Saturday, December 25, 2010

perp walk

This blog by Nina Matsumoto recently featured images from the 2002 book by Howard Schatz and Beverly Ornstein, Athlete, that contains beautifully photographed lineups of all kinds of athletes, of all kinds of body sizes, types, heights, weights. The images are fascinating to inspect at leisure, and really rather smokin hot. Matsumoto, a comic artist, posted them as a guide for artists, pointing out that the body type we think of as athletic or strong comes in many forms. Smokin. No, wait--instructional. I'm particularly fond--mostly fond--of the images that display the most body size diversity, such as Mr. Hamman there, hello.

Thanks to HB for the headsup.

old time fatties!

I am really enjoying this Tumblr site: Fuck Yeah, Old Time Fatties!, which posts old photos of all kinds--from galleries, libraries, stock photo agencies, other sources--that feature fat people in them. The goal is to illustrate the fact that fat people did not just arrive on the earth in the last ten years, toddling in in our giant boots that leave huge ecological footprints for the rest of the world to pay for. Mostly it's fun because I am a sucker for old photos, and I think they're beautiful.

From The Library of Congress Flicker set:  [Portrait of Sylvia Syms, Little Casino(?), New York, N.Y., ca. June 1947] (LOC)  Gottlieb, William P., 1917- , photographer.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

oh dear

This year for the holidays I'm giving my mom better legs. I'm giving my brother a tighter core. My cousin, better posture. My sister, a cuter butt. Now--my man? This year he's getting a sexier me.
Unhhuh. I kinda want a pair of these shoes, even with the tell-tale roundheel (!), but this ad clanks so hard. Mean.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

dancer thin

Mila Kunis is quoted in yesterday's E! Online about losing twenty pounds to play a ballet dancer in Black Swan:
"I could see why this industry [query: which?] is so f--ked up, because at 95 pounds, I would literally look at myself in the mirror and I was like, Oh my God!" she says. "I had no shape, no boobs, no ass...All you saw was bone. I was like, This looks gross."
I hope people notice what I think is the most meaningful portion of the interview, which is about the difference between how she looked to real people--"family and friends became concerned"--versus how it looked onscreen:
"In real life, it looked disgusting," Kunis says. "But in photographs and on film, it looked amazing."
We experience people's bodies more and more through the filter of imagery, but photos do not = bodies. There are worlds of differences living in the (theoretically) thin line between the two.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

the big C

If you missed it, this New York Times piece by Peggy Orenstein about the cultural Pinking of breast cancer is well worth a read. It lays out some things that desperately needed to be said--very straightforwardly--about the bizarre sexualization and commodification of breast cancer awareness, and how harsh it ultimately is to those who suffer from the disease. I was really glad to see this piece.

A few days before that article was published, the Teenage Cancer Trust released research listing the top 20 cancer myths believed by teenagers and young adults in the UK. They are all doozies, but note the following examples (numbers are percentages of young people who believe the myth):
  • Mobile phones cause brain tumors - 36%
  • The color of your skin determines your cancer risks - 22%  
  • If you have cancer when pregnant, your baby will get it - 19%  
  • Keeping a mobile phone in your bra gives you breast cancer - 15% 
  • Being fat gives you cancer - 7% 

photo Tuesday

What can I say, I'm in the mood for a green alien.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


To prove that this is a personal blog and not a news outlet (hah), I am going to relay a dream from last night that cracked me up. I don't know about you, but media experiences seed my dreams the way real life does, so this one is the result yesterday--in part--of watching Keeping up With the Kardashians and America's Test Kitchen (French bistro cooking episode), consuming Alexia Waffle Fries, and reading E!Online. I was at the Kardashians' house for an open house/party and they were debating the fat content in roasted chicken and potatoes. They appealed to me for my opinion and I said it was ridiculous to worry about the fat content in a beautifully cooked bird like that. I kept trying to heat up a handful of potatoes for myself but people kept screwing with them, including mixing them in my drink. The last time I was at the microwave Kris Jenner came up to me and said, "Well, what do you think?" I said the party was fine and why do you ask? She said, "Well, we're putting in a bid to host NAAFA convention next year in SoCal." I was on the brink of telling her, "You know, some people who come will actually be really large," when I woke up. Heh! Amusing. I see that family as a group of people that has basically turned management of the Beauty Ideal into a career, so I think my subconscious was mashing stuff up to make a point. Also to confront the idea that "curves," the word du jour used by celebrities as talisman against too-fat/too-thin talk, is not the same thing as fat.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


