Yes Means Yes Reading in Cambridge, MA Tomorrow

yesmeanscover1Boston-area Shapelings, I’m going to be doing a reading to promote Yes Means Yes in Cambridge tomorrow night.

That is, if I can actually get to Boston today, what with the crazy snow both here and there, and the fact that American Airlines has already canceled one of the flights I was supposed to be on. Fingers crossed. 

Deets are below. Hope to see you there!

Jan. 29, 2009 @ 6PM – Reading hosted by Center for New Words, at Cambridge YMCA Theater, 820 Mass. Ave. in Cambridge, MA

Jan. 29, 2009 @ 8PM – Launch party hosted by Center for New Words, at OM Lounge, 92 Winthrop Street, Cambridge, MA (YOU MUST RSVP TO to get on the list for this event!)

Welcome, Salon readers!

Regular readers: my essay from Feed Me! Writers Dish About Food, Eating, Weight and Body Image, edited by Harriet Brown, is on the front page (eeee!) of Salon today. Check it out!

Visitors from Salon: Welcome! Well, most of you, anyway. Please note that the comments policy here is a whoooole lot stricter than Salon’s, and all first-time comments are held for moderation. So if you just dropped by to tell me that fat is unhealthy and disgusting, I’m deluded, I should look into diet and exercise, or anything along those lines, be aware that your comment will never show up on the site — unless it’s so exquisitely shitheaded, we decide to make you a Douchehound of the Day.

Everyone: If you want to get a copy of Feed Me! —  and you totally do — you have two options. 1) Go buy it. 2) E-mail Harriet with your name and address before 1 p.m. EST on January 26 to be eligible for a free copy.

Thanks for stopping by.

Shapelings, a student needs your help

I got an e-mail yesterday from a woman named Caroline, who’s an Economics and Sociology student at the University of Limerick, Ireland. She’s doing a final year project (which I take to be a senior thesis, for the Americans among us) on the obesity panic and fat politics, and she’s been instructed to do a “virtual ethnography” — studying the discussion at an online community — as part of it. Problem is, she needs to get permission from commenters to quote them, even though this project is not for publication. 

The best way I could think of to go about this was to issue a call for regular commenters who are interested in participating to e-mail Caroline your screen name, so she can get in touch if she needs consent to use your words. If you’re an active commenter — or even not that active — and you’d like to help out, please drop Caroline a line at carolinecashman at gmail dot com. The more responses she gets, the more she’ll be able to pick and choose from among the zillions of awesome comments here. 

Here’s a little more about the project, in Caroline’s words. If you have any questions or suggestions for her, you can leave them on this thread — or, of course, e-mail her.

My final year project (which will remain unpublished) is basically a critical view on obesity, and in particular a critical view on the alleged obesity epidemic. My literature review covers the limitations of the BMI, why obesity should not be defined as a disease and it questions the relationship between obesity and various diseases as well as mortality. I also examine the politics involved; the fact that pharmaceutical companies – particularly those associated with various weight loss drugs – have been found to sponsor numerous obesity forums and organisations, and how this influences the content of their websites etc. The research that is funded by these pharmaceutical companies is obviously going to be biased in favour of the obesity epidemic, which eventually means that due to the amount of articles being published of this genre, the government have no choice but to act accordingly.
Of course I couldn’t forget the dieting industry! – and the promotion of so many different ‘treatments’ for obesity from the aktins diet to the south beach diet and of course the goverenments ‘food pyramid’ which advises us that our diets should be mostly made up of carbs. I will be analysing the research to support these claims as well as the effectiveness of dieting in the first place and the comparision between dieting and surgery where necessary.
However, it’s worth noting that I have been advised to stay away from including the medias role in the epidemic, even though I know its a large one, but that would probably take up the entire project :) 
I’m also still trying to decide how much I want to include on stigmatisation, as again, I could go on forever! But even if I don’t dedicate a chapter to it, then I will probably just incorporate it throughout the whole project where relevant so any comments in relation to stigmatisation would also be much appreciated.


Weblog Awards — Vote!

I’m regrettably late to doing this, which means we’ve already missed a few days of voting and need to make up for it. The Weblog Awards finalists, including several friends of the blog and blogs we admire, have been announced. You can vote once a day from any given IP, for the next couple of days. 

I’m going to be lazy and just copy most of Lauredhel’s congrats/endorsements, since they include everyone I’m voting for — and a couple I haven’t even heard of, but I trust her judgment.  Since she did the work for me, that means it’s extra important to go vote for Hoyden About Town in the Best Midsize Blog category! Congrats to the Hoydens! Also:

Congratulations to Shakesville for their nomination in Best Liberal Blog, to The Dawn Chorus and Zoe Brain for their nominations in the Best Australia or New Zealand blog category, to Bitch PhD for their Best Very Large Blog nomination, to Muslimah Media Watch for their Best Middle East or Africa Blog, and to Dervish for a Best Religious Blog nomination.

