Issue with one particular blog

I wish there was a way to control what blogs appear within a blogroll in Google Reader. Here’s why.

I use Google Reader to keep up with the fatosphere. I added two versions of the Fatosphere blogroll (after I realized that the first version I added was slower to update) as well as the Fat Liberation blogroll (since there might be some blogs on that roll that are not in the Fatosphere).

One newcomer to the Fat Liberation blogroll is a right-wing blogger who goes by the nick “Coffee Catholic”. I know that there is space here for varying opinions but when I read a comment from that blogger that goes “That’s because you creepy man-looking Feminist/Liberals cannot even begin to imagine what it means to love beyond your selfish self-serving selves.”, it pisses me off and makes me feel attacked. She turned off comments for some reason (ummm, wonder why?) and to be frank, aside from one or two entries, I don’t even see what her blog has to do with being fat.

I’m kinda sitting on the fence here (I could imagine that if that person subscribed to the blogrolls, she’d skip over nudiemuse’s entries, to name one blogger whose overall opinions and points of view are at the spectrum opposite of Coffee Catholic’s). I admit it: I am a liberal, left-wing, pro-choice agnostic feminist fat straight woman (phew! that’s a lot of adjectives!!!) who believes in the right for gay marriage and gay rights in general. I rarely (if ever) discuss politics and religion in my writings because I feel these topics to be private. So when I read homophobic, right-wing, anti-feminist entries (that have nothing to do with fat acceptance) in the blogroll, it makes me uncomfortable.

I don’t know where the line can be crossed for someone’s blog to become unsuitable for the Fat Liberation roll, but for now, my only option is to quickly scroll down whenever I see the name Coffee Catholic.

*Update* A couple of readers have mentioned adding blogs individually in google reader. It is a good idea per se, but I’m afraid to miss out on some wonderful new addition to the group if I proceeded that way. I also find that, with all the blogs I enjoy reading, this would make Google Reader even more cluttered than it is already (I did add some individual blogs that have nothing to do with FA but that I enjoy reading, like You may also like and Will write for chocolate). Guess there is no perfect solution… Meh.

My next clothing shopping spree

This Friday, I will be purchasing some clothes for the fall. I’m getting a bathing suit for my aquagym class (despite my best efforts, the clorine levels at the pool are so high that they are murder on my suit), a pair of black jeans for the fall (I kept the old pair’s tag to remember which model I bought last time) and maybe (just maybe) a new bra (if there’s any in cute colors). I love my capris (one cargo, one pink jeans), but bare calves won’t be so comfy as we go further into fall. My sole pair of pants (black soft cords that I love) are great, but I need one more pair. Will probably hit the Addition-Elle outlet store, since they do have some sales of older models that the regular stores don’t have.

One thing I’d love to find is a decent fall jacket. Nothing too cheap in the making, nothing too fancy but not too casual. I have plenty of sports jackets, but I have nothing that’s cool yet casual. Guess if I’m meant to find it this weekend, I will. Otherwise, guess I will have to continue wearing what I already have. We’ll see.

Watch out for young idiots ahead

I know that many of you have expressed lately some doubt about the usefulness of blogging about FA. Sure it does get repetitive at times, and not every subject covered interests me (especially not politics). I myself haven’t blogged much lately, mostly because I couldn’t think of any subject really to write about (I prefer blogging left often than filling my blog with silly little fillers all the time).

Anyways, tonight was my first aquagym class of the semester and I went the usual way to class. Except that I had no music for once. For some reason, I didn’t feel like bringing the shuffle and I didn’t want to bring my new iPod to the pool. The school is located near a park that includes a skate park area. Since it was past 8pm, it was already dark. Well, I got badly harassed/catcalled by some fucking idiot teens, all sexual comments of course, which I won’t reprint here (you can imagine the kind of comments I got).

It’s easy to blame the harassment on weight, but here’s one thing I figured out upon thinking about it: with these assholes, us women always lose. Whether you’re fat, skinny, tall, short, pretty, ugly, sexy, butch/tomboy, girlish, nerdy, cool, they’ll always find a way to harass you one way or another. Anyone who thinks that mysogyny in pop culture doesn’t transcend the entertainment industry, here’s a good example of its effects in real life. Now, it’s very likely that at least one of these kids didn’t think I was so unattractive or simply internally disagreed with it all, but the fact that he participated in a passive or active way to the harassment puts him at the same level as all the others. In fact, he’d be one hell of a spineless, gutless wimp to let peer pressure guide him around like that.

