Me and Hillary Clinton

Yesterday I found out that I will never be a Glamazon.  If you aren’t familiar, they are an amazing burlesque and pop girl group based in New York City. I learned about them when they were on America’s Got Talent and they are the reason that I wanted to be in a fat cabaret in the first place.

So yesterday they posted an audition call and though I had no plans to audition (I’m moving to the opposite coast and starting a plus size cabaret of my own), I was disappointed to learn that I am not even eligible to audition.  It turns out that their cut-offs are 30 years old and a size 20.  According to producer Meryl Sherwood “I’ve been doing this for over 11 years, and even though the plus size industry has grown since I started, bookers can be very closed minded. I would love to include anyone and everyone but I’m only one person trying to sell a product”.

I totally understand where she is coming from and I’m not judging (she certainly knows far more about it than I), but I was sad to find out that when it comes to being a Glamazon I am both too old and too fat.  I was even sadder when I found out that according to Ed Klein, former New York Times magazine editor and Clinton biographer, Hillary Clinton and I have that in common.

You see, Mr. Klein went on Fox to talk about the idea that Clinton might make a 2016 run for President. Did he talk about the job she’s done as Secretary of State?  Did he talk about her work as a Senator?  Her recent Bangladesh visit or speech about tensions in the US?

No! Don’t be ridiculous nobody cares about those things.  He talked about her age and her weight. (This falls hot on the heels of the “scandal” in which the Drudge Report wasted space on the internet – which is difficult to do – to let us all know that Ms. Clinton had appeared in public with no make-up other than lipstick, about which Hillary seemed to give exactly zero fucks.) This time, speaking of a possible 2016 run, Klein said:

“She’ll be 69 years old. And as you know — and I don’t want to sound anti-feminist here — but she’s not looking good these days. She’s looking overweight, and she’s looking very tired.”

Out of curiosity Ed (can I call you Ed?), what would you have said if you DID want to sound anti-feminist?  Just a suggestion but maybe instead of worrying about sounding anti-feminist, you might consider worrying about actually being anti-feminist or, you know, a complete jackass.

Comments on articles about this ranged from people who said that Ms. Clinton should get colonics to people who wish that Ed Klein would just STFU (in case you aren’t sure, I’m in the latter group).

I think that it is extremely unfortunate that, as a society, our desperate fascination with unattainable photoshop perfection means that we care more about how women look than what they can do.  Like those of us who aren’t supermodels are supposed to say “I’m sorry please forgive me, I’m just smart, hardworking, and talented – I don’t know how I could have thought that was important.  I don’t know what came over me that I expected you to be able to celebrate my unique beauty or at least care a little bit about whether or not I’m good at what I do. I’ll just go curl up fetal and hide my unphotoshopped face from the world.”  No, wait.  On second thought Ed, how about you fuck right the hell off instead.

We can’t make Ed do anything (that would be an underpants rule violation), but we can change things ourselves, so let me take this opportunity to highlight the option of opting out of this part of our culture.  Some ideas are:

  • Stop making negative comments about other people’s bodies, faces, make-up or clothes
  • Interrupt that kind of talk when you hear it and suggest these options to people
  • Stop buying fashion magazines that use photoshop
  • Stop buying anything that someone is selling you through marketing intended to generate fear or self-loathing.
  • Participate in Functional Girl’s No make-up Mondays
  • Don’t click on that link about who has the best and worst bikini bodies or whatever
  • Stop negative talk about your own body.  Here’s some support for that.
  • Admire and compliment women on their talents and likes and dislikes, not their looks (for example, compliment their fashion sense instead of their clothes…)

This system that keeps us down is fueled by our time, energy and attention  – we take those things away and the system will runs out of gas and stall out.

Announcing the Los Angeles Fat Cabaret Auditions!

The Los Angeles Fat Cabaret (soon to have a better name) auditions will be on July 22nd from 1-4pm in North Hollywood.  If you have rad fatty friends in LA, please feel free to let them know, you can send them to our Facebook page.

