Here are a few more poems I’ve read/watched lately:
What poems have you been reading this month?
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.
-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.
-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:
I’ve come across a bunch of great songs related to climate/environmental justice lately. Here are a few of my favorites:
So…I love that this video about divestment features a bunch of people wearing vests and then removing them at the end of the video:
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).
T-shirt: TeeTurtle, cardigan: Torrid via eBay, necklace: eBay, earrings: clothing swap, tiny hat: Claire’s, yoga pants: Target
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.)
I’m a little obsessed with the particular floral pattern of that sweater. I’d seen it around on various straight sized pieces, so I was super-excited to find that Boohoo’s new plus size line uses it on not one, but three items of clothing. The dress, which is my favorite, only goes up to a UK 20/US 16, though. And the sweater goes up to UK 24/US 20, but is sold out in that size. Boooo. I’m really sick of plus size lines with such limited sizing.
I’m trying to catch up on all the Earth Day-related news and essays around the internet, and there are a lot–you should see how many tabs I have open right now. To start, I’ll point you to the Nation, which has devoted all of its content today to climate change (!!). So far, I recommend these:
–The change within: the obstacles we face are not just external.
–“Jobs vs. the environment”: how to counter this divisive big lie.
In Keystone XL-related news, Obama has delayed his decision on the pipeline…again. On one hand, it’s kind of annoying that he keeps putting it off; but at the same time, it’s a sign of progress. As Bill McKibben puts it, “[W]ithout a broad and brave movement, DC would have permitted this dumb pipeline in 2011. So on we go.”
Today is the start of the Reject and Protect protest against KXL, which is hosted by the Cowboy and Indian Alliance (yes, that’s really what they call their group of farmers, ranchers, and Native American tribal leaders). There will be a big rally on Sunday, and many of my fellow Bostonians will be there. I don’t have the travel-energy for it, after two trips to Philadelphia in the past few weeks to see my grandmother, but I will be there in spirit.
A protest I might actually be able to attend is the People’s Climate March in New York City on September 20-21. Finally, a major climate action within a few hours of Boston! And I love NYC, so I appreciate any excuse to go there.
Now, on to the thoughts–which are about one particular article. To be fair, I didn’t read the whole thing, just a post about it, so take my reactions with a grain of salt; but I didn’t have the brain-space to read the whole thing when even a few quotes pissed me off so much. The article is a New York Times Magazine profile of Paul Kingsnorth, a former environmental activist who publicly gave up on climate change and retreated to the woods to found a literary journal and hold Burning Man-like parties.
As Heather Smith at Grist points out, his group “sounds less like an enduring movement with relevance to the environmental movement as a whole than a midlife crisis.”
And then she really nails it: “In declaring the largest problem of our era unfixable, Kingsnorth gave himself — and a few other earnest, idealistic types – the perfect excuse to put on a badger mask and go party in the woods.”
My take on all this: it takes a metric fuckton of privilege to give up on the world. Continue reading