Obese Star Loses Weight!!

"Obese Star" Real Headline

But not the kind of star you’re thinking. I was browsing articles over on HuffPost earlier today, and was shocked to run into an article with the headline: “Scientists Discover Obese Star…” It was somewhat shocking to me because I had no idea actual astronomical stars could be obese. Having taken an astronomy class in undergrad, I thought I knew all types of stars…red giants, white dwarfs, etc. But I’d never heard of an obese star.

What does this tell us, then, that journalists (or maybe even the astronomers?) are co-opting weightist language to describe phenomena? For me, it actually makes me wonder about how we use the word “obese.” I am a fat woman. That is how I describe myself. But, medically, I am obese. To many people, being “obese” means you’re ill. It means you’re too fat. Many people think it denotes laziness, overeating, inactivity. To many people, “obese” is a negative term.

How, then, does this translate to astronomy? It doesn’t. The star in question has a lot of mass. It’s 320 times larger than earth’s sun, and is quite a discovery. But calling it “obese” doesn’t add anything to the article. All it does is make you wonder, “How could a star be obese?”

It wasn’t until I read the article again (I had saved it because it bugged me so much) that it really hit me. The reason the astronomers and journalists are couching this star’s discovery in terms of obesity and weight is because it’s an analogy that most people will understand.

“Unlike humans, these stars are born heavy and lose weight as they age,” said Crowther, an astrophysicist at the University of Sheffield in northern England. “R136a1 is already middle-aged and has undergone an intense weight loss program.”

They’re trying to humanize it, and give it a defined relative mass. They’re trying to make it resonate with people through a metaphor that is obvious.

To me, it’s reminiscent of “ha ha, look at how funny we’re being by calling this thing fat.” They’re trying to be clever, but they don’t think about how they’re using the word. Does this stretch obesity too far? Are people now relating obesity to anything bigger than the sun? If this article were read by millions of people, would people call me a “big fat star” instead of a “big fat elephant?” When will the hyperbole end, and what damage will it do?

Oscars 2009: Review from a Fat Girl who loves movies

Kate Winslet, Best Actress

Kate Winslet, Best Actress

I am an avid fan of the Academy Awards. The glamour, the glitz, and most importantly the recognition it provides for amazing artists attracts me every year to sit down on my couch and watch the event. This weekend, I spent a glorious few days at home partially so that I could watch the Oscars with my mother. Around 6:00PM yesterday, we sat down for the pre-show with popcorn and settled in for the night.

Now, there’s lots I could say about the fashion at the Oscars. Yes, there are the long and involved stories about women dieting for months just to look good in a dress. Yes, we see the scary-thinness of our unrealistic beauty standards for women. Yet still, I am drawn to watching the red carpet every single year. I’ve decided that what it comes down to is every woman’s desire to dress up, look good, feel good, and show off. It’s what draws me to Regency films–elaborate balls with fabulous ballgowns. Fancy dress at its best. And that’s what the red carpet is for me.

I did have to sit through a few comments from my mother about how thin/fat people looked. One particular moment was when she said that Angelina Jolie looked pretty bad when she won her Oscar all those years ago, and that her face looked much fatter. When they cut to Angelina arriving a few seconds later, I pointed out how sickly thin she looked in explaination: “That’s because she’s so sickly thin nowadays.”

My mom also claimed that Queen Latifah (who I squeeled over when she walked onto the carpet) looked particularly good. She quickly claified saying “trim” instead of “good” and I said, “She’s always looked great. She looks like Queen Latifah to me!”

Once we got to the show (after squeeling about Tim Gunn, from Project Runway, acting as one of the three hosts of the offical Red Carpet show), we were plesantly surprised by the changes to the ceremonies. First, we should start with Hugh Jackman’s opening number, which made us laugh so hard we were crying. Next moment, they started what I hope will be a tradition of announcing the actor/actress nominees by bringing out legends in their categories, and having each legend give a beautiful speech on the talent of each particular actor/actress. We were immediately sobbing. All the actresses started to cry. It was truly a celebration of the talents of the nominees. It shifted focus from the winner, and back to the celebration of these nominees’ achievements.

