Weekend Open Thread

Sorry about the light posting this week, but FJ and SM have already offered their explanations, and mine is that my mother-in-law was in town and I was sick. (Comment on that combo from my Facebook page: “In a sitcom, this would be where you decide to repaint the bathroom, which goes horribly awry in a million ways and results in you trying to hide the fact that you’ve glued your hand to your pants and Al’s mom having to run around the corner to the dive bar to pee for the entire visit.”) 

And now, I’m headed out of town for my first (and knock wood, last) destination bachelorette party, which is what all the bathing suit fuss was about.  (Well, technically, it’s not a destination bachelorette per se, because the bride actually lives in the resort town where it’s taking place; she didn’t just pick a random location and ask us all to fly there.) Things I’m excited about: Hanging with a couple of my oldest besties, fruity cocktails, warm weather. Things I’m not excited about: Barfy heteronormative rituals, the bathing suit I settled on (one I already owned, after hours of browsing online and even driving around the suburbs looking for suits to try on), airports. 

In unrelated things I’m excited about, an advance copy of THE ACTUAL BOOK arrived yesterday! Marianne took a picture of hers — check it out. It’s real! And so far, I’ve only found one typo. Don’t tell me about the others. 

Aaaaanyway. I got nuthin’, and I gotta go write one more Broadsheet post for the day, then finish packing. Talk amongst yourselves. If you need a topic, try Mo’s post on Star Jones and the implications of lying about gastric by-pass surgery. See you next week.

93 thoughts on “Weekend Open Thread”

  1. Great! I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to cheer the fact that Kate got name-checked in the most recent issue of Bitch. So…


  2. I am SO STRESSED out. On February 28th, we found a new apartment which is much more affordable for us and the perfect size/location/etc. I was in love with it. We were supposed to move on the 15th. Well, yesterday (on our wedding anniversary, of course), the landlord calls us and says, “Hi. So, I decided that I need to increase the rent by 200/month.” We’d already signed the lease, so technically he can’t do it, but he’s not budging. So we can either a) find a new place by the 15th, possibly losing our $900 deposit on the old place by breaking the lease or b) take him to court to keep the old rent, which will probably take awhile and cost more than $900.
    *sigh* I know it’s not fat-related, but it’s a huge bummer.

  3. Ouch, Carleigh! I have no idea if there’s something else you can do so you don’t have to pay so much in court costs (maybe just threaten him with a letter from an attorney?) but I am sending good thoughts your way, or baby donuts if that would be better.

  4. Ugh, Carleigh. That is awful. I love that people make decisions based on the fact that they KNOW what they are doing is illegal, but they also know it’s not worth it to people to go to court.

  5. If you WIN the case it won’t cost you $900 to go to court, though. He might even owe you penalties. (There are also steps before that, right? Letters or forms from your local landlord-tenant association informing him that he’s breaking the law? Sometimes the threat of a suit is as effective as actually going to court.) But then, of course, you get to have a landlord who hates you, which means nothing broken will ever get repaired. Crappy and dishonest landlords suck!

    Yay for the book coming out! Very exciting!

    It’s pouring. I think I might NOT drag my students out there this afternoon…

  6. Stephanie: We had the Ontario Renters Association call him to try to explain the legalities of what he was trying to do, but he wouldn’t take the call nor return it.
    He’s accusing us of trying to screw him over because according to him, it’s obviously worth the new price, he was giving us a break on the old price. One of the reasons we were moving was because our current landlord is overcharging us and never fixes anything.

    *stuffs face with various baby pastries*

  7. I’m writing a job talk that works in some FA stuff. My field is theology, and my research interest is on theology and place, but I can’t do a precis of the dissertation or I’d just lose everyone. Instead I decided to have fun and talk about ways that the dominant culture places/locates bodies, the understanding of “place” that is at work there, and possibilities for a theological response. The three points diagnostic points I’m making are:

    1. The images of bodies that are offered up for our consumption, reveal some of the things that we’re all collectively kind of anxious about regarding place and the erasure thereof. There’s this fear that locality is giving way to a kind of commercial sameness; and we see some of this in the pervasive images of idealized bodies appearing in placeless places.

    2. Superimposed onto our beliefs about “healthy” bodies, are anxieties about the effects of taking up too much space in the form of consumerism. (Of course, this a big boogeyman and fraught with race, class, and gender oppression. I hope they figure that out.)

    3. “Fat” as a cultural symbol also is made to signify not only “taking up too much space” but “unsightly marginality w/r/t the rest of the social body” and “lack of productivity.” So, accordingly, representations of fat bodies are placed in ways that highlight marginality, inactivity, not being at the center of things.

    I won’t use this space to launch into my theological response for thinking about place and marginality differently, and I probably have a lot more to edit and revise, but those are my initial thoughts. Any feedback? I probably should simplify it a lot. This isn’t a cultural studies department at an R1 school, so I think I’m pitching it a little high.

  8. WOOHOO, Iowa!

    Carleigh, that completely sucks, but I’m with Volcanista in that even if you convince him to do the right thing, you’re still stuck with a shitty, unethical landlord. Finding another place would be a huge PITA right now, but it might mean fewer headaches in the long run.

  9. Woooo, Iowa! Did Grinnell College just take over the rest of the state or what? I’m delighted and surprised.

  10. Yes, I agree with Kate. If he has your deposit, and he doesn’t return it, state laws vary but there is a time limit within which he has to give a good reason for that (normally that would be documented damage to the place, but since you haven’t moved in, he doesn’t have a leg to stand on). And if you take him to court, he would be responsible for the deposit plus penalties, sometimes as much as triple the deposit withheld.

    If you decide to fight for the place, a phone call isn’t as legally effective as something on paper, anyway. Photocopied by you first and sent certified mail. Legal paperwork is much more effective than a person telling him he’s doing something wrong, especially if he has decided that his personal injury is more important than the law. Which I think is a very bad sign anyway, but yeah.

    A Sarah, U R SMRT. Also, if it’s not R1, what’s the audience? The department should be able to tell you who to pitch it to – undergrad student level, grad student level, etc.