Still, this situation pisses me off greatly. Here I am at almost 33, and yet, I’m struggling to not fall into my teenage thinking patterns. I do know better, and my rational side did come up with the conclusion above (which makes it easier to deal with)…

Self-perception, how it changes!

Last weekend, I found on an old videotape an episode of La Course destination monde in which I appeared. That TV show was a budding filmmakers series in which a group of twentysomethings were sent around the world separately to make short documentary films, which were then rated. There were several money prizes for the best films and filmmakers, etc. Basically, it was a smart cross between reality TV and a game show, minus the bickering. Anyways, in early 1993, one of the shows were taped with a studio audience jury (usually, there were only 2 pro juries who got to rate and crititicize the films).

In the extract below, you can see me at age 17 (nevermind the bright red shirt, I dunno what the hell I was thinking — the show’s director must have been pissed off at me). Well, back then I thought I was so fat and ugly, and of course I believed that no guy would ever be interested in me… that kind of not-so-positive thinking. In reality, I didn’t look that bad, and my hair was kinda cute. The clothes were meh, but that was in 93, so many people can say the same thing themselves. As for weight, well, I was just barely chubby at the time (not that there’s anything wrong with being fat, but that’s not how I saw it back then).

Of course, self-confidence plays a huge role in how others react to us. Even though I’m fatter now than I was as a teen, I rarely ever encounter name-calling and teasing like I did in high school, not even from teenagers. To stop internalizing the fat=ugly and thin=pretty equations is also quite liberating. Like everyone I do have days where I look at myself in the mirror and it hits me like a brick wall; fortunately, the bad body days are few and between and they never last long (no more than a day, two at the very most).

So, I did go to my fat-acceptance dinner…

The Moroccan dinner was very nice. People were quite friendly, even though I didn’t get to talk to as many people as I would have, had I known them better, but that’s normal, I’m still the new kid around in the group.

The meal was amazing and I was wayyyyy too ambitious with the servings. That’s really not like me — it was just too good! And I drank tons of mint tea (no wonder I went to the bathroom several times that night!). I was so full I had to take a walk back home. Mind you, it was a nice evening, so I didn’t mind. 🙂

There was a henna tattoo artist in the restaurant and she did a great design on my left arm and hand. Unfortunately it didn’t stay more than a week (I suspect that the affectionate licks of the daschund we were dog-sitting didn’t help matters), but that’s ok. That’s still longer than el cheapo fake tats you find at music fests.

henna tattoo

The henna tattoo as it was drying

I’m looking forward to the next get-together. Now that the ice is broken, the contact will be easier next time. 🙂

My first fat-acceptance community dinner

Saturday night, I will attend my first fat-acceptance community dinner. at a Moroccan restaurant. I’m still new in that community (since I joined only a month ago), but that should be fun. Of course, as in any kind of group gathering, there’s always going to be people with whom things will click and others to whom we’ll be indifferent. But that’s alright. I’m not a shy person anyway, and people already know what I look like (as my pic is my avatar).

I even had the idea of bringing the FA books I own, to show them, since not everyone knows about these books.

Anyways, it’s always good to meet new people. 😀

Self-acceptance and HAES

I realize that I was familiar with the idea of health at every size (or HAES) long before I encountered the term for the first time on the fatosphere.

In fact, my first exposure to that principle came from my first boyfriend of sorts. I was 18 at the time, and was still very uncomfortable with being fat (even though I was a bit smaller than I am now). I still lacked the self-confidence that I was to gain later.

One day, I was whining to Ricky about my weight (he himself is a tall, skinny man), and he replied, “What would you rather be: fat and in shape or skinny and out of shape?”. I know that most people would have answered “skinny and out of shape” without hesitation, but as an active tomboy, that answer made me shut up.

