Open thread

Have at it, Shapelings. I’m using all my words for dissertating today and my co-bloggers are using theirs for their paid jobs. Fluffcation rules do not apply on this thread: feel free to talk about what you want and get as controversial as you feel, so long as you abide by the Comments Policy.

Speaking of which, there has been a trend recently (mostly not from regulars) for commenters to say “I know you said this thread is closed, but” or “I know you said to take this threadjack to Ning, but” or “I know you said this thread is fluff only, but” and then to go ahead and say whatever thing they would have said anyway. To which I say: what the living fuck? This is not a discussion board. (This is.) This is a blog, and we moderate the shit out of it. You don’t have to like every decision we make, but you do have to respect it. It’s not about disagreeing; it’s about respecting the work we put in here. And hey, if you don’t respect that work? You don’t get to comment, though heaven knows why you’d want to anyway.

End of lecture. Open thread!

277 thoughts on “Open thread

  1. Things that have annoyed me lately include -isms presentations in my intro to education class. The project didn’t bother me, but some groups did ridiculous things like talk about body image issues and then go, “well I couldn’t find anything about men, but trust me boys feel exactly the same way. They have EXACTLY the same problems.” Or in the same group which was the ablism group they suggested for a lesson plan to have students tie their arms behind their back or hop around on one leg to understand how disabled people feel. That just seemed stupid to me. Then the racism group had to bring up a teacher who sued her school and won because the students were calling her a cracker and honky and the school didn’t do anything about this horrible racism. Turns out white people totally have it as hard as black people.

    For good things though, I got assigned to the sexism group and the teacher pointed me in the direction of a great video that addresses gender issues for men and boys. It’s called “Tough Guise,” and you can find the whole thing on youtube by searching that. It’s actually amazingly awesome and isn’t just a whole “what about the menz!!!” thing. And it addresses rape culture and whatnot, very good video.

  2. Oh, sorry to double post, but I’m glad you’re semi back from fluffication. I hope things get more calm for you guys, and you deserve a break, but I’m still glad. SP makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

  3. Or in the same group which was the ablism group they suggested for a lesson plan to have students tie their arms behind their back or hop around on one leg to understand how disabled people feel.

    … I can’t seem to find an adjective for this, but believe me, it wouldn’t be a positive one. What the fucking fuck.

  4. I just wanted to de-lurk (after 1.5 years!) to say thanks for Shapely Prose; without it, I would probably be in a corner somewhere, crying over the calories in a banana.

    In my neck of the woods, I’ve noticed an oldie-but-a-goodie making a comeback: the “men are just better than women at some things (like science) so OF COURSE it makes sense to hire/pay them more” meme (maybe it never went away), which I find particularly annoying because I AM a scientist.

    “Oh… I didn’t mean YOU…”

    :SIGH:

  5. I remember doing simple tasks blindfolded in elementary school, to learn about blindness, BUT the emphasis was on “look, you learn to adapt, and different things are important when you’re not relying on sight”. It would be so much more useful to tell people they cannot use stairs for the next week, so they notice how hostile the world can be to wheelchair users.

  6. I also should remind people that Kate is still kicking ass and taking names over at Broadsheet, so if you’d like to use this thread to discuss any of those posts without wading into the morass that is Salon commenting, feel free. I can also set up a regular open thread for that purpose if that would be of interest.

  7. TooManyJessicas – I’m also a female scientist, and a friend of mine, a BRILLIANT neuroscience PhD student keeps getting “oh woe, will I ever have grandchildren” from her dad. *fume* I bet he wouldn’t pull that crap if he had two sons.

  8. I am pretty happy today because yesterday our company’s annual charity drive started and I knew exactly what charity I was going to donate to – last year I couldn’t decide and ended up sponsoring friends more than direct giving. And my choice was definitely influenced by all I’ve read here and at other activist (feminist, anti-racist, etc.) sites. In the last couple years, reading sites like this one, I feel like I’ve finally started to understand why I always felt society was unfair, and more importantly, what I can do about it.
    So thank you SP!

  9. Or in the same group which was the ablism group they suggested for a lesson plan to have students tie their arms behind their back or hop around on one leg to understand how disabled people feel.

    Ah yes, the Hoppers. Society’s least understood group.

    Seriously, wtf? Have they ever talked to any PWD, like, ever in their whole lives?

  10. This made me think about an activity that was done in my high school’s health classes (which I didn’t take, because I took health correspondence so I could take Russian instead; I was a dork) in which students would put on a blindfold, be given a cane, and have to be led around school by a partner. At the time this all seemed unobjectionable, but looking back it seems exceedingly likely that it was done in a patronizing “look at how hard things are for blind people!” way rather than “look at how important it is to think about accessibility” way, doesn’t it? If that is even a reasonable exercise in any context to get the latter across; I’m not really qualified to make that determination. Bah, but good to have a new perspective.

    On a different topic, who else is getting annoyed by the endless patronizing articles about Gabourey Sidibe and how in denial she must be? I mean, how could anyone SO DIFFERENT from the article writers REALLY be happy, right? Douches.

  11. Last week I had a root canal and I came to school the next day. I was supposed to meet with another student to look at his paper and it was a set appointment that I was officially getting paid for. While I was debating whether or not to cancel/reschedule I said outloud, near my female (Religious Right) friend “I’m having a moral dilemma.” She stopped what she was doing and asked, totally serious, “Wait, you have morals?” Oh the discussion that started. Because I’m liberal, pro-choice, pro-gay marriagge, etc. I couldn’t possibly have morals, amirite?

    This also followed a long and excruciating discussion of her use of the word whore on a friend of mine who has made some bad relationship decisions. The air was like ice that day! I think this is where the moral issue came up. Clearly I condone extramarital affairs because I refused to judge someone for their mistakes! Obviously I have no morals!

  12. On a different topic, who else is getting annoyed by the endless patronizing articles about Gabourey Sidibe and how in denial she must be?

    Oh, Jesus, yes. Doesn’t she realize that she’s black and fat? How dare she feel good about herself?

  13. Speaking of bananas…yes, that is what the Stupak amendment is driving me. What is wrong with people?!

    @Sarah B, I…have no words…that is utterly ridiculous.

    @LilahMorgan and Sniper, the Gaby Sidibe writeups have been beyond irritating. God forbid we mention a woman who is happy with herself without saying that she really should do something about all that unhealthy weight! *sigh* On top of that, I was looking up some info about America Ferrera (who has a build very similar to mine) and was disgusted at all the people who think she’s fat at her current size. Like, calling her disgusting. Really?

    Finally, I’ve been blogging a bit more than usual, so people are welcome to come over and comment :) http://donewiththisshit.tumblr.com/

  14. Sniper:Oh, Jesus, yes. Doesn’t she realize that she’s black and fat? How dare she feel good about herself?

    Shit, the movie’s director, Lee Daniels, essentially tossed the press the ball to hit again and again when he basically said, “doesn’t she know what she looks like?” in the first wave of “Precious” press to hit (I believe it was in the New York Times magazine). I fucking fucking fucking hate that bullshit of “you can’t possibly be happy – I mean, look at yourself!!!!“. I’ve gotten it in my personal life and let me tell you, nothing gets me from zero to destroy faster than telling me my happiness is fraud or I’m deceiving myself because of my fat.

  15. Okay, since it’s an open thread, even though SM and FJ are already hearing about this all the time, I want to share my happiness that I am totally having regular sexytimes with a hot hot hottie. It is extremely excellent. :-D

  16. Sarah B; you may not have morals, but at least you have MANNERS! Holy Crap (pun intended)!

    @alibelle; ZuhTF? Did the Prof ok them beforehand? Because you describe presentations just MADE OF FAIL. Wouldn’t it have been great if, say, the ableism group had met with a campus students with disabilities group and given a presentation with them about special needs and considerations for PWDs in the classroom? GAH!

    For some semi-fluffication, my son lost his first tooth, from the top-middle left. The other one has sort of migrated to the middle of the empty space (it’s also very loose, the pediatrician said this is common, I’ve never seen it). He totes looks like Ollie from Kulka, Fran and Ollie right now, too cute:

  17. Volcanista, seriously? Fuck yeah!!!

    Also, I didn’t even mention what the said to do for blind people in the ablism group, they suggested having students be blind folded and told to pick a green crayon out of a bag of different colored crayons. WTF?

    But, really Volcanista that’s awesome. But now I hate you, just like I hate Sarah Palin, because I am very jealous.

  18. I’m an educator, and that lesson has been suggested to me before, too. I like to *think* that it comes from good intentions, and that the people who created it were trying to gear it towards kids’ level of development—trying to start where the kids were in their thinking and experience and then move the conversation forward from there—but sadly, I know that’s overly optimistic of me, and even if it were the case, it would still be condescending to the kids and beyond insulting to myriad others. (Then again, I did have a colleague say to me in all seriousness “Well, tenth graders are too young to reflect.” WTF?)

    I morphed the lesson into something we call (Privilege) Olympics to introduce notions of privilege to (mostly white, mostly middle class, mostly male) 9th grade students when we read To Kill A Mockingbird. We have an inner circle and outer circle—the inner circle are the contestants, the outer circle the social scientists. With the contestants outside, I instruct the social scientists to take copious notes, write down quotes and observations, and ignore pleas of “unfairness” once the games begin. When the contestants come back in, they do a series of competitions in the center of the room for prizes–candy, homework passes, books–but all of the competitions are very clearly rigged. Like, there’s spelling contest, but one contestant is positioned to see all the spelling words spelled correctly on the board. Or, they have to assemble a paper clip chain, but one person has several fingers taped together, and before the contest begins I swipe all of their clips onto the floor. Or the tallest and shortest kid compete to retrieve paper plates that are hung very close to the ceiling. We ignore all the protests of the “losers” and give applause and prizes to the winners, and take careful notes on all their interactions.

    Afterwards, we do a lot of processing about what the saw/thought/felt. We hear from the “winners” and “losers”, and we discuss the specifics of the contests (like when a “winner” decides to share their prize with the “loser” at the end, or when a “winner” gloats and teases about winning, or when a winner exploits their unfair advantage in some way, or when a “loser” threatens to punch a “winner”. . only in jest!) We connect some of those responses and reactions to characters in the book, too, and we do lengthier reflections that usually turn out pretty thoughtful. I remember one kid writing about how losing a ho-ho was no big deal, and they didn’t really care about it, but if was dinner tonight or her college education riding on this arbitrary, unfair rule that she had no control over, and no one listened when she tried to express her dismay, that she would be furious. And what if that feeling lasted not for the duration of a single incident, but for her whole life? And the conversation becomes something we can refer to all year long, which is helpful.

    Anyway, what was my point? Oh, yes. Those poor, poor Hoppers.

  19. I started writing letters to my representatives lately, and I had no idea how much I loved the words shame, stink and disgusting. Something hilarious (and disturbing) bubbles out of me when writing to politicians. Oh, and I’m from Arkansas. *sigh*

  20. BTW, I know this doesn’t begin to cover the topic. . .it’s purely intended to be introductory, and to give the kids something tangible to refer to when we are having more philosophical discussions about these issues. And the hope is that someone picks up some of these ideas next year so the conversation doesn’t just end. . .

  21. This quote from The New York Times Magazine article on the Obama marraige scares me….

    “Early next year, aides say, the first lady will become the administration’s point person on childhood obesity, working with her husband’s policy advisers as well as her own on a problem that has stymied public-health experts for years.”

    How can we petition Michelle to have Kate as one of her advisors?

  22. Re: Hoppers

    I fell down a flight of stairs and broke my ankle when I was 12. For six weeks I had mobility issues and well, the second I got the cast removed other than noting how thin and hairy my leg was, I don’t recall giving my previous condition another thought.

    So I’ve never understood “hopper”, “black like me” or any of those other kinds of exercises. Yet, they are routinely presented in “progressive” spaces and it’s so terribly problematic.

  23. Aliciamaud74, that’s a great lesson plan, and since the professor I have is very discussion based in all her lessons I imagine we’ll have a day where we discuss the presentations, so I will bring that idea up as another option for a lesson plan.

  24. On the subject of reclamation:

    I’ve always been a theatery type, but I pretty much gave up acting after college. I hadn’t performed in years, and I missed it some, but felt kind of ambivalent about returning. A couple of months ago, a friend asked me to be in her play – an MFA project – and I agreed. Perfect opportunity to get back into it.

    And then allllll the body-image baggage came trickling back. The play is about 9-year-olds, and I have big ol’ boobs. My character is supposed to look just like another one, and the actress playing her has a boyish body. Dicey territory for someone who’s worked hard to love her body.

    But then this happened:

    The costume designer, bless her heart, had overcommitted herself, and she ended up doing most of her work at the last minute. When she brought in clothes for us to try on, neither of the pieces she brought for me fit even a little bit, and she’d taken our measurements. I’m an “in-between” kind of size, and it’s often hard to shop for me in places like thrift stores and costume closets, and I guess she just didn’t have time to find me, say, a dress that zipped? And when I said it didn’t fit, she told me it didn’t have to, that since the scene took place in hell, it made sense, etc. She wasn’t concerned with my comfort at all! Thank goodness I’m okay with being naked onstage, because it was pretty clear to me that I could roll with it or make her have a nervous breakdown because she had so much work to do.

    Luckily I was armed with FA, because I took a deep breath and reminded myself that all of that didn’t matter, that my body isn’t a problem – it’s who I am. And if they didn’t want my body onstage, they wouldn’t have cast me. But the huge, roiling, ugly mess of negativity that I’d packed away when I stopped acting bubbled to the surface, and I cried as hard as I could for two minutes in that dressing room, just getting it out. I didn’t realize that the feeling of having a problematic, large, ungainly body was something that turned me away from acting – I’d never have realized that of my own accord. And that bit even more, to have let something like that stop me.

    The show’s over – I did my bit, and I felt silly in my ill-fitting costume sometimes, but that’s the costume’s fault. I don’t want to be an actor in a serious, method kind of way, but I love the crap out of performing. And now that I’ve figured this out a bit, I’d be a fool to stop here.

    Yay for FA!

  25. Alibelle — allow me to echo the resounding chorus of “wtf?!” (Speaking of which, did anybody else hear the piece on “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” about the Wisconsin Tourism Federation’s decision to finally change its name?)

    Sarah B: on behalf of Christians with brains and tact, allow me to apologize. If I told your friend that I’m a devout Christian and regular churchgoer, and that I share your opinions, do you think her head would explode? Because, if so, then I totally shouldn’t do that. Brains are so hard to get out of the carpet. Also, deliberately causing someone’s head to explode might be immoral.

    And on the subject of liberalism and religion, I just have to share the latest criticism of my chosen denomination (Episcopalian). We have just been slammed by the Episcopal bishop of South Carolina (not to be confused with the bishop of Upper South Carolina, who is a totally decent guy), for practicing “indiscriminate inclusivity.” To which my first reaction was “Yes!” (My second reaction was, “Wait, isn’t ‘indiscriminate inclusivity’ redundant?”)

  26. Alibelle: one thing it seems to help kids acknowledge is that these are systemic issues—-like, they don’t really have any say over the rules I put in place, but they can decide how to USE those rules and they can decide not to exert their advantage over anyone else. (One kid refused to look at the right spelling answers for example, which was great fodder for conversation. As it was when the tallest boy put his hand on the top of the shortest girl’s head and wouldn’t allow her to jump for the paper plate, even though the was obviously at the advantage anyway.) The “winners” don’t have to get defensive—they can just acknowledge their role in the system, and start the conversation there. Otherwise, I tend to get a lot of defensive reactions when we talk about “unfair advantage” in the book. One kid even rolled his eyes and said, “Aw man. We’re talking about racism? We did racism LAST year.” Eeeee!

  27. Tomorrow I FINALLY have a doctor’s appointment to discuss how those worrying menstrual problems said doctor brushed off before have gone to a scary level of worse. It’s been a little depressing to list down how everything has changed–it’s an entire page at 12 pt Times New Roman.

    I’m bringing my partner along as backup in case she tries to brush me off again or harp on my weight to exclusion of all else. He’s skinny, so I bet his word that I don’t eat sticks of butter all day will carry more weight (har) than mine.

    I’m also feeling more confident in sticking up for myself, thanks to SP teaching me about HAES and a billion other things I’ve learned in the posts and comments (I’ve read a lot of the archives). Last year I got harped on about having a BMI of 33 and I just wilted–I had no idea that my 20 kilo weight gain of a few years ago might be a sign of a problem and worth mentioning. I was convinced it was my fault my weight hardly budged, even after spending the summer of 2007 walking 3 miles a day 4 or 5 days a week–I thought I must somehow still be eating too much, even when I only remembered to eat once a day.

    This place is a godsend, I tell you.

    In non mememe news, the Stupak amendment has had me in a frothing rage. I may no longer live in the States, but all of my family and the majority of my friends do! Making it worse is some of the people who comment on the Facebook Planned Parenthood group who yell at the rest of us for being babykillers or whine about welfare queens or about a billion other painfully anti-woman things. WHY ARE THEY EVEN ON THERE.

    Oh, right. Trolls.

  28. @aliciamaud74:
    Wow. I wish we’d done that in a PSHE lesson (personal, social & health education, for the non-brits). What we actually got was “gay people: be nice to them” and “teenage pregnancy: it is a Bad Thing”. Yay conservative girls’ school!

    Also, Sweet Machine: I love your comments policy. I especially love you saying “what the living fuck?” although I wish you didn’t have to. But the phrase may now have irrevocably entered my vocabulary :)

  29. I found this blog about two weeks ago and have been feasting on its back-entries ever since (haha, u see wut I did thar?).

    Thank you, thank you, for making SENSE. Despite having many fat friends and family members who I knew for a fact lived healthy lifestyles, I was a halfhearted buyer-in to the societal panic over our “fatdemic.” I mean, something about it always seemed fishy, but when doctors and numbers and “science” are used to support an irrational fear that’s already been ingrained by culture, art, and marketing… well, it’s pretty tough to disregard such a coalition — or even to question it. Not everyone is naturally given to probing analysis of the status quo; not everyone is naturally given to activism. Thank you for being both.

    Finally, thank you for telling me it’s okay to start dismantling my disordered thinking about food, health, and my body. Thankfully, I’ve never slipped (very far or for very long, anyway) into disordered behavior, but my thinking has always been plenty screwy. Time to say “screw that” to the screwy. I am a powerful, beautiful, ravenous machine.

    I do have a question; it’s about representing fat people in literature and film. As an aspiring poet, novelist, and screenwriter, I want to create characters that reflect my own experiences, and what I feel to be universal experiences. Obviously this includes fat people. Even fat people in leading roles. Even fat WOMEN in leading roles. (This could go on, but you get the idea.)

    But I’m conflicted about whether/how to address fatness itself. I want to depict fat people as, y’know, PEOPLE. Complex individuals. Unique human animals. Who are fat. Part of me feels that this goal would be compromised by explicitly addressing fatness as an issue/theme/whatever. I mean, wouldn’t it be awesome to see a movie where the role could have been given to a thin person… but eh, it wasn’t, because hey, a lot of people happen to be fat?

