181 thoughts on “Monday Open Thread”

  1. Woah! Not what I had expected on a Monday morning. It’s… different, but I suppose it’s not bad? It’s throwing me off cuz it’s formatting a little funny in my super-speshul-snowflake browser layout. But it is nice and clean and new looking!

    And hey, no worries about the frequency of posting, Kate. You’re busy spreading the smartness far and wide. :D

  2. …and the new site has messed me up in regards to what “comment plz” link actually lets me comment on the right post. Oh. :|

    Well anyway! It’s Monday. This is an open thread! Um. Alas, I haven’t had my coffee, so I haven’t got anything decent to contribute. Has… everyone else had their coffee…?

  3. Alright, y’all, I have a problem with bras that I feel like if I have a chance of finding a solution, it’s here. The issue is that I seem to be having a problem with bands that can support my HH rack without unpleasant side effects. If I buy the 34HH, the band is so tight that it gouges my skin; if I buy the 36HH, it slips down and chaffes in the front. Anti-chaffing cream helps some (and I’ve been making do with it) but doesn’t totally eliminate the problem. Oh, and I’ve also tried buying the smaller size and using a bra extender to make it in between sizes; that tends to make it uncomfortably tight AND to chaffe. Does anyone know if there’s something in the way of styles that won’t cause this problem? Maybe some sort of bra that distributes the weight better? Should I go over to corsetry or something?

  4. Hi LilahMorgan,

    I’ve a terrible feeling this will be no use, as I haven’t seen them around for a while, but a couple of years ago these two engineers did a tv series of redesigning things, and the first thing was a bra — called ‘Bioform’ I think… They were differently put together based on loads of engineery analyses and stuff, rather than the typical band + straps + underwire contraption. Even if they’ve stopped making them, maybe it would be worth a look on ebay if you think they’d be any better/worth a go?

    I found this article about the design process: http://autospeed.com/cms/title_Designing-the-Perfect-Bra/A_1260/article.html

  5. Format is trippy. I feel like everything’s shifted too far left – I keep leaning to compensate.
    The only fix for the bra issue is, I’ve found, going to the more expensive brands and forgoing cute thin strips in favor of thick, expensive straps. I think it’s a personal thing as to what works, but I’ve had real luck with Wacoal – they’re pretty much all I wear. The cheaper brands I’ve tried get tired of supporting my boobage, and wimp out early. The worst ones would also leave bruises around my ribcage, which is Not Awesome.

  6. Me again,

    So, I just checked and they appear to be out of production according to some (UK) ebay sellers… I sent a question to one of them asking if they do your size in the ones they have left, just in case! Also, one of the websites I order underwear from has tips about which cup sizes at different band sizes are sort of equivalent, so that if the fit of a particular brand is a bit pinchy or slidey at one size, you can try the size with the equivalent cups and a different band to see how that helps… for me I know that some brands in a 32C are ok and in others I’m a 34B… afraid I don’t know if there’s a formula to work out how to do these comparisons but there might be a proper internet guide somewhere?

  7. My creature has eyelashes? I never noticed that before! That’s . . . a totally different conception of my creature.

  8. LilahMorgan–If you are in NYC or ever travel there, I recommend going to the Town Shop (www.townshop.com/)and having them fit you. Yes, it’s rather expensive and occasionally you’ll get a dud, but I’d say my track record there is about 90% comfortable/wearable bras. I wear a 34DDD/E/F depending on the brand (though I’ve been sold 36’s, which tends not to work out so well), so I’m in a similar boat to you. It may also be that bras just aren’t designed to support your size breasts on a relatively narrow frame. Bras are kind of evil anyway, aren’t they?

  9. Yeah, I have absolutely nothing of interest to say, I just want to see my monster. Wait, I take that back. I taught for the first time on Friday and it was a disaster. College 1st years who are usually just fine for the real professor made me want to yell obscenities at them. I ended up sending them off early because I couldn’t take them talking over me. My own children are more well-behaved than that. In fact, I took my son to class with me once a couple of years ago. He was 7ish, and we were in a big lecture hall for earth science. He told the prof that if the students would just stop talking, they might know what’s going on. She told them that the child had called them out. hahahaha. He also answered questions that the students didn’t know – a kid behind me said, “Man, that little kid is smarter than I am.” Anyway, it’s annoying to stand up in front of a class who finds it more important to talk amongst themselves than to listen to the person “in charge,” as I’m sure many of you teachers here know. ugh.

  10. LilahCello, I feel your rage. I’m taking a class this term that’s full, and so there’s not much choice in seating. Normally I can find a quiet-ish pocket, but now I always end up surrounded by people who are chatting cheerfully with each other, oblivious to the glares I am directing their way.
    This is an Important Class, and I need these lectures in order to do well. If they don’t want to be in class, there’s no penalty – why don’t they leave?
    One day I am going to snap and start shouting obscenities.

  11. I am currently having a discussion with a fat-phobic friend of mine (he’s quietly fat-phobic and tends to let people to themselves, but his fear of BEING fat is quite strong) and it’s actually going very well. Except that it’s forcing me to open about some things that are extremely uncomfortable to discuss, especially with a man. Oh well. It’s for the greater good, right?

  12. Thank you, guys. Zenoodle, thanks so much for making that inquiry! I love the idea of a bra that is actually engineered to be supportive – why has this not been done before?

    And I’ll add Wacoal and Town Shoppe to my list; I’m about four hours from NYC so it might be a fun addition to a weekend trip sometime.

  13. sparklepants – do you know where his fear comes from? Does he? Sounds like a lot of the anorexics I spent time in ED treatment with…

  14. Starling, you have *TENTACLES*. Which makes yours a tentacle monster, which is awesome. And tusks.
    On the other hand, I seem to have neopentane for hands and flammable hydrocarbons for hair, which is awesome, as it means I am likely to explode.*

    *Yes, I spent all weekend working on organic chemistry. Why do you ask?

  15. Hm. People discussing coffee. I don’t like coffee, but tea sounds good about now…. Though what I really want is cookies. Pity I ate all the oatmeal cookies I made the other day. A baby-flavoured donut would probably hit the spot!

    Also, my high school classes were like that. I spent an entire year of Chemistry sitting in front of two idiots who spent the entire class every day discussing what drugs they had done at the most recent parties and what drugs they were going to do at parties that were coming up. Ugh. I had intentionally sat in the front row so I could pay attention, too.

  16. Oh, the talkers in class drive me crazy! Especially now that I’m a thirty-something trying to finish my degree and paying my own way through school. They have no consideration of others and the fact that maybe there are some people there who actually want to get something out of the class.

  17. LilahCello — How frustrating! It does get better, both as they get more used to you and as you get more used to being the one in control of the room. It also gets easier not to take things like inattention and side conversations personally, although it’s never not annoying.

  18. Hallo, I’m delurking on this Monday morning! I recognize a lot of names from around and about, so I don’t feel ~too~ shy :)

    With respect to bra difficulties, I get these really horrifying red marks on my shoulders when I’ve been wearing my bra when it’s hot, and it chafes. I’ve found one bra at Victoria’s Secret that works for me, but it has thin straps. Would a bra with thicker straps work, or should I just try to make more of an effort to wear a sports bra if I think I’ll be doing anything remotely active in the heat?

  19. LilahMorgan, I’m similar in size to you (32G) and have found that Wacoal does not fit me right. It depends on shape, though – you know, do you need rounder/shallower or deeper cups? I’ve gone to Intamacy here in Boston a few times, and have found some bras that I do like quite a bit, but have also found that 32s almost always get a little pinchey by the end of the day. I have one 34 that is my lounging around the house bra (since, unfortunately, the boobs have a habit of trying to escape underneath the cups when I walk around in it).

  20. I’m annoyed about the “Diets don’t work” article in Parade magazine yesterday that says “all you have to do” to prevent the 2-lb-a-year average weight gain is walk an extra 2,000 steps a day or cut out 100 calories a day. Easy peasy. First, if that’s a cumulative thing to counteract the aging slowdown, won’t you end up walking all day and/or eating nothing? Second, that’s not actually backed up by reality science, is it? Metabolism is a lot more complicated than that, guys.

    There, now I feel better.

  21. Faith – I don’t, really. I know he was heavier in high school and then dropped it all at some point in college by counting calories and running (and running more if he “over ate”). He is all about health and has made remarks several times about fat people being unhealthy (but that I’m not “that bad” in terms of my weight/appearance, ha! thanks for the judgment, man). And also how he can “guess” a person’s weight fairly accurately by looking at them. Of course, he politely declined to guess mine when I asked. :D

  22. All the monster talk is making me rethink my gravatar. I only set it because one wordpress blog I comment on regularly doesn’t have any defaults if you don’t have a gravatar and not understanding at the time how that worked, discovered it shows up here too. Which made me sad because my monster was adorable.

    Now I miss it all over again.

    Heh. I hate Mondays, especially after a long night of insomnia. I stared at the TV watching Roseanne half the night trying to force sleep and now I have that theme song stuck in my head on auto-play all day long.

    Speaking of coffee. I’ve had too much. Is it obvious?

  23. Kathryn – if I cut 100 calories out of my diet (diet being foods I eat, not food-restriction, just to be clear) and walked 2,000 extra steps, I’d probably pass out. I like how articles like those automatically assume that all fatties do is eat. Ugh.

  24. LilahMorgan, if you’re going to come to NYC, you can also try Orchard Corset. They’re rude, but good. Think of it as a classic old NY experience. Also try Lee Lee’s Valise in Brooklyn. I haven’t been sized for a bra by her, but she offered the last time I was there. She did a friend of mine, who is happy with what she ended up getting.

  25. I hope this is the right place to post this. I’m looking for a particular person I remember seeing post here, months ago, in a conversation about how difficult it was to get clothes to fit properly (so you see why it’s hard for me to remember the exact details! There are so many conversations like that.) She does alterations in the Boston area, she’s (obviously) sensitive about fat and body image, and I’d like to hire her. I think she might also design clothing, but I don’t remember that part.

    I used to be fat, but weight loss related to chronic illness has turned me into an in-betweenie. I’m REALLY uncomfortable about the new shape of my body. I’m working on the HAES mindset, and it’s hard. It’s a lot easier for me to be compassionate and accepting about other people than about myself. I don’t think I’m quite disabled…but there’s a lot of stuff my body can’t do anymore, and it makes job hunting hard, and clothing alteration impossible. My mother is terribly fat-phobic, and has trouble respecting boundaries…but she has lots of money and great taste in clothes. She buys me these amazing interview suits and makes me feel so self-conscious I’m afraid to let anybody see me in them.

    I worry that changes in my shape make a fitted suit look glaringly wrong–I can’t tell when it’s a tiny problem only my mother would notice, and when it needs to be fixed so I don’t look like a slob wearing somebody else’s suit. I need all this to be done by somebody who understands the importance of saying, “The jacket is too big,” or “The darts are too far apart,” and NOT saying, “Your tits are too small,” or “Your tits are too close together.” (And, if she really wants to see how it looks with my tits pushed into a different position, somebody who can keep her hands to herself and ask me to do the pushing myself.) If you are, or can recommend, somebody in the Boston area with these skills, I’d love to talk with you. A comment on any of my LJ posts will turn up in my email, or we can start talking here (if it’s ok with Kate.)

  26. no no no, not Town Shop, LilahMorgan! Orchard Corset Center! 157 Orchard St btwn Rivington and Stanton. it is a CRAZY CRAZY step-back-in-time experience. boxes of bras stacked to the ceiling, dingy, looks like the lower east side of the 1920s. the elderly proprietress was the subject of a wonderful little documentary called A Good Uplift. orthodox jew, her son with the payos (sidelock curls) often works at the store and will never touch you, just eyeballs you and KNOWS what size you are. you take your bras behind a curtain in the back and caribbean-american ladies do the actual fitting, manhandling (womanhandling?) your boobs like grapefruit. it’s a real social experience with the other shoppers back there — everyone chatting and admiring and offering an opinion. SUCH a body-positive experience, for me, anyway, and so fun, and you feel like a part of immigration history in this ancient little shop, and i don’t know how the heck they do it, but wacoal bras for half off or more. all kinds of designer bras for a pittance. the pricing is INSANE.

