Readers have let me know about a number of really ridiculous things happening right now. Let’s talk about some of them:
A former Biggest Loser contestant is being sued by a company that endorsed her. There were some copyright and conflict of interest issues, and the fact that she “gained far too much weight” which violated her contract which stipulated that she “agrees to maintain her current level of fitness and conditioning.” Now, I ain’t no big city lawyer, but it seems to me that she agreed to keep a level of fitness and conditioning, not a body size. This is often confused and it’s a pity. People of various sizes have various fitness levels – the two are not synonymous. You can’t look at someone and determine their strength, stamina, or flexibility unless they are putting on a display of flexibility, stamina, or strength. Even if she had agreed to stay thin, had she or her sponsor read the research on dieting, they would have known that maintaining long term weight loss is a promise that almost nobody can keep.
Speaking of sizes and fitness levels, there was so much bullshit around Marion Barlolli’s Wimbledon win that it spun me into a state of pissed off that I haven’t reached in a long time. First a BBC commentator tried to win the Wimbledon Trophy for being a sexist jackass, then a series of men took to Twitter to prove that sexism and misogyny are not just alive and well but are points of pride for some guys. @Everyday Sexism collected a bunch of them starting at “Bartoli didn’t deserve to win because she is ugly” and getting much, much worse. Ok dude, your desire to have sex with someone or not has actually no bearing on their ability to do anything other than have sex with you (which you might just assume they don’t want to do.) Seriously who are these guys who think that the entire world revolves around who they think is attractive? Spare me. Spare all of us.
The pissed off continued when I found out that a former Australian Vogue editor is shilling a tell-all book. I wrote about this for iVillage – to me what it comes down to is that she seemed happy to observe women slowly killing themselves for beauty and glorifying the process on the pages of her magazine. Now she’s happy to be paid to write about it in her tell-all book, all the while doing absolutely nothing to actually help these girls. Maybe she could donate all the profits from her book to an organization that helps people with eating disorders? Maybe instead of buying the book, people could donate the $20 bucks they were going to spend on it to such an organization. Maybe instead of being obsessed with reading about exactly how bad the world is for fashion models, we could ask ourselves what we can do to dismantle a system where a Vogue editor who watches a model starve herself during a trip would never decide that the natural thing to do is “lie her down next to a fountain to get the last shot” because the model could no longer stand. When that happens, it’s time for an ambulance, not a creative pose. And to me it’s time for outrage, not supporting this woman by buying her book.
I call epic shenanigans on every bit of this bullshit!
But the news isn’t all bad. A company called ByPost thought it would bring great hilarity to its Twitter feed to make a fat joke before suggesting that Twitter followers purchase postcards from them. Why they thought this is really anyone’s guess, but I think they’ve learned their lesson. In a great burst of human decency people went the fuck after them on Twitter and now they know how to apologize lots of ways in 140 characters or less, and why it’s probably a bad idea to hand the Twitter reins over to Skippy the marketing intern because Skippy is just so funny.
Also, the Big Fat Flea Market is going on this Saturday. This is the Size Diversity Task Force’s big yearly fundraising and it helps fund scholarships for our Vegas Retreat (you should come!), the Guinness world record paper mache project, and all manner of other awesome activism. You can attend live in LA and if you aren’t in LA you can watch the Livestream and even get a personal shopper (#findmyfatclothes) which is especially cool since Hips and Curves donated 74 stunning plus sized corsets in addition to the bags and bags of awesome clothes we have. You can also participate in the raffle with it’s over $1,100 in prizes: Donate to the SDTF and receive raffle tickets: $1=1 raffle ticket, $5=6 tickets, $10=14 tickets, $20=35 tickets, $50=100 tickets PayPal: email@example.com
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26 thoughts on “Shenanigans”
Had my own small personal victory this week on the human decency front. A blogger I respect had a great list of things learned bicycling … with one unfortunate body-shaming reference to spandex. I gently pointed out to him in the comment field that no one should have to wear less functional clothing due to body size. He commented back, said I was correct, struck the spandex line, thanked me and told me that my comment had made him “more human.” 🙂
WOOT!!! Great victory!!
