some links

Feb. 20th, 2015 11:22 am
sasha_feather: white woman in space suit (Astronaut)
A friend of mine had an article published in the Atlantic, exploring the "watchmaker" metaphor used by some people interested in intelligent design. A Failed Metaphor for Intelligent Design by Adam Shapiro. This information-packed article explores how the metaphor suited the British society from which it arose.

A really thoughtful, wonderful article by a woman who chose to have a double mastectomy (vs. a single). Contains some partially-nude photographs. shirts off, underwear on: play out, breast cancer and gender expectations by Melanie Testa.

Doing Science Sitting Down, and other thoughts about Universal Design by [ profile] jacquelyngill.
sasha_feather: Avatar Kyoshi from avatar: the last airbender cartoon (Lady avatar)
Attempting to post more. Thinking about weight / size politics under the cut.

Read more... )
sasha_feather: black and white image of female general (lady general)
Both [personal profile] eruthros and [personal profile] toft asked about my fashion decisions and clothing thoughts! Which is really flattering, and I echo what [personal profile] littlebutfierce said, in that my teenage self would be really surprised.

I confess I've been feeling weird about my clothes (and body) lately because I put on weight and went up a clothing size. This is probably because of a med I take, but it doesn't matter why, really. I have been slowly purchasing some new clothes, and anything that doesn't fit, I have either gotten rid of, or put in tubs and bags and into the storage unit in the basement. One has to be ruthless about such things: it is extremely important to only wear clothes that fit right and that are comfortable! That is the really the only rule in my book. Otherwise, I generally think that I, and anyone, should wear whatever the frak they want.

For this post I took a selfie in the work bathroom the other day.

I'm wearing a long gray wool skirt, a teal shirt, a gray jacket, one of my ever-present flat caps, tights from Lane Bryant, and Dansko boots (brown leather). My love of clothes really started with jackets and blazers and went from there.

I found some dress shirts that I like, finally, after much searching! Button ups nearly always gap over my b--bs, and I hate fussing with the colors. I also hate tucking them in.
The shirt I'm wearing in the photo has a sort of draped neck line (obscured in the photo). I have one other shirt like this and want to find more, because they are my favorite!

I tried to find a photo of such a shirt via Google, on a model with a more similar body type to mine. I think these are flattering on busty people. The model's shirt is 2-tone, which looks good on her; I would have to try that on before I bought it. You never know.

Also, no ironing required! Ironing is not part of my gay lifestyle plan.

My standard work pieces are 2 dresses; the long skirt pictured above; dress pants in black and brown; many many blazers; a couple of nice sweaters; and a few nice shirts. I am short on shirts but working on that. I also have a couple of nice scarves and plain necklaces. For shoes I always wears Danskos or other similar types because my feet hurt.

My favorite fabric is wool! My favorite places to shop are a) Thrift stores and b) TJ Maxx, which is like a thrift store but for new clothes. Maybe someday I will have disposable income and then I can actually enjoy shopping at other places too without getting sticker shock.

My favorite colors to wear are dark red/cranberry shades. :D This was fun to write, thanks for the prompt!
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
This article better reflects how I feel than the last one:

Bitch magazine: Sized Up

Does this sound familiar? Remember psychiatry's attempts to cure homosexuality? Our culture's hand-wringing over the "obesity epidemic," its hawking of one breakthrough diet or miracle weight-loss product after another, and its moralistic shaming of those it deems "too fat" are as conducive to self-hatred as "gay conversion therapy." But while the harmful conversion therapy that religious conservatives practice on lgbtq people has rightly been the target of political protest and legal intervention, the medically sanctioned use of weight conversion therapy (a.k.a. dieting) has provoked far less outrage on the Left.

eta: don't read the comments
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
I said something tonight which seemed to surprise my friends, and now I feel the need to talk about it a little, so I'm laying it out here: I don't believe in the "obesity epidemic." I mean that I really don't believe it exists.

My essential reading for this is a 2005/2006 scientific article:

The epidemiology of overweight and obesity: public health crisis or moral panic? Paul Campos, et al. International Journal of Epidemiology.