Go vote! 

The Wedding FAQ

1. You eloped in Vegas?!?

Dude, I KNOW.

2. Did you plan this beforehand?

Kate didn’t. Al might have. (He’s being coy about that. This is either because he knows he’ll get in trouble for planning it in advance but not telling Kate’s family, or because he totally winged it but wants to preserve the illusion that he might have been all slick about it. Smart money’s on the latter.)

As far as Kate knew prior to about 10:30 a.m. on Friday, they were going to see the Hoover Dam. Then Al was like, “Well, we could do that… or go get married.”

3. Where did you do it?

The Little White Wedding Chapel, proud birthplace of several celebrity marriages that failed spectacularly. It could not have been tackier. Well, except…

4. Did you get married by Elvis?

No, but we could have. He was in the building. Which made Al’s mom very happy.


5. What did you wear?

After a whirlwind trip to The Fashion Show Mall, Kate ended up with a black jersey dress — the only thing that looked decent and fit, except for being way too long (for reference, here it is on a tall person) — and shoes that cost more than the actual wedding.


Al got himself a jacket. Tucking in his shirt would have been asking too much.


6. And the rings?

We bought matching plain white gold bands on the aforementioned whirlwind trip. (Sadly, getting married with only a few hours’ advance notice means there’s no time for a manicure.)


Now that we’re home, Kate’s wearing her grandma’s wedding and engagement rings, which was the plan from about 5 minutes after the proposal.


The Vegas band’s now on her right hand. It’s still the only one that activates the Wonder Twin powers.

7. What do your families think about all this?

Al’s mom was already along for our annual Christmas in Vegas, so she was there, as noted above. She said she was ecstatic, though that might have been mostly about meeting Rev. Elvis.


Kate’s family is a little stunned but very, very happy to welcome Al.


Oh, all right.

Moar me
Moar me
End of vows
End of vows
Still married
Still married

There will be more up at when we get around to updating it — but not much more, ’cause A) we only got a basic photo package, and B) if you think the lighting is bad and the poses are awkward in these, you should see the ones that didn’t make the cut. (Update: It’s live. And yes, the design is meant to evoke the klassiness of the whole affair.)

9. So, this is all well and good, but how dare you have a wedding that involved neither me nor an open bar?

Relax, there’s gonna be a party. We have no idea when or where yet, but if you expected to get loaded and dance to ’80s music at our wedding reception someday, you will still get your chance.

10. Is Kate changing her name?

Oh, hell no. Al’s not changing his, either.

Yes Means Yes is out!

yesmeanscoverYes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World without Rape, edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti is in stores now! I contributed an essay, “How Do You Fuck a Fat Woman?” to it, and I just got my copies the other day — the book is awesome. (Even though I realize now that I said “fuck” way too many times in my essay. And I say that as someone whose typical response to “Why do you swear so much?” is “Fuck off.”) Go buy a dozen copies, please.

You should also check out the Yes Means Yes blog, to which I do not contribute, because — as you may have noticed — I can barely keep up with this blog. Lots of the fab contributors are active over there, so it deserves a spot in your Google Reader.

Finally, check out the event listings for launch party/reading dates in several American cities. I’ll be at both the Boston events (January 29) and the Chicago one (February 19), so I hope to see lots of Shapelings there!

Announcing the Shapely Prose community site, or, I hope you have some time to kill

Attention Shapelings! Remember how, a while back, we asked you what you wanted to see next out of Shapely Prose, and then you told us all kinds of things, and then we got stressed out and stopped posting much? Good times. Well, one of the most frequently expressed wishes was to have a place where Shapelings could connect with each other off-blog for chatting, meetups, and just generally extending the community we’ve built here.

Good news, everyone! Starting now, such a magical site of happiness exists. Rev up your clickin’ finger and head on over to:

Shapely Prose (the sequel)

If you don’t have a Ning account already, you should be able to join here.

Obviously, we still encourage your participation via comments here on the blog! But when you want to hook up with other Shapelings, talk about something off-topic, post photos, or do whatever, we think you’ll like the new Ning site. And if you don’t, there’s a forum thread called “Suggestion Box” where you can tell us how to make it better.

We expect the community site to be largely self-regulating. If it is as useful to you as we hope it will be, then it will be too busy for us to monitor all the forums. Obviously, there won’t be a benevolent dictator there as there is here, but we hope that you will abide by the community guidelines established in our comments policy in terms of language, respect, and trolls. If things get out of hand, we’ll revisit the idea of moderation.

So head on over, try things out, and have fun! You’ll notice some content on there already, as we invited a few Shapelings to test drive for a while before opening it to all y’all. Thank you to our fabulous beta testers (you know who you are) for helping us out. See you on Ning!

If you have any questions or concerns about the new site, please direct them to me via email (my address is in the sidebar).