Looking back, this conversation was a turning point in my life, the defining moment where I began that long journey towards self-acceptance (this was back in 1993, so the Internet wasn’t widely available yet). My relationship with Ricky might have never bloomed the way it should have (for reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with me or my body), but his role in my personal history is still highly important, as he made me realize that I could be loved as I am, and that it is okay to be fat. His Spock-like logic might have driven me mad sometimes (he’s a true Virgo!) but that day, it made lots of sense.

How about you? Do you have a self-acceptance defining moment?

Mary Jo Pehl

I just love Mary Jo Pehl. She was one of the writers on Mystery Science Theater 3000 and also played the role of Pearl Forrester (as well as several one-shot roles throughout the series). Even though she’s a fat actress, I haven’t seen her weight being played for jokes (maybe in good part because she was one of the writers on the show and therefore had control over that).

Of course, most hardcore fans of the show kinda dismiss her, mostly because she replaced Dr. Forrester over the show’s last two seasons, but I find her to be a worthy replacement.

Here’s a bit from MST3K where Mike Nelson thanks Pearl for not killing him.

Image meme time!

Ok, since others have done so (including AnnieMcPhee), I might as well redo this one (I believe I’ve filled that Meme on my livejournal blog, but anyways, new pics have certainly appeared since)…

The idea of this meme is simple: Use Google Image to search for the answers to those questions about you and pick an image from the first page of answers. Kinda silly, but it can be pretty funny (granted, AnnieMcPhee’s drunk Santa and naked Richard Simmons pics will be hard to beat…).

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The strength of genes in my family…

Reading Nudemuse’s latest entry in which she mentions the Fat Women of Color Carnival announcement over at Fatshionista made me think of something about myself. I started wondering whether I would be or not eligible to participate in that carnival.

You see, even though I am officially caucasian, I seem to have Native American blood in me that goes back at the very least to my maternal great-grandfather’s mother (back in those days in Quebec, Native girls who’d be raised by the religious communities or grown ones who’d marry a white man would get their culture and identity erased into a totally clean slate. Gone was their maiden name (as they’d receive a new Christian name) or the info about their tribe. As the generations pass, their racial history is completely gone; even worse, many of these tribes had oral history traditions, which can only survive if they’re transmitted from one generation to the next. Who knows how much we have lost?

Anyways, because of the way that Native women were assimilated into the French-Canadian society, we have no idea who my Native ancestor was or where she came from exactly. One thing’s for sure, though: she had very strong genes. Strong enough to be passed down at least 4 generations without being too diluded (despite the French-Canadian blood among my relatives and I). She probably was a tall and fat woman — all the men in that side of the family were tall and fat (although it’s not so obvious among my direct family, as my grandfather was a blondish skinny man with blue eyes). The genes were also strong enough that my great-grandfather as a young man could have passed for my brother. I remember watching a documentary about the Montagnais (Innu) tribe with my mom, and how we noticed that several interviewed people looked like our relatives. And a few years back, my mom had gone to a reserve with a friend who officially had her First Nations status. They went to some store and my mom received the First Nations discount, no questions asked.

I grew up pretty oblivious to the notion of native blood. In fact, I only became aware of it (and so much more so in racist form) toward the end of high school, when bullies started calling me “Agaguk” (the name of a classic Quebec literature Inuit character). In a way that traumatized me more than name-callings over my weight, as for years I had a tendency to get very defensive if anyone asked me if I were Native. I’ve since learned to relax about it (as long as the person is only asking to know, not as a way to attack me, of course, but this isn’t high school anymore so it doesn’t happen).

So, I’ve come to peace with the notion of having Native blood. And even though I spent my teenage years thinking I was ugly (I remember so well being 16-17, so convinced that I’d never, ever have a boyfriend…), I now know it’s not the case. However, I do look different from most people I know, and people tend to remember me. Of course, as a teen, that was a hard thing to deal with, as we all want to conform to the masses, not stand out.

This is what I look like:

BTW, if anyone ever wants to listen to Native American music, I can never recommend enough Robbie Robertson’s Music for the Native Americans, which he made in collaboration with musicians from various tribes from throughout North America, including Quebec’s Kashtin. It’s the kind of album that brings out the creative juices in me. 🙂

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