5 Ways of Looking at “Sarah Palin Feminism”

Here is me telling you about a thing I wrote elsewhere! For Jezebel, specifically. A sample:

So, can’t I just agree to disagree with Sarah Palin – or at least to ignore her use of the term and continue to go about my business? Well, evidently not, or I wouldn’t be writing this. The problem is, words mean things. I could start calling myself a red meat conservative, or campaign for those of us who are against the death penalty to “reclaim” the term “pro-life,” but at some point, the relationship between your beliefs and your choice of words either passes the sniff test or it doesn’t. And someone who actively seeks to restrict women’s freedom calling herself a feminist is, not to put too fine a point on it, a liar. There’s a difference between a big tent and no boundaries whatsoever; if Palin’s “entitled to be accepted” as a feminist just because she says she’s one, then the word is completely meaningless — as opposed to merely vague and controversial. And I might just start calling myself a “right-winger” because I’m right-handed, or a “fundamentalist” because I believe everyone deserves a solid primary education, or a “birther” because I once hosted a baby shower.

Tell Me Something Good: Open Thread

What’s currently thrilling you – pop culture wise. Books, music, movies, interesting blogs? Share with the rest of the class. Also, why aren’t you reading and commenting on Snarky’s Machine? Tsk Tsk! After Kate’s electrifying post oh yes, I’m most certainly going to toot my own clown horn, baby. You’ve seen me here. You’ll soon see me on Bitch Magazine guest blogging this summer. You want more Snarky’s and I love giving people what they want.

And even though I’m pretty sure this song didn’t come out during the spring, it always reminds me of Spring. Snow be damned! I’m putting on my springy dress and maybe even a big silly hat.

I present Miss Chaka Khan for your chair dancing pleasure.

So as the title says, Tell me (and each other) something good.

Toot your own clown horns, Shapelings! This thread is open and ready to serve you!

Everybody Loves a Strawman!

You can't win. You can't get even and you can't get out of the game.

As a Pop Culturalist, I’ve never found it my job to critique media I do not enjoy, nor do I give much credence to those who do. It’s really easy to pick apart even the legitimate shortcomings of media you don’t like, but it’s hardly productive. Okay, so you found all the problematic elements of content you’ve established NOT LIKING. Good for fucking you. Now here’s a barrel of fish to shoot!

You will never hear me rant about the problematic aspects of the following:

Joss Whedon’s universe
Howard Stern
Harry Potter
The Office
Reality TV

BECAUSE I DO NOT LIKE THESE THINGS. And state as much up front. No, it does mean I think who people enjoy these thing are bad people. It just means I don’t happen to share their passion for these things. I also don’t need to hear one more reason why I should be moved to partake in any of these things. Please move your foot so I can close the door. Me no like!

Besides, what would be the point? To prove I know how to pick on an easy target?

There ain’t no black people in LOTR. Booyah. I’m done. Okay, I can go out for a soda or something. Joss Whedon’s world is like Tori Amos’s world, which is like Jesus’s world. Possibly great but the followers appear to be large pains in the ass when proselytizing about their savior. Done with that one. The rest are probably self explanatory if you’ve read my blog for any appreciable length of time.

And that took – what – like a paragraph. Should I waste more of my time analyzing all the ways in which I believe these things to suck with supportive evidence of their suckery? As I say often say, I don’t know how many hours your day comes with, but mine only has 24 and I intend to use them wisely.

Honest examination of the media you actually consume means never having to say, “Omg, I can’t believe ____ said/did ____!!!” and you won’t find yourself so god damned shocked by what was in front of your face all the time. Granted, it’s a lot more difficult to unpack and examine media you find enjoyable, but it’s work that needs to happen. Ain’t no two ways about it. The alternative merely ensures it is always someone’s else’s heroes, interests or passions that are problematic and never yours.


A version of this previously appeared on Snarky’s Machine where I blog daily, and often more than that.


I’m sort of having a Stupor Tuesday today, but with two thirds of today’s blog posts centering around the idea that some people on the internet are total fucksticks, I thought I’d throw in a little link roundup to offer some cheerier fare.

