Items… Of … Interest!

Please read the post title in a Futurama announcer voice.

Welcome to 2010, Shapelings! Have some links.

Kate takes on the “no fatties” dating site controversy at Broadsheet.

Jezebel’s Jenna discusses V Magazine’s latest plus size fashion shoot, which features back fat and belly rolls! For reals!

Lauredhel talks full body scanners, disability, and privacy at FWD.

Latoya inaugurates “Moff’s Law” at Racialicious, and we are totally copying her on that. It starts so deliciously and just gets better:

Of all the varieties of irritating comment out there, the absolute most annoying has to be “Why can’t you just watch the movie for what it is??? Why can’t you just enjoy it? Why do you have to analyze it???”

If you have posted such a comment, or if you are about to post such a comment, here or anywhere else, let me just advise you: Shut up. Shut the fuck up. Shut your goddamn fucking mouth. SHUT. UP.

Read the whole thing.

199 thoughts on “Items… Of … Interest!

  1. I don’t read the comments on Broadsheet because they make me sobby/stabby feeling, but that post by Kate about the dating site was extraordinarily well-reasoned, well-written, and all-around awesome. Love love love.

  2. Thanks for these – but particularly the link to the V photo-shoot – it is beautiful and SO inspiring.

    I went to Target today and did some shopping since many of my tops are literally falling to pieces. I am really working on positive self image but this trip made me face the reality that I’ve moved up a clothing size in the last 3-4 months and that was really really hard for me emotionally. I found myself saying things like “maybe if I just watch the snacks…” and “Once the dissertation is done I will get into shape…” and then catching myself and saying, no, you deserve to look and feel great no matter what size you are.

    I have been working on FA for a while and have made strides, but I still suffer from “great for you, but not for me” and “this fat but no fatter” issues. But I do have to give myself some props for walking out of the dressing room calmly, going back to the rack, and putting the larger size in my cart and then buying it. Right now I am wearing one of my new tops and it looks great.

    Anyway the V fashion spread rocks and I’m going to buy the magazine and look at it everyday and remind myself that I’m just fine.

    OK, back to writing Chapter 5.

  3. Kate’s post was so good that I thought “Surely the commentors can’t object to this!” and I clicked on the comments, which were basically “NO FAT CHICKZ!” Oh, broadsheet commentors.

  4. Nice article, Kate. I knew about doctors discriminating against fatties, but holy crap, I had no idea that job discrimination against them was so widespread too. That shit is messed up. I’m definitely going to bookmark some of those studies you linked to bust out for discussion later.

    And yeah, that post at Racialicious is pretty awesome. I’ve seen those “IT’S JUST A MOVIE, IT EXISTS IN A VACUUM, STOP CRITICIZING THINGS I LIKE, LALALALALALA NOT LISTENING” comments all over the place since Avatar came out.

  5. Both Kate and Liss at Shakesville handled the dating site thing wonderfully. As soon as I read about it, I said “I hope someone at SP mentions this, so we can give it a good douchehounding.”

  6. Ok, fuck yes on Moff’s Law. When I read the quote I was put off, I’ve been struggling to find a balance between being FA and feminist and not being pissed off all the time at the culture we live in, so I’ve been trying to “just enjoy” things. Having read all of it now, it actually expresses exactly how I feel about when to use my critical thinking skills and when I should just sit back with a candy bar and watch “BASEketball.”

    Also, I’m learning to let something play through before getting pissed off, actually clicking on the link and reading it being a great example of this, rather than just getting annoyed and stalking off.

    On a sidenote: I love the futurama referencing here, and I do think of Sweet Machine as either Leela or Bender, even out of the context of futurama referencing. Don’t ask me why, I don’t have an answer.

  7. Thanks for posting on disabilities and airport security. We routinely have to explain to security what my husband’s white sight cane is for. While this is not as intrusive as what many others might experience, If they don’t know that, then I don’t have much faith in them knowing how to deal with more discreet and complicated disability issues.

    I also have a friend with an artifical leg. They wanted to strip search her, even though she offered to remove the leg and send it right through the machine. Only when she insisted on being searched out in the open did they finally let her pass through (she wanted it known that they were strip searching a disabled person for.. well, being disabled).

    By the way, I recently traveled through Detroit with a very large folding knife in my carry-on. I used the same backpack we use for camping and forgot to remove it from an inside pocket. We flew to several destinations in Europe and it was never detected. The security people were too interested in counting down the cash in my money belt to see if I exceeded the limit. Sometimes I wonder if it isn’t all for show…

  8. Love the V magazine pics! But these girls just look “normal” to me – not *really* plus sized – just larger than the average model and closer to the average woman. This is an industry that calls size 12 “plus size” when that is what the average woman wears. Nice to have a touch of reality, but not sure this is really FA?

    Moff’s Law rules! I’ve been told “just don’t think about it” SO many times! Thing is, I *like* thinking… Next thing you know it might become a habit!

  9. But these girls just look “normal” to me – not *really* plus sized – just larger than the average model and closer to the average woman. This is an industry that calls size 12 “plus size” when that is what the average woman wears. Nice to have a touch of reality, but not sure this is really FA?

    We have had this discussion a whole lot of times here, just so you know — please check out the archives on fashion/plus size fashion if you want to see what we’ve said before, as well as some of Kate’s writing on Salon and Jezebel (search by author at both of those). Also: “normal’? I mean, I know you put it in scare quotes, but why use it in that case? Also, AFAIK, they’re grown women, despite the fashion industry’s habit of referring to them as “girls.”

  10. We have had this discussion a whole lot of times here, just so you know — please check out the archives

    Oh, sorry. I’m still relatively new here – I will go check the archives!

    Couldn’t think of a better word than “normal” – Average? Ordinary? Not sure these are any better for women who are, after all, models… In retrospect I think “average” would have been a better choice, since it reflects statistics, which is what I was trying to comment on.

  11. Moff”s Law rules! I was thinking about the people who tell me to “stop thinking too much! Just enjoy it!” yesterday.

    I was watching “Stakeout” (the Emilio Estevez police “comedy”), but absolutely had to stop because *spoiler alert* Richard Dreyfuss had *humorously*broken into the woman’s house and was watching her in the shower. I know a hell of a lot of people who would have told me to stop overthinking it and enjoy the movie/bugger off back to the feminazi hive vagina.

    Sorry for babbling, but I thought it was kind of relevant. Oh, and those V Magazine photos are beautiful. Crystal Renn is one of my favourite models.

    /overlong comment

  12. And most annoyingly of all, you’re contributing to the fucking conversation yourselves when you make your stupid, stupid comments. You are basically saying, “I think people shouldn’t think so much and share their thoughts, that’s my thought that I have to share.”

    Laughing so hard at this.

  13. I absolutely LOVE the spread they have. Plus sized models FTW. Here’s one thing that got to me though: There was a comment on the original message board for V magazine that really made me think:

    Well if we all are going to complain about showing “real” women. Then I want some real men. Do you know how much I work out to get that perfect 8 pack?

    Where is the mens plus division!?!?

    This is discrimination. I will not stand for it!

    And that is what I want to know. Where IS the men’s plus division?

  14. The best thing about SP is that it is NOT superficial. The depth of thought put into pretty much every post (save, the occasional lemur) is the very thing I come here for. I’ve had it up to my double chin with the shallow, homogenous, blank words that can be found just about anywhere else on the internet AND in real life relationships. I want to have my mundane thought bubbles punctured by stabby realism, non-mainstreamed viewpoints, and literary words of gold that pop my creamy white ex-Midwestern cherry again and again.

    As for Moff’s law….that’s my new law. Get the hell over it if you ask my opinion about something and I give it….and it’s something you disagree with and accuse me of being “sensitive” or “over-analytical”. If you were just looking for someone to say “Oooo…so pretty!” then you asked the wrong person!

  15. I loved the V photos.

    @Perla

    I know a hell of a lot of people who would have told me to stop overthinking it and enjoy the movie/bugger off back to the feminazi hive vagina.

    I find the imagery of a hive vagina so delightful that I had to de-lurk to long enough to thank you for writing it. :o)

  16. Moff’s Law is a thing of beauty and a joy forever. If you don’t want to analyze a thing, then stay out of the analytical discussion. It’s perfectly okay to just sit back and enjoy thoughtlessly. Goodness knows I’ve done that enough with Animal House. But don’t tell others they aren’t allowed to discuss stuff in thinky ways.

    In fact, as much as I love Animal House, I’ll happily analyze the shit out of it on a moment’s notice. I may find it a hilarious movie, but I wouldn’t want a kid I care about to watch it without taking a moment to consider the messages behind it.

    As for Kate’s Salon piece, I bow to her…but not to the commenters. I don’t have enough Sanity Watcher’s points to even glance at what they have to say.

  17. @Elusis: Are you fucking KIDDING ME???? That woman weighs less than I do, and she’s going in for bariatric surgery? What kind of bullshittery is this???

    Mark my words, people: I’m predicting that there will be another drop in the BMI limit for what is “healthy” and even MORE people will end up being “fat.”

  18. i enjoyed the V photo shoot link not only because they’re plus size models who look like plus size models (they could be more, not gonna lie. these women are great but where are the size 20-28s?) but also because it’s freaking sexy, to the point of arousal. knocking the door down on -only-skinny-causes-erections bullcrap. yet, it wasn’t degrading, somehow.

  19. @Anomic Entropy: Happy to be of service! Of course, I didn’t get that term from anti-feminists – they’ve no sense of humour!

  20. Oh, GODS YES for Mott’s Law. And let’s call it the Twisty corollary to Mott’s Law: if analyzing the content of a piece of art is going to make you stabby, then stay away from the people busy analyzing it. For Pete’s sake.

  21. Speaking as someone who creates medical records…they’re already doing WLS on people with BMIs smaller than mine (i.e. NOT “morbidly obese”), and have been for years. They’re also doing them more on people older than 65, which really makes me want to throw inedible objects (er, wasting illness in elderly populations, anyone?).

    Let’s face it, there just aren’t that many people with BMI > 40, that’s only 2% of the U.S. population; there wouldn’t be much money to be made if the surgery was limited to that cohort (especially since even many people with BMI > 40 are considered too fat to have WLS and have to diet first, thus limiting the size of that cohort even more). So in order to keep the registers humming, they have to sell their internal office supplies to thinner and thinner people. I just find it bizarre that people yowl about needless medical expenses, and yet keep pushing this surgery with its ridiculously high rate of death and medical complications on more and more people.

  22. @ Meowser and everyone else: Yeah, let’s have LOTS more people like my sister-in-law, who just had emergency surgery to remove her damn lap band which had slipped and was on the verge of causing necrosis in her stomach, because EVERYBODY ought to have that experience. Sure. Uh-huh. But she still thinks her 85-lb. weight loss is a win, even though she’s spent the last year puking her guts out and being totally miserable. Yup.

    I remain in utter fear that her FoBT will have lifelong negative effects on my nieces, and there ain’t much I can do about it.

  23. Regarding the airport privacy thing, the images that are generally shown are of older-generation scanners. Newer ones, such as the ones at Amsterdam, show a cartoon-type image with no identifying features other than the possibly suspect devices: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34630097/ns/us_news-airliner_attack/

    If we’re going to have invasions of privacy and clueless security people querying whether the leg bag is a liquid bomb transportation device, I think those abstract images are much less invasive than a fucking pat down, because you’ll get the clueless paranoia after the pat down as well.

    Yet another reason that I won’t be flying to US for the foreseeable – that fingerprinting regime we have to do is bad enough.

  24. I’m snowed in today. This makes me want to be the queen from Narnia and hand out turkish delight and hot chocolate. If any would like to be nestled in a huge soft white furry coat while I hand them tasty treats and speak soothingly to them, please just ask, and I’ll transmit the image to you.

  25. Dear Shapely Prose writers and Shapelings,

    Let me start off by saying that I love this site. All posts just get to me in different ways. Thank you.

    This is not really a comment on Sweet Machine’s post, but rather something I’d like to point your attention to. I wanted to send an email or something to one of you, but I couln’t find any contact infomration anywhere (which is a way to protect your privacy; off course I understand). But I have been seeing a certain phenomenon raise its head in my country that really, I had to tell someone about.

    I live in Belgium, a small Western European country, where I believe people to be mostly open minded and feminist. Boy, was I wrong. Sexism and the patriarchy are not dead at all around here, oh no!

    On national TV, a certain quiz show is aired every weekday. It’s called ‘The smartest human on earth’ (‘De slimste mens ter wereld’ in Dutch) and I must admit I like the concept a lot, which is beside the point. Every day, three participants are tested to determine which one of them is the smartest. The one who loses, will not appear on the next show. At this moment, one woman, Linda De Win, is about to beat the record of attending the most shows. I’ve seen her on the show and she is very, very good; she knows a lot and is fast.

    But, for some reason, the Belgian audience does not like her and wants her to leave the show.

    Evidence: There is a very popular Facebook Group (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=211116061700&ref=search&sid=653249840.1788301964..1) dedicated to make her leave. One popular Flemish magazine has a reader’s comments section, and also there she is trashed to death (http://www.humo.be/tws/uitlaat/optrefwoord.html?trefwoord=linda).
    I will not bore you with more of this since it’s repetitive and all in Dutch, but you get the main idea.

    Why? Personally I have no idea. She is not particularly unlikeable or anything. And there have been women who attended the show many times and were definetely supported. So then, why her?