  27. So, here’s a thing…

    I have been dancing for a couple of years at a Nia studio in my town. For many years I had a contentious relationship with my body. I used to try to Jenny Craig and pounding-running-for-miles her into submission, but you know the end of that story. It left me fatter than before, with added megadoses of guilt and anxiety. But, this form of dance came to me just at the right time, as I was recovering from a back injury and was unable to run (or, even really walk very well)Coupled with HAES, and specifically daily doses of the Shapelings, I have become more confident and healthier than ever before. It is not an exaggeration to say that combination has helped me to transform my relationship with my body. Not to mention, I have never so fully explored a form of exercise–I was recently able to access my history at the studio, and discovered that I have spent more than 255 hours of the last two years dancing, a real accomplishment for me. (I’ve also discovered that it’s practically impossible to worry while shimmying, and that an unselfconscious booty-shake is better than any drug I have ever tried.)

    So, here’s the issue. This weekend, as a publicity event for a studio, we have been invited to dance at a local Farmer’s market. Basically, we’ll be doing a class, but in public, outdoors, with spectators, and even asking them to join in. I have really come to feel a part of this community in the studio, and I’ve participated wholeheartedly when we’ve made videos that were filmed in house–even the one for you tube– and I’ve lured many a friend into going to class with me, but confronted with the idea of going public, with a mixed (and potentially fatphobic) audience, I feel suddenly *petrified*…even sort of exposed. Even thinking about it has me feeling rigid and nervous—it’s like going back in time to how I felt before going to my first class!

    On the one hand, I feel beautiful and confident while experiencing this form of dance, and I would love to share it with other people.. . maybe it would inspire another fat girl to join in. On the other hand, I feel very protective of something that brings me such joy, and wary of putting myself in a situation where I am open to judgement or comment, or where someone could take away from my experience of Nia. I’m not keen on putting myself on the spot, but I’m not happy to think that only the skinny girls will be dancing that day.

    Any advice?

    (I ate a lot of Hershey’s Kisses as I worked up to writing this. And every one tasted way better than thin has ever felt to this particular body. Just saying.)

  28. I used to be fat, but weight loss related to chronic illness has turned me into an in-betweenie. I’m REALLY uncomfortable about the new shape of my body

    Adrian, I have been there and I really sympathize. Getting dressed in the morning was always a really vulnerable time for me when my body was changing so rapidly. I hope the person you’re looking for comments! Meanwhile, may I suggest that if you’re a skirt-wearing type, I found that skirts were much easier to wear at several different sizes than pants. You can wear it low-slung if you’re on the low end of your range, and move it on up if you gain back some weight. The rate at which I cycle through pants when I’m on a Shrinkening or an Embiggening health bout is really frustrating.

  29. I cooked and ate some healthy halibut last night (I mostly hate fish, but recently discovered that halibut can be okay). And I’ve felt nauseated since about 2 this morning, nausea with a hint of fishiness. Which obviously means that healthy food is bad for me, right?

  30. Alicia Maud, I have put the closest NIA class to my house on my calendar for the last six months. I have never once gone. I used to be 60 pounds thinner than I am now, and a religious exerciser, and I loved loved loved NIA…a decade ago. But now that I’m fat and out of shape, I’ve been afraid to go. What if I can’t keep up? What if everyone is skinny? In the long-ago distant misty past, I took some NIA classes that were very inclusive, but tried others that were not — they were semi-low-impact aerobics, with none of the creativity and respect for difference I associate with NIA. If I were passing my farmer’s market, and saw a beautiful happy large woman doing NIA and really feeling the music, I think I might weep with joy. And it would make me sign up at your studio. I understand performance anxiety and the fear of outing yourself in one way or another, but DAMN what a mitzvah you could do for the random yearn-y me-type passing by the market that day. best of luck to you!!

  31. LilahCello – are you in a situation where you are or appear to be younger than the professor? That could be an obstacle right out of the gate – the students don’t see you as a real authority figure so they don’t feel the need to pay you any respect or attention. I coped with that by being belligerent, and to be honest, I still do. I will yell, I will lose my temper strategically, because in the long run the benefits are greater than any minor damage to my reputation.

    (Actually last week after one of my student newspaper columnists was hassled by some staff, I told her to tell any faculty who brought it up to talk to me directly. She told me, “I think the other faculty are scared of you.” HA! She added, “I’ve seen you in action and I wouldn’t want to get on your bad side.” *glee*)

    Some classes are quiet as mice in general. Some are rowdy. One of my fall classes I’m teaching right now seems to just always be a rowdy group – last year was the same way. There’s only so much you can do to keep chatter down in a classroom. One is to keep students busy – if they’re trying to keep up with writing notes, they won’t talk as much. The other is to maintain a line where the occasional whispered comment is okay but when it gets too much you smack the class down and tell them to shut up. The problem is where that line is depends on the class – realistically you have to gauge the dynamics of each group and figure out how much you can contain. Sometimes you just have to live with more talking than you’d like or lose your sanity.

    Gina – that sucks. Are there ever seats up in the front of the room where you’d be closer to the prof? Have you told the instructor the chatter in the room is making it hard to follow the class? It’s tough to judge sometimes from the front of the room how loud the talking is, depending on how big the class is and the room size. The instructor may need a reminder to keep the class quieter, or may just not understand how big the problem is.

    (who apologizes in advance if any of that was impolite – I was up half the night with digestive problems so I’m kind of addled this morning)

  32. @AliciaMaud74:

    First of all, congrats on being invited to do this dance demo!

    Secondly…I’m not sure if this is really helpful for you, but I your story made me think of something semi-similar that happened to me this summer: while I was on vacation, I decided to put on a bathing suit and go swimming for the first time in years.

    I was super nervous and hadn’t planned on going at all, but I realized that I was giving up something I was really interested in doing in order to avoid potentially hearing the thoughts of some douchebags. And that if I kept doing that, the terrorists would win (or something lol). Basically, I just didn’t want the assholes of the world to keep controlling my life; I have spent so much time living in fear of their opinion, and I just didn’t want to lose something else to their assholery. So I mentally practiced a few comebacks to any comments I might hear, and I went for it. I had a blast and no one actually said anything at all to me.

    So, if you feel like this presentation is something you really want to do, I would say to go for it. I don’t want to say that no one will say anything to you, you never know when a douchebag will pop up, but I can say for sure that there will be at least one person (probably more) in the crowd who will see your performance and be inspired. Think of some comebacks ahead of time if you think it will help (“Why yes I am fat and I can still dance circles around you!” comes to mind). Maybe you can even speak to your classmates and your teacher, if you feel you can talk to them about this issue, so they can help provide support.

    But if your main reason for wanting to do this presentation is just because it would be wrong not to put yourself out there for the cause, then I would remind you that your first responsibility is to yourself. If you feel like you are at a point right now where one asshole’s comment really would wreck this thing for you, then don’t do it. You clearly love what you are doing and you should not put it in danger just to be a good example.

    So basically, my advice in a nutshell, listen to your heart and your gut and you will know what you should do.

  33. Just commenting to see what my monster is. But I have to say, as much as I love the new layout (I also lean, previous commentor whose handle I’m forgetting at the moment), I may just have to flounce away* if those aren’t official baby donuts in the picture ;)

    *I’m sure everyone here will totally be heartbroken by the departure of someone who’s only commented a handful of times despite reading for at least a year.

  34. Zombie automated thread!

    LilahCello, there are a few tricks to getting them to shut up, some of which might work. If you have enough room in the classroom to wander, try walking right up in front of the worst offenders while you’re lecturing – they usually at least stop talking when you’re only 10 feet away. If they’re being that bad, though, shaming might do the trick- calculate out what each student pays per class period based on their tuition and number of classes, and use it. Right at them – “Each person in this class has paid X to be here today, including you; you might have that much money to spare, but everyone else deserves to get their money’s worth. You can stop being disruptive and wasting everyone’s money, or you can leave.” Also, check your school’s academic integrity policy, as most have clauses about students inhibiting the work of others. That means you can dock them on their grade for said talking, and just the notification might work: “You realize that I can lower your course grade for being disruptive during class, and I will. You just lost 5 points off of your overall semester grade, in fact.” I’ve dealt with classes where this is a problem, and I’ve seen it get bad enough that I’m not willing to play nice any more. If they’re going to act like second graders, they deserve to be treated as such.

  35. Am I wrong in believing that muscle weighs more than fat?

    And that therefore exercise causes some weight gain?

  36. Looks nice! Yay, the Marquette date is up. Boo, I have a conflict. Maybe the timing will work out or I can be in two places at once.

  37. C. Shuy,
    Yes, a cubic centimeter of muscle weighs more than a cubic centimeter of fat. Some people do gain weight, especially when they first begin exercising. People who are using the scale as a “scorecard,” to decide if a new exercise program is really making them healthier can get very discouraged. It makes more sense to track something like stamina or blood pressure (or strength, or flexibility, or quality of sleep), to measure whether a particular exercise program is good for a person’s health.

  38. Adrian, you’re thinking of Readheaded girl, I believe. I was the one who mentioned ridiculous charges for clothing alterations in the Boston area originally :)

    I may have her contact info around here somewhere, but I don’t think I’d be comfortable reposting it unless she had posted originally…

  39. @Anita – neopentane arms cracked me up! I’m glad I didn’t have tea around at the time, or it would have been all over my keyboard.

  40. It’s not as simple as muscle heavier than fat. On a volume to volume ratio, it is, but some exercise won’t really cause much muscle increase. And some bodies don’t really put on muscle well (just like some don’t really put on fat that well).
    Regardless, you’re not *replacing* fat with muscle – you’re merely augmenting muscle fibers that are in place. Fat loss is a different animal altogether, and so much depends on your metabolism. Also, other factors play in – if you’re in a state of starvation, your body may not build muscle for you, because it’s a fairly energy intensive process, and it doesn’t want to have to break those fibers back down again. Unsurprisingly, there’s about 86 other factors, but as to whether exercise causes weight gain, the answer is: it depends.
    It always interests me to see the body types of upper athletes in different sports and see how their muscle mass is distributed. Some of that’s training, but a lot is genetic, too.

  41. Meems,
    If you have her contact information, could you drop her a line and let her know I’d like to get in touch with her? My email address is adrian [underscore] turtle [at] hotmail. Thanks a lot.

  42. I’m sorry for the thread clutter. I have no idea what happened there but I tried to change my gravatar icon and it still used the old one here. Then when I commented again, it ended up in moderation.

    I’ll just go hide under my desk now.

  43. New look is awesome! And I am totally just commenting to find out what my little monster thing actually looks like.
    But ohgod trying to find smaller-band larger-cup-size bras that have actual support and do not cause physical pain and do not look awful seems frigging impossible. I already feel like a freak for being a 32H (I am obese according to BMI! why is all the fat in my tits and my ass and thighs, if some of it would go around my damn ribcage it would help a lot here), why does it have to involve back and shoulder and rib pain and expense and 70-dollar supposedly ultra-support sports bras that do less to prevent bounce than my years-old wrong-size worn-out bras from wal-mart and reading the same frustratingly unhelpful bra fitting advice over and over. ;____; Okay that was zero help and just me venting. Um, yeah. Sorry. ._.

  44. I feel you, Look A Diversion, and add onto that that the general public refuses to believe your bra size exists, making the places you can look for help frustratingly small.

  45. I have similar bra problems, being a 38DD or 36DDD/E, I have found that some bras now have this silicone grippy stuff on the shoulder straps, the same stuff that’s supposed to hold up strapless bras (but doesn’t work), but it’s MAGIC on the shoulder straps. The one bra I have with it (Bali cotton something or other – probably a minimizer) DOES NOT MOVE ALL DAY. It’s the only bra I have that by lunchtime my boobs aren’t trying to sneak out the bottom or leap out the top of the cup.

    Another thing that pisses me off about this size range: why is it so hard to find bras in this range that aren’t MINIMIZERS, but also aren’t padded monstrosities that add 2″ of foam and make my boobs look like a pair of footballs?