As the night progressed, I don’t think I really stopped crying. It was one of the beautiful, most poignant Academy Awards I’ve ever seen.

Dustin Lance Black, Screewriter, Milk

Dustin Lance Black, Screewriter, Milk

Highlights for me included: Heath Ledger winning for Supporting Actor (a point at which I sobbed as his family accepted the award), Kate Winslet winning Best Actress (I literally WHOOP-ed and jumped up and down ’cause Kate Winslet is my Homegirl), and finally when Sean Penn won for Best Actor for his portrayal of Harvey Milk(which was unexpected, but absolutely exactly what I wanted to happen). Sean proceeded to give a beautiful speech about how equal rights are needed for all, no matter what.

Similarly, when Dustin Lance Black won for Screenplay for Milk, I almost died of joy. If anyone deserved to win, it was him. He, too, gave a beautiful speech about how he hoped won day to be able to live his life with equal rights and spoke directly to all gay and lesbian children out there, telling them that God does love them, no matter what society, their churches, families, etc. say.

The only downside of the night for me were the various hints that Hollywood is still a Boy’s Club. Of the winners, only three were women (two of which were for the Actress categories). The only woman to win from outside of an all-female category was Megan Mylan for “Smile Pinki,” a documentary short. Penelope Cruz, and Kate Winslet were the other female winners.

One instance of this bias also showed itself on the Red Carpet. Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens were walking the Carpet separetly, and doing interviews one right after another. Ryan Seacrest interviewd  Zac first, asking him what he was doing in the show, and what his next project was. Five seconds later, he turned to Vanessa and started their interview by asking “Who are you wearing?” They then proceeded to discuss the dress, and what she was doing in the award show, before moving on. Ryan didn’t ask Vanessa what her next project was, or really any semi-relevant question. It was all fluff.

I’m trying not to let this stuff darken my impression of the whole show, but I think everyone needs to take note. It’s one of my most far out dreams to one day stand on that stage and accept an award for a film I’ve made. I can only hope that as a woman, I’ll be given that opportunity.

So, in sum, there were some incredibly beautiful and inspiring moments that restored some of my faith in humanity. Let’s hope next year, they can do it again.

Research Methodology For The Lose

Hello, Jigglers! Here I am, browsing Google News, when what do I see but yet another “health” article about food and eating.

Why Saying No to Foods May Be Harder for Women

I am sure you can deconstruct most of the issues with the article yourselves. You’re smart readers.

However, having just returned from a physics conference I would like to note one thing.

For the study, which appears in this week’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers asked 13 women and 10 men about their favorite foods. The participants said they liked a variety of dishes and desserts, including lasagna, pizza, brownies, ice cream and fried chicken.

I am sorry, but a study of 23 people does NOT provide enough data to make statistical inferences about an entire species. NO. Also, did they have a control group of any kind? Did they try this with another group of people who hadn’t been fasting? Were the study’s participants (I like how the word “participants” is used to hide the fact that they’re actually “experimental subjects,” a concept which squicks us out) all in the same age group? Including that information could help to support the thesis of those who did the study, if they compared women of childbearing age to women who were not.

And, of course, they jump right to the “biological imperative” explanation, instead of allowing for factors like, oh, I dunno… Maybe the crazy-ass body pressure that women experience which is so inextricably tied up with food in our dumbfuck culture?

Seriously. You don’t just look at 23 different brain patterns and start claiming things about how evolution and baybeez mean all women are weak-willed face-stuffers.

Scientific research methods. Learn them. Use them. Get back to me later.

Margaret Cho is my Homegirl

Margaret Cho

Margaret Cho

I love Margaret Cho. Her humor, her positivity, her activism, her voice, and her beauty all continuously awe me. She is a proponent of loving yourself, and has such a positivity. She speaks candidly about everything from sex, to body image, to identity, to race. And I find her incredibly inspiring. She’s sexy, funny, and a real role model.