    But than again, given the ubiquity of fat-discrimination, I don’t know how comfortable I’d be in depicting a fat person without depicting that discrimination. Would such a divorce of attribute and experience ring false?

    I’d appreciate any opinions/insight/discussion from you fabulous people.

  30. gina, yeah, I hate the dating scene. I have finally given up on it, deleted all my profiles, etc. etc., out of pure frustration. But this is someone I met right before I decided to finally cut myself off, and over time it’s gradually become something. Not Something-something [yet?], but at least sumpin-sumpin, IFYWIM!

  31. I’ll use the open thread to point out my recent FB status (whereby we were challenge to post one “thing” per day for which we were thankful; in anticipation of the Turkey Bird holiday): “Today I am thankful for reaching a calm mental point where at last my happiness is not dependent upon either the size of my pants or the number on a scale.”

    Thanks to SP and similarly amazing blogs I can honestly WRITE that status and feel that some days, perhaps even MOST days, it is really actually true. ^.^

    As a bonus, I’ve already gotten two “likes” for the comment and one “AWESOME!” as a comment. ;) Spreading the word of non-self-hatred; one status update at a time…

  32. Can someone tell me if the red veil of rage that fell down over my eyes when I read the following was unreasonable? Background is that it’s open enrollment time for benefits in my company, and our health plan’s prescription coverage changed. It used to be 3 tiers (generic, formulary, non-formulary) and now it’s 4 tiers (the previous 3, plus a new category called “Other”). What’s Other, you ask?

    “The Other Drugs category includes all erectile dysfunction drugs, all acne drugs, all anti-obesity drugs, all anti-anorexiant drugs, all anti-fungal drugs and may include new drugs that come out that are generally designed to improve the quality of life by remedying unpleasant conditions but are not medically necessary.”

    Oh, those pesky conditions, making life so unpleasant!!

    ::seethe::

  33. Annie McNeil, welcome! I don’t know if this will help with your writerly question directly, but FriendofKate Mary Anne Mohanraj wrote a terrific post for white writers who want to portray POC that may help you think about what you want to do with your own writing of characters who are usually marginalized.

  34. Another place I frequent has a name for the people who say, “I know you —–, but..”

    They call them but-heads.

    And they are often told if they have something to say, they should get their own damn blog.

  35. arb003 – Hello, fellow Arkansan! I’m glad to know there are others who post/lurk here. I feel very lonely! Fat Acceptance is a VERY radical concept where I am. How about you?

  36. This quote from The New York Times Magazine article on the Obama marraige scares me….

    “Early next year, aides say, the first lady will become the administration’s point person on childhood obesity, working with her husband’s policy advisers as well as her own on a problem that has stymied public-health experts for years.”

    Sigh, I know mcm. I think Michelle Obama is an awesome person in so many ways, and so far it seems like her “healthy eating” and “fresh fruits and vegetables” thing hasn’t seemed to focus on the obesity epidemic booga booga booga specifically, even though that has been in the background. But it didn’t really seem like that could last. We could all write detailed letters, I suppose; she might be willing to parse the information when it’s put in front of her.

  37. Other Becky – I think the pharisees would have said that Jesus practiced “indiscriminate inclusivity”…

  38. Jadis I don’t think that red rage is quite unreasonable at all. But what is odd to me is that they lump “Erectile dysfunction” in with “anti-obesity” drugs as “optional” for bettering life. Isn’t the whole idea that obesity is what is bringing about the fall of humanity as we all know it and we should all be out getting surgery and anti-fat drugs STAT so we can stop breaking people’s eyes with our unsightly persons? Maybe we fatties just need to stand in line for our surgeries next to those folks with athlete’s feet and hope our “unpleasant conditions” can be fixed?

  39. @mcm and LilahMorgan:

    I like to blow my SW points all at once by watching the Biggest Loser. (don’t ask, I still can’t explain why) Last week they were at the White House harvesting fresh fruits and veggies and making healthy salads and eating delicious meals “Obama”-style. They were marvelling at how cheap and easy this delicious meal was! Yeah, cheap and easy for those who have the time/inclination/knowledge to grow their own organic gardens.

    That whole thing angered me. The chefs in particular were very annoying.

  40. Not to mention the land. Uggggh. I love the idea of encouraging people who do have the time, inclination, knowledge and land to convert some of their yard to a garden, if only for carbon footprint reasons. But no, of course we have to twist it into something obligatory and “easy!”

  41. *sigh* I’m still dealing with the treadmarks on my back from the Stupak amendment. Oh, Marcy Kaptur, no! :( I fired off a livid email to my congress critter and phone calls to Senators will be coming this week.

    Also I have some nasty personal comments to make at Joe Lieberman. I’ll send them via psychic blog post.

    volcanista – you go girl.

    Annie McNeil – I get the “peoples is peoples” impulse but think about it: do you know any fat people in Western societies who have been unaffected by being fat? Or for that matter, how many people do you know who are completely immune to any body images issues at all? You can’t develop a genuine character without addressing that character’s body and hir relationship to it. Being fat affects us because of the culture we live in – that shapes who fat people are, just as being conventionally attractive or extremely thin also does, because of the overall culture. There’s a line between development and using a character as a prop for an issue, but you can find it. *waves pom poms of encouragement*

    DRST

  42. @APril D – Yes, that’s the greatest irony of all. In the midst of the OBESITY CRISIS OOGA BOOGA BOOGA, heaven forbid you actually go to your doctor and try to get help losing weight, because laughably, in many insurance plans, obesity treatment isn’t covered AT ALL. Not just drugs. Back in my weight loss days, I went to my doctor to discuss weight loss drugs since diligent WW was having close to zero results (surprise!) and made an offhand “Oh, BTW…I need a refill on my rescue inhaler” during the appointment. He wound up coding the whole appointment to “asthma counseling/treatment” instead of my weight loss issue because he told me outright that my insurance wouldn’t pay for the appointment if he coded it was “obesity counseling”. Nice.

  43. @Annie McNeil:

    I mean, wouldn’t it be awesome to see a movie where the role could have been given to a thin person… but eh, it wasn’t, because hey, a lot of people happen to be fat?

    The one role that I can think of that does that is Mellie/November in Dollhouse.
    [http://be-stereo.org/mellie/mellie.php]
    I know there’ll be plenty of tussling over whether the actress is fat or not, but she’s certainly more my size than most women on TV. And she’s gorgeous, and she gets her share of love scenes, and, and… I basically high-fived everyone I could in praise of the curvy hotness that just sort of happens without comment on her size.

    I agree that the question you raise is a tricky one. I suppose I think that pop culture will have to incorporate fat folks without discussion/judgment first – otherwise audiences will expect every fat character to bring on an FA sort of plotline. Maybe?

  44. I basically high-fived everyone I could in praise of the curvy hotness that just sort of happens without comment on her size.

    Oh, I am so deeply in love with Miracle Laurie. I would like her to be in every scene pls thx.

  45. @Annie McNeil:
    I’d say if you were writing a screenplay, it might be wiser to incorporate size into the story a bit, just because it seems too easy for anyone who is then producing your screenplay to cast someone thin and to completely disregard the image for the character that you had in mind. In a novel, though you can describe a character in whatever way you wish, so you could have a fabulous fat character and not a story that deliberately deals with fatness.

  46. Just echoing the Miracle Laurie love. It made me so happy that her size wasn’t a Big Deal. Yes, the character was insecure about her own attractiveness, but I somehow suspect thin women have that issue too. (Also, she and Tahmoh Penikett look good together. I loved Battlestar Galactica, but Grace Park is so small, and he’s so big, that they always looked slightly mismatched to me. YMMV.)

  47. Over on Big Fat Deal the other day there was an appeal to Kirstey Alley to stop making her whole career about her ass. I wish we could see her in some roles that USE her comedic talent, not just one long string of fat jokes. I bet she could knock our socks off with some REAL acting if she took a page out of Camryn Manheim’s book.

  48. I would like to interrupt this open thread to announce that I have to turn in my dissertation to my committee THIS WEEK, and if any of you could send me good vibes, light a candle, sacrifice a goat, whatever, it would be greatly appreciated. :)

  49. Speaking of Gabourey Sidibe (way upthread)… she killed with her elaborate dance-in intro on the Ellen show the other day. I hope she will ignore all the concern-trolling press and keep on doing her thing.

  50. When I first got pregnant in 2004, I was not weighed at my antenatal appointments. When I got pregnant again, I was not weighed at my antenatal appointments. Today (squeee!) I had to go to another antenatal appointment. They asked me if I knew my height, took my word for it when I kinda guessed, hauled out a BMI chart, and asked if I’d mind stepping on the scales.

    I stayed sat down, and said yes, I did mind. They were clearly surprised and repeatedly said Oh Well That’s OK Of Course It’s Your Choice a lot, in that methinks the midwife doth protest too much way.

    They also asked if I did scheduled exercise. Er, no, I have two children and am “at home” with them full time. I don’t have TIME for scheduled exercise, I’m too exhausted from all the running around and jumping up and down I do. I already find it difficult to maintain a healthy weight (defined by me as “where I feel healthy and don’t faint or get ill a lot) because I keep getting too damn thin from all the work I do.

    I may be abandoning my beloved NHS and going private for antenatal care this time. That would make me sad.

  51. But I’m conflicted about whether/how to address fatness itself. I want to depict fat people as, y’know, PEOPLE. Complex individuals. Unique human animals. Who are fat. Part of me feels that this goal would be compromised by explicitly addressing fatness as an issue/theme/whatever. I mean, wouldn’t it be awesome to see a movie where the role could have been given to a thin person… but eh, it wasn’t, because hey, a lot of people happen to be fat?

    I write and many of my reflect a diverse range of body types. Basically, I make a non-issue about it the way I make a non-issue of race, sexual orientation, etc…

    Part of my reason for doing this is there are always going to be art recapitulating dominative narratives and tropes about marginalized groups, so I don’t need to join them. Instead, I need to resist those tropes and create my own unique characters and put them into unique situations.

    There are ways of acknowledging truths without putting characters through the ringer.

    In other words, write the stories you long to read about people and use your craft to tell the truths, without relying too heavily on “conventional wisdom”.

    Many of my characters are chubby/fat/whathaveyou and have all kinds of life challenges that might be colored by their experiences as fat women, but as complex characters they absolutely must bring more to the table than a tired retread of what we’ve already seen.

  52. Dude, anti-fungal drugs are non-optional, and those who’ve had a rousing case of thrush will be with me when I say I’d rather have access to the anti-fungals than the anti-obesities. Or ringworm. Or serious athlete’s foot, where you can actually lose a significant proportion of your inter-toe flesh. (And I don’t just mean what “feels” like a lot – it can be a serious medical condition.)

  53. Ooh, open thread! *bat* *bat*

    Any Shapelings currently in the process of writing for NaNoWriMo? I’m not sure I’m going to make my 50,000 word limit (especially not if I’m procrastinating over here at SP!), but I’d love to know how other WriMos are doing.

    Also, I was having lunch with a friend of mine the other day who was trying to get into the webcomic Girl Genius. She commented on how it was very difficult for her to get used to the artistry of Girl Genius because she’s used to anime-style characters who are usually portrayed as stick-thin with inaccurate body proportions, whereas women in Girl Genius are ‘buxom,’ as she worded it. I personally find it refreshing to see cartoon women who are allowed to have hips, thighs, and calves, though they do have hourglass figures thanks to the ample use of corsets (but that may have more to do with the steampunk setting). Anyone else frustrated with the way women are depicted in various animation or comic styles? Has anyone seen particularly shining examples of women in animation or comics who look like they could actually be real women?

  54. I’m doing nanowrimo, and kind of blogging about the process with my partner (who’s doing it for the first time and is having a great time). It’s what… day 10 and I’m 22k words in. It’s my fifth or sixth year of doing it and it’s like my writing vacation. I rarely get to just sit down and “write something” so I relish the month of November!

  55. Anita: Amen to that. And anyone who’s ever had a drug-resistant yeast infection — the kind that can get so bad it hurts to walk — would also agree, I think, that fluconazole is non-optional prescription anti-fungals aren’t optional.

    Other Becky, who once found out the hard way that she’s allergic to miconazole/Monistat…

  56. Can anybody link me to some positive women’s rights related news? I made the mistake of reading about the Richmond gang rape, and pretty much broke down in a haze of crying and hating the whole world.

    And reading about the Stupak-ammendment didn’t help, even though I do not actually live in the States.

    Add in my failed attempt to get my teacher to maybe rethink some of his more sexist ideas, and I really, really need a pick-me up.

    Lemurs are good, but I would prefer reading about things actually changing for the better in the world. Somewhere.
    (It doesn’t have to be focussed on women’s rights even. Any kind of success in any area of anti-oppression work would be great)

  57. I’m doing nanowrimo as well and only at 10K so far; had 4 days off this past weekend for a long relaxing b-day but I’m hoping to make it up tomorrow since I have the day off. It is fun and this year I have a story trying to come out so we’ll see how it goes. :)

  58. Re: Miracle Laurie… Phwoar! I haven’t watched Dollhouse, and I’ve been in love with Eliza Dushku since Buffy so saying this feels almost like cheating… but goddamn it that woman is gorgeous!

  59. Lauren: Kuwaiti women now have a legal right to obtain a passport without the consent of a husband or male guardian.

  60. Yeah, cheap and easy for those who have the time/inclination/knowledge to grow their own organic gardens.

    Even then, no, it’s not.

    There are ‘hidden’ costs to gardening that somehow rarely get mentioned in these self-righteous little fluff pieces: land, as LilahMorgan said, and also – water, irrigation supplies, starts and/or seeds (and organic costs more), pest control supplies (and nontoxic doesn’t always cost less), compost bin or the supplies and tools to build one, fertilizers, mulches, tools and other supplies like gloves and kneeling pads and so on, rentals of equipment too expensive or rarely used to buy like orchard ladders or rototillers, and if you’ve got raised beds like we do the wood and tools to build them and keep them repaired, not to mention the fences, stakes, cages, cloches, bird-nets, twine, ties, props … and that’s just off the top of my head, the list goes on and on.

    Then too, if you’ve got a productive garden, there’s the surplus to deal with one way or another, and that can cost too, the tools and supplies don’t come free, and since it’s not something that’s routinely taught anymore – in the city I lived in, I was in the last cohort of girls routinely taught how to do basic canning in school – there may well be the cost of a class on top of it.

    And all of this uses up spoons like nobody’s business. Like housework, garden work is never, ever done. Never wholly paid off, either. Especially if you factor in the cost of the land, I reckon few home organic gardens ever even reach even.

    But oh, yeah, it’s so easy and cheap to grow one’s own! Gah. Hack. Spit.

  61. OK, I’m taking that Facebook thankfullness theme and posting it here instead. Today I’m thankful that I’m going to a “Dining for Women” potluck with two friends. I’ve never been to one before, but it’s a grassroots charity organization that supports women’s causes in developing countries. People get together for a potluck, learn about the charity that was selected, and then donate what they would’ve spend on a dinner out, or whatever they choose, to the charity.
    I’m also thankful that my OB/GYN gave me the go-ahead to get an IUD, even though I haven’t had kids. 10 years of non-hormonal birth control for a co-pay of $15. I’ll get it put in next week.

  62. Re: Morals!

    I get that question ALL THE TIME, and NEVER tongue-in-cheek! It’s impossible for non-religious folk to have any sort of morals. No, seriously. Morals mean (insert speaker’s religion here). Gah!

    Lauren, here’s some good news:

    Ichihashi Tatsuya, the prime (and only) suspect in the murder of Lindsay Ann Hawker, an English teacher, in Japan two years ago was finally caught: http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/national/news/20091110p2a00m0na027000c.html

  63. As a landless gardener, I can tell you that there’s a serious cost. I was fortunate enough this year to get a space in a community garden, but on top of hauling everything in on the bus (nothing like a morning commute with an armful of tomato plants in everyone’s face), visiting the garden added a minimum of an hour and a half of travel to my day – sometimes twice that. I just can’t devote that much time to commuting, so I’m giving up my community garden spot and trying to find land in the neighborhood.
    It’s not free, and requires a significant commitment. And sometimes, good garden practices or no, you’ll be struck with the early blight and won’t get any tomatoes. Or raccoons will eat all your sweet corn. Or your land will flood out.
    Everything changes if you’re a landowner, but if you’re not – and there’s a bunch of us landless poor – talking about cheap, easy, high quality organic produce discounts a lot of issues. (The least of these is that every damn gardening book in existence assumes you’re living on the land you’re producing off of, and you’re an owner, not a renter, so a great deal of garden advice is moot if you’re not both of these things.)

  64. Come on now, everybody knows that growing organic vegetables and fruit is super cheap, easy, not labor intensive at all, and in no way subjected to things like the weather, the quality of the land or anything like that.

    That’s why all those organic farmers are so incredibly rich and never have to actually do any real work!!!

    Seriousely, there are a lot of great things about gardening if you can do it, but easy and cheap are not on the list

  65. Ven Detta,

    I have been considering doing NaNoWriMo, because I’m trying to write a videogame script (more because I’m making the game myself than because I was born to write) and procrastinating horribly (only written about 5000 words so far, out of at least 25-30k that I should). Haven’t had a chance to check out the site, but I think it would be a great opportunity.

    And yes, I totally get you on the lack of body diversity in anime/manga (even worse when many objectively thin comic heroines worry they’re too fat). One unsettling trend I’ve noticed over the years is that the girl-targeted stories’ characters have gotten more hourglass, but are still very thin in their arms and legs – reflecting the increasing pressure to be both ‘thin’ and ‘sexy’. I haven’t heard of Girl Genius, I should check it out!

  66. I’ve been reading a couple of food blogs and damn, there is a metric crapload of fatphobia/moral food panic in a lot of them.

    Wish I could get ning at work, but I can’t, and by the time I get home, I’m tired of being on a computer all day.

  67. Annimal, please ignore if this is too personal a question. . .but is your insurance going to pay for your iud? I was sort of shocked that my insurance did not—especially given that it would mean I would be going off THREE prescriptions—my hormonal birth control was raising my blood pressure, so they were paying for the pill, plus the two meds needed to control my bp. Plus, I’m overall so much cheaper to them when I’m not pregnant! But I had to pay for the IUD out of pocket.

    And, weirder still, since I couldn’t afford the $500 bucks in one shot, I had to buy it on a payment plan! My ob/gyn and I got laughing pretty hard about that, actually. . . she said that in that case she would only be doing the 1/12 of the insertion, and I would have to come back the next month for the next piece…kind of like a baby prevention jigsaw puzzle.

  68. And, weirder still, since I couldn’t afford the $500 bucks in one shot, I had to buy it on a payment plan! My ob/gyn and I got laughing pretty hard about that, actually. . . she said that in that case she would only be doing the 1/12 of the insertion, and I would have to come back the next month for the next piece…kind of like a baby prevention jigsaw puzzle.

    Maybe this is how women end up with 1.3 children?

