What We Missed

Costco takes a racist toy off the shelves. The question of how the hell it got there to begin with remains.
A study shows that despite the stereotype, women aren’t more “tentative” than men.
Newsweek on “America’s War on the Overweight.”
Circulation of women’s magazines are sharply declining.
Amanda at the Sexist takes on gender misidentification in reporters’ coverage of the DC women who were murdered recently.
Check out the launch of Harlot’s Parlour, a new blog about sex, sexuality and sex work.

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55 Comments

  1. starryeyed.kid21
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    I’m confused. I know the racism behind monkeys and African-Americans, but the doll came in more than ethnicities than African-American…

  2. Abby B.
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    I can’t bring myself to excuse the toy manufacturer just because the image isn’t racist in all its iterations.
    I’m sure that the people who made it weren’t intending the doll to be racist, but that doesn’t free them from the responsibility of being aware of how their products will be interpreted.

  3. femme.
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Harlot’s Parlour looks so awesome, thanks for linking Jessica!

  4. gal16
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    I do not see how the “lil monkey” toy is racist considering it came in more the one race and it came with a plush monkey. Lots of children like monkeys and would not even understand what adults interpret as racist. All the complaints did was make less African-American dolls available to young girls who want dolls.

  5. Chrissy
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    I agree that calling the monkey doll racist is a bit of a stretch. It seems to me to be only an attempt to depict non-caucasians in toys, which I think is great. The toy makes no reference to the child’s race and in no way indicates that the doll is on the level of the monkey, just that the doll likes monkeys, just like the caucasian and asian-american dolls do.

  6. Pantheon
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    I think its obvious that the toy wasn’t meant to be racist, since it came in different races with a plush monkey and also there was a version with different races with a plush panda.
    But, once you notice the connotation, its hard to ignore it, so I think it was a good call to take them off the shelves. Hopefully they can repackage the dolls with a different stuffed animal and sell the monkeys separately, or something, so it doesn’t all go to waste.

  7. Audentia
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Why it is racist
    Short form:
    White people are not derogatorily referred to as “pandas.” On the other hand, there is a long history of black people being referred to as various animals, especially monkeys, in a slur that implies they are less “civilized” (to put it charitably) or even sub-human.
    Uncool.

  8. Comrade Kevin
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    As for the fat phobia article, I was particular intrigued to learn how much self-loathing, self-deception, hypocrisy, projecting our own fears, and repressing our true feelings factors in to the overall equation. Intrigued, yes, but hardly surprised.
    I wonder whether these deficiencies in self-esteem and self-image stem from the human condition or whether they are purely a reflection of these times. But I think I have at least a partial answers: people have been making cruel jokes at other peoples’ expense forever, so this is merely a new wrinkle to an ancient problem.

  9. Abby B.
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for linking to that post.
    “Ignorance is no defense when a child of color must learn from birth to negotiate Whiteness.”
    That is a beautiful, clear, and concise answer to why I think people should be held responsible even when their intent was not (perhaps overtly or consciously) racist.

  10. Audentia
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    in no way indicates that the doll is on the level of the monkey, just that the doll likes monkeys
    Um…the doll’s hat says “Lil’ Monkey.” Not “I like monkeys.” It is an explicit label.
    1. The toy makes no reference to the child’s race
    2. It seems to me to be only an attempt to depict non-caucasians in toys
    Face it. When we see a black doll, we think, ‘Oh, hey, a black doll.’ When we see a white doll, we think, ‘Oh, hey, a doll.’ In the world we live in, whiteness is “raceless.” Anything not-white has a race and is thought of in the dominant cultural narrative as having a race. The white doll is a doll. The black doll represents Blackness by default.

