Turns out that when we see different sizes of bodies, we become more tolerant of different sizes of bodies.
Turns out that when we see different sizes of bodies, we become more tolerant of different sizes of bodies.
I’ve been stumbling across a lot of posts lately from stay at home mothers who feel let down by, judged by, or excluded from feminism.
I can see where the frustration comes from here. Feminism is out there saying that you can have a career and do whatever you want; and so what are you waiting for, get out there sister and run the world! And sometimes people are literally saying that it’s the ‘wrong’ choice to stay at home with kids or to forego a career for whatever reason – although more often they’re just condescendingly talking about the ‘compromise’ of stay at home mothers choosing family over work.
This perspective leaves out the [very real] possibility that what some women really want is to stay at home with their children and give them the best start possible. That isn’t the choice I’d make*, not because I think it’s a bad or inferior one, but because I just know that I’d resent it as a compromise – and I think that children are better off with happy parents who give a good example of leading a fulfilling life, rather than resentful ones who stay at home with them (that’s just how it would be for me, I’m not making a call for all women). But as a feminist I think it’s really important to stand up for the choice of any woman – that’s what choice is all about, and to exclude some choices as ‘bad’ just starts to unravel feminism from the other end.
Despite what modern society tries to tell us, we can’t have everything. We can have anything, but that’s not the same thing – to have one thing, you have to give up the possibility of having something else. That’s not sad or annoying or outrageously unfair, that’s just life.
“As a feminist, I believe that feminism’s goal is to allow women the same options as men. Men can choose to be teachers or CEOs, and women should be able to do the same. With those choices, however, come sacrifices for both men and women. When we choose our jobs, we also have to prioritize, and if a woman — or a man — wants to spend more time with family, that might mean that he or she might have to find a new career. However, choosing your family over your career does not make you less of a feminist.” (Emphasis mine)
*I am not a mother. This is hypothetical. I also reserve the right to change my mind on what I do with my time once I become a mother. That’s kind of the point here.
This seems pretty obvious but: “A mother who expresses concern about her own not-thin-enough body — or openly admires a “neighbor with the long, thin legs,” for example — sends the message to her kids that physically looking a certain way is what’s valued and praise-worthy”.
Nice interview with Laurie Penny of Penny Red:
“It’s not just about women and their bodies. You can tell women that it’s all about self-esteem and that it doesn’t matter what they look like, but the fact is, we’re living in a world where women are punished socially, economically, and culturally if they don’t make an effort to be skinny and pretty and beautiful.”
Reading about the whole Anita Sarkeesian thing, which I’ve mentioned in my last two posts, has led me down a dark and twisted path of looking at harassment in video games. The BBC has a short radio documentary about it here, which mentions the main online namers and shamers, Fat Ugly or Slutty, and Not in the Kitchen Anymore (both of which are pretty hilarious in a frustrating way, go check them out if you haven’t already).
A chunk of the real problem, as I see it, with the frankly disturbing behaviour of some male online gamers, is one of entitlement. One of my favourite blogs, Dr Nerdlove, recently talked about that in the context of dating, over here. Jennifer Haniver of Not in the Kitchen anymore, talks in the above BBC doco, about how it sometimes seems like a male she’s interacting with in-game is just really angry that she even exists. They are really angry that she exists, and that she has the gall to be there and be unavailable – because, you know, every woman should be available for any man’s sexual enjoyment, that’s what women are for, right? (At least that seems to be the view of the guys who habitually harass female gamers). Many times on Fat Ugly or Slutty, a post contains a string of messages, that start out almost sweet (except that they are demanding some sexual favour like a naked picture or a blow job), and when it becomes obvious that compliance has a 0% likelihood, the messages quickly degrade into a tirade of expletives – usually centred around the victim’s supposed fatness, ugliness, or sluttiness, hence the name of the blog. This kind of attack points it’s anger directly to the woman’s body as the source of the problem.
Ick, I need a kitten or something now.
I also have to mention that Haniver is really quick to point out that this is a distinct minority of players who are being total asshats and ruining the community as a safe place for women. While ranting against this stuff, it’s really important to remember that men collectively are not the problem.
It’s really really hard to love our bodies sometimes. On a daily basis we’re barraged with information about how a body ‘should’ look, and also with slurs against bodies that are less than perfect (which is every body). This poor woman was driven to tears by a bunch of nasty school kids on a bus. Honestly I didn’t even watch the whole 10 minute video, it’s just stupid naive kids following each other in being horribly mean to a sweet old lady.