  69. Open thread, shiny!

    Yesterday at a work event an older man addressed me several times a “little girl.” I was like WHAT THE FUCK I am THIRTY NOW. This would never, never have happened to a man doing the same job. Imagine, “little boy”? I don’t think so.
    Sad to say, I swallowed my rage and I’ve been choking on it ever since.

  70. Anyone see this?

    I just heard it on the noon news here at home. It was a bit more detailed than this article, but I can’t find anything else. I suppose this one will “disappear.” Anyway, on the news, the mom talked about how negatively this would affect young people of all sizes, and/or with eating disorders, etc., and that’s why they were going ahead and talking about it in the press.

    Teen told she was `too big’ for Olympic costume
    The Canadian Press
    Posted Monday, November 9, 2009 10:33 PM ET

    KAMLOOPS, B.C. – A 15-year-old Kamloops girl says her hopes of taking part in the closing ceremonies for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver were almost dashed by her dress size.

    Longtime girl guide Taylor Hill was chosen to be part of the ceremonies but then was told she was too big to fit into the costume and the clothes wouldn’t be altered.

    “It was confusing because I’d just been told two days earlier that I was going to be able to go, and then they call and they tell me I’m not going to go,” Taylor said.

    “I was upset and it was confusing and frustrating.”

    Taylor’s mother, Charissa Hill, fired off an angry email to Olympic officials saying the treatment her daughter received was unacceptable.

    Charissa Hill said she has since been told by officials that it was all a big misunderstanding.

    “They didn’t mean that Taylor couldn’t participate, but rather that they just didn’t have a costume that would fit her and they would have alterations people there for anybody who needed costumes altered,” the mom said.

    Taylor Hill says she still wants to take part in the ceremonies, calling them a once in a lifetime event.

    “It doesn’t matter what the person’s size is,” she said.

    “They’re still good enough to participate.”

    http://www.ctvolympics.ca/news-centre/newsid=19313.html

  71. Ven Detta, I’m also doing NaNoWriMo! I love it; some friends pressured me into doing it for the first time in 2002 and it was the thing that finally got me writing again after losing my fire for it in my late teens.

    Although I’m a couple of days behind right this moment (13,334 words), I’m okay with that. I’m really enjoying how the seed of my story is developing, and that my primary cast of diverse female characters just sort of happened (yay subconscious process), and that for the first time I’m writing a draft zero and can tell I know what I’m doing. It’s happy making, even though I’m a much slower writer than I used to be.

    I totally hear you about being frustrated by how women are drawn in animation and comics. That’s one of the big things that turned me off of comics almost altogether, along with the bleating of ‘But that’s the styyyyyle!’ from fans when I’d criticize it.

    I love me some webcomics, though. The two that come immediately to my mind are Kagerou and Curvy. Kagerou’s style quality varies through its archives since the creator started it in 2001, but in the most recent years the female characters are beautifully drawn in many shapes and sizes. Curvy (which is billed as ‘A sexy sci-fi adventure comic for adults’) has a simpler style, and while it unfortunately doesn’t portray a wide range of sizes, the body types aren’t exaggerated at all–no waspish waists or gravity-defying breasts. One character is even short-waisted, a bit swaybacked, and has a pot belly–a body type I’d never seen before in a comic but I personally identify with! *grin*

  72. I’ve been reading a couple of food blogs and damn, there is a metric crapload of fatphobia/moral food panic in a lot of them.

    Oh, good grief, yes. And a fuckton of unquestioned privilege, even when it doesn’t erupt into outright bigotry.

  73. @Buttercup I know exactly what you mean re: fatphobia on Food Blogs. I was looking up recipes for liqueur flavoured chocolate truffles yesterday and nearly every recipe I found commented on how “sinful” it was and not to eat them all yourself etc.

    If there’s one time you really shouldn’t be worried about being a fatty-fat-fattie, it’s when you’re eating rum chocolate truffles.

  74. RE: paraguard IUD (the copper, nonhormonal one) I had pretty good insurance though a university job when I got mine, and they paid for insertion, but not the thing itself, the device cost me $270. The next year they started covering it. Grawr. I totally saved them money over a depo shot every 3 months, or the pill.

    Plus, I have never had a kid, and my Ob/Gyn said that it might be a bit more uncomfy for me to get it inserted, but other than that it’s his fave method, and he wished more US doctors would recommend it. I’ve had it for nearly 5 years now, I get slightly heavier periods, and one or two days of spotting, but no hormonal depression like on depo or the pill, and no hormones making me bloat(that’s what my SSRI is for!). Depo made me spot all the time, every day – it’s most contraceptive effect was making me feel completely unsexy from all the spotting.

  75. Yeah, even the generally-okay food blogs seem to resort to “Don’t worry, you can work this all off on the tread mill later!” when they post recipes they deem to be “sinful.” And it’s rare to find someone who doesn’t slip into “this food is so much better than that plebian cheap food ordinary people eat” on occasion.

  76. Marley:

    I think the morals conundrum is hilarious in Christians; I mean, half of their Bible is all about people who aren’t Christians making moral decisions.

  77. Anita: Anti-fungals are marvellous. I had thrush in my breasts and nystatin was totally useless and fluconazole nuked it.

    Lauren: Thank you!

    Gardening is really, really hard. I somehow managed to obliterate a thriving patch of MINT in my garden after I moved in. Plants hate me. I like them, but they hate me.

    Maybe I can grow grass, if I try. Poor garden.

  78. What others have said about gardening: easy? cheap? what color is the sky on their planet?

    I garden because I love homegrown tomatoes. I live in one of the big square states out west where the climate is not exactly ideal for tomato growing, and I WORK at getting my plants to be productive. (My secrets: grow them in pots, use moisture control potting mix, which is Not Cheap, add additional bone meal, Wall O’ Waters so I can start the plants early because our growing season is ridiculously short, and fertilize, fertilize, fertilize. Did I mention fertilize?) It would be so much easier, not to mention cheaper, just to buy cherry tomatoes down at the market, but they will never have the incredible flavors of the ones I grow myself. And that’s worth it to me.

    People just compare the price of a packet of seeds to the finished product. Not to everything else required to turn those seeds into edible vegetables.

    I also grow zucchini. I love zucchini. I have a number of recipes for using up LOTS of zucchini – and not zucchini bread, which uses at most one small zucchini per loaf. That’s not even a dent in the pile I have some years :).

    It’s like sewing and cooking – I run into people who think they’re automatically easy and don’t require any training when in truth they’re learned skills that take time and practice to acquire. And all of these activities are traditional women’s work. The things that make you go “hmmmmm”.

  79. @TooManyJessicas and RosemaryRiveter – oh gawd yes! I’m a scientist too (waves), and you know what I really love? How – as not only a female, but an older (non-traditional PhD student; I’m 37) and overweight female at that – I’m basically invisible/nonexistent to many of my fellow grad students as well as post-docs and professors in the department. Because hey, everyone knows you’re only worth respecting as a scientist if you’re male, and only worth noticing as a female if you’re young and cute. There are several people in my department – who I take classes or attend meetings with, so they know who I am – who will not even acknowledge me if I pass them in the hall, or will walk away if I join a conversation they’re participating in, while jumping to either flirt with my young and cute female labmate, or “talk shop” with my male labmate. It’s so infuriating!

  80. re: IUDs I have university sponsored insurance that covers everything (Paraguard or Mirena, regardless of whether or not we’ve already had any children). I wanted Paraguard, since I would have liked no hormones, but it’s .01% nickel and there’s no real knowledge of how problematic that might be for those of us with nickel allergies. *sigh* I think I’m going to end up with Mirena…

  81. In case you didn’t hate Dick Armey already:

    “Now [the government] comes along and says, ‘Irrespective of the fact they’ve gone 20, 30, 40 years of their adult life without ever having bought insurance prior to getting a liver inflammation due to their excessive drinking habits or diabetes because they eat like a pig, you must now insure them,'” Armey said.

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/11/09/armey-says-health-care-reform-will-kill-innovation/

    *RAGES MOAR*

    DRST

  82. Since both my brothr and me were conceived while my mom was using an IUD, I feel compelled to remind you to really, really have it checked regularly. I assume, since apart from my planned baby-sister I don’t have any other siblings, that it worksjust fine with regular check-ups.

  83. @aliciamaud74: i nearly fell off the exam table when my doctor said the IUD was covered and I’d just the have cost of my co-pay. i know they do pretty extensive cost/benefit analysis and they may’ve realized that it saves money in the long run. i’m possibly going to be laid off in December or March, so even though I’m not sexually active now I’m getting the IUD put in now while it’s covered.

  84. That’s a neat article Katia, but really it just left me asking why there isn’t a fat synchronized swimming team in my area. Anyone in the D.C. area want to start a fat synchronized swimming team?

  85. Regarding women’s body types in comics: I don’t really read webcomics, but what I’ve seen of Wapsi Square has been good in this area. Characters have varying shapes and builds, although admittedly most are towards the thin end AFAIK, and the protagonist’s petite, busty figure and its effects on her life are treated sensitively and with humour. There’s even a short arc where characters discuss body diversity and looks-based assumptions are challenged.

  86. lijakaca, I’m pretty much addicted to Girl Genius. The main protagonist, Agatha, starts off more than a little ditzy and incompetent, but through the early course of the story the whole incompetent thing is explained and after that she becomes a very kick@$$ character very quickly. Which is good, because after reading series like Janet Evanovich’s novels about Stephanie Plum, I wasn’t quite sure I could choke down a story about _another_ ridiculously incompetent woman who only get by on sheer luck or by the saving intervention of an Impossibly Hott Guy ™.

  87. Eucritta wrote: Oh, good grief, yes. And a fuckton of unquestioned privilege, even when it doesn’t erupt into outright bigotry.

    This is one of the many reasons I am now mostly inactive on a fairly well-known food site where I used to be a regular contributor. So many other posters just could not comprehend that anyone, anywhere didn’t have the same food and financial resources available that they did, so they only reason people chose not to use them was ignorance or laziness. And all weight issues were caused by eating too much “unhealthy” food (unhealthy = anything eaten by a fat person).

    A happier thought: I have leftover meatloaf for sandwiches for lunch. I love meatloaf sandwiches.

  88. More IUD talk: I’m somewhat sensitive to nickel, had to get rid of the cheapie earrings I amassed when I was a teenager due to nickel content. But I’m probably on the low end of sensitivity and as I said, 5 years no problems.

    lauren, yes, I check that the strings are still there at least once a month, and that also involves making sure ALL I feel at the cervix is the strings, not the paraguard itself poking out. My period was 5 days late last cycle, very odd for me, and I ended up convinced I was pregnant. I wasn’t. Just verry verrrrry stressed. Late period of course did wonders for the stress. ;->

    PSA – my Ob/Gyn made a point of leaving 3cm or so of string, he said he’s had problems with string ends cut shorter poking *ahem* certain parts of the male anatomy during sexy sexy times. I figure it’s worth passing on the warning! (Imagine the feeling of a poky hair trapped in clothing, scratching you, only on your naughty bits)

  89. @viajera and RosemaryRiveter

    Comparatively I’ve been extremely lucky, in that all of the labs I have volunteered/worked for have been progressive and largely aware of “women’s issues” (like, you know, the wage gap). But it’s the labs I didn’t work for–particularly in undergrad–that make me seethe. Stupid “little” things like having the women do the animal work (bedding, feeding, cause THAT’S WHAT WOMEN ARE GOOD FOR) and the men do the analysis, or taking lab space away from a female professor for DARING to ask for a raise after hers became a single-income household (a year before the recession, at that). (She didn’t get the raise. And the lab space? Went to a man. Making her the only woman on the hall.)

    I could write the world’s biggest rant on this, and I’ve barely even begun my career in academia. Hearing stories from female PhD students almost makes me wish I had gone into something else.

  90. @viajera: Ugh. That lab environment seems completely depressing and intolerable. I can’t make up for your crappy department environment, so I’m offering you a virtual lab bench next to mine. As a non-traditional (I’m 35), PhD student in chemistry, you and I would totes rock research together!

    On a more positive note, I’m starting the research for Ch. 4 of my thesis this week! And the manuscripts related to Ch. 2 are on my boss’s desk as of tomorrow. It’s almost like this is all moving forward. Yay!

  91. @Ven Detta: A lot of my internet acquaintances are doing NaNoWriMo – this year I’m participating in NaNoMangO, which is the comic book equivalent (30 pages in 30 days). It’s pretty neat how sharing the same goal with other artists/writers can motivate a person.

  92. I just wanted to belatedly thank everyone for the thread about how to deal with 101 a while ago. I was out at dinner with my family last night, and we had a good-natured discussion. By the end of it, my brother did admit that men had access to a lot of privilege that women don’t. I didn’t manage to convince him that mowing the lawn is not necessarily a man’s job, but I guess there’s always next time…

  93. I don’t know if anyone will find this interesting, but it’s worth a go:

    Men play chicken sometimes. Walking through a narrow gap in a shop corridor, for example. There’s space for two, but you’re both on the same side, so who moves? You’d probably step out of the way for someone with a pushchair, or some particularly cumbersome shopping, or small children in tow. You’d get out of the way for someone in a wheelchair or a cane. Mostly the rule of the sea applies – most mobile person moves. However, able-bodied man on man you’re equally mobile, so who moves? Answer: it becomes a dominance thing. HE moves the hell out of YOUR way because YOU aren’t going to. It’s about threat, and bluff, and will. It’s a potentially violent conflict for no reason except pride and dominance. If you give the impression that you will not give and that you’re prepared to punch someone for it, then he asks himself the question “Is it worth it?” decides no (it never is, so once you ask that question you’re done) and gives.

    Yes, men (who play this game) are assholes. Yes, I was like that too. Yes, I still am, by instinct at least.

    It doesn’t usually come into play with women – they usually move before it’s an issue. But they can play too – women who look you in the eyes are part of the competition. Personally I used to try to remember to give ground if they did, because I figured any woman with the courage to break the eyes-to-the-floor-be-subservient trend should be rewarded.

    These scenarios come up so often that you size people up instinctively. You get good at it. The other day I saw one coming up, and I sized up the guy in the gap. He was a little taller than me and a little heavier, but I was in a bad mood and he looked like an everyday bloke rather than someone trained in violence. So I walked straight at him, thinking he’d give at five yards. Five, nothing. Four, three, nothing. At two yards we BOTH broke in the same direction. Then we switched back. There were mumbled apologies and I went on my way, marginally less annoyed because confusion was taking up space in my head. Why didn’t he give at five like he was supposed to? How was my assessment so out?

    Later on, it struck me. My assessment was probably out because I’d forgotten something important. I’m trans and I’ve stopped presenting male. He read me as female and altered his threat/will assessment accordingly.

    It’s disturbing that my height plus weight plus training plus male is read as dangerous, but the same body in female is read as a low level threat.

  94. Aumentou:

    Malcolm Gladwell talks about that in one of his books, and how the distance before men yield is dependent on whether their manhood has been insulted recently and whether they come from a culture with an “honor” tradition, like the American South where reputation is very important.

    It’s pretty fascinating.

    On eye contact, sometimes it feels safer to make eye contact, and sometimes it feels safer to avoid making eye contact. It’s really situationally dependent, but I always feel kind of weak when I walk by a group of frat boys and can’t bring myself to look up. (Frat boys are a scary demographic.)

  95. Also, there is a lot of work that has been done on how women are trained to take up less space than men. It would be interesting to see the other side of that.

  96. courage to break the eyes-to-the-floor-be-subservient trend um, if we hadn’t already gone around and around and around about this in threads that led to lemurs and fluffification I would have so much to say.

    Eyes-to-the-floor is a self-protective measure. So is avoiding men who are too close for comfort.

    Courage has nothing to do with it.

  97. @Rosemary Riveter, my university health services ob-gyn refused to do the Paraguard insertion when I asked about potential allergic reactions because she just didn’t know enough about it. I’ve been allergic to nickel pretty much since birth (mom and dad had to switch me to baby suits with buttons because I was getting rashes from the snaps) and it’s a moderate allergy. Not severe – no blisters – but pretty uncomfortable. That hasn’t stopped me from wearing reactive jewelry, but I think I’ll be getting Mirena. Too bad the FDA is stupid and hasn’t approved the 20 or so other IUDs available in Europe.

    @Aumentou, that’s interesting – I’d never really thought about it. I’m not especially big (average height and slightly below average size for a woman in the US), but if I’m in a bad mood and you don’t move, you’re getting probably going to walk into me…in fact, I’ve shouldered people who get in my way when I’m trying to get off the train.

  98. Aumentou, I do exactly the same thing, except mine is always based on who is on the right side of the sidewalk or walkway. In America you drive on the right side so you walk on the right side, it’s common sense, but everyone gets occupied and strays or whatever. So when I’m on the left, I’ll give ground, but I will never move to the left if I’m already on the right. Sometimes, I look down basically to say, “I’m ignoring that you are on that side of the sidewalk, I’m not even going to look up to confirm that you’ve moved. You just need to fucking move.” Other times if I’m in a bad mood I will stare grown men down, I’ll stare children down, actually their parents, but I’ll stare at the parents making it clear. Of course, I’m not necessarially going to do this with a disabled person, but I see no more reason for them to be on the wrong side of the sidewalk than anyone else, it’s just easier for me to change direction so I give.

  99. Aumentou, I guess the trans aspect of that is interesting.

    Addition: If you don’t make eye contact (it hurts it burns!) then some men will actually step out of their path a bit to walk into you, jostle you with shoulder or belt you in the knee with briefcase. I guess it’s just to make sure that you didn’t step out of the way on accident, but are making note of his dominance.

    Women do it in groups. Two or more women walking side by side will usually break to allow the big dominant man to pass, but the little twitchy guy who doesn’t make eye contact? They will look at him, and then walk slightly further apart to force said guy, who is me, to press himself against the wall or step into a doorway to let them go by.

  100. On the IUD conversation: lauren, the technology and techniques for insertion might have changed a lot since you were conceived! Now they recommend that you check it daily for the first month (that’s when it’s most likely to be expelled, by far) and monthly from then on, with occasional visits to make sure it’s still where it should be.

    My insurance has always covered my Mirena, which was unclear from the paperwork with the first one five years ago, and much more clearly laid-out for the second one (uh, last week). I agree with the person whose doctor said that if you haven’t had children, insertion can be painful. Sometimes very painful. But otherwise the thing is like a godsend and I am madly in love with it, so for me it’s been worth one very lousy outpatient visit every five years. I’m also really glad I have the plastic one and not a copper one, because heavier periods were not something I needed. YMMV.

    Aumentou, I absolutely do that, but it’s because I refuse to be shoved off the sidewalk, not because I’m being macho and competing. I didn’t know that was considered to be a male competition thing. I kind of learned it walking in NYC — most people seem to walk that way there, but I never felt like it was because they were bullying each other. They’re just walking fast and need to make their way.