  11. Cicada Nymph
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m torn on these dolls. I didn’t think the doll was intentionally racist at first either because from the article linked to in the post it sounded like the white and other ethnicities came dressed with slogans that said “little _” (fill in the blank with a kind of animal) and that because of unfortunate chance, Costco had simply chosen a bad animal to represent African-Americans. However, once looking at the link Audentia posted I have a slightly different take. The white baby’s head band says “pretty baby” and doesn’t call her a “lil panda.” Now, I have heard young children referred to in affection as a “little monkey” by parents (I believe I have heard this only with white kids) when they are acting mischievous. So, perhaps it is still bad luck that the black baby got chosen for this animal, and thus this slogan. On the other hand, subtle racism could have been at work because black people have a long history of being treated more like animals and portrayed as animals in the media and this continues, often in modern fashion mags, ads, etc. So perhaps it is not pure chance that the black baby got chosen for a message likening it to an animal and the white baby got the benign “pretty baby” slogan. (which also, by the way, could play into the representation of beauty in the media as white). In this scenario the doll designer automatically linked “black” with “animal” and “white” with “pretty”. The third option, of course, is that this is as blatantly racist as it appears and is playing on all the racist history of comparing black people to monkeys, though I find it doubtful that Costco would intentionally do this to their business unless some doll designer was racist and got this in under the radar. No matter what the case, the doll did end up being offensive and needs to be removed.

  12. Cicada Nymph
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Go to the link Audentia posted further down. At first glance I agreed with you, but the white baby is presented quite different from the black baby.

  13. Pantheon
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Two comments:
    1) Its hard to see, but I think it says “pretty panda” on the white baby’s hat, which matches up fairly well with “lil’ monkey”. Oh, I just noticed in the Womanist Musings post there is a correction at the bottom that says they now realize it says “pretty panda.”
    2) I thought from reading the article that there was also a white doll that said “lil’ monkey” and a black doll that said “pretty panda.” If they actually only had monkey dolls in black and panda dolls in white, then I would be more offended (but my guess is that that blog doesn’t have photos of every single iteration of the dolls).

  14. SnrkyFeminist
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m having a hard time with the discussion over obesity. I spent the whole summer researching childhood obesity at a public health law institute as a research assistant, and it has really influenced the way I think about obesity. I feel like much of the discussion from my feminist peers is focused on social perceptions of “skinny” and “fat” and the way the issue is directed at women. But I never see a discussion that is focused on the fact that this is a health epidemic we are facing. Not only that, but it is actually disproportionately affecting people along racial, socioeconomic, and gender lines. African American women have the highest incidence of obesity. Native Americans have massive problems associated with food insecurity since so many of them rely upon government subsidized food programs, resulting in incredibly high obesity rates. Those in low income areas have little to no access to fresh fruit and vegetables, and are generally surrounded by fast food utopias. Eating healthy has very much become a privilege in this country, and acting as though focusing on obesity rates is only a way to make women feel inadequate is doing a huge disservice to everyone, most of all women and children who are most affected by lack of healthy foods and resources for safe exercise!
    Sorry for the rant. I just always only see discussion surrounding the detriment that the obesity discussion does for women, when we need to face these problems head on and discuss how women, who are disproportionately poor, are affected by lack of healthy foods that causes increased health problems. Weight should not be shamed, but it needs to be discussed in matters related to what has become the privilege of health.

  15. Lilith Luffles
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    So every Li’l monkey doll got pulled? Or just the black doll?
    If only the black doll got pulled, isn’t it racist to exclude blacks from a line of dolls? Or does the negative connotations with being compared to monkeys override that? I’m all over the place on this issue, leaning most strongly towards “the doll is still racist and should not be forcibly placed with the monkey by the manufacturers.”
    And I find that womanist musings link to be misleading. I think the white and black dolls should be pictured for both the monkey and the panda. The way it’s presented is as though only the black baby got presented as an animal which is a monkey, and the white baby got presented as a baby who likes pandas. What about the black doll as the pretty panda or the white doll as the Li’l monkey? If the black doll as the monkey is as bad as it’s claimed to be, (which I believe it is) wouldn’t it be just as bad if all dolls were presented?

  16. roxie
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    THE WHITE BABY DOLL IS CALLED “PRETTY PANDA”
    Hopefully that ends the confusion!
    Also, the intention does not matter calling the black doll “lil’ monkey” IS STILL RACIST!
    GOD, I cannot believe I am having to explain this on this blog!!! The ignorance of people keeps surprising me, but I guess I should stop being so surprised instead of expecting ppl to know shit.
    Use your google, g’damn!