Selections follow, but I suggest reading it all. It is scientfic, but readable, and a fantastic article that states the claims the claims the medical/scientific communities have been making, and swiftly knocks them down. For example:

Claim #2: ‘Mortality rates increase with increasing degrees of overweight, as measured by BMI.’—WHO, 2003 (p. 61)2

This claim, central to arguments that higher than average body mass amount to a major public health problem, is at best weakly supported by the epidemiological literature. Except at true statistical extremes, high body mass is a very weak predictor of mortality, and may even be protective in older populations.

Claim #4: Significant long-term weight loss is a practical goal, and will improve health.

At present, this claim is almost completely unsupported by the epidemiological literature. It is a remarkable fact that the central premise of the current war on fat—that turning obese and overweight people into so-called ‘normal weight’ individuals will improve their health—remains an untested hypothesis. One main reason the hypothesis remains untested is because there is no method available to produce the result that would have to be produced—significant long-term weight loss, in statistically significant cohorts—in order to test the claim.


The authors also speculate on social and political factors contributing to this moral panic:

In particular, organizations like the International Obesity Task Force (which has authored many of the WHO reports on obesity) and the American Obesity Association (which has actively campaigned to have obesity officially designated as a ‘disease’) have been largely funded by pharmaceutical and weight-loss companies.

Moral panics are typical during times of rapid social change and involve an exaggeration or fabrication of risks, the use of disaster analogies, and the projection of societal anxieties onto a stigmatized group.47,48

Public opinion studies also show that negative attitudes towards the obese are highly correlated with negative attitudes towards minorities and the poor, such as the belief that all these groups are lazy and lack self-control and will power. This suggests that anxieties about racial integration and immigration may be an underlying cause of some of the concern over obesity.49–51

Previous work indicates that moral panics often displace broader anxieties about changing gender roles.49,53 While this hypothesis deserves further research, a recent advertisement that ran in a major American newspaper suggests that this may be at play in the obesity panic. This advertisement blames ‘30 years of feminist careerism’ for an epidemic of childhood obesity and diabetes: ‘With most mothers working, too few adults and children eat balanced, nutritious, portion-controlled home-cooked meals.

However, other works suggest that some portion of the population's weight gain can be attributed to smoking cessation,56 which runs counter to the assumption that the country's weight gain is evidence of both moral laxity and a harbinger of declining overall health.
[bolding mine]
sasha_feather: white woman in space suit (Astronaut)
A bad ass character is laying in a hospital bed and is badly injured, but they refuse pain meds or are reluctant to take them because they want to "keep their mind clear."

Guess what? Pain clouds your mind also. Sometimes all you can think about is pain and nothing else. The meds make it so you can actually function to interact with the world in somewhat normal way.

I am probably preaching to the choir here, but just once I would like to see a bad ass warrior character in hospital who is accepting of pain medication.


I seem to have this internal conversation with the world a lot; it goes something like this: "I know that I'm an outlier in a lot of ways, but seriously? Seriously?

One of the great things about fandom and the internet is that I can find the other outliers.

Here is a really great post about body and fat acceptance that I think can apply to anybody despite the title: Ten Rules for Fat Girls by Dianne Sylvan.
sasha_feather: "The heroine's achivement of autonomy and self-actualization was the point of the narrative" (heroine)
I am going to be in a wedding on September 3rd for my lovely friends [personal profile] antarcticlust and [ profile] jackshoegazer. I'll be wearing a tea-length bridesmaid dress, which means it ends at the knees, and open-toed black sandals. I haven't shaved my legs in YEARS, yes I mean years, and am trying to decide whether to do so.

2 seconds of navel gazing )

Poll #7930 Make my decisions for me!
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 29

To shave or not to shave that is the question

View Answers

Shave your legs
5 (17.2%)

Wear skin-tone hose
1 (3.4%)

Wear colored tights
4 (13.8%)

Just go hairy legged
9 (31.0%)

Something else I'll say in comments
5 (17.2%)

I like ticking boxes
5 (17.2%)

sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
Disability talk for Cabell’s class

notes for talk )

Feedback on this is welcome.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
Today is Ursula K. Le Guin's 80th birthday. I'm celebrating by thinking about The Dispossessed, which I re-read recently for my book club, Beer and Marmalade.

warning for discussion of rape )
sasha_feather: a head full of interesting things (head space)
Not! Actually! Filtered! As [ profile] mystickeeper says, "This shit is gonna get real." Well maybe.