  101. On the walking thing:

    The one that used to bother me is when people are walking three abreast on the sidewalk and heading toward me with no sign of recognition that they are taking up ALL the space. I used to step off the sidewalk (where I live, that means into the grass, rather than into the street). Then one day I thought about it, got pissed off, and decided that, while I’d swerve to avoid somebody, I was staying ON the fucking sidewalk from now on. I now do the fierce stare thing. If they still don’t move, I stop in my tracks — and keep staring. That seems to freak people the fuck out, because they move right away.

    @Meems: Sounds like the nickel thing could be potentially problematic. There are areas that you just don’t want to experience contact allergies. (See above post re: finding out about Monistat allergy the hard way. Yikes!)

  102. The food blog discussion is making me feel guilty for basically abandoning my own recipe blog, which I started exactly because I was so tired of the BS on the food and recipe blogs I read. But I barely have the energy to get the cooking done in the first place these days, let alone write about it afterward. If it weren’t for the fact that I also cook for my roommate I’d probably just live on cottage cheese, raisins and microwave polenta. But if someone else wants to take up the mantle I’d be happy to add co-bloggers, or let my posts be republished on someone else’s blog. Just leave a comment there letting me know. :-)

    Anyway, in a previous open thread I asked for advice about my master’s capstone project (in Human-Computer Interaction Design), and I ended up sort of going with one of the suggestions I got here. I can’t remember who it was, but thanks shapelings! What I’m working on is some kind of device to help people who work on computers for long periods of time to remember to take breaks – to stretch, get a drink of water or a snack, take a walk outside, meditate, etc. Anything to get you away from the computer and attending to your bodily needs. I’ve also finally started blogging openly as myself, partly intending to document my progress on the project. So far all I’ve done is post some sketchbook pages, but anyone interested in what I come up with should look there for updates.

  103. I have yet to gush to anybody about this because I don’t know anyone in real life who would care.

    But a few weeks ago, my husband came to me for advice on dealing with the diet talk and body negativity amongst his co-workers in their exercise club. I’ve been talking about fat acceptance since 2007 (when I found this blog) to my husband, but up to this point I had no clear idea on his own opinion. He’s the sort of person who has to think on something for a *long* time before he really understands what he believes and feels. He’s a listener and has basically just listened to me rant about FA (and other topics) without arguing or even asking many questions, so I truly had no idea which way he leaned on FA.

    [I knew he was in full agreement that fat shaming and mistreatment of people who are fat is complete bullshit and unacceptable. But on the topic of whether fat tissue is unhealthy and ugly (I was only interested in how that would affect his attraction to me), I had no clue what he thought.]

    Then he asked me how best to tell his coworkers that they can all be healthy and feel better by exercising without having to lose weight or develop bulging muscles! We went on to have a great conversation in which he very clearly is a supporter of the FA movement.

    Some weeks later, he said he enjoyed holding on to the fatty parts of my thighs, that it feels nice! (Sorry, TMI?)
    But I was shocked. I already knew he thinks I’m beautiful, including while naked. And I didn’t assume he hated my thighs, just that he didn’t care either way. I definitely didn’t expect him to actually have an affinity for my more fatty parts, especially since I’ve been thin enough during our 7 years together to not have enough fat in one place to grab onto, so I guess I figured he preferred thin women. But I realized my breasts have a good amount of fat and are squishy, and he likes grabbing those. Obviously I still have some assumptions about what my very thin husband, raised in American culture, would find attractive. *smacks head*

  104. @Other Becky *sigh* I know you’re right. I think I was mostly pissed because the ob-gyn didn’t even ask me about allergies and the only reason it came up was because I asked – and then she didn’t have an answer! Nickel is not an unusual allergy. I should just bite the bullet and get Mirena – I’ve been totally off bc for 3-4 months now, and now my boobs are kinda touchy for the second two weeks of my cycle. Not ok. (And my concern about bc contributing to a 20 lb. weight gain over the past year seems to be unfounded.)

  105. @Stupendousness, that’s pretty awesome. I remember how shocked I was the first time a guy I was with grabbed my belly while we were in bed…

  106. That’s an interesting one, Stupendousness.

    How does one say, “I like your fat,” and not have it work out all wrong? Even in a relationship where it’s okay to comment on somebody’s body, that particular comment lies where angels fear to tread, or something.

  107. “Aumentou, I do exactly the same thing, except mine is always based on who is on the right side of the sidewalk or walkway.”

    I do this on sidewalks and walkways as well. I always make sure to walk on the right (or if I’m passing a slower walker I yield to any oncoming “traffic” on the left), and I expect others to do the same, barring any obvious mobility issues on their part. I’m a fairly tall man, but my motivation has nothing to do with dominance or pride; it has everything to do with my thinking “get over yourself, pay attention to what the hell you’re doing, and follow basic common sense conventions that make it easier for everyone to get around” toward the person walking toward me on my side of the walkway. I do it with both men and women, although I’m far more likely to yield to a woman on my side now than I used to be, having recently become aware of how frequently many women feel threatened on the street and not wanting to contribute to that even if I’m in the right.

    I’ve noticed that both men and women do this a fair bit, but in different contexts. I work on a college campus, and male and female students seem equally likely to not follow this convention, to initially refuse to move over when they’re on my side, or to not leave me enough room to pass when they’re in a big group taking up the whole sidewalk. But I run in a neighborhood off campus, and there it’s _far_ more common with men. It’s a very wealthy campus, and maybe both the male and female students feel a sense of privilege that’s much less common off-campus. Or maybe it’s an age thing. Or maybe the women on this fairly well-lit, well-policed campus just feel a lot safer than they do off-campus.

  108. alibelle: Growing up in Ireland, I learned that one drives on the left so one walks on the right, so’s to see traffic heading towards one. I think London Underground has “stand on the right, walk on the left,” too.

    In urban areas with sidewalks/footpaths I tend to walk away from entrances and the edge of the pavement where traffic is.

  109. There is nothing you can do to teach kids without disabilities what it feels like to have disabilities. It is impossible.

    This is kind of like how it’s impossible for me as a white person to know what it is like to be black, latin@, NDN, Asian, and I’m sure a whole list of other racial categories that I as a white person have the privilege not to remember to list them all.

    It is also like how you can’t teach a man what it’s like to be a woman, and if you stick him in one of those fake pregnancy bellies he doesn’t know what it’s like to be pregnant. And if you put a thin person in a fat suit that person does not know what it’s like to be fat.

    It is ridiculously simplistic anyway to be giving kids little “exercises” to teach them what it’s “like” for PWD when the problem, if you understand me, is not what I cannot do but how the world treats me for it.

    And I would have been one of the kids being instructed to hop on one foot, or tie my arms behind my back, or put on a blindfold, because my physical disability is invisible. So are a lot of other people’s. Which is also a problem with this kind of exercise: how the hell do you know which kids have disabilities and which don’t? You don’t know that someone who looks able-bodied is. You don’t know someone has an invisible disability unless zie tells you. Which I couldn’t have done as a kid because my parents didn’t tell me.

    Anyway. Even the concept of these exercises I find ablist. It’s ablist to think a person without disabilities can ever understand what it’s like to have disabilities. I feel about it the same way I feel about dudes who think they know how women feel about sexism because they have extrapolated from how they feel about sexism.

  110. I’m severely arthritic, and stick to the inside of the pavement no matter if it’s the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ side. This is because there are an astonishing number of asshats who will shove right by anyone moving slowly, and don’t give a fuck if it’s into traffic or not. And once, in my case, it was, right into an incoming car, though fortunately one going very slowly. Still. After that, I decided I’d rather just cling to the inside, thank you very much, and if anyone doesn’t like it, they can get stuffed.

  111. Right now, I hate everything. This has been the worst couple of months I’ve had in years.
    But I’m glad there’s this nice long thread I can disappear into later on tonight when the house quiets down… forgive me if I end up being inane later when I’m tired and rambling…

  112. So I’m reading the comments about the current version of the health care bill over at NPR, the topic turns to abortion, and a long story short, a guy says ‘Sorry, I get a little fired up when someone tells me I’m wrong simply because I don’t possess a uterus.’

    This makes my head spin regardless of the context.

    Any ideas on how to properly respond to that one? Have at it…

  113. Grafton, I think my husband was successful with his comment because he wasn’t saying he wanted me to be a certain way. He loves every inch of me, doesn’t avoid any specific body part, doesn’t even care about leg hair or morning breath. He just happens to particularly like the way that part of my body feels. I would not have been so happy had he said, “Why can’t your whole body feel like this?”

  114. On playing chicken and moving aside – we found this with my dad. He has MS and when he first started using a walking stick, we were all astonished at how people suddenly started making way & allowances for him when he was walking down the street, where before they wouldn’t at all, even though it was obvious he wasn’t walking easily (also, it was useful for pulling us out of shops when he was tired of waiting, and for leaning on when he was reciting Banjo Patterson poems to innocent bystanders).

    With the “let’s pretend we have a disability” games, I’m glad I never went to a school which did that, but one of the most *useful* things I have done was to drive a friend’s motorised scooter back from the theatre to university (she had taken a taxi home from a late drama class). That one trip taught me a lot about accessibility (and which ramps aren’t!), as did reconaissance around the uni trying to work out in advance how to get my dad from point a to point b in a wheelchair.

    Actually, the closest I got to disability “games” was a visit to another school where I dimly recall we were invited to try out a sports wheelchair that the kids there used – my only clear memory is of falling out of it backwards.

  115. Just to jump on the I-love-my-IUD train, and the my-insurance-paid-for-it train. I’ve got a Mirena, and it’s fantastic. No periods. Occasional spotting. No fuss. I paid a whopping $30 for it ($10 for doctor’s visit to insert it, and $20 for the name-brand prescription) and while it hurt like hell to get it in, the pain was gone in, you know, a day and a half, and the benefits are five (or seven) years.

    I got the impression from the PP doctor that they’ll pretty much give it to most women who, unfortunately, are in committed, monogamous relationships, regardless of whether they’ve given birth or not.

    We had issues with the strings, too, until they sort of got tucked up away where they don’t poke anymore. (They’re a little hard to find with my fingers, but oh well. Small price to pay.)

  116. On the IUD-ing/TMI-ing: I’d love to get Mirena, but I’m extraordinarily wary of jacking around with my hormones because they get so squirrely anyway when the Crimson Tide starts heading into town and the thought of going copper/having heavier periods? Oh good gravy, they’re wicked enough – I don’t need any additional help in that dreadful department.

  117. I just read Please Don’t Eat the Daisies by Jean Kerr today and found a great FA nugget (from 1957 no less!). The story is called “Aunt Jean’s Marshmallow Fudge Diet.” A few of my favorite quotes:

    “I can remember when I was a girl- way back in the Truman administration- and No-Cal was only gleam in the eye of the Hirsch Bottling Company. In those days it was fun to go to parties. The conversation used to crackle with wit and intelligence because we talked about ideas- the aesthetic continuum in western culture, Gary Cooper in western movies, the superiority of beer over lotion as a wave-set, an the best way to use leftover veal.
    Go to a party now and the couple next to you won’t say a word about the rich, chocolate texture of their compos heap or how practical it’s been to buy bunk beds for the twins. They won’t talk about anything whatsoever except their diets- the one they’ve just come off, the one they’re on now, or the one they’re going o have to start on Monday if they keep lapping it up like this.”

    “But let’s get to the heart of the matter. All these diets that appear so monotonously in the flossy magazines- who are they for? Are they aimed at men? Certainly not; most men don’t read these magazines. Are they intended for fat teenagers? Probably not; teenagers can’t afford them. Do not ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for you, Married Woman, Mother of Three, lumpy, dumpy, and the source of concern to practically every publication in the country.”

    “What actually holds a husband through the thick and thick is a girl who is fun to be with. And any girl who has had nothing to eat since nine o’clock this morning but three hard-boiled eggs will be about as jolly and companionable as an income tax inspector.”

    The .pdf version can be found here (Aunt Jean’s Marshmallow Fudge Diet starts on page 160): http://ia311518.us.archive.org/3/items/pleasedonteatthe012316mbp/pleasedonteatthe012316mbp.pdf

  118. ksfeminist: One of my favorite vintage books is _The I Hate To Housekeep Book_, written in the early 1960s, I believe, by Peg Bracken, who is wonderfully witty and literate.

    She discusses fashion in one chapter and does a quick skate over the usual tips on how to dress to make yourself look slender, and then kind of pulls the needle off the record and says something along the lines of “But look, people, no matter how many times you bang your head against it, is it really more important to dress in slimming clothes than it is to dress in clothes that make you happy and be a happy, interesting person?”

    It’s refreshing, and it’s kind of sad that a book written in the early 1960s is more likely to yield a progressive nugget like that than a book or magazine written today.

  119. @slythwolf: I agree with you that it’s impossible to teach kids exactly what anyone else’s reality is. And I agree that the simplistic exercises proposed by Alibelle’s classmates would probably do far more damage than good. However, brain research shows that simulations can be effective learning tools, and I do think it’s worthwhile to provide young people opportunity to think about privilege and intersectionality before they’re out there in the big world beyond school walls. And exercises that seem really simplistic to adults can sometimes provide opportunity to ground kids for the complex conversations to come.

    I completely agree with you that I can’t teach my male students what it’s like to be a woman…but I think they can be better people for pausing to consider (and reflect and write) how life might be different for them if they were. Even if their fleeting consideration of those issues mean one less ignorant “All you ladeez do is complain” post on the web, it seems worth it. . .and I hope for even more impact than that.

  120. Ooo, IUD talk. That I can do without hating everything. :)
    I have a Mirena, and I totally, completely love it. Disclaimer of course that everyone has individual reactions to it, but it worked with me. I’m a year into my second one now, so 6 years of it total.
    Strings: I’ve never felt the strings, or needed to. It gets checked once a year at the doctor’s, and beyond that she said that if it got messed up I’d feel it, and it’s big enough that if it came out I’d definitely notice it.
    Hormones: As for the hormone levels, it’s incredibly low because it’s right there in the uterus where the hormone gets used. I was depressed to the point of being suicidal when I was on Depo-Provera (also just progesterone), and gained 40 pounds besides, but with the Mirena I haven’t noticed any hormone side effects. What’s nice is that the pms symptoms are really minor because I don’t bleed at all, but since I ovulate I do get the midcycle libido jump that the pill and depo eliminate.
    Pain: I can’t lie, the first insertion was pretty hellish. The insertion itself was just a big pinch, but within a couple of hours I felt like someone shoved a knife into my back and the back pain/cramping didn’t let up for about 2 days. It took a week or so for it to die off entirely, and for the first 8 months I still had about a week a month of hard cramping/back pain even though there weren’t real periods associated with it. I was told that most of the side effects like that go away after 6 months; for me it was more like 9-10 months, but since then it’s been pretty much symptom-free. I get a day or so of mild cramping and a teensy bit of spotting at most a month. The second time for the removal/insertion of the new one wasn’t any worse than a normal pap test, with no aftereffects.

  121. Yay open thread :) On the topic of rape-culture, I have a small flicker of hope:

    There’s a professor at the university where I am a grad student who was quite horrible to me last year (long story short, I was the official reader in his class for a blind student, and he thought that meant I was taking her exams for her, but he didn’t want me to stop because he didn’t have the time to read her the exam himself). This year I am tutoring a different (grad) student who has to take his class to make up a deficiency in her background knowledge (she recently switched to my field). Anyway, this prof told her that she needed at least 4 or 5 hours of help a week, and that he wouldn’t have time to help her. So she asked if I would tutor her, and after I agreed, she let him know that she’d be getting the extra help she needed. Whereupon he told her (among other horrible things) that if she worked with me, he’d assume she was cheating on all of her exams.

    That’s the frustrating part. But, when the student went to the dept. chair, he believed her. He did not try to cover for this prof, and after he heard the prof’s side of the story (which consisted of “here’s exactly what I said, and I don’t see a problem with any of it”), the chair removed this professor from the student’s committee and ensured that he did not have final say on her grade in the class.

    I was encouraged by how the chair handled the situation. It could have easily gone the rape-culture route of “well, it’s he-said versus she-said, and what did you do to provoke him, you probably just misinterpreted what he said, and I’m sure he’s really a nice guy, etc” but it didn’t.

  122. IUD users, has there been any effect on your skin? I have acne and the BCP supposedly helps with that, which is one reason I’ve been using it for eons now. I’m intrigued by the IUD but I wouldn’t want to suddenly feel like I’m 16 again, skin-wise.

  123. One of my favorite vintage books is _The I Hate To Housekeep Book_, written in the early 1960s, I believe, by Peg Bracken,

    1962. Peg Bracken, alas, died in 2007. She said a number of remarkably progressive things in her humourous helpful-hint books. You might wish to look for _I Try to Behave Myself_ and _I Didn’t Come Here To Argue._

  124. Hey, all! I’ve been reading, and thanking all the gods for, this site for over a year now. This would be the first time I’ve posted, and I’ve been waiting for an open thread that didn’t have to be fluffy to do it, since I need some advice.

    I’m in my first semester of college, late starter, due to some seriously screwed up things, such as being told that I shouldn’t get an education, because I should get married and produce the babies. (Obviously, that notion didn’t work in the slightest. I had my tubes tied. Moved out. Started going to school, with my mother, no less!)

    I’m a fairly straight-forward person, but I’m shy. I’m planning to become a sociologist and sex educator. As such, I’m taking a wonderful sociology class. Here’s my question: how do you start a conversation with a classmate, or several of them, to tell them that you are not a fat, ugly cow, because you’re not thin? I look at me in the mirror, and most days, I don’t hear gremlin voices anymore. My partners both love me *exactly* the way I am. They’re helping me learn to love me exactly the way I am. (Hell, I’m getting choked up; sorry).

    My classmates, three of them, have all made comments on a regular basis that not only is not being thin just the most disgusting thing ever, but that obviously, I must be lying about having an active sex life, because well, who’d want to have sex with me?

    I have *no* desire to give these specific asshats the time of day (though showing up some place and having their tongues roll out as they drool would be nice, let’s just be honest). I do have an interest in starting up a dialogue with the class *in general* about fat acceptance–we can talk about racism and classism and ableism and a whole shitload of other things, but people shut right the fuck down if you mention the concept that size has nothing to do with beauty or health.

    Any ideas, anyone, how someone can start that conversation? I mean, besides dumping their Starbucks frappuccinos on their heads, when they bemoan how they’ll have to go to the gym for at *least* a couple of hours to work it off. My teachers might frown on spilled coffee.

  125. @mickey, thanks! And congrats on wrapping up your first chapters! I’ve got one chapter written, and the research for most of the other chapters done, but right now I’m caught up in mad grant-writing to fund my last field season. I’m in Biology – and could benefit from some chemistry assistance!

    Thankfully, not everyone in the department is like this – a grad student and a post-doc (ok, 2 post-docs) are the worst (and the ones I was thinking of when I wrote this post), and there are several good-ol’-boys running our department. But my advisor is great (at least 95% of the time), the chair is good (to your face, at least, and on his good days), and many of the other students and professors are respectful. So it’s just a (very visible) minority.