  11. haha, kate, you’d think writing a WHOLE BOOK would get you off the hook for a few blog posts. but i guess not.

    we’re voracious readers, what can we say?

    glad it’s nothing worse than a cold keepin’ you down, and congratulations on the book. i have it pre-ordered at powell’s! ;D

  12. volcanista, it’s a school of ministry. (A liberal one, which is why I’m even a candidate, lol. The funny thing is, they apparently were a little worried after the phone interview that I’m too conservative, I think because of the place I got my masters and one author I mentioned in a more-or-less positive light. Which I can understand, but still… I heard that through the grapevine and I was like, oh, honeys, can I ever relieve you of that worry.)

    Anyway, the VP told me to pitch it at the level of a talk one might give at a pastors’ weekend retreat. There would be a number of working adult students, second career folks, etc.

  13. IOWA?? Okay, what the heck happened to the United States while I wasn’t looking? Are we sure this isn’t a leftover April Fool’s Day joke? I just hate to let myself hope like that…

    Carleigh, I’m so sorry you have to go through this. There is just no way to look at it that doesn’t suck. I think Kate’s right, though–it’s probably best to move somewhere else and get this guy out of your life, but definitely fight for your deposit back.

    In other news, I had a dream last night where I ended up debating with someone about fat acceptance, and I think my arguments actually made sense. That hardly ever happens in dreams. Has to be a good sign of something, right?

  14. Carleigh, I just read about your headache landlord. That sucks! Good luck. I wish I could help more. Say, I heard on This American Life about someone who was dealing with an unethical and unresponsive condo developer who’d cut a ton of corners in the building that weren’t disclosed. So the residents put a sign in the street-facing window to that effect. It lit a fire under him, since they were trying to sell the remaining units. I don’t know if that’s an option for you, but I thought you might find it cheering. I could never do that, though. For one thing, I get scared being so direct, and for two, my sign would be way too wordy. :)

  15. Two friends of my roommate and I are coming down from NYC for the Cherry Blossom Festival!

    And starting next weekend, I am going to be volunteering at the National Zoo. I think I’m going to be doing mostly clerical office-type work, but it will get me out of the apartment and active at least one more day a week.

  16. A Sarah, I would love to hear your theological response to the questions you raised–maybe it could be a forum thread on the ning site?

  17. Hi Carleigh,

    Are you in Ontario? This week I attended to a talk from people at Osgoode Law School (York University) about tenant rights. They offer free legal help in case you meet their requirements (mostly income-based). If you really wanna keep this apartment, you should give it a try, maybe.
    Here’s their website: http://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/legal_clinics/legal_clinics.html

    BTW, I live in Toronto and I am also looking for an apartment. I am scared about not finding something affordable prior to my moving day. Renting is soooooo expensive here!

  18. Can I take a moment to pat myself on the back a little? I finally spoke to our neighbor about his dogs barking in a non-confrontational and supportive way before they drove me to the point where I can’t be rational. I’m not sure it did much good because he did get a little defensive even though I worked very hard to avoid that (I like the neighbors and I don’t even hate their dogs, just 2.5 hours of constant barking is too much), but I’m damned proud of myself for actually going over there and saying something.

    (Wandering off-topic a little, I do hope that if I was doing something that annoyed them, or someone else, they’d say something in a tactful way before it got to the crisis point. Most of the time it would be no big deal to change if I just knew about it.)

  19. Carleigh – Landlord-tenant is NOT my practice area (not anywhere even close), and I’m not a Canadian att’y, but a couple of points, to take w/ a grain of salt. (1) At least in the U.S. you’d meet the threshhold for small claims court; assuming Canadian jurisdiction & filing fees are similar, you shouldn’t be anywhere near $900 to take him to court. (2) If there’s a decent-sized law school nearby, get in contact w/ them. Many law schools run student clinics for these types of matters, and it’s a good possible resource for some legal assistance, sending out letters, etc. Best of luck!

  20. Kate, congratulations on the book! I can’t wait to read it.

    Carleigh, you might call your local legal aid office. They usually have free self advocacy information about the legal ins and outs of situations like these and what the legal steps to take to ensure that you get your money back.

    What a tool though. I agree with others that you don’t need a landlord like that. Who’s to say he won’t raise the rent again in a few months?

  21. Kate, congratulations on the book! I can’t wait to read it.

    Carleigh, you might call your local legal aid office. They usually have free self advocacy information about the legal ins and outs of situations like these and what the legal steps to take to ensure that you get your money back.

    What a tool though. I agree with others that you don’t need a landlord like that. Who’s to say he won’t raise the rent again in a few months?

  22. Thanks for all the advice everyone!! It is really, really helpful and encouraging. *mad Shapely Prose love*

    We have 4 appointments to look at new apartments tonight. As Kate (and others) said, even though we probably can legally swing it and stay in the place, the guy is already pissed at us and being a jerkass.

    He called my husband at work today, and it sounds like he will give us the deposit back if we just leave him alone and don’t sue him. So, hopefully it will work out okay.

    daiane: yes, we’re in Toronto. We’re trying to find a two bedroom apartment for 800-1000, so we’re viewed some…interesting places, for sure. (By interesting, I mean gross and tiny and dirty and unsafe, if that wasn’t clear). Good luck to you!

  23. TropicalChrome, wow, I could use you around here. I work in a building that has offices with no doors, and the people down the hall drive me crazy with their loud chatter and yelling between offices and phone conversations at top volume. They’ve been pointedly unfriendly, so I feel like I can’t go have a friendly chat, and they’re from another department so I can’t ask their manager to make them shut up.

  24. Caffeine, is your management cool? If so, ask them to tell the other folks’ manager to make them shut up. From personal experience, it’s very effective. :)

    Kate, congrats on the book copy and have fun at the bachelorette party!

  25. @tropicalchrome: Congrats on standing up for yourself and handling it without calling the authorities. I had two dogs like that in my last neighborhood, one on each side of me!

    The first one was a situation where the dog would bark when they were not home. Like the whole time they were at work every day, all day. I was such a coward, I wrote an anonymous note, but it worked. They started taking the dog to doggy day care.

    Then my other neighbor got married and his new wife brought her dog. They would let it sit out in the yard and bark for HOURS, even when they were home. I went and talked to them directly (very nicely I thought) and the wife started yelling my face that her dog could bark any damn time it wanted as long as it wasn’t at night.

