It’s About Human Decency

There are many things about the world I cannot understand and hate is one of them.

Over the past few weeks, report after report has rolled in of gay teens and young adults committing suicide due to bullying at school or in their community. It’s something that makes me so sad, so angry and upset, that it’s hard for me to write this post. How, tell me, can someone bully a person so persistently, so viciously, that that person feels they cannot live in this world any longer? How can someone commit themselves so fully to hating a person that it drives their target to take their own life? How could anyone ever think they have the right to treat another human being that way?

I don’t care what you believe. You could think that homosexuality is a choice, that the “gay lifestyle” will corrupt our world. You could think that all gay people are sinners, aliens, crazy people. I don’t care what you think or how crazy your opinions are.

Surely, we can all get behind human decency. I’m certain we all agree that treating people with respect, no matter what the situation, is important.

The problem is that I’m not seeing that. I don’t see that in the world, in the news media, in the way people treat others on TV, in classes, in their everyday interaction. Something has happened to our ability to be respectful. We have forgotten the golden rule: treat others as you want to be treated. We have forgotten it, and children are dying.

We’ve all been victims of taunting and name-calling. Whether it’s someone calling us fat, ugly, too tall, whether it’s someone deriding our religious beliefs or political affiliation, whether it’s someone bullying us for our race, gender, sexual preference, we’ve all dealt with it on some level. We all know how it feels. Most of us have probably participated in it at some point in our lives. It’s a part of life. One group gets picked on. That group picks on another group so they can feel superior. The chain continues down, trickles down the line, until someone gets told too many times they’re not worth it. They shouldn’t be alive. And so, they go home and hang themselves. They find a gun and shoot themselves. The taunting turns to something sinister. The taunting takes a life.

It’s easy to forget that pain. It’s easy for us to forget how our words can hurt others. It’s simple to think of it as “just a joke” or something that you “didn’t mean.” But we all have a breaking point. These people were broken one too many times.

It comes down to human decency. This should be our wake up call. Think about how we treat each other and how we treat ourselves. Every life is worth it.

I was teaching some sixth graders yesterday, and they were being particularly loud. I had to ask them numerous times to quiet down. I had just reached my breaking point when the program director walked in and started yelling at the kids.

“When the teacher is talking, you don’t talk! She has had to ask you so many times to be quiet! It takes one word for a human to understand! She should only have to say one word and you should be quiet. You’ve stopped being human right now. You’ve stopped being human!

It was a lesson in respect, and it struck a chord with me. We’ve stopped being human. It takes one word for a human to understand that they need to be respectful. It took us five lives.

Let this be our wake-up call.

Let us remember how to be decent.

Perception Check: Dumbest thing ever?

Okay, so I just spent some time watching YouTube videos and ended up going from the Dove evolution video to some parodies of it (most of which were dumb) to this video, which features someone using photoshop to give a makeover to Jessica Alba. Ummmm….it has made me lose faith in our world.

The maker of the video says:

Btw, i know that shes beautiful, but i tried to make her more beautiful…

What I’d like to say to the poster pretty much boils down to, “I have a problem with you.” I just…don’t understand it. Why is this person looking at Jessica Alba and thinking “hey, there’s still something I could fix in that photo?” What the hell is their problem? It has just proven to me how completely off base our perceptions of beauty are. Just getting mad at the video’s creator isn’t enough. I’m mad at the world for making this such a norm. We look at someone. We judge them. We say, “let’s make you prettier!” It seriously makes me sick. I want to just run to the edge of a cliff and throw myself off. Some days I look at things like this and think, “what has happened to our world?!” I mean, I think I’m being pretty reasonable in asking someone to look at Jessica Alba and think, “Look at how smokin’ hot that woman is. I can’t imagine needing to do anything to make her look more beautiful.” But apparently, even that is too much to ask!

I dunno. I’ve just lost faith. Completely lost faith.

Am I crazy? Please, world, validate my feelings…

Mary Kay: Make my Day

So my sister got a call from an old friend this week asking her to host a Mary Kay party so she could do a demonstration. My sis, K., got really excited and called us all up, so I ended up at her apartment last night for a Mary Kay party. Now, those of you who know me know that I don’t wear a lot of makeup. But I thought, eh, what the hell! It’s free!

So I went. It was fun, and interesting. K., our brother’s girlfriend B., and our cousin E. and her friend (F.) all came. We were sitting around beforehand and eating chips and dip, when F., who is athletic and stick thin, said something about how she “had better eat all this dip now because next week she was going on Weight Watchers.” We all replied with mild outrage at the thought, saying that she was so thin, and that’s just absurd. She replied that she wanted to do it so that she could control what she ate. She says she eats “mostly carbs and no vegetables.”

