Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dear Oprah --

Dear Oprah,



There seems an inclination to laud your public apologies for your size as "honest," in the sense that you are being more straightforward than public figures usually are about the difference between what they say and what they do or just about what you do, period, to maintain TV-ready body image.

I don't find it honest, I find it alternatingly heart-breaking and infuriating. Demeaning, obfuscating, angering. You don't owe anybody an apology for what your body size is. And that means no matter why it is the size it is, a process of which I think you should stop assuming you have complete understanding.

You are the richest, most powerful woman--person--in media, which doesn't mean you aren't a real woman with feelings who has a life outside that label, but you are telling the whole world, over and over--and yourself--that no matter what you do, nothing is more important than what you look like, and that at that you've failed. You say you no longer care about being thin, just healthy, but would you have laid yourself out like this if you were unhealthy and thin? Would you even care?

You have had EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO KNOW BETTER AND CHOOSE NOT TO. You have had all the advice of the world parade by on your stage and you are choosing to ignore it to keep hating yourself. You are not hanging onto "the fat," you are hanging on to your right to dislike yourself.

You are telling all those girls at your school in Africa and all the people who watch your show and all the people who hate you but catch the headlines about you that the most important thing about you is your body size, your weight. That the agonies and self-consciousness of puberty and young adulthood never end, in fact that they trump whatever comes after.

It is a lot to expect any one person to rise above social pressures to be thin, but you know what, that is an expectation I do hold you to. The Oprah Edict you are violating most significantly is the idea of loving yourself. Putting yourself first. Being on your own side. This is a yes/no situation...no mealy-mouthed middle ground. Either you are on your own side or you are laying yourself out ("apologizing") for public ridicule.

You seem to be pretty good at telling the world to back off when you need to (making employees sign silence agreements, for instance). It's very painful to be made complicit in your inability to do it here, where you need to most. I DON'T WANT YOUR APOLOGIES. They offend me. Nor do I want anything else of it. Your body is your business. Your body, in fact, is your body's business, maybe not even your own, quite.

The cynic in me knows that you might have--theoretically--less to talk about if you just made your body off-limits as a motivating factor for story ideas and for getting people to watch your show and identify with you. The hopelessly idealistic part of me catches my breath at just what you could do to actually improve this world if you laid down this issue, once and for all. If you told all the people out there that you are fine the way you are and, frankly, fuck anybody who needs to butt in.

Women need to say fuck you more often. Also who cares, and says who? You can't rationalize your way out of the beauty myth jungle, where the rules aren't fair anyhow. You have to bushwack your way out with sheer faith and a sense that you are loveable and worthy of attention, sex, approbation, approval and the right to exist--even in public--no matter your size.

And remember that taking care of your own health is difficult and an effort worthy of support. And that you should help yourself in its difficulty, not castigate yourself for occasional dips in the radar, as seems to have recently happened.

You gotta wonder when this is going to end, on top of everything else. If this version of 54 is the new 44, I don't want any part of it. Surely one of the virtues of age is just the right to know better.

Shut up please! Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
Liz T.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fatty Life in America

Fatty Life in America
A Play in One Act
by Elizabeth M. Tamny

first performed on the blogger stage Oct 4, 2008
an EMT production

TIME: No time particularly fun
PLACE: The office of a medical professional, any kind
SETTING: Fluorescent, icky, silence broken by occasional crinkle of paper a FAT CHICK is sitting on.


LIGHTS UP: Enter medical professional of any variety, reading chart.

(Almost disappointed, certainly confused) Are you [emph] sure you're not hypertensive?


The End

NOTE: If desired, line can be repeated 20-30 times before lights down.
* All Rights Reserved *
* Please contact EMT agency for performance in schools and community centers*

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

most emailed?

Under the category of MOST EMAILED PHOTO at Yahoo news photos right now is this one, left, with the following cap:
"A passenger waits for a delayed flight at Heathrow airport's terminal four in London August 12, 2006. REUTERS/Toby Melville"

I'm not really trying to call the world sizeist all over again (mmm I am), but still--what possible reason can there be for this 2-yr-old photo comin out (on a "most-emailed" scale, I mean) again except the circus lady side of it? What is the point? Wonder what spiked the interest in it. There must be some fat girl-likers in the mix, but not enough to make it most emailed. All I know is ow...sigh. That chair musta hurt like hell, poor patient lady; my hips would do that too.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

people are nuts

• Insanity from the pages of Us magazine (the magazine...for us!), this time from their selection of Weight Winners of the Year / "See how stars slimmed down and toned up!" I swear I'm not making this up:

"Back in March, The Hills star, Lauren Conrad, 22, tells Us she was so self-conscious that on vacation in Mexico, 'I wore a one-piece bathing suit the entire time, with a wrap!' With the help of co-star Audrina Patridge and Equinox's Jarett Del Bene, she dropped 6 [emph mine] pounds."

• I'm shutting my mouth about the nastiest/meanest thing I want to say about the current push of commercials for the Realize band (or really about lap bands in general, which are starting to seem more and more pernicious as I hear more about bodies rejecting them), but two pet peeves continue to be 1) a very ambiguous image at the end of the commercial that looks rather like big anonymous wodges of fat, but are just an actor's arms...weird--passive--strange and 2) the "reasons" the banders give in the ad for the surgery, among which one character says, while slow-dancing with her boyfriend, " I dream of kissing of him under the Eiffel Tower."



Friday, August 15, 2008

lil big bow wow!

The pride of Columbus, O, weighs in on the allure of the Big Girl. No, it's not "Fat-Bottomed Girls" or "Sista Big Bones," but whatever. Go Bow Wow.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

Warm Delights!

One of my pet peeves/obsessions is with food escapism advertising directed at women. Biting into a _____ [whatever] = escaping your life!, your little bit of relief from the everyday, your flight, your alone time, blah. International coffees, Dove chocolates, sweets. (Women are never escaping with a nice pork roast.) I'm obsessed with this kind of advertising, I hate it, hate the implications, feh. Anyhow, Betty Crocker Warm Delights has hit a new low, albeit using the same spoon-fellating imagery these ads often use (nobody ever just EATS). This particular ad is missing the rhetoric another one of their ads has about licks needed to get to the center of it all, but it's basically an advertisement for an orgasm. Look at the woman on her back waving her feet in the air, or the pregnant woman (post coitum..apparently eating chocolate can make you pregnant). "You're just 3 minutes from heaven." Yah. Right. Thanks for clearing that up.
(click on porny photo for video link)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Lane Bryant shooting

I don't want to be too lugubrious, but my heart continues to break hearing the details of the Lane Bryant shooting in the Chicago south suburbs. Now it appears that one of the women was sexually assaulted (fondled), in addition to being herded into the back with the others. This still doesn't feel like just a robbery, for many reasons, and continues to hit very close to home for me. There is a very particular atmosphere in LBs, common to any place that serves a specific customer base, I guess, but with its own big girl flavor. There's some commonly-shared intent that gets you there, and the mood reflects that--it can be strangely intimate and communal. It's also just a store too, but still--LBs by definition already in many ways feel like havens from the rest of the world. To have someone barge in this kind of safe place I've been in a million times and create trauma...

I have not watched TV news coverage of the event since the story first broke. I did see enough at the beginning to watch a local woman being interviewed who was worried about her daughter's safety but already knew she had not been there:
"She lives at Lane Bryant...she's overweight...she's there all the time." Thanks for clearing that up. Really wish the local news had not let that one through; I will continue to be watchin this story.