For the record, I completely understand and respect the Glamazon’s decisions and policies but we’re going to do it a bit differently.  The auditions and group are open to all plus-size women age 18 and up.  There will be opportunities for dancers of all abilities who want to do the work to be part of this – if you want to do this and work hard, I will find a way to get you on stage and make sure you look good.  If people won’t book us we’ll put on our own shows and develop our own fan base.  It’s going to be awesome!

Time is running out to pre-order my book and get an autographed copy and free shipping!

Fat: The Owner’s Manual – Navigating a Thin-Obsessed World with Your Health, Happiness, and Sense of Humor Intact, with foreword by Marilyn Wann, is now available for pre-order.   This is a book about living life in the body that you have now, making decisions about what you want in the future, and how to get there.  Whether you want to change your body, fight for size acceptance, just live your life, or understand and support your fat friends and family, this book was written to provide the insights, aha moments, humor, and hard facts to help.

Become a Member, Support The Work!

I do HAES and SA activism, speaking and writing full time, and I don’t believe in putting corporate ads on my blog and making my readers a commodity. So if you find value in my work, want to support it, and you can afford it, you can  become a member (you get extra stuff, discounts, and you’re always the first to know about things) or a you can support my work with a  one-time contribution.  The regular e-mail blog subscription (available at the top right hand side of this page) is still completely free. If you’re curious about this policy, you might want to check out this post.  Thanks for reading! ~Ragen

31 thoughts on “Me and Hillary Clinton

  1. Wow. And here I thought the basis for voting someone into office was her or his abilities and political platform. I’ve been doing it wrong!

    /goes back to studying the founding of the US, and grumbling about Jefferson and his insistence on State’s Rights

    1. And there is no way to win, if you are thin and attractive they make fun of you for that too – because you can’t be “cute” and smart – its all so dumb.

  2. Hillary has my vote! She is a very hard working woman. For anyone to comment on how she looks is just plain stupidity.

  3. Unfortunately the same thing is happening here in Australia since we voted in our first female prime minister. While I won’t comment on my personal opinions of her politics I am constantly horrified at how many news articles they have about the size of her butt and the suits she wears. Any one of our male prime ministers would have had to show up to work in a clown suit to create the same sort of attention. It’s so disappointing especially as a lot of these comments are coming from other women, including one of Australia’s most famous feminists (Germaine Greer). I just wish we worried more about her ability to do the job than the size of any of her body parts.

  4. I’m not so surprised about the Glamazons.

    While I loved watching them on America’s Got Talent, I noticed that they’re all “safe fatties” as in they’re all on the smaller range of fat and therefore more (but not completely!) acceptable for society.

    Disappointing nonetheless.

    Also, again with body policing Ms. Clinton?! I loved it when Lady Gaga stood up for her when Tim Gunn policed her, especially since fashion actually is important to Gaga yet she understands that other people are different and look differently yet should be treated with dignity and respect. I wish others can take a cue from her.

  5. You know, that comment applies even more to our male government representatives. Some of them are downright decrepit when it comes to age and I have watched more thanone congresional session where they ad to wake someone up before they could continue. I would suppose Ed would thinkmthat’s all right because they are men.

    As for make-up? He would ate me as I don’t choose to wear it. I have lovely skin and eyes without it and I have earned e ery laugh line and wrinkle!

  6. I won’t vote for Hilary for one reason only: there are already far too many family-based political dynasties in this country. She is wonderful and talented and a good politician, but she is who she is and where she is because she was married to Bill Clinton. I agree he would never have become President without her, and without him she would have been a powerhouse in her own right, but the simple fact is that she would not be Secretary of State or a Presidential candiate if it weren’t for her marriage.

    All of that said? The attacks on her looks are just so neanderthal it is hard to believe someone can open up their mouths and say them in 2012.

    Oh and your LA troop is going to rock like a rocking thing that rocks. Like Beth Ditto rocks. Like you already do, in this blog and in your dancing. GO GO GO!

