Worth Your Weight

July 4, 2008

Errant thought: Oprah

Filed under: fat acceptance — worthyourweight @ 8:23 pm

I’ve mentioned in passing before that I think Oprah could be a powerful FA ally if won over to our cause. In fact, a fat-accepting Oprah has the potential to change the national (and perhaps international) conversation about fat, health, and body image.

Alas, it will likely never happen. Oprah will never stop dieting. I think I know why.

I just remembered catching a show of hers when the topic was class. Oprah discussed the three major indicators of one’s class status as follows: teeth, accent, and weight.

Oprah practically has all the wealth in the world. She wants the class indicators that go along with that wealth. With enough money, teeth can be perfect. With enough money, accents can be unlearned. Is there enough money in the world to permanently control one’s size? I surmise Oprah thinks so.

Just a theory.

What’s your story?

Filed under: fat acceptance — worthyourweight @ 8:08 pm

You’ve probably seen this already, but in case you haven’t, be sure to check out The Fat Experience Project.

Stacy Bias writes:

The goal of the Fat Experience Project is to map the global experience of fat in a way that is human, has a face, a heart, a mind, a body and a voice. The Fat Experience Project is an oral, visual and written history project which seeks to be a humanizing force in body image activism. By collecting and sharing the many and varied stories of individuals of size, the Fat Experience Project seeks to engage with, educate, empower and enrich the lives of people of size, our allies and the world at large.

As the project grows, it will be filled with first-person, non-fiction narratives (in text, video or mp3 format) that speak to the many and varied aspects of the life lived large. Some of the content will come from interviews already gathered on an extensive 2-month road trip (with the lovely Val Garrison) in both audio and video format. Some content will come from trips on the horizon. Most content will be submitted via the website by readers such as yourself.

You can learn more about Stacy at http://www.stacybias.net.

Spread the word about this great project and think about participating!

June 29, 2008

LOLfat

Filed under: fat acceptance — worthyourweight @ 7:02 pm

In this case, “LOL” stands for living out loud and getting the last laugh.

I encountered the above picture again while reading a recent post at Big Fat Dynamo. I felt like reclaiming one of our decapitated images.

The caption is the “eff-you haiku” from this very cool shirt.

I would love to tell the subject of this photo, “Good on you! For not letting anyone — including smarmy photo’journalists’ — keep you from living your life.”

June 21, 2008

Google image meme à la AnnieMcPhee

Filed under: off-topic — worthyourweight @ 10:57 pm

The meme originated here. [ETA: Wow, I’ve been out of it lately. According to Big Liberty’s entry, the meme started at Sarah’s? My apologies. I first saw it at AnnieMcPhee’s and because she called it a meme “Annie-style,” I thought she had originated it or even tweaked an existing one.]

“The rules are simple. Answer each question, plug your answer into google search, and pick a picture from the first page of images from your search results.” It’s hard to stick to Page 1 of the results! I want to keep looking for images I like better :p

1. Your age on your next birthday.

2. A place you’d like to travel.

3. Your favorite place.

4. Your favorite object.

5. Your favorite food.

 

6. Your favorite animal.

7. Your favorite color.

  

8. The town where you were born.

9. The town where you live.

  

10. Name of a past pet.

 

11. Name of a past love.

12. Best friend’s nickname.

  

13. Your screen name.

14. Your first name.

15. Your middle name.

 

 16. Your last name.

  

17. Bad habit of yours.

18. Your first job.

19. Name of grandmother.

  

20. College/grad major(s.)

June 14, 2008

Fat as a mutation

Filed under: fat acceptance — worthyourweight @ 10:17 pm

And I’m talking about mutation as it’s used in the X-Men universe. The X-Men are Marvel Comic characters who, by virtue of a genetic mutation, have a special power or powers. They call it the X-Factor. It’s interesting to note that in our world, an “x factor” is used to denote that special je ne sais quoi that charismatic people have. It’s usually used to talk about superstars and that “It” they have that makes them stand out.