    Then I heard an interview on the radio this morning that really hit the nail on the head: She is not feminine enough.

    She is certainly not ugly, but she is not pretty in a girly kind of way. More importantly, she doesn’t apologize for winning! When she wins, she smiles confidently, just like any man would do in her place. One of the former succesful female participants, Greet Op De Beeck, is beautiful in a girly type of way and seemed almost embarassed and smiled coyly when she got an answer right. As a result, the public loved her. There were many comments about her, too, but then those comments were also degrading (about her body and her sexiness and such; as a woman, you will be degraded in this culture any which way you turn it).

    People like smart women, just as long as they are girly about it. The moment they begin to act like men and take pride in what they accomplish, they are trashed to hell. Fuck that!!! I hope linda does break the record and wins the show.

    Even if you don’t acknowledge this comment, thank you for letting me rant. I really needed it.

    Kind greetings,
    Anneleen

  26. “IT’S JUST A MOVIE, IT EXISTS IN A VACUUM, STOP CRITICIZING THINGS I LIKE, LALALALALALA NOT LISTENING”

    Which is a very odd tack to take when you think about it, since Cameron was trying to make at least one broader point with his work, and that wouldn’t have functioned if the movie wasn’t meant to be placed in a modern social context. You can’t have a movie with a moral message that doesn’t relate to the real world in any way, which means if you present one message relevant to modern context you invite other parallels and criticisms based on modern context. The “DON’T ANALYZE IT!!!!” crowd would apparently have us block out the supposed ecological message of the movie.

    Speaking of which, how much energy and money went into Avatar? Might those hundreds of millions have been better spent contributing to an environmental cause, and the power usage from the studios, lights, transportation, and promotion of the film (not to mention the screenings of same) been deferred to reduce the studio’s “footprint”? I mean, really, my individual footprint (about which I do not care one rats ass) must be infinitesimal compared to that movie studio, and yet the movie exists to guilt trip me because I am singlehandedly destroying the planet.

    Well, movies here cost upwards of $20 for me to see with my husband, on top of the $8 required to get to the theater. There have been few movies I wanted to see in the past five years, and none I felt were worth the money. If I had $28 to spend on something that was going to make me feel good about my contribution to the planet, I’d probably buy someone a flock of chicks through Heifer or make a micro loan through Kiva. I’d much prefer that to rich Hollywood assholes moralizing at me while simultaneously making my ass numb and my ears ring.

  27. paintmonkey, that is exactly what I need today. Crack your whip and drive on to the north of England, please.

  28. I’m not big on Turkish delight, but I’ll totally take the hot cocoa. (The first time I tried Turkish delight, my immediate comment is, “Wow, this is *so* not worth selling out your family for. Now, if the White Queen had chocolate…”)

  29. Kate’s article at Broadsheet was fantastic – I get really fed up of these pieces on businesses that are clearly just courting controversy for the publicity (really, how likely are you to find someone looking for a meaningful realationship on a dating site based on Are You Hot Or Not?) and wish the media would just ignore them. They’re the news equivalent of trolling and thread-derailing.

    paintmonkey – I could use some Turkish Delight. If you could just sledge on over to Oxford, that would be great. Of course, we have no snow here as yet so it’ll probably be hell on your runners.

  30. Ok, I need to get a route planned for today. If I could get a neatly written list of who wants turkish delight and who wants hot chocolate I’ll get things packed and ready. KellyK, you are right, Turkish Delight isnt worth selling your family for, but chocolate is, so I’ll bring extra incase you want to be Edmund-esque and sell them all down the river for a quick ride in the ice carriage and some chocolate to take back home with you. I cant fault you.

  31. Hi Paintmonkey
    We’re not snowed in just yet but will be tomorrow. Can I please put in an order for chocolate and turkish delight tomorrow morning, say about 8?

  32. Curvygirl, no problem. Don’t bother getting up, I’ve got an elf who’ll wait around until you are ready. He’s quite spectacularly ugly of nature though, so just grab the silver tray quickly and slam the door in his face. It sounds harsh I know, but given an inch he’ll be in and gnawing your best shoes.

  33. I just wanted to cry over the airport scanners thing. I confess it didn’t occur to me how this would target the disabled and trans community unfairly (like they need more unfair treatment) because I was stuck in how it wouldn’t make anyone safer, anyway, but thinking about the discriminatory angle is so upsetting. My son is autistic (a disability that doesn’t “show”) and it was hard enough to travel with him before. He can’t bear to be touched, he can’t bear the noise and confusion of line-ups, and now this. Guess we’re staying home for a while.

  34. Speaking of general jackassery (lurve that phrase and plan to maybe use it at tomorrow’s staff meeting), I read an article at The Guardian yesterday that included TFFF (too fat for fashion) as included in the “new” fashion lexicon.
    Late as usual – as any woman over size 12 could tell you, that is hardly new – stores and designers have been telling us that for years.

  35. When we looked at that photoshoot, my husband said “Those women are just so gorgeous!” It made me happy, because I need to know that he can still find women with full figures beautiful.

  36. Someone should give a virtual pat on the back to whoever created the cartoony scanners. A large group, given access to the original scanners, will always contain a handful of jackasses. Said jackasses will inevitably be discovered when they violate the privacy of some innocent person. There will be the serious-faced apologies, the promises of more training–but creating a 100% jackass-free workplace is not within the capacity of most employers, and TSA hardly has a huge budget to work with.

    Soooo, given all that, I’m going to spend some time later today sending e-mails to local airports encouraging them to update their scanners with cartoon-version rather than nekkid-people version. Making a fuss is the way to convince the wallets to open and the money be spent, right?

  37. I’ve seen Turkish Delight in chocolate – grandma brought it home from England when she visited. I’m hoping I can find it in Canada when we visit (just as soon as we can afford the REALID things), along with real Smarties, Cadbury Milk Trays and codeine-laced tylenol.

  38. I, sadly, have some first hand experience in the airport security, and the full body x-ray failed to launch, in part, because people started noticing the airport police were spending a lot of time hanging out where they could stare at the screenshots of the x-rayed ladies.

    All of those machines are fuck expensive, which means multi-billion dollar contracts for the companies which develop them. They also have a terrible track record compared to the pschological screening methods used by countries like Israel. I think humans have a inherent ability to figure out if people are up to shenanigans by talking to them about their trip for a minute, what we need is a front line force of first grade teachers asking us about our travel plans.

  39. All of those machines are fuck expensive, which means multi-billion dollar contracts for the companies which develop them. They also have a terrible track record compared to the pschological screening methods used by countries like Israel.

    We shouldn’t forget, though, that another big component of Israel’s strategy is explicit and virulent racial profiling. Which is not to say that the x-rays are the answer, just that we shouldn’t be holding them up as an unexamined example of great security.

  40. Israel can also detain people in the airport pretty much indefinitely and question them until their suspicions are satisfied, I am not holding them up as a shining beacon of liberty, for sure.

    TSA racially profiles as well, without coming out and saying it directly. Extra security measures are applied if you pay cash for your tickets, a practice much more common among immmigrant populations, or wear clothing which doesn’t follow the contours of your body and not “western” style dress. Which is to say, when there is prejudice in a society, it is going to influence what rules we make and how those rules are applied.

  41. I’m also not down with the behavioural/psychological approach to profiling. It would seem to me to inherently situate neurotypical, able-bodied, and US/Western-culturally sanctioned behaviours and responses as normative.
    Avoiding direct eye-contact? Nervousness interacting with a screener, particularly one of a different sex? Physical restlessness or twitches? Inability to clearly articulate a rationale for one’s travels? There are an infinite number of reasons for these, virtually all of which are much, much more common than ‘planning to blow up a plane’.
    How about we just recognize that all of life is potentially dangerous, and that we normally travel by other means without constant concern that, for example, our bus driver may be a terrorist planning to crash our bus into a crowded public square, and let’s eliminate security for air travel *entirely*.

  42. But given that knowledge, Bellcoker, you’re still willing to allow the same people full discretion to suss out people’s motives through casual conversation? I mean, don’t get me wrong, it would be great if you could ensure you’d be hiring awesome people with no ethical issues or biases to do that, but if we could do that, we could hire awesome, ethical people to run any form of security and the issue would be solved.

  43. Hmm . . . I think that any system that we put in place is going to be fucked up, is going to treat some people badly for the wrong reasons and other people nicely for the wrong reasons, and is going to not be able to keep people safe 100% of the time. I’d like to be more idealistic, but I have come to believe that anything funneled through a layer of management becomes evil pretty quickly.

    My only point was that currently we try to predict people’s future behavior by looking at their possessions and that’s nearly impossible. We have a lot more experience, in our everyday lives, making predictions about people’s future behavior based on their current behavior. It makes more sense. If I see a person carrying a book, I can’t tell if they are going to read that book or if they like to read or even if they know how to read. But if I see someone enjoying a book, then I know that they like to read, at least in this instance.

    So, if people come to the airport who look terrified or are crying, they may be reacting to something that is perfectly normal, being scared of flying or not wanting to leave loved ones, or someone may be forcing them to carry something into the airport that they don’t want to. I’m just saying that there is no harm in asking.

  44. Vidya – If there was zero airport security, as you suggest, I wonder how many people here would board planes?

  45. I’m also not down with the behavioural/psychological approach to profiling. It would seem to me to inherently situate neurotypical, able-bodied, and US/Western-culturally sanctioned behaviours and responses as normative.
    Avoiding direct eye-contact? Nervousness interacting with a screener, particularly one of a different sex? Physical restlessness or twitches? Inability to clearly articulate a rationale for one’s travels?

    Indeed. I get grilled for those reasons. I handle it by arriving at the airport drugged so I appear to simply be very sleepy, and don’t twitch.

  46. So, if people come to the airport who look terrified or are crying, they may be reacting to something that is perfectly normal, being scared of flying or not wanting to leave loved ones, or someone may be forcing them to carry something into the airport that they don’t want to. I’m just saying that there is no harm in asking.

    I don’t necessarily disagree with this specific example, but the thing is, on a macro level, they used to ask everyone that question and they stopped because it was found to be totally ineffective. And given that it was basically a free measure and the desperate grasping at things to make us safer, I have no reason to doubt them on that one.

    So that implies to me that using the behavioral-based metrics would have to get a lot more invasive – Israel-style invasive, in fact – to have a prayer of being effective. And my own experiences with Israeli security suggest that would be more invasive than even the worst version of these x-ray scanners.* And that is to say nothing of the far greater amount of hassle my Muslim friends have gotten from Israeli security.

    The fact is, until we can read people’s thoughts, when we assess behavior instead of possessions, we are still making assumptions about future behavior based on a present day status. And assessing whether someone seems nervous or stressed or terrified (all fairly common before a flight) gets into much dicier ground than x-raying their luggage or even their shoe to see if there’s a bomb in it, I think. And for all the cultural biases built into any system we design, you take those biases to another level when you give people more subjective power to make decisions about who looks “menacing.”

    * Which again, I’m also not a proponent of.

  47. Yeah, Lilah, I see your point, but I would argue that those same decisions are being made now by individual screeners without the training necessary to make them well or to even recognize their own biases.

    I can honestly say, during my entire tenure with that agency, I never had a conversation about screening as nuanced and thoughtful as this one, and I think that is a big part of the problem.

  48. @hsofia – I’m pretty sure significant numbers of us who presently rarely/never travel by air would start again, if security was to be completely eliminated. And those who do fly when necessary might well choose to do so more often, for vacations and family visits and such.

  49. I’d still fly because no force on Earth is going to stop me from seeing my family (and because I have a cavalier attitude towards personal safety and I like to travel). But really, there’s a history of using airplanes for hijackings and as weapons, and there are easy, minimally invasive ways to limit the risk (that don’t include a lot of what we’re doing now, which I agree should be cut back on). I don’t see why I should have to increase the risk to my life to visit my family just because it would still be safer than driving (probably).

    Anyway, other forms of transport aren’t really analogous. You could use a bus as a weapon, sure, but you also can’t secure buses in the same way. When places that can be secured start seeing high levels of violence and threats (e.g., courthouses), they do start instituting reasonable screening procedures (about comparable to what airports used to have pre-9/11, probably).

  50. Hey, paintmonkey, is that a trans-Atlantic sledge you’ve got there? I sure could use some hot chocolate in Nashville, Tennessee. We’re even supposed to get snow here on Thursday, so your runners wouldn’t get banged up.

  51. rowmyboat – It’s rather a deep and meaningful philosophical sledge. Think its arrival and so shall it be.

    This way if I don’t turn up, I can blame it on you for not “being the sledge.”

    Wax on, wax off.

    I’ll try my best though…my bags are literally groaning with orders…no wonder the Snow Queen always has such an attitude.

  52. A previous poster said:

    “Love the V magazine pics! But these girls just look “normal” to me – not *really* plus sized – just larger than the average model and closer to the average woman. ”

    That is what I thought. These women are normal sized!

    Not “really” plus sized

    Not even “sort of” plus sized.

    Just normal.

    Bigger, I agree, than is normally seen in fashion magazines; but normal for real life.

    The jeans photo is really wow!

  53. Carrie, can you be careful of using “normal” that way? Implying that there is a size that is “abnormal”? I’m bigger than those models. . .that doesn’t make me “not normal.”

