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For the one reader of this blog who does not also read Shapely Prose and The Rotund (and if you don’t, why the hell not?), I would like to draw your attention to a new project put together by Stacy Bias called “The Fat Experience Project.”

Here’s Stacy, from a message she sent me:

The goal of the Fat Experience Project is to map the global experience of fat in a way that is human, has a face, a heart, a mind, a body and a voice. The Fat Experience Project is an oral, visual and written history project which seeks to be a humanizing force in body image activism. By collecting and sharing the many and varied stories of individuals of size, the Fat Experience Project seeks to engage with, educate, empower and enrich the lives of people of size, our allies and the world at large.

As the project grows, it will be filled with first-person, non-fiction narratives (in text, video or mp3 format) that speak to the many and varied aspects of the life lived large. Some of the content will come from interviews already gathered on an extensive 2-month road trip (with the lovely Val Garrison) in both audio and video format. Some content will come from trips on the horizon. Most content will be submitted via the website by readers such as yourself.

It is my hope that the project will be a community tool to combat prejudice/stereotype/discrimination as well as to help externalize shame so it can discussed and dissipated. The things we keep silent about are the things that do us the most harm. Shared burden is lighter. I am hoping, as well, that the project may eventually be used as a humanizing resource for fat studies and social anthropology courses.

Sounds good to me!

It’s not like I expected any better from a Men’s Health article reprinted on the Health section of MSN’s website, but I was still annoyed after reading about the 8 Drugs Doctors Wouldn’t Take. I skimmed most of the article because most of the drugs doctors wouldn’t take are also drugs for which I have no need. Except for number five, Prilosec and Nexium.

Now, I don’t take prescription Prilosec or Nexium because my health insurance decided long ago when Prilosec became available OTC that it would be much better for them if I would use my own dollars to pay for this medicine, thanks. These days, I technically don’t take Prilosec at all, since Walgreens, bless ’em, now sells a generic version. But I do take a proton-pump inhibitor, omeprazole, nearly every day. Sometimes, on bad days (like, for example, today), I take three or four of these fuckers.

I am certainly alarmed to discover that doing so might result in a heart attack as well as increase my risk of pneumonia and bone loss, but for right now, the possibility of developing those ailments feels distant and unlikely, whereas the incredible, breath-stealing, throat burning, wretch-inducing, gut-clenching, audible-moan-inciting pain that I experience when I don’t take the pills is quite immediate.* For the moment, I’m willing to gamble that “no likely connection” between proton pump inhibitors and heart attacks actually means “no likely connection” between proton pump inhibitors and heart attacks. And pneumonia and bone loss, because nothing ramps up the capacity for denial like chronic stomach pain, eh?

Still, given that the older I get, the greater the risks posed by omeprazole become, I would certainly like to discuss other options with my doctor. Despite my generally high regard for my personal doctor, I’m suspicious of the conversation given that one doctor quoted in the article recommends taking Zantac (at which my personal stomach issues LAUGH RIOTOUSLY because seriously Zantac, Tagamet, and those other histamine blockers are about as effective as eating this bowl of paperclips on my desk) and the other doctor suggests, of course, being thin:

“To really cure the problem, lose weight,” says Michael Roizen, M.D., chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic and co-author of “YOU: The Owner’s Manual.” That’s because when you’re overweight, excess belly fat puts pressure on and changes the angle of your esophagus, pulling open the valve that’s supposed to prevent stomach-acid leaks. This in turn makes it easier for that burning sensation to travel up into your chest.

I developed acid reflux when I was in my early 20s and weighed 130 pounds, and I have had it ever since–as a skinny person, chubby person, and a downright fat person. Since developing reflux, I’ve been skinny and then fat and then skinny and then fat again, and while my weight fluctuates like the tides, one thing that never goes away for any great duration is my searing stomach pain. (I have also suffered from acid reflux as a regular exerciser, as a slothful couch potato, as a pack-a-day smoker, as a only-smoke-when-I-drink-smoker, as a non-smoker, as a vegetarian, as an Atkins dieter, as a heavy drinker, as a tea-totaller (or, as close to a tea totaller as I ever get), as a coffee drinker, as a tea drinker, as a water drinker, as a stress-case, as a zen-like relaxed person, as a single woman, as a married person, as a red-head and as a brunette, as a resident of six different states, and as I pursued three different careers.) I know fat people with acid reflux. I know skinny people with acid reflux. I mean, hell, have you ever tried to eat with stomach acid roiling up into your esophagus? It’s a wonder that fat and acid reflux are linked at all.