  17. roxie
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    No. the white doll is called “pretty panda”

  18. Pantheon
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    The costco website has the Pretty Panda doll in black, white, and hispanic versions. The Lil Monkey doll is gone, but it seems it also came in those three colors.
    So while I think you were correcting the idea that it said “pretty baby” I think you’re also incorrect to refer to it as “the white baby doll” when it comes in three colors.

  19. Unequivocal
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Using my google I found this blog, which includes a letter from Costco that makes it clear that the Lil’ Monkey doll was made in both Black and Caucasian versions.
    http://www.bvblackspin.com/2009/08/20/costco-black-lil-monkey-doll-response/
    While I agree with you that intention doesn’t necessarily matter when determining whether an act is racist or not, I do think it matters when determining the degree of culpability on the part of the person (or company) engaging in said action. In this case, I think Costco was guilty of racial ignorance, but that their decision to sell this product was not based on racism.

  20. Lilith Luffles
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    Maybe you should use your google to see that both the monkey and the panda came in three races. The only time that the black doll is strictly the monkey and the white doll is strictly the panda is on the womanist musings post.

  21. Chrissy
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    I think you nailed it on the head there with your description of the problems with the obesity debate.
    I think it can be said that there are health problems associated with obesity and that certain groups are more likely to be obese and have these health problems and that there is prejudice at play in how certain groups have access to healthy food and exercise. And I think that can be said without being fatphobic.

  22. Kurumi & Cheese
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    From what I’d read, all the babies (black, white, and inbetween) were available with monkeys and pandas.

  23. Audentia
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    Clarification based on statements below:
    Due to the history (including today) of black people being associated with animals to demonstrate their supposed inferiority, and the fact that a black person/child/doll inevitably represents Blackness, labelling a black person as any animal is a racially-charged and racist act. The fact that one of the animals is a monkey simply *intensifies* the problem.
    White dolls are “raceless” and do not represent whiteness. Referring to a white person as an animal is a cute affectation that, in the Western cultural narrative, has no connotations for white people overall. Whites are afforded the right to be individuals.

  24. roxie
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    That wasn’t the only blog I saw it on.

  25. lyndorr
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    Well, all three races of dolls have both labels. I feel like it’s more likely it was not intentional because it seems likely that the creator was white and designed a white doll with two labels and then thought the doll should be made in other races too. But I guess the point is even if it wasn’t intentional, it’s still racist. I think a lot of people miss that point.

  26. Audentia
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    Reposting from above:
    Due to the history (including today) of black people being associated with animals to demonstrate their supposed inferiority, and the fact that a black person/child/doll inevitably represents Blackness, labelling a black person as any animal is a racially-charged and racist act. The fact that one of the animals is a monkey simply *intensifies* the problem.
    White dolls are “raceless” and do not represent whiteness. Referring to a white person as an animal is a cute affectation that, in the Western cultural narrative, has no connotations for white people overall. Whites are afforded the right to be individuals.

  27. Vidya
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    Kate S., as a researcher who works in fat studies, I find your claims extremely problematic. I don’t doubt, however, that a knowledge of fatness gleaned from working at a public-health-related organization will be an extremely partial and biased knowledge.
    Firstly, yes, there are statistical associations between a small number of health issues and weight; however, causal connections have been established in almost none of these. (And in some cases, the causality is reversed; for example, insulin resistance, the genetically-caused precursor to diabetes, produces weight gain; being fat does not cause diabetes). Social and medical discrimination also can easily account for a number of these correlations — such as fatness and hypertension (not suffered by fat people in non-fat-hating cultures, and measured inaccurately in fat individuals by conventional medical equipment). Perhaps you’ve also seen the research that demonstrates that fat people have longer average lifespans, lower incidences of several major cancers, and much better heart-attack survival rates than thin people?
    Secondly, the reason so-called ‘obesity’ has been framed as an epidemic is a biopolitical one, not an illustration of some true condition of human beings. The major reason obesity rates have increased in recent years is because the threshold for these categories was arbitrarily lowered by the WHO in the 1990s, under pressure by a coalition of medical ‘experts’ funded primarily by pharmaceutical companies and the diet industry (who stand to make great profits from pathologizing more bodies). The small increase in average weights over the past several decades can easily be explained by increasing height, better nutrition, and a much lower incidence of smoking. Fatness, btw, has been shown to have the same degree of heritability as height.
    Thirdly, the ‘pity the poor fat people who can’t get healthy food’ line is tired and misleading. Multiple studies have demonstrated no difference, on average, between the diets of fat people and thin people. However, fat people do face severe economic discrimination, particularly in hiring and promotion. This results in a situation in which genetically fat people are, on average, poorer. No matter how many fresh fruits and vegetables a poor fat person eats it is unlikely to change their weight (though it will improve their health).
    In sum, as a professional researcher I get very tired of seeing these old myths about fat, food, and health expounded and allowed to go unchallenged. All people need access to affordable, healthy food, and facilitating this will enhance everyone’s well-being. As long as people continue to be misled into thinking fat people are unhealthy and ‘just need to eat better’, however, they will continue to be the target of fat-hatred.

