Friday Links, 6/28/13

Clearly, fat people didn’t exist prior to the last few decades. And none of them were ballerinas or anything. (source)

Happy Friday! This is going to be a long list, because SO MUCH has happened this week. As usual, feel free to link to interesting things that you’ve read or written.

-The lack of swimsuits available in larger plus sizes is a real problem.
-If you’re in Washington D.C., check out this exhibit about African-American styles of dress and identity. It looks fascinating (and I love the hats pictured!)
-More of Me to Love interviews Golda Poretsky about fatshion.

Fat Activism
-Melissa observes the ridiculousness of the idea that fat people are an epidemic, yet somehow rare enough that we don’t need media representation.
-A for Alpha writes to Melissa Harris-Perry about her failure to think critically about the AMA’s decision.
You’re not the first person to tell a fat person…
No shame in disease diagnosis.
If obesity is a disease, why are so many obese people healthy?
-Ragen takes down the calories in/calories out myth.

Continue reading

Existential whiplash: on the beaches of Boston, the future of Miami, and the terror of rising seas

Yesterday,  I came home from an idyllic day at the beach on Boston’s North Shore and read this article arguing that Miami is doomed to drown under rising tides caused by climate change.

I don’t know how to reconcile the beauty of the ocean that I saw and felt and smelled firsthand with the threat lurking in the waves. I know the nature is powerful and not always pretty. I know that nature has a dark side, unexpected swells of anger, storms that beat water violently against rocks. But this is something different.

This is something human-caused, unprecedented, potentially future-destroying–and something that too many Americans, and far too many of our lawmakers, refuse to believe is happening.

And so, I am trying to make sense of the fact that the same water that I love, fed by melting glaciers and icecaps, is coming for us. That the beach, where land meets water meets sky, is our next battlefield.

The beach, more than almost anywhere else, feels like home. At the beach, I am the happiest version of myself.

Continue reading

Mass. people, don’t forget to vote in the special election tomorrow!

I apologize to my non-Massachusetts-ian readers for another post that’s only relevant within the state, but this is important and exciting.

Tomorrow is the special election for the US Senate seat vacated by John Kerry when he became Secretary of State, and it features the US’ first real “climate candidate,” Ed Markey.

I’m not telling anyone who to vote for, but I will strongly suggest that Markey is awesome, and it’s great to see a candidate making climate change a top issue.

You can find more information about the special election, and look up your polling place, here. And then go vote, vote vote like a baby stoat!

Friday links, 6/21/13

An awesomely geeky car I saw recently.

Happy Friday! As usual, feel free to link to anything interesting you’ve read or written this week in the comments.

-Lesley rounds up some cute floral print stuff.
Elegance for all: can ModCloth change plus size fashion for good?
-Advanced Style’s photoshoot in Vogue Australia is gorgeous.
We’re here, we’re queer, and we look real cute: indie designers challenging gender norms.
-There’s now a blog for fatshionable apples!
This dress. Oh, this dress! It’s like a giant cupcake and I want one just like it.

Fat Activism
A great interview with Virgie Tovar in both English and German.
This protest outside of a Victoria’s Secret in California, including both Virgie Tovar and Marilyn Wann, is awesome! You can see more pictures here on About-Face’s Facebook page.
-Melissa at Shakesville has yet another addition to the Fatstronauts 101 series, this time taking down the myth that fat people are stupid.
-Are you looking for a part-time internship doing fat activism? Check out the Militant Baker’s call for interns.
Public health does not make me public property.
Death is always a shock: on James Gandolfini and the rush to explain an unexpected loss.
-Two more good analyses of the AMA’s decision, from the Fat Nutritionist and Feed Me, I’m Cranky.

A great takedown of the idea that fat women shouldn’t cosplay thinner characters:

Climate and Sustainability
-The Climate Justice Hub here in Somerville is now open, and it’s an awesome space for community-building and action. If you live in the area, check out their calendar of events.
-Through an event at the CJ Hub, I met Bethany, an amazing writer who blogs about making the world a better place at Granite Bunny. I highly recommend everything she writes, but here are a few places to start: Bicknell’s thrush, Yoga and Montana’s Tongue River Valley, and We’re gonna win.
Local, self-sufficient, optimistic: are transition towns the way forward?

Everything Else
-I recently came across anthropologist Sarah Kendzior‘s writing, and I love all of it. I wish more people were deconstructing our economic system the way she does. A few of my favorite recent pieces: In defense of complaining, The moral bankruptcy of the internship economy, and The unaffordable Baby Boomer dream.
On being a “good” black man, from the perspective of a transgender man who started to face a different kind of racism once he transitioned.
-I love these answers from students about why they need feminism.
On invisible health issues, and the complex space between “healthy” and “disabled.”
Enforcing poverty to access health care.
Why cops don’t believe rape victims, and how brain science can help solve the problem.

Easy activism opportunity: Weight/height discrimination bill in the Massachusetts state house

So, I meant to post about this earlier, but better late than never!

Mycroft Masada Holmes has info about the bill:

The Massachusetts height and weight anti-discrimination bill is back!  And it has a hearing on Tuesday June 25th.  Please read, submit testimony, attend, contact your legislators, spread the word, etc.!  MA voters are most needed but everything helps.  

