Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Hate You for Making Me Write "Sizeist" So Often: It Makes Me Feel Like A Douchebag

I’m going to call this a Fat Tuesday, even though I’m posting on a Thursday *gasp*, because I’m going to be addressing weight issues and media, and hell, if that doesn’t qualify for the Fat Tuesday tag, I don’t know what does. I’m adding my voice to the resounding response to Maura Kelly’s painfully ill-considered and badly written rant about CBS’s new sitcom, Mike & Molly.

When I decided to write on this subject, I was amused to find that the first few issues I had with Ms. Kelly’s blog had more to do with her writing style than her topic. Now, I am not pretending to be a pro at this (I’m certainly not being paid by for my ignorant ramblings, as Ms. Kelly STILL is). I’m not a grammar Nazi (unless you flub your too/to/twos too many times) and I prefer a looser, more conversational blogging style. So I’m not going to bitch about grammar and syntax and scholarly style norms, or any such nonsense, because I consider those concerns a bit too pedantic for this particular format. HOWEVER. This woman is a lazy writer. At least 3 posts on her blog in the past month begin with “My editor asked me what I thought about X” Yawn. Seriously. This may in fact be how you come to be writing on these particular subjects, but A) I, as a reader, don’t want to hear about your editor passing down assignments. I want to believe you’ve personally put some thought into your posts. Cut out the editor and give me the polite illusion of a personal touch, would ya? B) Variety. Please, goddammit. Your structure is ridiculously dull and static. Skimming your blog archive, Ms. Kelly, I am struck by an irritating same-ness in your writing. To then swell these problems with an (arguably unintentionally) offensive and sizeist rant is just… Immensely irritating.

Alright, onto the meat of the post: “while I think our country's obsession with physical perfection is unhealthy, I also think it's at least equally crazy, albeit in the other direction, to be implicitly promoting obesity! Yes, anorexia is sick, but at least some slim models are simply naturally skinny. No one who is as fat as Mike and Molly can be healthy.” I think it is fascinating that, having admittedly never watched the show, you feel qualified to judge the implicit messages of the “text”. Would you write an essay on sexism in Moby Dick without reading it, simply because you’d been told there aren’t any women in it? I would hope not. That is essentially what you are doing by suggesting implicit messages in a show you have never seen. Additionally, YOUR implicit message is that “naturally skinny” people are, almost by default, healthy. Ummm, no. (See what I did there? Fatties can play the “implicit” game too.) Fitness and health are not actually directly and exclusively linked to weight or BMI, as your implicit thesis suggests. And where did you get your medical degree, Ms. Kelly, to be making these generalizations with such conviction in the first place? Oh right, you didn’t. You just listen to the talking heads feeding our unhealthy media obsession with weight. Carry on, then…

Ms. Kelly goes on to say “I think I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other ... because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room”, and then compares watching a fat person walk to WATCHING A HEROIN ADDICT. Wow. Are you trying to earn points for your asshole merit badge? (Setting aside the painfully obvious racist and homophobic echoes of this sentiment, because really, it is a little ludicrous to conflate weight with race or sexuality, since weight is, at least in theory, something which is within the individual’s power to change, unlike race/sexuality) Human beings are not subject to your personal aesthetic preferences. You don’t have to like the way my fat ass looks, Ms. Kelly, but you do have to treat me, and all the other “fatties,” like human beings. Your ill-considered blog doesn’t do that. It minimizes, ridicules, and dehumanizes us, reducing not only the stars of Mike & Molly but ALL fat people to simple ambulatory displays for your personal aesthetic evaluation. Fuck. You. Very much. I can’t be arsed to care whether the sight of my body disgusts you or not, and I sure as hell don’t want, or deserve, to hear about it. I’m fine with you being privately offended by my appearance, Ms. Kelly, but you should bloody well keep your sizeist bullshit in your head, where it belongs and hurts no one but yourself.