    I’m also in a particularly bad department in a particularly bad place – the South. Our grad students are ~75% female, but this year we got our first female professors in >8 years! My first year (this is my 5th) we had 3 teachers on 1-year contracts: a woman who went waaay out of her way to help grad students with research, advice, whatever they needed, on top of good teaching; and 2 men who were good teachers but went home right after class. Guess which 2 were hired back the next year, despite a letter-writing campaign by us grad students in support of the woman. There also are rumors of back-stabbing and unfair practices by powerful professors and chair in the dept – e.g., we had highly qualified female applicants for open positions earlier, but they weren’t offered perks offered to male applicants, like assistance with finding work for a spouse. Oh, and then there were/are the (male) professors sleeping with their (female) students, with the department turning a blind eye. Yeah, that’s my department.

  126. Yay, open thread!

    Re: Miracle Laurie – Love her! During the episode where the core Dolls get their “real” personalities back, how awesome was it that she was the one who was all gung-ho about the group shower?

    Re: IUDs – Add me to the chorus of “I love my Mirena.” I didn’t think the insertion hurt much, but I was only 14 weeks past childbirth with TWO non-functioning epidurals, so my pain scale may have still been a little screwy. The biggest problem I had was the bleeding – more than spotting but less than a period for five freaking weeks! But nothing in the four months since. I got the same advice as car regarding not having to check the strings. I love not having to think about birth control. I love not having my libido suppressed (which is why I don’t like BC with estrogen). I love that I’m covered until 2014.

    @Sweet Machine: Unfortunately, I don’t think the Mirena has enough hormones to have the beneficial side-effects of combination pills. (Though now that I think about it, the progestin is what gives the anti-androgenic effect. But the dose is still tiny.)

    Re: NaNoWriMo – I’ve wanted to do this ever since I first heard about it years ago, but have never actually managed to get on board. This November is totally shot. We’re closing on a new house next week and have to have our current place on the market at the beginning of the year. So basically we have six weeks to move our entire household (two adults, three cats, one preschooler, one potty-training toddler, one teething infant) and get our current house in top condition. The six weeks that include Thanksgiving, Christmas, the oldest kid’s birthday, and finals.

  127. @Sweet Machine: Initially when I went on the pill I noticed fewer breakouts, and I got the hormone free iud, so I was expecting some skin issues; I did not notice any difference in my skin. But given that I was 20 when I went on the pill and am now 35, there’s the possibility that I had outgrown some of my breakouts. (I never had a diagnosis of acne. . .just occasional and usually cycle-related killer zits.

  128. I do have occasional breakouts now, and didn’t when I was on pills, but my IUD use has also all been in my 30s, and isn’t it common to get acne again in your 30s anyway? (I think that was what Retin-A was originally for, was women in their 30s with acne, and then they found it was good for wrinkles too?) I’m not sure. All kinds of weirdo things happen with random hairs sprouting and random acne and eczema and such, but I never thought about it being correlated with the IUD specifically. It seems like it’s come up in the last few years, but not like it sprang up right after getting the Mirena.

  129. @ Renatus, I’ll have to look up those webcomics! :-D Thank you.

    @ bigbigtruck, NaNoMangO sounds awesome, and I’m not entirely sure how I haven’t managed to hear about it yet! Definitely something for me to consider participating in! Also, I really want it to be the name of a breakfast cereal for some reason. “Could you pass the NaNoMangO’s, dear?” has a nice ring to it. :-)

  130. Alright, y’all have convinced me to make a new appointment (hopefully with a different ob-gyn) to get Mirena. I’m not totally comfortable being totally off bc, despite the fact that we always use other protectionn.

    Maybe I’ll finally get around to having my insulin levels tested, too. I’ve been loathe to do it since a previous nutritionist basically told me that if I just ate better I wouldn’t be fat or insulin resistant. The insulin resistance was never confirmed by tests – and I have few, if any, symptoms – and I weighed at least 20 lbs less than I do now at that point.

  131. Am I the only Nuva ring user in the crowd? I know they’re less ecologically friendly than an IUD, but I love mine. The Pill gave me headaches, but, like the Mirena, Nuva is really low-dose on the hormones. Plus my periods are much lighter than they ever used to be — I used to practically hemorrhage for a week, and now I have about 3 days of fairly light flow.

    I have acne and the BCP supposedly helps with that

    It took me a minute to figure out that “BCP” meant “birth control pills,” not “Book of Common Prayer.” (Faith healing? For acne? Um, ok…)

    On a completely different subject, since derailing doesn’t apply to open threads, I am so in love with the latest (and last!) album from Saffire, The Uppity Blueswomen. I could listen to “Too Much Butt (For One Pair of Jeans)” over and over. (These are the same amazing women who brought us “Bitch With a Bad Attitude,” “O-B-G-Why-Me Blues,” “There’s Lightning in These Thunder Thighs,” and, for women of a certain age, “Silver Beaver.”)

  132. Following Katia’s link (way upthread) to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education: yep, there’s a new book out called _The_Fat_Studies_Reader_. And it’s reviewed in the current issue of _Ms._Magazine … just maybe by a Shapeling!

  133. YAY open thread!

    I am having the weirdest week. Dumped my boyfriend, got back together with him, broke up with him again, got back together, bought the CUTEST little vintage skirt suit from my favorite vintage store, went out to look at a BABY PONY OMG PONY that I might buy, and got excited about gaining 10lbs.

    Phew.

    Way upthread:
    “Or in the same group which was the ablism group they suggested for a lesson plan to have students tie their arms behind their back or hop around on one leg to understand how disabled people feel.”

    Wait, so they were teaching people how to be ableist? Or was that supposed to be “the way those crazy cripples live” lessons? Gah.

    BTW anyone who hasn’t read FWD/Forward yet needs to get the heck on that. It is my new favorite blog, after SP and Shakesville.

  134. I’m still trying to resolve hostile work environment issues. I keep hearing how I need more proof, more proof (my supervisors are stationed at a different location) but I heard today that Mr. Hostile got all aggro on the boss. He still wants to give the dude another chance even though he’s been a problem for five years (because of course it’s a “personality conflict” between genders). Dude’s creepy enough I won’t get within 10′ feet of him and have refused to be in the same room with him w/o a witness. My main work pal and I were discussing a couple days ago if Dude’s gonna get all Fort Hood on us-scared ourselves pretty bad. Union’s not helping much, HR is sympathetic, blah blah blah. I’m starting to mention lawyers…

  135. Oh. Just if I take the “Annie” off my name. Well poop. I kind of want to get away from using my actual first name online. Oh well. I hope my post gets freed soon.

    I’m really getting frustrated with hormonal BC lately. I was on the pill for 6 years or so and it was great except for the fact that I got pregnant at least 4 times and it made me kinda sick all the time. I switched to the NuvaRing this past spring and it’s awesome except for the fact that I can’t have sex anymore for a variety of reasons that I’m sure are directly related to the Nuvaring, which completely defeats the purpose of having the damn thing. (Constant dryness, no sex drive, pain during sex caused by dryness that no amount of lube can fix, etc.) So now what? I can’t do the shot because I’m terrified, TERRIFIED of needles and I would not go back to get it done on time because I would be too frightened. IUDs sound great, but my pain tolerance is very low and I want lots and lots of babies someday (possibly soonish).

    What’s left? Condoms? (Latex-free and non-lubricated, of course, since I’m allergic.) The rhythm method? I’m also at high risk for osteoporosis, so I’m leery of anything that speeds that sort of thing up.

    Boohiss. :(

  136. @Other Becky (and Mcfly) – I used to use NuvaRing, too, and never had any problems with it. Unfortunately, it’s a name brand and those can get expensive after a while, and I was a bit concerned that it 1. was messing with my libido, 2. was increasing my migraines (which Yasmin did), and 3. had somehow contributed to my 20 lbs weight gain over the last year. Having been off for a while, I’ve concluded that it did none of the above, so I’m willing to go back on hormonal bc, but I don’t think I’ll want kids in the next 5 years, so I might as well go with Mirena and not have to deal with the monthly stuff…

  137. @Naomi, a bit upthread

    If you don’t want to just bust out in the middle of class, you could talk to your professor about it before or after class. You could even put it indirectly, “I was wondering if we were going to talk about attitudes towards fat people”, if that makes you feel more comfortable. Or you could give hir a book on Fat Acceptance, which could prompt discussion. The only danger here is that the prof might be hostile to fat acceptance, in which case… yikes!

  138. @Annie: as far as pain/iud go, my experience was that it hurt much more than I expected to have it inserted (I have not had children and was not expecting much discomfort) but that the discomfort was much more short-lived than I expected. The procedure was over very quickly (though long enough to have a weird talk about Shakespeare with my feet in the stirrups. .. whenever someone hears I’m an English teacher they want to talk about Shakespeare, no matter how bizarre the context) and then there was just mild cramping like I would have with a menstrual period. I felt a little off for about 24 hours. . .not shocky, exactly, but just like my body was a little weirded out by the experience. It was nothing some advil, thai food, glass of red wine, and snuggle couldn’t take care of with ease.

    I’ve read that the removal is much easier, and within a month or so you’re good-to-go with the baby-makin’. And it seems from discussion boards that experiences with the procedure vary widely, so it’s probably good to ask around.

    Speaking of nuva-rings, I saw a suggestion by a NY Planned Parenthood of a Nuva Ring Halloween costume—wear all pink, carry a hula hoop . (:

  139. Meems, I have fairly severe nickel allergy (bad enough that I can’t wear a wristwatch, even if I paint the back with nail polish, because I react to the stainless steel). I have never had any trouble with my Paragard. I’m on my third – one before I had kids, one between kids, and now one after the second kid.

  140. @aliciamaud74: “though long enough to have a weird talk about Shakespeare with my feet in the stirrups. .. whenever someone hears I’m an English teacher they want to talk about Shakespeare, no matter how bizarre the context”

    I get the same thing! I study birds, and whenever people hear that they want to tell me all about this bird they saw in their backyard, or on the golf course, or driving down the road, or wherever. Half the time the story’s something like “so I saw this bird, and it was small and brown and had a short bill. What was it?”! It happens in all kinds of weird contexts, too. Like the time the nurse who had just drawn my blood started gesturing wildly with her hands (which were holding the vials of my blood) while telling me some crazy story. I’m very needle-phobic and was already weak – next thing I know I keeled over at the sight of her waving my blood around like that! Since then I’ve learned to say something boring when asked what I do.

  141. I had a pretty awful day at work today, but I had a fun moment of mentally bitch-slapping a customer. I work as a cashier in a grocery store (the name rhymes with “ogre”) and today was my eighth day in a row of work without a day off, it was horrendously busy because of the holiday tomorrow, and I was on an express lane (to sum up: we don’t actually have express lanes at our store, just lanes with silly signs that hang over them that mean nothing except that we get no baggers). So you can imagine that I was not in the best mood to begin with.

    Said customer picked up one of those really offensive “fat flushing” products, which we keep on the impulse rack (that rack of stuff in the checkout lane), and said “oh, cool, this can flush your fat away” and I said “but it doesn’t work.” He looked at me and said “oh, that sucks” (obviously thinking I’d tried it because of my size, from what I could tell), and, in one breath, very quickly, I said something along the lines of “yes, well, no weight loss product works because once your body realizes that you’re starving it, it fights to get back to the weight it feels most comfortable at.” From the look on his face, you’d think I just dropped an atom bomb in his frontal lobe. 9.9 He didn’t say anything for the rest of his transaction (which was mercifully short), so I don’t know what else he might’ve said, but I was satisfied.

    Also, the other day a women shoved one of those stupid gossip magazines under my and her daughter’s nose and said “holy fuck, did you see what Cher’s daughter did to herself” (transitioned, for anyone who didn’t get the memo) and I said “hooray!” She looked at me like I’d sprouted an extra head and said “hooray?!” and I responded “Yes, I think it’s a good thing.” She quickly put the magazine away and avoided eye contact for the rest of the transaction. Why yes, there are actually people out there who think trans people are awesome. WE MIGHT BE ANYWHERE OH NOES. X3

    I have endless “stupid customer” stories, but those are the two that spring to mind. Also, telling my manager (one of the easy-going ones) that the fact that one of my co-workers had two badges placed directly on top of her breasts did not in fact mean that he had to look straight at her breasts when he looked at them, and the fact that he insisted breasts were all he saw was because he had the privilege to do so, was another highlight of today. I think I blew his mind a bit too.

  142. @TooManyJessicas

    Thank you. Actually, I just sent the prof a note, asking if we could talk about fat acceptance and obesity discrimination, and she said that it was actually slated for next week. Good timing! Turns out the prof’s partner is a plus-sized competitive athlete, which is just about one of the coolest things ever, so near and dear to her.

    Again, thanks! I knew I’d get better ideas from you guys than dumping coffee on his head!

  143. Ailbhe: Can I ask you about thrush in your breasts? (Wow, a question I never thought I would type.) Were there white patches, or redness? Other symptoms?

    Basically, I’ve had what I thought was a general yeast infection under my breasts for *forever*. Nystatin is ok-ish, but keeping things dry is helpful/more comfortable for me, too, and Nystatin just makes that worse. I’ve been using Zeasorb-AF every day for months now. I’m comfy enough when wearing it, but if I miss a day or two, the redness and itching is back (which happens with the Nystatin , as well, but Zeasorb is over the counter, so I can buy more). There’s some white stuff, but it seems like dry skin, or maybe residue from the powder.

    Basically, I’ve been avoiding going to my doctor saying, “Hey, the first thing isn’t good enough — fix this.” Because I know he’s not very fat-friendly, and I hate coming to him with things that make me feel shameful about my body and my fat (which this totally does).

    Aaaaand, now that I’ve typed that out, I’ve realized how not-ok that is. Could all this internalized fat hatred *end* at some point?

  144. Just posted this on my livejournal, which is usually just squeeing about Canadian television, but you guys are dragging my brain into thinkier thoughts:

    You know how when you’ve been reading/thinking a lot about a topic, a casual remark that people (including, up until very recently, you yourself!) make about it all the time, and that has never really registered with you before, will suddenly seem unbearably stupid?

    Yeah. Well, I’ve been reading a lot of body/fat acceptance blogs lately–Shapely Prose and The Rotund chief among them–and the other day at the library I was shelving a recent People Magazine, and there was an article about Jennifer Garner’s post-baby weight loss titled, “How She Got Her Body Back.”

    And I thought, well holy SHIT whose body did she HAVE?!?

    Was there a poor bodiless head rolling into a police station on a skateboard, screaming, “Jennifer Garner TOOK MY BODY! I WANT IT BAAAAAAACK! Also, GOD, could somebody brush my teeth for me?”

    And where was Jennifer’s body in the meantime? In cold storage somewhere, with Walt Disney’s frozen head casting lustful looks at it with its frosted-over eyeballs?

    What weird, weird phrasing, if you think about it. What a weird thought process it elucidates. “If my body deviates from a narrow ideal, or if it deviates from how I have grown used to it looking–it ain’t mine anymore. I UNOWN IT! NOT MINE NOT MINE NOT MINE. My REAL body is AROUND HERE SOMEWHERE. It is MUCH CUTER than this thing which is currently inexplicably HANGING OFF MY NECK.”

    Hey, writers for People! That rounder, curvier body that Jennifer Garner had for a while? It was still HERS. It was still her.

  145. @viajera: I have to say, I’m glad that happens to other people! Until now, the record for weirdness caused by the Shakespeare thing was held by a dentist who recited a Shakespeare sonnet while checking for cavities. But the guy who wanted to talk about Othello murdering his wife while literally peering into my vagina now takes the proverbial cake.

    I’ve always thought I would use those bizarre encounters in a short story someday. . .maybe it should just be a series of real-life accounts from people who create awkward situations upon discussing others’ employment! Truth stranger than fiction and all that. . .

  146. All the talk about gardening waaay upthread reminded me of a haiku I wrote forever ago:

    Desolate landscape
    I am the bringer of death.
    I can not garden.

    Yeah, I have a black thumb. I kill the things I’m trying to grow and grow the things I’m trying to kill.

  147. I’m with the people about weird timing and conversations about your job. I’m a pastry chef/cake decorator and when people find out they 1. Demand baked goods 2. Declare that if they worked with such tasty things all they would do is eat all day (probably not, you get real sick of sugar, real quick) and 3. Want to know how to improve their baking. I’ve had these conversations everywhere from doctor’s offices to immigration in airports. (Immigration guy: so, my puff pastry has been really soggy, what do I do?)

    Second, yay for the IUD talk! I was just telling myself yesterday that it would be really awesome if I could find a birth control review site with reviews from real people that had used them. I’m working on finding a place where the NHS will let me get one fitted quickly. Like, before next year. I finished last month with an implant in my arm which drove me crazy for 3 years. My period was textbook regular my whole life, and then it went off the rails the whole time I had this thing in with nurses and people telling me, ‘don’t worry, it’ll even out soon’. I’m going to do the non-hormonal IUD to avoid the same problems. The combined pill was awesome but a pain in the butt to take regularly, singular hormone things drive my period wacky, so I’ll take a bit of pain and the heavier periods please.

  148. GRRRR! I have to use this open thread to post our assholic medical system, in which all weight loss by fat people is unquestionably seen as good.

    My mom’s brother is a big and fat guy. He’s 70, was a long time smoker and has had GERD for the past 10 years or so; diagnosed with Type II diabetes about 18 months ago.

    Earlier this year, starting about 6 months after the TII diagnosis, he started to lose weight. Everyone thought this was wonderful: “look at how good he is, taking his pill and losing all this weight.”

    Yeah. Until he went to visit his older daughter a couple of weeks ago, and she realized in about 6 hours that he was losing weight because he CANNOT SWALLOW.

    He was diagnosed with advanced cancer of the esophagus on Monday, with a 13 cm (5 inches!!) tumor blocking at least half of it!

    It’s hard to be too mad at my aunt, because I know how it’s easy to not notice how someone is changing when you see them everyday, or my uncle, even though I’m not honestly sure how much he told anyone about the fact that he was having trouble swallowing. But seriously, NOT ONE of his doctors thought the amount and pace of the weight loss was odd, and not one of them put together the age, medical history and weight loss and thought to check for esophageal issues? Of course not, because they were all too fucking busy looking at the scale!!

    He’s going to Texas to see a doctor at MD Anderson next week, so I think that all that can be done medically (NOW) is being done. But it’s just one more example of doctors seemingly content that his weight loss was good thing because he was fat, refusing to acknowledge that you can’t use a scale to measure health.

    Thanks for letting me get this out of my system with this non-fluffcation open thread.

  149. Karen: Breast thrush: Mine was thrush in my milk ducts so I had very limited external symptoms. But I think breastfeeding websites would be a good place to look for pictures of thrush on breasts if what you want is a firmer self-diagnosis before risking a doctor.

    I *think* the creams used to treat it are the same as the ones for vaginal thrush, and for oral thrush they give babies a micronazole cream sometimes (but check this, it’s all from hazy sleep-dep memory).

  150. Breast thrush – when I had it, my nipples were extra-red and overly sensitive. From most people I know, the external creams really don’t do crap for it – oral Diflucan is just about the only way to get rid of it.