  46. Since everyone’s talking bras (I’m sorry for commenting so much), I thought I’d share my current bra woes. I own 3, two of which need to be thrown out but I can’t afford to replace them. They’re both missing the reinforced bit at the top of the side, between where each strap attaches to the front and back (if that makes sense). One is missing it on both sides, the other is only missing it on one side. So when I wear that bra, I have one boob that looks more or less boob-ish. But the other one is actually more oblong, and threatens to run away and tuck into my cleavage and arm pit. It cracks me up when I put it on and look in the mirror. I don’t think it’s terribly noticeable when I put on shirts. heh

  47. Just reporting back on the Bioform bras on ebay… I got the super-helpful response from the seller of, “no, soz” to 34HH… Sigh. I have seen that they appear to have gone up to a G… don’t know if a G in a different band size would be any good but it might be a bit like gold dust trying to find one now. I think they stopped making them after Charnos got bought out by someone… the original documentary was really interesting, esp as the engineers had loads of trouble finding the best way to ‘model’ the boobs on the computer and stuff. They were also aghast at the ‘technology’ that is supposed to hold them up at the moment from what I remember. Hell, I’m a C cup, so hardly backpain territory, but I have trouble finding a bra where the straps don’t fall off my shoulders (narrow shoulders) or squidge boob out the side, or above/below the bra (my boobs appear to be ‘too far apart’ according to a shop measurer lady — hmphh!)… those bras which do seem to work in the shop always develop random problems afterwards, so I have no idea how the bigger bapped among you cope! Is there a way of having bespoke bras made for not-too-exhorbitant prices? Online bra manufacturing lessons?

  48. See, I like minimizers. I find they give me support and spread the pressure out a bit. Sometimes with non-minimizers, there’s too much pressure against the fuller parts of the breast, and it hurts. And if I cared about wearing shirts without gaping holes between buttons, that would be nice, too. (Although in principle, I should be able to buy shirts without gaping holes on my regular body.)
    It’s kind of like a very light sports bra.

    Here’s a thing: There needs to be automatic recorded lectures available online to people. Why is this not automatic? That way, if you get a prof that doesn’t match your learning style, you can go listen to a similar lecture by a different person. Why this is not in place for every single low-mid level general course I do not understand. This might not be easy or comfortable for small grad-level courses, where there’s lots of audience participation. (I certainly wouldn’t want some of the dumb things I said in upper level classes available publicly.) But general level, professor-led undergrad courses? Of course, then *any* Tom, Dick, or Harry that wanted to could study whatever they wanted, but – wait, what’s the downside? Organization and physical resources, I guess, but those could be relatively minimal. I’d certainly donate to a nonprofit dedicated to making this happen.

  49. @LilahMorgan: Yeah, there’s that too.
    People have this idea about what different bra sizes actually look like on women that’s totally inaccurate, just like their idea of what different weights look like on women is totally inaccurate (everybody seems to think 200 pounds looks like 300 pounds does, 300 pounds looks like 400 pounds does, and 400 pounds looks like 700 pounds does, what the heck?). Also the idea that the cup size is relative to the band size is apparently a totally alien concept. People complaining about the unrealistically giant balloon-breasts on female superheroes and how freakish that is inevitably refer to them as D/DD/DDD cups and then I want to punch someone.

  50. Lisa, the Mark Fast story is also reported on the BBC news website, and other papers/new media I think… haven’t checked the Guardian etc out yet, but the way the BBC reported it was pretty good I thought (I had some issuers with the Fashionista article’s ‘tone’!). My housemate (whom I have now trained to say ‘booga booga booga’ every time he hears the words ‘obesity epidemic’ or similar — yay!) saw it and sent me the link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8265312.stm

  51. For anyone who likes minimizers, Bali has a pretty big range of styles, and the website http://www.onehanesplace.com has fantastic sales. They do not last as long as Wacoal, but a lot of them are cute & comfy. I’m pretty sure it’s Bali that have the “stay put” straps with the silicone stuff. Though there’s a bit of a mixture of very cute, well cut stuff, and matronly 1950s torpedoboob styles. The size ranges are better than main street, but not as good as figleaves type places. My partner has a high opinion of Warner’s, as they last a loooong time and keep their shape, unfortunately they don’t fit me right.

    Also, anyone on the San Diego area, look for a store call Enchantress, it used to be in Old Town, but may have moved. She’s a bra specialist, and can help you find the right brand, style & size. When I went looking for wedding gear she had me bring my dress in so she could help me pic the most appropriate style.

  52. @ anita- I don’t know about lectures being available, but I regularly subbed out books (especially computer science books) in college and high school for books more suited to my learning style. MIT course material has been available for a while now, you could look there.
    The thing about lectures is, at least in the humanities, the way that a particular subject material is treated would be different depending on the professor. I studied the same books over and over in undergrad, but in different ways. And when all my friends were taking the freshman writing course, mine was focused on advertising and my friend’s was all Virginia Woolf all the time. Courses aren’t really interchangeable.

    I’m thinking of going into academia, or teaching in general, and it’s terrifying. Especially since I’d need grad school, and I don’t think I was ever a good student.

  53. @marjorie: I remember very clearly being moved to tears on a number of occassions when I first started Nia when I saw people who did not fit the more stereotypical idea I had of what a dancer looks like were clearly taking pleasure in moving their bodies…like the very pregnant woman, and the woman who took her dance to the floor because she couldn’t stand upright with 3rd degree burns on the bottoms of her feet. Thanks for reminding me of the possibility that I could facilitate that realization for someone else.

    @jae: Thanks for helping me distinguish my reasons for participating. Just asking me about that made me realize that the MAIN reason I want to go is to DANCE, and I never miss a special event at the studio if I can avoid it. So, letting some hypothetical stranger prevent my participation would definitely border on outlandish. And you made me recall that I have come a long way when dealing with other people’s comments–they used to sting quite a bit more. But more recently, when the guy on the street responded with shock when I said I was going to dance class, with a “YOU are?!?!”, I actually kind of enjoyed surprising him–he asked if he could come along, and I just swaggered away. And when a woman said to me at a post-Nia cocktail party, “You’re drinking and your obviously very pregnant?” I just felt sorry for HER for having to work so hard to pack so much judgement into a single sentence.

    I think I can handle this. Thanks for the support.

  54. Oh, the bra talk is so useful! I’m on the opposite side, with much smaller boobs than band size (I’m in the 46-48 range, but only a B-C cup, depending on my current weight and body shape). Finding bras in my size in commercial stores is practically impossible. XP The only store that has anything I can wear is Cacique. I’ve found only one bra style that works for me, that makes me look attractive and isn’t painful. Problem is, I have to wear two extenders with that bra (I own six of them because I have yet to find any other bras that work for me at all) and sometimes the extenders get unhooked if I’m too active. 9.9 Goodness knows even a large size store can’t possibly carry bras with big enough bands for me.

    I made an entry on my blog yesterday about romance and being fat, specifically accepting that I’m alone largely because I’m not willing to lower my standards, and that’s a good thing (not being alone, necessarily, but definitely not lowering my standards). I chalk it up largely to my stubbornness. I was told once, as a teenager (it was late high school, early college, but I forget the exact time) that I would be in an abusive relationship someday, because all fat girls hate themselves and will settle for anything just to not be alone. I decided then and there that I’d rather be alone my entire life than settle for anything that horrible. More details are in the entry, obviously.

  55. AliciaMaud74: I second marjorie’s advice. Don’t think of the possibly fat-phobic passersby. Think of all the fat ladies who might see you and think, “hey, I should try that!” I think I’m going to try a Nia class tomorrow night, although I won’t be able to sign go regularly.
    Shapelings, I’m really excited and somewhat scared because I’m about to start teaching bellydance classes in the rural area where I grew up (and recently moved back to.) It was me or nobody. I’m not much of a teacher, though.

  56. @the person above who asked about Cacique, I’ve bought nothing but Cacique bras for about 8 years and I’ve been very pleased. Love their balconettes always but recently fell in love with their new “back smoothing” line. In addition to the cool back smoothing properties I also heart the straps. I am a short person & have problems with straps that won’t choke up short enough. But these aren’t even on the shortest setting and they stay put. Give them a try. They can be a bit pricey but most are buy 1 get 1 half off.

  57. Also have you all seen the latest offering from We Are The Real Deal’s resident rage-inducer mamaV? Honestly, I should just conserve my SW Points and not look. Check it out, the instigator of Jelly gate back in August has apparently given the concept of thin privledge a lot of thought and decided it’s bullshit and the fat among us just need to stop complaining and stand up for ourselves. Lovely. I suppose her next post will be all about how the whole thing would be a moot point if we’d just eat less, move more, and lay off the baby donuts.

    Tried to link but can’t from my phone :/

  58. Oh my God, Jeanne. That mamaV post is amazing; okay, so most of it is the normal failure to grasp privilege that anyone who points it out gets (“Why are you pointing the finger at meeeeeee? I’m not privileged; I like X group of people!”), but then she ends it with:

    And finally, if you take away anything from this post let it be this – stop taking LIFE for granted – TODAY.

    Thank you, mamaV! Your entitled whining has indeed taught me that I should quit all that complaining/activism shit and focus on pretty kittens and puppies! How could I hvae been so blind?

  59. Jeanne, I know! I check back every now and then to see where WATRD is going to go, but the latest entry really takes the cake.

    While poking around the new design and FAQ page I just reread the commenting policy here at SP, and the latest WATRD post (in particular the choice of title and the image with the quote “Think of me as a challenge”) is a perfect example of the difference between Skinny Person A, and Skinny Person B.

    It’s a shame that she’s getting hung up on somehow proving she’s in the right, because the idea of that site is a great one as worded, but the execution is not living up to the promise!

  60. Zennoodle, we are boob twins! I have the EXACT same problems! These, what are they, “infinity edge” bras from VS work good for my boobs and the boobsquidge, and if I tighten up the straps a lot they stay up for a little while, but I’ve just accepted that the narrow shoulders mean that straps fall down, no matter what. But the narrow straps on those can be painful and chafing, for sure.

    HiddenTohru, that is really an awful thing to say to someone. Glad you know better :)

  61. LilahCello,
    Another technique that I have seen used to great effect is the silent stare. Just standing at the front of the room watching, listening to the conversation silently waiting for them to finish talking. Followed up with a curt “Are you finished? May we get on with class?”

    Also, summarily kicking people out who are talking. Start with a warning at the beginning of class and then just kick people out who start talking. It is hard to do without it distracting from the lecture but in theory it will not need to be done every day. You may end up lecturing at 5 people, but at least they will be getting their monies worth.

    So, I won a free pair of jeans. Do I want straight leg or boot cut for my “Seriously big ass”? Such difficult dilemmas.

  62. Joining the ranks of those who want to see their avatar at the new size. Also voicing my support for the blog changes, not because I welcome them or don’t welcome them, but because I support y’all’s deserving to run it the way you need and want to. :)

  63. HiddenTohru: I was told a similar thing when I was a teenager. More specifically, that no man would ever want me because my thighs were too big. That I would be lucky to get raped because it was the only action I would ever see.

    I had decided the same thing as you and was quite happy being single. But I have been with my partner for over five years and he is everything I would want in a husband and more. When you find them, you find them. Why settle for anything less?

  64. Lu, I too have exposed brain but I prefer to think of it as avatar of my RL ‘fro.

    Shiyiya, thanks very much for linking that.

    Rosemary & Lilah, OMG so right!! She seems to be able to dish it out but not take it. Here’s the general format for interactions on mamaV’s posts:

    mamaV: “-insert inflammatory statement here- But don’t hate, I’m Unapologetically Myself”
    commenters: (with varying degrees of rage/patience) “you are so full of crap.”
    mamaV: “why are you all picking on me? Can’t we think of the children???”

  65. Yay open threads and new formats!

    I actually thought about posting this a week or so ago, but I didn’t want to derail a thread on a specific post, so I thought I’d write it here. I’m curious to hear what you all think about this:

    My college’s gym is starting a program where you earn points for the amount of exercise classes you go to, as well as the number of times you go to the gym.

    Not only is this ableist, it’s also bad news for people who just got out of inpatient eating disorder treatment like two months ago. Like, oh, me.

    I don’t think they should stop this policy for the 5-6% of the population who may have eating disorders here, but at the same time, I don’t need external validation for my eating disorder, you know? (“Oh, well I guess I could do another half hour. . . gotta get some points!”) Blah. I’m vulnerable right now — this doesn’t help!

  66. Is it just me, or does their blog title seem really patronizing and condescending now? “WE are the REAL deal. Rest of y’all suck.”

    Also, holy hell vitriol, has nobody ever told this woman to LET GO OF ANGER AND DON’T JUST UNLEASH IT ON EVERYONE CONSTANTLY.

    I mean, “if you can’t say something nice don’t’ say anything at all” has been around since ever right?