You can imagine, then, how gleeful I was when I found the link to this video at Feministing. I’m about to die with excitement. I did not know she was getting her own show, nor did I expect to to be as great. And I am more excited than anything to see it.

I know some people may not love her as much as I do, but I seriously love her. Feel free to disagree, but Margaret Cho is my homegirl!

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.

Sex and the City

Sex and the City Poster

I, like nearly every other woman on the planet, have been uber excited for the new Sex and the City movie. Last night, at 10:15PM, me and my three girlfriends arrived at the movie theater, pre-purchased tickets in hand, ready to wait in whatever line we had to in order to get the best seats in the theater for the premiere. We were extraordinarily early, and because of that, were the first women in line. Talk about uber-exciting.

There has been a lot of hype surrounding this movie. It was the movie all women would flock to, in their flocks of four or more, to see. I’ve heard a number of snide comments about it, including one particularly offensive radio announcement on my local radio station that was “3 Ways to Convince Your Man Take You to See Sex and the City.” Number One was:

Underneath all the shoes, fashion and girly yak yak, these women are SLUTS. So you’ll know there will be some boobies on display!

Sounds particularly immature with the use of “boobies.” And suffice it to say that I turned off the radio about a second later after shouting a loud curse word in my car in disbelief. Yeah, I definitely wouldn’t use that excuse to convince my man to come with me. First of all, I wouldn’t want to see it with current nonexistent boyfriend even if he did exist. My girlfriends are way more fun. Secondly, I would hope that my boyfriend would be as offended as I am with the thought that he would go see a movie to see tons of “sluts” and “boobies.” Erg. The media stabs through the heart of my hope for the men of my generation.

Now I realize I haven’t said anything about the movie yet. For me, this movie wasn’t about the movie itself, but more-so about the experience of seeing it. High heels and wacky fashions showed up for the premiere. Almost everyone I saw had on something beautiful. In the twoish hours we waited for the movie to start, sitting in the theater and watching everyone come in, I saw more beautiful women flock forward in big packs than I think I’ve ever seen in my life. At one point, the only other plus size woman in my group turned to me and said “Would you agree that there are a lot of really beautiful and confident plus size women here tonight?” And I just nodded. Beyond the clothes, beyond the shoes, these women were happy, and confident. Maybe it’s the way they are, or maybe it has to do with the society this movie has inspired. It was for women, to be watched with women. It was made for the night on the town with the girls. And that was FUN.

I’d say there were only a dozen or so men present in our auditorium. I cannot confirm whether they were “boyfriends or boyfriends” as my girlfriends put it. But it was nice to see them. Best of all, the whole experience felt like I was in a safe place, with like-minded people, there to share in an experience. I know that sounds like B.S., but that’s how it felt.

The movie was good, and interesting, sometimes disappointing. I laughed, cried, felt embarrassed, happy, angry. It was a full experience. It only had one semi-offensive comment about weight (against Samantha, of all people), which caused me and my friends to burst into laughter. We laughed even harder when a second later Carrie said something like “I mean, you’re beautiful at whatever size, but what happened?!” (We later said: “Yeah, whatever size whether it’s a 2 or a 4, right?”) I was happy to see the grace and beauty of the women onscreen, showing that beauty and age can go together. They were gorgeous in their 40s, which made me happy, despite all the cracks made by other characters about how “old” the women were. Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda all looked fantastic to me!  And of course the stunning Jennifer Hudson had one of my favorite roles. I love her so much.

But above all else, the movie was good purely because we were all seeing it together. After weeks or months of waiting, there we were, all excited, all happy, all with friends, sharing this experience. That is what made this movie good.

I know that’s not the review anyone was looking for but for me, that’s what is important. If you haven’t seen it yet, go with your girls, or your guy (especially if he’s similarly offended by the “sluts” comment above). And just have fun. That’s what it’s for.