    I went home, printed out the local law for them that said otherwise (he was a lawyer, I figured that would hit home) and left it on their door. I am shocked at how well it worked. I never heard the dog bark like that ever again.

  26. Carleigh, I’m in Vancouver where the landlord hijinks have gotten serious, and I hear you on trying to find a place. We need a three bedroom, and most of them that we could live in are in the $2300 price range, which is way over budget. Of course, Vancouver overbuilt like mad and our bubble just started deflating last June, so we’re tracking the States at a 2 year lag – but I dunno how long we can hang in in our current apartment, which is a small for the four of us.

  27. @killedbyllamas, nah, my manager is as nonconfrontational as I am. She sighs about the noise, but isn’t willing to do anything about it. Woe. *dramatic hand to forehead*

  28. So, the other night, my husband and I are in our default weeknight modes – him on the couch watching TV, me in front of the computer looking at some damn thing on the Internet. I’m not paying attention to what he’s watching; we share a small apartment and so are great at tuning out.

    Suddenly he blurts out, “That is SO offensive, I can’t keep watching this!” I turn and look at the TV. “What, honey?” It’s some entertainment-news show, and they’re talking to actresses who have lost weight. He changes the channel.

    “Well, yeah, it’s crap,” I said, “but what set you off?”

    “This woman was talking about losing weight,” he said, “and she talked about how disgusting and unattractive she used to look. Then they showed her picture and she was built just like you!”


    “It’s like they were saying that you are gross and disgusting! How dare they!” He was really honestly mad.

    “Yes, hon.” I said. “That’s what they really think.”

    “And that there’s something wrong with me that I think you’re hot.”

    “Yep, they think that too.” Just then, a weight-loss ad came on. “Argh!” he said. “It’s here too! This is so offensive!”

    I give him the quizzical-dog look. “Honey, what cave have you just crawled out of?”

    He says he never noticed before how horribly the whole weight-loss thing is framed – he assumed that it was all about getting healthy for people who weren’t. Seeing someone who looks like me set up as an example of ickiness finally got him to see through it.

    I have never discussed FA with him. He just got this all on his own. I am proud of him.

  29. I will abuse this thread to answer A Sarah and Sweet Machine’s enquiries about my wellbeing, which made me cry last night, because it had been that kind of day. Nothing serious wrong, just a bad case of finals + non-cooperative computer + period + girlfriend’s psycho-ex-girlfriend’s girlfriend (say that five times fast) showing up at her old work and demanding to know where she worked now so she could “smash her face in”. Excellent. It’s always nice when someone you love has a potential violent stalker.

    So yeah, I am much better now. Halfway through a Joni Mitchell album the painkiller-resistant 6-hour headache started to ease and I could see again, so that was nice. And there has been sleep and life is looking better.

    Also, I fucking hate finals. That is all.

  30. Carleigh, my suggestion is that you look for another place, then take the landlord to small claims for any money you’re out from having to look for another place. And don’t forget to include the interest you lost for the amount of time he’s had your deposit.

  31. Nettle, that’s awesome. I have a few friends whose husbands are always trying to put them on diets and suggesting gastric bypass, and I can’t even imagine how demeaning that must feel.

    I feel really lucky that my husband is the kind of free thinker who somehow just never bought into that stuff about ideal bodies and all that and who loves me as I am. When I did start learning about FA and sharing it, he just got it and agreed right away.

    I have to say that I’ve met more men who are accepting of the FA ideas than women, and I’m not sure if that is just my personal experience or if women across the board tend to have a harder time with it. Any thoughts?

  32. I just got into a minor hissy fit in the comments of a blog whose author (who I normally rather like) was defending his right to use the word “retarded” because, “…I certainly know that children (and immature adults) have a long history of misusing the word “retarded” — and a lot of other words. The solution cannot be that mature people can’t use the word anymore. We must argue against irrationality. We must argue against stupid reactions. We must demand common sense. We MUST take back our language.”

    Yeah, because our language will be so impoverished without a word that’s likely to hurt someone every time it’s used. And it’s IRRATIONAL to try to avoid hurting people every time you open your mouth.

    The real irony is…he was defending his right to use the word as an insult, not even in its original medical sense. And he’s not lumping himself in with the “immature adults”? (Though in all fairness, he did amend that part of his position later on.)

    If you feel like chiming in:
    (I don’t think it requires any more Sanity Watchers points than the quote above, but I didn’t read all the comments, so no guarantees.)

  33. *sigh* Dammit, I’m finishing library grad school in a few months, and then moving to Nashville, cause the partner is starting grad school there. I am so scared about not being able to find a job. It’s really stressful. I haven’t even seen a relevant job posted in weeks.

  34. Sticky – I suspect the message “fat = bad” weighs more heavily on women. While this can make women more aware of the unfairness of it, women are also being targeted more heavily and have more to lose by not buying into the dominant cultural narrative. The only people I have really talked to about FA are my husband (who is a bit resistant because he is very health-conscious and hasn’t examined the “but fat is unhealthy” business very carefully) and my sister. My sister seemed, if anything, more resistant initially, and the vibe I got was one of “don’t take away my FoBT!” She’s on the light side of being an in-betweenie, and I definitely think it affects her reaction. The “ideal” seems so close that any suggestion that it’s a bad ideal is to be rejected.

  35. Caitlin, holy SHIT… It sounds like the ex-girlfriend has found someone who shares her volatility, which is scary to contemplate.

    In other news, I have funky rust and magenta stripey knee socks and a turquoisel t-shirt and I keep thinking that if I put them together in some clever way I’ll look like the hipsters at fatshionista. But I don’t. I look like one of those puzzles where you match up unrelated tops and bottoms of creatures (hippo head and upper torso with chicken lower body, etc.) What do the fatshionistas DO? I have a suspicion it involves accessories, but that’s where I get lost.

  36. Oh, wait… I didn’t finish my thought, sorry. I meant to also say, Caitlin, that I really hope it doesn’t become a potential stalking situation, but if it does, there are some good resources online for what to do. God forbid it should come to that, though.