  67. The concept of privilege was a great discovery for me! It explained my white middle class guilt, and enabled me to acknowledge that I can have it good in many ways: cis-gendered, educated, stable family life, and still struggle with depression, being an intelligent female, body image etc etc and it doesn’t make me self centered. Though it’s important to recognize where I’ve lucked out

  68. OK, am I noticing a trend here? I keep seeing people say something like, “I wear a 32 back and sometimes they sell me a 34 and it doesn’t work…”

    Are fatties regularly being sold too-big back sizes? Like those of us with semi-average-to-small backs are encountering salespeople who can’t possibly believe we might need such a small size? Or because we have rolls that are there no matter what they are assuming the bras are causing them?

    I usually wear a 34 or 36 and last time I went bra shopping the salesbitch tried to tell me I needed a 40 (side note: she was a bitch for more reasons than just that). Because I have back fat spilling over the top of my bra. Amazingly enough, I still had back fat in the 40. I just had back fat AND sagging tits.

    If you really are going to come bra shopping in NYC do not, I repeat, do NOT go to Linda the Bra Lady. I don’t have the energy to write out my whole harrowing experience last time, but believe me when I say that I wouldn’t put my worst enemy through that.

  69. Site is looking great! Was quite a surprise when I saw the new look. hehe.

    I was on facebook earlier and I follow this group called ‘Any Body’ where they post size acceptance related links and such. Today the post was about how the diet industry relies on “recidivism”(I quote because I’m not sure if it’s the right word to describe it) to keep itself going. They mention WW as an example. So of course the first comment is from someone singing the praises of Weight Watchers and ends with this little gem: “People can’t blame a company for their lack of restraint.”


    I couldn’t help but leave a comment. I was so annoyed. Funny thing is that about two years ago I probably would have agreed with this person enthusiastically while chastising myself for not having the kind of restraint she’s talking about. Pshh.

    I am SO GLAD I found fat acceptance. :D

  70. @alabee

    I’m assuming the points are to add up to some sort of prize eventually?

    I think you should complain to your school…even if you are the only one there (or close to it) with an actual diagnosed eating disorder, I’d be willing to bet that there are plenty of women who have a disordered mentality toward exercise already and this is reinforcing that. Sure, it’s great to encourage people to stay fit, but at what cost? And to whose definition of “fit”?

    The ableism is a good point too. Maybe there’s a disability advocacy group that would be interested in complaining with you?

    Not to mention it could be exclusive of people that prefer to get their exercise other ways, like hiking or bicycling or swimming in a lake (yes, gym industry, it IS possible to be fit without tethering yourself to a treadmill) or simply don’t have the time (being in school and having classes to deal with and all that) to participate in something often enough to be worthwhile.

  71. Are fatties regularly being sold too-big back sizes? Like those of us with semi-average-to-small backs are encountering salespeople who can’t possibly believe we might need such a small size?

    This wouldn’t surprise me; I think I’ve mentioned this before in this blog’s comments, but I was once told by a Victoria’s Secret saleswoman that women who claimed they wore over a D cup and under a 38 band were “lying because they wanted people to think they were thin.” Anecdata, I know but that particular belief goes along so nicely with the meme about women wanting “vanity sizing” and insisting on small clothing size numbers (hahahah, illogical women!), that it wouldn’t suprise me at all if it was widespread.

  72. spuffyduds, your avatar is stopping in the name of love! :)

    Sorry to keep making dumb comments when something important is going on, but I don’t have anything to add except maybe that mamaV is so clearly missing the point. I think in a few months, if she reads more on FA and thinks about this with good intent, she’s going to be recanting what she’s written on thin privilege.

  73. @ Kristine – That’s horrendous. Not that far a step down from what I was told, but still horrendous. I’m curious, was the person who told you that male or female? The person in my case was female, and the same age as me. She also told a mutual friend of ours that the entire reason I was depressed (I still fight depression off and on, but it was worse then) was because I was too fat to be lovable by anyone. If I just laid off the donuts, then I’d probably get a boyfriend and be happy. *Sigh* These days I feel sorry for her more than anything. How unhappy must she have been to put me down like that? I really chalk up most of my resolve to my stubborn streak. Whenever someone tells me something that they think applies to me but I don’t like, I do the opposite thing just to spite them. XD

    @ Liza – I’ve constantly been fighting people in the past two years because I realized swimming is the only exercise I enjoy and want to do regularly, and no one is willing to accept that it’s a decent exercise because it doesn’t involve a treadmill or weight machines. 9.9 Then, because I have difficulty finding a pool in the area that is convenient for me (open at times I can go, as well as nearby), it’s my fault for not “compromising” and subjecting my weak joints to higher impact exercises, which would probably cause me harm in the long run. Nevermind that I can barely afford food right now, let alone any kind of gym membership. XP

  74. So my teeny tiny friend with the Rack Of Doom [tm] couldn’t possibly be a 32E/F, she’s just trying to pretend to be thin. Which, you know, she is – thin with big boobs!

    I think that the basic bra sizing technique gets less accurate when you get more body fat, because the fat deposits so differently in everyone. I tried the back-smoothing bra over the weekend, and realized that it’s not my bra making the folds, it’s my waist. Oh well. I routinely do better down a band & up a cup from wherever I measure, because I need my bras to be tight enough around the ribs to provide support. Others might feel squished that way round and want to go up a band and down a cup.

    Favourite snarky saleswoman story: owner of a bridal/formalwear place gave me the once-over and flatly told me I couldn’t wear a sz14 Jessica McClintock, but then measured me and I was in the range for that size. Then she was snooty about my wanting a silver bridesmaid’s dress to get married in “THAT’S not a wedding gown”, and after all that expected me to order the dress sight unseen with no option to return it.

  75. Regarding MamaV’s post: Aaargh! I don’t know why it’s so hard to get that pointing out privilege is not A Personal Attack On You. It’s kinda right there in the definition of the concept: unearned, unchosen, and all.

    Also, Rosemary Riveter, I also need to go down/up from my measurements to find anything that remotely fits. It has historically confused Victoria’s Secret salesgals, and hilarity has ensued (not).

  76. Okay, I’m a lurker (mostly), but I’ve been hoping for an open thread to ask for some advice.

    My mother, who is ~300lbs, needs back surgery. The problem is this: her doctors have advised her that she can’t get the surgery, or at least that it will be incredibly dangerous if she does, before she loses some weight. But she’s in a lot of pain, and the back problems combined with a stroke she had a few years ago mean that’s she’s nearly immobilized. So — how exactly is she supposed to lose all of that weight when she literally can’t make it up a flight of stairs?

    (To be clear, she’s slightly larger than me, but not a lot — I think we actually wear the same dress size, or close to it. Realistically, it’s probably a bit harder for her to get around than it would be if she were lighter — but the underlying issues causing mobility problems are quite separate from her weight. I mean, if that weren’t true, tell me how I would have ridden my bike to work today! Haha.)

    So, here’s my call for advice. She carries a lot of her weight around her middle, and the surgery being suggested to her would require her to be under a general anaesthetic, lying on her stomach, for several hours. From a simple mechanical perspective, I can understand how this might raise concerns about her breathing. But — is this something that a doctor could get around? And how could I look into less invasive options for her? It seems like this is one of those medical tautologies: fat people will have a bad outcome with this surgery (which incidentally was designed for thin people) because they’re fat people. And it seems that there must be another way to think about it.

    The thing is — she just thinks she’s bad. She believes, unequivocally, that it’s her fault that she’s fat, and that this means that she has to ‘be good’ and fix herself before she can get help. And it seriously breaks my heart. I mean — last week she told me about all of this pain that she’s in, and how she’s barely been able to leave her house, then said, “so, I was really bad today, and I had Chinese food.” And all I could think was — you’re in severe pain, and you’ve had probably ONE bit of physical pleasure this week, and it was that plate of Chinese food. And that’s bad?

    So — I have no sense that she’s going to advocate for herself and look for alternatives. And, frankly, if I don’t do it for her, I don’t see how she’s going to get better. She’s only in her mid-fifties, and the idea that she’s going to spend the rest of her life in pain because she doesn’t deserve proper medical care (either in her estimation, or her doctors’) terrifies me. Almost as much as the idea that her life will no doubt be significantly shortened because she can barely fucking walk, which *of course* is a level of immobility that leads to health problems.

    Any suggestions? I suppose part of what I want to do for her is find her a medical option, but another part of what I want to do for her is make her hate herself a bit less.

  77. Oh, and I have a question. Is there some history to the term “Shapelings”? I’m just curious, because it popped into my head a minute ago that “Shapeliers” or “Shapelians” would also be cool terms to use, but I didn’t know if Shapelings has a long and distinguished history or something. XD

    Also, to those with monsters with exposed brains: I think it just means they had too much brains to fit in their heads, thus causing them to be on the outside. XD Hyper-intelligence FTW!

  78. I like the SP makeover! It is a little weird to visually lean to the left, admittedly, but bigger print is always fantastic.

    It’s finally happened- my mother has told me to lose weight four times in the past month. And every single time, she’s come up with a different excuse as to why it’s “for my health.” For the past few weeks my knee has been bothering me and only this weekend has it really begun to hurt. I went to the chiropractor, who straightened me out a little bit but saw nothing drastically wrong with it and simply advised me to make sure I’m putting equal weight on both legs. Nonetheless, it’s still really hurting. Last night while I was putting on some Traumeel, my mother came in and out of nowhere said, “You have to lose some weight.” And I flipped my shit on her, simply because this is the fourth time in one month she’s randomly come out with this assertion and she knows quite well that I’ve only recently stopped being body dysmorphic and obsessed with my weight and eating. She went on to tell me that I have really small bones, and a rheumatologist told her that she needed to lose weight so that there wouldn’t be pressure on her knees- so naturally, because we’re apparently the same person with the same body, I need to lose weight too. I told her I would NOT lose weight, at least not intentionally, because I know what happens to me when I start focusing on losing weight, and I don’t like it. To which she replied, “I just thought by now you’d be mature enough to hear someone tell you that you should lose weight without it being a trigger.” Mature enough?!

    No apology, by the way. She thinks we’re totally fine, but I haven’t talked to her all day. I’m just pissed that I’ve been trying to explain HAES and how much it’s helped me change my perspective, and it just hasn’t sunk in at all. She’s still drinking the “losing weight will make you healthy” Kool-Aid, even though I know she didn’t especially like the me who was a compulsive exerciser and a binge-eater and generally a rabid frothing mess about how fat I thought I was.

    Not to mention that it’s not like she’s in ideal health either, but I don’t guilt-trip her about how she doesn’t exercise enough or how maybe she’d be less tired if she ate something more than watery salad and cottage cheese. If she wants to hate on her own body, she can go right ahead. That’s what I’m sure the problem actually is, not my weight.

    I still feel totally lousy about it, though.

  79. If anyone’s in the DC area, with respect to bra fitting, I’ve gone to Dor-NE corset shoppe (yes, it’s really spelled like that) in Silver Spring, and gotten good service.

    Unfortunately, though, I’m realizing that maybe perma-bruises under my 40H cups are sort of here to stay – everything that’s strong enough to hold it all up ends up cutting in eventually. Why can’t underwires be gel-padded instead of NOT padded?

  80. @Rosemary – my god, the earth would just open up and swallow you whole if you get married wearing anything but a bona fide WEDDING DRESS. Shame, shame on you! Gah! People I do not understand…

    Thinking about bras depresses me, especially since my magic bra is starting to wear out now. I’m about halfway through a corset (and have been for six months because I’m easily distracted) and I can’t wait until I finally make myself finish it. Support from below is going to my solution. *raises fist in solidarity with…Victorians* Damn.

    I’m also a “non-traditional” college student and am already fed up with teenagers. 27 years old and I’m finding myself wanting to shake my fist at these kids. I was always one of those “read all the directions and do what I’m supposed to” sort of students, so I am having a tough time understanding why some of my classmates go directly to whining and claims of incompetence rather than just READING THE DAMN SYLLABUS. Sheesh.