  7. To put his age comment in perspective, Mitt Romney is 65. Ronald Reagan was 69 when he took office. The first George Bush was 64. Reagan and Bush both looked old when they ran. And I don’t care how young Romney looks, he’s a terrible, terrible person at any age.


    1. You forgot John McCain. He was what, 110 when he ran for president? And a crazy old douchebag to boot.

  8. I can’t say that I’m surprised about the Hillary Clinton comments, here in the UK, there were some similar ones a few weeks back about her “lack of make-up” and “not doing her hair”(I didn’t even know what they meant?)She looked like she had washed and brushed her hair, which is what I do!! It also took on a really surreal feel to it as they were saying that she obviously wasn’t bothering any longer as she has gotten too old for that!! This is most definitely sexist as there wouldn’t remotely be anything like this said about a man, whatever role he was in?

    I do try not to judge women on their looks as it drives me nuts, but have been guilty of commenting and wondering why so many women on TV(usually shopping channels-my guilty secret!)have those, to my mind-awful add on nails or whatever they are. I think they are horrible and wonder why women have to follow other women in doing this, as that’s what it seems like? This may be controversial but on speaking with some men in the past about this, their comment was, “the difference between men and women on this, is we won’t just follow like sheep and feel we have to do something”! It still sucks though, I would love to have half the intellect/brains that Hillary Clinton has and here she is being belittled about her looks-shameful.

    Back on a previous subject-situation I was in, how does anyone think you should approach medical services, when they say they want to weigh you and you don’t want to? I’m thinking that you have to thread a little carefully as they could use it against you? When I visited the nurse at my surgery a few weeks ago for “just an asthma check”, I don’t see there was a medical need to weigh me and it was just used to lecture and berate me. Also I have thought since then, don’t and shouldn’t they have this info on their computer in front of them(in your records) and I don’t change that much weight wise from year to year or month to month? I’ve also been asked if I’m a smoker(relates to the asthma)but again, I would have been asked all this many times before. I’m also very concerned that when she asked me about how active I was/my fitness levels, she didn’t seem to take into account or ask, how my Fibromyalgia(effects me a lot)and osteoarthritis affects me day to day. When I did say I walked as much as I could(meaning pain levels etc)and I do use a walking stick outdoors, she almost dismissed this, saying it wasn’t like aerobic exercise and she probably thought she walked a lot in the surgery, but …….She tailed off at that point as don’t think she could back her arguement up!!! As it happens, I’m a relatively strong willed woman and enjoy walking and being outside, but still, it could have really knocked me back? I am thinking of contacting the surgery online, maybe making a comment to the practice manager, they are always asking for feedback!!
    I’m presuming they wouldn’t try to deny me treatment if I refused to be weighed, but it’s awful I should even be thinking that?

    You can see I needed to offload that to people who understand.

    Well, the fight goes on and we live to battle another day!!


    Marion, UK

    1. “I visited the nurse at my surgery a few weeks ago for “just an asthma check”, I don’t see there was a medical need to weigh me and it was just used to lecture and berate me.”

      I can understand why they weighed you: if they had to prescribe meds, they’d need to know your weight to calculate the correct dosage. Lecturing and berating you was all kinds of wrong, though.

      “I’ve also been asked if I’m a smoker(relates to the asthma)but again, I would have been asked all this many times before.”

      They don’t know if you’ve suddenly taken up smoking between the last time they saw you and this time. I always get asked the same questions about smoking, drinking, etc. at the doctor’s office. They need to know if your habits have changed. This seems like common sense to me. *shrugs*

      Again, lecturing and berating you is completely wrong. I would try to find out who you could complain to about that nurse’s behavior, because she is not fostering a professional medical environment when she treats patients that way. It’s horrible, mean, and completely unprofessional, and I’m so, *so* sorry you were treated that way. *hugs*

      1. Dosage on asthma medication is pretty standardized. I used the same dose at 150 pounds that I now do at 220. Same goes for emergency medication: either one pre-measured vial of nebulized albuterol or levalbuterol, or two to four puffs of an HFA inhaler to start, higher nebulized doses and steroids for more serious attacks. Lungs are lungs. They’re pretty much one size fits all.

