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All Kinds of Awesome Things Being Said

Dr. Samantha Thomas over at Discourse has a lovely project we can all share in if we please. It’s the I Love My Bum Campaign. To join, send a photo of your backside to Samantha and tell her why you love your bum. The image above is one of the contributions she has already received and is captioned on Discourse with the simple legend: “It’s true.”

The fabulous Shaunta over at Live Once, Juicy (see her header for her lovely entry to the I Love My Bum Campaign) has had a brilliant idea. Encourage it. After a discussion with someone trying to set up a fitness program that isn’t really about weight loss by talking a lot about weight loss, Shaunta has decided to create a curriculum to get people stared on an HAES program for those who want to feel better and build their strength without concerning themselves about their weight. Good on her!

Not Blue At All has a lovely, touching Love Letter to her body. Read it with a hanky at the ready.

And last but far from least, the always amazing Sleepy Dumpling at Fat Heffalump raises her middle fingers on high to someone who tells us everyone is beautiful in their own way… unless they happen to be fat.

A Way to Help

The image above is from the flooding in Brisbane, Australia. The images have been scary, but the reality of the devastation is far worse. People have lost their homes, their businesses, their clean water and electricity, and some have lost their lives.

If you want to help with this – or with another great cause, hie thee over to Fat Heffalump where the glorious and charming Sleepy Dumpling is raising money.

A couple months ago, Sleepy Dumpling announced that she was going to shave her head for charity later in January. The original plan was to raise money for the Cancer Council of Australia, and the money she has raised thus far is still going there. But in light of the flooding (which came precariously close to where she lives, but missed her), she wishes to donate any further funds raised to the Queensland Flood Appeal.

Please, if you have funds to spare, consider this excellent cause.

Dear Maura Kelly and Marie Claire

I was all geared up to do a Suck It: Marie Claire and Maura Kelly for the execrable piece of trash Ms Kelly wrote and Marie Claire published that, had it been said about any other minority group, would have gotten her fired.

But I’m not.

Because rule one of being a decent human being is not to beat someone when they’re down.

Mostly I feel sorry for her. That is not the writing of a happy camper. If her body issues are so severe and long-lasting that she’s still making physical size into a moral issue to the point where she would be:

“…grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other … because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room.”

That’s just sad. I mean it’s outrageous and embarrassingly immature and ignorant, but mostly it’s just sad.

Think about it: Would you ever want to feel like that? What kind of life is that? How much self-loathing does one person need to have where watching fat people in the act of EXISTING is an offense? I don’t hate her: I pity her.

So Ms Kelly, here are some things you need to hear:

You are beautiful. You are beautiful at whatever weight you are now and you’d be beautiful 100 pounds from now. You might not feel it if you were fat, but I’m not all sure you feel especially beautiful now. Beauty has breadth, it has depth and the more you look for it, the more you will find. Wouldn’t your life be better if it had more beauty in it? The way to find it isn’t to narrow your definitions.

–If you rely on having a certain socially-accepted body to feel good about yourself, you are fighting a losing battle. It will hurt you. It’s probably hurting you now. It’s a shell game, sweetheart. There will always be someone younger and prettier than you are, with a “better” body. Always. God-willing you’re going to get old, you’re going to get wrinkles, you might even get fat. Gravity will take its toll and someday you and everyone around you will refer to your looks in the past tense. You will be someone who once was pretty. If that’s all you’ve got, I hate to break it to you but not liking to watch fat people will be the least of your worries.

Since you don’t have fat friends, I’ll give you a pass for not knowing that a lot of stereotypically Great Catches –you know, those David Beckham body doubles with great jobs and healthy emotional boundaries– are into big girls. Not just because “beauty is on the inside” but because they actually physically prefer overblown curves. So those rolls that make you sick are incredibly sexy to a shocking (even for me) percentage of traditionally hot guys. Being fat doesn’t mean you have to settle, it just means you’re fat. I’m a size 20. My gentleman caller is an athlete and fitness model who should be on a Calvin Klein billboard, which a) is bragging b) illustrates my next point:

The only thing you’ll get with a man who likes your physique to be just so is a guy who will leave you when you don’t look that way anymore. How can you have a successful romantic and sexual relationship if you’re constantly worried that once your package has expired (and it will expire) you’ll get tossed in the trash? I couldn’t handle that sort of insecurity and I don’t exactly suffer from a lack of self-esteem. It’s useless at best and dangerous at worst to assume you have to have a certain body to attract a man with a corresponding one.

