Let up on Palin

My political slip is going to show in this post.

I stopped regularly following the election when we all realized Clinton wasn’t going to get the nomination. Obama is fine, I just don’t think he is experienced enough. That’s all.

However, I am kind of a media junkie. From my work comptuer, I log in to a news site about every 10 minutes to check the weather, check facebook, check the news, check my email, and check more news. The internet is my primary source of news these days, along with the snippets of NPR we leave on for the dog blaring from an old clock radio in the bathroom. He will be the most informed yellow lab this side of the Mississippi.

And here is what I am seeing:

Palin! Palin! Palin!

Oy.

I have yet to see any smear campaigns about Biden. I barely know who Biden is. Except that he’s white and male.

And that’s probably the point.

Here’s what I know about Palin, and I haven’t even read a FULL NEWS STORY about her:

-She is a member of the NRA
-Her unwed teen dauther is preggers, but don’t worry, she’s marrying the dad;
-Another child has Down’s Syndrome;
-She has a grizzly bear pelt covering the couch in her office;
-She hunts and fishes;
-She claims not to know what a Vice President does;
-There are concerns that McCain doesn’t even really know her;
-The evangelical Christian conservatives are really excited about her
-She flip-flopped on the famed “Bridge to Nowhere.”

I am awaiting the headlines regarding her hair, her choice of clothing, make-up, shoe heel height, choice of eye glasses, and pictures revealing her status as a cheerleader in high school, or that she was involved in some unfortunately-named-pageant wearing a bathing suit and heels.

I know nothing of Biden. Except that he’s old and white.

Everyone’s up in arms about Palin. Oh, she sucks. Oh, she’s horrible. Oh, she’s dumb.

You know, I am in no way a conservative. I don’t own a gun. There’s no way I would have five children, let my 17-year-old get married, be excited that evangelical Christians were excited about me, or have a grizzly bear pelt within a 5 mile radius of my office. Palin and I? Far more different than alike.

But all the crap she is getting?

It’s pure sexism. If she were a man, no one would give a fuck if she hunted, fished, had an unwed pregnant teen daughter, had a kid with a developmental disability, or belonged to the NRA.

That she does all of those things and is now up for the Vice Presidency challenges our assumptions of what a woman is supposed to be doing.

She reminds me of Clinton in a certain way.

Clinton did her own thing too. She had her own career. She didn’t give up her life to Bill. She had shit to do, and she did it. And while I prefer Clinton to Palin a million times over, both were, are, will continue to be victims of the institution of sexism.

Because any man — any white man — that is up for vice presidency — will not have to face questions about why he decorates his office the way he does, about why he is a member of the NRA, about why he wears pants suits, about why he didn’t give up his career when his husband ran for office, about why he let his children get so out of hand. He is given the privilege to do whatever the fuck he wants, whenever he wants, and no one ever questions it.

That is why I am a feminist. Because people like Palin and Clinton should be able to run for office without the world having to devolve into a discussion of hair and pantsuits.

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An Open Letter to the Well-Meaning Straight Community

Dear Well-Meaning Straight Community,

I would appreciate it if you would pretend to stop being so “open-minded” about queer folks, and either admit that you are bigoted, or truly accept the gays amongst you.

My partner and I, or I who am my partner’s girlfriend, have had to come up with specific language in order to describe our relationship to one another. We aren’t allowed to get married, have a civil union, share benefits without a huge legal hassle, if at all. This illegitimizes our relationship, should we wish to move into a diferent state of co-habitation. Personally, I think marriage is a heterosexist institution; been there, done that. But it has its perks. It would be nice to have the option.

When well-meaning straight people can’t even get my partner’s relationsbip to me, or mine to hir, right, it is further illegitimizing. Guess what? We sleep together on a regular basis, and even more than that, we like each other! We do things that other couples do, like buy groceries, clean up cat litter, (and argue about who is cleaning it up more), and talk work over dinner and dishes. This makes us a very real couple. We are 30 and 28 respectively. We are actually old enough to be people whose genitals aren’t confusing their hearts, if that actually means something or matters to you.

So this is to you, landlord, family, long-lost friend at the bar: We are not “buddies,” roommates, pals, friends, or other people who have known hir long enough to know hir before she came out. We are especially not those things when I or my partner have identified the other to you, and you continue to use some other word to describe us.

We are queer. We are a couple. If there was a permanently attached dick on the person whose gender presentation made the most sense, I am sure you’d have no problem using words like girlfriend, partner, couple, or living together. Which makes you well-meaning straight people a bit less well-meaning than you thought.

The personal touch of Rachel Moss

I wasn’t going to get all outraged about the WisCon drama that is all over the the blogosphere, because enough people have. Honestly, I live in Wisconsin, and I didn’t even know that there was a sci fi convention going on anywhere in the state.

But then I went and looked at the pictures, and read the comments, and saw that someone I personally know, with whom I have personally sat in sacred space, who has shared the story of her body with me, trashed all over the internet. 

Whoa.