And then comes my favorite paragraph. “Now, don't go getting the wrong impression: I have a few friends who could be called plump. I'm not some sizeist jerk. And I also know how tough it can be for truly heavy people to psych themselves up for the long process of slimming down. (For instance, the overweight maintenance guy at my gym has talked to me a little bit about how it seems worthless for him to even try working out, because he's been heavy for as long as he can remember.)” Oh my purple-flying-monkey-god, tell me she didn’t. Did she honestly pull “But I’m not racist/homophobic/sexist because even though I am not an (icky) green/gay/woman myself, I have a FRIEND who is.” Also? Plump=/=obese. And you’re kind of a sizeist jerk for caring/noting your friend’s “plump”ness to justify your sizeist jerkhood. It’s a vicious cycle; see how that works? Final point: you don’t KNOW how hard it is, do you? Have you ever needed to lose even 30 pounds (or more) for health reasons? (I know, because of her apology and bio, that Ms. Kelly is a recovering anorexic. Which… kind of tells me she has NO IDEA how hard it can be to lose weight. Anorexia and extreme overeating are on completely different ends of the body control/dysmorphia spectrum.) You cite the maintenance guy at your gym as your reference for this knowledge? For reals? Wow. So… some guy you’ve watched mop up the showers told you in passing he doesn’t see the point in trying, and so you now, as result of these interactions, are qualified to comment on the invisible difficulties of weight loss? LOL, I think not, but thanks for playing. Or, y'know, not.

Finally, Ms. Kelly offers to give health and diet tips. “long story short, eat more fresh and unprocessed foods, read labels and avoid foods with any kind of processed sweetener in them whether it's cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup, increase the amount of fiber you're getting, get some kind of exercise for 30 minutes at least five times a week, and do everything you can to stand up more — even while using your computer — and walk more.” OMG, earth shattering news! Exercise more and eat better! I think I’ve lost 5 pounds just reading that thought, random blogger! What. A. Revelation. So, you insult my aesthetic worth, minimize my very real struggle with weight loss, and then condescend to my poor fat ass by passing along the advice I’ve been hearing since grade school. Seriously?

Returning to the initial problem: Ms. Kelly posits that Mike & Molly is implicitly suggesting that obesity is good, or healthy, or fun, or some shit like that. Without having ever seen the show, and knowing only that “I guess these characters are in Overeaters Anonymous. So ... points for trying?” If the only thing you know about a show is that it features overweight people falling in love and ATTENDING WEIGHT MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS, how exactly do you arrive at the conclusion that the show is PROMOTING obesity? I HAVE seen a few episodes of the show, and while I am not a fan of it for various unrelated reasons, I feel the show is more about people, regardless of weight, leading normal lives. Shockingly, fat people are just as capable of finding love and holding down jobs as skinny people, and this happens to be a show about such people. And hey, the fatties are ostensibly trying to lose the weight, so… they’re promoting obesity? Does. Not. Compute.

PS: the suggestion made by some commenters that Melissa McCarthy should be contractually obligated to lose weight on/for the show to mitigate the “yay Fatties!” effect? Should go suck on an exhaust pipe. When contracts start including weight clauses to prevent actresses from dropping to unhealthy weights during the course of a show, then you can TRY putting in weight loss clauses. When Lea Michelle and the 90210 girls stop melting away before my eyes, then you can start pressuring Ms. McCarthy to drop a few. Otherwise, stuff your hypocrisy up your puckered asshole, m’kay?

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Tribes

This is an exercise I did for my Native American literature class. we had to rewrite an excerpt from Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian (which is an excellent, heart-breaking, hilarious book. I recommend it HIGHLY). This particular bit is about the various groups that make up your identity, and how you define yourself.

"I realized that sure, I was a divorced single mother. I belonged to that tribe. But I also belonged to the tribe of native Californians. And to the tribe of college students. And to the tribe of voracious readers.
And the tribe of fatherless daughters.
And the tribe of incurable theater nerds.
And the tribe of 80s babies.
And the tribe of coffee addicts.
And the tribe of procrastinators, the writers of last minute papers.
And the tribe of tattooed teenagers.
And the tribe of descendants of Mayflower pilgrims.
And the tribe of dancing in the rain.
And the tribe of beta readers.
And the tribe of recovering metalheads.
And the tribe of fandom artists.
And the tribe of pizza and beer gluttons.
And the tribe of perpetual clutter.
And the tribe of keep on moving. It was a huge realization. And that's when I knew I was going to be okay."