        Now, had it been something other than asthma, like bronchitis, heart issues, or even a thymus problem (which rests atop the heart and between the lungs), then weight and dosage might come into play. That said, I’ve been anesthetized with standardized doses several times, and I came through just fine. (Propofol + Fentanyl = OMFG HAPPY DREAMS IN A HOT TUB WITH SEXY MUSICIANS FORK YEAH!) Weight can be a factor in dosage, but not universally.

  9. I think the last bullet point should be extended to young girls. I think everytime we see a 4 year old and we comment on how pretty, cute, adorable, princess-like (you get the picture) she is, we are reinforcing the notion that her worth is tied to how she looks. I try to ask her what her favorite book or character is, or what she likes to do the most, instead of commenting on her appearance.

    1. I cannot stop doing this very thing! The neighbor girl was talking to me through the fence–she’s my new best friend! When I looked up I was struck by how adorable she was and I said it. Out loud. Then I inwardly cringed. Yes, I loved her pink shoes, her little capris, and her pink top–but mostly I love her spunk and attitude. And I don’t want that to ever go away for her!

  10. My brother was friendly with – and briefly dated – a print model. He was himself a photographer, so she introduced him to several of her friends, and photographed them all. He said they were *constantly* aware of any tiny imperfection that might show up in a picture (and things you would *never* notice in real life do show up in pictures…) Now, their livelihood depended on this… but they do not believe that they are great beauties – in fact, they are incredibly insecure about their looks! Most grew up too tall, too bony, too flat, too awkward… were ignored by the boys in school… And now the girls who look like them still hear that, and the girls who don’t look like them hear that they should – and the girls can’t win.

    And I also have no trouble with the Glamazons’ policy. The first people to push a boundary usually have to set a very careful limit on how far they will go, in order to get anywhere at all. If she hadn’t gotten the group on that TV show, because a booker thought it was Too Much, it would have been a loss, not a victory. But she got them there, and Ragan – and millions of others – saw them, and that starts to say “This is possible.” And the next group pushes farther – and that’s the way change happens.

  11. Here in the UK our female politicians get a lot of flack for their appearance that men don’t. The current Home Secretary, Theresa May, often gets comment pieces in newspapers talking about her hair, her suits, her shoes. Can’t stand the woman’s politics but I really don’t care what sort of shoes she’s wearing.
    There is another Conservative MP who is fairly conventionally attractive and wrote “chick lit” books who constantly has stuff written about how she is being flirtatious, wearing sexy clothes, etc. Whether she encourages this or not I don’t know but I don’t think it is the place of a newspaper to tell us about a politicians’ dress sense or appearance.

  12. Great post! I was just cringing as I saw the Yahoo news and saw Portia de Rossi made it because she cut her hair. WTF?! I’m so tired of reading about women’s looks..ugh!

    1. it’s the new sexism- the hotness factor. the “logic” goes that a woman is now allowed to do (almost) anything a man can do, as long as she maintains her femininity/hotness while she does it. otherwise, she is deemed to be one of “those women” who put careers before personal lives and (it’s assumed) have no husbands or children (since this is a woman’s only reason for living!).

  13. What an awesome choice “Hil” would be, It is so sad that the measure of worth is so about the wrapping paper and not what’s in the package.

    Oh and Ed, perhaps you should consider an eyebrow waxing before your next visit to the airwaves… ( I know, underpants violation, but I was feeling a bit snippy)

  14. What gets me is this attitude combined with giving shit to Sarah Palin for spending money on a new wardrobe when she was selected as VP. Now I’m no fan of Ms. Palin, but even I thought it was stupid to rag on her for that in one sentence, then discuss the appearance of her and other women politicians in the next. So not only are you supposed to look as good as those photoshopped ladies, but you’re supposed to do so without spending a dime or appearing to put any effort into it. We live in a pretty stupid society.

    1. Palin didn’t get the crap for buying clothes–she got crap for spending so much money on clothes. For her, the kids, Todd…even politicians need to stick to a budget, I guess!

