Read ‘Em

There are about a gazillion things we’ve missed in the last week, so it’s round-up time.

First, though, I have a favor to ask of anyone who can swing it. Al’s friend Peter lost his job last July. He and his partner of 20+ years, Ericka, are now in danger of losing their house — foreclosure proceedings have begun, and a sheriff’s sale has been set for May 8. Making matters more difficult, in this case, saving the house isn’t just a matter of keeping a roof over their heads. Quoting Peter:

Ericka has multiple, chronic, life-altering diseases and Peter is her primary caregiver. We have modified our home to handle her medical equipment and power wheelchair, etc. Things like the added and increased voltage electrical system, the ramp, the bathroom, the enlarged doors and added bedroom door (so the wheelchair and ambulance gurneys can get through) are just some of the things that have been adapted so that Ericka can continue to live in our home.

Peter recently got a temporary job, and they’ve received some donations already, but they’re still going to need more to keep the house. I know everyone is struggling right now, but if any Shapelings have a bit of cash to spare, please go here and use the donate button or bid on one of the items other friends are auctioning off. A bunch of small donations could make a huge difference. Also, if you’re in the Twin Cities area and know of anyone looking to hire a webmaster/information architect/business analyst (I don’t even know what two out of three of those things mean), Peter’s resume can be found here.

Now, on to the round-up.

The Meghan McCain thing
Backstory here. FJ e-mailed about it this morning and all she said was, “Just in case you needed another reason never to pull that “last acceptable prejudice” shit…” No kidding.

Nevertheless, I replied that I was reasonably pleased with McCain’s response, overall — although yeah, the “last acceptable prejudice” thing NEEDS TO FUCKING DIE, and it also seemed like there was a little too much, “But I’m not fat!” going on, even though she had the decency to acknowledge that the criticism would be bullshit even if she were. I also admitted that a small part of me quite likes what I’ve seen of Meghan McCain (which is not that much, I hasten to note) — that is, the part of me that thinks deep down she’s a Democrat who’s just a little too green to get why her youthful energy and optimism almost certainly won’t make the Republican party any less hateful in the next few generations — so I might be giving her too much benefit of the doubt. FJ is not similarly impressed. What say you, Shapelings? Is her message refreshing to see, or undermined by the way she articulates it? Or both?  

Attack of the fat babies
There are reports out today about a new program  designed to keep pregnant women from gaining too much weight. Once again, the reporting suggests that fat moms have fat babies because their fat uteruses are fucking obesogenic environments, not because fat is hereditary. As I’ve said before, I don’t think genetics are the only reason why some people are fat, and I don’t entirely discount the possibility that a woman’s fat cells themselves could potentially affect her eggs or fetus(es). I do, however, think that when we’re talking about fat moms having fat babies, and no one ever says, “Hey, you think maybe that’s because fat is hereditary?” William of Ockham starts spinning in his goddamned grave.   

Also, check out Lauredhel on how the supposed upward trend in babies’ birthweights is horseshit. 

Brain surgery to cure teh fatz
Today, BFD  got around to highlighting Withoutscene’s fabulous rant on the brain surgery for obesity story we still haven’t gotten around to discussing. Discuss.

A good old fashioned blood-boiler
(via Shapeling Judith) Please enjoy this essay, in which Mindy Laube compares fatness to crime AND admits straight up that health is beside the point: Her whole argument is that fat people should rightly hate ourselves on aesthetic grounds alone. Money quote:

When teenage girls are willing to flaunt their oversize bellies in bikinis only one conclusion can be drawn: human nature is in flux. At some point during the last couple of decades, we seem to have misplaced one of the healthiest of human traits: vanity.

Yes, folks, once again, fat is fashionable and thin people are being persecuted by the millions and millions of fat-accepting folks, who are drowning out the noble few still fighting for a thin beauty standard.

The louder crowd insists that slender women are bizarre anomalies who ought to be force-fed into obese conformity because the rotund figure of the average Australian woman is “normal” and thus ideal.

Wow. I know American public schools don’t do such a great job of teaching geography, but I am 34 years old, and until this moment did not even realize that Australia IS ON ANOTHER FUCKING PLANET.

If you’re fat, you should be standing up to burn calories anyway. (If you can’t stand up, fuck you.)
A fitness club in The Netherlands has installed these high-tech bus shelter ads with a scale in the bench that produces a digital readout of your weight up in the usual ad space, where everyone can see it. As Liss says, “Not only fat-hating/shaming, but deeply hostile to the physically disabled, who have to exchange their privacy and dignity for their basic comfort just to wait for a bus.”

Leave more in comments, y’all. Self-linking encouraged.

104 thoughts on “Read ‘Em

  1. Dear Mindy Laube: Yes, of course fat has NEVER been fashionable in the Western world, EVER. Lillian Russell was never the top stage beauty, and she certainly never weighed ca. 200 pounds at 5’3″.

    Rubens also never existed. Neither did Maillol. As for their models, there were no such women, and nor were they sought after by swains. Gibson Girl? Shirley you jest.

    The world has always been exactly what it was last week.

  2. At some point during the last couple of decades, we seem to have misplaced one of the healthiest of human traits: vanity.

    I didn’t even read the rest of the article and what you quoted is mindbogglingly terrible enough, but what? WHAT? Where in God’s name does this come from? Either that we’ve misplaced it or that it’s one of the healthiest of human traits? INSANE.