  54. Bigger, I agree, than is normally seen in fashion magazines; but normal for real life.

    We do not like the language of “normal” or “real” bodies/women around here, for multiple reasons which can be found in the multiple discussions we’ve had on this concept, as I said above. I’m not saying we can’t have a discussion about it again, but please, let’s not talk uncritically about what kinds of shapes and sizes are “normal” here.

  55. re the V photo shoot. I think it goes without saying that there are larger women in the world than these models represent. There are also older women than these models. And shorter. And hairier. And women with curlier hair on their heads, and not straight teeth, or flatter chests. I find the whole idea of models rather problematic, but I think this is a step in the right direction. What direction is that … is what I’m wondering. What is the ultimate goal? What do we want to see when we open up our magazines? What types of female models will inspire us to open our pocketbooks?

  56. I love Moff’s Law. It makes me very happy. I also love Kate’s refusal to get really upset that a fundamentally shallow online dating site decided to do something shallow.

    Female models who inspire me to spend money: Kate Dillon. Pre-Jenny-Craig Queen Latifah. Models who are older than the norm — I thought Lancome’s decision back in the 90′s to drop Isabella Rossellini for being too old was one of the stupidest marketing decisions ever made. Show me two cosmetics ads, one featuring a luminously beautiful 23-year-old with lovely skin and one featuring a luminously beautiful 45-year-old with ditto, and I’m more likely to think that the second company has better products. Whereas, although I seldom wear pantyhose, I love that L’Eggs first hired Tina Turner when she was 56. When I actually buy brand-name hose (as opposed to the bulk bag of “slightly irregular”), I still look for L’Eggs.

  57. @Other Becky – I felt the same way about Rossellini, altho I never bought Lancome products. I also remember choosing T-Mobile for my first cell phone because of Jamie Lee Curtis. Shortly afterward, they replaced her with a “fresher” Catherine Zeta Jones, and that really pissed me off!

  58. If the people charged with airport security feel scanners are the way to go, I agree. What is they way to go? Is there anyway to screen lots of people through security without making some of them uncomfortable? With the massive number of people passing through airports each day how do the security personnel perform the nearly impossible task of keeping the bad guys out? I would not be surprised if a terrorist had an explosive device surgically implanted into his abdomen. This must be a very hard problem to solve if the very highest levels of the federal government are working on it and still have not solved it. Of course their solution will never please everyone and it it will never be 100% effective. We have been very lucky, yes lucky, since 9/11. If there was another massive strike that took place through the airlines, almost no one would complain about body scanners. We will have to trust these people to be professionals, keep private information and images to themselves. Behind closed doors their will be some snickering and cruel jokes. That is, unfortunately, human nature. This is hardly Gestapo style “may I see your papers” type of security.

  59. I really like that FWD entry about the screening machines. I’ve been worrying myself absolutely sick lately because I have to fly to my friend’s wedding in less than two weeks. Because I was terrified of not fitting in the seats (a legitimate concern for me), I bought two. I had to call the airline directly (costing me more money in booking fees) to buy both seats, because when I called a booking website (I forget which one) they told me it wasn’t allowed to buy two seats for myself. I also got stuck with an overnight flight on the way back because said airline only offered that flight back, and if I’d gone with another airline to fly back it would’ve cost me twice as much. The tickets altogether cost me about $600, which was my Christmas present from my parents because I don’t have that kind of money. The lady who booked my flight was extremely tactful about it, but it still really fucking hurt to have to do that. And I’m very much not looking forward to the actual flight. Having to tell both the flight attendants and my seatmates that I had to buy an extra seat because my ass is so fat (when I already have social anxiety that makes it difficult for me to talk to strangers) is pretty close to my idea of a nightmare come true.

    If I had to deal with some kind of scanning machine on top of all that? I think I’d have a nervous breakdown. As it is I’m already going to be heavily dosing myself with Rescue Remedy just to survive the trip there and back (and the wedding itself, as it’s going to be almost entirely people I don’t know AND I’m singing in it, so social anxiety with performance anxiety added in for extra measure).

  60. Bob: As some other posters have mentioned, there are countries that do it differently. Israel is one; Australia is another. (Not necessarily saying that either of these countries has it “right,” just that there are other ways that also seem to work.) If I thought these scanners might actually make us safer, I might feel differently. But I don’t think that they will. That’s because the next terrorist plot is always different. First it was shoes. Then liquids. Now it’s underwear. Next time it’ll be something different. But in the meantime, the American TSA is making everybody take off their shoes and surrender their beverages.

    The thing is, as a fat woman, I don’t trust people to act and speak appropriately and professionally about my body. The reason for this is that people don’t do it. Doctors don’t do it. My family doesn’t do it. Passing strangers don’t do it. Why should I believe that a bunch of TSA screeners will somehow be more respectful than basically everybody else?

    And about that TSA training… as Amy P noted above, she and her husband routinely have to explain to screeners why a blind man is carrying a white cane. Why should we expect them to be able to know that a colostomy bag isn’t a bomb? What about an insulin pump? Or that the foreign object in someone’s underwear isn’t an explosive, it’s a menstrual pad, or an incontinence pad? (Particularly with the “no bathroom visits during the last hour of the flight” rule.) And don’t trans people have to deal with enough harassment without the security people discovering that the woman they’re dealing with has a penis, which would probably count as suspicious?

    Screw that. It’s probably a good thing I don’t make enough money to travel much.

  61. OMG – Salon attracts some pretty daft commenters. Is stupid fuckwadery running amok again? FACT! And Godwin’s law. And teh death fats!!! Do all the concern trolls get their comments from the same super secret alpha one code book?

    You rock on with your super bad ass rock star self, Kate.

  62. Bob:

    I always get asked for my papers at the airport.

    Also, the bad guys don’t always have to be mean and nasty to get what they want, they just have to show that they have the power to affect you negatively. That’s why people give up their wallets when they see a gun, they don’t wait to get shot.

  63. Kathleen B, real Cadbury’s with Turkish Delight in it does exist. I’m just saying.

    Also, Paintmonkey, if you’re passing out hot cocoa, can it have marshmallows in it? That would be a nice touch.

  64. Bob – I honestly don’t know what the solution is. No terrorists, I guess. All I know is I would like to see more evidence-based screening measures. I am not against screening measures by any means – sorry, I don’t want to be stuck at 30,000 feet with some drunk asshole who pulls out a gun because he didn’t get that 8th gin and tonic from the flight attendant. I am less concerned about terrorists than I am with just general idiots and miscreants.

  65. Hidden Trou – You are such a terrific friend to still fly to your friend’s wedding even though it is difficult for you. I worry so much more about my wide hips and ass fitting an in airplane seat than I do about crashing, terrorists, drunk pilots and well just about anything else. This is the one area that I allow being fat to interfere with my quality of life. I just do not travel as much as I would like because it is uncomfortable, potentially embarrassing and causes such terrible anxiety.

    I’ll send some good vibes your way.

  66. Indeed it does

    Never liked it that much myself as the Turkish Delight is a bit sickly – the review has it right about what it tastes like.

  67. Oops, the above comment was in response to CassandraSays:
    “Kathleen B, real Cadbury’s with Turkish Delight in it does exist. I’m just saying.”

  68. Anomic Entropy

    I find the imagery of a hive vagina so delightful that I had to de-lurk to long enough to thank you for writing it. :o)

    Sure but when Starcraft II comes out and the Zerg (mutant bug aliens) base structure is called Hive Vagina you’ll find something exploitative or sexist about it.

  69. Ok. I’ve had a problem with my Turkish delight and hot chocolate deliveries. I had to go through the Narnia body scanners to try and get to you to deliver, and they wouldn’t let me travel as I was considered a security risk as a non-native species. If anyone opened their door this morning and found the treats missing, I’m sorry, but it looks as though Narnia have upped the security too, and have now got body scanners at the other side of the wardrobe.

    Sorry everyone.

  70. Here is a great chart (based on data from Nat Silver) about the odds of being a victim of an airborne terror attack.

    The thing is, as a fat woman, I don’t trust people to act and speak appropriately and professionally about my body. The reason for this is that people don’t do it. Doctors don’t do it. My family doesn’t do it. Passing strangers don’t do it. Why should I believe that a bunch of TSA screeners will somehow be more respectful than basically everybody else?

    Bingo! I’m not against improving airport security; lord knows we sorely need improved security. What I am against is the performance of security theater done in such a way as to restigmatize already “suspect” bodies.

  71. Bob — so far, I have no evidence that I can trust the airport security folks to be professional and responsible. So far, most of the security procedures seem designed for maximum inconvenience with minimum actual effectiveness. That absurd 2-oz liquids rule doesn’t prevent me from taking a 2-oz bottle of bleach and a 2-oz bottle of ammonia and causing some pretty serious havoc.

    This isn’t airplanes, but just another example of the way security tends not to be sensible…my father works for the FDA as a research pharmacologist. He has to get thoroughly screened every day before he goes into the building. They confiscated the two-inch-long wrench he happened to have in his backpack a few weeks ago. So now he can go to his lab, which contains the ingredients to manufacture fairly large quantities of nitroglycerin…but at least he doesn’t have a tiny wrench!

  72. Sarah, it’s what James Fallows calls “Security Theater.” The point is to show that The Threat Is Being Taken Seriously And Something Is Being Done, so that when something goes wrong Asses Are Covered.

  73. HiddenTohru — You could try contacting the airline’s customer service department to see if the fees can be waived. So you know, you can book on-line. Use “ExSeat” as the first name and your last name for the second ticket.

    I usually handle flight attendants as follows: I settle in, ring the call button and, when flight attendant comes over, nicely request a belt extender and then say something like “just so you know for your head count, I’ve purchased two seats. Please make sure no one offers the seat next to me to someone on the stand-by list.” No flight attendant has ever been anything but nice and accomodating. As for telling your seatmates — most have offered to buy me a drink when I let them know that the seat between us would remain empty! In these days of full-booked (and over-booked) flights, folks are so delighted that THEY also get some extra space, they’re thrilled.

    When you check in, you do need to remember to get both seats checked in. If you are given two separate boarding passes, only show 1 of them at security, but make sure you give both to the person collecting them as you get on the plane.

    Have a wonderful trip and enjoy the wedding!

  74. Sarah:
    The other side of that is there is real information available that people should have in order to make up their own damned minds about their flying risk and it is not released because the airlines/government don’t want people to decide not to fly.

    Of course, that fear doesn’t extend to making flights and security comfortable or treating people with dignity.

  75. De lurking, as I am a regular business traveler. Thanks Jmars for the tips. Those could be really useful. And Hidden Tohru- you are going to do great….I’m sorry you had to go through all of that. Mostly flight attendants are super helpful-lord knows they don’t get paid well, and most are there cause they really really want to be.

    I fly 2-4 times per week for about 9 months out of the year. I just barely don’t need the belt extender, but sometimes get dirty looks from seat mates. Some of whom are big guys. Yeah, that seems reasonable. And now that you have to bring your own food on the flights, there is a lot of weird judgemental food stuff going on. I don’t care much what other folks think, but try to be considerate. You know, like not eating super smelly, juicy, yummy stuff when you are pretty much cozied up to a stranger. I’m not sure how much discomfort is coming from my own inner dialogue, and how much is really projected. I do know it it one of the few times where I feel really uncomfortable about other folk’s projections on food and fatness.

    As for the security screening. I realize that SOME kind of screening has to be done, but in my experience, what is done is more invasive and time consuming, but not particularly effective. I worry about my elderly deathfatz mom dealing with this stuff when she travels, especially the incontinence stuff. Just WHY? And my issue is that there is no consistency. There are certain airports where I am kind of a regular and know a lot of the TSA folks. Some are small regional airports, and others are large international ones. Each individual tends to be consistent, but each airport and different airports do NOT.

    One place will object to the way I have packed liquids, my technology samples, etc. where another will tell me I must do it in a way that conflicts with the first direction. It makes it really really hard to plan, and this is coming from someone who always keeps a fully packed suitcase ready to go. There are some great TSA folks out there, but there are some who need a LOT more training. And I am not confident they are going to get it.

    Let’s just say at least once or twice a month, I see someone working in some air travel capacity who does something hurtful to a traveler because they know they can get away with it. I have colleagues with disabilities who travel as much as I do, and I am completely, utterly in awe of their patience. One pretty much treats helping TSA folks understand her life-threatening latex allergy as her own personal form of activism, despite taunts and unwanted touching, etc.
    She is a better woman than I!

    I’m back to my regular schedule starting next week. Thanks for the great travel tips. There really hasn’t been anyone else who gets this stuff. Wish me luck with the new (improved?) rules!

  76. This is hardly Gestapo style “may I see your papers” type of security.

    No? Could’ve fooled me. When I fly, I have to provide not only identification papers and ticket, but also documentation on the prescriptions for my medications and on the bolts that hold my neck together, since they can trigger the more sensitive metal detectors. I’m often questioned and sometimes lectured over my prescriptions as well, just to put a cherry on top. Little did I know that training in airport security measures included a course in medicine.

    Then, too, usually when I’ve worn supportive braces it’s triggered a pat-down, which is always fun, especially when I can’t move as directed. I’ve only once encountered a security line which was prepared to cope with a range of mobility impairments, and provided me with a substitute cane while my own was being scanned. Occasionally one of the security people will help me through, but it’s not a given. We’ve learned that it’s best to have my husband go through security first, as well, because there’s never anyone available to help me put everything back together at the other end. Mind you, a couple of times as he’s come to help me to a chair, he’s been pulled again for a double-check, for behaving suspiciously.

