A few more poems for National Poetry Month

Here are a few more poems I’ve read/watched lately:

Autostraddle interviews Sonya Renee, YaliniDream, and Denice Frohman

Mary Lambert: Dear Oprah

Jill Alexander Essbaum: Poem

Meg Day: after getting caught staring, twice

Natasha Trethewey: Domestic Work, 1937

Louise Erdich: Indian Boarding School: The Runaways

Joy Harjo: She Had Some Horses

What poems have you been reading this month?

 

Backlash against fat acceptance means we’re making progress

necklace that says

Backlash is never pretty, but it’s inescapable for social justice movements.

This is what I thought about when I read Carolyn Hall’s aggressively clueless Thought Catalog piece about fat acceptance (to which Ragen, Jes, Shaunta, and Marianne have responded wonderfully.) Reading pieces like hers (and Laila Pedro’s) is immensely frustrating and blood-pressure-raising, but I see them as a sign of a positive cultural shift–a sign that FA is gaining traction in the popular imagination. That it’s becoming well-known enough to get its own ignorant detractors.

The fat acceptance movement has come so far, even in the last seven years since I discovered it when I happened upon Shapely Prose. Back then, FA was practically unheard of; now, it’s everywhere. Now, we live in a world where a fat girl dancing can go viral, where plus-size model Tess Munster has 266,000 Facebook fans, where the trailer for a documentary about fat-shaming makes it to Upworthy, where two major figures of the fat acceptance movement are, respectively, an editor and a writer for a mainstream women’s website. (Unfortunately, although the movement itself is diverse, the members who get the most media attention tend to be young-ish, feminine white women…*sigh*)

There are still plenty of people who haven’t heard of fat acceptance, but it’s making major inroads in the collective consciousness, especially thanks to social media. Tumblr in particular has become a hotbed of fatshion and fat activism, which makes FA much easier to access for young people now than when I was a teenager (when dinosaurs roamed the earth and we had to listen to that annoying dial-up sound every time we went online).

These days, people know enough about FA to have ridiculous misconceptions about us–and that means that for every Carolyn Hall out there, there are countless more fat people who have learned that there’s an alternative to hating their bodies. For every ignoramus whining about the dangers of fat acceptance, there are countless more fat people who are working together with the knowledge that society, not our bodies, is the problem.

We still have a long way to go, but we’ve come so far–it’s pretty amazing to step back and realize that.

Sunday links, 4/27/14

close-up of pink and white cherry blossoms

Cherry blossom season is my favorite time of the year.

Fa(t)shion
-This flower crown made of real flowers is incredibly gorgeous.
Breaking the design mold: the potential of zero waste.
-I love these fashion sketches based on flower petals.
Don’t make me over.
-I love this guy’s style and the reasons behind what he wears.
Wear your clothes inside out for Fashion Revolution Day, which marks the one-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza clothing factory collapse.
Obama’s free trade agreement ignores the scandal of Rana Plaza.
-The Closet Feminist rounds up five plus size floral dresses.
Sell us the clothes, don’t judge us on them.
-Cardboard Cities interviews Erin of Zero Style.
-Remember that gorgeous Scarlett & Jo prom dress that just didn’t work on me? It looks much better on Naomi and Danielle.
-Two fatshion models/bloggers who I don’t link to because of their racist actions: Amelia Butter and Nadia Aboulhosn.

Fat Acceptance
-Two great Twitter conversations about fatness and health: #notyourgoodfatty and food politics, and Amanda Levitt on the importance of talking about health on the social structural level.
-ASDAH members talk about why the HAES principles have been updated to include intersectionality and social determinants of health.
-“I’m a dancing fatty, short and stout.”
-Virgie Tovar writes a fascinating analysis of the race and class dynamics involved in her identifying as a fat foodie.
-Lindsey Averill writes about being stalked by a troll due to her work on the Fattitude documentary.

I love Mary Lambert’s new “Body Love” video:
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OOTD: Easter bunnies

I have a million outfit posts I need to catch up on, so I’m going to start with the most recent one. This is what I wore for Easter egg-hunting and frolicking with my friends in our local park, which was wonderfully silly and fun.

At first, I put together a pastel outfit, but I just wasn’t feeling it, so I changed into yoga pants and my killer bunny shirt. Steve was on the same wavelength, and wore his TARDIS bunnies shirt (which I got for him as a holiday present last year).

outfit with killer bunny t-shirt, tiny hat, and skull cardigan

T-shirt: TeeTurtle, cardigan: Torrid via eBay, necklace: eBay, earrings: clothing swap, tiny hat: Claire’s, yoga pants: Target

couple wearing matching cute bunny t-shirts

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No more “deserving” vs. “undeserving”: why we need a guaranteed basic income (and a parallel to intuitive eating)

farm with ducks and chickens and barn in background

What would you do, if you could do anything? I have a few ideas…

David Graeber (of “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs” fame) has a great interview on PBS about the need for a guaranteed basic income to replace our current system of complex, dehumanizing bureaucracies. He says:

The problem is that we have this gigantic apparatus that presumes to tell people who’s worthy, who’s not, what people should be doing, what they shouldn’t. They’re all about assessing value, but in fact, the whole system fell apart in 2008 because nobody really knows how to do it. We don’t really know how to assess the value of people’s work, of people’s contributions, of people themselves, and philosophically, that makes sense; there is no easy way to do it. So the best thing to do is just to say, alright, everyone go out and you decide for yourselves.

I agree, so hard, with his critique of bureaucracy. From personal experience with unemployment benefits, I can tell you it’s a little bit soul-crushing to have to keep proving, week after week, that you’ve done enough job-hunting to deserve to pay your rent; and that’s just the tip of the government-benefits iceberg. There are so many poor and working-poor people for whom navigating the bureaucracies of food stamps, housing assistance, heating assistance, welfare, etc. is a full-time job of its own. See, for example, this piece about the ridiculous, invasive, confusing hoops that food stamp recipients have to jump through in order to eat.

Let me be clear: right now, while there is no alternative, we need those bureaucracies. We need to defend them against attacks from the Right, and push to expand them when possible. Right now, food stamps keep people from starving.

But in the big picture, in the long term, we can do better. I envision a society in which a guaranteed basic income is considered a right. I envision a society in which no one has to justify themselves, a society that doesn’t divide people into “deserving” and “undeserving”–a society that doesn’t make people jump through hoops for their basic human rights. A society that recognizes that, by virtue of being alive, everyone deserves enough money to live. (For what it’s worth, there’s plenty of empirical evidence that giving money directly to poor people decreases poverty and has other positive effects.)

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