  151. The thread has moved on since then, so, er ***rewind*** but earlier on some people were talking about the food panic/fatphobia on some food blogs. It annoys me like hell, and I’ve got to the point of noticing when a food blog *doesn’t* do that, and feeling happy when a food blog takes an explicitly positive and non-moralising approach to food. Nothing tastes as bad as guilt, panic and self-hate feel, after all.

    One of my favourite cake baking blogs ends every recipe with the following two steps:
    “- Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.
    – Eat.”

    I really like that.

  152. Karen, there are also some OTC topical treatments commonly recommended to women with thrush, which would possibly apply to skin yeast infections: gentian violet and grapefruit seed extract. When I had thrush associated with breastfeeding, I gave my babies oral Nystatin, but I didn’t use it on myself, just treated my nipples with GV and a GSE solution. The GV stains like crazy, so you’d have to think about wearing an old tank top under your bra or something, but I did find it to work pretty well. I’m not sure I saw as clear a benefit from the GSE, but some women swear by it. Both are relatively inexpensive, on the order of $5-10 a bottle; the GV is available at some pharmacies (I got mine at Target), GSE is often at health food stores, and both are widely available online. If you’re really reluctant to go to the doctor, or the doctor is unhelpful, it might be nother thing to try.

    One of the other lessons of thrush is that you sometimes have to be pretty aggressive in treating your clothing and surroundings as well as your skin, so that you’re not constantly re-infecting yourself. Wash bras and shirts and towels and sheets in hot water with bleach, because a regular wash won’t necessarily kill the yeast, until you’ve been symptom-free for a couple weeks.

  153. re: Girl Genius

    I started reading it a year ago on the recommendation of someone at an anime forum, and I was so hooked that I caught up on the series in about 2 or 3 weeks. It wound up being my first actual foray into steampunk, though I have yet to venture further into the genre.

    Oh, and for those who haven’t read it: http://www.girlgeniusonline.com

  154. Ah, yeasty skin rashes. I’m prone to them, because I’m on a med that depresses immune function. So, any time sweat sits in the folds of my skin, it rapidly begins to smell of vinegar – that’s the first sign, when impending rashes can be stopped before they settle in. The rashes themselves just look like regions of inflamed, shiny skin, and when the infection has been killed, that skin will peel.

    In my experience, creams and liquids don’t do squat. What does the trick are anti-fungal ‘athlete’s foot’ powders – not the spray-powder, the straight powder. Applied several times a day, it will kill an actual infection. Applied once daily, it will prevent others. I finally caved and bought myself a nice vintage powder box to keep mine in, because the shakers it comes in are awkward to use.

    However, I should note that I did have them properly identified by one of my doctors years ago, so I know that yes, they really are yeasty skin rashes.

  155. Moderators/Logistical Question:

    So I made a comment to a really old post (fall ’08 I think) b/c it was linked in something recent, and the second comment contained an expired link that now goes to a truly horrid porn site. Anyway, it didn’t tell me that my comment was awaiting moderation, so now I’m wondering if that means no-one will see it? I can go find the link (the SP post, I mean, not the nasty) and post it here, if that’d help.

  156. peregrin8, I saw your comment in the “recent comments” sidebar and removed the expired link — thanks. In the future, if you are worried that mods won’t see your comment on something that needs attention, please email us (info on the “about us” page).

  157. Penny,

    That’s a great article! This part really stood out for me:

    “We contacted the school’s psychology teacher once and tried to get Disability Simulation Day stopped. It was a lost cause. She liked having Disability Simulation Day featured in the local newspaper, and saw no need for me or my husband — or anyone from our local independent living center — to come to her classroom to talk with the students.”

    When privileged people use simulation exercises for their privileged students, the logical and inevitable result is the perpetuation of privilege, not the challenging of privilege. And when the privileged see no need to listen to those who are actually marginalized and disprivileged–well, that says everything, really.

    Further, the idea that these simulations are the only possible tool to use with minors is simply untrue. (Of course, I would argue that simulation exercises aren’t a tool to begin with.) I once was invited to present on transgender issues to a Unitarian Univeralist youth group. The kids were all middle school and early high school ages, and they were wonderful. All of their questions were respectful and thoughtful. I had a great time talking to them, and they thanked me and said they learned a lot.

    Actually talking to actual people about what their actual lives are actually life … what a concept.

  158. @Eucritta: I’ve been trying to get rid of exactly what you describe for ages now, but never considered athlete’s foot powder. Thanks — I’m going to try it right away. Should I also do the “washing everything with bleach” thing? Or were you able to get rid of it with just topical treatments?

  159. I would just like to say that I had thrush in my throat once that went undiagnosed for several days, and it was one of the most painful experiences of my life. The idea of having it in my breasts makes me want to wear one of those lead aprons from x-ray rooms.

  160. “Further, the idea that these simulations are the only possible tool to use with minors is simply untrue.”

    Not sure if this is directed at what I said earlier. . . just to clarify, I was saying that education research suggests simulations can be an effective tool to use with young people to get them thinking. I in no way suggested that they were the only tool, or even a tool that should be used with regularity. They are often very high-risk and prone to insensitive handling by the facilitators. And I also made note of the fact that the simplicity of the first suggested simulations was beyond problematic and even deeply offensive in its privilege-blindness.

    However, I have found that a more complex simulation paired with careful community building, writing, reflection, and honest examination of preconceived notions held by young people can be a way to introduce the concept of privilege–more of an extension and deepening of a vocabulary lesson to teach a concept than anything approaching the full extent of the conversation. Kids have to know what privilege is before they can have any deeper understanding of the role it plays in their lives—I mean, we’ve certainly seen the trouble it leads to in discourse on this very site when people have no idea what the word means. . .the defensive reactions, the tone arguments, the discounting of dis-privileged voices.

    I completely agree with you that guest speakers are probably the most effective tool. . . at least right now in education, as, sadly, most of our educators are from vastly privileged demographics in one way or another. . .however, there are all kinds of logistical limits to this in a public school that make it challenging to set those kinds of things up. It’s not that people don’t want to, but prioritizing them in the bureaucracy that is the public school system is nightmarish. I try to take my classes to programs with the National Coalition Building Institute—many of my kids have become trainers—but even that opportunity has limits, given that when it comes down to it, I’m an English teacher, and have to primarily be teaching reading and writing skills. So, those little digs I have the opportunity to take that challenge the limited world view of my students without alienating them have to be stealthy, to some extent. . .it’s frustrating to find a way into that conversation when addressing a group of white, middle-class, able-bodied, cis-gendered students. . .who are also 14 and 15 years old.

  161. Did I mention already that I completely reject the Hoppers exercise? That’s not what I’m talking about here. (:

  162. @OtherBecky, soap and hot water works fine for me so long as I never wear anything more than a day. What I’ve noticed more, is that the fabric and clothing type matters: I can’t wear polyester, pure silk, or close knits, they just hold in too much moisture; and I’m better off layering than wearing heavier garments.

  163. aliciamaud74,

    “Not sure if this is directed at what I said earlier. . .”

    Only partly. The Oppressed For A Day simulations are common and commonly lauded.

    “It’s not that people don’t want to, but prioritizing them in the bureaucracy that is the public school system is nightmarish.”

    In the article that Penny linked, the teacher in question actually DIDN’T want to. Nor do I find that an uncommon position–lots of people want to vaguely educate about “diversity” and “tolerance” without wanting to actually challenge privilege. Even those who DO want to challenge privilege may not be well equipped to do so.

    “However, I have found that a more complex simulation paired with careful community building, writing, reflection, and honest examination of preconceived notions held by young people can be a way to introduce the concept of privilege …”

    I am open to the possibility that a better-than-the-usual simulation might not be as trainwrecky as some, but even the best-run simulation still is far from ideal. On a personal note, I have to say that I cringe and clench my jaw at the thought of a cis person leading a room of cis students through a “Let’s All Pretend to be Trans!” exercise. On a less personal note, these simulations support the notion that trans people (people with disabilities, etc.) aren’t actually real people living actual lives–we’re just abstract thought exercises. That’s very privilege-reinforcing.

  164. Eucritta: Is there a brand/type of powder that you like? As I said, I’m using Zeasorb-AF, and it works ok, but it’s a little gritty compared to things like talcum powder or cornstarch.

    “Several times a day” may be the key for me. I think these old bras are probably not doing me any favors, either. I’ll give it all a shot — I feel like I have a better chance of succeeding now that it’s not summer.

  165. @Karen, right now I’m getting the best results with Desenex. But over the last several years I’ve had to cycle between that, Lotrimin and Tinactin, as over time the yeasties seem to develop a tolerance. None of the anti-fungal powders are as silky or comfortable as a high-quality talc, though, there’s no getting around that.

  166. Just Some Trans Guy,

    Yeah, I was trying to be clear that the lesson I designed was in (somewhat violent) reaction to that other kind of simulation. And the idea that I had was to NOT link it do specific real-life disability or experience, (the horror of the icis-/trans scenario you suggest is beyond my anxiety tolerance to think about for long) but to create a system in which one group was privileged over another due to an arbitrary construct (having inside out-scotch tape on your fingers isn’t akin to any actual disability, for example), hopefully enabling us to discuss the notion of privilege in the abstract before zeroing in to consider and discuss our own. If I skip that step of discussing in the abstract, they shut down before I can get any further, which is how the adolescent brain works, and not merely a matter of being close-minded. Or rather, it is close-minded, but developmentally and biologically speaking, not in terms of attitude.

    And I did read the article you’re referring to—and you make a good point that the teacher in question did not want to listen. There are those people on my staff, too (like the coach who thought it would be a good idea to sponsor a “cross-dressing” day as a fundraiser, and was truly perplexed by my outraged response), though I count myself pretty lucky to be working in a moderately progressive district, and beyond that have worked really hard to find like-minded professionals outside of my building, people willing and able to be allies, who work to confront these issues in the classroom—but still I run into a lot of roadblocks when asking kids to confront privilege. I have to go slowly, create a non-threatening environment, and woo them for quite a while before putting these big issues on the table. . . .and even so, every year I get at least a few kids making (to me, bizarre) claims that racism is “over”, that men and women have absolutely equal opportunity, or that people are homeless because they didn’t know how to manage their investments. (Swear to god, a kid said that to me once.)

    I will concede the best run simulation is far from ideal. Unfortunately, that’s true of almost everything in education, and if you’re a reflective educator, I think you’re constantly plagued by questions of whether it’s even possible to be any kind of agent of change, or if the system is so strong you are only ever able to perpetuate it. What good can you do? What can small degree of progress can you settle for? Sigh.

    Those questions are what has me looking for waitressing jobs in Costa Rica every February.

  167. aliciamaud74–
    As an English teacher, you have a better-than-normal opportunity for “guest speakers”–you can read the writings of people who are subject to social oppression and who challenge privilege. I find it problematic that high school students learn about Puritan women being oppressed from Nathaniel Hawthorne, and about slavery from Mark Twain. Huck Finn is an important book, but to use it as the only source material for a discussion of the treatment of black people in America pre- and post-Civil War? That’s an abomination. There’s a lot to be learned, too, by comparing what Twain (a fairly sympathetic outsider) has to say v. what Sojourner Truth or Frederick Douglass has to say.

  168. BTW, I love the idea of the tape-fingers privilege discussion. I think talking about the ways kids are shut up by well-meaning adults can be a good way to discuss privilege–there are a lot of things parents and other adults say that drive kids nuts and are straight out of Derailing for Dummies. And there’s nothing like bringing up age-based oppression to get a bunch of 14- and 15-year-olds talking. Sure, there’s lots of ways society limits kids and teenagers that are for their own good, but that doesn’t make them any less limiting and frustrating. There are also plenty of ways that kids and teenagers are treated (“He can’t know he’s gay; after all, he’s only fourteen”) that are downright wrong. And teenagers are quite aware that they get privilege as they age–but how would they feel if they had to spend the rest of their lives without being able to work, drive, live independently, have sex, vote, run for public office, or have a political opinion that’s not immediately shut down as invalid?

  169. @mrsspoon – alt.life has a message board with a pretty good amount of self reported experiences with different birth control. I love my copper T. It has the highest retention of use and “customer satisfaction” world wide.

  170. I hope it’s not too late to start up another topic of discussion which is just a pet peeve of mine.

    I really hate the golden rule. As a child, everyone would say it over and over again: “treat others as you would like to be treated”. Well, unless you’re being trivially simplistic, people don’t necessarily want to be treated the same way you want to be treated. Everyone has different experiences which shape their perceptions and shape how they would like to be treated. In the great drama of the pre-fluff posts, one basic problem was the assumption that other people want to be treated the way you do. That’s just not true.

    The golden rule doesn’t take into account the existence of the other person, it just assumes that everyone in the world is just like you, which is a privileged assumption if I ever heard one. What we should do is actually think about others from their perspective, not from ours, but that’s much more difficult than just projecting yourself onto others. You have to actually acknowledge their existence for that.

  171. the thought of a cis person leading a room of cis students through a “Let’s All Pretend to be Trans!” exercise.

    Eeeee. I had the “joy” of participating in a “Let’s All Pretend to be Gay!” class. The prof assumed everyone was straight anyway, so some of us were pretending to be straight pretending to be gay, which was *really* *really* uncomfortable, especially since we were required to present about what the experience was like, requiring the queer among us to either out ourselves in a very unfriendly environment, or pretend to be straight. I can only be grateful that trans issues were not on the syllabus in that class.

    The whole class was a train-wreck from start to finish – we also had to pretend to be third-world women, and we were essentially told that to prevent rape, all women needed to do was reason with our rapists. I’m sure it will shock you all to learn the prof was a straight white cis man with a reputation for sleeping with his grad students.

    I started taking a shot or two of vodka before class as a coping strategy. It prevented any more ugly scenes. (The one where rape was presented as mostly a case of stranger danger and could be solved with empathizing with one’s potential rapist was very unpleasant, not least because I cry when I get really angry, and I was just about to lose it.)

    Many times I miss my social science classes, but none of my hard science courses have ever matched the trainwreckness of the worse social science courses.

  172. Anita: Good Lord. Had that social science professor ever read any, you know, social science? That was written after 1960? (Part of me is wondering if the “third world women” exercise had been adapted from “Let’s All Pretend to Be Poor!” and “Let’s All Pretend to Be Women!” exercises from the Good Old Days, when poor people and women didn’t go to college.)

    I’m also morbidly curious as to how, exactly, one is expected to prevent stranger rape by using empathy and reason, but it sounds as though that lesson was a bit trigger-y, so I won’t feel ignored if you don’t want to go into that.

  173. Actually, the whole thing is like a very dark farce – I can sort of see the dark humor in it now.

    The rape prevention mess was based on one person’s book on Nonviolent Communication. The premise is that by understanding and communicating with people, and subverting the violent impulses that undercut society, we can solve all our problems. (I have huge, huge issues with this, not least of which because the premise encourages those without power to sympathize with those oppressing them, not a technique that I’ve really found turns things around. Oh, and also I might be carrying a little baggage from the class still.)

    Basically, this boils down to using techniques taught a lot in therapy: repeating what you hear people saying, looking for underlying goals in what people are saying, and trying to reach those goals in a way that works for everyone. So there’s a lot of “I” statements and “I hear you saying” statements.

    Unfortunately, the premise is that this works for everything from customer service to overthrowing the colonial oppressors to stopping rape.

    So we were asked to think of a scenario where we weren’t in power, and were at risk, and then were asked to roleplay that situation with another student. Which led to awesome statements like:
    “I hear you saying you’d like to display your dominance and manliness.”
    and
    “I wonder if you might consider competitive sports instead.”
    Which was about the point that I pretty much lost my shit, and despite hating face-to-face confrontation more than anything, basically called the prof on a few things. And the son of a bitch used the technique to try to talk me down – “I hear you saying that you don’t feel heard on this issue.”

    I did report him to the chair of his department, but I regret that I did not kick and scream and call every single dean and student advocacy group I could find the number for. He didn’t get tenure, though, which gives me some hope in justice.

  174. aliciamaud74,

    The scotch-tape exercise sounds not so bad. I’ll also second Starling’s suggestion of introducing kids to writings from marginalized writers. Just speaking for myself, I remember Elie Wiesel’s “Night” having a profound impact on me when I was a teenager.

    Anita,

    Oh, WOW. That is just so, so awful. I’m sorry you had to go through that, ugh.

  175. Let’s just say I’m not a big fan of the “Let’s Pretend to be a [...]!” games. I think they need to be done really, really carefully. And it’s okay to get stuff wrong – I think privileged people get stuff wrong a lot, but we need to at least make our best good-faith effort at getting it right.

  176. Starling and Just Some Trans Guy:

    Yes, there are few folks (including me) who make a big effort to include works by marginalized writers. There’s still imbalance—if there are two works of lit required at every level and one is always a Shakespeare play, then that means (duh) 50% of the curriculum is that traditional canonical stuff. But, we also have Night, Beloved, Black Boy, Frederick Douglass, Soujourner Truth, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Walter Dean Myers, and an entire elective that examines literature of the marginalized, another that’s literature of the Holocaust. We’re a little short on queer lit, in my opinion, and it’s hard to get it approved, but I get around it by using poets (Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Minnie Bruce Pratt) and lots of short stories and excerpts with queer characters–you don’t have to get shorter works approved. . . with only the occasional parent objection. And, it’s helpful to have an inclusive classroom library. (That’s expensive, unfortunately, but I get help from other teachers who donate to it, since I’m one of the advisors of our school’s GSA.) When there’s time for independent reading, then, kids can pull from that portion of the book selection–and they definitely do. And they start to learn you’re a resource for that stuff and ask for reading recommendations, which is cool.

    I do have guest speakers in—as I mentioned before I take the kids to the National Coalition Building Institute. And Erin Davies (of Fagbug) fame has come in to visit my classes and screen her documentary to us a few years in a row. But, that’s still time consuming and costly—of course I think it’s worth it, but at $500/a pop, opportunities become limited. Not to mention you have to get permission for all the speakers, and also have to keep in mind there’s required curriculum to cover, and only 180 days to do it. . . it’s a lot.

    Anita, that is absolutely wretched.

  177. Okay, I’m throwing a new topic into the Open Thread, even though it’s kind of late for it, because I was really struck by this in the recap of How I Met Your Mother this week. I’ll consider it a public service to spoil everyone here that it involved Neil Patrick Harris’s character in a fat suit this week; apparently some people in the forums – rightly and encouragingly – brought up the FA issues with that, and the recapper had this to say:

    [quote]Reading the forums brought it to mind. I was just pissed because Neil Patrick Harris is such an all-in actor, and the fatsuit hid most of his glorious facial expressions. Feh. Now that I’ve been radicalized, or whatever, I have decided I’m not getting deeply into the Barney-is-so-fat jokes. Suffice it to say he’s busy with chicken wings when Ted needs a wingman. And Robin looks like she hasn’t showered in a month or washed her face in two. In short, they’re physically repulsive. And maybe it’s contrary to fat-acceptance politics to state so, and so plainly, but to me, what’s really objectionable is that at the end of the day, all NPH has to do is shed some silicone make-up and padding and he’s back in fighting form.[/quote]

    I . . . I don’t know why, but something about that seemed really significant to me about the way people approach weight. So people chime in and explain why the fat suit gag is insulting to fat people and probably personally insulting to many of them. And the response is that it’s objectionable because it doesn’t show how hard losing weight is? That he’s so lucky to be able to take off the fat suit? Those two things aren’t related! I can’t quite parse the dynamic, but that’s twisted thinking!

