This week for Role/Reboot I wrote about Maria Kang (aka “What’s Your Excuse?” fitness mom), this phenomenal piece by a Karen Hitchcock, “Fat City,” and the challenge of holding two seemingly competing ideas in our heads at one time. I contend that obesity-is-a-crisis and body-shaming-is-n0t-helpful are not, actually, competing ideas, but two separate, related problems that need big, multi-faceted solutions.
I really appreciate this comment from the always on point Marianne Cassidy:
Reducing obesity and ending body shaming are not opposing or even parallel goals. They’re the same goal. They want the same things – a healthier, happier population. They can be achieved the same way – by encouraging people to take care of their bodies and giving them the education and resources they need to make informed healthy choices.
Related Post: 1 in 4 women don’t exercise because they’re unhappy with their looks.
Related Post: Can I have fat pride without throwing thin women under the bus?
Last week I joined Molly and Brian on Vocalo’s Feminist Wednesdays to talk about dating while feminist. As usual, it was a blast and a half. What part should gender roles play in modern dating? How much should we rely on traditional who-does-what? Should we just mimic the gays? They seem able to figure this out without pointing at genitalia as the reason one person should or shouldn’t buy the other person dinner…
Related Post: Dating should not be a meal ticket.
Related Post: Why online dating is hard for guys.
In case you missed it during the eat-a-thon, football-a-thon, couch-sitting-a-thon that was Thanksgiving, last week I wrote about Mother Jones’ investigation of the efficacy of Plan B (aka emergency contraception aka The Morning After Pill) for women over 165 pounds. The European equivalent (chemically identical, branded differently) has recently added a warning that the pill loses potency for women over 165 pounds and is ineffective for women over 176 pounds.
I found this revelation to be extremely disturbing. Frankly, both the scientific details (i.e. why 176 pounds? Is this BMI related? Can I just take two pills instead?) and legal intricacies (i.e. What kind of testing does the FDA require? What is a legally acceptable fail rate? When are you required to disclose this information?) of this announcement are over my head.
From an ethical perspective, however, it seems clear to me that when 25% of women (and 50% of black women, FYI) take a pill that advertises itself as emergency contraception, they deserve to know that it is not designed to work for them. All contraception has a fail rate, duh, but this is bigger than that. Some people are trying to make this an issue about promiscuity, or the politics of obesity, but they’re missing a point. The drug is already out there, the women already take it, they are already over 165 pounds. None of those facts change, so the only question on the table is whether there should be a big sticker on the box that says, “Over 165 pounds? Please consult your doctor before taking Plan B.” As a sexually active woman over 176 pounds, I would really appreciate that.
Related Post: What if an 18-year-old female pop star talked about her safe sex habits?
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This week for Role/Reboot I wrote about the always controversial subject of racial preferences while dating. It started because a friend (who is Asian) asked if I thought it was racist to not want to date other Asians. So began a long and fascinating conversation about trying to avoid people with similar neuroses, whether those neuroses stem from being Asian, whether “Asian” is too broad a bloc to eliminate (what about South Asians? What about fifth-generation Asians? What about adopted Asians? Will they all have the same neuroses we’re trying to avoid? Probably not…)
My perspective is that you can’t make assumptions about values, beliefs, experiences, or even appearance on race. Consequently, if you say ” I don’t date ______,” the thing you’re objecting to is the census category itself (which is pretty arbitrary…) That, to my mind, is racist. Here are my thoughts in a little more detail:
The feedback has already been really fascinating, and there is at least one major question I didn’t address in the original piece: what about when people of a minority or marginalized group prefer to date within their group for the purposes of solidarity and preservation of culture and traditions?
I left this out intentionally because I don’t really feel qualified to answer it, having never identified as part of a marginalized group (except for ladies, which is a moot point here). I don’t have a culture or set of traditions that it is important for me to preserve such that my dating choices would be affected. “Whiteness” is not a culture. Jewish and black friends (at least, these are the only two groups that have spoken up), both argued for an asterisk on my argument that recognized that, in the case of marginalized groups, there might be value in trying to preserve a culture or strengthen a community that might otherwise peter out if not sufficiently maintained.
What do you guys think?
Related Post: You guessed it, I’m a privileged white girl!
Related Post: Dating should not be a meal ticket.
Today’s Role/Reboot post comes to you inspired by the following Facebook exchange:
I realized after I posted this that it might not be a gendered issue, but I don’t date women, so I really have no idea. There are probably lady-monologuers out there, too. That said, I do think there’s something about the economics of dating (especially online dating) wherein men are encouraged to try to impress, and women are encouraged to sit back and be impressed. The thing is, I’m mostly impressed by curiosity, which gets lost if you’re too busy telling a twenty minute story about CrossFit.
Related Post: Why online dating sucks for men.
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I am SO excited about this post. A few weeks ago, I wrote about what counts as “real sex.” I find that our traditional definition, (penis in vagina) is pretty limiting and sometimes damaging because it a) is insulting to queer people who have sex in non-p-in-v ways, b) reinforces a pleasure disparity (because the “main act” is something that most women don’t orgasm from) c) perpetuates the mythic importance of female virginity d) contributes to rape culture by deeming certain forms of sexual violence “more traumatic” than others.
A blogger named Jonalyn politely pointed out that she had a few issues with my piece, and when we started to tweet-debate the topic, she suggested we take our conversation to a bigger stage. Her site, Soulation, is a hub for people who want to explore Christianity compassionately and thoughtfully. We recorded a video debate that was supposed to last for 15 minutes and went on for 40 because we were having THE BEST TIME. I’m not kidding, it was by far the most fun I had that week.
It may shock you to hear that I am not, in fact, a Christian (I know, SO shocking). When Jonalyn reached out about recording our conversation, I was initially wary of jumping into unfamiliar waters where our perspectives would inevitably boil down to a clash of “sex is for fun!” vs. “sex is for God!” I am pleased to say that we both played nicely and used our listening skills to try to find common ground. Surprisingly, there was lots of it!
It’s not often that I get the opportunity to debate this stuff with someone who approaches it with the same level of enthusiasm that I have for sex talk and approaches from a different angle with different core assumptions. Such a treat!
Get more of Jonalyn on Twitter!
Related Post: Talkin’ harassment on Vocalo.
Related Post: Can you be married and sexist? Yep.