Perhaps this is what the great Dr. Roizen is actually suggesting! Leaving your acid reflux untreated so that you are unable to eat, until you lose enough weight that the reflux magically corrects itself. Or you die. Whichever. I guess we’ll have to buy his book and find out.

*You know, I’m also sort of fascinated by this side effect (lol get it) of the over-the-counterization of pharmaceuticals. Before my doctor would write me a prescription for Nexium, back when it was prescription only, he subjected me to a few blood tests to make sure I didn’t have an ulcer. Satisfied that I did not have an ulcer, the doctor assumed I had acid reflux (there might have been some fat prejudice there, since I was fat the first time I actually sought treatment for chronic heartburn, although I’d experienced it for about eight years by then) and away I went. Shortly thereafter, my insurance company dropped proton pump inhibitors from their list of covered drugs and I have been self medicating ever since. When the pain gets worse, I take more pills. Every once in awhile, I skip a couple of days to see if whatever ails me has miraculously resolved itself and then spend the next three days in severe pain, doubling up on the pills, and eating nothing with a pH under 7. At this point, there could be a giant acid-producing alien parasite in my stomach and I would never know, because I don’t need to go to a doctor for this medicine, so why should I seek medical care for a condition that is, as far as I’m concerned, treatable. If inconvenient.

I don’t have much to add to copyranter‘s take on this PSA, except to angrily purse my lips at the medical profession and send everybody over to First, Do No Harm. And maybe point out that I’d rather sit by myself and eat potato chips than play this those grabby, ill-proportioned high-waisted nerds, too, but I’m fat so of course I would say that.

From copyranter:

From the atrocious layout to the asinine headline to the awful illustration of children of yesteryear to the…what the FUCK does this visual even mean? Why is a basketball game being held on a see-saw? And teeter-tottering isn’t exactly a great fat-reducing activity. And the dire headline: …”like their lives depended on it.” Well, for the very small percentage of kids who played Russian roulette, I guess that’s true.

Riots Not Diets
Riots Not Diets, originally uploaded by gaelx.

Michelle Obama Watch

Gina at What About Our Daughters has taken Michelle Obama Watch life, and she’s looking for contributors!

If you use WordPress, you can add the RSS feed to Michelle Obama Watch on your side bar. It’s in the Dashboard under “Design” and then “Widgets.”

Hey Female! Are you a runner? An athlete? Do you kick ass and take names? Are you competitive? Do you have drive? Do you feel powerful and strong in mind and body because of your amazing physical capabilities?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should sign up for the Skirt Chaser 5K Race because clearly you are an uppity bitch who needs to be knocked down a peg. The Skirt Chaser 5K Race seeks to remind woman runners of their status as delicate, sexualized, pink-clad objects to be pursued by eager men.

Ladies first!

Catch Me Wave
The women’s start will kickoff the event, with all women wearing a SkirtSports Skirt. Race Skirt included with entry!

Pink!
And it’s pink!!! Wait, not pink: Flirtini/Smooch.

While the men have fun eagerly watching all the ladies in their short skirts before they take off in hot pursuit of their objective: FEMALES.

SkirtChaser Wave
Catch us if you can! The men will eagerly watch as the women have a three-minute lead before their start.

Presumably, once the men finish pursuing their be-skirted quarry, they ply them with booze to lower their inhibitions (and keep those li’l gals from running away again) so the girls will willingly strip to their underwear for public display!

Block Party
The Red Bull post-race party includes block party style food and drinks, dating games and a fashion show- all the way down to the skivvies!

What, no wet t-shirt contest?