  77. Thanks for the V photo shoot! It’s incredible to see gorgeous women who look even a little more like me. Awesome.

    Seconded on the “security theater” thing. Either be El Al and really DO security, or leave us the everloving f*&*k alone.

  78. No, really, I want all airline security gone. While I don’t think anyone should be bringing guns anywhere — and I’m still not sure how Americans live comfortably with the knowledge that those around them might have one — I understand that there are now armed marshalls onboard US flights, and I don’t trust them any more than other passengers (maybe less, in fact) in possession of a gun.

    I haven’t been able to fly for years because of my size, but also now simply would not. I don’t allow others, no matter who they are, to touch me in those ways, nor do I digitally ‘expose’ my body to others; the farce of security theatre doesn’t override my moral values. I can’t take my (homeopathic) medicines on a plane, because they can’t be x-rayed and would be tossed in the garbage if I tried to carry them on now, I’m sure; I won’t risk my life by travelling without them. If one flies from Canada into the US now, even magazines and books are not permitted as carry-ons, and like f*ck I’m going to let them take away my right to read.

    All of the security BS is designed to draw the populace’s attention away from the fact that the terrorists *have already won* and continue to do so, and they have accomplished this almost entirely by causing the government to disrupt and destroy the lives of its own people. No actual plane bombings are required now; the ‘enemy’ is us.

  79. I ride Greyhound when I have the time. Know what Greyhound security amounts to? Pretty much nothing. I think there are people who exist with “security” type jobs, and I’ve seen one bag searched once (it was left for about six hours without anyone showing up.)

    All kinds of people ride the bus, with a definite trend towards the poor, the old, the indigent, and in my part of the world, the Amish. I rode the bus less than two days after someone decapitated his seat mate with a butcher knife on a bus. None of my fellow passengers were anxious. There were no additional security measures.

    You know what? It’s great. I love it.

  80. @Anita – true, there is little security on Greyhound or Amtrak (which we travel on twice a week). Then again, no one has hijacked a Greyhound bus or Amtrak train in recent memory (despite the lack of security). And I still think there is a difference between being on a bus on the ground and being trapped in a plane up in the sky, but maybe that difference is mostly psychological (what are we really “in control” of?). I am very curious about this idea of no security checks for airplanes. I would love to see that idea piloted somewhere to get more information on how people in our current time would respond to that.

  81. Amtrak has started using police dogs to sniff people’s luggage, especially at DC Union, but yeah, that’s one reason I prefer Amtrak. In terms of terrorist risk, someone could blow up a train or otherwise kill people riding it, but I’m not sure if it would be even possible to use a train *as a weapon*, the way you could with a vehicle that doesn’t run on rails. Could you crash it into a station?

  82. Thanks for all the tips and well wishes, guys. <3 Honestly, if there had been any way for me to get there besides a plane, I would've done it, but I'm in Ohio and she (and by extension the wedding) is in Portland, OR. XD I looked at Amtrak (used to use trains a lot in high school when traveling between parents) and Greyhound, and both would've taken four days to a week each way, and I definitely couldn't afford to take three weeks off of work.

    I'm sure it'll be fine. But yeah, anxiety is anxiety, and most of it stems from fear of the unknown. I'm sure that the flight there will be twice as bad as the flight back, because on the flight back I'll have done it once, and will be fine.

    Now if I can just be sure they won't confiscate my knitting needles… Those are my main stress relief outside of chemical means! I've traveled with them before and know all the tips and tricks (bring circulars instead of straights, have wooden or bamboo instead of metal, have a project on them so the security people know you're using them for actual knitting) but it still all comes down to the individual screener. x.x And it doesn't help that really, any knitting needles could be used as a weapon by someone creative (circulars used to strangle, straights to stab, etc). But then again, most things can be used as weapons by someone creative. And I seriously just want to use them to knit.

  83. Amtrak has its own issues; I had a friend who was told by Amtrak employees that he couldn’t check a bag containing books because they weren’t allowed in checked baggage. Completely bizarre. I don’t know if that’s official policy or just a rogue baggage checker, but either way, that’s a bigger limitation than I’ve ever seen at an airport.

  84. I am really glad that Kate made the point that the shallow dating site’s policy on weight is minor. One of my pet peeves is the “but how come we don’t get to be objectified like everyone else” complaints. If a group of people are ignorant jerks in general, we can’t expect them to be smart about discrimination and bigotry – and I don’t see the point in expending valuable energy and time trying to be accepted by them.

  85. had a friend who was told by Amtrak employees that he couldn’t check a bag containing books because they weren’t allowed in checked baggage. Completely bizarre. I don’t know if that’s official policy or just a rogue baggage checker

    Rogue baggage checker. That is absolutely NOT Amtrak policy.

  86. If a group of people are ignorant jerks in general, we can’t expect them to be smart about discrimination and bigotry – and I don’t see the point in expending valuable energy and time trying to be accepted by them.

    Eeehhhh . . . while in this instance, I think Kate’s right on, there’s plenty of circumstances where I think the institutions in place are dangerously damaged, but we still need to work at making inroads. Often, because of their exclusivity, these places become markers of status, and that’s damaging, even for people who have no desire to be part of that group. See: women soldiers on subs, country club memberships.

  87. @Anita – I should clarify that by group of people I’m referring to literally groups of people – not public institutions like the Navy. As for country club memberships … that’s another one I’d let go, personally as I consider them inherently elitist and don’t see how them accepting a white woman here or a Jew there or a black guy here under threat of lawsuit changes any of that. Maybe there is something necessary about country clubs that I don’t know about. Nevertheless, I am never going to be interested in seeing more women who look like me being exploited, subjected to, or engaging in the type of disturbing mindset displayed at that dating site.

  88. @thegirlfrommarz – Yeah, as Turkish Delight goes it’s kind of meh. Then again, Cadburys is always a good thing (the British version anyway, the American version is made by Hershey and tastes like sugary earwax).

  89. My two cents on the hoopla over the BeautifulPeople website and the we-all-know-obesity-will-kill-you-25-years-early who commented on broadsheet.

    I kind of like the idea of the beautiful people getting together. Since they’re all so friggin’ healthy, they’ll live to be 600 years old and spend most of their lives looking like old people. GASP! Who they probably insist are ugly and unfuckable. Jack Lalanne is in great health, but he wouldn’t be considered one of the beautiful people, now would he? The handwringing folks who insist that fat is empirically ugly wouldn’t want to fuck the healthy but crepe-skinned Jack, and they know it.

    “Take care of yourself and you’ll live long.” Yes, and you’ll most likely have a healthy body that doesn’t look 22 years old. The horror, the horror!

  90. @Cookie Monster: Don’t you KNOW? Beautiful people don’t get fat, get sick, OR AGE. They are like Twilight Vampires. They live forever and sparkle in the sunshine….

  91. I thought vampires burned to a crisp in the sunshine, but maybe I am not sufficiently au courant with the Twilight-style vamps now popular amongst teenagers. My bad.

    Also, read coverage of an Australian study suggesting that, over the ten year period, Women Gain Weight. (The study started with 18-23 year olds, and ended ten years later.) The weight gain in question? Averaged 11 pounds for single women, 15 for women with partners, and 20 for women with partners and babies. Interesting, but a big yawner, I’d think–after all, going from teenage body to adult body usually results in a certain amount of weight gain, and so does having a baby. BUT NO! OMG DETHFATZ MUST REMIND WOMEN TO WATCH THEIR WAISTS BECAUSE THAT FIVE POUNDS’LL KILL YOU ACK AND OBVS WOMEN ARE SLOBS WHO LET THEMSELVES GO WHEN THEY GET MARRIED ACK POOR MENZFOLKS! That four pounds, you know. Clearly, those married ladies probably wear nothing but sweats and withhold sex just to torment their hubbies, too.

    I don’t know why I’m still surprised at the complete absence of critical thinking skills exhibited whenever the FAT word comes up in the media. But I admit I was.

  92. Another person delurking over traveling…
    Hidden Tohru – props for facing your fear to get to your friends wedding! I really like flying JetBlue – and here’s why.
    1) I weigh just under 300 pounds and can sit in the seat, with the armrest down, and not bruise. They have bigger seats than any other airline I’ve flown, and I fly at least once a month so I’ve tried a lot of airlines.
    2) I have never had to ask twice for a seatbelt extension. Other airlines are often slow about it, and then sometimes ask why I’m not buckled even though they haven’t brought the extension.
    3) They have snacks.

    Also – I bring bamboo knitting needles every time and haven’t had them confiscated yet.

    Vidya108 – I put the medications that can’t be scanned in my pocket. I have never had a problem and I put quite a bit in my pockets.

    In general, I hate security at airports. I have bad hips and can’t walk very well. I often hit the side of the metal detectors and set of the alarms. I have to walk through a couple of times which tires me out, but it happens.

    ON topic -
    I loved the photos – regardless of their size (too thin, too fat, whatever) they looked beautiful and strong and proud to me.

  93. “Cadburys is always a good thing” – so true. I ventured out in the snow yesterday just to buy a Twirl.

    Fascinating discussion above about airport security. I looked up exactly what El Al do as part of their security checks, as I realised I keep hearing them being mentioned as the most secure airline but don’t know exactly what this means:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Al#El_Al_security

    I think the main problem for the airlines with El Al-style checks is that training check-in staff in profiling so that they can read microexpressions and baggage-handlers trained to use decompression chambers is expensive. In the UK, baggage-handlers are likely to be on minimum wage and check-in staff won’t be on much above that. Training people to this level means not using unskilled labour and having a high turnover of staff, which is the business model for the airlines at the moment. It strikes me that this is symptomatic of the problems with modern capitalism – businesses can save a lot of money by stripping down jobs so that they can be done by people on minimum wage, but you lose the skills, experience and pride in the work that people gain as they work in a job with progression and training. Everything has to be simple enough that a person willing to work for peanuts can do it, and basic enough that you can justify paying peanuts for it in the first place. Oh, and the jobs have to be simple enough to be picked up quickly because the chances are you’re going to have a massive rate of turnover with your staff, as they try to move on to less dead-end jobs and you’ll have a constant influx of new, untrained people.

    Flying is only going to become more expensive, even without El-Al-style security training for ground personnel, so I don’t think airlines could implement this kind of security without becoming desperately uncompetitive. But it does make me think about how we accept without question that some very important jobs are done by untrained, unskilled, poorly-paid people with little chance of progression or training, and why we don’t often question how that has an impact on service we receive as customers.

  94. Girl from Marz – that just reminded me , my Grandad used to say “don’t get your Snickers in a Twirl.” God bless him.

  95. Ah, Israeli security. How fondly I recall being detained because I was crying about my mother’s death. Good times.

    I think the juxtaposition of the broadsheet piece and Moff’s law is a little ironic, as Kate is basically saying “Don’t you have anything better to worry about.”

  96. If one flies from Canada into the US now, even magazines and books are not permitted as carry-ons, and like f*ck I’m going to let them take away my right to read.

    Is this a new change since the most recent, er, All-Star Broadway Performance of Security Theater? I’m a Canuck, and I travelled to the US in the middle of last year, and had no problems with having a book aboard. Nor my laptop, nor most of the other crazy fiddlefaddle in my purse other than some nail clippers.

    I appreciate security checks for airplanes. When you’re up in the air, it’s a much more sealed up thing than a bus or a train. We sure as hell don’t need much of the overblown “Look! We’re DOING SOMETHING!” nonsense that persists these days, but I appreciate airlines giving a crap if someone’s looking to start trouble. Any system that’s run by humans is bound to get fouled up, no matter how well-conceived or well-intentioned. Security is only shitty if it’s being run by shitty people. I’ve been lucky enough to run into sane and reasonable security folk so far. That’s likely coloring my perceptions of the idea.

    HiddenTohru, I wish you lots of luck for your trip, and for a good time when you get there! I always say that we should prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. May lots of kind and reasonable people be on your travel path!

  97. I avoid flying now whenever possible.

    I took Amtrak roundtrip from DC to Vermont and from DC to Savannah, GA (to get to Hilton Head). When you add in the amount of time arriving early to the airport for security, waiting around for your bags after, changing planes (since no airline flies direct to either place), etc, the train isn’t that much longer a ride than taking a plane. Even after adding in the fact that I live less than 10 minutes from an aiport and it’s a 45 minute drive to the train station.

    Also, you can get up and walk around a train. The food is pretty good. You’ve got more leg room. And most seats have sockets for your electronics.

    My son DEFINITELY enjoys taking the train more than flying. It’s a fairly pleasant way to spend a day traveling (or a night, if you want to take the sleeper!)

  98. Trains are environmentally better too. I really wonder if a lot of our airport security problems wouldn’t be solved by making trains more feasible for short trips. Cutting down the people in the airports for, say, a D.C. –> Boston or L.A. –> San Francisco trip would stop security from being flooded and perhaps discourage mindless application of rules in an effort to screen everyone adequately without having enormously long lines. It’s also a lot less annoying to deal with a security line for a trip that would take you three days on the train vs. 8 hours.

    As it is, though, the train usually seems to be significantly more expensive than flying – sometimes twice as much – which really makes it a lot less feasible for most people. High speed rail lines would help too.