  37. Jenny1144, I don’t have the energy to put into that comment thread (especially since I’ve been into it over at Feministe this week), but have you pointed the author to my post about “retarded”? Not that it’s the be-all end-all of essays! Just that it might provide a different perspective. Of course, Kate says it most pithily in our comments policy:

    If someone gets pissy at you for using the word “retarded” for instance, that doesn’t mean they think you’re an evil person who hates developmentally disabled people OR that they’re hysterical, overreacting thought police. It means there are people around here who find that word hurtful, and we’re a lot more interested in protecting their feelings than your god-given right not to think of a better word.

  38. Thank you, A Sarah! I will look at some in case it all kicks off. I really hopes she just fucks off though. Girlfriend dated psycho-ex 4 YEARS ago. Why the hell is this happening now? I guess crazy people just keep being crazy.

    In other free-thread-abusing news, I am having a very very very bad body week. I’ve put a bunch of weight in the past few months, and it’s the bunch of weight that pushed me from…I suppose from the acceptable side of tweener into for-reals fat.

    It is very weird. It’s not the weight itself that’s bothering me (because plenty of people bigger than me look/are fucking kick-ass), it’s how much my body has changed and how different it is to what I’m used to (and had really come to like, actually). And to make matters worse, the part of me I liked least already (my belly, as those of you who’ve been memorising my comments will know) is the bit almost all the weight’s gone on to, so it is now (at least to my eye, this week) enormous. I just can’t deal with it. I can’t handle looking in the mirror and seeing this person who doesn’t look like me, and doesn’t look like me in the worst way I think could look like not-me. I don’t have any clothes that fit this me, and I can’t afford to/don’t want to buy any. It’s gotten to the point where I tear up any time I look in the mirror, and I am trying so hard to remember that diets don’t work, and there isn’t a weight above which I stop being an acceptable/attractive human being, but I feel like I “trapped” my girlfriends by starting going out with them when I was thinner and now I’m so much bigger and I held my stomach in even when I was thinner because I thought it was too big and now I’m just holding it in all the time, so hard it hurts, and that is no way to live. And I don’t want to eat anything because I feel like I’m “adding to” it. I’m aware this is completely irrational, but just now I can’t stop feeling it. It’s like I’ve been hijacked.

    And I don’t know what the solution to any of this is, but I just wanted to say it to people who will understand (and not say “yeah, you are getting fat”, which is essentially what my parents said last time I was home), because, just now, it is really getting me down.

  39. Caitlin wrote: it’s how much my body has changed and how different it is to what I’m used to

    This is why body acceptance – self acceptance, really – is a process, not an end goal. Because the minute you accept your body as it is, it changes. (Ah, the fun visits by the perimenopause fairy!) Your description is so accurate, that it feels like the person in the mirror simply isn’t you.

    Change is really hard to accept because we’re creatures of habit. Yet change seems to be the natural state of things, and paradoxically, a static state seems to be the most transient.

    If I knew a simple solution, I’d write a best seller and become really, really rich :). The best I know how is to take it one day at a time and not beat yourself up more because you’re not immediately accepting of every change. Just as change takes time, so does acceptance.

    And just to repeat the obvious, there is no one way to be acceptable. You are acceptable. We all are.

  40. Caitlin, do you know why you’ve put the weight on? Because if it’s more than “new medication’s side effect, sigh” or “I stopped starving myself”, it could indicate some sort of medical problem, like thyroid troubles, which affect you beyond “Crap, I have to buy new pants”.

  41. Oh and PS Caitlin I too recently had significant weight gain I couldn’t quite explain, and I went to the doctor and there was no big cause for it but I was glad I checked, and since then a bit of the weight came off and then just sorta leveled out.

    Fortunately I was able to afford new clothes, which helped me a LOT, but it’s understandable that you don’t want to spend the money on that when there’s a recession and money is tight already so that’s your call…

  42. Aw, Caitlin, I’m so sorry you’re going through that! I don’t have the answers either, but I will say something about the girlfriends. I suspect that someone you started going out with as a tweener, and especially someone you started going out with, is probably the kind of person who is going to stay attracted to you no matter what size you are. These don’t sound like people who seemed like they liked you but really liked some Hollywood ideal you represented; these sound like people who like you. Of course, I could be wrong, but in that case you probably want to get rid of them anyway. :)

    In cheerier news, I just ran across a blog entry on change.org, not an FA site, that attacks the “bikini body” ideal without once mentioning the health advantages blah di blah of losing weight. I was pleasantly shocked. And since I seem to be in a link-posting mood today:
    (comments not recommended)

    It doesn’t go all the way to FA, but I don’t think it contradicts it at any point, either. I’d be curious to know if more experienced eyes catch things I missed.

  43. ((((Caitlin))))) I find it really hard to deal with not recognizing/liking my body as it changes, too, and not feeling like I can do anything about it other than beat myself up over it and then beat myself up for beating myself up. For me right now it’s the changes from having kids. I know that experience of looking in the mirror and crying. I don’t have any advice either… it just completely sucks. I’m sorry. (And Tropical Chrome, I’m going to print out your comment and stick it on the fridge for when I have those days.)

  44. ((((Caitlin))))) I have actually been thinking about writing a post on that very phenomenon of recognizing your own body. When I was losing weight rapidly because of medical problems, I had that problem, too, and I was actually kind of shocked to realize that it was just as discomfiting for me to watch my body get thinner as it has been to watch it get fatter. Now I’m finally regaining some of that weight (probably with help from Lexapro) and I feel like I recognize my body again. It’s very confusing.

    But what I want to say about YOU is that you are completely awesome and funny and we all love you here, and the fact that you are having these irrational thoughts even in the face of your awesome fierceness is a sign of how powerfully these cultural scripts of negativity are instilled in all of us. Our misogynist and fat-hating culture HAS hijacked you; your psyche has been turned into a battleground without your consent. No wonder you feel shitty. Like TC says, self-acceptance is a constant process — and you are well equipped for it. You will not always feel this way. You will not always cry when you look in the mirror. You will fight off those hijackers; it just takes time as well as mental effort.

  45. A Sarah, I would love to hear you talk more about your theology work–I too urge you on to the Ning site! I’m getting an M.Div. but honestly never thought about the connections between theology and FA until right now.

    Caitlin–Sending you hugs. What SM said.

