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