  99. @girl from mars- I totally concur with what you are thinking about low pay, turnover, and the quality of interaction with most folks in airports.
    I think about this a lot when I travel.

    Yes, the TSA folks are, for the most part, not well trained, or paid. I agree this can be part of the problem. I definitely notice more job pride, longevity and general skill traveling through airports where TSA type wages are actually a living wage
    ( rural areas, economically healthy midwestern cities, etc.) versus mega urban areas, western states with high costs of living, etc.

    I also notice that the old-timers amongst the flight attendants still have a sort of career feel about them, where the newer folks are clearly working for peanuts. It’s kind of sad, really, as I judge they have a lot of responsibility and a pretty high stress occupation. I can attest to the physical strain of constant travel, but at least I don’t get paid peanuts, either.

    I’m not sure what to do about this. It’s funny. As air travel becomes more expensive, it also becomes more casual, if you will. When my Grandmother flew, it was always a big deal. She always bought a new outfit to wear on the plane and considered it a luxurious time to be your best, not an uncommon attitude through the ’60′ s and into the ’70′s. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but air travel is definitely not a sustainable activity.

    I Love, LOVE, taking the train, but it’s not really an option for much professional travel here in CA. It takes too long, and doesn’t often go anywhere I need to go. I will be taking the train for a conference in San Diego, and will enjoy computing and multitasking all 8-10 hours of my ride. Oh, yeah, and looking at inaccessible coastline with jumping dolphins. That. Yeah. Much better than flying.

  100. Really? I was recently looking for a D.C. –> Boston trip on a non-holiday weekend and it was more than that per person. :-( I need to start looking for deals or something.

  101. The cheapest I found for WAS to BOS was $124 each way per person. Try looking at stations right outside Boston, they’re sometimes cheaper because Amtrak subsidizes its less popular routes with its business person’s routes.

  102. I think the juxtaposition of the broadsheet piece and Moff’s law is a little ironic, as Kate is basically saying “Don’t you have anything better to worry about.”

    But Kate is saying, essentially, Worried about discrimination against fat people? Okay then, let’s get to work, not Don’t worry your pretty little head about it. Huge difference.

  103. chutti pen – I can’t help but feel that some of the issues experienced by Shapelings with disabilities/travelling with people with disabilities could have been reduced if employers felt it was worth training security personnel adequately, or at least if the people working the jobs themselves felt that they were valued for their skill and experience, so that the knowledge of how to treat disabled passengers was passed on to new staff simply by working with more experienced people and it was clear what kind of attitude was expected. I’m not saying this would get rid of all the jerks, as there will always be some in any job, particularly jobs were you can assert power over other people, but I’m sure it would be less frequent.

  104. Maybe there is something necessary about country clubs that I don’t know about.

    Country clubs provide a significant amount of social capitol, and can affect one’s ability to excel economically. If you cannot join the same country club as your boss, you can’t socialize with him (or potential clients) in a setting that indicates your class status. While the ideal solution is that socializing with your peers in an exclusive environment not be counted towards your economic opportunities, that’s still a long way from happening. Things are changing, two decades ago it was a lot more prevalent that one might have doors opened for them due to country club membership.

  105. I’ve traveled from Nashville, TN, to Long Island, NY (about 950 miles) three times in the last two months. I flew twice and drove once.

    I would have LOVED to take the train. I looked it up, and it cost about the same as flying. Except, it would have taken two days. See, despite being the capital of the state, the biggest city for at least 200 miles in any direction, and equidistant (8-10 hours drive) between several other major cities and about half the country, you can’t take the train out of here. There’s no Amtrak stop. At all.

    I would have to drive to Newbern, TN (175 miles west of here), then get on a train to Chicago, and then another to Manhattan (changing in Pittsburgh, but at least that’s in the right direction). Or, I could drive up to Louisville, KY (200 miles north of here), take a Greyhound bus to Chicago, then get on the train. Then either my mother would have to drive into Manhattan to get me, or I could take the Long Island RR out to my parents’ house. And, as I said, it would take two days.

    For about the same amount of money, I can drive 15 minutes to the airport, spend an hour or so there, be in the air for 2.5 hours, and then my mom can drive to JFK airport to get me, or I can take the train (which goes right to the airport) to my parents’ house. 4-5 hours, all told. So that’s what I did those two times.

    We drove once because it cost less. My partner was going to Massachusetts and I was going to New York, and our car gets really good gas mileage. Gas and tolls cost about about a quarter of what two plane tickets would have. It was about 16 hours to my parents’ house, and then my partner drove 4 hours the next day to his parents’. While I don’t enjoy driving that far, it cost the least of all options, and was still a much shorter trip than the train.

    But I would take the train if it took only one day and there was a station in Nashville. So get on that, government. I’ve thought about driving the 8 hours to Washington DC and then taking the high-speed train from there.

  106. Railways are owned by the large railway companies like Union Pacific, and their priority is freight. They lease their tracks to Amtrak, and therefore the passenger train schedules are not as important as moving product because they just don’t make as much profit.

    Also, living on the west coast, the train is less attractive. It can make sense if you’re traveling between Portland-Seattle, Portland-Eugene, Seattle-Vancouver, or elsewhere along the I-5 corridor, but otherwise, you’re doing it for leisure and you need a ride to get you from the train station to your destination. I looked into visiting friends in the Bay Area – hmm, do I want a <2 hour flight (with baby flying free), a 10 hour drive (with said baby in back seat) broken up by a night time motel stay, or an 18 hour (overnight) train ride? Kind of a no brainer, that one.

  107. Agree 100% with improving our rail infrastructure to make train travel a more viable option for short (i.e., less than one day overland) trips!

    Amtrak and the bus can be great options out East, where populations are denser and the distances are shorter. California has some good rail, but still mostly has an auto-oriented infrastructure and culture. I’d love to see rail improved in CA where possible, and meanwhile the NE core for rail expanded to include regular trains out to Chicago. Buses can be a good option, too, but with rail, people just enjoy trains so much (for both rational and aesthetic reasons) that the mode of transport sells itself.

    As long as we’re talking security, consider that passenger trains are the most effective way to evacuate a large population center in the event of a natural disaster, or, worse, an attack. If people try to leave by car, the roads will immediately be jammed.

    End of railfan transmission! :)

  108. I’ve heard that Megabus is amazing for cheap travel. . .still time-consuming, but with a bathroom, wifi, a comfy seat and someone else driving, that could be a good tradeoff. . .a friend just traveled from DC to NYC for $2.00 before Thanksgiving. (Yes, $2.00.) And I can catch one from Albany to NY every 3 hours for under 10. . .

  109. I posted before I saw hsofia and rowmyboat’s comments, but YEP. Both private control of the physical rails themselves, and generally poor passenger connections within the interior of the country keep passenger rail marginal in the US.

    People go to Europe and marvel at the trains, and rightly so. But they are subsidized. The golden age of passenger rail in this country (before the end of WW2) was subsidized. Amtrak today is subsidized, but at a much lesser rate (altho in the NE corridor I read once that it breaks even and some lines even turn a profit). Currently, our heavy subsidies go to highways, misdirected wars and oh, yes, “security theater.”

  110. The cheapest I found for WAS to BOS was $124 each way per person. Try looking at stations right outside Boston, they’re sometimes cheaper because Amtrak subsidizes its less popular routes with its business person’s routes.

    Thanks, that’s a neat trick!

  111. @ girl from mars- Sounds just like what I was thinking, but maybe expressed better. I’d love to see happy people working at airports, ’cause I’d love to see people happy. More or less.

    @hsofia- Yes, the leases are the problem, sort of a chicken or egg thing. In the eastern corridor, train travel is cheaper and more practical-therefore more profitable- because it is direct. In CA, the tracks are leased, so passenger trains have to wait rather than having right of way. Therefore, travel is NOT direct, takes longer, and often involves unexpected transfers to busses. Not fun when you are trying to multitask or plan accordingly. So lots of folks skip the train. Vicious cycle, for sure.

    Lynn-your comments about rails and disaster are really interesting. Never thought of it that way. Our disaster plans all involve how to be sustainable and stay put-cause that’s actually an option in the boonies. But rails could be really helpful. Good idea.

    And yeah, the CA Car thing, and GM buying up all the streetcar tracks to rip em out still sucks bigtime. That’s all I can think of whenever anyone talks about GM going under. Grrr.

    Megabus gets great reviews, but only works from one metro area to another, as the whole point is the non-stoppiness of the thing. Doesn’t help those of us outside Metro areas.

    Also sending two big goofy thumbs up on the Moff’s law idea. Why do I even bother to read comments most of the time????

  112. Railways are owned by the large railway companies like Union Pacific, and their priority is freight. They lease their tracks to Amtrak, and therefore the passenger train schedules are not as important as moving product because they just don’t make as much profit.

    Yeah, I forgot to mention in my rant, Nashville is absolutely covered in train tracks. My neighborhood, for example, is boxed in one three sides by tracks, and the tracks also run about a block from the state government buildings. But you can’t get on them as a passenger — freight only.

  113. Yeah, not a fan of Amtrak myself. I took the train this year just before Thanksgiving from Toledo OH to Providence RI “via” Washington DC. Because that was what they had.

    It was tedious as usual and impossible to sleep on it, but I was expecting that. What I was not expecting was the abusive treatment I received from a conductor just as we were finally pulling in to Providence. Basically he gave me a whole bunch of shit because I asked him to help me with my bag in the overhead compartment. I asked because I am a woman, am kind of short, and just don’t have the leverage (my bag was as far as I know well within the limitations of size and weight for carry-on).

    He ended up literally throwing my bag on the seat across from me after being a real asshole about it (basically pulling at my bag a little, then ordering me to get it down after getting in my way so that I’d have to get in really close, totally setting off my creep-o-meter) and then storming off. (It wasn’t just me, either–the woman across from me shot me a shocked look after he left, mouthing, What the fuck?) I’ve since complained to Amtrak, who said they were taking it seriously, &c., but I don’t imagine anything will actually happen since I never got the guy’s name.

    Besides that particularly egregious example, I saw plenty of other conductors more than happy to abuse the petty amount of power they had, like when I moved from my assigned seat with a broken footrest and next to another passenger to two empty seats towards the back (which was full of empty seats) so that I could maybe get some sleep I was told rather sternly that it was okay for now but he might need that seat later, which was obvioulsy bullshit. Same conductor came by when I was trying to sleep and jabbed me in the shoulder to get my attention to ask where my stop was. No “excuse me, Ma’am”, just a jab.

    The whole time I was contrasting it with the only other long Amtrak trip I’d taken, back in the early 90′s from Savannah, GA to Providence. Everyone was helpful to a fault, and I had a real sense of the conductor watching out for me, making sure I got off at the right stop and all. It seemed pretty obvious to me that Amtrak just isn’t funded like it used to be.

    So, yeah, not a fan.

  114. I’m actually booking my first Megabus trip right now.

    Minneapolis-Milwaukee, megabus: $41, 6 hours – 7am-1pm
    Amtrak: $89, 5 hours – 9am-2pm

    Interestingly, they both end at the MKE Amtrak station – but the Megabus pickup spot here is on the city bus line from my house, and Amtrak isn’t.

    And, for the record – airlines are subsidized, too. There’s a special earmark in the federal budget every year to keep the airport in my hometown open, because otherwise it would have neither plan nor bus service.

  115. Kate has recently written a piece for salon.com that she titled love makes you fat.

    http://www.salon.com/life/broadsheet/feature/2010/01/07/partner_gain/index.html

    While some letters are of the “you’re a fattie” variety, this doesn’t describe all of them. Some readers agree with what Kate has to say, others do not. Of those that disagree with Kate, not all are mean spirited and, to the extent that readers of this blog could translate/discuss Kate’s post, it’s welcome…seriously.

    I noticed that some posters here comment that they like Kate’s writing, but not the letters (at salon). To describe the response to a Kate Harding piece as entirely mean spirited would be an exaggeration. In the interest of dialog, how about engaging the letter writers that aren’t just hurling insults for the sake of it? (Obviously, if you’re so inclined you can hurl insults too…but that isn’t the goal…at least, not mine). At risk of being mean spirited (this is my first time here, have no frame of reference) if more of you posted responses to Kate’s piece’s at Salon, the result would be more balanced….and some of us, legitimately trying to make the paradigm shift into Kate’s head, might find assistance.

    Regardless, Happy New Year!

  116. At risk of being mean spirited (this is my first time here, have no frame of reference) if more of you posted responses to Kate’s piece’s at Salon, the result would be more balanced….and some of us, legitimately trying to make the paradigm shift into Kate’s head, might find assistance.

    btr, since this is your first time here and you admit to having no frame of reference, here are some frames for you:

    http://kateharding.net/2008/07/02/meta-why-im-such-a-bitch/

    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2009/05/28/reprinted-from-magistrate-on-the-obligation-to-educate-the-uninformed/

    No, oppressed and marginalized people are not morally obligated to educate their oppressors or the mainstream. In fact, the constant need to defend oneself or one’s lifestyles is a symptom of oppression and marginalization.

    http://helpfulcomments.tumblr.com/

    We are *not* interested in unmoderated (or barely moderated) dialogue with Salon commenters; we have plenty to do here. (That Tumblr blog consists entirely of deleted comments from our mod queue… and it’s just the ones I find funny.)

  117. Back on the subject of redefining our idea of what models should look like, I’d like to take just a moment to pay tribute to Eunice Johnson, founder of the Ebony Fashion Fair. May she rest in peace.