Rachel Moss, let me tell you something: It sucks to get threats. It sucks to be so damn visible. It sucks to have your beliefs get you in trouble. Welcome to the real world. Karma’s a bitch, especially in the digital age. 

I spoke to this friend of mine on Facebook and let her know of stupid Rachel Moss. Stupid the nicest thing I can think to say, really. My friend already knew about it, and she has responded here.

Enough’s enough. Fat fights back. But you probably didn’t figure that.

 

 

Who are we, anyway?

You guys, I haven’t had much to say this week.

I have a paper due for the end of this Group Process class I am in, and I am trying to write on Gestalt Therapy, and I am just not motivated to do it. I don’t know what my problem is. I have been exhausted keeping up with all the recent bout of politics on the fat-o-sphere, and trying to think about things like privilege and gender and how we include more people and what I need to do to make that happen. And I am literally still recovering from the goddamned Mac and Cheese I ate over a week ago. My stupid cell phone almost died yesterday, and when my technology doesn’t work, it’s seriously like a Red Terror Alert on my own personal scale of Terror Alerts. And it snowed, and well … there’s just too many excuses I could make about why I’ve been gone all week.

I feel a rift in the FA movement, one that is forming or about to form or one that already existed and is now just making itself known. Over the last couple of weeks, people have been really expressive about what they aren’t getting, or what they need, and I think that’s great. I mean, I am in therapy school, after all. All this talk about feelings and needs; that’s what therapists love.

This week, I spoke, as a part of a panel, to human sexuality classes, about being queer. The panel was a part of the local LGBT organization; I spoke to three different classes, back to back. It’s funny; a year ago, I was still married and hadn’t yet filed for divorce, and was still figuring out what I would even call myself when I would get around to calling myself something. I never would have imagined I would be speaking to college kids about things like coming out, and trans issues, and why I identify as queer and not as lesbian, and what it was like to get divorced, and what religion says about being gay. I was a real snapshot of how far I’ve come, of the growth I’ve made in just one short year.

Each session, I spoke with different people. Each person identified as something different. Each person held different beliefs; one guy was bi and wanted to really talk about the issues surrounding being bi. He also went on about how the gays would have the right to marry if they really wanted to, an opinion that, as you can imagine, isn’t very popular in the queer community. Another woman identified as a lesbian, but said she might change to queer, but recognized that would be another coming out process. Another woman talked about what it was like to be transgendered, and what that process was for her. Another man talked about being gay; we talked about community, and how it is important. All of us had different experiences, different needs, different stories, different lives. And despite our rich, vibrant histories, we all shared this in common: We are a part of a community; The director of the LGBT organization said this: Being gay or queer or whatever isn’t just about who you sleep with — it’s also about the politics.

And that’s how it is for us here, too.

Some people are calling what they do Size Acceptance. Or Body Acceptance. Or Fat Rights. Or Fat Acceptance. Some people talk primarily about eating disorders. Some people talk about the damage perpetual dieting has done to them. Some people talk about gender and feminism and fat. Some people talk about HAES and exercise and fatness and fitness. Some people talk about the political aspects of fat.

Everybody has a home in this community, despite the differences. A movement cannot exist without diversity — it is the diversity that is going to give the collective whole strength.

Personal experience with fat hatred

Seems like we FA bloggers think alike. Rio also posted a blog today on the abuse that fat people take in society. I was going to post a comment on her blog, but then it started getting too long.

My comment was basically a collection of all the shitty things people have said to me over the years regarding my fat. It’s a personal take on the blog I just posted prior to this one. Most of the comments I can’t even remember anymore. They get too be too much and too many and too overwhelming. It goes a little something like this.

From the Parents:
*You shouldn’t be mad at your mom for not buying you those pants because you looked like a fat cow in them.
*I don’t know why you think you can walk around here in that bathing suit. You look awful.
*Fatty, fatty two-by-four, couldn’t fit through the bedroom door.
*It looked like you’ve lost some weight! You didn’t block out the sun when you got into my car this afternoon.
*How much of that are you going to eat?
*You gained 16 pounds this year. What’s wrong with you?

From Kids at School:
*One kid made that noise that big trucks make when backing up. It’s called the “back-alarm.”
*One kid asked me out as a joke. I didn’t date anyone ever for the rest of school, convinced they were all asking me out as a joke.
*One entire year, a kid decided to rename me Big Bertha.

From People on the street:
*Two teenage boys, when I was 24, saw me in a parking lot and called out the window: Move it, you fat whale!

I was most shocked by the teenage boys. At 24, I was fully an adult, and thought I had outaged the taunting based on my weight. Apparently not. Most commentary I receive now (and at that time) comes in the form of street harrassment: men honking at me, men telling me I have a nice ass, men asking for my number, men asking if I have a man. That comment actually almost pushed me over the edge. I had a baseball bat in my car and I almost smashed out those fuckers windows, I had been so fed up with the commentary on my body after years and years. True story.

I didn’t though. I wished I would have. The headlines would have been great. Fat Woman is Mad As Hell and Isn’t Taking It Anymore.

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