These kids, who are so busy deriding someone for being ‘fat’ and ‘ugly’, obviously didn’t come up with those ideas independently. The fact that someone needs to teach these brats some manners is almost besides the point – those kids are probably learning that the hard way right now, since i can’t imagine that any of their parents are particularly proud of them for being the latest bullies to be plastered all over the internet.
I think the way we talk is really important, not only is the way that we talk indicative of the way that we think, but also the things we say shape our thoughts. If we lived in a society where nobody talked about ‘fatness’ or ‘ugliness’, it would have never occurred to these kids to launch these slurs at Karen Klein. Maybe they would have found other words to use, but the point stands – we’re way too obsessed with these ideas around size and look (duh).
Also on the internets today:
” Not being assaulted is not a privilege to be earned through the judicious application of personal safety strategies. A woman should be able to walk down the street at 4 in the morning in nothing but her socks, blind drunk, without being assaulted, and I, for one, am not going to do anything to imply that she is in any way responsible for her own assault if she fails to Adequately Protect Herself. Men aren’t helpless dick-driven maniacs who can’t help raping a vulnerable woman. It disrespects EVERYONE. “
Can I get an ‘amen’?
In it’s own way, this is a cookie cutter of my previous point. The way we (and by ‘we’ I mean ‘society’) talk about victims is extremely disturbing. We need some new vocabulary (and by ‘new vocabulary’ I’m not literally talking about creating new words, just getting the hell over the victim blaming and speaking differently about what causes rape – which is rapists). Anyone who knows me may be annoyed to be hearing the same tired stuff yet again, but we need to keep talking about this stuff, we need it to be really conscious – that’s the only way that we can meaningfully change our behaviour around this issue. So I’m gonna keep harping on about it (“I am sorry people are so tired of me writing about misogyny. I occasionally get tired of living in a world defined by it.”).
Also, lots of stuff about vaginas, and legislation about vaginas, and how upsetting it is to a bunch of men when you use the word ‘vagina’. Ugh.
Which makes me think, a) I’m sooooo thankful that I don’t live the the USA, and b):
And this is brilliant:
Also, Laci Green has something to say about say about boobs.
Apparently some study in Europe (go figure) says that it’s kind-of sort-of ok to drink while pregnant.
A new study about the way we talk about atheletes says that we are more likely to say male atheletes have skill, but that female atheletes have luck. Huh.
Love the hell out of yourselves folks.
We here at Delicious Self Love do not dig bullying. We wish it would go away, and that everyone could play nice.
Alas, people do bad things, and harrassment ensues.
Anita Sarkeesian has been facing down a lot of cyber bullying lately. And all because she told the internets that she wanted to make a series of videos about the way women are represented in video games. This guy has stuff to say about why that’s not cool. And if you want to read any of the crap that’s been launched at her, google it or something ‘cos we ain’t posting that stuff. Sadly, it’s out there and not hard to find.
Anyway, Anita, do your thing. Gender stereotypes and the representation of women (and other marginalised genders) across all media, is really effed up, and has got to change – you’re taking good steps and we love you for it.
This idea has always seemed a bit strange to me.
First off, I genuinely find it really difficult to drink even 3 or 4 glasses of water in a day, unless I’m doing a lot of exercise. And I don’t usually feel dehydrated. But if I’m working under the belief that I should drink 8 glasses or more every day, then I am feeling guilty for not doing the ‘right’ thing. And generally speaking, I’m not sure that guilt is good for one’s health.
A few years ago I read this article, and it got me thinking (go figure, I think slow). Maybe our bodies are a bit more efficient than we give them credit for. Surely they can’t be so hopeless that regardless of what we’re doing with our day, for simple survival (or even optimal health) we need to glug down a couple of litres. And surely, how much water you need in a day varies depending on how hot it is, how humid it is, how active you’re being, what you’re eating (since there’s water in food) etc.
I mean, if you’re running a marathon in the desert, you probably need upwards of 10 litres of water, and if you’re sitting down for most of the day in a temperate climate, well, a couple of glasses (as well as the water in your food) is possibly enough.
I’m not a doctor, and I’m not saying to drink or not drink a certain amount. I’m saying that with this (and plenty of other things), I feel like the best thing for me is to listen to my body, and drink when it tells me that it’s thirsty, and eat when it tells me that it’s hungry, etc. If I’m paying attention to my body, it does give me cues about this stuff.
I know that other people have different feelings about drinking water, but this works for me. Tell me what you think.