    And the lab! OMG! So, the chem prof sets out the single bottle of solution we’re all meant to pour our samples from, next to a waste flask for the leftovers (labeled, oddly enough, as “Waste Flask”), and three much smaller beakers with sample solutions and hydrometers (which were part of the whole experiment). Dude first in line, just ahead of me picks up one of the small flasks with hydrometer and is about to pour the solution into his beaker when I stop him and say, “Oh! No, guys, you need to pour from the bottle.” Blank looks, from two confused lads, as his lab partner is now standing there. “The amber bottle. Right there.” I’m pointing. One of them picks up the waste flask and frowns. “No, guys, the brown bottle. Right there! In front of of you! The bottle! THE BOTTLE!!!”

    It was the most absurd exchange I’ve had yet, not counting the belligerent drunk dude sitting right next to me in a 3 hour class last week, who treated the prof’s presentation of the syllabus as though he were being directly addressed (“Oh, I won’t like that. Oh, that’s going to be really sad. Oh, I won’t be in class that day because I have to go to court. My ex-girlfriend took out an order of protection against me. I don’t know why! I didn’t do anything!”) Finally tossed out after being given about 9 “last chances,” and then argued with the professor for five minutes about how unfair it was that he was being kicked out, that he promised he’d be quiet, etc.

    I have that class again tomorrow. I really hope he’s dropped out. Smelling all that alcohol next to me, being petrified of turning my head even slightly to the left, lest the angry drunk latch on to me…it just like childhood Thanksgivings with grandma, and not in a good way. I was actually starting to tremble by the time he left.

  81. Ugh, Lucy, I’m really sorry. I’ll be seeing my mother later this week, and she sounds very like your mother. Hang in there. :/

  82. Lucizoe! That’s totally what I want to do, too! :D We should have a ning thread about Shapelings In Corsets.

    Sorry about the jerk in class with you.

  83. I never knew there was a whole discussion on being called shapelings. Hah. It’s been there since I found this place and I just thought it made sense, what with the name of the blog and all. I should go through more archives and see what else I can learn.

  84. I was wondering if someone would bring up MamaV’s pathetic post. I didn’t know if that other place was ok to talk about here.

    I really find her intentional ignorance and utter refusal to not see the whole discussion as anything other then a personal attack, utterly astounding.

    She really is “choosing” not to get it. That is the only thing that is remotely believable at this point.

  85. If, I’m really sorry to hear about your mum. I’m afraid I have no idea about whether there are alternative procedures… what are your chances of finding a more supportive doctor to discuss the options with? Are there any ‘smaller scale’ ops or procedures that would ease the pain your mum has for a while, even if not as fully effective as the op they would like to be able to do? My only thought was that if they could adapt the bed/operating table somehow, that might be the way forward. There surely has to be a way, she can’t be the only person with fat on her middle who has needed to lie on her front for something.

    I really wish there was something better I could think of… does anyone know if there are any supportive sites you could go to for info? I was thinking about that First Do No Harm one, but I (not having been to it) get the impression that it was about people’s stories of bad docs… might there be a directory of good’uns?

    Sorry not to be more use — I’m sending hugs at least! ((((((((If))))))))

  86. Lucy–I’m so sorry. I’ve got rockin’ parents, but they have been complete and utter idiots about my weight since I was about eight years old. (I was not fat at eight. Incidently. Grr.) Needless to say, many body image issues later, I decided that my weight was Not Okay to discuss. My father, who IRL scares generals and Congressmen, was the big offender. All I could do was say, “Dad, you’ve said it. If it were going to help, it already would have. We’re completely done talking about this subject forever.” And then walking away/hanging up/etc whenever it came up. Ten years later, he’s got it. Old dawg, new tricks, no lie. This is possibly a Results Not Typical event, but it’s the best I can offer.

    Even if they’re your parents, they’re people with broken bits and blind spots. Weirdly enough, you get to be the grown-up here, not your mom, and sometimes the best the grown-up can do is set boundaries, offer love, and wish for a magic wand.

  87. “I have monster envy. I want tentacles. Do you think I could go to a cartoon plastic surgeon for a tentacoplasty? Perhaps a fang augmentation also.”

    Rosemary Riveter, don’t be hatin’ on your monster. Don’t subject your poor monster to unwarranted surgery. You should love your monster just the way it is.


    Actually I think your monster is adorable. She’s got great lips.

  88. lf – I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. I don’t really have any advice, but I really hope her doctors find a way for her to have the surgery sooner rather than later.

    re: MamaV’s ridiculous post. I periodically read WATRD just to see where things are going. I find that some of the other posters are thoughtful about weight, privilege, and fatness, but MamaV is not one of them. Her post on privilege is a perfect example of just not getting it. Acknowledging privilege for one group doesn’t nullify any other struggles that group has. She makes connections and creates causes and effects that simply don’t exist. And then she blames the victims for “whining” and making it worse. I can’t even fully articulate how much her self-centered comparisons irritate me, and really question any body image site run by someone so blind.

  89. Also in the small backed-big-tittied club. I have had good luck with Lunaire in the past for the best combo of comfy, <$40/pr & not industrial looking. But, so sad!!!! It looks like they have stopped making their larger cup and band sizes!!!! They USED to go to a 48 and some times 52 band, and H cups, but I was just looking on line and it looks like they may have restricted their line to 42/F. FEH! Maybe there are some of the other sizes on EBay.

    On the MamaV thing – just a teensy bit of psych-from-afar. She describes herself as having had an eating disorder (specifically restricting AN). There is some interesting neuro-psych work out there indicating that one of the cognitive issues/deficits that often goes with or predisposes someone to RAN is a lack of introspection. There also seems to be a predisposition to judge the world as “like me” and “not like me” and be very avoidant of the latter.

    Now, lots of times – most of the time? – this kind of thing is just someone being a jerk. They don't really WANT to question their internal lives & value judgments at all. BUT sometimes this is a brain quirk. The parts of the brain that process introspection or reality testing of how well our internal world matches up with outside evidence just don't work the way they could, and people with RAN (as well as recidivist addicts, interestingly) seem to have this kind of issue oftener than you would expect. This is to say that it’s POSSIBLE that MamaV don’t get it because it’s harder for her to get it than it would be if she were wired differently. Which doesn’t make her role on WatRD any less problematic. In some ways it's maybe worse.

    And in no way does it excuse the complete logic-fail of her latest post.
    Telling marginalized people ur doin it rong – check!
    Telling same it's not the worst thing evah – check!
    Setting up straw other that people treat just as badly – check!
    Making the "tone" argument – check!
    "My best friend (former co-blogger) is a … – check!

    I do believe that's BINGO!

  90. “Another technique that I have seen used to great effect is the silent stare. Just standing at the front of the room watching, listening to the conversation silently waiting for them to finish talking. Followed up with a curt “Are you finished? May we get on with class?””

    –Heh, heh. I’ve used that one a few times.

    I teach graduate courses that are smaller, such as 15-20 students, and what I do is have them put the chairs in a U shape so that we’re all looking at each other. It really helps to keep them engaged.

    The thing that annoys me to High Heaven is students who get on the internet, update their Facebook pages, tweet, write emails, and even write assignments from another class while either I or another student is talking. One time I actually had them all close their laptops because it was so distracting. Curse you, wireless access!!!

  91. for the bra-shoppers here, i recently discovered the balconette style which are supposed to be good for bustier women and is suprisingly non-gougey and un-chaffey. fantasie, chantelle anad prima donna are good brands. bare necessities.com has most styles. and you can get bathing suits that come in bra-sizes instead of s/m/l etc. my 34E are very happy with them. good luck!

  92. This feels really petty of me when such wonderful comments are going up, but my only issue with the new layout is that when I scroll down to the bottom of the article, to view the comments I have to scroll back up.

    Anyone else not a fan?

    (Also, I wonder about monster-age, although I don’t know if I get a monster).

  93. I think one of the most frustrating things about mamaV’s discussions of privilege is that she acts like eating disorders == thin privilege. Which isn’t really completely accurate. Anyone thin enough that objects and spaces are designed to accommodate them has some thin privilege. But thin privilege is also associated with social approval, and people known or suspected to have eating disorders often don’t get that approval.
    To put it awkwardly, people with eating disorders are “cheating” to get thin privilege, rather than putting in effort to diet and exercise, or being fortunate enough to be thin naturally. Thin people with eating disorders have some thin privilege, but it’s kind of like a trans man’s male privilege, in that it’s conditional on passing. Failing to pass will rob them of that privilege, and then some. But I wouldn’t want to see what comments would look like if I brought up trans men on WATRD.
    People with eating disorders are vilified in a way that’s just tragic. And the same social pressures that encourage otherwise nice, reasonable people to hate on the fatties also encourage them to hate on people suffering from eating disorders.

  94. Re bras: I second the vote for bras that aren’t minimizers and aren’t padded. It’s pathetic that the default assumption is that we are not happy with the size of our breasts. Of course, I’m cheap and maybe I’m not looking in the right places.
    I’ll put in another good word for swimming. Love, love, love it! I started swimming a lot more after I gave up soccer. My knees and joints feel so much better now.

  95. Oh for fucking fucks sake, I just had to go and do it didn’t I?! Yes, indeed, I went and read the ‘Thin Privilege, Spare Me’ claptrap over on WatRD…


    Like, at first I didn’t ‘get’ thin privilege 100% either, because as noted in so many places, it’s often hard to recognise your own privileges. I too have ED history and related pains (etc) … but I read about the thin privilege (and other privilege) ideas and tried really damn hard to understand before I went about the place ‘oh puh-lease’-ing. Argh! One of the bestest most greatest things about this site is that the comments policy and general ethos of it doesn’t allow size bashing of any description to go unchecked. In fact, I credit coming here with a large part of the responsibility for restoring much of my sanity as a result of this! I heart this site sooooo much as a result! Big enormous servings of love and doughnuts all round!

    On the teaching issue… I teach undergrads and have a couple of guest slots with postgrads, and I look younger than I am, and I guess am just not as confident with teaching as I (hopefully) would be after say 10 years of experience or whatever (in fact the first year or two were horrendously scary!), so I feel the pain of being talked over etc in class. Some of the things my fellow teachy friends and I have tried that may/may not help are:

    * When a group gets restless, or even if they are not yet restless but have the propensity to become so, make them all get up and stretch/walk around/shake their arms and legs out for 20 seconds and sit down again. I’ve even seen this employed at conferences full of ‘real grown ups’ (in fact it’s where I stole the idea from!).

    *In small to medium sized groups, do the U shape thing that Marianne from Cali mentioned, and also force them to sit next to someone they don’t know yet for at least the first few weeks. I allow 2 minutes for them to swap info about each other and do that ice breaky thing where they tell the rest of the group about the other person in one sentence before starting.

    * The long stare thing has worked great for me sometimes, but only when they actually notice I’m staring! Chucking out individuals by marching up to them and quietly-but-steelily (a word?) telling them to leave has also worked where the staring has been noticed but ignored.

    *Announce that I know all about how crap the nightlife where we live is, so they can’t possibly have anything so exciting to discuss that it can’t wait til after we’ve finished doing the thing they/their parents are paying for them to be there doing — works well in tandem with asking them if they know how much their fees are each year as mentioned by a previous commenter!

    * In a small group that is really misbehaving, issue a couple of warnings and then follow through with telling them to leave because their lack of participation renders you bothering with them pointless (while pointing out they are wasting their time and yours by being this way) — I only ever had to do this once, and I really was scared I’d get in trouble for it (didn’t) , but they had pushed me so far (no prep, talking over me, no participation/willingness to engage, etc) I felt like it was the only option left that would avoid me screaming at them in an uncontrollable rage. Their faces were pictures of shock, and it was never as bad as that again. Several of my friends have had to do this at least once in 3 years of teaching tutorials and seminars, and as far as I can tell it has always worked as a last resort.

  96. Crap. When I said

    but I read about the thin privilege (and other privilege) ideas and tried really damn hard to understand before I went about the place ‘oh puh-lease’-ing.

    I hope it didn’t sound like I thought I had done the requisite work to go about ‘oh puh-leasing’, or indeed like I did go about ‘oh puh-leasing’… I don’t think I did ‘oh puh-lease’ at people/standpoints… hope I didn’t.

    I think/hope that even when I was still uninitiated in the wise ways of FA, I wouldn’t have tried to tell people that thin privilege didn’t exist because I have always plainly seen that it does (because why else would I have been striving to be thin, thinking it would Solve Stuff?) — my not getting it-ness ran more to getting confused and thinking people thought I was having it easy by being thin without the qualification that in addition to my thin privileges it was understood I could have any number of other things going on that intersected with that. But then I read stuff and listened to people and realised those things are not the same. It was massively eye-opening and healing and wonderful for me, and at the same time a lesson to try to remember to check my privileges–that’s a good lesson!