  28. loraxaeon
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 4:01 am | Permalink

    As if there was any more reason to hate Cosmopolitan, there’s this fucking cover for the new issue.
    http://img512.imageshack.us/img512/3629/meganfoxcosmocover.jpg
    I don’t think having the words BAD, SEX, and GIRL (not in that order) is unintentional in it’s sub-textual message. What is sex? Sex is BAD, what are girls who have sex? BAD, at the same time though, isn’t GIRL and SEX pretty sexy? It’s sexy, but it’s BAD. You only have to look down and to the right to see another coded message SEX PANIC, with the freakiest things that can happen “down there.” Hits the nail on the head, but wait, Cosmo can relieve your anxieties ladies! They know what 81% of Men expect on a first date, and don’t worry, you’ll be “pleasantly surprised!” That part’s conveniently placed over Meagan Fox’s crotch (Remember, she’s BAD, but she’s sexy, she’s so bad she has tattoos!). But I don’t want to open the magazine to find out what they expect, tell me now Cosmo-Girlfriend! Look a bit and it’s, oh! I see “2 Weeks to Tight Cheeks” a “SEXY ASS WORKOUT!”
    All of your problems are solved ladies, ooh and it’s pink!

  29. loraxaeon
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 4:07 am | Permalink

    Ugh, I just noticed “How She Outsmarted A Brutal Rapist” in the corner. What the fuck does that say in the context of the rest of the cover?

  30. Steph
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Thank you. That’s all I can really say. For me, the fear of an “obesity epidemic” can morph too quickly into eating disorders and seriously distorted perceptions of beauty.
    And I think the focus on childhood obesity is really damaging to young people!

  31. SnrkyFeminist
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Wow. Vidya, like I said, I spent the whole summer doing research on this topic, not from research funded by the diet industry or big pharma, but non-profit public health organizations. Nothing that I have researched in ANY way advocates for the use of pharmaceuticals or diets as a way to manage weight and health problems.
    I find your statements disturbing, very honestly. While I don’t doubt your claims of a professional researchers, I’m fairly shocked that you would claim that there is no correlation between food intake and hypertension. Again, studies that you have claiming this would be of great interest, since my biochemistry text book from college begs to differ…
    Poor people have little access to healthy foods because healthy foods are exasperatingly higher in cost than unhealthy foods. You really cannot deny this. McDonalds, on the other hand, is a high calorie low nutrient density option that is extremely cheap. Numerous studies have been done showing correlations between areas that are generally low income and high obesity rates, with a correspondingly high number of fast food restaurants and what they term “food deserts” (areas with few to no grocery stores that sell fresh produce).
    “‘pity the poor fat people who can’t get healthy food’ “? Yikes. I was approaching it from a position that good health is a right, and not the privilege that it has become in this country. Claiming that obesity has no health effects is…dangerous. Promoting equality in accessing a healthy lifestyle is what I was discussing. I honestly think that providing justifications for these health inequalities hurts people (especially women!) more than helps them.

  32. http://openid.aol.com/percat6
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    #1 secret of confident chicks: NOT READING COSMO

  33. alixana
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    WHY does this discussion of racism involve whether or not it was intended to be racist?
    Who fucking CARES?
    If someone does something sexist, do we excuse them and give them a pass if they were unintentionally sexist? No, ’cause the end result is still offensive and upholds damaging concepts about women and hurts us, right? I mean, people complain about satire here because they fear that less clever people might not get that it’s satire and walk away thinking the satire was serious.
    Don’t have a frakin’ double standard about how racist materials should be treated, whether they’re intentionally racist or not.

