Friday Five!

Hey pals, it’s Friday again. My week has been my week: work is good, yoga is good, and feeling feelings is good (even if it doesn’t always feel like that, right?). I continue to be busy, so another short intro today. Let’s jump right into four things from the internet and a list of things that made me happy from the week. But first, some good advice that I’m trying hard to internalize:

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Vegan Pumpkin Pie Energy Bars

Okay, I’m going there. I am totally that girl—(well, not tooootally, but certainly implicated!)—and now that it actually feels like fall, I have suddenly been craving all things pumpkin. #sorrynotsorry. These energy bars from Nutritionist in the Kitch look like perfect autumn snacks!

ppiebarsmain-398x600

Work It

I have some qualms with this essay about “Health Raves,” but I also appreciate a lot of what it says about the ways in which our culture of productivity is very clearly a product of capitalism. Max Pearl begins with a description of health raves as a way to discuss the difference between disco drug culture and today’s green juice sipping workaholics. Both partying and “being healthy” take work, but the unique juncture of both is what Pearl finds interesting. “The health rave shifts the orientation of the party away from the wasteful pursuit of pleasure, the nihilistic accumulation of stimuli leading up to the inevitable crush of black, towards the constructive goal of making oneself a better person. And if the end of partying is suicide, the ultimate refusal of work, then the day rave has attempted to wipe death out of the picture by positioning the party as a means to healthier living, and by extension, a means to productivity in the service of capital.” There are times that this essay felt very “We all just need to do more drugs and slack off to fight capitalism,” which majorly rubs me the wrong way, but regardless, it’s a thinky piece that acts as another illustration of the contemporary configurations of health in a neoliberal world.

Lesbian Obesity Study

Hrrrrmmm. I have some major problems with this article as well, but I think it’s worth discussion. Basically Mari Brighe provides an overview of recent obesity studies that tell us what we all know: BMI is bunk, health can’t be measured in weight, etc. She also points to studies that suggest that lesbians are more likely to be fat than their straight counterparts, but that studies also show that technically-overweight queer ladies don’t think of themselves as fat. Brighe continues,

“On the flip side, straight girls are more likely to think of themselves as fat even when they’re not. That’s right, “overweight” queer ladies tend to be less critical of their bodies than straight women.

Researchers want to call this a problem of self-perception, but I have a different theory. It could be, perhaps, that queer girl culture doesn’t suffer the incessant, unreasonable pressure of the male gaze in the same way that straight girl culture does. After all, if you don’t have to concern yourself with attracting men as romantic partners, it’s considerable more reasonable to not give a fuck about their photoshopped-magazine-and-mainstream-pornography-fueled beauty standards, and you might be less likely to internalize that garbage. A dig through some psychology journals show that I’m not making this up. One study showed that lesbians tended to rate the attractiveness of bigger women higher than straight women did. A later study showed that women who felt a strong connection to the lesbian community scored better in personal body image and had fewer indications of depression.” 

Um, can I just say, “yikes”? Here’s the thing about body dysmorphia (not to be confused with body dysphoria)—it’s not about attracting a romantic partner. Surely, that could fuel some people’s negative body perceptions (e.g., “No one will want to date me if I’m not thin”), but it’s a whole fucking lot deeper than just that. Anyone who has struggled with body image, eating disorders, and or body dysmorphia knows that it can’t be solved just by knowing that potential lovers (male or female or trans or GNC or whomever) think you have a sexy body. I know so many women who have partners who try so goddamn hard to convince them that they are beautiful in their body, and usually we—(they, the women in question)—believe that our lovers think this is true. But we don’t think it’s true.

The idea that EDs, etc. stem from not feeling like enough people want to fuck you is pretty offensive to me. ALSO, the whole “these overweight queer ladies don’t think of themselves as fat” erases all the queer fat-identified ladies who identify with fat-positive politics. So, that too. What are your thoughts?

Vegans on Ex-Vegans

I’m sure most of you reading this blog have already seen Sayward’s post about her Vegans Talking About Ex-Vegans project, but in case you haven’t, go look at it now! Basically Sayward and her “ex-vegan-studying partner in crime, Matt Ruscigno …[are] slowly but surely piecing together a new website, which [they] hope will be a hub of information and interaction regarding the important issue of why people stop being vegan.” There are already a ton of great resources on this post, so I can’t wait to see what else the website has to offer. Vegan MoFo seems like the perfect time to remember that veganism is a movement and losing people from it is something that those of us invested in it should be discussing.

 

Stuff from the Week that Made Me Happy

cooler, autumn weather

yoga/sculpt

autumn-inspired bouquets of just-because flowers

getting a lot of faculty support for the upcoming Ferguson event that I spearheaded at work

phone calls, emails,  texts, and care-packages from friends far and near

nutritious, healing food

my students & seeing them start to make connections

turmeric

reading for book club

boycat

bonding with other people waiting in the forever-never-ending-line at the social security office

tea

figuring out what my Fall of 2014 music is going to be

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 What do you think about the above articles? What made you happy this week? xo

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4 thoughts on “Friday Five!

  1. FoodFeud says:

    This is a great post and I could respond in depth about a lot of it…
    The queer body image piece is really striking. As a queer person I do think lesbians are more accepting of all body types, which is wonderful, but I can also see it being incredibly offensive to say that eating disorders stem from outside influences. I also have found it to be true that not all lesbians identify as feminist, and can often be as cruel or judgemental about potential partners as straight men can. It’s some murky, murky ground. I’m glad it’s being discussed, at the least.
    Work It is also a compelling article touching on stuff I’ve been thinking a lot about lately – is it okay to slack off at yr job and be a jerk to customers because the job is shitty? No: it would be great if we could all find a job that meant a lot to use so that we WANTED to work harder. Unfortunately, that is so rarely the case. It’s not only due to capitalism (though it is a large part of it, and the dependence on retail or even selling ideas) – I find it also to be a factor of education available – though I guess that is an economic issue too.
    Really interesting links this Friday. Glad you are feeling so good about so many things. Hope you get yr pumpkin fix soon. I’ve been biking a lot recently and enjoying the amazing cool air too.

    • raechel says:

      I agree Maud that I have, in general, seen more acceptability of various body types in queer lady circles, but to suggest that lesbians are outside of “the male gaze” (part of the patriarchy) makes it sound like lesbians exist in a vacuum. No one can exist outside the patriarchy, you know?

      Your response to the Work It piece reminds me of one of my favorite articles on similar ideas: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/01/in-the-name-of-love/. It also reminds me of being a baby anarcho-punk and thinking Crimethinc knew what was up about not working, and the getting into the labor movement and being like, oh, jk, nm.

      I’ve been biking more too! So much nicer to bike in this weather than the sticky summer.

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