Hot running sluts who enter will receive the dainty selection of pink, er, I mean Flirtini/Smooch running gear, including a SKIRT, pictured above. Men will get powerful red and black (no cutesy names for the colors of the mens’ clothes?) gear that portrays those lady runners in sexxxy poses, to take home like hunting trophies.

Hott!

So there you have it, ladies. A race designed to remind you that you: 1) can run but you can’t hide; 2) should be wearing a skirt at all times; 3) aren’t wearing enough pink; 4) are nothing more than men’s hunting quarry; and 5) should not be exercising to be strong and fit, but to have a hot little body to put on display for the men who eagerly watched you run away from them.

Oh and men? You live to chase women. And pink is totally for girls.

Unsurprisingly, this whole farce is sponsored by Red Bull, mixer of choice for idiot frat boys everywhere. Unfortunately, the event is also sponsored by SkirtSports, the providers of the gendered Flirtini/Smooch-colored running gear, a company founded by just such a badass, strong, woman as described in my first paragraph:

Nicole DeBoom grew up in the Chicago suburbs and started swimming competitively at the ripe-ol’ age of 5. By high school Nicole was running and swimming in national competitions. She qualified for the 1988 Olympic Swimming Trials in the 100m breaststroke, and shortly after, headed to Yale, where she swam varsity and wrote her senior thesis in sociology on problems women have with body imaging.

Always one to put passion ahead of parental pressure, Nicole parlayed her expensive Ivy League diploma into a career as a swim coach, instilling on others what she had learned through her athletic experiences, and meanwhile dabbling in triathlons. In November 1995, she met her husband, Tim DeBoom (2001 & 2002 Hawaii Ironman World Champion) on an airplane en route to her first World Championship as an amateur.

Nicole’s triathlon career was a remarkable and quick climb to the upper echelon of elite racers. She made her pro triathlon debut in 1999 by competing in the US Triathlon Series. In 2000, she competed in her first Ironman distance event (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.3 mile marathon run), finishing third in the California Ironman and 12th at the Hawaii Ironman World Championship.

Since 2002, Nicole focused mainly on short distance triathlon racing, including first-place wins in major events in Boulder, Colo., Memphis, Tenn., and Chicago.

Apparently, DeBoom came to different conclusions in her paper on women and body “imaging” than I would have, as her impressive academic and athletic career led her to this:

On a training run in December 2003, Nicole jogged along, desperately wishing for a little inspiration to help her through what felt like her millionth workout of her triathlon career. As she glanced at her reflection in a store window, she realized something was missing. It wasn’t the performance in her apparel. It was the attitude. Her apparel had no sass! When she got home, she immediately scribbled the word “Pretty!” on a piece of scratch paper, hereby taking the historic first step toward what is now the culture of SkirtSports, a company that lives by the idea that fun and fitness is a lifestyle choice that nurtures confidence and happiness.

That’s what the world of competitive sports for women is lacking! Sass! Not funding or equal protection under the laws or promotion by the media or sponsorship. SASS!!!! Well, sass, the reinforcement of oppressive gender norms, and a little misogynist objectification.

Nice work.

I know I’m not the boss of you, but when you have a moment, and if you feel like it, consider reading Fat Black Women Let’s Go There from one of my new favorite blogs, Womanist Musings:

I came across a post over at Nubian Fitness Goddess, entitled “I’m Thick!!” Are Black Women in Denial About Their Health. At first she goes through the descriptors “thick” and “F.A.T” (Fabulous and Fat) to discuss black women that are considered obese. Apparently it is okay to accept these terms as long as you are attempting to do something about your “excess weight”. Loving yourself for who you are is somehow impossible, if your body is encased in a lump fat. Think about loving the body you will/should have, versus the body you currently inhabit. We all must openly acknowledge the health concerns of carrying excess weight. Yes I know, diabetes, strokes, etc are risks however, why must we constantly acknowledge this to make skinny people satisfied that we find our selves contemptible? Confess, Confess you twinkie eating fatty…Skinny= Good, Fat = Bad, and everyone knows it. Quick ,say 20 Hail Marys and 10 Our Fathers for absolution. How dare you have any kind of self esteem while you are shoving an extra large pizza down your throat, cause you know all of us fatties are constantly binge eating, ignoring the health risks. How do we even sleep at night with that threat hanging over our head

I also like really Renee’s responses to the comments on that piece.