  118. Sweet Machine,

    Thanks for your response. I tried to make clear in my post that I wasn’t assigning value to posts along the lines of the tumblr. I usually don’t have a hard time identifying and avoiding posts like those. Presumably those posts are the least offensive and, if a thread containing a handful of posts along those lines is unacceptable, that’s your call…there’s no way of knowing going in, way waste the time/take the chance…I follow. You ended your response with “We are *not* interested in unmoderated (or barely moderated) dialogue with Salon commenters.” If that accurately represents your whole readership, I genuinely apologize for stepping on toes and likely offending (although hopefully amusing) the longtime readers. Perhaps someone’s curious or willing to give it a shot?

    I think I may have read Kate’s “Why I’m such a bitch” piece before (then how could this be my first time?), but it was the second link I found the most interesting, Magistrate’s piece about the victims of oppression (usually predicated on ignorance) not being obligated to educate (why it’s ok to get exasperated when someone says “tell me more,” [an accurate but hopefully incomplete description of my last post]). Magistrate’s piece uses the examples of ignorance surrounding race, sexuality, and gender and points out the reams of information available at a library or online that can easily combat this. I never meant to give the impression that I believed the readers here were obligated to post at salon. However, I do see at least one profound difference between weight based discrimination and those discussed in Magistrate’s piece….and it’s specifically the wealth of resources out there.

    Telling someone, or just expecting someone to go out and educated himself about weight based discrimination is, in my opinion at least, a recipe for someone to return holding views potentially or seemingly at odds with those expressed here. Kate’s posts at salon are, on some level I believe, meant to educate. More often than not, however, I believe they’re written for you. As a result, those with the most to learn become, at the very least, the most likely to misunderstand. As the “bitch” piece pointed out, Kate seldom reads the letters in response to her pieces…and, based on your post, most shapely prose readers won’t post (assuming they’ve read the letters). When the pool of informed readers/posters shrinks, the chance of having inquiries answered falls and the cycle of ignorance and vitriol is more likely to continue. When many readers interpret Kate’s words as flying in the face of conventional wisdom (for lack of a better term) shouldn’t there be a next step in the dialog?

    Towards the end of Magistrate’s it reads, “Educating yourself is likely to give you a much more solid grounding in the state of things, anyway, unless the person you’re talking to is heavily involved in social action or has a degree in the subject you’re asking about.” Describing Kate as “involved in social action” would be unfair as she’s immersed, if not at the forefront in this case. Ultimately ignorance can only be combated through education. Even if you’re not prepared to write at length (apologies for the size of this post), participation in salon discussions could be limited to links directed at specific posters.

  119. btr, I get where you’re coming from, but this is what we do here. Do you think all our readers here spring fully formed from the heads of Kate and the rest of us? *Most* readers here have at some point experienced the “flying in the face of conventional wisdom” feeling, as the people on this thread can attest — and we often take up those conversations here, where we control the space and guide the conversation. At Salon, we would do neither. By “we” I mean the bloggers here; many of the regular commenters do the kind of conversational work at other websites. You seem to be commenting with the idea that if these commenters just went and pitched in over at Salon, that would be a worthwhile effort; that is possible. But it’s also possible that they would be abused, ridiculed, and otherwise exhausted by the process.

    More often than not, however, I believe they’re written for you.

    I don’t really understand who the “you” is here. Kate writes for Broadsheet, which is an explicitly feminist space.

    Please consider the fact that since you just joined the conversation here, you are probably saying things that many of us have thought about or discussed in the past.

  120. “Please consider the fact that since you just joined the conversation here, you are probably saying things that many of us have thought about or discussed in the past.” Is that my hint to leave? If so, this will be my last post. Apologies.

    On some level though, your point is kinda what I was getting at when I wrote that her posts are “written for you.” The “you” was meant to refer to people who’ve read Kate or similar work in the past and understand her words on a level where there’s no ambiguity.

    I was only trying to find a pseudo middle ground of dialog. To the extent that Kate gives readers here a heads up when she posts at salon, if the post resonates or overlaps with a theme here (assuming kate didn’t link to it in her post) all it would take is one commenter to just submit the link…it could be devoid of commentary. (Kate Harding discusses xyz here, or kateharding.net discusses more examples here) Any further dialog would be here, on your terms, subject to your rules. The “worthwhile effort” is minimal and without “[abuse, ridicule and exhaustion].”

  121. Btr, Kate doesn’t usually give any sort of heads-up here when she posts at Salon, especially given she posts there often several times a day. I’ve never seen her link back here from one of her Salon posts. As a reader who’s never met or spoken to Kate, I’ve never seen anything to suggest that she’s writing to “us” on Salon. She does, however, back her writing up with links to the relevant sources whenever necessary.

    I don’t think anyone is telling you to leave – the SP mods tend to be quite direct, and would probably have banned you if they wanted you to leave. What I think is being suggested is that you realize you’re a new person in an established space, and that you maybe hang out and see how comments here work for awhile before suggesting a new way of doing things.

    It’s also worth thinking about what a marginalized person risks when entering into a space that contributes to their marginalization. The nice part about allies is that they often have energy for the kind of work you’re talking about that marginalized people don’t. For example: I’m thin, but I do my best to be a good ally to fat people. I have a LOT less to lose by doing what you suggest – no one’s going to insult me, say I shouldn’t leave my house, say I’m disgusting. So I could do that. But a fat person who hears that kind of stuff all the time might not be able to deal with even just seeing it, let alone reading enough of it to figure out what aspect of it could be engaged with productively.

    Sweet Machine, I hope I’m not stepping on your toes.

  122. Basicaly, btr, if you think engaging salon commenters is worthwhile work – and it might well be, you really never do know what random experience will change a person’s mind about something – then by all means, do it. Be a good ally. But don’t tell an already marginalized group to do something that might be extremely taxing on them. Odds are they’ve already thought about it and decided why they’re not going to do it, since, as members of the marginalized group, issues that would be new to you are daily life for them.

    Apologies if I’m making incorrect assumptions about your exposure to FA and your personal history. I’m making those assumptions based on your comments.

  123. I’m really not trying to step on any toes here….just trying to bridge a gap that I don’t see closing any time soon. I figured posting in a thread that links to a kate harding piece at salon was thematically appropriate.

    I came here gain some insight and invite anyone, who hasn’t already ruled it out, to fill a frequent perspective gap. The latter was a no no. I hear you.

    I regret my word choice when I wrote “Writing for you.” What I meant by that was, to the extent that her posts at salon deserve thoughtful consideration and discussion, had they been published here, at least I’d be confident that the ensuing conversations would actually be about her post.

    Perhaps I’m framing this all wrong, but what we have is a situation where an author is broadcasting her words to a group of people who presumably need to hear them, while simultaneously discouraging interaction/discussion with the most valuable people they could be discussing her words with.

    I’m here now….but I think it would be a lot cooler if others checked it out and perhaps participated in a far more relevant thread….a Kate Harding post being an obvious segue.

    Sara, I don’t think you believe that Kate’s broadsheet posts contribute to the marginalization of others. To the extent that the letters do, you don’t have to read them before posting. Prob a good idea to do that here as they’re moderated (want to stay on topic), but at salon, at least you know you’re one line comment with a link to kateharding.net won’t get pulled down. And anyone who follows it, if they have nothing positive to contribute, would have no means of broadcasting this past the mods.

  124. Yeah, I suppose I could go fight the good fight over at Broadsheet. Be rational and informative and cite statistics from the CDC. Except, I’VE TRIED THAT. I have tilted at that windmill. I have banged my head against that wall. The uniform response has been that I am unfuckably fat and therefore nothing I say counts. I get enough of that IRL. I don’t *have to* read the vicious hatred of those comment threads, so mostly I don’t.

    One of the principles of fat acceptance/body acceptance is *taking care of yourself.* Eat the foods that make you feel healthier. Exercise in ways that make you feel healthier. And for the love of god, don’t bathe in raw sewage. Participating in those comment threads is the emotional equivalent of doing laps in a pool of shit. No matter how useful it might be to someone else, it is not worth the cost to me.

  125. As an Item… Of… Interest of my own, I am involved in a thread over at Comment is Free about a weightloss programme on UK television called “My Big Fat Diet” (ridiculous 1200 calorie per day diet that claims to be non-faddy), and am rather proud of my comeback to the “Eat less, move more, it’s not rocket science” comment someone made. Reproducing here for your delight and edification:
    “Well, that’s true enough. We can reliably send rockets into space. We can’t reliably make people thin and keep them thin.”

    (If I have accidentally nicked this off someone on SP, apologies! But if it’s all my own, I am quite pleased.)

  126. Marshaling our chubby horses and setting out for honorable Internet comment battle is something that one has to be in the mood for. And has to have the fortitude for. And has no real obligation to do. Yeah sure, sometimes I’ll roll up my sleeves and post something intelligent and fat accepting in a comments section. But mostly I just rub my temples, take a few deep breaths, and navigate away. I have a limited amount of energy in each day, and I’m a happier person when I don’t use too much of my energy arguing uselessly with idiots.

    Comment spaces on any mainstream article tend to make my head hurt. Useful things rarely happen there. I recently read a nice article at CNN entitled “Help yourself and your kids: Don’t diet”, which was about as HAES-y and healthy as it gets on that site. I pumped my fist! I grinned! I went “Yes! Maybe this is a sign of change for the better, amidst all those damned diet articles in the ‘Health’ section!” …then I read the comments.

    Why, why do I read comments anymore?

    Article: Love yourself, and stop fat shaming! Think of your children. Love your body! Dieting wastes your money and doesn’t even work.
    Commenters: Oh yes, I agree! We should all love our bodies and eat nothing but healthy foods and walk a mile a day! Because we love ourselves, of course.
    Me: B..bh… whuh? DID YOU READ THE ARTICLE?!
    Commenters: Yes, I agree! It’s not good to be TOO skinny, but being fat WILL KILL YOU, OMG. So don’t be fat, lazy cheeseburger-eaters!
    Me: *headdesk*

  127. btr, if you think it’s a good idea, why don’t you post a link to kateharding.net over at Salon? I’m getting the impression you don’t actually think it’s a good idea per se, but rather that you would enjoy seeing us shouted down by abusive commenters. (Yes, yes, we’re supposed to “ignore” the hateful, abusive vitriol directed at us and instead see the helpful points embedded in the, uh, other hateful, abusive vitriol that pretends to be about “concern for our health.”) Yeah, no. Life’s too short.

  128. Perhaps I’m framing this all wrong, but what we have is a situation where an author is broadcasting her words to a group of people who presumably need to hear them, while simultaneously discouraging interaction/discussion with the most valuable people they could be discussing her words with.

    Yeah, your heart’s in the right place, but you really really really need to go upthread, read the links, perhaps go google some more links, and consider why many of us don’t do that. (Several people have already given you some kick-ass reasons.)

    Something else you might consider: we may not be the most valuable people they could be talking to. I’ve had my fill of 101 education over the internet. It’s one reason I’m happy this is not a 101 blog. I’m not particularly good at it. I have no patience for explaining, repeatedly, basic social justice principles. And since Fear of Fat is also connected with a whole bunch of other social justice issues, I often find myself doing crash courses in feminism 101, statistics 101, classism 101, urban myths 101, postmodern theories of the body 230, and other topics that I’m not really prepped to give sound-bite explanations to. (And when I give links, people are likely to insist that I, personally, am still responsible for educating them.) When I am well-rested, sane, and well-caffeinated, with a person who I trust, in a safe space, I’m happy to have fruitful conversations. But Broadsheets comments is not that place or that person.

    But I’m not a pithy writer, which is one reason I don’t have my own Broadsheet column. Say, maybe someone would give a really good writer with a kick-ass sense of social justice space to air these issues, and then if people are interested they could get off their butts and go educate themselves! I mean, it’s almost like there’s whole books and internet sites and personal blogs devoted to this stuff! (Full disclosure: another reason I’m bad at 101 education over the internet is that I devolve rapidly into despairing sarcasm. This is a trait best saved for graduate level classes.)

  129. btr, your suggestion reminded me of a post I read recently on Racialicious. The context is different, as it’s a discussion of race, and while I’m not trying to appropriate that discussion, it really resonated with me when it comes to FA, as well, and whether or not I should engage in conversations about FA with people who (to paraphrase part of the Racialicious post) haven’t thought about it before, don’t want to think about it, and are going to spout off about it anyway:

    “Some people have endless fountains of patience to continue to challenge the same prejudiced ideas over and over again. But many of us do not. This is not the first time I’ve encountered any of the lines of argument above. And while, on an individual level, it seems fine to try to engage someone with conversation, over time, those of us who are in a historically marginalized group find ourselves arguing the same points over and over again in an endless loop. Sure, it’s cool the first three times you explain something like this. But the 300th? 3000th? There is a reason why many people blogging about issues of social justice maintain that members of marginalized groups have no obligation to teach anyone. Why? There are millions of blog posts, thousands of books, discussion notes, podcasts etc, dedicated to explaining any thing you want to know. Asking people to continually perform on demand is demoralizing.”