I promise, I'm going to stop this "lookit how smart I am!!" college work posting. I'm just trying to blog more often, and these are all things I've meant to post for a while, so I'm kind of clearing the queue so I can get to new content.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Smart Bitches Unite: Identity, Community, and Activism in the Modern Romance Reader Blog

So, once there was this time (about a year ago) that I wrote a paper about the Smart Bitches website for my pop-culture class. And the prof loved it, and asked for a copy to use as an exemplar for future students doing this assignment. And more importantly, my sister liked it, and told me to post it here. So here 'tis:

“Everyone has a very firm idea of what the average romance reader is like. We bet you already know her. She’s rather dim and kind of tubby --- undereducated and undersexed --- and she displays a distressing affinity for mom jeans” (Wendell & Tam 4). For all the years that romance has existed as a separate and distinct genre in popular fiction, romance novels and their readers have been denigrated and undervalued. There is a clear and pervasive prejudice against the genre; the stereotypical romance reader is generally a pathetic lonely housewife or a spinster, who consumes large quantities of chocolate and possibly owns a great many cats. She is not particularly intelligent, nor is she vivacious. The novels themselves are characterized as hackneyed and formulaic, when they aren’t being called outright pornographic, and the genre is rarely granted any artistic or cultural value. As an avid romance reader (since age 12), I often find myself grinding my teeth over phrases like “but you’re too smart to read that crap! Aren’t you an English major?” “I can’t believe you read that chick porn,” or “all those books are the same; formulaic and badly written.” This is an incredibly frustrating and isolating experience. Fortunately, there is a thriving, intellectual fandom community to be found online, a forum which allows romance readers to cooperatively use the romance novel to “construct meanings of self, of social identity, and social relations” (Fiske 112). Participation in these online communities provides contributors and readers with a sense of identity as members of a subset of a larger romance reading community, and enables active debate, not only of the genre and its stigmas, but also of politics and the morality of the publishing industry.

For the purposes of this paper, I will be examining the online community surrounding the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blog, created and operated by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tam. The basic premise of the site is that the authors and commenters are intelligent, if somewhat profane, professional women with advanced degrees, who nevertheless enjoy critiquing and reading romance novels. This particular blog is a very clear example of community and identity building in online fandoms. Fandom members take a commodity, in this case the romance novel, and use it, as well as their own reactions to it, to define themselves both as individuals and as a community. In this fandom, reviews of romance novels and discussions of romance novel tropes create a dialogue and a sense of commonality between commenters. Members are drawn to the forum because of a shared love of romance novels, and they stay and become active members of the community because they are able to relate to other commenters. They form social bonds, while still asserting their individuality, by posting their own preferences and thoughts on any given subject.

This fandom community further cements a sense of social identity through a combination of site specific lingo and pervasive hypertextual elements. Group members share a common vernacular which establishes them as members of the “in group,” the community of Smart Bitches readers and contributors. Commentary and blog posts are littered with “in group” vocabulary: the acronym TSTL (Too Stupid to Live, usually used in reference to a novel’s heroine), alphole (an “asshole” alpha hero), and mantitte/man titty (pecs, generally referring to cover models). Many of these terms are self-referential, and require a working knowledge of past posts or discussions to be understood. For example: the expression Napoli-ed is used as shorthand on the site for rape, and is used synonymously with the term “hella rape.” This stems from an incident in March of 2006, in which the Smart Bitches successfully instituted a Google bomb on Senator Bill Napoli after he made some unfortunate comments about the extreme conditions under which he would consider allowing abortion. Without the context and awareness of Napoli’s statement, the Google bomb, and the blog community’s campaign to institute said “bomb”, this expression makes little sense, and excludes one from the “in group.”

