I just wanted to write a short note of thanks to Leonard Nimoy, the author/photographer of “The Full Body Project.” [and to Marilyn Wann for the wonderful interview!]
Why the thanks? It’s not just because you’re a brilliant artist who has exposed the beauty of a currently culturally vilified body-type; nor just because you showed compassion for your models’ humanity, beyond the recognition of their physical beauty.
I wanted to thank you, because my fiancé, upon reading your interview with Ms. Wann, has become impressed, at long last, with the social importance of fat acceptance. I believe you have made him question his own conception of beauty; it is his respect for the influence you’ve had throughout his entire life via your acting, art, and personality which has put into perspective this movement in which I’ve been participating since the New Year. Finally he is beginning to appreciate why I speak about it at such length, why I myth-bust commercials for him, why I make a point of talking to his teenage girls about positive body image.
He, a long-time proponent for civil rights, has gained respect for the serious underpinnings of the fat acceptance movement — and the credit goes to your interview, and the respect he has for your words.
We are purchasing your book, and I plan on keeping it visible in the home.
BigLiberty, and her appreciative fiancé
Almost everyone believes there are such things as “good” and “bad” foods. The notion is inculcated within us from a very young age, and right now various agencies are pushing to make the notion of food ethics formally taught in schools.
The problem with food ethicism is, of course, that it has no real definition. Some believe raw foods are the only “good” foods, some believe fats and sugars are “bad,” others believe carbs are “bad,” some believe high-calorie foods are “bad,” some believe only whole-wheat, fruits, and vegetables are “good.”
Food ethicism is pervasive and, like other ethical systems, defines moral worth or immorality based on how close one adheres to the ethical dictates, or how far one strays from those same dictates. In other words, if you eat “bad” foods, you are a bad person, or at the very least, morally bereft.
Putting aside food ethicism which corresponds to non-health-related values (like animal rights, for instance), most food ethicism judges “good” foods at how closely they help you achieve a socially acceptable weight. The best food, almost bar-none, is the green vegetable. Anti-calorie, anti-carbs, anti-fat, anti-sugar, anti-salt, and anti-processed ethicists are delighted by the green vegetable. Salads are the composition of the green vegetable, in which it prevails, sprinkled with non-green vegetables, and also possibly meat, carbs, and dairy (in heavy moderation).
The cult of the salad has reigned supreme since Day One of the War Against Obese People. When eating out with others, ordering a salad — the more green, the fewer condiment/meat/dairy/carbs is viewed almost universally as a sign of dietary “goodness.” Of course, one cannot live on salads alone. Which is the food ethicists’ great dilemma, across the board. Salads — in their purest form — are extremely low energy, and give you far less nutrition than you’d get popping a multivite.
Salads are, in their purest form, merely hunger-curbers. I.e., accessories to starvation.
So I’ll take liberty to define “eating junk food” as how far one has strayed from adherence to the Cult of the Salad.
This started as a comment on Chrissy’s post “Compliments and Good Intentions.”
I began my experiment with non-restrictive “normal” eating about two years ago, and since then I’ve moved up to about the size I was before I started restrictive eating (a size 24, which I wore when I was 15 y/o. I’m 25 y/o, now). When I was moving down in sizes, you couldn’t dam the flood of compliments I got. No one asked *how* I did it, of course, and if they did, would they have liked the answer? (“I haven’t eaten anything since yesterday morning, and that was a fat-free Fig Newton. Oh yes, and I’m also taking diet pills with ephedrine, whee!” )
I’ve noticed that my experiment has generated, rather than insults, a great sucking void with respect to my appearance. When I was starving in high school I used to get all sorts of proud compliments from my father, my stepmother (and worried remarks from my mom — she’s the only one who had her head screwed on straight), my friends, my grandmother, my extended family…and do you know I haven’t gotten a single body-referential remark since I gained back the weight? It must be because they’re so happy I’m not longer eating-disordered and are now respectful of my humanity and unmindful of what I look like, right?
Maybe not. My dad speaks with pride that my four year-old little sister is skinny as a rail, and treats her chubbier little sister (two years old) with far less respect. Weird? Should I mention he considers, “Hey, have you lost weight?” the biggest compliment of his own self in the book? Yes, he’s a self-loather. Does that mean I have to be, too?
It’s hard escaping the personal values and expectations of your parents, but I think the most important part of the journey is to realize that their personal emphasis on thin(ner)ness = success is just that — their personal emphasis. I frankly pity my Dad, because I know how unhappy he is, loathing his naturally fat body, fighting against it, coveting the rail-thin body of my stepmother and his adopted daughter. That’s really, really sad, and once I realized the issue was not with me but with him, I was free to let melt away the anger, indignation, confusion, and disappointment I felt in his estimation of my body. It was never really me he was seeing, you know. It was himself.
I drew this some months ago. It’s supposed to be — well, ironic. Let me know if it’s too obtuse lol 😉
The image is rather small because of the template of this blog design, so I’ll describe it: there’s an “in-betweenie” in the first frame. He/she is happy in the second frame, because he/she is skinnier than the fat person who has entered the frame. In the third frame, he/she is sad/mad because he/she is fatter than the very skinny person who has now entered the frame. In the fourth frame, he/she is confused because the fat and skinny figures have found love.