    Full post at http://www.racialicious.com/2009/12/10/why-is-it-so-important-to-have-productive-conversations-on-race/#more-4684

    Personally, I’m immersed all day in a sea of adolescents who believe “fat” and “gay” are synonyms for all is icky and/or bad in the world; I spend all day combating those ideas in their language and behavior. I’m invested in changing those minds, but am completely apathetic about the opinions of the same 5 attacking, belligerant non-thinkers who go after Kate’s posts again and again.

    I’m imagining a soldier coming home after a long day on the battlefield, saying “It’s hell out there” and some random stranger saying, “Well, why don’t you go out there and DO something about it, instead of just complaining.” Ugh.

  130. but am completely apathetic about the opinions of the same 5 attacking, belligerant non-thinkers who go after Kate’s posts again and again.

    Yeah, and that’s the other things. I really think that by and large the people you have much of a chance of convincing are the people who haven’t really thought about these issues and juts follow the flow. It’s not the people dedicated to hunting down articles about fat and posting comments on Kate’s blog posts. Sure, those people might be rebelling, etc., and might eventually change their way of thinking. But if that’s the case, they’ve heard the arguments and they’re going to have to come around emotionally not intellectually. Arguing with them is not particularly effective. I guess it could be for some of the lurkers in comments, but I feel like most reasonable people in the world have learned not to read comments sections on those types of things by this point in the internet’s development.

  131. Eucritta: I don’t think this one is so much a matter of teaching one’s granny to suck eggs — unless that’s what you thought btr was trying to do — as it is a matter of trying to teach a pig to sing. (It wastes your time, and it irritates the pig.) That’s how my dad always encouraged me to think of, and therefore avoid, unproductive arguments with my grandparents, and it’s how I think of trying to combat people like the Salon commenters. The people who are willing to learn will do it without my help. The people who aren’t… well, it wastes my time, and it irritates them, so to hell with it all. It’s the same reason I don’t write letters to FOX News asking them to engage in responsible journalism. Instead, I just don’t watch it.

    And, btr, just to reiterate some of the comments above: nobody’s trying to run you off. If they were, they would have said so; neither the commenters nor the moderators at SP are real fond of passive-aggressive forms of subtlety. Stick around, read some more, share your thoughts — but it’s generally a good idea to spend a while familiarizing yourself with the archives before suggesting courses of action. (Not just here, but on any forum.)

  132. aliciamaud74, thank you! Spot-on, plus you made me LOL.

    I’m imagining a soldier coming home after a long day on the battlefield, saying “It’s hell out there” and some random stranger saying, “Well, why don’t you go out there and DO something about it, instead of just complaining.”

    This thread is reminding me once again of how fabulous smart, *moderated* commenting can actually be.

  133. btr:

    I am only comfortable commenting on very strongly moderated sites on the Internet because they are the only sites at which real conversation occurs. The moderators here don’t weed out people who disagree with them as much as they weed out people who don’t feel the need to communicate respectfully. Because the boundaries have been thoughtfully set and relentlessly enforced, the commenting community is free to openly discuss challenging issues without being accused of arguing in bad faith.

    We KNOW that it would be impossible to engage in this kind of high level conversation on Salon, we know because we have tried. It is sad, in my opinion, that Salon has let the comment section on its “feminist” site devolve into a place most feminists won’t go, but *shrug* that is in their power to correct.

    Hope that helps.

  134. Between the suck eggs comment (I came here telling you that you know more than I, which is incidentally something you already knew) and LilahMorgan’s first response….I’m wondering if I misspoke/typed, left out an entire phrase or sentence in haste…etc.

    As I posted earlier: I understand those that don’t want to interact, period, at broadsheet. I may not fully understand, but I’m prepared to accept it. I’ll repeat this: I accept it, you don’t have to explain why you don’t want to interact in a letters thread (the reason can be devoid of reason or “kick ass,” for the purposes of this discussion, they don’t matter as I accept them.

    Much the same way that I could, in theory, just scroll down to the bottom of any thread on this page and post, you could do that at salon. In fact, you could do it without scrolling as the submit letter button is at the top of any letters page.

    I was trying to find a middle ground, which is one of the reasons LilahMorgan’s quote is so vexing to me: “btr, if you think it’s a good idea, why don’t you post a link to kateharding.net over at Salon? I’m getting the impression you don’t actually think it’s a good idea per se, but rather that you would enjoy seeing us shouted down by abusive commenters.” I’m having a really hard time seeing your logic here. What I tried suggesting was that if a longtime reader of kateharding.net read a piece of Kate’s and a relevant and hopefully dynamic thread existed here, that a link to that thread could be provided. As I haven’t been here very long, while not the worst, I’m certainly nowhere close to the best person for this (the best person would be Kate, but there are likely others who are active in both communities who are far more familiar with Kate’s offerings than I).

    I’m sure there are people out there who would derive pleasure from watching/reading insult or “shout down” an anonymous person who posted a link devoid of commentary….I personally believe that these same people find their time better spent googling things along the lines of “youtube kicked in the nuts.”

    The dynamic, as I see it, is that within the paradigm of salon, kate bears the slings and arrows. Posting a link to a thematically relevant thread here (even if it was just Kate throwing in a link in the letters) wouldn’t change this dynamic and could lead to others continuing the discussion over here (where it would be on your terms, moderated, etc.). The only downside that I see is the extra two minutes of posting a link after reading a piece that person would have read anyway.

    Out of sensitivity to all of you, I’ll stop posting. To those that sent me interesting links, thanks.

  135. btr, sometimes Shapelings do jump in to comment threads on other sites. It isn’t especially sustainable though, because it’s so draining, and because so many people are deeply invested in the idea that weight is an easily controllable health indicator that perfectly reflects a person’s strength of will, attractiveness, and value to society.

    I’m not quite so thrilled with the V shoot. It’s definitely important for women larger than extremely thin models to see representations of women more similar to themselves portrayed as beautiful. But I’m kind of tired of plus size having a default sexy/sassy diva personality, and I would rather see models in a range of sizes all the time than sporadic plus size model shoots.
    Sexy/sassy divas are fine, and the look is kind of a step up from the posed corpse look I’ve seen in some non-plus fashion spreads, but it highlights a divide between plus size and standard models. I think it emphasizes that plus sized models are interlopers in the world of fashion, and I think it serves to keep them that way.

  136. LilahMorgan: Oh man, that last thing you said resonated so strongly with me. There are definitely people who can be convinced of stuff, but they’re rarely the ones spouting vitriol.

    I recently had an awesome, somewhat life-affirming moment with a friend who thought “gay” was an okay word to describe stuff he didn’t like. I called him out on it with no fanfare and left it alone. He came back the next day and said, “Hey, I thought about what you said, and you’re right, I’m going to stop using that word.” (Of course, now he seems confused that it’s not actually a rude word to describe someone’s orientation, but hey, baby steps =P ) The point is, this was a friend of mine that I felt comfortable to call out in conversation. He’s not someone with, as far as I know, ANY exposure to social justice-y stuff, and I didn’t actually expect anything to come from my comment – but the fact that it did means that in the future, I will be totally happy to 101 him. I am pretty happy to 101 anyone who shows they want to learn. But they have to show that. Otherwise they don’t get my energy.

  137. Also want to add to Btr: I used to have the same attitude as you. Then I spent a lot more time in social justice-y spaces and realized why I was able to have that attitude. I’m a thin, straight, white, more-or-less-conventionally-pretty, able-bodied cis woman who, for whatever reason, never absorbed a lot of the damaging anti-woman sentiments that are so prevalent out in the world. I’ve never had children, been married, or had an abortion. I’ve never been in an abusive relationship of any kind. I’ve never been sexually assaulted. I’ve never had an interaction with a stranger that put me in any real fear for my life or safety. This means that I am infinitely more equipped [ugh, hating that choice of words, but can't come up with anything better] than many, many people to engage those who don’t look like they want to hear what we have to say, because in almost every case, I won’t have a horse in the race. I don’t have to worry about how much emotional pain I’ll be in at the end of what, for the other person, is a largely theoretical conversation about rights, because at the end of the day it’s largely theoretical for me too. Do you see why that sort of detached engagement isn’t necessarily available to fat people? (Or most women, or POCs, or the list goes on.) I know you said you don’t understand but are willing to accept, and that’s good, but … do try to understand. I know it’s hard, I’ve been there, but I’m definitely a better person for it.

    I know you’re only suggesting posting a link, but everything you’re saying assumes that people can be engaged enough to figure out what good linking material would be, yet disengaged enough to walk away after one post. People who read Kate’s posts on Broadsheet and still post vitriol have, by that very action, shown themselves not amenable to hearing different perspectives than their own.

    I’d like to add too, since this is something that often gets missed – those of us who are willing to engage people who truly are just unfamiliar with stuff can usually tell the difference between them and the angry troll-types who just want to froth. You’ve gotten a civil and thoughtful hearing here because, for my money, you are clearly not a frothing troll-type. Consider the response you’ve gotten here, and your framing of what you think, and then consider whether you’ve ever seen disagreement framed similarly on Broadsheet. And you might have some idea as to why SP commenters aren’t interested.

  138. I can’t say it enough: THANK YOU Kate for your work here and for taking the message to Salon and other mainstream outlets. I’m so grateful you have the fortitude to fight this fight publicly, and that you have been able to combine your passion for this issue with your passion as a for-pay writer, so that your activism is more likely to be sustainable. And thank you also to the other SP bloggers and the commentariat.

    And I like Kate’s sarcasm. A lot. So it’s not everyone’s style, but it’s your style, so there. It cracks me up when people complain that Kate’s too opinionated — duh! She writes opinion pieces, it’s not meant to be the AP striving for calibrated “objectivity.” I doubt these complainers really want objectivity, anyway, they’re just looking for a red-herring way to attack something they disagree with. If they wanted pure, untainted holy “journalism” they’d be reading the Economist or Foreign Affairs, not saying “fattie” on Salon.

    Regarding posting at Salon and other mainstream sites — I’ve tried before and usually I end of pissed at myself for wasting my time; it usually ends up feeling self-destructive. I think it’s only human nature that, once you say something, you desperately want to see the response. It’s bad enough to read them sometimes, but to get involved, yikes! For me, anyway. It’s too often frustrating to the point of impotent fury, in places like Salon.

    And here’s why: As a woman, as a woman who’s fat, and as a fat woman coming from a working-class background, I’ve gotta keep my eye on the ball of achieving a living wage in my career and some form of job security. No one can do it for me, or provide me a safety net if I fail. My goal is to someday earn the median male salary for my metropolitan area — shouldn’t be too much to ask, but it’s not so easy to achieve.

    It can be tempting to be drawn into internet debates, but if I spend time on that, I have only myself to blame for not spending time on my career. No one on the internet is going to give me points for my well-intentioned comments when it comes time to pay the rent.

    So, in short, cost-benefit analysis just doesn’t work. I wish it did, but it just doesn’t.

    When I do venture to persuade anyone on these issues, it’s in person, where civility is more expected, and you can see the result (or lack of).

  139. (Oh, I hope it was obvious toward the end that I meant the cost-benefit is no good in places like Salon, CNN, etc, not at SP. SP is always worth it.)

  140. I was trying to find a middle ground, which is one of the reasons LilahMorgan’s quote is so vexing to me: “btr, if you think it’s a good idea, why don’t you post a link to kateharding.net over at Salon? I’m getting the impression you don’t actually think it’s a good idea per se, but rather that you would enjoy seeing us shouted down by abusive commenters.” I’m having a really hard time seeing your logic here. What I tried suggesting was that if a longtime reader of kateharding.net read a piece of Kate’s and a relevant and hopefully dynamic thread existed here, that a link to that thread could be provided. As I haven’t been here very long, while not the worst, I’m certainly nowhere close to the best person for this (the best person would be Kate, but there are likely others who are active in both communities who are far more familiar with Kate’s offerings than I).

    Fair enough; I misread your intentions and I apologize for that. I got the impression you might be trying to draw people over to get reemed (a technique I’ve seen used when people are the subjects of internet criticism – “Why don’t you just come over and talk with us about it?”), but you’re clearly engaging in good faith, which I appreciate.

  141. I’m a bit late to respond to this post, but it keeps bugging me. Y’see, I used to be one of those people who was pretty ignorant about most things, thought being PC was bothersome and annoying rather than understanding *why* it is important to address people and groups in a PC manner; I never heard the word cissexual, couldn’t tell transgender pronouns apart; and I always was the quickest to say “why can’t you just enjoy it?” when someone criticized something I liked.
    I’ve changed my mind and my viewpoints, a lot, and for the better, and blogs like Shapely Prose had a lot to do with it.

    Even so, I’m still struggling, repeatedly telling myself to not become defensive when something *I* like gets analysed and critized for being something that isn’t directly relative to the marginalized group I’m a part of (i.e. racist, ageist, ablist – seeing as how I’m fat, white, middle-class and female.)

    And then, there appears this law on the internet, it is called Moff’s, and it tells me to do the following:

    Shut up. Shut the fuck up. Shut your goddamn fucking mouth. SHUT. UP.

    That’s not very encouraging. That’s the equivalent of slapping me in the face and kicking me in the groin when I’m trying, very hard, to not be defensive. I see your point, I understand how important it is to be critical of all media, and I know it’s incredibly backwards of me to cheer on criticism of Wall-E for being sizeist yet want the stuff I’m *not* bothered by to be ‘left alone’. I know it’s backwards, so I’m trying to change. Seeing my own hypocrisy, attempting to turn it around in a world that keeps encouraging me by all means to have all the prejudice I can and laugh and profit at the expense of others.