    And that bus station story has had me rageful since I read it on Shakesville. Fuck people.

  3. Where in God’s name does this come from? Either that we’ve misplaced it or that it’s one of the healthiest of human traits? INSANE.

    Well, exactly. And then the idea that vanity is healthy when a “too-fat” person is starving themselves to meet a beauty ideal, whereas when “too-thin” women were stuffing themselves (and overdosing on iron, sadly) to meet the Lillian Russell ideal, I bet Laube would have found that “unhealthy”.

  4. That Laubian drivel is symptomatic of a larger problem down here in New Holland (Australia, if you’re nasty ;) ).

    I’ve said this on another forum, but…Please (try) to ignore Ms Laube – she posts fashion critiques that attack the wearer’s body, rather than the clothes, and doesn’t appreciate La Blanchett’s sartorial awesomeness. Nuff said.

  5. Aren’t babies supposed to *be* fat? On account of they grow so fast and they will literally grow out of their own skin if they’re too thin? Just saying. Why the hell would anyone not want fat babies. Fat babies are awesome.

    Also, holy crap, Fitness First. What an assholeish ad. I once considered taking up a fitness membership there because they’re relatively cheap but a fat snowball’s chance in hell for them now.
    This is a pretty difficult country to be fat and feel good about it. We even have cheese that’s named after being thin. I wish I was kidding, but I’m not.

  6. excessive weight gain in pregnancy hurts both the mother and her fetus

    No freaking kidding. Getting pregnant when you’ve starved your body into some shape it was never meant to be, and then having your body bounce back to your natural weight because you’re sodding *pregnant* – maybe that isn’t good for you? Who’d’ve guessed? Hey, here’s an idea. Maybe it isn’t good for *anyone,* pregnant or no.

  7. I gained a fair amount of respect for McCain during the campaign, when she was the only member of her entire family who ever seemed to mention her Bangladesh-born sister Bridget. McCain frequently talked about Bridget and posted photographs of her on her Blogette, while their father seemed to go out of his way never to be photographed with Bridget.

  8. I’d previously read Megan McCain’s response, and was very impressed. It was thoughtful and well written. Good for her…even if I don’t agree with her politics.

    Clearly Mindy Laube is a moron and completely ignorant of pre-1900 fashion. Being rounded and soft was (and still really is to many men and women) a sign of femininity and fertility. I’ve got a little jiggle in the tummy (and a few other places) and have certainly gotten no complaints from men…in a bikini or not.

    Also, vanity isn’t limited to “socially acceptably” thin women. Is she saying that bigger women have no right to any level of vanity until they lose weight? That seems like the implication.

  9. Hello there. I’m a big fat mom and gained a lot of weight when I was pregnant (which was mostly water weight, but whatever) and we’ve been consistently struggling with my daughter’s weight since she was quite small. Why? BECAUSE SHE’S TOO SKINNY. Kid weighs under 20 lbs at 18 months. Take that, crazy medical establishment. (Yes, I realize the plural of anecdote is not data, but the whole thing is boogabooga stupid anyway).

  10. I’m inclined to give Meghan the benefit of the doubt too, mostly because I think that for any woman who’s been thrust into the spotlight through no action of her own and gets scrutinized like that – I don’t know how you survive, let alone do it with grace, which she seems to be doing. Certainly not with total awareness & consciousness – but how many of us had that at 24? Not to mention, I’m thinking about the New Yorker piece by my current writing crush Ariel Levy about Cindy McCain – let’s just say it doesn’t seem like that was an easy family to grow up in – to emerge with a sense of her self-worth as a woman seems like a victory. The whole thing could have been called “vanity and despair” after a description I read somewhere of life under sexism.

    As to that Australian article: I LOVE the logic: There’s two sides: “We have to force feed skinny people!!” or “We have to make fat people skinny!!” YES THOSE ARE THE ONLY TWO OPTIONS THAT CAN POSSIBLE EXIST
    There can’t POSSIBLY BE another option. I mean, if we can’t tell whose bodies are wrong, how do we know who’s winning, right??

    //rant.

  11. Wow, it’s a small world — half the people on my LJ friends list appear also to be friends with Peter and Ericka. (What can I say? I like Minnesota fantasy authors.) It’s an awful story, and I don’t have a job for him (and I wish I did). :(

    Incidentally, I flaunted my oversized belly in public — in a string bikini, no less — and it was awesome.

  12. About the pregnancy thing. My first pregnancy, I gained about 50 pounds and didn’t exercise (which wasn’t a good thing for me, because I had been active up until then). My baby was 8 pounds, 13 ounces.

    I lost the weight. Second pregnancy, I was very conscientious about exercising. I figured I was training for a marathon of sorts. Anyway, I gained something like 23 pounds, and fit back into my size 8/10s fairly quickly because my baby was 9 pounds, 9 ounces.

    Both kids arrived within a few days of their due dates. I entered the world weighing 9 pounds. My dad weighed 12 (back in 1928! he was an only child BTW).

    So… I’m pretty sure genetics has something to do with newborn size.

    (P.S. I’m quite a bit heavier now. In fact, I now weigh more than I did during either pregnancy. But I still exercise.)

  13. Vanity? Healthy? How stupid am I! I thought most religions, mythology and morality based teachings warned AGAINST vanity (see Narcissus, Solomon, pretty much all of Buddhism, etc.).