In addition to this “in group” specific vocabulary, the Smart Bitches blog and community relies heavily on hypertext, “the technological realization of intertextuality; with a click of a mouse, one text leads to another, and another;” frequent linking and referencing of outside sources, be they web-based or more broadly cultural, is a cornerstone of the Smart Bitches blog (Gwenllian-Jones 187). John Fiske says that, “intertextuality proposes that any one text is necessarily read in relationship to others and that a range of textual knowledges is brought to bear upon it” (qtd. in Gwenllian-Jones 186). This hypertextual element is both inclusive and divisive. On one level, links to other romance blogs, current events, and the Romance Writers of America contests and statistics are inclusive, providing at the click of a mouse much of the information necessary to process Smart Bitches posts, as well as a sense of membership in the broader romance community beyond Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. However, there are equally many somewhat obscure references to outside texts on the site, which require either prior knowledge or careful research into a wide spectrum of pop cultural and literary sources. Therefore, by frequently referencing past material, other blogs and media sources, as well as a vast array of pop culture references, from Howard Keel to “Spinal Tap”, Norse mythology to Britney Spears, and Sartre to keyboard cat, the Smart Bitches blog creates a complex fan community which requires certain prior and acquired knowledge to belong and fully understand the forum. Certainly at the most basic level any person who enjoys romance novel can join the group, but in order to get all the in-jokes and context, one must be equally versed in any number of seemingly unrelated external sources, which are not inherently relevant to romance reading. Membership in the Smart Bitches fandom community may also inspire one to explore these broader references, thereby both expanding one’s personal experience and frame of reference for self-identification, as well as reinforcing bonds to the fandom.

The Smart Bitches, Trashy Books romance novel fandom is often quite political. This is one of the most outspoken romance novel fandom communities when it comes to refuting the common stigma attached to romance novels and their readers, often posting notices of online media sources lambasting romance, which generally spurs a flurry of commentary from the fandom community, both on the Bitches blog itself and on the offending media link. In one recent post, Sarah Wendell wrote a strong criticism of a Huffington Post contributor, going into a point by point breakdown of just how the man was perpetuating stereotypes both of the genre and of the readers, which resulted in a flurry of articulate comments, both on Huffington Post’s website and on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, defending the genre and criticizing both the offending post’s author and the Huffington Post for perpetuating the stereotype. Although this may not seem overtly political, particularly in comparison to the community’s attack on Bill Napoli and his stance on abortion, it is important to note that this fandom often addresses the stereotype on romance and romance readers as a feminist issue. When discussing the question of why romance is so often denigrated, blog authors Candy Tam and Sarah Wendell ask, “Are you a woman? Look in your pants. That could be why,” suggesting that one of the major reasons romance is still so openly mocked and stigmatized is that it is “a genre written mostly by women, mostly for women” (126). When viewed through this lens of throwback patriarchal discomfort with female literacy and success, it is easy to see why any attack on the genre could be seen as an attack on women and women’s rights to produce art for the enjoyment of themselves and their fellow women.

In addition to politics, the Smart Bitches community is also keenly interested in the policies and morality of the publishing industry, particularly in the handling of plagiarism. Since the community is comprised not only of readers but also of authors and industry insiders, the community as a whole is greatly concerned with protecting the rights of authors and firmly punishing plagiarists. The most powerful example of this is the blog’s full scale campaign against author Cassie Edwards. In January of 2008 a reader spotted several instances of likely plagiarism in Ms.
Edwards’ books, passages seemingly lifted entirely unaltered from an article about black-footed ferrets, and pointed them out on the Smart Bitches forum. Within days the fandom community had mobilized against the author, sparking public exposure in the national news media and two statements from Ms. Edwards’ publisher first supporting, and then questioning and condemning, Ms. Edwards’ behavior. The Smart Bitches community aggressively pursues and publicizes any and all such cases that come to their attention, and is quite proud of their role in policing it. Interestingly, this was a divisive issue for some members of the community; some members criticized the blog community, suggesting that the attack on Ms. Edwards was out of proportion, and likely motivated by the blog’s authors’ well established dislike of Cassie Edwards’ books.

Ultimately, it is clear that romance novel blogs, and the fandom communities which spring from them, are multifaceted and complex collectives which, nevertheless, tend to be able to unify their members under a common group identity. Fandom members often achieve a strong sense of group identification, from which they derive a sense of belonging, of being understood and welcomed. Communities like Smart Bitches, Trashy Books help their members to create a cultural framework through which to view their own lives and role in society. However, perhaps more importantly, fandom communities also have the power to mobilize their members. John Fiske has written that “popular culture is always part of power relations; it always bears traces of the constant struggle between domination and subordination, between power and various forms of resistance to it or evasions of it . . .” (115). In the case of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, this power struggle is embodied by a lingering feminist defiance, and the bibliophile’s near religious disdain for plagiarists and the publishers who would protect them.