    /garble off

  97. Since this is an open thread, I just wanted to spread the good news that I have a job interview on Wednesday!! It’s just a seasonal position, but I’m hope it works out.

  98. If, I’m really sorry your mother is being treated so shamefully by her doctors. It’s always hard to advocate for yourself when you’re in pain, and doctors are such authority figures about health that it’s really hard to stand up for yourself and say “that’s wrong,” or even “that’s impossible.”

    I think the problem with the surgery has to do with anesthesia. Fat patients need different doses of drugs (and it turns out adjusting between child and adult doesn’t work quite the same way as adjusting between thin adult and fat adult.) I get the impression that some anesthesiologists have been trained in how to adjust doses, and work with monitoring equipment in different sizes. Others just sort of say, “Oh shit! General anesthetic is so dangerous for fat patients! It’s so easy to get the dose wrong and kill them! And the standard size masks barely stretch around their big fat necks, so it’s hard to control…it’s just too risky unless they lose weight!”

    There might also be a problem with needing special equipment to hold her body in the right position, so nothing gets squashed, and the surgeon can reach her spine…these things exist, but not every hospital has them. In emergency situations, it’s even possible to do spine surgery on a woman who is 8 or 9 months pregnant.

    There are anesthesiologists who know how to work on fat patients. Can you find one? I don’t know. I also don’t know if your mother’s GP and surgeon would really like to help her, if they could only find a good anesthesiologist…or if they are trying to punish her because she’s fat and they don’t really want to help her. If you need to look for a new surgeon, as well as an anesthesiologist, it can get much more complicated.

  99. Ethyl: Zennoodle, we are boob twins!

    Yay for boob twinning! :-) Is ‘VS’ Victoria’s Secret? I would dearly like to find a bra good for not squidging far apart boobations!

  100. HiddenTohru, those people who are pooh-poohing swimming as not being good exercise are speaking out some bodily orifice other than their mouths. Or they’re showing their own insecurity that if it’s not exercise for exercise’s sake, it’s not really exercise. To hell with them – if you like it and you can do it, go for it. Yes, I swim, and it’s done wonders for my stamina and muscles. And no, I am not the fastest person in the pool – but sometimes I last the longest :).

    Bras…a big *hug* for everyone who is in some way outside the limited set of sizes carried in common stores. Yeah, me too. And it’s probably going to get worse, as I’m fairly sure I’m putting on breast again (thank you ever so, perimenopause! Not.). Just when I’ve found some bras that aren’t too expensive and fit well and hold me up like a dream. And aren’t minimizers because minimizers push everything out to the side on me, and it looks horrible. It’s not comfortable, either.

    So I’m wearing the hell out of the good bras now while I can. I’m not waiting for special occasions, because who knows how long I’ll get to enjoy them?

  101. TropicalChrome – Thanks. <3 I'm getting to the point where I'm starting to decide where my priorities lie, and putting up with assholes in my extended family is quickly traveling down the list (just above "conquering China", I think). Not to mention I was taught to swim when I was barely 2, so it's extremely natural and relaxing for me (even swimming laps is relaxing, just being in water is relaxing for me).

    Also, may I ask, do you collect BJDs? I do, and seeing the doll in your icon makes me curious. X3

  102. I’ve been mostly lurking here for well over a year, but I wanted to speak up and thank you all, bloggers and commenters all, for helping me keep my sanity and actually start to feel good about my body.

    I’ve been sitting at my desk grading all day, Soc 101 student papers on an article about body image, athletics and eating disorders. Some of the kids really get it, but every once and a while one of them will say something that just feels like a slap in the face. They don’t really mean it. They’re mostly good kids, just indoctrinated in this culture’s fat-hate. So, I’ve kept this comment thread open all day to dip into when the fat-hate gets a bit too much for me. It really helps me take a deep breath and not go absolutely batshit on these kids.

    Also, I just responded to one girl who commented that she was trying to lose weight to be healthy “You don’t need to lose weight to be healthy or healthier. It’s a fallacy often perpetuated by our culture and the media that only bodies of a certain size is healthy. This is totally wrong. Dieting – especially calorie restriction – is actually harmful to your body no matter your size. ” So, baby steps. Maybe this will get her thinking or at least let her know that one person thinks she’s fine the way she is.

    Anyway, thanks y’all.

  103. Oh, and this is the first time I’ve seen my monster. Zie’s so cute! The eyes, after all the grading, are especially accurate.

  104. Tiphane: You don’t need to lose weight to be healthy or healthier. It’s a fallacy often perpetuated by our culture and the media that only bodies of a certain size is healthy. This is totally wrong. Dieting – especially calorie restriction – is actually harmful to your body no matter your size

    *Clips comment for taping to fridge and use in conversations with friends/relatives/students/others about FA*

    Your students are really lucky to have you grade their papers! <3

  105. thought i would drop a link here since its an open thread, and its relevant: i found a video on you-tube that a guy put together of 365 daily pics of him as he worked out and dieted….and shaved his chest and went to the tanning bed (the shaving and tanning were the breaking point for me). i found the whole thing terribly offensive. and in analyzing my reaction i realized that working out for men, and dieting for women, reinforces the gender binary and perpetuates rape-culture, by making men bigger and stronger than women, and women smaller and weaker than men.

    see what you think. comments and criticisms welcome.


  106. lucizoe – read the syllabus? Surely you jest!

    Seriously, I write the syllabus these days to cover my ass, because I know many of them look at it on Day 1 and never again, but as long as I included something in the syllabus, they can’t generate a formal complaint against me. My new favorite phrase is “subject to the discretion of the instructor.” A small portion of students actually read and pay attention to the syllabus and the assignment sheets I hand out for each assignment – they are inevitably the ones who do really well in my classes, because I was also a follow-the-instructions student and I shape my courses that way. If you actually read and follow the instructions I give you, you’ll do well. The ones who don’t get penalized.

    Of course, I also had to grapple with reality when I started teaching that to me, getting a C would’ve been abhorrent and equal to an F, where many of the students feel a C is all they need. It took a while to get accustomed to that mindset.

    shinobi42 – never underestimate the power of the icy stare!


  107. Zennoodle, it is from Victoria’s Secret, and I think it’s called the “Infinity Edge” and it might be a miracle bra? It’s got gold clasps and adjuster doohickies. I’m a 36C, and I’ve found these ones to give me good support and good coverage out the sides. And they last for a while, IME, but after a while I will start to plop out the bottom of them. The only problem is the strap — they have these thin, double straps, and they just sliiiide right off the narrow shoulders. (I also can’t wear purses on one shoulder, I always have to go diagonal.) And I do wish the straps were thicker. Someday I really will have to learn how to sew.

    One thing I can definitely NOT recommend is the “wireless” bras from VS — they had these weird boning things on the sides, like, under my arms, I guess to make up for the lack of underwire, and they HURT.

  108. Regarding talking students: I just say in a normal tone of voice “hello, I am the most important person here right now. Yep, right now, it’s all about me, in a minute it can be all about you. This minute, I am the center of this class’s universe. Next time it can be all about you.”

    They shut up after a few minutes.

    Re: bras… I hates getting them. Someday I will have money and I will buy very expensive bras. Also: can’t wait to see me monster!

  109. OMG Ethyl, we REALLY ARE boob twins. I fall out the bottom of loads of my old bras! I end up tightening them to try to stop this and then become strangulated by them! And I’m so with you on bags — are we also shoulder twins?! Stupid clothes always have the shoulder seams in the wrong place, suits that fit otherwise make me look like I’m a kid playing dressups because the shoulders are part way down my arms… arghh!

  110. @factcheckme, thanks for the link and interesting questions–I have been second-guessing my reactions to it as I type this comment! I watched that clip, and I have mixed feelings about it. I actually also clicked through to youtube as well, to see what the ‘linked’ videos would be like (oddly one was about pokemon championships!?) and there seemed to be lots of similar ones — could only bring myself to fast fwd through a couple. It strikes me that it seems to have been some kind of motivational tactic for the guys doing these kinds of vids, a bit like the diet support sites that have people posting photo updates of ‘how they’re doing’ and the like.

    Mainly, the existence of these kinds of things (the vids and the diet bloggy type doodahs) upset me, for the general reasons of how it’s sad to me that people get so into dieting, etc. Seeing this with a guy was interesting, because I guess it felt a bit more removed from my experience; it reminded me of the horror I felt when my housemate brought home a copy of FHM (men’s mag) that he had been given free at the hairdresser and I saw how full of diet crap and body shaming it was (he brought it home to illustrate a point he’d been making to me about this stuff getting more common/worse for men at the moment, not because he was an avid reader). I think it just saddens me that these messages are so all over the place.

    I think I can see what you’re saying about the ‘women get smaller’ and ‘men get bigger’ aims, although it might be worth noting that within the meta-culture of ‘healthy worship’ (for want of a better phrase?–help!) there are women who want to get bigger and muscly, and men who want to be skinny and not muscly, and all sorts of variations within… But yeah, I see what you mean… though I don’t think that the men want to get bigger necessarily want to in order to conform to an ideal that’s bound up with rape culture. I’m not very good at analysing all the interrelated factors without putting my foot in my mouth or getting muddled, but I’m not sure that the link is as simple/direct as that, and I’ll probs be mulling this over for ages now…

    With respect to this guy’s actual video post, I found myself gravitating towards thinking he was looking more cocky and arrogant towards the end, and ‘sweeter’ at the start, but then I ended up giving myself a telling-off for judging on appearance. I have no idea what he’s like, and I guess maybe his vid could symbolise any number of things for him personally… I mean, I would instantly be not cool with the sorts of comments that a video that showed the reverse would probably end up with (we can all imagine — let himself go, oogaboogafatty, etc), so I’m not sure I should be cool with the comments in my brain that started to go ‘oh he looks like a right poser’ etc with the video-as-posted. Hmmm.

    Not to mention that my boyfriend who is a gentle puppy of a sweetheart (<3!) and a confirmed feminist is naturally quite muscular, but has recently been having issues of his own about body acceptance after he put on some weight. He enjoys going to the gym because it helps him to relieve stress (and is good for his physio exercises necessary for repairing his busted knee, etc) and because he likes to be toned, but had fallen out of the habit, partly down to busy-ness and also down to injury. Now he's back working out a few times a week he genuinely seems to be more relaxed. I was worried, especially in light of my own FA learnings this past year, that he was 'only' doing it to lose weight, and did a massive declaration of how much I love him whatever shape/size he is, that he didn't need to be a giant buff-ball, etc. We had quite a long talk about it (which encompassed stuff both of us feel about our bodies too) and the upshot is that, although I worry about the fact he does get upset when he 'feels fat' too, the fact that he enjoys working out isn't really related to him thinking that muscular is some kind of universal ideal to be pursued; he just likes to work out and has a body type that bulks up with muscle quite fast. He is very into his martial arts, and a lot of his gym work is linked to getting better at those… yet he isn't into the idea of smacking people for fun. When we're out together, he can sometimes get the sort of nervous sideways glance as if he's scary from other people (he walks fast and often wears a cap which I guess shades his face but it's to save time on making his hair behave, which they don't know) but he is the least scary person I know. Before I went out with him I was really sceptical of men who 'enjoy fighting', but as I got to know him I realised that despite the many pillocks who are inevitably out there, there are many people (men and women) who are into martial arts for whom it is less about learning to be a bloodsport practitioner and more about respect and stuff… So I had been being a bit judgy there too, and have since felt pretty bad about that.

    Maybe the issue is to do with the fervency that the goal of 'becoming an Adonis' is/can be followed with? In that sense I do find the vid you linked to a bit offensive if I interpret it as being a 'grrr argh get me I became Adonis, thus I am morally superior/A Real Man' type of thing… but I can see how this kind of thing could also be interpreted in other ways, especially as I don't know anything much about the guy himself, other than he has chosen to put this up.