    I need a brand new education that irradicates my humility and sense of equality with others and promotes megatons of pride, mirror gazing, scale watching, constant comparisons to others, and an overall full of myself attitude AT ALL TIMES!

  14. Also, vanity isn’t limited to “socially acceptably” thin women. Is she saying that bigger women have no right to any level of vanity until they lose weight? That seems like the implication.

    That’s what I got out of it too. It’s along the same lines as those who think fat people should not be allowed to have fashionable and trendy clothes, because it’s “enabling obesity.”

    You need a bucket the size of King Kong to pick up the brain cells all these fat-hating bozos keep losing when they make comments like this.

  15. And here was little me thinking vanity was supposed to be a bad thing. Silly moi! And to think I had the built-in vanity in our bedroom removed to make way for a bigger closet!

    I’ve actually been quite impressed with Meghan McCain’s response to Laura Ingraham’s poo-slinging. She even went out of her way to say that even if she were fat, it wouldn’t be relevant to the conversation. Yes, she did note that she isn’t fat, but the fact that it wasn’t her first – let alone only – argument against Ingraham’s schoolyard bully attack makes me quite respect her.

    I haven’t read Mindy Laube’s full diatribe, but having read the selected highlights here I know I don’t have the Sanity Watchers’ points at the ready. Still, consider me as flaunting my fat belly (and probably my big fat booty, too) in her face.

    As for fat babies, as has been pointed out before, babies NEED THE FAT at the rate they grow! Besides, fat babies make the tastiest donuts.

  16. There are reports out today about a new program designed to keep pregnant women from gaining too much weight.

    Talk about shooting themselves in the foot… I have almost no recollection of where it was*, but I read recently that it’s now suspected that obesity is related to the mother not consuming enough calories while pregnant. From a biological standpoint, it makes sense– if energy/resources are scarce, a metabolism that’s better at storing nutrients makes sense; if energy/resources are plentiful, a faster metabolism is less problematic.

    *I hate to say it, but I think it might have been in a recent issue of Oprah’s magazine. There was an article that was pretty HAES-y– even as the OBESITY CRISIS BOOGA BOOGA thing continues to get bigger (snerk), HAES ideas are beginning to infiltrate mainstream sources.

  17. “Also, vanity isn’t limited to “socially acceptably” thin women. Is she saying that bigger women have no right to any level of vanity until they lose weight? That seems like the implication.”

    As a fatty, I have to fight this very way of thinking EVERY SINGLE DAY….that thinking that I am not worthy of medical care, fashionable clothing, an income above poverty, education, courteous service, general happiness and feelings of satisfaction because my body doesn’t meet the criteria of a fat phobic public. How dare I expect to be treated respectfully when overassuming individuals can’t stand to look at me!

  18. Vanity? Healthy? How stupid am I! I thought most religions, mythology and morality based teachings warned AGAINST vanity (see Narcissus, Solomon, pretty much all of Buddhism, etc.).

    Not to mention there’s the whole “body is your temple” thing too (not sure where it originated, just remember it from sunday school when I was a little girl) which basically means NOT hating on it and I’m pretty sure that doesn’t include letting people do brain surgery on you to make you thinner or mutate your organs or whatever other ridiculous WLS’s are out there.

    Gah. *throws hands up in despair*

    On the upside, I’ve been thinking about buying a bikini as of late and this idiotic article just may have been the final push for me to “flaunt my belly”.

  19. I don’t agree with her politics either, but still I’ve always liked Meghan McCain. She likes Iggy Pop and Wire :D

  20. OK, that bus stop weight readout thing is way the hell out of line. And even for people who think it’s OK to weight shame fat people…yeah, this is going to be great for anorexics, they’re so laid back about having total strangers know their current weight. The purpose of this is what, exactly? Are they going to start charging bus fares by the pound?

    Meghan McCain seems surprisingly sane for someone raised by John McCain. I have to wonder though, given his history of dumping women who are no longer sufficiently stunning, what HE might be saying to his daughter about her weight, especially now that Ingraham has decided to punish her for not being wingnutty enough by attempting to fat-shame her.

    Also maybe I’m missing something here, but I always thought that vanity was traditionally considered a sin?

  21. I think it would be very fun to take all of my closest friends and jump up and down on that bus stop seat until it breaks. That would teach people not to put stupid and expensive things where people who don’t agree with their message might take great joy in breaking them up.

  22. At some point during the last couple of decades, we seem to have misplaced one of the healthiest of human traits: vanity.

    Somebody needs to tell Mindy that she misplaced one of the healthiest of human traits: humanity.

  23. Also maybe I’m missing something here, but I always thought that vanity was traditionally considered a sin?

    Yes, in many major religions and philosophical beliefs. In the Christian sense, it would fall under the sin of Pride.

  24. I thought young McCain’s response was pretty good.

    I must save my pennies to visit “down under” so I can see the kangaroos and the wallabies and the mobs of obese-conformists force-feeding skinny people!

  25. There’s a group called Job Angels and you can follow them on Twitter. It was founded by passionate HR folks who are committed to linking people to jobs.

    @jobangels

    Good luck!

  26. Not to mention there’s the whole “body is your temple” thing too (not sure where it originated, just remember it from sunday school when I was a little girl)

    It’s from 1st Corinthians , and in context it’s why Christians shouldn’t go see the temple prostitutes. As a justification for dieting, it’s a terrible example of biblical cherry-picking, since in the same passage Paul says “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”.