More on this later, but for now, note: One current place to spot fatties in the mainstream culture of pop? Outsiders Rising videos, such as the two below: Katy Perry's "Firework" and "Raise Your Glass" by P!nk. Both songs are vague anthemic urges for equality led by pretty pop singers, with videos featuring LBGT, seriously ill, nerdy, or otherwise outsider youth. There is also a big girl in each video: the one in Perry's is chubby and leaps into a pool wearing a bikini (awlright); the girl in P!nk's does less (she knocks over "mean" thin girl cutouts while sitting with them at a lunch table), but she does open the video.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

who you callin fat?

a fat sand rat (hi!)
I was enchanted to discover recently that there is an animal called the fat sand rat (pictured above). Fat is part of the species' name, its binomial nomenclature: Psammomys obesus. The animal is in the news because researchers were able to confirm that traditional treatments for SAD had scientific basis; they are diurnal, not nocturnal, as are the usual animals for testing (mice and other rats). Fat sand rats responded well to light exposure and antidepressants, and got out of their little bathrobes earlier in the day and stopped watching so much TV.

a fat puffer
It's fascinating to me that there is a taxonomic way for an animal to be fat. It is such a loaded and extremely subjective descriptor in the human world (reclamation aside), not to mention seen as a voluntary, mutable, and undesirable, state, but it turns out there are at least thirty species besides the fat sand rat who are blithely, officially "fat."

the fat dormouse
There is, for instance, an entire genus of fat puffers, such as the guineafowl puffer (pictured). There are a lot of "fat" fish: fat snooks, fat sleepers, fat mullets; and fat things in shells like fat pocketbooks and fat horsemussels. There is a fat dormouse or edible dormouse, considered a pest in the UK, and the genus of fat mice, which includes the subspecies of the dainty fat mouse and the tiny fat mouse (query: who doesn't want a play village of tiny fat mice?).

the fat mullet
There are also "plump" animals--plump whelks, plump groupers, and plump cyphomae--and two "corpulent" snails--the corpulent rams-horn and corpulent hornsnail. There are three "ponderous" molluscs. There is a portly spider crab, which I think sounds a very dignified thing.

the rotund 
mystery snail
Then there are the "stout" and "rotund" animals. All the "rotund" animals, around ten of them, are molluscs (words to denote swollen size seem very popular in mollusc descriptors), like the rotund disc, the rotund cleftclam and the rotund trophon. There is a genus of stout newts (how Gussie Fink-Nottle), and at least twenty other "stout" species: the stout red shrimp, the stout blacksmelt, the stout longtom (a kind of needlefish).

the chunky fathead
There is, I'm happy to say, a chunky fathead, also known as the Indian driftffish. There are no "chubby" animals (although the marbled murrelet is described as "a very small, chubby, sea bird that seems to lack a neck"), but a few "obese" animals; mostly, again, things in shells: the obese thorn, the obese dipperclam, the obese pondsnail.

the thin shrew
What about the other end of the spectrum? There are at least twenty "thin" animals (no "skinny" or "svelte" ones, though), including the thin shrew, the thin pillar, the thin moonsnail, and the companion to the fat sand rat, the thin sand rat (Psammomys vexillaris), also known as the pale sand rat (as might befit a thin rattie).

a Marmosops
(slender mouse opossum)
There are lots of "slender" animals, including the slender anchovy and slender sole, and several "slender" genii: slender salamanders, slender mongooses, slender loris, and slender mouse opossums (the spectacularly named Marmosops, which should be a kind of fuzzy absorbent towel or perhaps a cute rodent spy game). There is also, oxymoronically enough, a whole genus of slender chubs.