    Argh, I have a funny feeling I'm waffling and making little sense :-(. To try to boil it down, I guess I'm saying that I agree there is a certain kind of 'do stuff to your body to improve it' culture that reinforces the 'men should emmbiggen where possible' ideal and the reverse for women, and I hadn't thought about the possible link with rape culture in that kind of explicit way before, so it'll be interesting food for thought over the next few days/weeks (yay–thoughtfood!)… but that I don't think that all men who work out and end up more muscly are going after the same goals, or at least they aren't going after certain kinds of goals with the same motivations/reasons… Like, I don't think it's the same if Guy#1 works out with the express aim of becoming buff for buff's sake, or buff and strong to be Dangerous/Dangerous Looking, and Guy#2 works out to strengthen particular muscles groups and CV fitness in order to be better at a sport/martial art/etc that he loves and happens to end up looking muscly in a way that can be interpreted as Dangerous Looking…

    You know, maybe it'd actually be a good idea for me to talk this over with said lovely puppy boyfriend to actually get his pov on this rather than waffling on more now! :-)

  111. Zennoodle, we are clearly separated at birth. I’m very small boned and narrow shouldered, and so even though I’m busty and have a tum, clothing fits WEIRD. It’s like, if it buttons over my boobs, my hands are lost in the sleeves somewhere. Fie on you, rack of doom…

    I swear I will post something substantive after I sleep… The footballs are keeping me up… Speaking of hideous gendered body/aggression stuff…

  112. Ethyl: yes! Are you also short? Although my mum is fairly tall (I’m just under 5’2) and has the same overall general shape as me, so we have a lot of the same problems with fit (though I’m the only one chopping inches off the bottoms of trousers). My Gran is the same– once we all got measured for bras at the same time and you’d think the woman doing it had just invented the concept of genetic inheritance — ‘OMG you all have the same kind of bodyshape!!’. I mean I know not all families have the same shaped people in (my brother is v tall and skinny, for example) but still!

  113. Zenoodle – YES that was it! It’s like MamaV doesn’t get that thin privilege doesn’t necessitate that people are aware of it or healthy or naturally thin for it to apply. You can be miserable as hell and think you’re fat, but if you look a certain way, you get treated better than other people, whether you realize it or not. I think this knowledge (whether conscious or subconscious) at least partly drives EDs in some women. So thin privilege is damaging to women (people) of all sizes.

    I recognize that I have thin privilege in that I can shop in most straight size stores, I don’t worry about not fitting in airplane seats or restaurant booths, and I don’t get harassed on the street about my size (online is a different matter…). At the same time, I’ve had doctors dismiss health questions telling me that things would go away if I lost weight (ignoring the fact that this was a problem I had as a very thin child). I’m very glad to have a doctor and nutritionist now who understand that I’m healthy at this weight (borderline obese based on BMI) and shouldn’t worry about the scale.

    On another note, as this is an open thread, if anyone remembers my comments a while back about being harassed online…I finally filed a police report and just went in last week to give a statement. They’re starting to dig into this guy’s real identity and everything is being passed along to the DA’s office! The wheels of justice are (slowly) turning.

    Finally – good luck Charlotte!

  114. warning: total rant

    So, here’s a question for the science types on this thread: I’ve always wonder why the hell dieting is expected to work in the long term anyway. If you want to build muscle, it seems that the accepted way to do it is to stress the muscle fibers until tears appear. The body will then rebuild it stronger, on the basis that it needs additional strength to tolerate the stress it’s subject to.

    Now if I were trying to train some people for a few years of really uncertain diet and possible serious deprivation, I would probably extrapolate from that and strain their systems by a period of reducing caloric intake and/or increasing activity to an extent that the body had to eat into the natural energy reserve (ie, lose weight.) Then I’d go back to a less restrictive eating/activity regimen, then do the same thing again a few times. I would expect the system that regulates energy reserves would say, “Hey, whoops, periods of famine are becoming common! Must store energy when physically possible!” Because the body is pretty cool like that. So my test subjects would probably increase their body fat percentage as much as the body could manage, right? And subsequently they’d be more likely not to die of famine while exploring Mars or what-have-you.

    So why is this same program supposed to cause people to lose weight when we name it Weight Watchers? That’s just plain nuts. It didn’t work back when Lord Byron was eating nothing but potatoes soaked in vinegar–and that was still when doctors were bleeding patients, for crying out loud.

    It seems like an intelligent researcher would look at what will cause the body to freeze or decommission a system: for example, the sorts of conditions under which muscles atrophy or at least become weak. And then they’d see what kind of signals the body sends when it’s laying off the hard work of building caloric reserves. And then maybe there would be some freakin’ science to look at, because let me tell you, it chaps me to hear doctors say that Obesity Is A Health Crisis and then admit in the same breath that they have nothing whatsoever to do to change it, except direct you to the quacks.

    I am waiting for the day when Science admits that the best way to maintain your body’s ideal weight is to eat all the baby donuts you feel inclined to enjoy, and meticulously prevent yourself from triggering your body’s famine mechanisms. Hello, duh.

    Ah, I love open threads. I’ve been dying to get that off my chest for some time now. /rant

  115. @meems — I do remember you talking about that (scary) stuff, and am so glad that things seem to be happening now. I also think you’ve been dead brave in taking it forward — power to you! Also, yeah, MamaV = *head/desk*

    @Starling — I think *some* scientists do that kind of science… they just get shouted down?

  116. AliciaMaud74, thanks for the talk about Nia — it sounded like it might be a good fit for me (two blown ACLs in two years, plus the other getting-older-so-joints-and-soft-tissue-starting-to-behave-badly issues).

    I really liked the way the national website was body positive and weight loss was mentioned only once I ever saw. However, my local studio’s website had that as the first priority of the program. If the studio thinks that’s the main reason to exercise, I don’t think that’s a place for me. I think I will be looking into it… but not there. *sigh* Dammit. That studio is within biking distance. The rest are all car distance.

  117. @Zenoodle: Yeah, it seems like people get so far but no further–you know, they say that crash diets don’t work because they screw with the metabolism, but then fail to recognize that basically any program that causes deliberate weight loss as a result of calorie imbalance is, by its nature, screwing with the metabolism. And you don’t wanna screw with The Metabolism . . . [scary minor chords]. Just frustrated by another “everyone knows” dashed off in yet another newspaper article and needed to vent.

  118. @Starling: You know, I don’t know if this will actually cheer you up as I don’t know if you’d live close enough to join in with me in person, but I’ve been plotting my own personal revenge against the dieting industry. I have quite a lot of diety books, whether I bought them or they came free with equally diety magazines. At one point I thought maybe I should donate them to charity shops as I don’t want them, but then I thought I couldn’t live with the guilt of perpetuating the misery for someone else. I am now left with 2 options:

    1) Ritual burning of said diety books and mags (ooh, satisfying, could do evil dance at the same time, while eating a doughnut, and possibly putting another in my ear for full effect!)

    2) Creating some kind of anti-dieting art project, so as to be creative and not pollute-by-burning (also, even though they’re diet books, I still have a bit of a thing about it Being Bad to Burn Books)… the main issue with this is that I don’t have time, so realistically they will continue being in my house for ages if I go with this.

    Actually, maybe there is a 2a, which is a Ritual Hacking Into Pieces While Cackling/Dancing and Eating Doughnuts… and then I could recycle the carcasses?

    Which do you think I should choose? :-)

  119. Thanks, Zenoodle. Honestly, I’m scared shitless about what might happen if this comes to trial (talk about re-traumatizing the victim…), but I had a fabulous conversation during covenant group with a bunch of my Methodist friends recently (and I’m not even Christian) and came to a sort of startling conclusion: This isn’t totally about me. He’s harassing other women – two that I know of, and maybe more – and I’m in a position to do something about it. If I drop this, I might avoid the discomfort of talking about my sex life in front of a bunch of strangers, but I’d be letting him get away with harassing women, and that’s simply unacceptable. Pursuing this case may make me miserable for a while, but it won’t ruin my life and it may help a lot of other people. So I think I have to do it.

  120. *hugs ((((((((meems))))))))* He sounds like someone who is betting on not being challenged, possibly even more so because he’s using the net to do his terrorising, and I think you’re being brilliant for doing it. Also, you have a Shapeling Army to back you up when you feel down or worried — I’m betting he has noone, or at least noone who would back him up if they knew what he was up to.

  121. Zenoodle: Yay! I would totally attend your book-burning/book-mocking, because I’m sooo with you. I once received a diet book, from my parents, for Valentine’s Day. Not just ON Valentine’s Day. FOR Valentine’s Day. (Note to my parents: WTF???? I swear I love ’em, but not one of their shining moments.) I wish I still had it for purposes of ritual immolation.

    Perhaps we can burn the books in a campfire over which we toast marshmellows for s’mores! That would show Dr. Atkins what we think of him!

    Meems: Speaking of support, tell us what we can do. We are a virtual army, but we are rooted in the Real World, and can raise hell there.

  122. HiddenTohru: Yes, I do collect BJDs, and that is one in my gravatar. I’m not as active in the community as I used to be (note: understatement) but I do still have all my dolls and enjoy them a great deal. Do you collect also?

    If swimming is how you relax, even better. My lap swimming time is also my Mental Stress Break Time. I NEED that mental down time, time when I can think about anything I want or nothing at all.

  123. Go Meems!!! I think you have a tremendous amount of courage and you are my new hero figure.

    Good luck Charlotte!

    and, *THUNK* is the sound of my head hitting my chemistry book as I’m treated to an inset all about how people gain weight when calories consumed exceeds calories burned! IT’S SCIENCE, PEOPLE, we can all go home. Also, here’s some helpful hints on “getting healthy” (read -lose weight fatty!), IN MY TEXTBOOK. How is this acceptable? I can’t wait for class tomorrow – guessing there’ll be a lot of “hurr hurr solidarity we all eat too much and exercise too little, we all want to lose weight, amirite? Here’s how we do it with SCIENCE!” *jazz hands* I’m not up for a fight with my prof about complexity of human body, it’s not as simple as it sounds, etc., so I will be keeping my head down and seething.

    @DRST, I would love to have you as a professor. There seems to be a whole lot of lowered expectations garnering diminished results around these parts, and an oroborous effect of, “You can’t do this unless we hold your hand, even if you don’t want us to! Why aren’t you doing this without our handholding?? You must be incompetent! Here, hold my hand. GOD, WHY CAN’T YOU ALL FUNCTION AS ADULTS???” I’m getting a very strong whiff of, “Dance to our tune, meat-puppets. Dance!”

  124. Also, I totally want to start swimming, since the school pool is free to me and all, the exercise is way important for my crazy-brain, but I have no idea what to do. I know I need to get a suit and cap and stuff, but I’m way intimidated about asking them how it all works, accidentally breaking a rule and getting yelled at, being super-slow, feeling awkward. Sigh. I love swimming, but I need like, a pool-buddy and I don’t have any friends yet.

  125. @lucizoe
    i’m a chemist and and loved your comment about neopentane hands and hydrocarbon hair. LOL!
    most pools have lanes for fitness/lap swimming. If there’s more than one person in the lane, you can either ‘circle swim'(i.e. swim on one side of the lane going out, and the other side coming back, sort of like driving) or you can each pick a side, if there are only two of you in a lane. the lane dividers make it easy to orient yourself. I’ve never had anyone be rude or get mad, even when i was just starting out. i did casual fitness swimming for five years, but recently took an adult swim class, which helped a lot and also resulted in me finding another swiming buddy. if you can afford it or can take it as a PE class at your college, I strongly recommend it. also, if you’re going to buy a swimsuit, get one made with the ‘endurance’ polyester fabric blends – they last a lot longer than the typical spandex/ylon suits. i’ve had one for five years and it still fits well and looks the same as always. (for the chemistry geeks out there, chlorine attacks anything with nitrogen in it. spandex and nylon are polyamides, so they degrade from the chlorine. polyester is pretty inert to chlorine)

  126. Thanks all :)

    Right now, I don’t think there’s anything anyone can do besides helping me get on with my normal life. It’ll probably be at least 6 months to a year before I know the likelihood of a trial.

  127. Meems, seriously, that’s awesome news. Reading about your struggle these past months, coupled with a few other timely articles, has really driven home for me how serious Internet-stalking actually is, and it’s reassuring to know that it’s being taken seriously (or starting to be). I had my first troll on my blog recently who, after I banned him, started going around to every other subject-related online forum he could reposting our conversation and basically trying to character-assassinate me. Fortunately he was called out before his attacks could get anywhere near as puerile as what your troll was saying about you, and there were tons of supportive people in those forums who actually contacted me to give me a heads-up. But reading about your process helped me feel a little bit calmer, and I felt prepared to know exactly what steps to take were he to take it a step further or God forbid actually try to contact me personally again. I hope your douchehound totally gets what he deserves.