  34. SnrkyFeminist
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Ignoring the health of our children is damaging.
    There is of course a tension within this topic; I am not discussing promoting “skinny” as equaling healthy by any means. That isn’t what healthy is.
    Health is the access to care, resources, and nutrients that we all need to survive. And health disparities are found to directly correlate with poverty. This is unacceptable.
    It has nothing to do with telling our children to look like some Victoria’s Secret model, or shaming anyone about their bodies. I am not a small person, and I love my body; I am healthy, I eat well, I exercise. But I understand how expensive that is, and what a privilege it is for me to be able to provide that basic level of support to myself, a basic level that so many Americans cannot provide for themselves.
    We cannot let our extreme hatred (mine included) for socially constructed expected body types blind us to health problems. Our children have a right to health, and that includes healthy foods and exercise because it is imperative to our bodies! Would you let your 8 year old eat McDonalds every day because you don’t want him/her to care about his/her body weight, thereby increasing his/her changes of adverse health effects? No, none of us would. We would do everything in our power to make sure our children have unprocessed, non-chemically treated, fresh foods. But not everyone has that option, and we have to work to change that.

  35. NellieBlyArmy
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    I think you’re right that a white doll does not normally represent whiteness, but I think it does in a line of otherwise-identical toys that represents different races. They become “the black doll,” “the hispanic doll,” and “the white doll,” not “the black doll,” “the hispanic doll,” and “the default doll.” The assumption is that the child will pick the doll that looks most like them, thus making the doll’s whiteness the only thing about it that really matters.

  36. tulin
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    ugh…i am so happy i don’t take that shit seriously anymore. it can really fuck with your head.

  37. NellieBlyArmy
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    I think it’s not a question of intentional racism so much as a question of whether or not it’s racist in the first place. This is not necessarily a double standard. Say there’s a set of dolls that come with a kitchen and a baby. If they make it only with a female doll, I’m going to be annoyed. It implies that only women cook and care for children. If they make a version with a female doll and one with a male doll, that’s fine. I’m not going to insist that there ONLY be a male doll. People do cook and have babies, and children should not be prevented from playing grown-up with dolls that look like them simply because there is sexist baggage attached to women in the kitchen. Denying that women cook is as unhelpful as pretending that only women cook.
    Likewise with the Lil’ Monkey dolls. Now, I’m a little torn about this incident and am not sure what to think. My initial response is this: Monkeys are pretty popular right now. If they only made a black one, I would think “Oh, HELL no.” Since they make them in various races I think “Man, I don’t know why kids like monkeys, but whatever.” I do understand that there is racial baggage, but I also understand that monkeys are popular with kids of all races. Denying that black kids like monkeys, too, is a little weird.
    I fully admit that I may be overlooking something huge and am open to having it pointed out to me. It’s just that initially I’m not convinced of it’s racism, just like I would not be convinced of the sexism of the hypothetical kitchen dolls.

  38. Lilith Luffles
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    I understand why it is racist and am in favor of removing the dolls. I simply think that the full context of the issue should be presented.
    I also don’t think that never showing a black person with an animal is a good way to solve the dehumanization of black people. What about black children who want to dress as a cat or dog for Halloween? Instead, we should work towards teaching people that black people are not animals, and when you see an image of a black woman as an animal, it is purely costume and there is a human being under there. Unless it’s a monkey. We have not been racially progressive enough to relate black people of any age to a monkey. This is my opinion, and I am willing to be debated out of thinking it. But until then, it’s what I believe.

  39. anon
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for saying this. That is my one concern with the discussion of obesity that occurs on this blog. Anytime you say you are concerned about people’s health, people’s access to quality food, and people’s exercise habits and relate any of it to weight, you are immediately deemed a fat-hater.
    I will never concede that I “hate” fat people. My mum is about 200 pounds overweight and I love her with all my being. But I do wish she’d lose some of her weight and gain some quality of life. She’s almost home bound and despite all of my loving and supportive attempts to get her moving and get her eating healthier, none of it is working. Eating unhealthy food makes her feel good and she values that more than just about anything. And that is really really hard for me.