  46. Thank kittens for this open thread because I have to have somewhere to grumble about this new dress I just got, because sizing charts are lying to me. Of course I took the risk and ordered something online, but it was SO CUTE and now I’m pissed because it’s at least 4-5 inches too big all around. I, like all other women, have resigned myself to the fact that vanity sizing is going to be wildly inconsistent, but when there’s a size chart for that specific brand, and then I get my measuring tape out and double check my measurements, I expect that size to be the right size! Has anyone else had this problem?

  47. To Caitlin

    *Hugs* I understand exactly how you feel and I’m sorry to read about the awful time you’re having, both with body issues and also with girlfriend’s horrid ex.

    TropicalChrome articulates what I wanted to say much better than I ever could, and I’m also reminded of a post that A Sarah wrote a little while ago about not looking like the person that one feels they are ‘inside’ (I think it was A Sarah, apologies if not).

    So just to say, hope and best wishes to you hun. I’m still very much a work in progress, and I feel bad that I don’t have any original wisdom to impart.
    Take care, and keep posting.

  48. Okay, I hope it’s okay to put this here, just wanted to shout it to the rooftops. I’ll come back and read comments later and actually talk to you all, promise.

    U of Glascow emailed me back! They’re still accepting apps for September! If I can just find the funding, and can get accepted… I could be in Scotland inside of six months, instead of the more-than-a-year I was thinking. Holy. Cow. I’m so excited. I hope I hope I hope I can do it.

    Everyone please think positive thoughts my way, or give your deity of choice a nod for me in your prayers if you are the praying sort! Your well wishes (even unspoken ones) are much appreciated, in advance, so thank you! :D

    (yes I’ll be applying for other schools too, this one’s just top choice)

  49. Ooooooh, SugarLeigh!! That’s FANTASTIC!! How wonderful that they’re taking applications even in the spring. They’d be so lucky to have you! I’ll take it up with my deity of choice, you betcha. Heh. :) :P

  50. Maureen and cggirl, I’d been vaguely thinking along those lines, but you’ve confirmed it in my head that I should get it checked out just in case. I’m getting blood tests for unrelated stuff on Monday so I’ll ask them to add on thyroid/hormones and go from there. Cheers.

    TropicalChrome (you are v v wise), Jenny1144, A Sarah, Sweet Machine, Other Kate and Tru Blu, thank you. God, it makes such a difference to have such amazing people around when your brain’s turned to mush. Thank you thank you thank you. And Jenny and Sweet Machine, hee, you made me blush. *fidgets*

    SugarLeigh, University of Glasgow? You do know that’s where I am right now? I’m actually part of the network that helps new and prospective students anyway, so if you have any questions I’d be happy to help. *dons ambassador cap*

  51. Are you guys going to write something on that stupid CNN story this weekend about fat babies? ‘Cause it’s made me incoherent with incredulousness.

  52. Sorry to barge in without reading the previous comments but… I just saw this webpage awomansworld dot com — it’s so awful awful awful that it almost seems like a parody for fat acceptance. Was wondering if you blogged about it / want to blog about it — will be happy to hear your comments. It’s an ad for some low calorie snacks, and there are a bunch of clips on the page, all about weight loss and appearance being the most important thing in the world for women (certainly NOT health) with the tag line of ‘only in a woman’s world’. I watched about 4 clips, each was worse than the one before, one of them specifically had a sick woman who lost 4 pounds cause she is sick, consider herself lucky. Are there really people who can identify with those ideas without feeling guilty / not noticing there is anything wrong there? it’s unbelievable (well, unbelievable and totally believable, funny and sad…)
    Hope everyone here is having a good weekend.

  53. Jenny1144 – That’s a surprisingly good article for a site that isn’t overtly about FA. I didn’t see anything glaringly anti-FA, either, even though they didn’t mention the movement specifically. Thanks for posting the article – what a relief to be able to read something critical of dieting that simultaneously isn’t on a FA site and doesn’t have anything really cringe-worthy in it!

    Also, ((((((((((Caitlin)))))))))). I don’t really have anything else to add that other people haven’t said more eloquently.

    And good luck, SugarLeigh!

  54. Heehee, I love my typo. I don’t even know how I aimed for a G and got a C. Glas-COW. heehee, now I need a tiny glass cow for when I go (I’m saying when and not if because we’re sending positive vibes out into the universe!).

    A Sarah and Nina, thank you super much for the well-wishes. I’m just as excited as I can possibly get and I’m going to work my hardest to get in!

    Caitlin, I just got done reading all the comments, and HOLY. CRAP. I know EXACTLY how you feel! I’ve spent most of my life hating my tummy, but just when I was getting to finally learn to like it, it ballooned. Now I have nothing but problems with it despite my best efforts at body positivity… I actually like the way I look from the front, but as soon as I turn even a little bit to the side I stop liking the way I look. The bulge of it. The shape of it. It’s all wrong. And I know that’s not true, but I can’t stop the thought… plus, and this is the world’s stupidest complaint… I can’t pull my leg up to my chest in the same way I used to to put my socks on. WHAT AN IDIOTIC THING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT. But I do. And I really should be doing tummy exercises again to strengthen my core because my dad has back problems and I’m starting to show signs that I will too, but I put off doing so because in the back of my mind I kind of only want to do it to hopefully change how my tummy is shaped. :P I know that won’t take pounds off it but I want it to change in appearance (and I am not even sure if that would happen or not). And I haven’t brought myself to throw away my “goal jeans,” after all this time learning FA. Sigh.

    Also, OMG you are at the University of Glasgow?!!!

    I’m actually hoping to go to the Dumfries campus, because they have the postgrad degree in Scottish Folklore, and that’s what I’m aiming for (though I think I’ll put in an email to the department just to see if they think their program could be a good match for my proposed thesis).

    I found out my pal from England graduated from there. I was even more excited to find out that art and writing are huge there, apparently, so I think I’ll fit in rather nicely. :)

    Oh my goodness me, oh wow, I have about a kajillion questions… right now though, I guess my biggest concern is funding, which I think I will have to take care of on the home front here first, probably need more loans, ugh but oh well. May I email you? Do you mind? Well, okay you said you didn’t already, ha, there I go getting excited again.

    You see, the stars are aligning, they are saying, GO THERE!
    I’m answering: OKAY! :D

  55. That joke hasn’t come up in a while.

    …it was a joke? I am Kate Harding! I have a t-shirt that says so.