  • Lindsay at BABble, who is our big hero of the moment, wrote a superb post on misconceptions about fat acceptance.
  • I hope you’re reading fatshionista.com, recently added to the Fatosphere feed (yay Fu!). Kate and I both make very, very occasional posts, along with other more regular group bloggers, and main Fatshionista maven Lesley puts up incredibly insightful content and cute photos on a frequent basis. It’s not just about what’s in fashion; it’s about what fashion is, and what clothes mean for fat people. Plus, there are store reviews! Great blog, great resource.
  • Speaking of Fatshionista, I don’t read the livejournal community much anymore, but thankfully I happened to tune in yesterday when Original Fatshionista Amarama turned everyone on to Bon Bon Plus. (Here’s the accompanying etsy shop.) Holy cats, these are some good-ass clothes! I’ve already emailed Jane about tweaking one of her designs, and she’s been absurdly friendly and helpful. It’s spendy stuff, but I’m on a quality kick right now, where I’m tired of my thrift-store/Target/otherwise shit clothes falling apart on me, and I want to spend ten times the money for a gazillion times the value.
  • Shannon at Generic Fat Blog alerts us that Rob at cockeyed.com has reopened submissions for his Photographic Height/Weight Chart! When Kate started the BMI Project he was on hiatus with the spots only haphazardly filled, but it’s looking a lot more complete now. (I’m sure he still wants your photo, though!) The site seems to be a bit overloaded at the moment — I can only get it to load half the time — and I’m sure this link won’t help. If you can call it up, though, it’s a great resource, and I recognize several Shapelings! Hope to see more of you on there.
  • Harriet at Feed Me! broke the news that the Mississippi No Fatties Eating in Public Bill has bitten the dust, surprise surprise. The article she cites is notable for a couple of reasons: first, it quotes Paul, from a press release put together by Rachel! And second, get a gander at this response by the bill’s sponsor — who says he wouldn’t even vote for the bill — to the overwhelming social justice outcry: “‘You take food away from fat people … my gosh,’ Mayhall said.” Yeah, that’s right, Rep. Mayhall, you inordinate douche. This is definitely all about you prying our donuts out of our pudgy fingers. Human rights are just a red herring.
  • Finally, if you are a biochemist, email me. It’s about a t-shirt design.

Quick hit: WaPo on fat prejudice in medicine

Roni Caryn Rabin is quickly becoming the fatosphere’s new best friend, perhaps the more wired-in version of Gina Kolata. On the heels of the fatosphere article, Rabin linked to SP/F-word side project First, Do No Harm in a Washington Post article on fat prejudice in medicine and the assumptions that doctors make about their fat patients.

Two studies in the journal Obesity Research in 2003 found that many physicians harbor negative attitudes toward fat people: A University of Pennsylvania study of 620 primary care physicians found that more than half reported viewing obese patients as “awkward,” “unattractive,” “ugly” and “noncompliant”; a Yale study reported that health professionals strongly associated being overweight with being “lazy” and “stupid.”

Such negative views, some experts charge, may be helping to drive patients away: These experts point to a 2000 study of 11,425 women, which found heavy women less likely to obtain cancer screenings such as Pap smears and mammograms even though they’re at higher risk of dying from cervical cancer and breast cancer. Newer research has produced similar findings: A 2006 study of 498 women, published in the International Journal of Obesity, found that obese women delayed cancer screenings more than other women. Negative attitudes of health-care providers and disrespectful treatment were among the reasons cited for postponing care.

This is a subject that I honestly think almost nobody has written about but us bloggers — Thorn in her incredibly affecting series of guest posts, and our contributors at First, Do No Harm. Fear of the medical establishment brought on by systematic mistreatment may be one of the biggest contributors to the correlation between fat and ill health, but it’s almost never called out — with the result that many people who experience it think that they’re the ones doing something wrong. Rabin deserves kudos for helping to expose a dirty little medical secret. She’s shown herself to be uncommonly good at maintaining equilibrium in the face of undoubtedly strong editorial pressure to pass more judgment on fat, so I hope she stays on the beat for a while.

I do wish she’d been able to insinuate a little more about the real causes of the “obesity crisis” (so, you say fat people can’t get equal medical treatment, either corrective or prophylactic? And you say that being fat is associated with health problems? Well gee, I can’t for the life of me see how those are connected). But it’s pretty radical to envision any cause for obesity-correlated health risks beyond “fat kills,” and I can’t really expect the world.

What do you think? And what’s your experience with the medical profession? (Mine’s been pretty fortunate, aside from the GYN who told me I was having pain during sex because I “sweated too much” and the doctor who sent me a note saying “EXERCISE AND LOOSE WEIGHT AND AVOID FRIED FOODS ,EAT A LOT OF VEGETABLE.” If you know anything about my habits, the second one is particularly absurd.)

Edit: If you’ve had a good experience with your doctor, please consider adding him or her to the Fat-Friendly Health Professionals list!

Edit 2: And if you’ve had a bad one, consider filing a complaint.