  40. rhian
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    i absolutely agree that our society is obsessed with weight to a truly oppressive degree, and that it is too frequently used as a proxy for “health” as a justification for discrimination. moreover, obesity as a health category is ill-defined and problematic.
    however, vidya, to be honest your argument leaves me fuming. i’ll acknowledge that i work in health care and my knowledge is “extremely partial and biased”, although it is flagrantly apparent that yours is also. frankly, i think it’s a little ridiculous for you to imply that your perspective is objective and impartial.
    to outright dismiss any health consequences of obesity is delusional. i’m not going to tell an obese 12 year old with back pain and sleep apnea and diabetes that it’s all because society discriminates against them. you can make the same lack of causation argument for pretty much any topic in public health; by and large you can’t do case-control experiments on people. the fact remains that the incidence and prognosis of many of the most common chronic diseases are correlated with obesity. and in some cases–particularly i am thinking of diabetes–it has even been shown that weight loss can improve their prognosis in obese patients.
    i think it is actually possible to address the health consequences of poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and obesity (correlated but not equivalent entities) without judging, blaming, or perpetuating fat-hatred. in fact, i think it is absolutely critical that we do so.

  41. lyndorr
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Wasn’t she talking about the relation between fat and hypertension, not food and hypertension? I believe what’s eaten could be a factor but of course people forget about genetics. My parents eat few high salt foods and lots of whole grains etc, and have high blood pressure.
    Lots of your posts don’t talk about obesity but rather health even though you started out with talking about obesity. I will acknowledge that it’s hard to find a balanced, relatively unbiased discussion on this. By that, I mean people seem completely on one side or the other. People either want to talk about how weight is genetic or the non-genetic reasons for weight gain but not acknowledge both. As far as I know people gained 20 pounds on average over the last couple decades. Also, different industrialized countries have different rates of obesity. That doesn’t sound genetic. However, I’m guessing that even if everyone lost 20 pounds overnight and went back to how things were, people would still think there’s a problem. Society is so fatphobic that I think we forget there have always been fat people. If there aren’t any, it’s probably because some people are barely getting enough to eat and I don’t think that’s good. I think it’s just as unhealthy to half starve yourself and miss out on nutrients than to have more calories than you need. And lots of people, especially girls, do that. Basically, all the fat talk is not helping people lose weight permanently. It shames some people into skipping meals and allows people to feel justified in hating fat people, to name a couple of things. Why can’t we just concentrate on all the other health issues you mentioned?

  42. llevinso
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    The reason people are usually met on this blog with the label of being a “fat-hater” is because they come into a conversation that is about fat acceptance, not about an obesity epidemic and they basically concern troll. They say things like “Yeah, it’s great to love your body and I understand what everyone is saying but I just could not let this one post go by without reminding everyone that FAT = UNHEALTHY!” And “OMG I have to list all these horrible diseases that you can die from just from being fat. Because I know no one here already knows any of these things. I’m just being informative and helpful!” It is obnoxious and annoying and derailing. That is why it is met with such anger.

  43. SnrkyFeminist
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Yes, my posts are focused on health and not obesity; I am saying discussing obesity doesn’t equate to what everyone is calling “fat-phobia” or “fat-hating.” Which I completely agree occurs! And I think it all is in how you approach the problem. From a public health law perspective, it is about bringing to the attention of public officials why obesity occurs in certain areas. What are the zoning practices for the city? Should they implement a restriction on the number of fast food outlets allowed? Does the city council need to create a working group to bring a farmers market into the area? Does the local school district offer its facilities to the public to use for exercise? Are the parks well-lit and safe enough for people to use? Are there even parks and recreation activities for residents? Does the school district offer nutritious school lunches, or has Dominos and Taco Bell infiltrated the cafeteria with unhealthy a la carte options?
    This is about health. It isn’t about fat. It isn’t about looking at the numbers of obesity and saying “why is this happening?” and realizing it is because of agricultural industrialization, because communities lack safe playgrounds, because grocery stores with fresh product only set up camp in affluent communities. It is because the food stamps program offers processed food and little fresh fruits and veggies and meats. It is because, when people are asked how much they know about what they should be consuming, a large percentage don’t know enough to even guess at the recommended daily caloric intake. These are problems! Heart disease is the number one killer of women, and poor food intake contributes heavily to that. Yes, obesity is not necessarily related to poor food intake because many, many factors affect our body weight. But when the majority of those who are obese happen to be low income and the reason for their obesity is lack of access to food, we as a civilized, caring society need to change that.