This, sadly, launched a whole discussion about how Weight Watchers was the best diet. I put in my two cents, saying “I think the best diet is NOT dieting.” to which someone said, “Well, Weight Watchers is good because it teaches you how to eat.” I responded, “Hell, I know how to eat. No problems learning that one. I can eat just fine. See?” And proceeded to eat my cookie. My comment about the best diet being NOT dieting merely started everyone into justifying why Weight Watchers was so good. Ugh ugh ugh. What can a fat girl do?

I sorta just sat there and tried to debate a little against it all, but it just got tiresome. So I just listened. I thought it was really absurd. And sad. And I didn’t know what to do.

Next thing I know, we’re all sitting down around my sister’s table with mirrors and makeup in front of us. The Mary Kay consultant (we’ll call her MK, hee hee), is a sweetie, an really believes in this stuff. And thus she began her presentation. Right away she talked about how great Mary Kay is for women, which I believe, and how their sales are good, and make women millionaires. She said:

“The thing about Mary Kay is that, even in times of economic crisis, like right now, our sales are still booming. In times of economic crisis, sales boom on three things: alcohol, cigarettes, and makeup.” We all “Oooo” and “ahhhh” at that statistic. She continued: “Think about it, if I just lost my job, I’m gonna drink, I’m gonna smoke, and I’m going to want to wear makeup to my job interviews.” Interesting. And a little sad.

But I have to admit, their products are good. We did all the cleansing, and moisturizing, and then put on their quick day to day makeup. Their foundation was light (though way more than I’m used to), their eye makeup fantastic, and their lip treatment (including first a scrub for lips that exfoliates your lips, and an oil-based lip balm that lasts hours) was heaven. MK was so great, and really knew what she was selling. She told me afterwards that she really does love the product, and the fact that she can make money off of sharing it with others sincerely makes her happy.

I also got some interesting beauty tips:

1. You should always wash your face and neck in an upwards, outward motion, to prevent wrinkles.

2. For your eyes, you should always clean in an inward, downward motion to prevent crows feet.

3. You should change your mascara once every 2-3 months to avoid getting pink-eye, etc.

Anyway, my sister was delighted. She bought a ton of stuff (after getting a hosting discount). Today she sent an email to my mother saying that my mom should “see how beautiful she looked” and that she really loved hosting a party like that. E. and F. also bought some stuff.

Now I think this post might display some conflict in feelings on my part. And here’s why: I’m all for makeup. I’m all for enhancing what you consider your positive attributes. I’m all for a little bit of glam for something special. But I feel immensely sad that my sister, and a lot of women, need makeup to boost their self image. And it falls back to the usual suspects: low self esteem, trying to fit into an unreal ideal. And it makes me sad. I loved the Mary Kay demonstration, but I hated that my sister has never sounded happier, felt more beautiful, than the day after she bought, and therefore the first day she wore, all this Marry Kay makeup.

I think we need a message to women. One where we’re all clean-faced, fat, and happy. But then, if a bit of makeup makes you feel better about yourself, and how you look, more power to you. I support anything that makes people happy. I just wish that the superficial weren’t it.

My Biggest Fear: Ending up Alone

Just now, I opened my hotmail email, and this article was under the MSN Today tab. And it’s making me confront my biggest fear: ending up alone.

“Why I love women’s bodies”

Tall, short, plump or petite, one thing is universal—no matter what a woman’s shape, there’s a man out there who’ll appreciate it! To prove our point, listen to what these guys have to say, and feel your confidence soar… no matter what your body type.

It goes on with quotes from various different men about their significant other’s body type. And here’s the thing, it has raised a conflict within me that I can’t overcome. My feminist side is sitting here screaming in outrage at the insinuation that we need men to think we’re beautiful for us to feel beautiful. No one else should dictate how we feel about ourselves but ourselves. That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate having men agree with my opinion of my beauty, but I wish, for once, that it would be men and women saying they love their OWN bodies.

This goes along with owning our poo, and other such things. We should get to say we’re beautiful, and whether or not a man thinks my shape is beautiful or not should have no measure. Let’s kill the line: “Listen to what these guys have to say, and let your confidence soar, no matter what your body type.” and replace it with “Be confident and you will be beautiful.”