  27. Wow. I know American public schools don’t do such a great job of teaching geography, but I am 34 years old, and until this moment did not even realize that Australia IS ON ANOTHER FUCKING PLANET.

    **snorf**

    So I guess Laube can’t find a clothing store in all of Australia that carries anything smaller than an Australian size 20 (US 16)? She gets regularly passed over for jobs that go to women two and three times her weight? Other women refuse to be seen with her in public because everyone will point and laugh and throw eggs at the skinny chick? When men answer her personal ad and find out she’s thin, they run screaming into the night? She regularly gets turned away at the gym every weekend because she’s been there every day that week already? All Australian movies and TV series feature 200-pound leading ladies, and actresses who weigh less than that are laughed out of casting calls?

    Now, mind you, being a body-positive sort who’s allergic to zero-sum games, I wouldn’t want an alternative universe like this to exist for all thin women. But for her, I’d make an exception.

  28. About that bus shelter ad, I loved Meowser’s comment over at Shakespearessister, which sarcastically asserted that, as long as your weight was displayed, why not loudly announce it in case someone didn’t notice the sign? Sure, why not? I propose another sign which would announce your IQ, tell how fashionable your clothes are, and even check whether you have toenail fungus or warts. They could have similar gadgets attached to all the equipment at the gym. Won’t THAT bring in the customers!

  29. Also, this

    “If you’re fat, you should be standing up to burn calories anyway. (If you can’t stand up, fuck you.)”

    reminded me of something I heard on the radio the other day that made my head implode. It was about varicose veins I think, and how to prevent them you shouldn’t spend too much time sitting down, or too much time standing up. Now stop me if I’m wrong but there aren’t a lot of viable alternatives to those two things…

  30. Can someone tell me what the FUCK is going on in Australia? So I looked up the size conversion, and an Australian size 14 is an American size 10? And the author is suggesting that that, on a 5ft4 woman, is “fat”? And then there are people in the comments prattling about obesity?

    When I was growing up in the 70s in the UK that height/size combo would have been considered totally average. When the hell did that become people’s idea of “obese”?

  31. …she was the only member of her entire family who ever seemed to mention her Bangladesh-born sister Bridget. McCain frequently talked about Bridget and posted photographs of her on her Blogette, while their father seemed to go out of his way never to be photographed with Bridget.

    As “It” mentions earlier in this thread, the McCains seem to be pretty dysfunctional. Cindy informed John of her decision to adopt Bridget, it doesn’t seem like he was given much of a choice, although, by that point in their marriage, they were effectively no longer living together. Also, despite their not living together, even to the point of taking vacations separately, Cindy McCain is supposedly desperate for his approval. So, if he seemed to indicate in any way that he wasn’t keen on including Bridget in the campaign, it seems like she’d be willing to indulge him.

    Given that family dynamic, I’m not terribly surprised that Meghan hasn’t really struck out on her own, at least not yet.

  32. I’m so glad you attacked that Australian article. I read it, and wondered what planet she’s on.

    (I was ready to post my usual offer to people who don’t believe fat people can be fit. “Get your shoes on. Run with me. First person to collapse on the ground, gasping for air, loses.” Of course, one day I’ll say it to a distance runner, and then I’ll have a problem.)

    I’m guessing it was a slow news day at the paper.

  33. This, to me, is a perfect microcosm of fat panic run amock (from the comments on the Australian article.

    “Hate to disagree with the general consensus, but I do agree with the view in the article. Size 14 for a 5’4″ is a bit on the fat side. Not obese – nowhere near it, but, fat, yes. If you walk around like that in Europe or Asia then you would be considered a walking elephant. Sorry, but that is the truth. Size 12 would be normal for someone of that height.”

    Quite apart from the fact that I am in fact European (British) and have several friends who are German and this is blatantly not true (to put in perspective, Aussie sz 14 is an American 10 or a British 12 or an Italian 44, and all my Scottish relatives consider a sz 12 relatively slim unless they’re teenagers)…so the difference between “normal” and “walking elephant” is ONE CLOTHING SIZE? Seriously? So that’s what, maybe 2 inches difference at bust, waist and hips?

    This is all making my head hurt.

  34. I have never been so happy that something is likely to be vandalized.

    Don’t worry. That bench won’t be there for long.

  35. No one listens to the SMH, that writer picks the most contraversial topic she can and then uses it to sell lipo. She’s rat poison, although her body issues aren’t exactly rare over here. My gym still goes on about me wanting to lose weight when I’m just trying to avoid early-onset osteoperosis!

  36. Does anyone know where that bus shelter ad is exactly? In what city or cities? I want to see it. *bristles* And I’m curious as to how people will respond to it.

  37. What I liked about McCain’s comments was the way she pointed out that women simply cannot win — in contemporary culture our bodies are never right. We’re always too fat, too thin, have too much butt, not enough butt, pick the wrong clothes, you name it. She still needs to make the next mental leap into recognizing all that as a function of a patriarchal society trying to keep women oppressed and some of her phrasing wasn’t ideal, but at the very least I have to like her a lot for nailing Ingraham’s idiocy and intellectual laziness.

    The bus shelter ads sound appalling. I wonder how long it’ll take before they’re defaced?