So I used some of my few spoons this week to go to the Michael Pollan lecture on campus. I haven't gotten around to actually finishing any his books yet, but I seem to have absorbed a lot of his ideas through reading articles and seeing interviews, and maybe just the cultural zietgiest. I went with a bunch of friends. [ profile] antarcticlust and I were whispering furiously and annoying the guy in front of us; yes-- I was being That Guy! Going to the Special Hell for talking in the Theater! Well, the hockey arena, in this case. Antarcticlust took notes. There were people there in t-shirts that said "In Defense of Farming", apparently as a protest, and we talked about that some. The t-shirts were the same color as the volunteer t-shirts, which we thought was Quite Interesting, since it seems to assume a defensive position--as in, they are trying to blend in and not be tossed out. But we also thought it was brave of them for coming and protesting, even if we thought it was misguided (see below).

Michael Pollan seems to like discourse, controversy, and arguing--he does not seem at all threatened by disagreement and does not seem to get ruffled. I kind of envy this trait-- it shows great security and patience and humor, I think, and also an equivocal mind that is willing to considering other points of view. He addressed the protesters and said he agreed with their slogan: "Eat food, be healthy, thank a farmer," or some such. He said he thinks farmers hold the key to 3 crises facing America: the health crisis, the energy crisis, and the environmental crisis. (At "environment," antarcticlust inhaled and mouthed "no".) Pollan is very pro-farmer in many ways-- what he is against is big agri-business. The most damning moment was when he said that the American food industry made over 800 billion dollars last year, and less than 10% of that went to farmers. A greater share went to people who make packaging for processed foods.

Pollan is an engaging and clear speaker. I liked a lot of what he had to say. He talked a lot about "the rise of nutritionism", how that benefits processed foods (and businesses) and how it contributes to moralistic eating. Since we can't sense nutrients, we must rely on experts to tell us how to eat. He compared this to a type of religion where if you can't sense God, you must rely on a priesthood to tell you God's will. Then there are "good nutrients" (calcium, fiber, beta-carotene), and "evil nutrients" (carbs, cholesterol, trans fats, saturated fat, etc), and we are looking for these instead of eating food. Also we are chasing after health (good or bad) with each meal, instead of eating for pleasure or community or other reasons.

He and many other people have gone after "high fructose corn syrup" because it's a marker for highly processed foods. But now savvy marketers have found a way around that: by advertising their products as having "real cane sugar". They are marketing their products by saying, Look! SUGAR! Which is bizarre.

He talked of many other things but that is what stands out for me.

On twitter @ThatKarenB said, "Was anyone protesting Pollan's attitudes towards fat people? AFAICT, that's more accurate than the "anti-farming" thing."

Which I think is a good point, and I am going to talk about that now.

I would say it's not Pollan's attitudes precisely, but that he is uncritically adopting the wider cultural attitude of fatness as a disease. Several times he said that the Western diet is responsible for "heart disease, Type II diabetes, and obesity."

I have been thinking and thinking about this, and I need to think about it some more, because it's complicated and it makes me uncomfortable. One thing that helps me is reading Kate Harding: Don't You Realize Fat is Unhealthy?

Also I think it's weird to pathologize a body type. Diseases are socially constructed; what is and is not a disease is not so easy to say. And I think it's weird to say that being fat is a disease. I think it's OK to say that some things associated with being fat are diseases, that being fat might make you more likely to have certain diseases, but even then you should remember that it is not a one-to-one situation and does not apply to everyone: it's only true at the population level, and association does not necessarily imply causation, either. It is more complicated than that!

It's a false equivalancy: people like to think that being fat means being unhealthy, automatically. They like to think that being thin (but not too thin!) means good health. Well guess what, that is not always the case either. It's more complicated!

I'm not sure if Pollan would even disagree with me on these things. It's just that I want there to be less hatred of fatness and bodies, and I think his agenda (which I think is a good one) and mine can coexist. I've also been thinking about intersectionality with disability, since there is this fundamental concept of not assuming that disabled people need or want to be fixed. ("But surely-- surely being disabled is bad? Wouldn't you be fixed if you could be? Wouldn't you be thin if you could be?") (Say it with me: it's more complicated!)

Just things I'm thinking about. I'm aware not everyone will agree with me here.

ETA: there are some great comments at LJ!


sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)

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