  44. nikki#2
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Defensive much.

  45. llevinso
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    What are you talking about? That is exactly what happens on the threads about fat acceptance. It is annoying. And I’m not going to apologize for being annoyed by it.

  46. vaseline
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Nikki, you’re response seems kind of immature and doesn’t really respond to anything that has been said. What exactly is wrong with llevinso talking about how these topics usually get derailed?

  47. vaseline
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    “Poor people have little access to healthy foods because healthy foods are exasperatingly higher in cost than unhealthy foods. You really cannot deny this. ”
    Actually, I really think you can argue against this to an extent. I’m currently in school and I juggle a lot of things when it comes to money. Besides paying rent, the money I have usually just goes to buying food. I think I’ve gotten pretty good at figuring out how to buy the most stuff for the smallest price. What I have noticed though is how a lot of popular brand junk food is actually really expensive. Honestly, I probably would buy more junk food if it was more affordable. Most sugar cereals average $4-5 a box and other junk food, like oreo’s, chips ahoy, etc, are pretty pricey as well.
    Like I said, I know you can only argue this to an extent. Places like McDonalds offer $1 meals and that’s pretty hard to beat. However, I know that the food I eat now is healthier and has more nutritional value than what I ate before, and I’m also spending much less money at the same time.

  48. SnrkyFeminist
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I understand what you are saying, but you haven’t disproven that it is more costly to buy healthy food than unhealthy food, you have just found some examples of expensive junk food. I didn’t say that it is ALWAYS cheap to buy unhealthy food; I said the options available to low income people are vastly high calorie, low nutrient foods (like McDonalds)because those foods are inexpensive. Poor people usually cannot afford Little Debbie, either; that’s not the problem.
    And healthy food doesn’t mean ‘not junk food’; healthy food is fresh fruits and veggies, dairy, meats, whole grains. The cheaper these products are, the more processed/pesticide filled/hormone induced they become. That is a product of the industrialization of our food in the US (anyone see Food, Inc.? Disgusting.) So for all of you that shop true organic, you know that farm grazed chicken is almost twice the price many times, and farm fresh local eggs are more than double. I mean, this is extreme, but it goes to show how privileged those who can afford it are…privileged not by how ‘fancy’ or ‘delicate’ their food options are, but literally how few pesticides and hormones they have pumped into their food. It truly is sick!

  49. Joanna
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Circulation of women’s magazines sharply declining.
    Yep, in the past year I had Harper’s, Ladies Home Journal, Oprah, and Rachael Ray. I let ‘em all fall by the wayside. But I’m sticking with Bitch! You can have my Bitch when you pry it… etc…
    I sent Bitch a donation with the money I saved from canceling the others!

  50. baddesignhurts
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    i think you’re absolutely right.
    the other thing that i think is annoying is when someone links to kate harding’s “but don’t you know fat is unhealthy???” post. kate harding is not a scientist, and, from what i’ve read, has made some problematic conclusions regarding health and fatness. the science is inconclusive on this issue. let’s leave it there, because it’s immaterial to the point we really should be discussing.
    ***health isn’t the damn point.*** even if being fat was the most freakin’ dangerous, unhealthy thing in the world, all people have the right to exist free of societal shame. we don’t shame people that have cancer, or people who are developmentally delayed, or people who have alzheimer’s disease, fer chrissakes. by all means, of course, scientists work to ameliorate the effects of those medical issues and learn why they occur, and fatness should be no exception, if it does in fact keep people from leading the lives they want to lead. i just get irritated when someone links to that kate harding post because it plays into the health angle of the issue, on which even the world’s best scientists have not come to consensus, and the quality of the discussion immediately heads into the shitter.

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