  38. You know, this all reminds me: I was reading a story last night, written by a man, who describes a woman of 5’4″ and having 38-26-38 measurements as “heavy.” Are you freaking kidding me? With those measurements, she probably wears around a size 4! My waist is at least 5 inches bigger than hers, and I’m conscious that I don’t face the kind of negative treatment that most fat women do. If this is what people think is “normal” or “heavy” though, no wonder people like whats-her-face think that perfectly average healthy women are omgz so fat they should be ashamed!

  39. You know, I would really, really like to flaunt my fat belly in public, but I still have not been able to find a single retailer, online or otherwise, that will sell me a bikini that will actually fit (much less support the Rack of Doom ™)! I do not want a tankini. I do not want something with a fucking skirt. I would like a real, live, honest-to-god bikini that would look roughly like a bra and underwear.

    /gripe

  40. Also, I want to point out that although McCain is not fat, she’s socially fat, you know? She’s bigger than most women who are in the public eye. And I’m sure she’s been getting crap about her weight her whole life (indeed, she says as much).

  41. I want to visit that bus shelter and sit down all day and answer questions and comments.

    “Do you know that you are sitting on a scale?” Yes

    “You really need a gym membership!” I have one.

    “How can someone weigh so much?” Practice.

    “Why are you sitting on that scale?” I’m disarming it.

    And so on. And woe be to the gym staff or advertising exec who tries to move me along . . .

  42. There’s two sides: “We have to force feed skinny people!!” or “We have to make fat people skinny!!” YES THOSE ARE THE ONLY TWO OPTIONS THAT CAN POSSIBLE EXIST
    There can’t POSSIBLY BE another option. I mean, if we can’t tell whose bodies are wrong, how do we know who’s winning, right??

    Ah yes, Star-Belly Sneetch assnootery—that never seems to go out of style, does it?

  43. I was just watching a clip of Meghan McCain and I too was generally impressed by her. I was entirely skeeved out by her dad, so I was waiting for that to happen with her, but I was pleasantly surprised. I like that she is not afraid to take on Ann Coulter or Laura Ingraham. It really infuriates me when men attack a woman for being “fat”, but it drives me crazy when another woman does it. Laura Ingraham should be ashamed, but unfortunately she’s not.

  44. m.leblance, I bought a full-on bikini – my first ever! – from Designs by Ro this past winter and it is totally hot. Work blocks the website, but if you hit Google it’ll come up.

  45. Does anyone know where that bus shelter ad is exactly? In what city or cities?

    Rotterdam, I think.

    I still have not been able to find a single retailer, online or otherwise, that will sell me a bikini that will actually fit (much less support the Rack of Doom ™)!

    M. Leblanc, Exelnt does bikini tops up to an I cup and bottoms up to size 26. I’ve never ordered from them, but I’ve certainly thought about it. Also, Love Your Peaches, though their tops don’t look nearly as supportive.

  46. Kate,

    What state does Al’s friend live in? Have they gone to court to get a stay? Most states it’s pretty easy to get a six-12 month stay.

    If he wouldn’t mind divulging information to a perfect stranger (me) he can email me at (alexismichelle at gmail) my mom works in the REO department of one of the largest mortgage servicers in the country. If it’s one of her properties (slim chance, but possible) she might be able to throw some wieght around depending on who the investor is and buy them some more time to raise money if they can’t get a court ordered stay.

  47. I am so fucking angry at this shit.

    I just wish there was a clue by four big enough to knock it into people’s heads that nobody requires their commentary on every female body they happen to see (or male bodies for that matter.) How does telling everyone what you think is attractive or unattractive add to the discourse on any topic, anywhere, ever? Oh, that’s right, it doesn’t.

    Why, oh, why can’t they just shut the fuck up and let people live their lives in peace in whatever body they happen to have?

  48. Just read this, about an Alice Waters initiative to have schoolchildren plant their own produce:

    Most public schools are feeding children processed food that is contributing to the obesity epidemic, she said, so expanding the program is “really a moral issue.”

    Wait. Moral? Even if you accept that obesity is omgbad, how is that not still a health issue?

    It’s possible she’s saying we have a moral obligation to feed kids better, but the way it’s worded I really have to stretch to get there. And you know how I hate stretching, bein’ fat and all.

  49. What state does Al’s friend live in? Have they gone to court to get a stay? Most states it’s pretty easy to get a six-12 month stay.

    Minnesota, and I’m not sure, but will pass that info along. Thanks.

  50. I want to visit that bus shelter and sit down all day and answer questions and comments.

    *snrk*
    I think this is the best idea yet! If I lived in the Netherlands instead of in southern Germany, I think I’d just have been inspired to go out and find it and do that!

    And I HATE being addressed by strangers on that kind of topic!

  51. I liked McCains response. Before that article she was full of body positivity, and she still was in the article. Even though there was the “I’m not fat” part, it didn’t really bother me because I thought she got the rest of it spot on.

    And about that part, (I’m sort of new to this community and its ideas so I’m not sure how you all feel about this, and I am definitely not trying to start a fight) but it strikes me that part of the problem in our society is not just anti-fat, it’s that people see fat when it’s not necessarily there. I don’t look at her and think “OMG FATTIE” and recently there were pictures of Pierce Brosnan’s wife in a bikini, and I THINK she’s a total hottie, but there are people screaming terrible things about how fat she is. And then there was that ridiculous article from some men’s magazine bitching about curvy actresses, Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Hudson and so on…

    The reason why I have so much interest in this community is because I think that ALL body acceptance is crucial, but specifically for larger women because the emphasis on young skinny hot women in the world is having an extremely negative and nasty effect on young women growing up.