Works Cited

Brooker, Will, and Deborah Jermyn, eds. The Audience Studies Reader. New York: Routledge, 2003. Print.

Fiske, John. “Understanding Popular Culture.” Brooker and Jermyn. 112-16. Print.

Gwenllian-Jones, Sara. “Histories, Fiction and Xena: Warrior Princess.” Brooker and Jermyn. 185-91. Print.

Radway, Janice. “Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy and Popular Literature.” Brooker and Jermyn. 219-25. Print.

Wendell, Sarah, and Candy Tan. Beyond heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels. New York: Simon & Schuster,2009. Print.

---. Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. Esosoft, 7 Dec. 2009. Web. 7 Dec. 2009.

Dear Formspring: Make it easier for Me to Answer a Fuckton of Questions All at Once, Please? K, Thanks.

What's your favorite type of flower?
Stargazer lilies.

Would you rather be rich or famous?
Rich. If I ever get depressed over my lack of fame, I'll console myself by buying an island. Thanks.

If you could have been the author of any book, what would it have been?
Either Stardust or Agnes and the Hitman. Or y’know, Bounty, the book that’s got its main characters burrowed into my head without a shot in hell of ever getting onto the page…

What video game have you played the most?
Marvel v. Capcom. Addictive. You don’t even have to be good at button mashing to do okay in this one, and that’s what I like about it, because I am an incurable button masher.

If you could date any celebrity, who would it be?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Or Bruce Campbell. At any age. Shotgun a plus, but not required.

Were you a Michael Jackson fan?
When I was 5, yes. I watched Captain EO so many times back then... Now I'm just kind of sick of hearing about him and his death. Yeah, he died, boo hoo, move on.

Would you rather be really hot or really cold?
Cold. Let it rain, give me some layers, and I'm a happy camper. Summer just pisses me off.


Would you rather be a vampire or a werewolf?
Werewolf. A) I wouldn't want to be anything that was even remotely associated with crafter's herpes skin, B) un-death does NOT appeal, C) I’m pale enough as it is without throwing solar urticaria and photosensitivity into the mix.

If you won a $1,000 shopping spree for any store, which store would you pick?
Target. $1000 bucks isn’t actually that much money for a shopping “spree”, either. Gimme $5000+ and you’ll have a different answer.

What one thing are you exceptionally good at?
Writing last minute essays. And by last minute, I mean 3-6AM the morning before a paper is due, I start writing/brainstorming. Admittedly, this only works for papers under 8 pages in length, but I am a queen of procrastination and bullshit.

Would you rather have the ability to fly, or the ability to breathe underwater?
Fly. I don’t go into the ocean if I can help it, so… yeah, being able to breathe underwater wouldn’t be terribly useful unless I found myself living in a bathtub… And if I could fly, I could go anywhere I wanted, without paying for gas. Win, says I.

If you had to cook dinner for someone tonight, what would you make?
I would either run down to Ralphs and bust Buitoni spinach tortellini in Alfredo sauce, or I’d try to make Bernie’s meatloaf: sausage, pork, and beef, with creamy melty cheese inside and bacon on top. Goddamn, the pure, unadulterated YUM of that meatloaf… I’m sorry, what were we talking about?

If you could go back in time 10 years and tell your younger self something, what would it be?
You’re skinny and hawt. STFU and get over it with this fat nonsense. You have NO IDEA. PS: get the stick out of your ass and stop sabotaging yourself. Get your act together, do well in school, and go to a real college.

Who's the most overrated actor?
Julia Roberts. I hate her. She sure as hell isn’t MY American sweetheart. I just want to kick her in the shins, honestly. She always plays the same character, herself, and it has gotten boring after 20 odd years.