The X-Men are superheroes essentially. They are called mutants. To them, the term simply describes a genetic variation — some argue it’s evolution from Homo sapiens to Homo sapiens superior — a variation that gives them special ability and makes them different from other humans. Jean Grey is one of the X-Men whose mutation enables her telekinetic and telepathic powers. Her teammate Wolverine has a regenerative ability as well as retractable claws. Storm is a fellow mutant who can control the weather.

Some humans (and self-hating mutants) use the term “mutant” as a slur. “Mutie” is another favorite. “Mutie FREAK” is frequently heard, too. The X-Men are often described as defending a world that hates and fears them.

[If you’re familiar with the X-Men world, forgive the exposition.]

The X-Men are often described as an allegory for people fighting for their human and civil rights. In fact, this comic universe even struggled with its own version of the HIV/AIDS virus, the Legacy Virus. There is an island called Genosha in X-world that enslaved mutants. In the film version of the X-Men (third installment) a vaccine was developed to turn the mutants into “normal” humans — effectively a “cure” for their reviled “condition.” There are other examples.

I’ve been an X-Men fan for a long while*. Recently I’ve started to wonder if this allegory extends to fat people as well. Can the X-Men be a symbol for fat acceptance? Well, not so fast.

Leaving aside the fact that I think mainstream comics and games in general can well stand to be more inclusive, *especially* of variations in body types — I mean, come on! You have a super power. Why are you in the gym four hours a day getting ripped? — I think the X-Men are particularly remiss in not representing the rainbow of human variation precisely because of the symbols they are. Who exactly is fat in the universe the X-Men inhabit?

The two examples that spring to my mind are both villains. Mojo and the Blob. Stop it, I can hear your eyes rolling. Yes, “Blob” is such an original name for a fat character, isn’t it? Such a fresh concept! Mojo isn’t much better.

From the Wikipedia entry on Mojo:

Mojo is one of the “Spineless Ones,” an alien race that is immobile without advanced technology. He is a slaver who rules the “Mojoverse,” a dimension where all beings are addicted to his gladiator-like television programs.

Spineless, immobile, and addicted to TV? Now, where have I heard that before?

A little intro to the Blob, again from that handy Wikipedia place:

A mutant, the Blob claims to be unmovable. He possesses an extreme amount of pliable body mass, which grants him superhuman strength and his own gravitational pull. Possessing the mindset of a bully, he mostly uses his powers for petty crime and as a member of the Brotherhood of Mutants and Freedom Force.

Another stereotype applied to fat people: the bully. A criminal on top of it. Bonus.

So no, X-Men, you aren’t really cutting edge anymore. But you could be. The following two clips from the first two X-Men movies easily apply to fat people, too. Now how about taking that a step further and having a fat hero/heroine?

The first clip is from X-Men. It runs 00:53. If you find it difficult to decipher the pertinent line or you just don’t feel like watching the video, you can highlight the text below the video to read it.

Highlight here: You know, people like you were the reason I was afraid to go to school as a child?

The next clip is from X2. It runs 00:23. Again, if you find it difficult to make out the exchange due to the accent and the voice FX, you can highlight the text below the video to read it.

Highlight here: Nightcrawler: Excuse me. They say you can imitate anybody, even their voice.

Mystique: [Imitating Nightcrawler] Even their voice.

Nightcrawler: Then why not stay in disguise all the time, you know? Look like everyone else.

Mystique: Because we shouldn’t have to.

Note that Mystique is one of only a handful of mutants who would be able to stay in disguise all the time. (I wonder if the percentage of those with that ability — shapeshifters — is between 2 and 5.)

I always thought the same thing about the argument “people can’t change the color of their skin, but you can lose weight.” Even if we could choose a different skin pigmentation, we shouldn’t have to. The same goes for enduring a permanent state of self-imposed semi-starvation …

So yeah, fat is a mutation à la the X-Men: it’s a genetic variation that makes some of us different from others of us. It may or may not imbue us with super powers.

