#UCSB shooting links roundup #YesAllWomen

There has been an incredible amount of thoughtful, important writing about the Isla Vista shooting. I apologize that this is a long and probably overwhelming links roundup, but there were so many pieces I just couldn’t leave out. Read them on your own time, or not at all if that’s what you need. I’ve included some pictures of Comfort Dogs to break up the terrible-ness.

Laurie Penny: Let’s call the Isla Vista killings what they were: misogynist extremism

Arthur Chu: Your princess is in another castle: misogyny, entitlement, and nerds

Jenn at Reappropriate: Masculinity vs. “Misogylinity”: what Asian Americans can learn from the #UCSB shooting

Kate Harding: It’s not all men. But it’s men.

Roxane Gay: In relief of silence and burden

Elizabeth Plank: #AllMenCan: 37 Men show us what real men’s activists look like

Sarah O at All the Things, All Mixed Up: Notallmen/Yesallwomen, secondary trauma and relearning everything for the sake of not killing each other

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Romantic rejection, gendered blame, and narratives we need to change

I’ve been reading so much–probably more than I should–about the Isla Vista shootings. There’s been so much important analysis of Elliot Rodger’s misogyny and racism. There have been so many women sharing their stories of everyday sexism, harassment, and abuse–and their experiences of not being believed by men. There have been reminders that stigmatizing mental illness and Asperger’s syndrome is not the answer. I’ll be rounding up the best of these pieces soon.

But what jumped out at me is the tiny, innocent kernel of pain hidden somewhere deep inside Rodger’s twisted worldview: the pain of romantic and sexual rejection. And the ways that men and women are socialized to deal with that rejection differently. (I will note that this post deals with the socialization of men who date women, and women who date men. As a straight woman, I can’t speak to the experiences of queer people, but I would not be surprised if they’re similar in some ways, different in others, and compounded by constant cultural erasure.)

When I read about Elliot Rodger–or any of the innumerable men whose sense of entitlement to women’s bodies has turned deadly–I always have a brief glimmer of recognition of that pain, mixed with overwhelming sadness, disgust, and rage. Obviously, no amount of pain excuses Rodger’s actions, and most people manage to deal with rejection without resorting to violence. But his case is an extreme example of cultural dynamics that are all too common.

I know that primal need for connection. I know what it’s like to spend years wanting it, watching seemingly everyone else have it, wondering why you’re left out.

But what I don’t know is a feeling of entitlement to anyone else’s body. When men are rejected, they’re socialized to blame women; when women are rejected, we’re socialized to blame ourselves. This is what patriarchy looks like: no matter who does the rejecting, women are at fault.

I still remember trying not to cry at a school dance in sixth grade because my crush was slow-dancing with his girlfriend and I had no one to dance with. Over the years, it didn’t get better–I just got used to it.

Yes, I was angry. But I turned my anger inwards, like women are taught to do in a million insidious ways. Before I came across fat acceptance, I blamed my body; afterwards, I just wondered what was wrong with me, even when I knew intellectually that it was a matter of luck. I clung to Kate Harding’s “On Dumb Luck” like a life preserver, trying so hard to believe it.

Then, by sheer dumb luck, I was in the right place at the right time to meet Steve, and the rest is history.

Rejection happens. Dating is never going to be smooth or seamless or pain-free. Sadness and anger about that are perfectly normal. But too often our culture twists that anger into woman-hatred, both internalized and externalized. It’s time to say, enough. We need new cultural narratives, new coping strategies. Continue reading

Sunday links, 5/25/14

Y-shaped tree with people making M, C, and A shapes

We found an interesting tree while hiking last weekend…

Fa(t)shion
-I love this fatshionista paper doll.
-If you’re looking to both buy some awesome mermaid-themed jewelry and support a transgender person with Asperger’s who has trouble sustaining traditional employment, check out Earl Foolish.
The fashion victims of Bangladesh.
Wandering the no (wo)man’s land between straight and plus sizes.
Work it! The new face of labor in fashion.
Quvenzhane Wallis is the adorable new face of Armani Junior.
From Lorde to Rihanna to the new Barbie, Goth culture’s comeback is a win for women.
Sheri and Sarah both round up plus size crop tops.
Do this don’t: dress like a fat marshmallow.
-A fascinating conversation on design and systems, both in fashion and in a broader sense.

Fat Acceptance
-Roxy takes apart the ridiculous concept of “glorifying obesity.”
Great postcards for the Abundant Bodies track at the AMC.
-This fat coloring book project looks really cool.
Fat-phobic trolls don’t just want to be rude–they want power over us.
-Check out Hanne Blank’s new body acceptance project, 52 Weeks to Your Best Body Ever.
Discrimination, doxxing, and that ‘Louie’ episode: a Q&A with the filmmakers behind ‘Fattitude.’

Climate and Sustainability
A call to arms for the climate march in New York this September. I will do my best to be there!
-Bill McKibben and a group of climate scientists and activists did an AMA on Reddit.
Solar farms can enhance biodiversity and sequester soil carbon too.
Geothermal: the red hot renewable that could incite a green power revolution.
A blueprint to end paralysis over global action on climate.
Before repairing the climate, we’ll have to repair the effects of racism.

An awesome mashup of two great songs:
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We need to talk about how social and economic structures impact health.

lake in the woods

Within the fat acceptance and HAES movements, there has been a growing realization that health is much more complicated than personal diet and exercise choices–that we can’t talk seriously about health without talking about the social and economic barriers that affect it on both the personal and public levels. I’m really glad that we’re talking about these structural forces, and I’d love to see more in-depth discussions, both within and outside of our communities.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, especially after a wonderful hike I went on last weekend. I just feel so in my element when I’m in the woods, and I get a great workout without consciously trying. There’s something so peaceful, so natural about being surrounded by trees, coming across everything from tiny frogs to wildflowers and heart-shaped leaves. There’s magic in the woods, the kind that doesn’t go away when you grow up.

Coming home from a simultaneously exhilarating and relaxing hike, I couldn’t help but think, contrary to conventional wisdom, how little of my health is actually within my control. Yes, healthy habits are still our best shot at improving and maintaining health. Yes, there are certainly things I can do differently, and I’m working on them. But there are so many structural limits that impact my health, and I imagine how they could be different:

– If working about 20 hours/week were standard, I could work mornings and then hike most afternoons. Or, during the winter, snowshoe or cross-country ski. I live in the city and don’t have a car (and don’t want one)–but if there were high-speed, frequent, reliable trains from the city to the woods, I could easily get out into nature on a regular basis, or even live out there and commute into the city. This would make it a lot easier to engage in the types of exercise that feel easy and natural for me, and I have a feeling I’d feel better all-around if I were getting a higher dose of Vitamin Nature. Continue reading