    So going back to Meghan, her saying “Yo, I’m NOT fat, I am only X size” may bother certain people, and I can see why, but the point to me is that fat =/= anything above size 0. And while there may be problems with that message because of the implications of fat fear, it seems to me that for the most part it is a positive message for young women. Because the other part of her message is “I love my body, and you should love yours too!” And I don’t really see her saying that there’s something wrong with being fat. So here on this blog, the message seems to be largely that fat is healthy and sexy and whatever else, which I’m totally down with, but it seems to me that other things can be and are too, including skinniness or in-betweenness. The acceptance of all these things is also important, and that in general there is a huge need for teenage and younger girls to get the message of body positivity, no matter what size. SO I know that here the message is about fat acceptance, because it’s not being said in a whole lot of other places whereas being skinny is accepted, but I don’t think there’s really anything wrong with what Meghan said or how, and I actually think that it’s really important for her to have said it, and I’m glad.

    Whew, I hope that makes sense!

  52. I liked Meghan’s response – I’m thrilled to see any member of the Republican Party (of which I am not one) standing up and stating that women’s thoughts and ideas should be respected. It gives me hope.

  53. Wow, I’ve been walking around France in my size-ten jeans for months without realizing that I’m supposed to feel like a walking elephant! (Of course, I’m 5’5″, not 5’4″, and maybe that extra inch of height makes all the difference…) Even though I’ve now been enlightened, I am still going to go out and buy that bikini that, before discovering Shapely Prose, I thought I was “too fat” for.

    Speaking of which…I am horrified and outraged by the scale-bench on so many levels, and I think it has the potential to affect a lot of people in very bad ways (until it’s vandalized, of course), but I have to wonder if it might have one positive outcome that was very different from what its makers intended: it might have the potential to give people a more reasonable idea of what humans actually weigh. I know I’ve spent a lot of time in my life thinking that I’m on the larger side of things, which, after reading sites like this and becoming slightly less of an idiot, I have realized is blatantly untrue. And I think many people have unrealistic ideas about what various weights look like (even their own). Finding out what actual people weigh might do something to readjust the numbers that rule so tyrannically in our heads.

    Of course, there are MUCH BETTER ways to do this than that ad–such as the BMI project, where people have, you know, actually given permission for their pictures to be displayed with their weights, and where their choice isn’t between privacy and physical comfort. But I think it would be deliciously ironic if the ad had the effect of making, say, average-sized people realize their weight is common and not actually all that horrific…

  54. I know I say this too much anyway, but it still shocks me every time I remember. I had a coworker last year whose 6 MONTH old nephew was put on a diet because his pediatrician believed that BREAST MILK was “too fattening” and endangering his health. So his parents agreed that mom would stop nursing him, and he would be fed a quart of skim milk a day, and no more. That’s four feedings a day. For a six month old. Whose nervous system needs at least 50% dietary fat until he’s five years old to develop normally.

    Coworker saw nothing wrong with this. The baby’s parents were willing to literally starve him so he wouldn’t have “extra” body fat. Where are the child protective services workers? Oh, wait, they’re in FAVOR of starving children, as long as the children are fat.

  55. MaryH–holy hell. That pediatrician needs to have his/her license revoked. Babies–fat, skinny, or otherwise–cannot be overfed on breastmilk and should never be fed cow’s milk before 12 mos. I’m “just” a mom, and I know that.

  56. Re: Meghan McCain

    At lease she said one of the last acceptable prejudices, which acknowledges that it’s not the only one.

    In general, I like her article. I basically 100% disagree with everything her father stands for (I don’t know what she specifically stands for, so I can’t say if I agree or disagree with her), but I respect what she wrote. Even though she drops in the “I’m not fat I wear a size 8″ thing, she at least goes on to say that it would be stupid no matter what size she wore.

  57. “My first pregnancy, I gained about 50 pounds and didn’t exercise (which wasn’t a good thing for me, because I had been active up until then). My baby was 8 pounds, 13 ounces.

    I lost the weight. Second pregnancy…[snip] I gained something like 23 pounds, and fit back into my size 8/10s fairly quickly because my baby was 9 pounds, 9 ounces. ”

    Aine, this same thing happened to me! Except it was 60 pounds the first time!

    And now at 8 weeks old the second baby is 16 pounds. Thankfully my pediatrician is a sensible man who merely chuckles as he plots her off-the-chart weight — not a FUCKING MONSTER like the one who mandated skim milk for a 6mo baby. That plan could be life-threatening.

  58. What the fuck happened to that study that showed birth rate (higher being better) to be the single most effective predictor of childhood illness?

  59. Mary H: That is EXTREMELY dangerous and the baby will actually die if they do that consistently. Thin, dead babies are very unattractive.

    Please please please beg them to get a second opinion or find out to whom in social services the neglect of an infant can be reported. Skim (or any cow’s) milk is nutritionally inadequate for breastfed babies, which is why formula was *invented*.

  60. Mary H: Oh, wait, last year. Phew. I guess they must have fed the baby something else, like baby rice.

    The ped is *dangerous* though.

  61. Regarding the McCain comments:

    I don’t think she’s “too..” anything. We live in a world where people can not think, unless something is in a category. You’re either THIS or THAT, you can’t possibly be both, or heaven forbid – WISER because of a combination of the two.