    Cheers, Nina.

    SugarLeigh, I’m on the Glasgow campus rather than Dumfries but email away and I’ll help with anything I can. My experience of the uni has been wonderful, I’d recommend it to all round me.

  56. Ok, call me crazy, but…

    Does anyone else think that vanity sizing has taken over shoes, too? I’ve been doing a closet clean out recently, and this has just struck me.

  57. Hi, all. Caitlin, I know that feeling *bearhug* and TC pretty much nailed it.

    ^rowmyboat: you’re not crazy; I thought the same thing.

    *rant begins here–>I DON’T WANT the olympics here (chicago). Our elected (appointed?) officials couldn’t balance the budget on a food scale (excuse the bad pun)! Grrr…

    More after the break…

  58. The Olympics in CHICAGO?! Has anybody thinking about this ever actually BEEN to Chicago?! In general you’re better off walking over the tops of the cars than driving one anywhere. Where is there room for the Olympics? You can’t raise your arm in Chicago without elbowing someone in the sternum.

    Cool place, but I don’t think the Olympics would fit in it.

  59. HeatherMae, I have totally had that experience. I never order the size my measurements indicate, because I end up swimming in the garment. I usually go two sizes down from there, especially if the number seems way larger than I would have expected (I’m not recommending that to anyone per se, that’s just what seems to work for my wacky body or wacky measurement technique or whatever is causing this). I hate it, and I hate that shipping costs money. Just work it into the price of the garment somehow (thank you, Zappo’s) and let me have shipping and returns for free. I swear I would shop online all the time if it weren’t for the $8-$10 highway robbery and risk of having to return the item and pay it all over again if it doesn’t fit.

  60. Well, SugarLeigh, the ioc suits came in the other day, and the ‘O'[not the prez] will be shilling for them monday. The character, infrastructure and history of washington park will be compromised [nay, just plain DESTROYED] by the olympics! We’re broke and broken enough, man*! Just…anywhere else but here, please. *Block 37, anyone?

    Also, shoe shopping is like looking for swimwear now: gives me a damn *size ten* headache. Better begin my virtual pilgrimage to zappos…–>end rant.

  61. Hi all. I’m a sometime lurker here and was hoping for some advice. A friend of mine (not a close friend, but someone I care about) recently posted on her journal that she’s cut her calorie intake to 1300 a day and is considering getting surgery soon if she doesn’t lose weight. I’m really, really scared for her and not sure what I can do to help; as I said, we’re not close, and I don’t think anything I could say to her outright would do any good.

    Does anyone have any good, training-wheels type links I can send her? I don’t think she’s anywhere near ready to see the words ‘fat’ and ‘acceptance’ together. Or failing that, something that might convince her that gastric bands are a bad idea would be a start.

  62. Yes I’ve noticed the shoe-sizism thing too!! Shall we call it Cinderellaism… or perhaps UglySisterSyndrome seeing as it was their ‘ugly/big’ feet that wouldn’t fit in the shoe? I’ve definitely gone up a shoe size in the last 2 years…. and I don’t think my feet have gained any weight :-D

    Anyway, I have a bit of an advice request in the spirit of open thread, regarding Fat Police Friends.

    Since giving up dieting and discovering Fat Acceptance just under a year ago now, I’ve really noticed how much time my friends spend talking about food/dieting/being fat/being thin/etc, and how really fucking boring it is. I know I must have been just the same, seeing as I hung out with them and I used to think we had so much in common. However I’m now really starting to struggle to find any common ground with them atall. Seriously, you can be talking about anything, getting your car fixed, digging the garden, and all of a sudden you’re talking about salad with low fat dressing, or a naughty bit of cake from the shop next door, or if there are calories in pollon (made that last one up, but you get my drift).

    ANYWAY… getting to the point at last…. I have one friend in particular, whom I suspect is wrestling with quite body/food issues, though doesn’t appear aware of it herself. My mother has suffered from anorexia all throughout her life, and my friend does seem to think and behave in similar subtle ways. Now, please let me establish that I’m perfectly aware that I’m not qualified to say anything, and as with my mum, I never would say anything unless I was directly asked for my opinion (and even then I’d be careful). If my friend ever wanted to talk about it all, I know I would be able to listen and not judge…. but that’s not really the problem. ALL SHE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT IS HOW FAT I AM!! How much food did I eat, (“did you go for the large portion or the small?”) and, am I SURE that I exercise!?. Dear God above, on top of irritating the heck out of me it’s starting to mess around with my head too. I came home from having dinner with her a couple of weeks ago, and experienced the first bulimic episode I’ve had in 18 months!

    I have tried asking her not to talk constantly about food or exercise or use such an accusatory tone. I’ve even told her that I am a recovering bulimic in the hope that she’ll back off, but to no avail.

    Is there a way to work this out that allows me to maintain my precious sanity, while also keeping my friend? I’m not sure there is…..

    Thanks for reading x

  63. I think the vanity sizing means you end up buying smaller sizes, not larger ones, Tru Blu! But I definitely noticed that happened (vanity sizing, that is) maybe 5 or 10 years ago, around the same time as the vanity sizing in clothing. Within the past year all of a sudden it seems to have swung back, so I’ve gone back up to my old size in most brands. It kind of feels like a correction more than anything.

    And… that friend doesn’t sound like a friend right now. If you’ve told her unequivocally that diet talk in general and, in particular, lecturing you about your size, is TRIGGERING for you because you are recovering from an ED, there’s really no excuse for her not stopping. Maybe you can hang out with her again in the long run, but I think it sounds downright unsafe to spend time with her now.

  64. Is there a way to work this out that allows me to maintain my precious sanity, while also keeping my friend? I’m not sure there is…..

    Tru Blu, I’m not sure there is, either. :(

    If it were me I’d put the choice in her lap as compassionately as possible… i.e. “I like lots of things about you, but in order for this to be a friendship where I feel accepted and respected, I need for you to stop talking about dieting and fat and being generally accusatory. Please be honest: are you able to do that, or not?”

    And then let her decide and hope for the best. It sounds like that’s what you’ve done, though. Maybe we’ve both read Harriet Lerner, lol. I’m sorry… it’s so sad when a friendship ends or goes on hiatus.

