonics reblogs (it’s Tumblr, I’m not sure how it works really) on ““Bisexual” is not oppressive, can we talk about biphobia and straight privilege? and other thoughts on bisexuality”:

It’s a big problem that people who are bisexually identified (or engage in bisexual behavior) are dismissed and mocked by gay/queer/lesbian people. I honestly don’t think I need to spell out an explanation of why it’s important for spaces that call themselves “queer” or “LGBT” to be inclusive. In short, anyone who is bi (in name or behavior) is still queer and may need support as a queer person. Biphobia also makes it difficult for anyone who is gay-identified and experiencing sexual fluidity (Lisa Diamond’s research on sexual fluidity (pdf) is super interesting, btw). It also means that gay people who are in “straight” relationships for whatever reasons (family and religion are two examples) are dismissed by the queer community. Biphobia is part of a culture of identity-policing, where if you don’t adhere closely enough to the requirements delineated by the official bureau of gayness you’re out of the club.

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38th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival

Down Under Feminists' Carnival Logo

Hello everyone and welcome to the 38th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival.  Thanks for all the fantastic submissions and to everyone who wrote all the fantastic articles I’m linking to.

If at any point I have misnamed, mislabled, or misgendered someone, please let me know immediately so that I can correct my error If I have included a post of yours that you would not like included, please let me know and I will remove it.  Should any of my links be broken, just let me know and I’ll attempt to fix it.

Continue reading 38th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival

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A surprising experience

Before reading this post you may want to consider that it details some personal medical information about myself and my recent hospital experience.  If you are someone who doesn’t deal well with TMI, you might want to stop reading here and go and play somewhere else – you can come back when the next post is written.

On Tuesday I noticed a painful discomfort in my vagina.  I had previously had what I thought were called Barton Cysts – which had all been painful, but I knew that they could get infected and possibly need surgery to be repaired.  So I looked it up, it was indeed a Bartholin’s Cyst and I would probably need to have it looked at.  I poked at it, and it was tender and large, and so I went to bed thinking about what I was going to do about the whole thing.  On Wednesday night it was sufficiently painful and uncomfortable to stop me going to the gym, and I decided to take Thursday off to go and see my GP and see what could be done.  This was also on the recommendation of my sister who has previously had infected Bartholin’s cysts and had had surgery to resolve them.

Continue reading A surprising experience

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Fat people and fetishism

As I was travelling home tonight on the train, I looked at my reflection in the window of the train.  I saw a fat woman… and wondered, briefly, what other people thought of me.  I wondered what they’d think if they knew that I am polyamorous and have multiple partners (and a queue of people interested in also playing).  I wondered if they would think that there was something wrong with these people who find me quite sexy and sexual and who want me.

Because I’ve been on the receiving end of “they’re interested in YOU?” as well as sometimes thinking myself “why are they interested in them?”*  And it’s not fun.  Not just not fun because it clearly states that I am not a sexually attractive and overall attractive individual, but also because it suggests that the person who is attracted to me has defective taste or is broken in some way.

Or… as I have heard suggested about some other fat friends, acquaintances, or strangers, perhaps the person attracted to their fat partner has a fat fetish.  Which again is quite horrible because fetishisation (outside the fetish community) is seen as a mental illness by some or an undesirable trait by others, so to fetishise something is unappealing and gross.  It also dehumanises the fat individual – because fetishes are typically objects and/or parts of a person – not an entire person.

Clearly the idea that anyone who is fat is also a full human being who is interesting, attractive, sexy, sexual, lovable, and desirable, is incredibly radical.  How about we stop looking at the outside of people and judging what we see, and get to know people and learn who they are.  You don’t have to like them or love them, but you do have to acknowledge their humanity.

 

* Though that’s a whole other post because it’s not just how someone appears that makes me question someone else’s relationship choice – it’s a huge package of stuff – personality, political affiliations, choices, religion, etc

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The conversation we had to have (apparently)

So tonight my physio told me that I needed to lose weight.  There is a whole lot more context that I’ll share in a moment, but to say I was disappointed is putting it simply.

My physio has returned from an 8 day conference at the AIS where he spoke to a specialist in Gluteus Medius Tendonitis about his (my physio’s) patients (me included).  No doubt there were other discussions with other specialists, but one message seems to have been given to my physio by this specialist… and that is that overweight people with this condition will struggle to resolve/heal it while they remain overweight, as the extra weight will aggravate the condition.