Sometimes I am so amazed at the shallowness of people. A teammate of my son’s passed away, and my son was interviewed on the news. I was flabbergasted to read in the comments that people seemed to think that the scar on my son’s face was somehow more tragic than the sudden death of a 17 year old! Also, that they seemed to think my son should hide behind a rock because he did not meet their definition of perfect.
That must have been SO heartbreaking for you. I can’t even imagine what kind of person could write something so cruel.
Do not let anyone named Skippy write your comedy material, unless he managed to stay in the US Army (and kept a list of why that maybe shouldn’t have happened).
Or unless Skippy has a comedy-legend aunt named Slappy to help write the tweets.
I love you so hard right now.
The Marion Bartolli thing has had me seeing red for days, now. I don’t care if she could be a circus clown without using makeup, feet and all. She was at Wimbledon to play tennis, and she beat the pants off everyone. THAT’S what she went for, THAT’S what she did, and THAT’S the point of the damn exercise. She’s a strong, athletic competitor who has handled this whole exercise in asshattery with tremendous class and dignity.
Funny thing, I haven’t wanted to fuck most of the men who won Wimbledon, either, but nobody seems to care very much about that. I wonder why that is… oh! wait! Would that be because it’s a pointless, douchebaggy thing to care about?
You know the tide is beginning to turn in some small way when the go to insulting ‘joke’ of last year now requires people to learn multiple ways to tweet their apologies. That gives me heart.
Damn. Didn’t win the Lotto. No raffle tickets for Twistie. Sigh. Maybe next year.
When I saw Bartoli’s little tummy in her tennis clothes, I said to myself, “Oh no, there are people who are going to see this sign of femaleness and get nasty.” And then I read the post on FFF, which didn’t surprise me at all. What is interesting is that plenty of female tennis players in the past weren’t exactly cuties in the blond and boring sense, but I doubt the BBC made comments about their looks. So it’s becoming more acceptable to reduce women to their appearance?
No, just more obvious. Women have always been judged on appearance. Go back and look at classical literature: women are described as beautiful, but seldom as anything else. Hell, even Cleopatra Ptolemy VII is typically watered down to a beautiful seductress in the public imagination, and this isn’t a modern phenomenon. Even the Roman people saw her as such, and in the court of public opinion, she was convicted of trying to overthrow Julius Caesar via her vagina (and, of course, Caesarian, their son, whom most of Rome insisted was not Caesar’s son). In reality, Cleopatra was as shrewd and intelligent as any other major player on the Mediterranean chessboard, and more than a political match for her rivals. As for her willingness to seduce Caesar, sex was commonly used in building alliances between leaders–a famous quote about Julius Caesar states that he was “every woman’s man, and every man’s woman.”
I can think of very few great female leaders in Western history that managed to maintain a reputation for leadership without being reduced to a nice figure and a pretty face. Elizabeth I comes to mind, and she managed that pretty much because she refused to marry. Still, there’s a lot of focus on what she looked like, such as the size of her waist (was it 13″?) and the makeup style she popularized (white lead face to hide blemishes and pockmarks, red carnelian or cinnabar lips–no wonder people went mad).
I think Elizabeth Cady Stanton put it best: “Woman’s degradation is in man’s idea of his sexual rights. Our religion, laws, customs, are all founded on the belief that woman was made for man.” Somewhere, sometime, in multiple cultures, men got the idea that women were inferior. From there, it spread, probably with various forms and periods of colonialism. Why men got this idea is hard to say, but it may have to do with women’s tendency to protect children, or fear of periods, or pregnancy, or simply because we tend to be smaller, physically weaker, and less aggressive. How that translated to “inferior and stupid” or “property,” I have no clue, but nobody ever said the average person was smart.
In short, the notion that women are property and to be kept down is transmitted in multiple ways, in multiple cultures, and has been for millennia. One way we’re blatantly kept down is our being limited to decorative sex objects, which equally limits us to brood mares. The Internet and mass communication have brought this objectivity to the forefront and made it blatant enough for us to understand the magnitude of the force we’re up against.