Not all science is good science. You know how the little trope about how women’s brains are smaller than men’s was used for more than a century to support the idea that women are intellectually inferior to men? That’s bad science and it’s dangerous because it perpetuates dangerous biases. You’ll find equally incendiary-to-our-ears biases about other minorities in old textbooks. Blacks are such-and-such, Jews are such-and-such, Gays are such-and-such, all with the same result: it dehumanizes the group and by making them Less Than, thus giving society permission to treat them without basic human decency. There’s a lot of bad science out there that will “support” popular ideas. Don’t swallow them wholesale.

Fat people can be healthy, check out the Health at Every Size community. Or heck, check out my friend Kerrie and all the women like her who run marathons and triathlons as a big girl. Are you really going to call someone who can run 26 miles unhealthy? Crazy yes, but not unhealthy.

Don’t kick someone when they’re down.

Listen, Ms Kelly, the reason I’m not laying into you is because I’ve been where you are.

I’ve made an ass out of myself in print before. I said I didn’t want to look like a tranny in a pretty major publication. It was a cheap throwaway joke and because I’m so vocal about my support for GLBT issues –I’ve even driven the big convertible in a pride parade– it didn’t even occur to me that I’d offend anyone.

Wrong. I got hate mail by the bucket.

It took a bizarre personal experience of having my OWN gender questioned –and I’m just this side of Jessica Rabbit on the femininity spectrum so imagine MY surprise– for me to realize how wrong I was. I can’t know what it’s like to be born in the wrong gender. I can’t know the pain of coming out, either as gay or transgendered and having my entire world turn against me –or feel like it– just because I want to live my life honestly, and because I can’t know I have no business talking about it or making high-handed moral declarations about it.

You can’t know what it’s like to live as a fat girl in a world where fat girls are treated as less than fully human. You just can’t. All we can do is empathize and do our best to remember that everyone wants the same thing: to be loved and happy, just as they are.

What you did was dangerous and hurtful.

It was stupid too, but I don’t really care about the stupid part. I do stupid stuff all the time. Generally I’m smart enough not to publish my stupidity, but hey everybody makes mistakes.

You know first hand what it’s like dealing with an eating disorder. Do you have any idea how many of my readers –not to even think about the Fat World in general– are recovering from eating disorders and have gotten fat because their metabolic system has been permanently damaged? Do you have any idea how easy it is to slip back into disordered eating and the psychological shame spiral? I have a feeling you do. I also have a feeling that you know what a trigger is. Your little post was a great big trigger for a lot of people, I guarantee it.

Finally let me make this clear: It truly doesn’t matter to me what you think of the way I look. You don’t hold any power or authority by right of your thinness. My life is great. I’ve got a great job, oodles of fans, love, happiness, flawless tits and a freakin’  Birkin I didn’t have to pay for. I’m doing Just Fine.

What does matter to me is that you learn something.

This ugly situation can be a great jumping-off point for an open and honest exploration of your fairly apparent body issues. With any luck this will lead you to be a little more thoughtful about the reasons behind your body image issues and help you develop a more loving relationship with your own body. Other people don’t need to be bad to make you feel good. Other people don’t need to be ugly for you to be beautiful. It’s not a zero-sum game. Never has been. Your bio says you’re in your 30s and have never been in love. That’s unfortunate too, but not surprising. If you don’t love yourself, regardless of measurements, how are you going to love anybody else? Think about it sweetheart, and try to get better.

Gin and tonics,

Miss Plumcake

If You Think Fat Hate Isn’t Real, Read This

sugaredvenom over at Tumblr posted the results of an interesting experiment recently: typing variations on the term ‘Fat People’ into Google and seeing what came up in the trends.

For those who didn’t follow the link, here are a couple of the blanks filled in:

Fat People: Falling Over, Insults, Names

This was the most benign category.

Fat People Are: Harder to Kidnap, Hard to Kidnap, Lazy, Gross, A Burden on Society, Immoral, etc.

Fat People Should: Be Killed, Die, Be Shot, Be Ashamed, Pay More to Fly, Pay More, etc.

To be fair, sugaredvenom did find a couple of positive concepts in there as well, such as Fat People are Strong, and a few that might turn out to be neutral or positive, depending on what the results were when you clicked the link, but they were by far the rarest Google trends.