The title of this cartoon: Misplaced Moral Comparisons
I want to congratulate Whitney, the winner of America’s Next Top Model, for consistent showmanship, poise, stating a plus-size-positive message whenever she had the opportunity. Here’s a YouTube of her interview on the Regis and Kelly show:
I watched a few of the old episodes from YouTube, and I was impressed by how consistently Whitney projected a size-positive message, and had no fear of speaking out about the unhealthy, abusive expectations the modeling industry places on the majority of its “normal-sized” (!!) clients.
One of her lines during the morning show interview was: “Do you know the majority of nine years olds are dieting? And I have a 13 year-old cousin who thinks she’s fat! Can you believe that?”
Gorgeous and wonderful. I know many people here object to the fact that they don’t consider her truly “plus-sized” since she’s a size 10 and most plus sizes start at 12, but remember, this is “plus-size” as defined by the 0-2 obsessed high-fashion industry. What Whitney consistently projected throughout the show was that she was a normal girl who ate normally.
And, by the way, can I say right now that I heart The Deep South for apparently being more fat positive than the rest of the country?
Here’s another telling line from the interview:
“At the Versace show none of the other girls were eating, and I brought a regular Italian lunch — you know, pasta and everything — and you should have seen them look at me.” [she said this in a very size-positive way, not a guilty way] “You know, you need brain-energy to walk and have a presence on the runway.” [So true! Earlier in the show a girl actually *collapsed and had to be put on oxygen* because I believe she wasn’t eating]
Congrats, Whitney, again. And I can’t wait to see your spreads, and I can’t wait to see you dumbfound the industry and the current media as you go on their shows and make them look so, so tiny. The news anchorwoman who introduced Whitney’s segment actually said, “So maybe I should eat something.” !! I know that was probably facetious, but I bet a part of her was thinking, Man, this girl won a beauty contest and she gets to eat…what the hell, my producers would *kill* me if I just gained five pounds!
Here’s to snapping this toxic culture’s spine in two. 🙂
Vesta44 has a great post today about an article which claims exercise can help reduce breast cancer risk in women. How does the magic exercise pill work? Why, by reducing “the pounds,” (i.e., icky evil FATZ), of course! And we all know that extra of “the pounds” has been shown to be an automatic death sentence, leaving anyone over forty diabetic, in constant cardiac arrest, and riddled with cancers, right?
The diabetes and cardiac part we’ll wait on: La Wade is still experimenting on fat mice to get her slice of the anti-obesity wonder drug pie, so perhaps she’ll turn up the diabetes/heart disease/cancer/ruining pictures/ruining moment miracle cure soon. Stay tuned to the totally objective analyses on Phat Science for that one, folks! Oh, did I mention that because all the major studies claim a weight loss success rate of between 0% and 20% (the higher one being only a one-year study), we can therefore only conclude that weight loss success rates are greater than 0% and less than 100%? (i.e., we can’t conclude anything about weight loss success rates) Oh wait, that’s a logical fallacy? Ya don’t say? Damn that wily Carl Sagan and his Baloney Toolbox. You’re going to have to ask La Wade how she arrived at *that* particular conclusion!
But back to our original programming. So fat = cancer (risk!) right? You know what also equal cancer risk? Being tall. Yup, says so right here.
They found that the risk of experiencing breast cancer increased by 7% with each 5cm increase in height for post-menopausal women, with a marginally increased risk among pre-menopausal women.
But that’s not all! You couldn’t write an article about injecting something about teh tehriffic tehrible fatz in it, could you?
Women who are significantly overweight later in life are 26% more likely to develop breast cancer compared with those of average weight.
That’s right. So how do we interpret that as actual personal, and not comparative risk? Right now, the average risk is about 12% per person (and that’s averaged over women who do and do not have genetic predispositions. So your risk is much less than that if you aren’t genetically predisposed). So since “significantly” overweight women (and by overweight, they’re using BMI definitions — so this isn’t even obese, people) will get breast cancer at a rate of 1.26 to every 1 non-overweight woman, then their risk for getting breast cancer is a whopping 15.12%.
So being “significantly overweight” earns you a 3% higher actual risk of getting breast cancer. See how statistics are manipulated in order to look scarier than they actually are?
But wait, there’s more from this fun little article:
Paradoxically, however, being obese appears to have a protective effect in women before the menopause.
Since they’re scared of stating this stat (scared of losing their grant money, that is), we don’t know how *much* of a protective effect being obese before menopause has. It’s not good marketing to use comparative statistics on the non-lucrative stats, you know.
Even the article writer seems to miss this last one. The article title is “Tall + Fat = Cancer”? Where did this person graduate from, the Hurst School of Yellow Journalism? Or just Clown College? Jesus, really.
So it seems like there isn’t some magical prescription to make sure you don’t get cancer. If you’re not genetically predisposed, your risk is small, and if you’re overweight it’s a tiny bit higher, and if you’re obese before menopause it’s a tiny bit lower. Therefore, “diet and exercise reduces cancer risk by shedding pounds” is a fallacy.
And that, folks, is as simple as that.