Of course, rule one of taking anything on: know what you’re fighting. The net has been one hell of a boon.
I, too, am beyond angry at the Marion Bartolli thing. Since when has it been a requirement of playing tennis to look like a super model? Bartolli is powerful and a freaking awesome player.
There are people deemed hotter than hot that I do not wish to take to bed. Tom Brady and his wife are considered to be the pinnacle of fuckable. No thanks, they just don’t do it for me. Do I think that they don’t deserve to get the kudos for the work they do because I don’t find either attractive? Ummm, nope.
*grumble grumble grumble*
Beautifully said. I am completely with you, Twis. Just SO PISSED.
It irks me when men make comments about certain women not being up to their “Standards”…Are they so darn self centered or is their self esteem so low they need to bash others to feel superior? In the Bartolli case i’m sure if she saw the men who deem her “unattractive” she would think the same of them.
Bartolli is so fit and powerful she could probably kill me with her thumbs. Why the hell would you piss off ANY kind of highly conditioned athlete??
Worse than the fat bashing is the backlash. It’s only a matter of time (unless someone has already done this…I don’t know because I stay away from the sandy, shallow end of the gene pool) till someone goes off about how we fatties are making her our patron saint: “See?? SEEEEE? You can be fat AND fit! Love us for what we are!”
You call shenanigans? I’m readying my pitchfork and flaming brands. Shall we meet on the village green??
*pockets lighter and spare oil-soaked rags*
All this obsession with looks really pisses me off. Sometimes I think we should make men take medicine to reduce their testosterone.
What makes me even more angry is the people who shrug and say that’s just the way it is.
I will now focus on the fun plans I have for the weekend.
While I agree, a quick flick through any “Woman’s Interest” magazine will show that sexist bullshit isn’t limited to men.
Nothing wrong with a man or woman who wants to look at pretty girls, but idjits (male or female) who think women should be pretty first and then,maybe, successful should have their communication privileges revoked.
To clarify: I agree with “All this obsession with looks really pisses me off”, not the ‘chemical castration’ part.
I would desperately love to hear Martina Navratilova, Evonne Goolagong, Rosemary Casals, or Billy Jean King speak out on this topic. All of them faced discrimination for gender, race, sex, or appearance during their heydays.
I’m of two minds on this. On the one hand, I want to see the guys who say such pathetically stupid stuff be held up for public ridicule and pillorying; on the other, I don’t want to give even a shred of airtime to their sickening idiocy.
Is anyone seeing any recent posts on the Notes from the Fatosphere feed in Feedly? The latest post I see is from July 2.
I haven’t had anything on Feedly either. Golda Poretsky suggested following her on Bloglovin, so I’ve joined them and the feed is current.
Hey Ragen – I’m sorry I haven’t commented for a while, but I’m still reading and I still heart you so hard. Another brilliant post.
I’m going to blog about the Bartoli issue at some point soon – but it rattled me bigtime. I think I found it so triggering and horrible because, back in the days before FA, I was convinced that none of my achievements mattered, because I wasn’t thin, or “pretty” or had men lining up to sleep with me. That’s what society tells us, and that’s what it’s telling Marion Bartoli – you’re ugly (which she really isn’t, but hey), so who fucking cares if you win Wimbledon? Get blonde, get skinny, then you’re worthy, then we’ll care. It’s fucking bullshit.
And the worst thing? Some of those tweets were coming from other women.
I mean, they were still pretty vile, coming from either gender. But…it really sucks to see women buying into that myth that their purpose is to be a beacon of sex appeal for men, so they’re projecting their self-loathing onto those who don’t “measure up.” But maybe that’s giving them too much credit? I dunno.
Thank you again for opening my eyes. I wanted to read that book like rubber-neckers want to stare at car accidents, and it’s just as disgusting. You gave my head a much needed shake!
Wow, I guess if you don’t look like Barbie then you’re automatically ugly? That commentator is a shitsack! There really is a lot of garbage being spewed lately, isn’t there.
What eating disorder org do you think will make the most of donations,?