An Act Making Discrimination on the Basis of Height and Weight Unlawful (House Bill 1758) has been re-filed.  It would amend MA state laws prohibiting discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations by adding “height” and “weight” to the list of legally protected ‘classes’.  The lead sponsor is Representative Byron Rushing, a longtime and amazing social justice leader, including for transgender rights and in the Episcopal Church (the Trans Equal Rights Law passed in November 2011, the Trans Equal Access Bill was filed this January). 

Also, Marilyn Wann just passed along a link to the bill with the following note:

Today is the day to email your support of a height/weight anti-discrimination law in Massachusetts: Even one sentence HELPS!!!

I just send an email to Mr. VanDerWoude, the legislative aide to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Byron Rushing.I also emailed my Representative, Carl M. Sciortino, Jr.

If you’re in Massachusetts, you can find out who your State Representative is here. Send them an email and let them know why you support the bill!

#IAmNotADisease roundup, part 3

There’s been so much good writing on the internet in response to the AMA’s decision to label “obesity” a disease.

1.) Lesley Kinzel, as usual, has a great analysis.

The point I like best actually comes from one of her comments:

The metabolic issues that the AMA is so eager to attribute to ALL obese people are not, in fact, exclusive to the fat. They happen to people of different sizes, and plenty of fat people never develop them. If we want to name a disease, maybe we should be researching how metabolic syndrome evolves and how it influences and is influenced by body size, rather than pointing at a group of people and based on their size, diagnose them all with issues they may well not even have?

2.) Marilyn Wann has a good piece that incorporates FA and HAES 101 at the Daily Kos. She is even brave enough to engage with the many commenters who just don’t get it, and I admire her so much for that. Not everyone has the Sanity Watchers points to do stuff like that–I certainly don’t!–and no one should have to, but it’s an important way of getting the message across to people who might never have heard it before. And even if they can’t wrap their minds around it now, there’s a good chance it will sink in eventually for some of them.

3.) Charlotte Cooper has a different viewpoint, which is also important.

Although the AMA news is terrible, I think it’s worth remembering that fat activists are moving away from the values that underpin obesity discourse, and have been doing so for a long time. A new cohort of politicised fat scholars are moving through the ranks and are threatening the parameters of traditional obesity research. Beyond the academy, our networks are gaining in strength, breadth and momentum. How long will it be until we have our own models for fat community health provision? Therapy practices like mine are only the beginning.

I understand the panic and upset about being labelled as a disease, it is utterly dehumanising. At the same time, the AMA is not the authority of me or my experience as a fat person. In many ways, I do feel like a treatment-resistant disease; one that is attacking the values that the AMA upholds like a virus in its system.

I’m really glad to see multiple types of activism springing up around the AMA’s decision. A diversity of activist tactics makes a strong movement, and increases our potential to reach people.

“Fat church”: Three Big Fat Voices

About a month ago, there was an awesome fat event here in Cambridge: Three Big Fat Voices, a reading with Lesley Kinzel, Susan Stinson, and Hanne Blank.

It was AMAZING. All three of them were fierce and brilliant.

Lesley, Hanne, and Susan during the Q&A

And the sense of community was wonderful. Despite near-torrential rain, an army of fabulous fatties in colorful attire turned up to listen, ask questions, and bask in the glow of fat solidarity.

I even met two other Lauras and a Lauren!

The Lauren is on the right.

And Lesley liked my dress, which gave me much fangirl joy. (The dress was a lucky Big Thrifty find, and it deserves its own post, so I’ll have an OOTD post coming soon.) Continue reading

More great posts on #IAmNotADisease

1.) That Cortnie Girl: Another angle of my body love on this quiet Wednesday morning.

My body is not diseased, my body is glorious and it can do amazing things like smile, eat veggies, walk downtown, lay on the floor with friends, walk around at the park, wear bright lipstick, get sunburns even after applying sunscreen, orgasm, eat ice cream, cuddle with kitties, work out, take baths, and wear tight clothes.

It can do all of these things without your permission and diagnosis. So stop trying.

2.) Living 400 Lbs: Why I think declaring obesity a disease is harmful. This is a meticulously sourced list of reasons, and it’s wonderful.

3.) Shakesville: The AMA declares obesity a disease.

I am not a problem to be solved. My body is not a disease to be cured. I cannot overcome my very physiology and make my body do something that it is simply unable to do. The only “cure” for my “disease” is to be a person I am not and cannot be.

I have an idea…

What if we, as a society, took some of the money that we’re spending on fighting the existence of fat people and instead invested it into clean energy?

As Kath points out, the amount of money spent on weight loss is ridiculous, and could go to so many better uses:

The weight loss industry alone was worth almost $800 million just here in Australia.  Can you imagine what could be done for $800 million per year in this country?  We could all have completely free health care for every Australian, more than we would ever need.  People with disabilities could have all of the equipment that they would ever need, and any support and care they would ever need.  No human being in Australia would go without food, water or housing.  Education would be free for our whole lives, from kindergarten through any university studies that we would care to take on.   Medical research into every known actual disease, from the common cold to cancer could be funded fully.

Here in the US, the weight cycling industry is worth $66 billion. 66 fucking billion.

Can you even imagine if we invested some of that in clean, renewable sources of energy so that thousands of people wouldn’t die prematurely from coal pollution every year, let alone from the effects of climate change?

It makes me incredibly angry that people are dying from both  fatphobia and environmental destruction.

I wish so badly that we could kill those two birds with one stone instead of continuing to pour money into a industry that hurts, maims, and kills.

I wish so badly that we lived in a different world.