But at the same time, I’m still trapped by it. I know that I personally want men to think I’m beautiful. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and I’ve figured out that my biggest fear right now is that I’ll end up alone because no one will ever find me attractive. I’ve started my nesting instincts early, I think. Whenever I see baby clothes and cute little kids, I keep thinking “I want one of those.” I already know, just shy of 21-years-old that I want to grow up and have a family. And at the same time, I see everyone around me pairing off into happy couples, and I can only hope to be that happy. I know I’m happy by myself right now, but I have no one to really share that happiness with, and I want someone to share that with.

I know, I know, that doesn’t mean that my physical attractiveness should take the front seat, but I’m starting to lose faith in this world that there are any men who DON’T think of superficially of physical attractiveness. Our nation is so stuck in that place where physical attractiveness takes precedence over everything else, that I just want to tear out my hair. And it scares me. Every day it scares me that no one will ever get past how I look to see who I am.

I discussed it in my fat documentary a little, and I think the fact that this is still hanging over me shows me that I’m not as confident as I thought I was. I’m still afraid that my fat will cause me to be old and alone. And I know I’ll need more than that. I deserve more than that.

I’d like to tell myself right now as I’m writing this that my lesson from it all should be “Well, if you don’t care about your fat, he won’t care.” or like I said earlier “confidence is beauty.” I want to own my poo. I want to not care. But this only proves that I’m human. I want a man to find me attractive. I want to find someone to share my life with. And the sad truth is that I feel completely powerless when it comes to this because beauty, the effing jerk, is in the eye of the beholder. It makes me so mad because I’ve given up all my power to men. And I just want to say fuck it. I just want to lie around in my pajamas and feel beautiful. I just want to look at myself in the mirror and say “this is great.” I just want to be fully and completely happy with myself.

Maybe it’ll happen someday. Maybe I need to just get out of college and live in the real world where people aren’t as superficial. I just don’t trust it to be that different.

The Internet Knows I’m Fat

You know what I hate? The fact that the world wide web knows that I’m fat. I mean, it doesn’t bother me when I’m the one who tells it that, but when I feel like the internet is keeping tabs on me, it’s really annoying. For instance, just now when I was looking around on the intrawebs I went to two sites one right after the other, my email at hotmail, and dictionary.com. On my hotmail, there was a nice little ad for Lane Bryant. I thought, hey, great. Nice to see ya, Lane Bryant.

Five seconds later I click over to dictonary.com, and there is this:

Dictionary.com Knows I\'m Fat

Ummm….It scares me that Dictionary.com knows I’m a fattie. it’s not like I regularly search for fat words. I mean, on my email, I at least get fat-related emails (that’s where all comments, etc. from here get emailed), so maybe I’d expect it, but still, ewwwww.

My friend E. and I had rejoiced at the beginning of our academic quarter when we saw all the Lane Bryant ads all over the place online. We had just had our “reboobolution” as I call it, where we had gotten new bras that lifted our moral as well as the ladies. We were feeling good, and loving LB. E. and I had jumped up and down when we saw the ads hit facebook. Then, a few weeks ago, E. turned to me and said that our mutual friend G. hadn’t seen any Lane Bryant ads when she went on facebook. She did get the “Ewww…Gross” one that Jamie posted about a while ago . But she never got our Lane Bryant ads. And I had never seen the “Ewww…Gross” ad, either, until Jamie posted about it. We realized, pretty quickly, that the internet knows we’re fat. And it’s deeply disturbing.

I’ve done a little research into targeted ad campaigns on the internet, and have found some interesting stuff on CNET about it (see this article, for instance). But it freaks me out still. And it sort of make me mad. I mean, I guess it’s nice to see a friendly fattie on a Lane Bryant ad instead of some dieting scheme BS, but how deep into my private life should the internet get?

Next thing I know, it’ll be talking my order for food and having it delivered before I even pick up the phone to call. The internet is getting too smart. And scary. Ay dios mio. No mas.

First JigglyTroll

Most of my readers know that my blog is extremely young. Just got it up and running in March. So imagine my perverted glee in getting my first anti-fat comment. Finally someone to shout at. “Tara” posted a comment reading:

wow, you spend a few months away from American food and portion sizes and you accidentally loose 20 pounds, I think you broke your magic set point. Fat people are ugly because they are a bloated mockery of the human form. Just keep telling yourself you are fat due to magical set point and not due to lifestyle you’ll go far in like like that.

I particularly like the line I bolded. It really cracks me up. I think it shall make an appearance in my next poem, it’s that good.