What is your guiltiest of guilty pleasures?
I watch a lot of terrible reality TV. I’m not talking contest shows or "Real World" knock offs here, either. If it were only that... No, I watch those stupid A&E shows, like “Dog the Bounty Hunter” and “Paranormal State”. Because they are AWFUL. I don’t even really know what attracts me about them. I love how fake and bullshit the “evidence” they find on PS is, and Dog is the same kind of voyeuristic, there but for the grace of god buzz of "Cops", but with a wacky, trashy protagonist family! It is pure, pure crack, and it isn’t even remotely good for me, but I can’t stop.

What was the last book you read?
Improper English. It was awful. The female protagonist is an entitled, selfish idiot. She gets pissed that her boyfriend, a COP, decides to stay on his stakeout and bust CHILD PORNOGRAPHERS rather than run to her side when she’s mopey over the manuscript of her book being criticized. The book hit the wall when I read that. I’m sorry, but if you don’t get that busting child pornographers > your weep-out over constructive crit, you aren’t worth my time.

If you could become any fictional character, who would you be?
So many… Annith in my little sister’s novella, The Minion and the Mistress, because dude, Ruuk is hawt, and I would take a piece of that. Elizabeth in P&P. Matilda in Faking It. Um… yeah, that’s a list of romances, isn’t it? I think I need to find myself a boyfriend, stat.

If you could instantly become fluent in another language, which language would you pick?
French. Even though I SHOULD be practical and learn Spanish.

Where's your favorite place to buy clothes?
Target!! Or Crossroads in Berkeley, CA.

What was the worst job you've ever had?
Selling pizza at Hurricane Harbor when I was 17. Some people shouldn't be allowed to wear swimsuits in public. And some men should be required by law to wax their chests and shoulders. *shudder*

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fat Tuesday the First

Here’s the thing. I’m fat. Yes, fat. I’m 5’4” tall, and weigh 177 pounds. At least, that’s what I weighed 10 minutes ago on my cheap Wal-Mart bathroom scale. I’m sure the cruel bastard we all know as a doctor’s scale would tack a few extra onto that number. I am not interested by what that jerk would have to say. He’s a bastard anyway, who cares what he says? Seriously. So, that puts my BMI into the startling “obese” category, at 30.38. Now, really, I am not comfortable calling myself “obese”. The BMI magicians may call it that, but using that word dramatizes weight in a way that I am not comfortable with. I’m young, and my number is on the cusp. I don’t have a front butt (and please, those who know me personally, shoot me if I ever do), nor do I have cankles or extra chins (maybe a chin-let, but not a full-fledged extra chin). I’m just rounder all over than is generally healthy. I’m okay with rounder. I’ve got relatively big bewbs, and my hips may never fit into designer standards. I’ve got that classic hourglass figure (which maintains that “healthy” .80 ratio no matter what my weight), which I love and am grateful for. I’m not ugly, but I have reached the point where I am uncomfortable with my weight.

Like most women, my weight has fluctuated drastically throughout my late teens and early twenties (I’m currently 27 years old). I’ve weighed as little as 135 at 3 points in my “adult” life, and I spent a good few years comfortable chubby in the 150 to 160 range. I loved being 135 (and a size 7 jeans), but it takes a level of exercise which I have found personally impossible to sustain to keep me there. The last time I weighed that little, in 2005, I was running 8 miles on the treadmill 5 or 6 days a week, religiously. I felt fantastic, and could eat any damn thing I wanted, but finding 85 minutes every day to dedicate to that was difficult. And then I sprained my ankle during a show at college, and since then, my right ankle gives out relatively often, and can’t take the kind of running I was doing. Needless to say, the weight has flown back on since then, both because I have stopped running, and because I never modified my diet during that time. I loved running, but I can’t do what I was doing then. Further, my wild success back then is a stumbling block to me when I do try to begin running again, because my brain still thinks I’m capable of running 8 nine minute miles back to back, when I am in fact capable of MAYBE 2 twelve minute miles. It’s frustrating, because I know what I used to do, and I rush myself to get back there, exhausting myself and causing my body to mutiny. And then I get depressed and start eating horribly again, because food is comfort. This is, how you say, a vicious cycle.