Just for fun, I pulled out words from FHM's list of 100 Sexiest Women in the World 2010 (with its handy "Lady Finder") with which to search the animal world. I found no animals with "plunging," "epic," "petite," "goddess," "chesty," "healthy," "sexy," "hot," or "ass" in their name, but did get:
a tit
• the genus of tits

• a lot of "naked" animals, including a family of naked catfishes, squeakers, and upside-down catfishes and a genus, the famous naked mole-rats

• over twenty "beautiful" animals, including the genus of beautiful squirrels

a beautiful squirrel
• "pretty" animals, including the pretty shiner

• "wild" animals, including the wild turkey

• "erect" animals, including the erect wormsnail
the pretty shiner
• two "massive" species, including the massive urn crab
• the glorious topsnail

• the horny goby
the sad flycatcher
The subjective/adjectival in animal kingdom taxonomy is pretty much endlessly interesting. There is a nervous shark and a sprightly pygmy rice rat. I found at least eighteen "delicate" species. There is a happy wren, and four "sad" animals," including a bivalve called the sad elliptio. Language related to size is just one corner of all the sometimes goofy poetry.

fat rat!
It also turns out the fat sand rat, which is, note, not particularly fat, is a fairly relevant little animal to the human world. They were called fat originally because of the discovery that some of them become diabetic on normal grain-based rodent diets. So not only do researchers use them for studies about SAD, they are very popular for research about diabetes and its effects. Poor little dudes. They better be getting sunlamps for their troubles.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

love it

My current fav photo from the Big Fat Kiss-In:

girl group thinking

"Try the Worryin' Way" by the Fabulettes

So if you want to lose weight too
Here's all you gotta do

Fall with in love with a man that you can't trust
one who won't treat you right
and while he's out messin around
worry about him every night

If you want to lose a pound a day
try a worrying man

I don't count calories
I don't exercise
I just wonder what woman my man's been with
when he tells me he's been out with the guys

Friday, October 29, 2010

"If You're Fat-Phobic..."

Dodai Stewart lays it on the line at Jezebel:
You cannot LOOK at someone and make a judgment about his or her health. So you shouldn't. And really: Even if you do know why someone is thin or fat, what business is it of yours? None. If a fat person disgusts you, if you're afraid of black people, if you're grossed out by gays kissing, know this: Your intolerance says way more about you than about those who repel you. When you're judging someone by weight and not moral compass, intelligence, empathy, creativity, talent or sense of humor, what kind of person are you? If you see two people--one fat and one thin--and say that the fat one disgusts you, what happens if you find out that the fat one is a loving mother and vet and the thin one is a serial killer?

Again: You cannot judge someone based on appearance. That said, you can read someone's words and tell if they are ignorant, biased, sizeist and hateful . . . Back in the day, people used to say that black people were intellectually inferior, that homosexuals were promiscuous. Today we consider this type of intolerant thought disgusting, abhorrent and politically incorrect. Someday we'll realize how bigoted and offensive we were about "fatties."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Snog for Equality

So, you know, Maura Kelly and Marie Claire fucked up. And are continuing to.

The best possible thing to say or do about it now is show up tomorrow at the protest at the Hearst Tower and smooch wildly at the Big Fat Kiss-In, organized in part by Marilyn Wann and Substantia Jones of Adipositivity.

It's amazing to me how much fat activism--lots of activism--has changed in the era of social media. Responses to balls-out fat hatred had a much harder time gaining momentum even five years ago. Everything is on the boil.

Dear Maura Kelly:

Showing fat people kissing is not "implicitly promoting obesity," it is implicitly promoting the fact that fat people are human fucking beings. Get over it.

Kiss kiss kiss!