    And then, by the very sources that pointed me in the right direction, I get told to shut up. Shut the fuck up. Shut my goddamn fucking mouth. SHUT. UP.

    It doesn’t make me feel all that positive. And it certainly doesn’t encourage me to be more accepting of criticism.

  142. An Item Of Interest: Even mainstream health sites admit the problems of fat discrimination within the medical field:

    http://living.health.com/2009/12/28/fat-discrimination/

    Be warned for Sanity Watchers purposes–some of the quotes from doctors they interviewed reinforce stereotypes about fatness being due to laziness and/or lack of willpower. The article itself assumes that people can lose weight, of course, but nothing outside of quotes is as bad as some of the stuff I saw in quotes. The one in the 2nd paragraph on page 5 accuses fat people of being both lazy and uncompliant in a single short sentence!

    What I found particularly interesting was that an article that espouses the mainstream view of fat is basically refuting the attempt to explain the “obesity paradox” by saying that fat people receive more aggressive treatment for heart problems, both throughout the article and here in particular:
    Even more worrisome, a study from Duke University found that obese patients were less likely to receive procedures like cardiac catheterization that can help diagnose and treat heart disease, perhaps because doctors are concerned about potential complications, says lead author William Yancy Jr., MD, an associate professor at Duke and a staff physician at the VA Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. Because of the high risk of heart disease in obese patients, the benefits of catheterization may outweigh the risks, he says. “But if the tests aren’t performed, heavy patients may not receive appropriate therapy.”

  143. Seeing my own hypocrisy, attempting to turn it around in a world that keeps encouraging me by all means to have all the prejudice I can and laugh and profit at the expense of others.

    And then, by the very sources that pointed me in the right direction, I get told to shut up. Shut the fuck up. Shut my goddamn fucking mouth. SHUT. UP.

    It doesn’t make me feel all that positive. And it certainly doesn’t encourage me to be more accepting of criticism.

    Damanique, did you read Moff’s Law in full? It’s not about encouraging you to be more accepting of criticism. It’s about telling people who want to derail critical discussions by saying “God why don’t you just ENJOY it” that they’re being profoundly unproductive and if they think such a conversation is stupid, they should stay out of that conversation. That’s easy enough, right?

    Also, on this?

    That’s the equivalent of slapping me in the face and kicking me in the groin when I’m trying, very hard, to not be defensive.

    I suggest you read this.

  144. Damanique, Moff’s law isn’t saying you can’t get defensive, just that it’s both common and annoying for a person to insist that other people shouldn’t think about things like movies, particularly in places where thinking about things is kind of the point.

    For instance, if I were to see and enjoy Wall-E, and come across a discussion about how fatphobic it is on the fatosphere somewhere, I could respond in several ways:
    A. I could argue that Wall-E isn’t fatphobic.
    B. I could argue that the fatphobia in Wall-E isn’t so bad as to ruin the movie.
    C. I could argue that the fatphobia in Wall-E is good in some way.
    D. I could tell everyone that Wall-E is just a movie, why can’t they just enjoy it.
    E. I could go away and look at a funny cat picture.

    Moff’s law only applies to D. I could still get defensive or disagree without invoking Moff’s law. It would still be annoying to the people trying to discuss issues in the movie, but it wouldn’t be “why are you even commenting?” annoying.

    I would argue that Moff’s law wouldn’t count in most meatspace interactions, because people aren’t able to move from one conversation to another easily IRL, and a person might have reasons for not wanting to be stuck listening to or participating in film criticism.

  145. Just reading the discussion on why educating the world is tiresome, I thought I’d share – when I am out in the world, now, I’m am more and more often FA. But online, I’m less and less so. Too easy to be dehumanized.

    If I’m online and run into something insane or annoying, I pop into SP to make sure that y’all still exist: today, I’m here because Joy Bauer is afraid of fat on her popcorn. I wasn’t upset; but it’s a habit to ward off internalization. So yeah: the only thing a Broadsheet comment does is cause me to click through here and remember all these people – funny, thoughtful, smart fat people and allies – don’t deserve this random fratboy scorn.

  146. Damanique, did you read Moff’s Law in full?

    I did, and I pretty much found myself agreeing with all of it until I ran into that one line – the one that told me to shut the fuck up. I instantly had a fierce emotional reaction to that: the urge to yell back, ‘no, YOU shut up!’ Perhaps, because there is equal as much fierce emotion in the original statement. Telling someone to ‘shut their goddamn fucking mouth’, for me, is language soaked in anger and hatred even if the arguments before and after it, and the case they are arguing for or against, are completely reasonable and understandable. And language that is that strong evokes an equally strong, and negative, reaction from me – which isn’t in the best interest of the cause (do not derail critical discussions) that was being argued. I think the best way I can put it is that I am extremely off-put by the shut-the-fuck-up-shut-your-goddamn-fucking-mouth statement, to such an extent that Moff’s law becomes something negative and frustrating whenever I come across it.

    … Well, great, now it comes across as ‘women and their emotional language’, which *really* isn’t what I’m trying to say. (Though it’s entirely possible to be sexist towards your own gender, and maybe I’m still carrying around crap I’m not aware of.) If anything, it seems *I* am too sensitive to language.

    I suggest you read this.

    Thank you for that link; I never realized using violent metaphors in a discussion is a way of silencing and subduing the other party. I’ve probably been doing that all the time, since I’ve a tendency to talk in metaphors and hyperboles. Clearly being slapped in the face and kicked in the groin is a lot more painful than being off-put by words on the internet.

    @Puffalo:

    I think my main issue is not with Moff’s law itself – which I think is pretty sensible and something I’ve previously not thought about, considering I was one of those “can’t you just enjoy it?” people. It’s the SHUT UP line that bothers me, a lot.

  147. Correction on previous comment:

    I pretty much found myself agreeing with all of it until I ran into that one line

    I mean that I read the whole thing, and that one line – already very off-putting at the start – kept bugging and bothering me no matter how much I agreed with the rest. Couldn’t remember where in the article that line was, and I thought it was at the end.

  148. Damanique–
    Those who violate Mott’s Law are the people actively trying to derail any discussion of substantive topics. They are trying to silence others. To these, I think STFU is a reasonable response.

    If you just shrug and think, “I don’t get it” and go somewhere else, Mott’s Law does not apply. If you say to yourself, “But I love that book and I really don’t want to be made miserable by the classist implications” and therefore don’t read the essay, Mott’s Law doesn’t apply.

    The single crucial point is that the people who chime in just to say, “Stop talking,” need to stop talking. From your self-description, that’s not you.

  149. I have to say that, while I’m usually not comfortable with foul language, reading the “shut up” line in that essay felt very … vicariously cathartic? I encounter the “just don’t think about it” sentiment so often, especially in comment threads on particular blogs, that really I needed to hear someone say that. The widespread glorification of unengaged anti-intellectualism blocks the possibility of so many fruitful social and political developments and traps people in their own tiny world-wells — often the people who stand to benefit the most from empowerment through the skills of critical inquiry.

    Cultural. Analysis. Is. Important.

  150. Actually, while I agree with Moff’s Law, I can see where Damanique is coming from a bit.

    Sometimes my eyes jump around a bit while reading, and the caps draws my eyes to the “SHUT UP” and the “goddamn fucking mouth” right before it. And I flinched a little, without knowing who it was talking about. Then I read the preceding part, and thought, “Well, that’s understandable–that sort of thing is really annoying.” I think that if you’re not coming from a place where you’ve often been annoyed by the sort of person that the “SHUT UP” is directed at (not just “intellectually I can understand why you’d feel that way”), you can’t help but flinch at that kind of anger.

    That doesn’t mean that in a thread not written by and for n00bs, everything has to be calibrated to n00b sensibilities. If you’re neither their target nor their audience, I think the best thing to do is just try to take a step back and move on.

  151. ClosetPuritan–
    You’re right, of course. I rejoiced in Mott’s Law because I am often so very tired of being the Dour Humorless Feminist (TM) who stands up and says, “Yeah, it’s funny, but it’s trading on an ugly stereotype.” The one who ends up defending Sarah Palin. The one who is accused of taking everything too seriously. Yet if no one stands up and says, “Hey, when Cary Grant knocks Katharine Hepburn to the ground, that’s not funny,” then people keep laughing. Fortunately someone said it, long ago enough and often enough that that scene in Philadelphia Story gets a group gasp instead of a guffaw when it’s show in theaters. But there’s still a huge trade in derogatory jokes about women, and gays, and people of color, and people with disabilities. I had to tell my brothers to STFU about Chris Crocker’s gender tonight and I am TIRED of being told to loosen up and agree that it’s something to make fun of.

    Whoops. I must be more incensed than I realized about this subject. Um, hi, everyone. I’m Starling, and I’m a little pissy tonight.

  152. “It’s the SHUT UP line that bothers me, a lot.”

    Right — but if I busted into the thread and said, “Stop criticizing and over-analyzing such a delicious rant! Why can’t you just enjoy “Moff’s Law” as pure, juicy entertainment? Why oh why must feminists ALWAYS pick stuff like this to death?” — maybe then, that STFU would feel & sound a lot more palatable… :)

  153. 1. ‘feminazi hive vagina’ is made of win.

    2. ‘turkish delight’ = belly dancing, followed by the secks on a pile of embroidered pillows, followed by baklava???

    3. Whenever Kate writes a column in Salon, the comments invariably fall into one of three categories:
    a. Kate is just bitter because she’s fat, and therefore has no credibility;
    b. Fat people (especially fat women) are just plain unhealthy, and anyone who says otherwise is in denial, no matter how much evidence they have to back it up;
    c. No men, anywhere, ever, are attracted to fat women, and anyone who says otherwise is in denial and/or trying to force us doods to be attracted to fat women.
    It’s like a fat-loathing Mad Lib, or a poorly conceived drinking game.

  154. Tessie you win the internetz!. salon comment threads do my head in. Far too much fat hating, misogyny and far far far far too much mansplaining. makes me want to smash the computer. Kate deserves a medal for keeping on writing there. pearls before swine…

  155. So I don’t get what’s so awesome about showing non-skinny women naked. Wow. So now we will have a spread of teh fatties! For you other fatties! And we’ll make teh fatties half-naked! So they can be sexxxxaaaay! Because women are not good for anything except being sexy! Did we mention nobody will look at teh fatties unless we make them sexxxxay?

    It’s to puke.

  156. @tinfoil hattie: I’m guessing you’re not serious about “do not get” and just mean that you disagree that it’s a good thing. There’s plenty of comments on the Jezebel article about why people think it’s a good thing.

    I have mixed feelings about “yay, now we can be objectified too!” But it does help women who are not super-skinny feel more attractive. More importantly for me personally, it makes it a lot easier to tell if clothing would look good on me if someone with a vaguely similar body type is wearing it. Now if only more of them were wearing clothing that I would actually wear…

  157. @closetpuritan – Yeah, I would actually like to see a good range of women wearing clothing that is actually for sale in most stores or catalogs. And mannequins, too. I like Latina magazine because they regularly show women of different sizes (and heights!) wearing normal people clothes, so you can get a sense of what would look good on you.

  158. @closetpuritan: Abso-fucking-lutely. I’m much more interested in the clothes — the gorgeous half-naked fat women don’t actually float my boat, but I was definitely having an “ooh, where can I get those jeans?” moment. The reason I like “plus-sized” fashion spreads is that I can get an idea of what an outfit might look like on me. That was one of the things I adored about Mode, back in the day: I didn’t have to wonder “but what will those clothes look like on my hips?”

  159. Tessie–
    Re: Turkish Delight, I wish I had a boyfriend who would belly-dance for me. I am full of jealousy.

  160. @Starling:

    At the moment, I have neither a boyfriend nor baklava : – (
    That’s just my best guess as to what Turkish Delight is.

  161. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe would have been a very different book (in a good way) if the White Witch had been handing out bellydancing boyfriends. :-)

    (Turkish Delight is a gummy candy — often pistachio or rose flavored — that always sounds better than it actually tastes to me. When I read the Narnia books as a kid I imagined it as some kind of really delectable, nut-covered fudge.)

  162. I always imagained Turkish Delight as somewhere between a marshmallow and a jellybean. Sort of like the stuff inside a 3 Musketeers bar, except fruit flavored.

  163. I have a brilliant solution to all airline security woes-everyone flies naked. You also have to be subjected to a full cavity search. No carry on luggage.

    Or we could just work on a sensible foreign policy.

  164. Ick … don’t like Turkish Delights. Too sweet, sticky, perfumed, and featuring colors not found in nature.

  165. @LilahMorgan: Yeah, it sounds like real-life Turkish Delight isn’t nearly as good as how I imagined it when I read the Narnia books. I thought of it as something chocolately and nutty (maybe coconutty) but also fluffy. Kind of like a Ferrero Rocher truffle (although I did not know what those were at the time), but better.

    I like the fictional Turkish Delight with the baklava and the belly dancing better.

    My boyfriend’s brother married an Armenian in October, and this meant that I got to eat homemade baklava. And “beef sushi”… and and and… Lots of good food there.

  166. Yuuuuumm, homemade baklava. A college roommate’s mom once brought us over a whole big tray during finals. It was the greatest thing ever.

  167. I BEG your pardon. Funny Cat Videos can be incredibly deep and full of layered insight and hidden meaning.

    (hee!)

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