    It’s amazing how little we evolve sometimes (not directed at you original poster) even after all this time.

    Personally, I thought she did great. The younger generations will “get it”. The narrowminded – will not.

    Re: your friends home situation. I’m truly sorry to hear what they are going through. Personally I can barely pay my monthly bills without borrowing $$. I can’t donate, but I can pass the word on.

  62. mczz, I can totally agree with not seeing fat where other people see it. Like, there were all these pictures floating around of Britney Spears a while ago during her last tour, saying how much of a failure it was. I just recently (like, within the last month) realized they all thought it was because she was fat! WTF?! I totally didn’t see it in those pictures. and I saw Meghan McCain on the Rachel Maddow show last week, and not ONCE did I think “omg she’s such a big fattie!” Is that what I was supposed to think?

    Well, I think this world is going insane.

  63. In reference to the “your body is a temple” thing: It is from 1 Corinthians. You can read it here in the NRSV translation http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=1+cor

    In this letter the references to food & bodies is about whether or not one should eat food that had been sacrificed to Pagan gods. It’s certainly not about being thin or fat and whether or not being thin or fat is moral or immoral. It really irritates me when this passage is used to talk about how women should be thin for Jesus.

  64. I read recently that it’s now suspected that obesity is related to the mother not consuming enough calories while pregnant.

    I know mouse =/= human, but there’s a famous study with mice that was covered in several of my Bio classes in college that says exactly this. The mother mice were divided into three groups given small, medium, and large amounts of food while pregnant. Their babies were different sizes based on maternal diet, with the fattest mice being the offspring of the mothers given the least food. The initial size of the mothers were all the same, so that variable was controlled for. And the explanation for this was exactly that, the embryos of the fat mice developed with the expectation of food scarcity, so their metabolisms adjusted for that, whereas the thin mice developed with the expectation of plentiful food, so their metabolisms adjusted to that. There were some specific details about genetics and such that I don’t remember now, but it has a pretty well-explained biological mechanism too.

    All this to say, modern health care is based more in BOOGA BOOGA than real science, as confirmed for the 13085290456203th time.

  65. Miss Prism – Yeah, i wondered about that – a walking elephant as opposed to all those other normal elephants that have adorable little wings and fly around?

    Also agreed with mczz – I think it’s really important that people push back against the increasing tide of people who want to label anyone with a BMI over about 20 fat, even when such people have no visible fat on their bodies. The arbitrary line of what weight is “acceptable” in women is shifting downwards, and that’s dangerous for any young women who aren’t naturally very thin.

  66. In reading McCain’s comments elsewhere — “Unfortunately, even though Ingraham is more than 20 years older than I and has been a political pundit for longer, almost, than I have been alive,”
    I say good job pounding the other female atrocity — getting older!!

    Divide and conquer, I suppose. sigh

  67. Regina T. “How dare I expect to be treated respectfully when overassuming individuals can’t stand to look at me!”

    THank you for putting it so succinctly. You are so right about not thinking we deserve anything b/c of the way we look.

  68. “I had a coworker last year whose 6 MONTH old nephew was put on a diet because his pediatrician believed that BREAST MILK was “too fattening” and endangering his health. So his parents agreed that mom would stop nursing him, and he would be fed a quart of skim milk a day, and no more. That’s four feedings a day. For a six month old.”

    Holy fucking crap! I do not want to BELIEVE this. That pediatrician should not be practicing. And possibly should be shot. What kind of fucked up, unthinking, wacko piece of shit thinks it’s better to risk killing a kid than to let the baby have actual nutrients that might possibly make him gain fat that he NEEDS?

    Also all the stuff linked in this post just makes me go “SDAGAFHG what is wrong with people”. D=

  69. Something else I’m thinking about the Laube article when I decided to start looking online for bikinis last night thanks to that article’s moronishness. A lot of her article actually reminds me a lot of the kind of thought process I had in high school when I’d see girls in bikinis. If they didn’t have near model bodies I’d curb my jealousy of their boldness by telling myself “well, she looks fat, at least I have the decency to cover up”. If they did have bodies near to those you’d find in a Victoria’s Secret ad, I’d curb my jealousy of their bodies AND boldness by telling myself, “well, she looks like a slut” or “well, ew, her ribs stick out”.

    In short, what I’m trying to say (aside from the fact that it’s so liberating not to criticize everyone internally like that anymore) is that I think Laube is actually jealous that she doesn’t like her body as much as the girls who “proudly flaunt their bellies”. Sort of a misery loves company “if I hate my body she must too!!!!” sort of thing.

  70. That pediatrician’s advice sounds like something the Scientologists would recommend. All their literature suggests that breastmilk is ‘too full of fat’ and that babies need protein and carbs, not fat to grow. Hubbard was very fond of saying that the problem with modern, western babies was that they’re all fat, fed nothing but fat.

    Just a thought. And, y’know, another reason to run screaming from that particular doctor.

  71. *note, when I said “near model bodies” I meant models you’d usually find in a magazine ad of Seventeen, not meant as “the model body” (course, when I was younger I was convinced it was the only body that could look good, hence my screwed up jealousy)

  72. My vanity is not misplaced or displaced. It’s where it always was intended to be: next to the lu in the bathroom.

  73. Ugh! Skim milk is what they feed veal calves!! I don’t think anyone would argue that veal farmers are worried about their stock’s health. I think someone is trying to farm tender baby flesh!!!