*[Although I’m not currently up on the goings-on in the X-universe. So if I’m out-of-date on any information in this post — like if there is a positive X character who is also fat — please correct me in comments. I’d appreciate it.]

June 5, 2008

Wrong on so many levels

Filed under: fat acceptance — worthyourweight @ 11:27 pm

Fat hatred? Check

Sexism? Check

Ageism? Check

Hat trick!

H/t rumorofrain. Be sure to read the post that directly relates to the fake ad, which includes the following:

Do people not realize that whenever they bash Clinton for non-politically-relevant things they’re sending an incredibly powerful message to girls everywhere? The message is: No matter how smart you are, how good a job you get, how much money you make, how much power you have, the most important thing about you is how pretty you are and how feminine you act.

May 30, 2008

Profile in Beauty: Melissa Herndon, the Dragon Lady

Filed under: fat acceptance — worthyourweight @ 11:06 pm

I’ve mentioned a bit here and there that I’m a pool fan — both playing and spectating. I usually only watch the Women’s Professional Billiard Association (WPBA) matches.

I have a love/hate relationship with the “sexy woman pool player” stereotype. It’s sometimes fun to use that image against a male opponent. He’s expecting me to care more about my image than my game, and I try to make him pay for that assumption. On the other hand, I hate that top female pool players are expected not only to be great at the game but also eye candy. When the male players are at the top of their sport (and I do mean pretty much every sport), that’s more than enough to catapult them to the greatest heights of celebrity and adulation. Their looks don’t often, if ever, play into it.

So while I first learned to play pool 14 years ago, my interest only resurfaced about seven months ago. That’s also when I started watching a lot of matches and getting familiar with the women on the pro tour. This reemergence of my passion for pool happened a few months after my introduction to the fat acceptance movement.

Naturally, depiction of varied body types was on my mind a lot at the time — and still is actually. So I would often analyze what I was watching or reading to see just who was represented. I wondered if the paucity of larger pro (female) pool players — the men have a few — had to do with the reluctance of fat people to “put themselves out there,” especially after having learned well and early the 100 percent wrong lesson that we should hide out of sight, or if it involved the “sexy lady pool shark” image.

In any case, the first female pool player I saw to have a body type even somewhat similar to mine was Melissa Herndon. Her nickname is the Dragon Lady.

 

After the first match I saw Melissa play, I couldn’t wait to get online and learn more about her. Granted, I do this with most of the players, but still … Anyway, I don’t know if I’m looking in the wrong places or what, but there isn’t a whole hell of a lot of info on many of the women pool players. What I can find is often a teense outdated by like two or three years.

The most exhaustive article I’ve found so far on Melissa is from Billiards Digest December 2004 issue. Here’s how it opens:

We not only ruined Melissa Herndon’s day but her month, if not her year. We made her hurt. We made her cry. We made her angry. In fact, to this day, the thought of what we did to her last Christmas still eats at her. We made her so sick that she even fleetingly considered quitting the professional tour.

All because we didn’t ask her to pose for our special “Twelve Days of Christmas” spread.

“Here I am working my butt off, trying to get better, move up in the rankings, and for what?'” says the fiery 31-year-old Californian known as The Dragon Lady. “Why am I wasting my time? Why should I work harder to get anywhere on this tour when I’m always going to be ignored? I mean, you guys asked everybody in the Top 16 to be in that issue but me. And I know why – because I’m a big girl. Because I don’t fit the stereotype for beautiful in this society. So I get passed over for girls who, quote unquote, look better, who are thinner.”

“I’m so tired of it,” she adds with a huge sigh. “God, it’s so frustrating. We’re so body conscious it’s brutal. But that’s the way the world works, I guess.”

After I read that, I was all, “Ooh, I like! She’s got spunk.” Could she be a budding size activist? A bit further down:

Herndon is a Botticelli girl stuck in an Anna Kournikova world: a thick, big-boned, exceedingly busty 5-foot-6. “You know,” she says, “there was a time when the skinny girls were considered ugly.” Though she won’t divulge her weight or dress size*, she concedes, “I do carry some extra weight.” It’s in her genes, she says, explaining that her mom is on the large size and the women on her father’s side tend to grow big with age.