So tonight, the first time I’ve seen my physio in 3 weeks (as I started a clinical pilates thing that I’d been doing on my own), he suggests to me that I should lose weight.  In his favour, he was genuinely uncomfortable about saying everything he did, the fact that I didn’t look impressed to be told this most likely added to his discomfort (which I’m so not sorry for).  He did say that being overweight leads to death (well cancers and heart attacks apparently – and why yes my blood pressure and cholesterol are fine and I don’t have a family history of cancer), very, very quickly, before moving onto the fact that extra weight puts extra stress on my tendons and so we can perform maintenance on my tendonitis, and it may heal but it will take significantly longer.  He then recommended (in his favour again) that I see a dietician and discuss with them what I do and don’t eat (tonight’s dinner – stir fried vegetables and chilli marinated tofu, with satay sauce, served with rice), and perhaps have a meal plan developed – utilising my GP to get a referral so that it will be partly covered by Medicare.  And that he’d be happy to talk to me more about it if I wanted him to.

He finished the whole thing off with, “There I’ve said it”.

I spent the next 5 minutes (while he was poking at my back – where a lot of the conversation had also occurred), wondering if I was going to quit this physio and given I have a basic understanding of what I need to do to deal with my back and my tendinitis and whether I should take that elsewhere and maintain myself.  Then I thought about Greta Christina’s weightloss (problematic framing aside) and how she decided to lose weight to stop her knee(s?) from hurting so that she could continue the activities that she wanted to do.  I then thought of another friend of mine whose medication induced weight gain has resulted in a nerve being pinched (I think) in her thigh so it waivers between almost numb tingling and painful tingling, and her medical professionals who have told her that the only solution is for her to lose weight (which is resulting in fun medication adjustments).

So I can sleep without waking up in pain (several times a night), so I can sit cross-legged on the floor/bed/couch, so I can do yoga and Body Balance properly (I can’t do any hip flexion exercises), so I don’t stand up stiff and limping until I’ve walked it out, so I can have sex without paying for it for a few days afterwards, and so I don’t sit in a chair feeling my hip/s ache, do I attempt to lose weight to possibly speed up the process of healing my hips and taking the pressure off them so I am not aggravating the condition or do I just keep doing the exercises hoping that it will get better on it’s own? (nice complex sentence, sorry).

My partners will support me in any decision I make – which is lovely of them, and they tell me that I’m gorgeous, sexy, wonderful, beautiful and lovely now (not in some potential future state).  I could attempt to lose the 10kgs that being on steroids last year (briefly but oh how the weight stuck around) put on, and see where I go from there – whether the pain is less and my ability to move improves.  It won’t be easy (in fact it will suck immensely), but is it the best thing for my body right now?

I currently feel a bit let down by my body, which isn’t fair on it I know.  It does a lot for me, and puts up with all the things I want it to do.  I spent the weekend being depressed about clothes shopping being too goddamn hard because fat people are hard to make clothes for, including spending bits of Sunday in tears because it all sucked so much.  Hearing today that being fat is also aggravating a painful condition that I want treated and healed was not the news I was after.

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Dear clothing retailers

You suck.

You suck in so many ways it’s difficult to quantify how much you suck and the amount of despair you put me through whenever I go shopping for clothes.  In an ideal world you’d all have the clothing sizes you carry listed on the outside of your store, that way I wouldn’t bother setting foot inside your store looking for something to wear because I know you don’t cater to me.  This would also require clothing sizes to be standard, something that would also make me happy. Do you have any idea how frustrating it is to not quite fit into the size 18 for “thin” people, but for the size 18 for “fat” people to be too big?  Does this even make sense?  And why is the clothing for “fat” people so limited in variety and fashion?  I walk in, look at what you have on offer and turn around and walk out again – it’s boring, uninteresting, and certainly not flattering.  It’d be nice if you offer clothing for “thin” people and “fat” people that the sizes just continue up the scale – and that you sell the same type of stuff.

And those stores which do sell clothes that fit me – why is everything made from such heavy synthetic material?  I prefer to wear cotton or cotton blends, I like my clothes to breathe so I don’t overheat.  Also, don’t suggest that I “enjoy my curves” by completing covering them all up – that doesn’t make sense.

And if we “fat” people are to exercise to lose weight – why on earth do you not sell exercise clothing for people above a “thin” size 18 – yes I am specifically looking at you Target…. and in fact most sports stores.  It’s a catch 22 situation if we’re told to exercise because we’re too fat, but can’t buy clothes to exercise in.

So thank you for making me almost cry in a shopping centre from frustration and shame.  I really appreciated the public humiliation you kindly dished out to me.  Please remember – the harder you make it for me to shop in your store – the less I’m likely to return if I do ever lose weight and fall into your sizing range.

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