I’m actually really really interested in where this came from. I mean, I did say that I accidentally lost 20 pounds in Ecuador, but I don’t think I have EVER spoken about set points, nor do I think I’ve ever excused my fat as a “set point” issue. I had actually written in my first draft of that post a little explanation of how I think I lost that weight. Short version: lifestyle change. To expand: high altitude (Quito is around 10,000 feet) + more walking + eating my biggest meal in the middle of the day + perpetually fresh veggies and fruits = accidental weight loss. It was complete accident because I ate TONS of bread, drank TONS of pop, and even indulged in cookies and chips on a much more regular basis than I do at home. It still eludes me as to how I lost so much, but I really don’t care enough anymore.

So, I’d like to say to Tara, stop hating. You’re playing a silly game. You came all the way here, read my entire post, just to say “Ahhh, teh fatties are ugly.” And obviously, you don’t get the point of our community. We’re here to support each other. We want to come together and throw off the societal chains you hold us under, (and trust me, someday we WILL change your mind). Maybe one day you’ll have the guts to do something like that, but for now, let me wag my plus-sized gut around as a flag for my revolution. Your insults don’t hurt, and I won’t give you the satisfaction of a post all about you in the future, because you aren’t that special. Just know my stand: your pettiness is noted and rejected. Please continue living your life as a minion of society, but I won’t let you drag me down with you.

I got the grace and the body to carry the weight of your insults and throw them where they belong, in the garbage. You obviously have too thin a frame to handle them, and so you dump in the wrong places. Take your loathing elsewhere. I’m too happy to care.

Everyone else, please feel free to continue posting. And, if you so choose, feel free to tear into our troll friend. It’s fresh meat for your tigers. (Someone has to jump on her typos and grammar, pleeeeease.) Just please, as Kate Harding suggests, be good natured and delightful. Wittiness and sass are always appreciated with me.

BLIND IMPOTENT RAGE

I hate the world.

I saw this on facebook today. First reaction: “Seriously? Fuck.” Second reaction: “JigglyBits post.”

Considered reaction:

Okay, right. First, bending over? It makes your skin and tissues fold. Seriously. No, I’m not kidding, try it out sometime. Second, if her pants really are too small for her, maybe you should stop making her feel like she has to fit into a certain size clothing so that she actually buys pants that fit her. Go read Kate Harding already. Third, is your tagline actually, “Ew. Disgusting.”? Really? Because, wow. I… Wow. Fuck you. No, seriously. Fuck you, you fucking asshole, for your fucking judgements, your fucking ad, and your fucking privilege, entitlement and all-around fucking assholery. Fourth, oh wait, did you mean disgusting because she’s not rail-thin? Oh. Sorry, I guess that’s okay then. Because, you know, people should always try to look exactly the same and exactly how someone else (usually an asshole) tells them to look.

Text cannot properly convey the level of rage coursing through my veins right now. Stop the planet, I want to get off.

Talking Back Around all those Big Macs in my Pie Hole

My mom keeps me updated, it seems, as she sent me this HuffPost article by John Ridley talking about how “weightism” doesn’t exist.

Ummm….just because you don’t like fat people doesn’t mean we deserve to be discriminated against, buddy. All your arguments are either unsupported by fact, or extremely presumptuous and pretentious.

Sorry, but it’s a little…no, actually it’s a whole lot insulting to equate girth with race, gender, age or sexual orientation; aspects of ourselves with which we were born and over which…we have no control.

I can’t change my race or my gender. Despite my best efforts and millions of dollars spent trying to locate the fountain of youth, I just keep getting older. Yet, same as millions of Americans I can moderate the number of Big Macs I shove in my pie-hole.

But in the Everybody-Give-Me-A-Hug victim culture in which we live, the obese want a spot at the table along with those who face discrimination based on the way that God or Nature or our Intelligent Designer created us.

Yes, because you know me. I’m sitting here, my currently vegetarian self, shoving all those Big Macs into my pie-hole, getting fatter and fatter and “making you pay for it.” You wanna know what I think? I think that our “Give-Me-A-Hug victim culture” is teaching you to see any outcry against the violation of rights as someone calling wolf. You are trying to delegitimize our struggle, saying it’s not real, no one should consider it discrimination. Well frankly I think you just proved that’s exactly what it is with your stereotypical comments about how I’m shoving my pie hole full of Big Macs. If that’s not obvious discrimination based on my size, I don’t know what is.

So why don’t you shove your pie hole full of Big Macs and shut the hell up.