The Totally Naked Show

There seem to be an abnormally large bout of posts on the Fatosphere lately about the media, so let me add mine. Contrary to some, mine’s focused on a more positive experience…

You see, I spent the whole afternoon a few days ago watching “How to Look Good Naked” (or what my friends and I call, “The Totally Naked Show”) online. I was looking for something frivolous, mindless and fun, something to use as a means of procrastination. This totally fit the bill.

I hadn’t actually watched any of it until that day because I had been in Ecuador when it first aired. But let me say this, I LOVED IT. The first episode was just…fantastic. From the first few seconds, when Carson was walking down the street with the models, I knew I was going to love it; as soon as that woman in the gold dress showed up, I just wanted to jump up and down. And then when those women were his models for the “compare your perception to reality” part of the show, I almost died. They are REAL WOMEN! And they’re MODELS. Who wanted to jump up and down? Me.

Aside from the models, the message is mostly right. It’s not about losing weight, it’s about loving yourself. You can lose the negativity towards your body, your perceived ugliness, in how you see yourself, in how you present yourself, in your confidence and grace. That made me happy. I ended up watching them all in marathon. I’ve always loved Carson Kressley, and in this he is so fun and helpful, and I feel like he genuinely wants to help. I can’t wait to see more. It makes me completely and utterly gleeful to see that message out on TV. Especially when it includes something like, “Zero is not a size. It’s a warning sign.” Oh Carson. You make me swoon.

Notice, however, that I say the message is mostly right. I feel like the show is trying to deal with the issue of negative body image, but really just skirting it. In having women stand in front of the mirror, and look at themselves, they aren’t saying “you look beautiful because these things society tells you to hate don’t matter.” but instead saying, “you aren’t as fat as you think. Compare yourselves to these women here. See, you’re not as ugly. And look at what you have to work with!” I mean, maybe that’s a skewed view of it, but that’s what I’m getting. That’s not productive in a universal message. Yes, it’s great for the women involved. But for the women watching? The message could get a little distorted. Distorted in the way of “I don’t have the things that he admires in her, therefore I’m ugly.” Yes, I might be reading into it a little more than necessary, but it’s important to consider, at least.

So overall, I like the show. I don’t think the media will ever be able to hit the issue on the head (because they’re working inside the medium that needs to change the most), but this is as close as they’re going to get. And for the individual on the show, I think it’s actually helpful. Finally, an uplifting message. Finally, real women on TV. And finally, more fun with Carson Kressley.

Thanks

Thank you, mainstream media advertisements. For failing to do anything but perpetuate stereotypes, that is.

I just saw a commercial for Kellogg’s new “Special K20 Protein Water”. I tried to find a video of it, but YouTube didn’t have it, yet.

Anyway, I’ll try to describe it. This lady stumbles under an awning to get out of the rain. When she looks up there’s a waterfall of shiny, pretty candies falling in front of her eyes – the awning belongs to a candy shop. She looks longingly at the candies (generic hard candies in multicolored transparent wrappers). There’s some voiceover-y stuff, and then she reaches into her purse and pulls out the Protein Water and sips it. The water has, according to the announcer, 5 grams of protein and some other stuff, to help sate your appetite without resorting to candy so you can “take the edge off your hunger while still losing weight” – protein is one of the ingredients in food that helps make you feel full. The lady walks away from the candy store with a happy smile and the sun breaks through the rain clouds.

Bleh. Okay. I dunno about you, but when I’m out for snack food, I’m so totally into potato chips, not candy. Sometimes ramen. ^_^ I can’t remember the last time I really craved candy. So, wev, there.

We’ve got the happy-joy stereotype of fatties chowing down on candy/sugar/naughty food. Stuff those faces! The idea that this lady, who is, of course, pretty and slim, will suddenly balloon up if she has a couple pieces of candy is absurd. I’m not even sure I’m being analytical enough about this because it’s so annoying. I think what bothers me most is how subtle it felt. There’s a commercial for “Lipozene” where they say, straight up, “Body fat is unattractive.” At least they’re not hiding what they think, you know? But this “Special Water” commercial feels so insidious. They couldn’t even admit to their viewers that the woman in the commercial only needs to “maintain.” No, she needs to feel full while still losing weight. Because you can never be skinny enough.