      I’m not a Palin fan either, but a recent article about her change in hair style made me rabid. Seriously? That’s all the media’s got?!

  15. So, what the media and our culture is telling us is this:

    “Women, despite all the years of feminist struggles for equality, and the progress that has been made; no matter how many degrees you may have earned, or the incredible work you may have done, or the impact you have made on your community, state, or the Country; no matter what your accomplishments or aspirations may be, your true worth is still evaluated by how much a man wants to wrap you around his penis.”

    You know, if any political candidate made some comment about how women should remain barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen, the media would crucify him (and rightly so), but when the media makes veiled comments that, in essence, imply the same thing? Well, they’re just reporting news or expressing editorial opinion.

    1. If you follow the news, politicians regularly state that women belong at home, and the mainstream media doesn’t report it. Sure they don’t use those exact words…but the message is there. I mean, a politician compared a woman’s pregnancy to the pregnancy of his livestock. ugh.

      1. I guess it depends, too, on which politician is making the comment. It seems the media gives some politicians a lot of slack, while taking others to task for any perceivable offense.

        While there are parallels between how the human reproductive system works, and those of livestock (just as there are parallels in how our circulatory systems work, and our digestive systems, etc.), I take it from your comment that the politician was not making comparisons to basic biology, but rather on a more demeaning context. You would hope a politician would be a little more savvy to not saying things that could potentially alienate roughly half of the population, but then again, we have plenty of politicians that have proven you don’t have to have any practical, common sense to hold office (no names offered or solicited – I’m not out to start any kind of partisan bashing).

  16. Well, you really had me laughing out loud, that is when I wasn’t crying inside about how pitiful our culture is.
    Only thing to edit, perhaps–do you really need to make sure people “look good”? Only, human, I guess, to have the “looks” part creep in.

    1. Lori,

      Thanks for the comment, glad that you liked the blog. We have different definitions of looking good – for me, in that context, it meant that I give them choreography and instruction such that they will look like competent dancers at whatever level they are at – yes, I really do need to do that because as a choreographer and dance instructor that is part of my job.



  17. Having read this post the other day I came back to it this morning and Googled Hilary. Being British I’m not necessarily seeing all the same news as Americans. I found links to her recent India visit, with lots of photos. The media seems to be saying that she’s committed some terrible sin to be seen in public with no make-up on! What!*! So women can’t be taken seriously without they wear a mask!!!! This rule applies to men equally right? Er, no. They don’t have to wear a mask to open the door. I thought she looked great. Confident and happy in her work. Neither is she fat. My God! She’s never going to look 25 again because she’s a much older woman, but she looks very nice for her age. She’s well dressed and well presented and that’s all that matters for her work. She’s smiling and relaxed looking and that’s all that matters for her wellbeing.

    Journalists need to wake up to reality and stop thrashing others because they want to get noticed. It’s like play-ground bullying on the International stage.

  18. I despise that way of thinking about women. The other day in a facebook group I belonged to someone posted a picture of Michelle Obama in a dress he (the poster) deemed to be ugly and then made the connection that if Michelle Obama was wearing an ugly dress than she was a useless woman and should beg us all for forgiveness for not wearing what he thought she should wear. Nevermind her personal achievements, her intelligence or that her dress has nothing to do with any of that. I’m sick of this idea that unless women fit into what society deems acceptable she is somehow worthless. I don’t much care if Hilary wears make up or if she’s gained weight or any of that other arbitrary crap. I care about how she does her job though, and her appearance has nothing to do with that.

    A few years ago I found myself perpetuating that cycle by talking trash about other women’s appearances and by talking negatively about myself. I can’t quite pinpoint what made that lightbulb go off but something did. I realized how harmful that kind of talk is and how all it does is create an even more hostile environment for women.

  19. i won’t even comment on how many old, tired, fat MALE politicians there are. i personally think leaders should look tired and old (plus whatever body size) because it suggests that their lives are stressful. as a leader, your life should be stressful, or you’re not doing your job right!

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