Monday, April 1, 2013

[something clever]

I love doing research. Love, love, love it. I love reading new things, encountering new ideas, watching debates unfold on paper over decades and centuries as new scholars and critics attempt to shed light on old themes and ideas. I love to see the constancy of opinion on some things, and the ever-shifting disagreements on others.

I hate citing my research. Footnotes and in-text citations are so fussy, and bibliographies are annoying, and making sure that you put the quotation marks in exactly right makes me want to die. I'd rather just hand you a list (formatted any damn way i please) of everything i read while writing this paper and let you do your own research.

So, in the tradition of many great bloggers, i feel that the time has come to provide you with a weekly bibliography. I read a lot of things online, and these things often inform and influence my thoughts, directly and indirectly. Also, a lot of the stuff i post is going to be old stuff from way back in some other blogger's archives. I'm not timely.

1. I've been learning a lot lately about fat-shaming and fat-acceptance and the pros and cons of both. Basically, it can be boiled down to this: fat-shaming is good because it encourages people to control themselves and change bad habits and become healthier. Fat-shaming is bad because standards of health and beauty are arbitrary and subjective, and being more attractive than someone else in no way makes you a better person or more deserving of good things in life. Fat-acceptance is bad because sometimes being overweight is really unhealthy and is entirely due to poor choices in your life and if you don't change your ways you will die. Fat-acceptance is good because not all fat people are that way from their own bad choices, and not all fat people are unhealthy (and not all thin people are healthy) and anyway regardless of your attractiveness to other people or your physical health you should be happy and feel comfortable in your own skin.

So i found this gallery of photos. You can watch in a slideshow, but if you look at them one by one you can see what their BMI is. It is shocking. There are rail-thin people who look seriously ill who are classified as "normal weight". There are gloriously curvy people with amazing figures classified as "a pound or two shy of obese". There are people who look happier and healthier and sexier than me who are "dangerously overweight". The point is, BMI is bullshit. (Check out the "overweight" triathlete and the "morbidly obese" Wonder Woman).

2. "Should gay marriage be legal?" Ginsburg continued. "Yes. Done. Case closed. Goodbye. Christ, were we seriously scheduled to spend the next few months debating this?" 

All over the country, states are voting to legalize gay marriage, or voting to remove bans on gay marriage, or otherwise ending bigotry. On my own tiny, conservative Christian college campus, we recently approved an LGBT organization. Some day, our children or grandchildren will be in history class and will learn about the LGBTQI fight for civil rights, and will say, "I don't understand. Why did people object to this?" I can't wait for the day that all LGBTQI organizations are dissolved, because there is no longer a need for them. I mean, think about it: how ludicrous would it be to start a heterosexual/cisgender club on a college campus? Why would anyone even need that? There's no point; the world belongs to us. Some day, LGBTQI clubs and organizations will be just as unnecessary as straight/cis ones.

3. I, too, have a debilitating fear of the phone and a job that requires me to make and answer calls pretty frequently, so this piece by Julianne "Boobs Radley" Smolinsky touched my soul like a call from the Holy Spirit. True story: once, when ordering Chinese food, i forgot my phone number and had to ask my roommate what it was. If i thought i could get away with it, i'd copy and paste the whole thing here and pretend i wrote it, and it wouldn't even technically be a lie, because it was pretty much lifted straight from my brain anyway. But instead, i'll just quote some tidbits and then order some spring rolls online.

"Nobody was more delighted by the advent of online food ordering than I was, because calling a restaurant used to fill me with a singular dread. I have a bizarre  middle child's terror of being inconvenient to other people, so asking for something like "dressing on the side" had all the magnitude of requesting, say, a kidney, even in my deferential sexy baby timbre.
 . . . I think the fact that I still fear the phone is an issue of control -- you don't have the degree of planning you do when having a conversation via email or text message. After I write something out, I have the option to edit or delete it. Even when calling was still the preferred method to get in touch with someone, I'd often write a script on a piece of paper if I was nervous enough about the subject to be discussed.
. . . I've encountered similar problems in my personal life. I had a brief non-relationship with a guy last year who kept asking if he could call me, just to talk. I was repelled. Call to talk about what? Is there something you can't say in a series of text messages that I can respond to in a way carefully calibrated to demonstrate my exceptional cleverness? You know who calls people just to talk? The Long Island Serial Killer."

4. I've been in a season of doubt recently. Well, not doubt precisely, but definitely asking questions and testing boundaries and trying to find my footing. And Rachel Held Evans, the Queen of Christian Doubters, wrote this prose-poem of a post that hit me where i live.

"Or it will pull you farther out to sea like rip tide,

Or hold your head under as you drown --"

5. Hey, look! More body-image stuff!

". . . it was so apparent to me that my looking beautiful, or sexy, or whatever, was an important component of the event. It was a feature. My appearance was part of the entertainment, and no matter what I did, if I went along with the cultural prescription by getting dolled up, I was going to be rewarded with oos and aahs."

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