Friday, October 22, 2010

just a reminder

This is what the average page looks like on a (multi-retailer) site that offers plus-sized clothing:


That is all.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

photo Tuesday

Back from vacation! Slowly cranking up the Extender again. More soon.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I finally sent off a box of zines to the DePaul Library Zine Archives. It is an odd experience, handling their familiar, dog-eared (cliche, sorry), pages. One thing printed matter does that reading online doesn't is carry a collection of physical sensations with it: the thickness of the pages under your fingers; the (sturdy, flimsy) way it's bound and how the pages turn; the smells of inks; the sharpness or blurriness of type; the places it wants to fall open to when you pick it up.So when you reacquaint yourself with something like zines, memories that are physical as well as mental emerge. Handling them put me right back into my state of mind twenty years ago.

I found size-related zines I kind of had forgotten I had, including the first edition (does that phrase have the right connotation in this context?)--a first issue--of i'm so fucking beautiful my sister gave me. It's a powerful lil thing.

The page that jumped out at me, the one that I remember engaging with the most, was this one:

I can remember being very intrigued--scared--excited--nervous--about the idea of fat being "punk." I felt like it left me vulnerable, believing that. It could be punctured so easily as a rationalization. I had a sneaking suspicion it was true, despite wanting to call bullshit on it with the rest of the world. Fat could be many things, but never punk, especially in a punk world. But--it was. It is.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

oh, 50

50 Cent (who recently eloquently expressed himself regarding the pleasures and hazards of intimacy with large women) twittered again more recently about about re-gaining weight after losing over fifty pounds to play a cancer patient in a movie: "I'm going to the gym...I feel like a fat boy I'm so use[d] to training. When I take a few days of[f] I start thinking I'm a blimp." It feels kind of stupid to comment on celebrity tweets (because it is), but I don't know, I had a twitch of something or other reading his comment. That's how disordered eating starts, you know? It was a very clear little look at how basic fiddling with eating begins a tension/creates momentum that most people don't leave for their lifetime. Most men don't engage with it in to the same degree as women, so sometimes you can see it more sharply when they talk about it. Anyhow, yoiks. Not hopping on this in any ghoulish Cassandra-like way, just noting.

Full Beauty Project (NSFW)

Photographer Yossi Loloi has been photographing large women for his Full Beauty Project for a while (I met him in Massachusetts a couple years ago, I think). He says:
What larger women embody to me is simply another form of beauty. I believe we have 'freedom of taste' and we should not be ashamed of expressing what we really like. Limiting this freedom is like living in a dictatorship of esthetics.

I believe there are other ways to perceive beauty, it is not measurable and has not got a standard size.I photograph my models nude and often indifferent, to create a comfortable, proud and constructive representation of themselves in front of the viewer.
Check out the site!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


There is a lip gloss by Purple Lab called "Huge Lips, Skinny Hips." It comes in eight colors, including No Panty Lines, Kitty Pole Dancer and Love Your Thighs. Hence the wth (here it comes): Wth?  Blech.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

leapy! no--stridey

starving a "fat" infant

This news is upsetting to read, and extreme in its particulars, but still feels connected to the screwed-up world in which we live. It almost makes sense, in a horrible, heartbreaking way. It doesn't--it's not sane--but it isn't happening in a vacuum.

It is the latest development in the ongoing story of a couple in Seattle, Brittainy and Samuel Labberton. Brittainy starved her children from birth, basically, and continued starving them in response to interference from hospitals and child welfare, who ended up taking them away from her. She did all this with her husband's approval, terrified they would get fat (her husband has a "weight problem"). She saw regular developmental weight gain as bad and would not feed them, sometimes barely for days. She gave her youngest daughter--five months old at the time--a bottle with laxative in it to make her lose weight after a visit when the child had been in foster care and recovered a bit. When she was told of the child's recovery in hospital she apparently complained, "Oh my God she's fat" and "I have a fat baby," insisting that the girl "should be under the 50th percentile in weight, not over it." Her oldest child apparently arrived at a foster home "'ravenously hungry,' eating so fast that she nearly choked on her food."