In a brief (three message) email exchange with a friend that contained the words “dinner” and “shame,” Gmail sponsored links presented me with these websites of possible interest:

10 Skinny Rules
I lost 9 lbs. in 11 days, just by following these 10 simple rules.
FatLoss4Idiots.com

Spasso Italian Grill
Old City’s Best Kept Secret Is Out! Affordable Italian Restaurant
http://www.SpassoItalianGrill.com

Kobe Japanese House

Great restaurants in Hickory Come in for a memorable meal
HickorysKobeJapanese.com
Dinner For Two

Dinner For Two Online.
Shop Target.com.
http://www.Target.com

Craving Pancakes?
Shave off fat and calories with these delicious food substitutions!
health.glam.com/savvy_food_swaps

Here’s a summary:

1. If you haven’t lost weight, you are an IDIOT because it is easy.

2. DELICIOUS FOOD!

3. EAT THINGS!

4. Eat things… that you buy on-line from Target? (Are they using their old funky popcorn as packing material or something?)

5. Wait no, if you must eat, eat FOOD SUBSTITUTES, but not real food even if you are craving pancakes.

Is that not dieting-induced neurosis in a nutshell???

I’ve gone back and forth over who I support in the primaries. I voted for Obama and then spent the next month wishing I’d voted for Clinton (not that it would make a difference in Illinois, but still). Now at the end, I think I made the right choice. I would also classify myself as someone who, as Melissa described, “voted for Obama in the primary, who [has] watched with horror the seething hatred directed at Hillary Clinton just because she is a woman.”

So congratulations to Barack Obama. I’m glad the stupid primaries are over and I am facing the coming months of campaigning with fear and dread and, under it all, a glimmering kernel of hope that all this talk of change is more than rhetoric. Now I am way too cynical to think Obama is going to take office and socialize our health care system, pass the ERA, codify reproductive justice into federal law, grant equal rights under the law to non-hetero couples, and strengthen Title VII or anything. But I’m hoping things will at least be better once he’s in office.

I’m editing this to add something important, that I know but that somehow (ummm) failed to really hit me until just now. Lauren at Stereohyped says it better:

While I was well aware of the historical nature of the campaign, the full weight of it didn’t truly hit me until last night, because I didn’t really allow myself to believe that in this country that I grew up in, this country that I know and love and hate and could not live without, that something like this was possible. We have a black, major-party nominee for president. And if he plays his cards right and voters step up to the plate, he could also become president. There are few black Americans, especially older black Americans, who were idealistic enough to fully believe (and not just hope) that this could happen in their lifetimes without seeing it first with their own eyes. Barack Obama was one of them.

Holy fucking shit people. We have a black, major-party nominee for president. Knowing myself as I do, this probably still won’t totally hit me until I’m doing laundry tomorrow night at which point I will have a tearful, all-to-public realization of the momentousness of the occasion in the damn laundromat.

What I really want to say right now, though, is that I am with Cheryl Lynn when it comes to Michelle Obama: “‘Chelle could call me at two o’clock in the morning and ask me to roll on a bitch and I would calmly pull out my sneakers and Vaseline.”* I am a FAN of Michelle Obama. I am hoping that she becomes friends with Hillary Clinton, learns a few tricks, hits the senate (Come be my senator! I will campaign for you!) and runs for president in 2020.

And I’m so not looking forward to what the media and the Republican party (and some bitter racist Democrats) are going to try to do to this woman from now until November. For shit’s sake, look at just one way so-called “allies” have treated Michelle Obama before now. Two coworkers, when discussing Barack Obama’s campaign around the Illinois primaries made it a point to stress how little they trusted Michelle. When I asked them why, they answered that they thought she was scheming, and that it was her greedy desire for a larger house that forced poor Barack into a potentially shady land deal with Tony Rezko. And I don’t even want to get into what my staunchly democratic grandparents, who have a framed picture of FDR on their wall and who were two of the biggest Hillary Clinton supports on this planet have said about Michelle because it makes me sick to my stomach and more than a little bit depressed. And that’s just a tiny bit of what I, a privileged white woman who has worked hard to limit her exposure to assholes and bigots as much as possible, have experienced first hand.