So, why are we here? Well, I’m sick of this extra weight, and need to do something about it. My 10 year high school reunion is coming up next year, which is horrifying for any number of reasons: one of which being that if I can’t be a professional success yet, I’d like to at least look good, damnit. Better than I did then, if possible. Further, I will be thirty in a little over two years, and yikes, I don’t want to be a fat-ass when I hit that big scary number. I’m also chronically single (nary a date since that play in 2005. Hook-ups, yes, but no dates, and certainly no boyfriends) and while I don’t attribute this single state to my weight, I recognize that I personally don’t feel great and hot at this size, so I am not exuding the same confidence I do when I am even 10 pounds lighter, which IS less attractive.

Which brings us to this blog. I want a mechanism to keep me accountable. I need to record my progress and setbacks, and privately noting my weight and measurements hasn’t been cutting it. Hence, weight-loss blogging, which I recognize is horrendously over-done and boring to read for those not currently struggling with weight-loss themselves. To which I say suck it, it isn’t like anyone is reading this blog regularly anyway, so if I want to moan to myself and the walls about my fat ass, then I’m going to do it. K?

The plan: I will blog at least once a month, on a Tuesday if possible, to record my progress and thoughts on my weight/body image/the general suckiness of the weight loss machine. My goal is to lose 10 pounds by Christmas, which means I need to drop about a pound a week between now and then. Ultimately, I would like to reach 140 pounds, and stay there, which means I have 37 pounds to lose. My plan is to monitor my calorie intake in a food journal, staying between 1200 and 1600 calories a day. I’m living a fairly sedentary lifestyle at present, but if I begin exercising regularly, I will readjust this number. And of course, I will keep “Stuck” updated on my progress on Fat Tuesdays. Excellent. Hopefully this won’t be the only Fat Tuesday post I ever write. ;P

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I Like It, So Deal With It

“I like it on the stairs.”

This was my status update to Facebook yesterday, as a part of a silly little meme to raise awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness month (October, for those of you playing along). The idea was to post a sexually suggestive “I like it” sentence describing where you keep your purse. It’s a quick, light-hearted meme, and it DID get a fair few women talking about BCAMonth. This is precisely what irritates me about the counter response to the meme. Several of my male friends posted today, and late yesterday, bitching about how keeping the meme’s meaning a “secret” ran counter to the meme’s supposed purpose, and PS, men get breast cancer too, so maybe we should’ve let some of them in on the joke too, hmm?

Calm the fuck down, boys. And to begin with, let’s put the bitchy generalizations aside for a moment, shall we? I, personally, did send the message regarding the meme to some of my male friends. I did not spam EVERY man, woman, and child on my FB, however, because let’s face it, not everyone is receptive to this kind of silliness, as the backlash to this meme so clearly illustrates. Furthermore, the complaint that women weren’t explaining the meme when queried is ridiculous. Do you know why I personally didn’t explain the meme to any men on my page? Because not a damn one of them ASKED. If you don’t ask and can’t remember how to Google It, then it isn’t really my fault, it’s yours. Thanks for playing though. Or not. Additionally, it only took 24 hours or so for the message to get to y’all, so as a result of this meme, you DID hear about BCA month. You just didn’t get to be in on the joke. That wasn’t the point. This was obviously and unashamedly a stunt to get media attention, for both the meme AND THE CAUSE.

This last point is what I find most ridiculous about this blog post some of my male friends have been linking to criticize the meme. She says “This entire thing was just a stunt to get in the news. And congrats, by the way. It did.” Exactly. What’s your point? By getting on the news, the meme brought attention both to itself AND TO THE CAUSE. You can’t discuss the meme without discussing its purported cause. So the meme succeeded, just not in a way that you personally find palatable. Suck it.

A final thought: I am offended by the douchebags out there saying I’m an asshole for joking about this, that I’m somehow sexualizing breast cancer. Excuse me? First, don’t assume that everyone grieves or deals with disease in the same way. I know breast cancer survivors, I know people who have lost loved ones to breast cancer, my grandmother had it, and I have myself lost loved ones to cancer. I’m sorry your personal grief is rubbed the wrong way by this, but I find, to be horribly trite, that laughter often is the best medicine, and if joking a little bit alleviates some of the pain this subject elicits, then I think that’s all to the good. A little innuendo never hurt anyone.

It’s a facebook meme. Get the fuck over it. Facebook is not serious business.