Most recently, the couple's sentencing for child mistreatment charges was suspended because Brittainy was about to give birth to their third child (she has said she wants to have 12). She herself, who suffered from severe suicidal post-partum depression and what sounds like very disordered eating, was admitted to the hospital over the summer, where she "failed to eat enough to provide good nutrition" for the unborn child.

It is incensing to even ponder what's happening inside these young, young children, who are being chemically trained to have an insane relationship with food and with physical survival--that is, assuming they survive (the Labbertons are working to regain custody), and there is certainly no guarantee they will. The court took custody of the couple's second child after Brittainy said she felt she would kill herself and the child; this kind of feeding-related abuse, while "about" fear of fat, is also good way to kill them.

All the body dysmorphia this woman is visiting upon her children--brutally pushing a skewed adult beauty ideal onto tiny infants, unable to see them as people in their own right--feels like a worst example, but not only example, of how people can treat children, especially girls. I am not trying to say that any sane person would starve their children in this way, but it has been shown that people do not (for instance)--all variables aside--feed girl and boy babies the same. And it makes macabre sense that someone could land obsessively on the difference--the conflict--between the image of a what we think of as a healthy baby--chubby, fat-wristed--and a healthy--thin--adult, and try to reconcile the two in this horrible way, at their children's expense. I mean, we are terrified our kids will be fat; why wouldn't it start with babyhood? Well-meaning, well-informed people do bad things to kids in the name of this fear all the time.

I hope this story has any kind of good resolution to it, somehow. It's probably ghoulish to focus on it, but it feels not unrelated to the world in which parents of fat children are vilified and the agonies of size begin earlier and earlier.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

photo Tuesday - Wilhelmine von Sylt!

It took me a while to figure out what this image was--I've seen it often with no identification attached--but it turns out it's a fountain in Westerland, the northern-most town on Sylt, itself the northern-most island off of Germany, in the Frisian Islands. Wilhelmine von Sylt--Wilhelmina from Sylt. The sculpture was created in 1980 by a local artist Ursula Hensel-Krüger (now deceased, I think) and is something of a central landmark in the tourist town. I don't know why she's wearing a hat, but I think she's hella cute. The artist said at Wilhelmine's unveiling:
Let us take a look around. How terribly serious we all are, how closed and embittered are our faces. I would like to give people their joy back. This round, buxom creature, who is at one with herself and with everything, smiles at you. Smile with her, you should, and you can!

thanks to HB for help with the translation! Oh, doth my German decay...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dawn fan here!

Dawn French apparently popped out of a cake for the 250th episode of Later With Jools Holland. We can't see the video in the US, though. Wah! Wooboo!

Dawn has also recently started doing promotion for her first novel, called A Tiny Bit Marvellous [British spelling there], which will be published next month (October 2010). I never hold out high hopes for actor-fiction, but I sure like the cover! (click to see larger image)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

coalition of WTF

The motto of COAK--the Coalition of Angry Kids--is "There is no childhood obesity epidemic."

On their front page is the following:

Who are you calling obese?

We heard that September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

And people are saying that 1 in 3 of us are overweight or obese. They even use that weird word--EPIDEMIC--when they’re talking about us kids.

"Eat healthy." "Go run around outside." "Turn off the screens." We hear those things a lot, too. Well, Mom and Dad, can you help us out here? We need more than reminders and threats. We need good examples.

We’re in this together, so let’s fix it together.

If you want us to eat less junk food, then let’s eat better together. If you want us to play an hour a day, then come out and play with us.

That sounds like a healthy solution to us. How about you?
Except--of course--COAK isn't actually a coalition or independent organization of any kind, it's a marketing strategy from Anytime Fitness to get people signed up to their gym. Note the fake little kid handwriting of the logo and the drawing of the family.

Here is the company's reasoning behind their campaign: "Too much blame is being placed on the kids," says Chuck Runyon, Anytime Fitness CEO. "Adults need to step up and be better role models if we want our kids to be healthy. That’s what this is all about."

Note also (this is my point) that there are some news sites reporting COAK as real news: "Coalition of Angry Kids send a strong message to parents"! Lllllllllllame.