  178. @LilahMorgan: I am avoiding the recap of that ep. for exactly that reason. I had enough trouble watching it, which sucked because I LOVE that show, but I couldn’t bear to read what the recapper thought. I know it’s not the worst part of that episode, but it was still bad. The fact that the look was hyperbolized by FutureTed. Barney gained a little weight, but it felt like he was suddenly huge! Just awful.

  179. I remember when I was in elementary school, my teacher divided us up and had a day when people with brown eyes were discriminated against and another where people with green eyes were. It was a weird exercise, and some kids got really into it and put up signs saying stuff like “NO BROWN EYES ALLOWED.” It was like they relished in the oppurtunity to be allowed and encouraged to be prejudiced, so I suppose the point was lost. But then again, we were all 10 or 11, and I remember thinking girls were icky, and that music was somehow feminine (which is really bizzare, becuase i have no idea where that came from, especially since its my passion now).

    I don’t think the idea of privalige is that hard to grasp or even really a revelation for a lot of people. I’m 17 (today’s my birthday, in fact!) and live in a very privalidged town, and many freinds of mine deal/have dealt with depression and other anxiety issues, and even those who haven’t, express a guilt with their unhappiness. One of my freinds said “I feel so stupid for being so upset. i mean, i’m well fed, have a great education, i’m white i’m a guy… etc.”

    And this sort of thinking is really common with people i’ve met, and its something i’ve thought of a lot myself. Maybe its an exception, because i know many kids who also have a huge sense of entitlement by the virtue of living in a wealthy suburban town, and i’ve heard some ignorant comments like “everyone has equal oppurtunity if they work hard enough.” But I don’t think that’s giving people enough credit. I think any reasonably self-aware person who’s priviledged can identify and understand that they are, even if some aspects of it (like gender) aren’t apperent to them or identified.

    Hahaha, I don’t really know what i’m exactly trying to say, or if i’m making any sense, but I enjoy reading stuff here, so I might as well try to say something.

  180. Miguel,

    Happy B’day. (:

    Your teacher must have studied that really famous study from, like, the 1950’s where an elementary teacher did a similar simulation. It was (and is) really controversial—it kind of messed with the kids in ways that some people think was irresponsible.

    You said: I think any reasonably self-aware person who’s priviledged can identify and understand that they are, even if some aspects of it (like gender) aren’t apperent to them or identified.

    I think that you’re right. . .people CAN get it. . . but there are some big caveats there. . .like “reasonably self-aware.” A lot of people aren’t, particularly, and when privilege is pointed out to them, instead of an opportunity provided for them to figure it out for themselves, I think it can cause defensiveness, backlash, resistance to the ideas.

    For example, when I first started teaching my classes explicitly about feminism, I met with a lot of resistance, and people saying it was just about whining women, etc, and my course evaluations said stuff like “We spent way too much time talking about women’s issues”. . .when it had been ONE day out of 180. But, now that I preface those conversations by talking about how complex privilege can be, and that we’re not necessarily to be blamed for benefiting from privilege, but that it’s important to be aware of it, I am met with a much different response. For example, last year more of the guys in my class than not identified themselves as feminist, including the total badass tough guys. And I know the way I approached the subject when I was a brand new teacher (instead of after 14 years) would not have allowed that opportunity. . .

  181. @Elizabeth, thanks – I need to go back and talk to another ob-gyn at my health center. The one I saw before had awful bedside manner and made me feel bad for asking questions. The nurse practitioner didn’t even acknowledge that I had questions, and both made be feel like a 5 year old when I was clearly in a log of pain from a colposcopy (I cramp easily). Oh, and I love my GP, but she knows nothing about IUDs and is no help.

    @HiddenTohru have you ever read http://www.notalwaysright.com? I feel like you might relate…

  182. Is anybody here a graphic artist? Because I now totally want a little icon of a Holy Jumping Baldheaded Kangaroo.

  183. aliciamaud74:

    thanks! :]

    Yeah, I never really thought about how weird the exercise is until much later. When it actually happened I got upset cuz i had hazel eyes and that doesn’t fit either of the two options. I was discrimated from discriminating. :'[

    “I think that you’re right. . .people CAN get it. . . but there are some big caveats there. . .like “reasonably self-aware.” A lot of people aren’t, particularly, and when privilege is pointed out to them, instead of an opportunity provided for them to figure it out for themselves, I think it can cause defensiveness, backlash, resistance to the ideas.”

    You’re right, and I think the approach you described is a good one. I think that male privilege is resisted more just becuase it seems less obvious. The privilege of being born and raised in a wealthy suburban community with a good education versus being brought up in a poorer community with less oppurtunity is a lot more immediate, partly because I think it is much easier to associate with imagery.

  184. @sweetmachine: I got a paragard (the non-hormonal, copper iud) in april and my acne is back to how it was when i was 16 y/o, and I’m 26. That said, i don’t have the mood swings i did on the pill so i consider it worth it. also i got pregnant on the pill, so i’m probably kinda biased against it! my periods seem to be longer but not heavier, which sucks. i’d rather have them heavier but regular length because my bf is terrified of blood.

    re: yielding when walking: i used to refuse to move all the time when i lived in boston and had to walk everywhere. I think because i am pretty submissive looking (blond, young, tiny) people figured i’d move and i pretty regularly walked smack into them. i never got a very hostile response though, so it just entertained me.

  185. Okay, I have to throw this out so I don’t stew on it all night. One of the male contestants on Top Chef is able to acknowledge Nigella Lawson’s existence because Gordon Ramsay has given his blessing. I wanted to throw my laptop at the computer when he said that. Luckily, I didn’t. Seriously?

  186. First off, I finally snapped with the assistant manager who’s been giving me no end of shit and told my manager exactly what had happened this time, which he said to put in writing and he would deal with it today. According to my gf (who works in the same company higher up) asking me to put it in writing is an unusual step that suggests he’s had similar complaints about her before and is building a body of evidence. OH HELL YEAH. I am also resolved to tell her to step off if she starts ANYTHING with me henceforth, which is a big step forward from my usual obeyauthorityobeyauthority programming in a work environment. In conclusion: good. I feel a lot better about myself/work today. And it absolutely all due to the awesomeness of recent conversations here.

    Also further, I am considering going back to uni for a masters in public health policy or such so I can get out there and actually change the messages the establishment in this country is sending about/to fat people. This is a new line of thinking (at least in a serious way) and again, is all you folks. Who is going to change this stuff if not me? Hmm.

    We have just been slammed by the Episcopal bishop of South Carolina (not to be confused with the bishop of Upper South Carolina, who is a totally decent guy), for practicing “indiscriminate inclusivity.” To which my first reaction was “Yes!” (My second reaction was, “Wait, isn’t ‘indiscriminate inclusivity’ redundant?”)

    Was your third reaction “So did Jesus”?

    Hah, threnody got there before me.

    aliciamaud74, that sounds like a pretty awesome way of introducing the concept to kids.

    Good luck, sherunslunatic!

    lauren, look, look! The youngest group in the least tolerant state has a more positive attittude than the oldest group in the most liberal state. That’s my hope for today. It’s just a matter of time.

    How does one say, “I like your fat,” and not have it work out all wrong?

    I dunno, but my girlfriend said she really liked my stomach the other day and I was like “I’msorrywhat?” because it is my least favourite bit, and the bit that’s gotten a lot bigger since I’ve put on weight recently. And she said “Just because your stomach is bigger doesn’t mean it isn’t ridiculously sexy” and I was like “!@#”1! DO ME”.

    So I think you could focus on liking her body and/or various parts of it, including/especially the parts that there is fat on, without specifically saying “I like your fat”, because you’re right that that’s likely to go wrong. “Curves” (as in “I love your…”) is often a good word in that situation.

    I love SP.

    That is all.

  187. Since this is an open thread, and I need to vent about something, I think I’ll post this here:

    I have a w4m ad up on Craigslist right now. On any normal dating site I’d put up real pictures of myself, but Craigslist isn’t a normal dating site, and given my past experience with harassment and webstalking, I chose to describe myself and post a picture of America Ferrera, since I’m built similarly to her and have similar coloring. No one seems to have an issue with this…until yesterday, when I got this email:

    hey listen…i really dont mean to get in your face here…and i’m not gonna be too big a hardass…

    but do have any idea how many women get SOO incredibly annoyed when men send a picture to them, thats either altered, or really, really old, or somehow much different than what the guy really does look like???…you probably dont read too many posts BY women, so i’m just letting you know..

    ……that when you put up a picture of ANYone else but yourself…no matter if they look “similiar” to you or not…it has a phony, “just cant be bothered”, feel to it..

    in THIS day and age?…for someone to not be willing to fork out a few bucks for a digital camera, or computer cam (that can take rough snapshots)…and know a LITTLE about how that works??

    is just really not good…
    applying to PhD programs,ha?

    best of luck..
    scott

    I mean, seriously? I’m totally upfront about it not being a picture of me. I’m not willing to post a face picture on Craigslist, but I also recognize that more men will click on a link if there is a picture. It’s strategic. I also don’t complain when men post pictures of celebrities/athletes they think they resemble. It’s self protective.

    I probably shouldn’t have bothered responding, but I did, and told him 1. That women need to be careful, and I was being self protective, and 2. If he doesn’t like it, why bother responding?

    Of course, he thinks I’m misguided, because it’s a global community!

    Yeah, so I sent him a link to the article about “Men Who Know Things.” I wonder if that will get a response…

    Oh, and apparently I’m a hypocrite because I’m clearly a representative of ALL women and should know that ALL women (you know, except for me) don’t want altered pictures. Well, no. It’s like me sending a picture from when I was 40 lbs thinner and saying it’s current. This is different – I never claim to be America Ferrera or that the picture was of me.

    I probably sound angrier than I am. I’m really just irritated that he thinks he knows what I should do…

  188. Meems–This reminds me of the guy who kept trying to edit my profile on OKCupid. I closed the edit function, and he sent me messages. And when I ignored them, he asked if I wanted to get together!

    Item 1: I write for a living and said so on my profile. His editing was not only incorrect, it was damnably presumptuous.

    Item 2: This is the opposite of what I’m looking for in a man to date.

    Don’t you sometimes wonder about these guys? Perhaps they’re looking to date a woman who responds to inappropriate and controlling behavior from a stranger by prostrating herself in front of his superior wisdom? If so, I am definitely not in the target audience.

  189. Starling, meems – my favorites are guys with next to no information in their profiles on OKC who message me asking if I want to meet. And when I point out that I know nothing about them and therefore would not be interested, they call me names for being cold and stuck up. *headdesk*

    I haven’t logged into my OKC profile in a while. I’m a little afraid to look.

    Also, did anyone else watch “Glee” last night? Because the whole “everyone pretend you have a disability so you know what it’s like!” conversation is REALLY relevant.

    DRST

  190. RE Glee: I cringed through most of it! From start to finish it was just terrible! “Defying Gravity” was the highlight of the episode. And Sue’s touch of humanity.

  191. OMG, I watched Glee, and all I could think about was this forum. I was trying to fill my beau in on our conversation during the commercials.

    I think I would have been, anyway, but after that discussion I was really uncomfortable with the episode—though I did think it was cool that the Tina, who fake-stuttered, got dumped for doing exactly what we were talking about here. . .I took that as Artie calling her on her privilege, which seemed really appropriate. And the scenes in the chairs were even worse than what we talked about here, because rather than showing the kids learning compassion for Artie (as those exercises are *supposed* to be teaching) the kids just became the butts of the joke in every scene, getting food dumped on them, getting hit in the head, storming out of a room and bumping into the door jam. Haha, wheelchairs are. . .hilarious? It was a chance to make disability jokes under the guise of being mind-expanding. Gross.

    As for the final scene on stage, that really made me squirm. As my beau said when it ended, “And next week, everyone back on their feet!!Except Artie.” Ugh.

  192. I liked how they handled the Sue thing, too. She wasn’t lauded in any over-the-top way for her overwhelming generosity. . .she was just quietly loving her sister. That was cool.

  193. DRST, after I said almost exactly that to a guy–“I don’t have much info about you, so it’s hard for me to know if we would have anything in common. . .but good luck” he changed his profile to “The redhead is a moran.” As in Erin Moran of Happy Days?

    Anyway, I reported him and his misspelling. (:

  194. @Starling, DRST – He sounds like one of those men who thinks those damned feminists are making it harder for him to meet a “nice girl” (you know – one who will cook him dinner and massage his feet). Meh.

    @Aliciamaude74 – Um, wow?

    Sadly, I cannot contribute to the Glee discussion, since I don’t watch.

  195. Oh man, KC; that’s even dumb by NYT style section standards. Particularly: “These days, more than ever, a mother is expected to bounce back from pregnancy and be a “yummy mummy” in no time. “

    What can you even say to that?

  196. @Meems: I know, right? And that was almost better than a response I got when I contacted someone whom I recognized as a mutual friend, which I used as my opener. He wrote: “It’s hard to tell from a picture if someone is perfect for me.” Hard to argue with that. . .but then he went on to say he was looking for someone very “fit” and so maybe I should stop by his art opening so he could check me out in person before replying. WTF?

    But my favorite online opener of all time?

    No punctuation, no caps. Just:

    like zombies

  197. Zombies? Hmm…

    I’m 25 and seem to primarily attract men who are 21-24, which often speaks to their total lack of maturity. A lot of the messages start off along the lines of “hey sexi, LMK if u like what u c & if u have a pic 4 me 2 c u. L8r.”

    *gag*

    I also like this one: “I have an attraction to girls just like u (jewish).” Ok, um, no. I mean, I don’t even look stereotypically Jewish, so does he just get off on knowing that I don’t believe Jesus was the messiah?

  198. Sadly, KC, on the mommyboard that I belong to, people bring this up all. the. time. as a reason for breastfeeding. (Personally, I gained weight during most of the time I breastfed, probably because I ate intuitively and my body felt it needed the reserves.)

  199. I got the impression from the PP doctor that they’ll pretty much give it to most women who, unfortunately, are in committed, monogamous relationships, regardless of whether they’ve given birth or not.

    Yeah, this annoys me, since they don’t usually check up on your relationship status all that stringently when they prescribe the pill, but for some reason an IUD is Much More Serious. On the other hand, for some of us cervical dilation is No Fun, so I can understand not wanting to suggest an IUD as a first resort for women who haven’t given birth.

    Jane, you know, the Mirena is different from the copper IUD, and it tends to result in lighter, less frequent periods. Many women (including me) barely get one anymore after a couple years (though they are considerably less regular. But who cares when it’s just a bit of spotting every 2 or 3 months?). The levonorgestrin it releases is mostly localized, so the hormonal side effects tend to be much more minor than (and different from) the pill.

    SM, you know this already, but others don’t: the only serious side effect I had with the IUD was worse acne, which is not that common (there are probably better statistics on this now than there were 5 years ago, when there were barely more than anecdotal accounts of increased acne in a minority of patients), and I eventually had to do a 6-month course of isotretinoin to successfully treat it. I knew that was a minor risk going in, though, and I decided it was worth that.

    I’ve never had any kind of thrush, but I did go through a period of having recurring yeast infections (one major reason I went off the pill and got the IUD), and after enough treatments I developed a hypersensitivity to the topical treatments. Diflucan worked wonders, but I only took it with acute infections, so I also tried grapefruit seed extract as a preventative. It worked pretty well, but good god, so gross to take.

  200. Meems, honestly just the thought of you not believing Jesus was the Messiah gets me really turned on. I’m all hot and bothered now, so thanks a lot!!

    So, I went to walmart today and as I was walking in I was checking to make sure that every car parked in a handicap space had handicap plates or a tag. I always do this because it’s a pet peeve of mine, I once got kicked out of target’s parking lot for yelling at a man who wasn’t handicapped but was parked across two handicap spaces. While I was doing that I saw an abled bodied woman getting into a brand new huge fucking SUV that was parked across the yellow lines (meaning not a parking space) right next to the handicap spaces. I gave her a huge fucking eye roll and shouted “That’s not a fucking parking space, and if it was it would go to a handicapped person.” From across the aisle of course, I don’t want to seem threatening.

    I’ve been wondering about that lately, and if I should stop doing it. I feel like it could come across as disabled people need to be protected, or something. Any thoughts? Frankly, I don’t give a shit if it’s rude, but having never been even slightly disabled myself, never even broken a bone, I feel like it might annoy someone who is.

    I don’t know, that may be really disjointed, it’s just something that occured to me lately, and I feel like this is a great place to get good feedback on this sort of thing.

  201. And when I said I don’t care if it’s rude, I meant rude to the person parking illegally in the handicapped space, not to disabled people. I definitely do care if it’s rude to them.

  202. Starling & Meems: I once got a correction suggestion from some chap because I said in a profile:

    Please don’t IM me and ask “do u like younger guyz ha ha?” because the answer is “complete sentences are hot.”

    And elsewhere, I’d spelled something in British rather than American (and never noticed because… I think I learned to spell it that way).

    He also said he thought smart women were awesome and would I please write him back. So I did. And pasted in a “differences in English spellings” page from a dictionary.

    He seemed to think I was being all flirtatious and wrote back with more grammar nerdery. Dude… the purpose of my intelligence is not to justify it to you.

    GAH!

  203. Hi Alibelle,

    I’m not sure whether it would register as being patronising or rude to disabled people really… I have actually seen people doing the same to those who park in the ‘parents and children’ bays at supermarkets when they’re on their own (no kids in tow) and my thought to myself was that it was good to see them being called on it, although I think that’s different to the issue with disabled bays.

    Just something that instantly occurs to me about that, is the danger of you getting it wrong, although I guess if it’s a case there’s no sticker/badge and where you live they issue stickers/badges it’s easier to tell… But by way of an example:

    A friend of mine is registered as having a disability because she has a very painful joints condition (I’ve forgotten the name of it, I think it’s ‘hyperextensile’ -something; it’s genetic and some people have it without pain, others have it quite extremely, with a lot of pain), but you wouldn’t know it to look at her or to see her get out of her car. She can’t walk very far without sitting (she’s ok for pottering round small town centres with rests), and can’t carry lots of bags, that kind of thing. She was parking her car in a disabled spot at our university only to have the security guard come over and tell her off for parking there because ‘she wasn’t disabled’ — he either missed her badge or ignored it/assumed she’d borrowed it. I have never seen my mild-mannered, extremely polite and quiet friend lose her temper before or since, but it was pretty epic. From then on he always went out of his way to be nice to her and would try to make sure she had another space if the disabled bays were all full. I’m guessing since then he’s been more careful.