  65. Are there any LOST fans here? I think there are, because I remember the subject coming up… I need your help, because I’m a new fan who just finished catching up with season 4 a couple of weeks ago and now I don’t know what to do. I can’t catch up with season 5 in order to start watching them as they’re broadcast because the early episodes aren’t available online for streaming any more.

    When I finished season 4 on DVD, I emerged from my cave, looked around, and said, “OK, I finally have to buy a laptop because I MUST KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON WITH MY LOSTIES!” LOL. I was fully prepared to spend hours at a cafe watching eps via free Internet connection. I already spent about an hour in that cafe on Saturday trying to find the early episodes, but no luck. So you see how desperate I am. ABC Network, your official site is no help to me–don’t you love me and want me to watch your show? ;-)

  66. Hey, this is kind of a strange observation and I’m not sure it will make much sense. (And I might have a lot of typos for reasons I shall explain in the next sentence.)

    I’ve been sick and feverish and stoned on cold medicine for the past two days, and that combination seems to have suspended my touch of body dysmorphia. It’s a very strange feeling. I feel so disconnected from everything because of my medicine head, so when I look in the mirror, I actually see the reflection as it more or less appears. And not as it looks to me most of the time, when I tend to think of myself as much bigger than I really am.

    And it’s just so disconcerting because a) WOW, I really don’t look a thing like I usually think, and that is kind of an ookie-feeling realization; and b) I’m a little ashamed of myself for how this plays so handily into unexamined privilege and suggests that I’m not as fat-accepting as I’d thought (at least for my own body, but possible – eep – for other people’s), if my dysmorphia would take the form of thinking I’m a lot *bigger* than I am; and c) Anyway, what *is* the relationship between dysmorphia and failing to acknowledge one’s privilege? It seems like they’re very very different, but also definitely reinforce each other. Maybe. Hm. I don’t know.

    Okay, that was about all I could manage. Comtrex now, then nap.

  67. Lu, that’s ridiculous! They used to leave them all up! I guess they are trying to make people buy them.

    I guess that means you’re out of luck until they release the whole thing. :( Or unless you’re willing and able to buy it on iTunes. Of course, we all had to wait so many months between seasons 4 and 5 that I’m only mildly sympathetic. ;-) heehee.

    ALSO: Isn’t the season 4 finale the best television you have ever seen in your life holy shit??? My socks are STILL knocked off!

  68. I have tried asking her not to talk constantly about food or exercise or use such an accusatory tone. I’ve even told her that I am a recovering bulimic in the hope that she’ll back off, but to no avail.

    Is there a way to work this out that allows me to maintain my precious sanity, while also keeping my friend? I’m not sure there is…..

    If she won’t back off on this, then I don’t think she’s that great a friend. I’d try to keep both, but put your sanity above keeping her as a friend.

    What I’d suggest is stopping the conversation every time your weight or diet or exercise comes up. Calmly, but firmly, interrupting her mid-sentence if you have to. “Susie, I told you I’m not interested in talking about this topic. So, how was your weekend?”

    If she keeps pressing after repeated requests to drop it, end the conversation. Tell her you’re sorry, but if she can’t respect your request to back off, you’re not going to have the conversation with her. Then hang up the phone, close the IM window, leave, etc.

    This might get her to knock it off, or it might not. Unfortunately, you can’t control other people’s reactions to what you say. All you can do is politely set a limit on the crap you’re willing to put up with and hope that they take it in the manner it’s intended.

  69. Within the past year all of a sudden it seems to have swung back, so I’ve gone back up to my old size in most brands. It kind of feels like a correction more than anything.

    That is interesting; I’ve noticed 8.5s are fitting me a lot more than 8s in shoes now, and I had assumed it was something about my feet.

  70. Nah, I used to be an 8, then I was a 7.5 for a few years, and now I’m back up to an 8. Allowing for the usual brand and cut variations and whatnot.

  71. Hey, because I foolishly took my cold meds with coffee and now can’t get the nap I wish for, here’s an interesting fashion-industry perspective on the lack of fashion forward on-trend plus-size clothing:


    Not perfect, but not hateful, and somewhat interesting. In particular I’m interested in the notion, stated in the article, that plus-sized women have learned not to make fashion a priority, and that’s why the plus-size clothing that sells are of the navy blue super-huge sweatshirts with machine embroidered santas and kitty cats variety.

  72. And by “super-huge” I of course mean relative to the body it is clothing… i.e. giving the appearance of shapelessness, of swimming in fabric. Sorry, I realized after I hit “submit comment” how bad that could have sounded.

  73. Hi, Volcanista! Thanks for your answers. No, my one Lost-fan friend isn’t that technically savvy, and I’m forcing another friend, who’s all Tivo’ed and Comcast-on-Demanded-up, to become a fan but she’s only into season 2 now. :) I was over her house last weekend and we looked up the On Demand episodes, but they only started with the 2/25 ep, and that one was expiring within a few days.

    I’m starting a one-woman lobby to have ABC put the first half of the season on DVD right now. LOL.

  74. A Sarah, your question about the connection between body dysmorphia and privilege is really interesting! I tend to think of privilege blindness in terms of what you don’t have to think about or pay attention to: the majority race not having to notice racism, men not having to notice misogyny, etc–privilege leading to blindness about what happens to less privileged groups. Your case seems to be blindness about how close you are to belonging to the more privileged group. It doesn’t involve ignoring what happens to the less privileged. I think it’s a completely different situation–blindness about yourself as opposed to blindness about society, though both cases involve thinking you’re experiencing less privilege than you really are.

    Of course, there’s a chance body dysmorphia could make you blind to the experiences of people who really are the size you think you are, since you’re mistakenly assigning yourself to that group. But that seems kind of nitpicky and probably applies more to the size-two teenager who thinks she’s fat than to someone versed in fat acceptance.

    Lu, there certainly are less-than-legal ways to stream TV shows online, if you feel comfortable with that! I’m not going to post links here, but I’m sure if you ask around you can get some pointers. (Make sure you inquire about the safety of the sites when you ask people. There are many I feel comfortable with myself but would not want to guarantee to the world at large, and some–the downloading ones–that I don’t even feel comfortable with myself.)