Also, she’s a woman. Only women need to eat Kellogg’s health food, need to worry about losing weight, only women need to lose weight, because remember, your value is directly correlated with how well you get gussied up for teh menz.

Put all your time and effort into controlling your naughty body, your naughty appetite. Put all your effort into making yourself acceptable to men and to the media. Oh, and don’t forget, once you meet your goal, we’ll give you a new carrot to chase. You’ll never be done. You’ll never be beautiful enough, thin enough, sexy-but-pure enough. Devote all your time to placating the voices, so that you can’t get any real work done. We can’t have you changing the world for the better, nope!

Fuckers.

Made of Honor: the Fat Bridesmaid

Today, I went with my girlfriends to go see the new Patrick Dempsey movie, Made of Honor. Naturally, I was excited because Patrick Dempsey is just…beautiful. *sigh* Anywho, as the name and previews implies, the movie is My Best Friend’s Wedding-esque, though flip-flopped. Dempsey’s character ends up being the Maid of Honor for his best (female) friend.

Though the movie was good, I couldn’t quite get over one of the characters. One of the bridesmaids was a fat girl named Hilary. She’s short, but pretty, and obviously fat. The first scene we really see her in, the bridesmaids are discussing dress sizes. One goes, “I’m a 2.” and then Hilary says, “And I’m an 8.” The whole table pauses to look at her. The third bridesmaid (the tactful one), turns to Hilary and says, “You know, Hilary, wouldn’t you maybe be a bit more comfortable in, say, a 12?” Hilary then launches into how she’s doing this big liquid diet thing, and that she’s going to lose the weight (in nine days, mind) and look great in her dress, and snatch up a sexy sexy man at the wedding.

How many problems do I have with this scene?

1. She’s beautiful as is. She doesn’t need to lose weight. This is the inherent problem.

2. In my opinion, she wouldn’t even fit into a size 12. She looks a little bigger than that. I’d say she were at least a 16. This is a problem because she is downsized for no reason. What’s wrong with calling her what she is? And doesn’t that present a negative body image for women?

3. She thinks she’ll lose a significant amount of weight on a crash diet, and it’s just so she can look good for a man. First, she’s wrong, she’d never lose that much. Second, why the hell can’t men see her as beautiful as she is?

4. The other girls seem to have no problem with it. Yes, they’re skeptical of the result, but it’s natural. They don’t slap her and say “WAKE UP HONEY!” nor do they say “You’re fine just the way you are. Don’t you dare torture yourself like that.” It’s just…sad.

Throughout the rest of the movie, Patrick Dempsey is constantly asking her to eat something, and half the time she’s acting like she’s about to faint from lack of food (!). Ummm, can we say EATING DISORDER IN PROGRESS? Help the poor girl!

Then, finally, when they’re at the wedding, the bridesmaids have a whole minute or so long scene of trying to squeeze her into the dress. They eventually succeed, and she’s all relieved. Then, as soon as they sit down at the wedding, the dress pops at a seam, and all the men lend her safety pins from their kilts for her to pin the seam back together. To be honest, I was embarrassed by that whole bit. It made me feel uncomfortable and angry, and made me not want to watch the movie. I don’t know if I can express why. Maybe out of empathy for poor Hilary, or maybe because I felt for all fat women, I just was extremely angry at this portrayal of the fat girl. This is all we knew of her. She’s just the fat bridesmaid who needs to starve herself so she can get a man.

Ugh. I’m really sick of that. And I feel like I’m uber aware of it because it’s always on my mind. How are fat people really portrayed in the media? Considering my post on Spanglish, and now this post, I think we can see. We become ashamed of them, sad for them, pity them. What message does that send to our women and girls? To our entire society.

Let’s make more Hairspray type movies, eh?

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.