It’s looking like I may have a new heroine in my two biggest interests right now: pool and fat acceptance.

And now she’s dropping the poundage and reshaping her body, working out three times a week for an hour-and-a-half each day and altering her starchy diet. “I don’t know how much weight I’ve lost, because I don’t weigh myself, but I can definitely see that my body is changing,” she says. “But the best thing is, I think it’s helping me mentally, developing a stronger focus.” She says she doesn’t have any goals for weight loss. “I just want to be in better shape and healthier. I don’t want to have a heart attack when I’m 50.”

OK, so there are some kinks to work out. The “extra weight” idea, the skinny can be ugly talk, the fallacy that extra weight leads to heart attacks, especially at a young age. But otherwise, sounds like HAES to me.

The above pic is from the first match I ever saw Melissa play. IIRC, she’s willing the cue ball to stop where it is so she’ll have good position on the next object ball.

It’s nice seeing myself in some way represented in the sport I love. I’m looking forward to watching more of Melissa on the WPBA tour. I’d also enjoy more up-to-date information about her and the other players. One thing I’m always researching about them is the origins of their nicknames. From the same Billiards Digest article as above:

She became The Dragon Lady long before she joined the professional tour, when she was just a local hotshot in Southern California. She got the tag partly because of her Asian heritage (she’s half-Japanese), partly because of her hellish temperament in those days. “I’d get so mad when playing at times that people would say it looked like I was breathing fire,” she says. What made the nickname stick was a friend painting a ferocious-looking green-and-yellow dragon taking a bite out of a 9 ball on her light gray cue case. The image fit her perfectly.

If you landed here searching for Jennifer Barretta, I’m glad you stuck around to read about Melissa. Here’s a pic of the two with Tiffany Nelson:

Personally, I’d like to see a photo spread of Melissa in a bikini or at a pool table — just not simultaneously**. Are you listening, FHM?

*[I can totally relate to this, btw. It’s one of the thorns in my fat-positive side. I was raised not to reveal my weight practically on pain of death. In fact, until relatively recently I never openly acknowledged or talked about being fat and/or dieting (if I happened to be on one). It was like a secret to me. Ironic, huh? Being fat is a fairly open secret. “Love, and a cough, are not concealed.” Add fat to the list.]

**[Because that makes nosensewhatsofrickingever.]

May 25, 2008

Regret

Filed under: fat acceptance — worthyourweight @ 9:51 pm

What if I’d accepted his interest for what it was … genuine?

What if I’d pursued the possibilities?

What if he were my true love?

What if I hadn’t allowed fat-negativity to breed doubt and fear?

May 22, 2008

Fat hate LOLcat

Filed under: fat acceptance — worthyourweight @ 7:18 pm

I find LOLcats sometimes amusing, sometimes banal. The one above? There’s nothing LOL about it.

Fat jokes require less wit and skill than knock-knock jokes. Fat joke tellers — including professional comedians — you’re all hacks!

[See Creamy Nougat Lair‘s post today for an actual funny LOLcat]

May 15, 2008

Think you have a “double chin” and hate it?

Filed under: fat acceptance — worthyourweight @ 11:40 pm

Let The Judgment of Paris wash away those negative thoughts. At first, I was almost put off by the name of the site and forum because “judgment” carries some negative connotations [ETA: I should have noted especially Paris’], but I’m glad I forged ahead because I just happened upon this thread about “that most sensual, most seductive of all facial features, the ‘slight rise’ of a ‘slope towards the throat,’ which Renaissance writers held to be the epitome of feminine beauty” and was able to view an often maligned and despised part of a woman’s body from a new perspective.

I hope I’m not easy to brainwash or anything, but I felt happier after reading through that post and the comments. I could actually see where they were coming from, and that’s a first for me when it comes to the dreaded “wattle.” I can’t wait to go exploring the rest of this site and its forum. Here’s to fresh (or restored) ways of looking at things and people …

 

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