  75. Whoah, there should be a mild sanity watchers warning on A Sarah’s link. The blogger buys into obesipanic bullshit whole cloth and doesn’t much care if people perpetuate it in hir comments.

    Some of that “fashion forward” clothing is a little too out there. I hate anything with machine embroidered kitties and butterflies, but I’m also not a fan of prints and bunchy fabric over the boobular area, or anything for which I have to buy the sleeves separately. (I’ve seriously thought about sending the clothing buyers for stores a video of my arm flab wiggling and a desperate plea to provide sleeves.)

    There seems to be a gap between ages 25 and 45 for clothing retailers that they can’t figure out how to fill with normal clothing. The gap only gets wider if you’re over size 20 and need something modest but not matronly. It’s like they can’t look at everyday/business casual clothing for straight sizes and make the logical leap. (At least without involving polyester, there’s a fabric that desperately needs to die.)

  76. Whoops, Godless Heathen, you’re right. Sorry! I must be “off-program” while sick because I totally didn’t even count the Sanity Watchers points that cost. :) (Actually, I completely missed that obesity epipanic thing the first time round. Sorry!)

    There seems to be a gap between ages 25 and 45 for clothing retailers that they can’t figure out how to fill with normal clothing. The gap only gets wider if you’re over size 20 and need something modest but not matronly. It’s like they can’t look at everyday/business casual clothing for straight sizes and make the logical leap. (At least without involving polyester, there’s a fabric that desperately needs to die.)


  77. Jenny1144, you’re super-awesome for that analysis, and for putting words to things that were knocking at my brain, but which I couldn’t express. And for your charitable interpretation too. :) Thanks.

    Erghh… i want to say more but I’m not very lucid… but yes, my ookie feeling was in part due to worrying that I was acting like the size 2 teenager who thinks she’s fat. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a size 2. As an inbetweenie at 5’5″ and 174 pounds (-ish, I don’t weigh myself anymore) I certainly count as fat sometimes, like whenever people are discussing celebrities’ bodies, or in weight loss commercials and discussions or whatever. I’ve been encouraged to diet. And I was shorter/fatter/geekier as a kid so I do have memories of being treated very cruelly and taunted for being fat. But anymore, I rarely have to endure outright hatred or discrimination directed at me personally.

    Point is, I know that means I have vastly more thin privilege than the people who really are the size I seem to *think* I am; which is… an uncomfortable thought, if you think it’s important to be aware of your privilege. But, gah, it’s like my eyes and brain just won’t let go of the shared idea that my body isn’t the size I think it is. EVEN THOUGH I’m now to the point where I believe all sizes are awesome and great and beautiful and bigness isn’t bad, and I WOULDN’T, in fact, be sad to be the size that I believe myself to be. I’m really kind of mad at myself now.

  78. I hope I’m coherent, because I’m living on cough drops (OMG TEH FATZ!) and waiting for the cold meds to kick in so I can get some errands run before I have to get horizontal again….

    First, thanks for the kind words about the stuff I wrote earlier. Caitlin’s post just struck a chord in me, because I’m dealing with body changes, too. And there’s not one damned thing I can do about them except accept them. I’m simultaneously fascinated and appalled. It helps to know I’m not the only one.

    Second, A Sarah, thanks for the link above! (And I hope your cold is leaving faster than mine.) I read it and thought “but wait… I never even HEARD about these fashion foward plus size lines/shops that have already failed!” Yes, I will show up and I will probably buy if there’s something I like/that fits/the usual, but I can’t even show up if I don’t know you exist!

    Well, and you have to exist somewhere close to where I live. Sorry, but if I have to fly to NY or LA to visit you, my clothing budget will be eaten up in airfare and hotel.

    And no, I don’t think of WalMart when I think “fashion forward”. I think “it’s the only place I can find a plain half slip” or “they have socks”. It’s all in the marketing.

    And Godless Heathen, what you said, except instead of 25 – 45, could we make it 25 – 65? Or maybe older? I’m 45, and I think it’s a problem for any woman who wants to dress in a fashion commensurate with her age without being matronly. (I don’t like “age appropriate” because that seems a little too rigid for me, but how else to convey that no, I don’t want to dress like my grandmother, but I don’t want to dress like I’m still in my 20s either?)

    I’m trying to find a dress for a wedding I’ll be attending in October. I’m fortunate that it’s a wedding where black will be appropriate (I was raised that You Do Not Wear Black To Weddings, but this one has a goth theme), but I’d like to find a dress that isn’t. And also is not beige, navy blue, or brown. I have yet to try on even one dress.

  79. TruBlu- this woman is not your friend. Get rid of her ASAP. Don’t be kind about it- tell her that as long as she insists on triggering you and being extremely rude (“but I’m worried about your health” is NO excuse at all) then you will not be able to spend any time with her whatsoever!

    Caitlin- me too. If it wasn’t for the PCOS I would swear I’m pregnant. My belly is huge now, even compared to what it was at Xmas! xxxx ah well, it’s still mine all mine :)

  80. Apparently this is Shapeling Cold Week, or in my case, bronchitis, which seems to be my new hobby.

    A Sarah, I think we are pretty much height and weight twins (not that that means that we’re shaped the same or anything, of course :)) and I don’t have much to add in the way of advice, just empathy. It’s really freaking dysmorphia-inducing when everyone (this is a universal everyone, both individual and cultural) has a different opinion about your body, from zomg fatty fat fat to relatively skinny, and you have to hear about it constantly. I very rarely see the same thing between any two instances of looking in the mirror, and I have no idea which one is correct. I just have to remind myself that no matter what, it’s me, and it’s ok.

    I hope that made sense, what with the antihistamines and all! Healthy vibes for everyone.

  81. killedbyllamas, UGH, bronchitis!?! That sucks. I spiked a mean-ass fever this afternoon (had been feverish off and on but this was like, ZOOM! pink sparklies floating in the air, chills, boiling hot pillow and and glassy eyes – so I’ll be laid up tomorrow too. We could keep each other company! If I knew how to chat or twitter or anything else. It’s neat that we’re height/weight twins. :)

  82. Thank you Volcanista, KellyK, A Sarah & Chickfactor. Really appreciate your advice on this. I am going to try the broken record approach for a little bit longer, but if no joy then preservation of my sanity wins.

    Hugs & thanks again.

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