  204. Thanks for cluing me in, Elizabeth – I had no idea this was A Thing (especially given that the Styles section seems to think ‘I knew this guy who knew a guy who heard that a dude did this thing once’ counts as a trend).

  205. Zenoodle, I once was with a friend who got screamed at by someone for using the disabled parking spot because she didn’t “look” disabled… because her wheelchair was in the trunk of the car, where the person couldn’t see it. She said to him calmly, several times, “My chair’s in the trunk,” but he wouldn’t stop yelling. PWD often face a kind of policing of their disabilities based on visual clues.

  206. Totally unrelated to all previous comments; I just wanted to say how yesterday evening I got the bus home from work, and there was a guy on it who was either drunk or high, and being totally creepy. I had to walk past him to get to a seat, and he just swung round and stared at me (and I was bloody glad that there were more free seats than the one just behind him). I did the whole plying-with-my-phone-too-busy-to-notice-you thing. Next stop, more women got on the bus, and one sat behind skeevy dude, one in front on the fold-down seat in the wheelchair space. Of course, he started hassling the woman in his line of sight, and she just blanked him totally. I sat there thinking that I should try to intercede, but I a) couldn’t think of a good way to do so, b) was actually scared mr-neck-tattoo would do me an injury if I interfered and c) was glad it wasn’t me (oh, how embarrassing that is to admit) so didn’t. It was hassling along the lines of ‘hey darling, *unintelligible* *unintelligible**unintelligible**unintelligible*, darling” (The hasslee got off the bus about 3 minutes later; I hope it was her stop)
    Anyway; to get to the point, at this point, the other woman moved seats away from neck-tattoo dude, and he lurched round to stare at her, and started questioning her quite loudly. The bus driver then told him to shut up, keep himself to himself and that if he didn’t sit down straight away he’d be chucked off the bus. Yay, bus driver – I actually emailed the bus company to say thanks, which makes a change from my normal complaints about the bad driving and inconsideration of cyclists.

  207. And I win :)

    Final email to Craigslist guy:

    Again, if you don’t care, why are you taking the time to respond? You seem awfully invested in proving some random stranger on the internet wrong. Think my concern is misguided if you will, but try remembering that it’s my life that I’m invested in protecting – and you don’t know me and have no reason to care.

    Get over yourself and your sense that you know what’s right and best for me. “Men Who Explain Things” are really awfully boring: articles.latimes.com/2008/apr/13/opinion/op-solnit13

    And his response:

    i told our conv to a lady friend..and she agreed and said
    its none of my damn business…

    sorry for the hassle…;

    oh, and….i had no interest in proving anything…,only wanted
    to let you know that i’ve read plenty of women’s posts
    who get upset at men’s bad excuses with picture issues..
    you find all types on CL…

    take care..

    I feel almost vindicated. Almost.

  208. On the blue zones – you can’t tell from looking at someone whether or not they ‘deserve’ to use one. I have a placard and my disability is not invisible, but even so I still couldn’t tell you how often blue zone vigilantes have harassed my husband and I.

  209. Re: Indiscriminate inclusivity

    Yeah, my Bible would seem to indicate that Jesus would be in favor of it, but there sure are a lot of people who seem to be convinced otherwise. I have a theory:

    A lot of the uber-conservative Christian types have this tendency to keep referring to the Book of Revelations. Now, I have looked and looked and never once managed to find it — every Bible I’ve ever seen ends with the Book of Revelation. Since “Revelations” seems to include all kinds of interesting stuff about the Antichrist being a man of Muslim descent and Jesus being cool with lepers and prostitutes and tax collectors but really hating gays, etc., I sort of wanted to see a copy of it for myself. And then it occurred to me: the title of the sequel to Alien was Aliens. This “Revelations” thing is clearly itself a sequel! One that you can only get at select Family Bookstores upon presentation of your “Certified Right-Wing Christian Fanatic” membership card! I tried making a fake one, but it didn’t work. Sigh… I guess I’ll never know.

  210. June: well, you know, us guys elected him as Headspokesman for Men everywhere in a secret ballot a while back. It was either him or Howard Stern!

    The article is really stupid. I don’t get why the author states that men aren’t driven soley by sex and then goes on to say that we need it for connection? ‘Sex isn’t the only thing on our minds, but it certainly is when girlfreinds are involved. And thats, like, never.” And I really like how he says that taking someone out to dinner is unreasonable but having sex when you don’t want to isn’t? It’s taking one for the team! And the guy is the captain and the star player and the coach all in one. What? I don’t get the guys thought process at ALL. It all seems like really poorly-thought out and articulated bullshit.

  211. You are very dear, alibelle, but I think you ought not to do that. I am not physically disabled, but I’ve certainly got my share of rage at NT people deciding who is autistic enough to count and who is stealing services, or making us look bad by making us look too functional, or whatever the fuck (See “Autism Speaks.”) You have better things to do with your time than play parking-space cop.

    Your comment made me think, first, of comedian Maysoon Zayid, who’s got cerebral palsy and makes a joke about how she’s got the handicapped badge on her car, uses handicapped spaces, and then runs into the building. And then, more sadly, about this woman I used to know who used a wheelchair and a service dog and was, as people say ’round here ‘deathfat.’ She was forever getting crap for using handicapped facilities because she’d ‘done it to herself’ by getting fat. And people would kick her dog and cite the same reason, a fact that’s stuck in my mind as one of the grand inexplicable horrors of human behavior.

  212. SM, that’s pretty much exactly what my friend was yelling at the security man, who from his reaction was totally shocked. I think it was his first time ever being confronted with that kind of idea — I guess with his privilege in that area — and it seems such a shame it had to be someone losing their temper with him to realise. He was at least very apologetic (and aghast) afterwards.

  213. Yeah. She took to carrying the cane she’d used before the chair, and belting people in the knees with it to protect the dog, and for personal satisfaction. She said it was amazing how much violence you can get away with when you’re an eighty-something woman in a wheelchair.

  214. Grafton, I’m kind of a violent person, so that thing about the cane makes me very happy. If it were my cane, I would call it The Clue Stick.

  215. @ Meems (sorry for the late reply, I missed it the first time) – Yes, I’ve seen Not Always Right before, but these days I don’t feel the need to read it because I have a mini version on my own blog in the form of “and then TODAY, I had this customer say/do this, and I nearly jumped over my register and throttled them”

    I’ve done some talking to other employees and some visiting customer service people from other stores, and apparently it’s just MY store that’s horrific to work at. I mean, the other stores get sucky customers too, but the managers don’t treat them like total shit like ours do, apparently. 9.9

  216. It’s making me happy, too, Starling, to remember her. Part of the fun is the fact that these people figured they could abuse her and her dog because they assumed that she was fat because lazy and in a chair because she couldn’t haul her own bulk around. In fact she was incredibly powerful. The weak-old-fat-disabled-lady assumption in the hands of the police when people complained about her belting them with a cane, well. Moo hoo he he ha ha.

  217. @Meems:

    “And his response:

    i told our conv to a lady friend..and she agreed and said
    its none of my damn business…”

    So at least 1 stranger approves of your actions.

    oh, and….i had no interest in proving anything…,only wanted
    to let you know that i’ve read plenty of women’s posts
    who get upset at men’s bad excuses with picture issues..
    you find all types on CL…”

    I hate when people I’m arguing with use the ‘you just misunderstood’ argument with me. It’s infuriating and a time waster. (When I said that grass isn’t green, I wasn’t saying that grass is NEVER green, I was only talking about in the winter, in the northern hemisphere.) Grrr…. Are you THAT invested in never being wrong? WTF.

  218. Hmmm…the response to my question has certainly given me a lot to think about, and I imagine I’ll not be doing it as much anymore. I will however still yeah at people who have no handicap plates or tags and park across two handicap parking spaces, that’s just beyond the pale. I would like to point out, I never got angry with someone who had tags or plates but I didn’t percieve as disabled. That’s not my decision to make and in my opinion if you’ve got the handicap plates then that’s it, you get to park there, and if there were times when I couldn’t see if they had one or the other then I assumed it was there, I just couldn’t see it.

    Also, another question, I ask a lot of them. Since reading this blog, I’ve stopped using the word ‘retarded,’ for the most part, years of using it makes it a harder habit to break than I would have expected. I’m trying to cut words like ‘gay’ and ‘lame’ out of my insult vocabulary as well, does anyone have any words that they use instead?

    Also, upthread someone mentioned being on a bus with a scary dude and called him neck tattoo guy, which got me started thinking about watching “Paul Blart” recently (terrible movie by the way) and how all the criminals had tattoos, it was pretty much how you could tell them from “normal people.” I really don’t understand why people with tattoos are automatically considered scary, or low class. Especially now, when so many people have them. Preparing for our teaching observation we were told to absolutely have all tattoos covered, they made a huge deal out of it. There was an actual statement of “it’s not appropriate for children.” Taking classes in education is really opening my eyes to prejudices.

  219. Alibelle, my boyfriend has a huge tattoo on his lower back, which he designed himself and I think is *gorgeous* (I”l save my full swooniness over it for him though, and spare you all!). What we both find really funny is that, in the context he now works in, no one expects him to have any tattoos, and on more than one occasion someone has made a disparaging comment about ‘people with tattoos…’. Normally he doesn’t bother to say anything, but if he’s in the right mood it’s very funny to watch people squirm when he talks about his. That’s usually about when they notice his tongue piercing too :-). And that’s more swooning from me…

    Ahem. But yeah, it’s really interesting what you’re saying. Since I started reading here and on other sites I have started to realise more and more things I have been saying/thinking/doing which were problematic to at least some degree and required unpicking. I never actually understood ‘gay’ being used in a derogatory way, but I think that might just be a mini-generational thing — I’m 27 and no one I knew at school said it like that, but my brother is 24 and they apparently all said it like that. We used to say ‘sad’ and ‘lame’ a lot, but thankfully I seemed to grow out of saying ‘lame’ (purely by accident) so I didn’t have to try to not say it once I’d realised it was problematic. I tend to just say ‘rubbish’ or ‘crap’ a lot. The word I have been trying to stop using is ‘mental’. I even have certain mental health issues myself, and hadn’t even fully connected how I was using the word with how offensive I might have been with it. I’m about at the stage where I don’t say it as often, and if I do it’s followed by an ‘oh crap’ and usually an apology… that apology also seems to confuse people, which maybe (hopefully) gets others to occasionally think about why it might not be ok to use it like that — fingers crossed anyway!

  220. Also on the tattoos front, and them not being ‘appropriate’ for children: My granddad has army tattoos all up both forearms. They’re the old kind, where a lot of the colour has faded, so I used to colour them back in with felt tips when I stayed. I think that means they were good for me to see, because i got to develop my creative side! :-) They didn’t scare me, they didn’t make me go and tattoo myself from head to foot, they didn’t make me think any bad things about him… I think maybe the grownups ought to listen to / observe kids more closely — kids’ natural reactions are often a lot more accepting than those of adults (although of course it’s really easy for kids to pick up the grown-ups’ prejudices I guess).

  221. Oh, I find words like ‘disgusting’ and ‘contemptible’ and ‘stupid’ adequate. But very likely you don’t really want to talk like me.

    There are lengthy historical reasons for tattoos being associated with working class and criminal people. Why this persists instead of the not-quite-so-lengthy but equally valid reasons to associate them with aristocracy is beyond me. people with tattoos are automatically considered scary, or low class. is in itself a classist statement, perhaps, since it seems to suggest that being lower class is as bad as being scary, or perhaps the same thing.

    I used to have to cover my tattoo when working for the veterinarian. Which was sort of silly, considering the dirty work I did. She did a number of nasty class-discrimination type things involving the assumption that any male who looked like a laborer would not pay a bill sent in the mail and would be required to pay at the time of services regardless of his emotional condition, while upper class people and women were allowed to walk out. Tattoos and facial hair and the condition of a client’s jeans were definite clues to her about who to discriminate against.

  222. My alternative to using gay as an insult is to call things heterosexual. I do use if someimes, unfortunately. I’m not really personally offended it though. I think there is some validity to the idea that the context and meaning is changing, but its prolly just better to avoid because it is hurtful to some people. x:

    I never really used the word lame. It always struck me as a really dorky way of insulting someone (speaking of which, i was thinking earlier that dorkiness and misogony is a creepy combination. liiiiiiiike, my brother and his freinds roleplay for fun, and one time one of his buds brought his girlfreind. Afterwards he and his bestest bromate were complaining about the girlfreind, saying “she didn’t contribute anything to the roleplay! i mean, if she was a trophy girlfreind than maybe it’d be okay, but she just wasn’t attractive enough.”) And retarded was never really an issue either, though I don’t know if I avoided using it when i was younger because I thought it was insensitive or not. I just never developed a habit for using it.

    I think a lot of tatoo-hate stems from the really tacky ones you sometimes see. I don’t find them asthetically pleasing, personally.

  223. Ah, but Miguel, you have never seen m boyfriend’s swoonsome tattoo, or indeed my Gramps’ amazing 1950s army ones, as re-coloured in felt tip by moi! ;-)

  224. I actually had quite a teachable moment today. A friend was trying to describe an old boss of his and he used the word “cunt.” I stopped him right there and asked why he thought it was okay to call anyone that. We discussed its common usage and talked about how he might not like to hear people use “gay” in that way (he’s gay so I tried to associate it to him in a way he’d understand). I explained why I try to avoid lame, retarded, mental, psycho, etc. and he asked, “Well, what can I say?” I use stupid sometimes, I’m not sure about it, but it’s the most neutral thing I could think of. Another fave is ridonculous. It’s fun to say and not mean to anyone.

    I find it ironic that my friend (mentioned previously upthread) refuses to swear and will say just the first letter like “B” and “GD” but she throws, lame, retarded, gay, whore, etc. around like it’s no problem! How’s that Christian kindness? *sigh* I’ll swear like a sailor in the right company, but I’d rather not bring down entire groups of people when I’m trying to express myself.

  225. What’s it a tattoo of? I remember my 8th grade english teacher had a tramp stamp (is that PC? I dunno what else to call it, besides maybe a “Tattoo Above one’s Coinslot”)! Some kids discovered it and were bewildered. It was a little TMI, I thought.

  226. I have a lovely tattoo of chinese characters on my left calf and when I worked for the Mouse I had to pull my sock up to cover it, which never really worked, but it did give me some awesome ugly tan lines! Ridiculous. Tattoos and long hair spoil the “magic” you know.

  227. @Miguel:

    I heard tramp stamp for the first time a few days ago. I don’t understand why we have to call it anything. A tattoo on her lower back, sounds fine.

  228. @Sara NoH – Exactly! I didn’t misunderstand a damn thing; if he wasn’t so invested in proving me wrong, he wouldn’t have bothered writing in the first place – or continuing to respond. Whatever. I’m not especially intimidated by a random man on the internet who can’t actually write a sentence thinking he has something on me. :)

    @Zenoodle – My grandfather was a merchant marine and had a bunch of tattoos, also. My parents never took issue with me knowing about them (they were far more scared of allowing me in the car when he was driving…) and we have family stories about how he used to embarrass my aunt in front of dates by making the sailor on his upper arm “dance.”

  229. I have nothing against tattoos – I have one, my boyfriend has one. But bus guy’s tattoo was quite a distinguishing feature – “DEATH LIVES” right under his ear. I can’t even remember what he looked like now, just the tattoo.

  230. I don’t like ‘tramp stamp’ at all but I have heard the sort of celticy abstract design on someones lower back called ‘arse antlers’ which I do find amusing. I have some tattoos myself and the great urge to get some more.

  231. Random thought: I was just remembering how we had to read “The Late Great Me” in high school because it was supposed to make us not want to drink and/or be wary of developing alcoholism. (I doubt it worked–I thought it was stupid at the time, and I have always been a teetotaller.)

    One of the things the main character mentions is how she gained so much weight and became so fat, and now she weighed 140. My reaction at the time was something along the lines of “WTF? I’m 140!” [I think I was actually more like 160, but my scale routinely read 10 lbs lower than a doctor's scale would, plus I was in denial about my actual weight.] I did not think of myself as fat, though I did think of myself as on the heavy end of not-fat. The book did not change that, but it did make me wonder if the book would encourage eating disorders, and it also made me wonder if the main character was really short.

  232. In feminist victory news, I went down the pub to meet some friends tonight and they were totally having that experience where some random drunnk guy has decided YOU are the person he’s going to talk to/demand entertainment from tonight, no matter that you’ve told him twice that you’re gay and you’re pointedly ignoring him (prompting “What? What are you saying? You’re ignoring me!” til they gave in out of politeness and included him because he was making it impossible for them not to.)

    I arrived when he was already firmly established at the table and tried pointedly ignoring him too, which wasn’t working, and was wondering what the hell else to do because he seemed drunk enough to react any number of ways if we tried plainspeaking.

    Fortunately he solved the problem for me by putting his arm round my friend and pulling her toward him, at which point she and I simultaneously went “NO!” and she pushed him away and he wouldn’t stop touching her and trying to wrap his arm round her. I went straight the fuck to the bar and said to the lovely bar woman “There’s a guy harassing my friend, he’s all over her, he won’t stop touching her” and she was like “Where?” so I pointed to where she was having to FIGHT HIM OFF and the woman was like “Yeah, I’m throwing him out”, which she then totally did. It was great. GTFO, random fucking weird drunk guy. It was no fun meeting you.

    This pub also has “Climb Every Mountain” from the Sound of Music in their karaoke selection. This pub is awesome.

  233. wow. I was pissed about scuzzy guy in Caitlin’s story and then it ended with them having Climb Every Mountain in the Karaoke and I laughed. Excellent storytelling, Caitlin.

  234. So I know I am entirely too late on this “open thread”, but I just wanted to bring up a very offensive Halloween costume I saw this year. I know we were talking about fat suits earlier, which led me to think about black face, which reminded me of a white guy dressed as Kanye West that was walking around with a girl dressed as Taylor Swift. This guy was literally in black face, so much so that I thought he was black until I saw his hands. My friend and I just looked at each other, open-mouthed, unsure of what we could do, seeing as in we were at an In-N-Out and didn’t want to say anything to this kid. The fact that he was most definitely a college student, at a good UC school, kind of freaked me out. Do people my age not have manners anymore?

    I think my reaction this time satisfied me, because my senior year in high school (2 and a half years ago), two guys came dressed as black guys, and everybody, including me, much to my shame now, thought it was funny. I didn’t go to an entirely white school, it was actually pretty racially diverse, and nobody seemed to have a problem with these two guys. But then again, a black girl came in white face, so I think my school altogether was either extraordinarily accepting, or just messed up. You decide.

    I just had to get that off my chest and see if anybody else could recommend what I could have done in that Halloween situation, seeing as it was Halloween and people tend to let go of PC-ness at that point.

  235. Caitlin, that’s a great story! Woman is harrassed – nay, assaulted – in public, and SOMEONE CARES! I want to see more stories like that.

    Well done you for getting up and getting the someone-in-a-position-to-act to act, too.

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