And this morning, sleepydumpling over at Fat Heffalump decided to post the results of her own attempt to replicate sugaredvenom’s experiment. Depressingly enough, she comes up with not only a lot of the same phrases, but plenty more besides. A few of her finds:

Fat People Make Me Sick

Fat People Must Die

Fat People Go Be Fat Somewhere Else

Fat People Have Smaller Brains

Fat People Have No Reason To Live (Yeah, I remember Randy Newman telling me that about my tiny Shetland people, too. Didn’t listen then, don’t intend to now.)

These aren’t full phrases sugaredvenom and sleepydumpling entered into Google and found results for. These are the ways Google offered up to finish the partial phrases they did type in. That means that there are large numbers of people out there looking up reasons why fat people should be shot.

Think about it.

Random Bits of This and That

Darlings, I have spent the last couple of weeks recovering from my painful and painfully embarrassing back injury (I’m feeling much better now, BTW, and thanks to everyone for the good wishes), and it’s resulted in an oddly random approach to things. I’ve spent a lot of time lying on the couch or in my bed listening to my own brain and it’s… scattered.

I’ve decided to go with it and provide you with some links and random thoughts about stuff and leave you to sort through it all as best you can.

First off, check out this brilliant and awesome Riot Nrrd comic. And always remember what they say about assumptions.

Big Fat Blog has some interesting thoughts on weight loss maintenance, including links to a blog that supports weight loss, but is completely honest about the toll it can take.

If you read Letters to a Young Fat Girl: Lesson the First, and are looking for more support, go check out this touching post at The Rotund. Remember: it does get better, and you are not alone. And if you catch someone bullying someone else, DO SOMETHING. That last bit is from me.

I’ve been thinking about Halloween. I love Halloween. I love costumes and I love candy and I love the campy end of spooky stuff, and I even love The Monster Mash. My Halloween will probably consist mostly of handing out candy while watching a Hitchcock film. What about all of you?

And speaking of holidays, my thoughts have also included Thanksgiving. In fact I spent some of my time laid up poring over my lightest (in terms of their physical weight, not in terms of diet foods) cookbooks and plotting my ultimate Thanksgiving meal. Lo and behold, as I was doing this, the phone rang and Mr. Twistie and I were invited to spend the holiday with some good friends and their rottweilers.

We’re going. We’re going to have a great time. But it does bring up something about me: until quite recently I was terribly phobic about dogs. Any dogs. From teacup poodles to great danes, they freaked the sewage straight out of me. Then one day about five years ago, I decided I was going to get over this crippling phobia. I had no money for therapy, so I girded up my loins and started doing my best to interact with dogs one on one on my own.

It’s taken a long time and a lot of effort, but now I can talk merrily about visiting with rotts. In fact, one of them loves to sit on my lap. My only problem with it at this point is the fact that when she climbs up there, it feels like she’s going to break my knees.

Next I shall attempt to overcome my terror of heights. Or possibly fire. Or… yeah, yeah, I know. I’m a ball of phobias. Still, dogs are no longer immediate cause for panic attacks, and I call that pretty awesome.

Can We Talk Seriously For a Moment?

Last night, I read this terrifying and heartbreaking piece by Claudia at The Embodiment of Fat charting the progression of a violent relationship she used to be in. We all like to think this couldn’t happen to us, but the fact is that domestic violence is found in every segment of society. Rich or poor, young or old, fat or thin, straight or gay, male or female,  this could happen to anyone. I know women who have survived domestic abuse. It blows my mind that women so strong, so confident, and so centered have lived through precisely what Claudia describes.

If you suspect that your relationship may be edging into abuse, if you think someone you know might be in an abusive relationship, or if you fear that your behavior may be becoming abusive toward someone you love, please print out this list of warning signs and read it carefully.

If you recognize your relationship in that list, please call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1 (800) 799-SAFE for help and more information.

Someone who really does love you will be glad you did.

What’s Up Around the Fat-O-Sphere

It’s time to catch up with what folks in the Fat-o-sphere have been up to.

Golda Poretsky of Body Love Wellness has an eye-opening three part interview with former Biggest Loser finalist Kai Hibbard. Kai talks frankly about the pre weigh in dehydration, trainers overruling doctor’s advice, the emotional abuse, the eating disorder she developed, and the edits designed to make the contestants look lazy. It’s the dirty secret nobody else connected with the show will talk about. Part one is here. Part two, here. And part three here.

Marianne of The Rotund explains clearly once more that FA is for everyone, no matter what size, physical shape, color, or preferred eating habits.

Michelle of the Fat Nutritionist is back and posting! Be sure to check out her highly entertaining discussion of awful quotes from old diet books.

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