  74. Years ago, I was in a writing group and a fellow submitted a story wherein he had described a female character as extremely fat at, hm, I think it was 140 pounds, maybe 150, and 5’3″ or 4.

    So, when it came time to critique his manuscript, all the women in the group started telling him their heights and weights: “Huh, I’m 5’5″ and I weigh 185,” “I’m 5’2″ and I weigh 200,” Etc. Like a living BMI Project.

    He dropped out of the group soon afterward.

  75. Kate! KATE! Oh man, I’m way late in this thread but the not-Harding Kate who gained a lot of weight while pregnant and then had a skinny kid – ME TOO. Hey, now we have enough anecdata for a Major Scientific Study on Weight!

    Me: 180# pre-pregnancy, 250# at week 34 just before I gave birth, 170# a few days later, 210# now, about.

    Kiddo: 4 lbs 14 oz at birth, 8 pounds at due date, around 3 months he dropped right off the chart, at nearly 4 years old he’s 28 pounds, 38 inches tall.

    Now that he’s been tested for every gd digestive disorder and other issue doctors can think of, his dad & the skinny side of the family’s biggest fear? THAT IN FEEDING HIM CALORIE-DENSE FOOD WE ARE TEACHING HIM BAD EATING HABITS.

    You know, all those sweet potatos and real butter and OMG whole milk are gonna kill him one day.

  76. A Sarah – That’s awesome. It’s amazing to me how clueless men are about what women actually weigh. I’m seriously tempted to make tshirts for feminist events that are like the “this is what a feminist looks like”, but with height and weight. Eg “this is what 5ft3 and 135 pounds looks like”, “this is what 5ft10 and 200 pounds looks like”. In my experience most men seem to think 100 pounds is ideal, 120 is “normal” and anything over 140 is “mega super fat”, on women of any height or build.

  77. and on the subject of babies…

    I was a baby fed skim milk. And I’m fat. So even if it doesn’t kill the kid it might not turn them into a skinny grownup.

    My mom became a big breastfeeding advocate before her second pregnancy, because my infancy was so awful – told not to breastfeed (this was 1974) they went through every kind of baby liquid feeding product available at the time and I puked them all up, except skim milk, so skim milk it was.

    She took some continuing credits in child development about ten years ago and called me up to apologize, because now everybody knows babies need fat to make them smart.

    WTF is wrong with some of these doctors and nurses? (my son’s grandma who east saccharine like it’s a real food and the auntie who thinks whole milk is a sin are both RNs.)

  78. I thought Meghan McCain’s response was awesome. And like some have already said here, it sounded like her “I’m not fat” comments were a response to media/society’s body dysmorphic beliefs that anyone bigger than a US size 8 is fat.

    I’m hoping that her comments about Ingraham being a pundit longer than McCain has been alive are just pointing out that the woman should have enough experience to know better.

  79. Huh, it hadn’t occurred to me that McCain’s comments about Ingraham’s age might mean anything other than “you should know better by now”…marymette, did you think she might have been dishing out a backhanded insult?

  80. Oh, somehow I skipped Agatha’s comment–sorry, Agatha! That didn’t strike me as McCain’s meaning at all, in part because this is taking place within the realm of politics, where I (naively, perhaps) assume a rough direct correlation between a woman’s age and her power. (As opposed to Hollywood, where there would be more of an inverse correlation.) It seemed to me like McCain was combining the message of “you should know better after all your experience” with the message, “You’re an influential figure with the power of age and experience on her side, making snide comments about a young woman in her early twenties who is a relative newcomer to the scene, because you don’t like the way she looks? Way to pick on the new kid.” Granted, Meghan McCain isn’t exactly new to American politics, but it seemed to me that she was portraying Ingraham’s age as a characteristic that strengthened rather than weakened her, thereby making her even more of a bully.

  81. That’s awesome. It’s amazing to me how clueless men are about what women actually weigh.

    Not just men, I think for a lot of women there’s a lot of mystification over weight as well. I remember a friend of mine thinking that the most any woman could ever weigh was 200 lbs. I couldn’t keep from saying, “you know that two years ago I was over 200 lbs, right?” And rather than believe me, she proclaimed that the scale must have been wrong. I still facepalm over remembering that conversation sometimes.

  82. People’s perception of human weight is severely, severely warped. And for all the focus on BMI in the media there’s so little understanding of what a difference height makes.
    IME someone’s weight has SO LITTLE to do with their appearance! Other factors like skeletal structure and how much muscle vs. subcutaneous fat they tend to carry and where, are what make up the majority of variation.

  83. Does anyone know where that bus shelter ad is exactly? In what city or cities?

    Rotterdam, I think.

    Alright, thanks!

  84. Ok so I followed some links from the Aussie article to more Aussie sites and I’m confused. I keep seeing them state that Australia is “the fattest nation on earth”, but according to the original loathsome article Kate linked the average Aussie woman is an American size 10? And people in Australia think this is huge?

    I’m trying to figure out what’s going on here because unless vanity sizing is a lot more prevalant in Australia than it is here I’m just not seeing how “fattest nation on earth” and “average woman size 10 (Aussie 14)” can possibly co-exist.

  85. There was one study last year that concluded Australia was the fattest evar, but somewhere in this site’s archives was a post where we picked it apart as a community and came to the conclusion that they were misinterpreting the data, IIRC. But I’m not surprised people remembered that factoid and have regurgitated it without thinking.

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