    Per the discussion about dumb/disrespectful undergrads, I’m in the “older-undergrad” category too (I found out that I was lacking certain prereqs I need for the type of graduate degree I want, so I’m doing a year of undergrad and then I’ll try to get a research assistant position or something while I apply to grad schools), and I’m noticing the exact same thing. I’m in this one developmental psych class which a lot of the kids see as some kind of a coast class, and as such they can’t STFU and pay attention for even one second. They treat the professor, who’s been teaching on the graduate level for years, like she’s some kind of lunkhead, and then when they do participate in class, they say these revolting things like, “I heard somewhere that women use more passive ways to kill themselves because they worry about other people having to clean up their mess afterwards?” (Yeah, seriously. The girl who said that, BTW, got a major verbal ass-kicking by the professor and TA, which warmed my icy heart.)

    I plan to apply for some teaching assistant positions when I do apply to grad school, and the sensitive part of me is dreading it, but the diabolical part of me cannot wait to implement “Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer” policies and call out teenagers on their privilege. Bwahaha.

  128. @CZanna–ACK! I have never even heard weight loss mentioned peripherally in my nia class. I think the individual teacher can make a big difference in the tone of the class, and shopping around isn’t a bad idea. But on the whole, I have found my teachers consistently emphasize YOUR body’s way, and movement with the intent of PLEASURE.

  129. Zennoodle, I have the king of trash diet books to contribute to the burning. Dr. Phil’s. *hangs head in shame* It was a dark time. But what makes it the king of diet books is that it puts you through this Cosmo-like Q&A about why you’re so fat in the first place, but once you’re done crying about all that wraps it up with some banal little bromides in lieu of diet advice essentially amounting to: go eat some vegetables & exercise already, fatass! So, even as a diet book it is fail. Diet books inherently falling in the fail category, you might say it’s fail^2. (The engineer vocab rears its ugly head.)

    Also to Zennoodle & Meems & others, IMHO, mamaV is committing two el hugo blogging sins. The first, obvs, is that she throws a post up then studiously ignores the points of dissenters, cherry picking the elements she thinks make her look better. At which she fails, as most see right through that. Garden variety misdirection. But that isn’t her biggest sin. Her biggest sin is her shitty writing. I’m not being a spelling/grammar snob here. Although it is inescapable that really grotesque errors detract from one’s credibility, that isn’t what I’m getting at. (Note the sentence ended deliberately with a preposition.) As a blogger, you are by definition a WRITER. If you are not good at WRITING and cannot make yourself understood, you are a BAD BLOGGER. She wouldn’t have to keep revisiting this topic if she could produce a coherent narrative. I’m not all that offended that she thinks fat people are icky. I’m offended that when she says that outright & gets schooled by the backlash she then follows it up with a plaintive whine “that isn’t what I meant!” Essentially blaming HER incoherence on MY reading comprehension skills. And that ain’t right.

  130. @Zenoodle: re: waay upthread. The method amuses me. I hope it at least mildly amuses you. I think it works because it kind of makes the chatty people look like jerks because it highlights that they are making a community-building space a space where it’s a bunch of little groups, doing their thing. Normally, that’s fine in a public environment. But this is not the public, it’s a class community.

  131. Zenoodle – my husband is a muscle bound softie too! He’s a total sweetheart, but I know people read him as Mr Macho built-like-a-brick-shithouse because of the wide shoulders and beefy arms (& the motorcycle). They don’t get to see him walking around the flat with a cat tucked in the crook of his arm like a teddy bear, making coffee one-handed.

    Perhaps we can have a Shapeling art project, where everyone takes a photo of themselves eating a donut off the cover of a diet book? It would make a great flickr gallery! Or a photo of a pile of diet books in a serving dish with a hot fudge sundae on top of them (might be a waste of sundae fixings).

  132. RR, what about all our diet books hanging out together at a krispy kreme? Sitting up on the tables with donuts & cups of coffee in front of them.

  133. I love all these project ideas! Yay! How do we set up a flickr thing, is it free? Wooo diet book outings to doughnut shops! Maybe afterwards we can modify their covers too, to make them more mindful of FA, possibly with clippings from SP and studies and stuff glued in, and then leave them strewn about in public places for people to see — book crossing meets FA activism art project?!

    Also, I have *enough* of the things to also have a ritual destruction/burning as well!


  134. @ TropicalChrome: Yes, I currently have a DZ Fei and a DZ Tintan (my cute obsessive zombie couple) and I’m working on getting a SOOM Laon on layaway (I fell in love RIGHT AFTER they discontinued him). I have plans for about a gazillion more, but currently I’m really poor (I’m only able to pay maybe $50 a month for the layaway, and that’s with practically starving myself on rice and beans because I want him so bad) so it’ll be a while. The Fei was a present from my best friend, and the Tintan was my birthday present from my dad. All their clothes and stuff have been presents too, except the ones I knitted for them. X3

    Speaking of BJDs in terms of FA, I’ve always wondered if any sculptors are interested in making larger sized dolls. I love the varieties of thin that are offered (although the really skeletal ones turn me off) but I’d also love some bustier and buttier (is that a word?) girls. I know there’s the sleepingelf dolls (here’s some examples, don’t click if dolls freak you out), but they’re tinies and I’d really love a larger doll. I remember someone on a forum I visit was sculpting a girl doll with a large butt and small boobs, and she was so sweet looking. <3 I wonder whatever happened to her?

    @ Lucizoe – When I first decided to try swimming as exercise, I asked a friend of mine in the music program who happened to also be a trained swimmer (both her parents are swim coaches and she's done coaching for kids before). I'm always able to keep afloat in a pool, but I didn't know the best ways to utilize it as a workout. She only charged me $10/hour, but that was because we were friends, she said $20-30 per hour is relatively normal for non-professional swim coaches (meaning they're not training you for competitions, just to be able to teach you how to swim to workout). If you're in a school setting, as I was (how I miss the free pool access), I'd see if you can call the atheletics department and/or gym and ask if they have student instructors for swimming, who can help someone who understands the basics but needs to know better how to structure their workouts. Just be very clear that you're not doing this to lose weight (I was at the time, it was before I learned better), but simply to be in better shape and feel healthier. With luck, they'll be understanding.

  135. Thanks, Meems and Adrian. I hadn’t considered that the anesthesiologist would be the specialist to focus on, but that makes tons of sense. I’m going to start researching that now. And you’re right — if spinal surgery can be done on a woman late in pregnancy, I don’t see why they can’t make it work for my mother, with a bit of ingenuity. (Whether I can find a doctor who’s willing to *see* it that way, I suppose, is another question… but I’m getting on it.) I feel much better!

  136. Liza – *Waves back* Do I know you on Ravelry? I use HiddenTohru basically all over the internet (it’s from an old story of my best friend’s and mine about a band called Hidden Faces, Tohru was the lead singer and my favorite character). It’s just creative enough that it’s almost never taken. XD

  137. Regarding MamaV: I am still just kind of boggling at her idea that the FA movement “has no compassion” towards those with anorexia. A whole lot of why I like the FA movement so much is precisely because I’ve been through the craziness and awfulness of having an eating disorder. And I think it really, really helped for me to understand concepts like “yes, this society privileges thin people” and “yes, you live in a world where everyone constantly tells you that being fat is AWFUL and TERRIBLE”; it helped me to understand why I was behaving like that, why I became so horrified at the idea of gaining weight, why I wanted to starve myself, why I spent years fucking hating myself for no longer being a fucking anorexic, and why I really, really didn’t need to do that anymore. I’ve felt a hell of a lot more compassion here than most other places.

    I mean, I agree that if the idea of “thin privilege” is used for thin-shaming, for making women feel bad about their bodies, for telling women with eating disorders that they are BAD and OPPRESSIVE… yes, that would be a really bad thing. That is not cool. But I really don’t see that a lot in the FA community. I won’t say I never see any thin-shaming ever, but I don’t see it constantly by any means; in fact, what I tend to see much more is a strong reiteration of the idea that it is not ok to judge someone else’s body, full stop, ever.

  138. Oh, yeah, and this:

    If being fat is your biggest problem in life, my friend ,YOU are incredibility privileged.

    just doesn’t really make sense.

    If being female is your biggest problem in life, my friend, YOU are incredibly privileged.

    If being gay is your biggest problem in life, my friend, YOU are incredibly privileged.

    If being a POC is your biggest problem in life, my friend, YOU are incredibly privileged.

    Hey, look at that! They’re all true too! And still completely irrelevant to the concepts of male/straight/white privilege, as well!

  139. Yeah, I’m afraid the title of mamaV’s latest ravings was enough to stop me reading it. Spare you what, exactly? The reality of the society you live in? How rude of people to keep insisting that you acknowledge the existence of a system that consistently favours your body type over that of other people. Or even suggest that those other people might have something useful to contribute to a body image discussion, which you can’t hear because you’re too busy using your privilege to talk over them.

    mamaV is fatphobic. We get it. Can she just let it go? It’s like a train wreck at this point.

  140. Also, “bad things have happened in MY life too, so thin privilege can’t exist!” is one of the most ridiculous arguments I’ve ever heard.

  141. At this point, I think it’s just a willful refusal to understand the concept of privilege. Enough people have tried to do 101 over there that some of it should be getting through.

  142. SM, I’ll agree with that. She actively ignores any reasonable posts criticizing her and responds only to the ones either from other outraged thin people who don’t understand why their personal suffering doesn’t negate thin privilege or people who are emotional and critical.

  143. She doesn’t understand the concept of privilege as a systemic problem manifested in individual behaviour, and thinks of it as an accusation against individual thin people. I think you’re right, SM, that she’s got to be refusing to get it at this point, as a *lot* of people have explained it to her.

    Someone (a Shapeling?) put it really well when they said that she’s got it all twisted up with “but Jelly was mean to me!” and she can’t separate it out.

    I am tempted to respond to the person who says that we should rename “thin privilege” “weight discrimination”, but am not convinced that they would get it as mamaV has muddied the waters so much, and has encouraged thin people to feel that “thin privilege” is simply a way for fat girls to tell them they have it easy.

    I am tired just at the thought of trying to get mamaV to understand that asking everyone to explain it to her is demonstrating her privilege in action. I’m just glad that SP (a) has discussions that have moved waaaay past 101 and (b) operates a system of immediate smackdown to anyone who seems to be refusing to get it.

  144. Doctor’s Appointment: A Drama in One Act

    JM: Oh no! I have to have a physical, and they’ll weigh me, and then they’ll make a big deal about my weight! I’d better work myself into a preemptive rage by thinking up scathing comebacks. (Scathes, broods, etc.)
    Nurse: Hop on the scale, JM!
    Scale: Scary high number!
    Nurse: OK.
    Doctor: I see here you weigh SNBW2. How much did you weigh last year at this time?
    JM: Much less!
    Doctor: OK.
    Doctor: Thanks for coming in.
    JM: Thanks for not lecturing me about being fat!
    Doctor: Hey — you said you were working out, what more can you do?


    Anyone need a nice doctor in the Milwaukee area? I can hook you up.

  145. @shinobi, car, DRST, anita, jm – Thank you for all of the advice. My situation is this: I am a 34 year old senior. I am unofficially TAing with my favorite professor to get me ready for grad school and eventual “college professing.” The class is called Philosophical Approaches to Contemporary Moral Problems. There are about 27 students, most first years directly out of high school. While I have spoken in class before (and at numerous conferences), this was my first time having the class to myself for more than 30 minutes. The first time I had them, they knew that Andy (the prof) would be in eventually. This time, they knew that it was just me. I will have them one more time for sure this semester, but I have a feeling there will be a talk before that. (I’ve not even been able to debrief with Andy because I’ve been on my couch sick all week. It also means I haven’t been in the class this week, either.)

    I love the ideas you have all shared. My only idea after the fact was to make tick marks on the board until they shut up. I tried the silence until they were quiet trick earlier in class. Had I waited, I think most of them would have quieted down. I think that it would be different if I were more of a teacher than just a sitter-in most of the time. Primarily what I do is to go around to their small groups and listen to what they’re talking about and try to lead them into a more philosophical discussion. Oh, well. I will have plenty of years to find ways to draw them in. Getting this feedback at this stage of the game, however, is most helpful. Thank you.

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