There’s a storm coming. And it’s going to be ugly.

Racialicious has a preview today in a post by Tami from What Tami Said entitled Michelle Obama: Aint’ She a Woman?

Michelle Obama seems not to inspire the fealty among mainstream women that Hillary Clinton does. Over at the blog Hillary is 44, which has very vocal about suspected sexism directed at the first viable female candidate for president, a screed was recently posted entitled “God damn Michelle Obama.”

Obama wants his lantern jawed wife to be “off-limits”. Michelle apparently is the only spouse to get such special treatment. It was Michelle of course that debased herself by trying to dredge past right-wing attacks on Bill and Hillary Clinton. It was the Obama campaign that circulated anonymous memos attacking spouse Bill Clinton.

Lantern-jawed? It is sooo feminist to attack a woman based on her appearance. It’s a safe bet that the proud women at Hillary is 44 won’t be speaking out about how press, pundits and even some progressive bloggers have painted Michelle Obama as the stereotypical domineering black woman–a two-fer sexist and racist label.

Tami ends the piece with an admonition that all bloggers who self-identify as feminist MUST HEED if we are going to make any progress toward justice:

Mainstream feminists have been extremely vocal about the gender bias that has dogged Hillary Clinton since she appeared on the national stage. They rightly realized that sexism against the former First Lady and current Senator is just an example of the way society views ALL women. So, why are so many women standing silent, and worse, abetting the demonization of another woman of substance?

Shakesville kept up with the misogynistic attacks on Clinton with the Hillary Sexism Watch. Now, What About Our Daughters is taking it a necessary step further and starting a dedicated blog to monitor the situation:

Volunteer Michelle Media Monitors
This whole infamous tape stuff is just a sliver of what Michelle Obama is going to face in the media. So because I predict getting a flurry of emails from now until November, I am going to be proactive and start a separate Michelle Obama blog to track every article, blog post, youtube clip that pops up and provide you an opportunity to respond. Because if the past is any indicator, the campaign has no problem with her being turned into a verbal punching bag, I DO! IF you want to volunteer and want to post updates on the blog, send an email to the gmail account in the right sidebar. Its going to be a LONG hot SUMMER!

Whether you support her husband or not. Let’s be clear, any and every Black woman that walks in her footsteps can expect the same treatment so we might as well pull a Gandolf, draw a line in the stand and yell “THOU SHALL NOT PASS!” This ain’t about Barack, its about every professional Black woman that has had to smile on the days she didn’t want to for fear of being labeled ANGRY.

So keep your eyes open, and stay loud.

*I’m not entirely sure what the Vaseline is for, but I have some and would totally bring it along if M. Obama asked me to!

ETA: OKAY in the comments, MayDarling kindly explained:

If you’re going “roll on a bitch” ie, fight a girl, you put vaseline on your face so when said bitch tries to scratch you; instead of grabbing onto skin, she gets nails full of grease. Mainly just to keep your pretty face from being scarred from cat-fight scratches.

And, you know, I don’t want to put Vaseline on my face OR fight women so I guess Cheryl Lynn’s metaphor is not entirely apt for me, but the underly sentiment of support still stands.

You know those days when you wake up and think, “I just can’t do this today. I can’t take one more day as a walking, talking fat-bodied political statement and I can’t cope with the misogyny and racism and ablism and homophobia and transphobia and capitalism and hate and greed and pollution and noise and assholes because it’s hopeless and we can never change anything ever”? I have those days sometimes. But from now on, instead of despairing,* I will call those times Teaspoon Days:


KNEEL BEFORE THE POWER CARDIGAN

Thanks to Melissa for the concept and Faith for the execution. And how pants-wettingly great is it going to be the first time I’m out and about and run into some other awesome person wearing a teaspoon? Because I’ll know that whatever I’m feeling, be it despair or the will to keep on fighting, I am not alone.

*Okay, I will probably despair some, too, but whatever this jewelry can’t fix, I will treat with beer.