Category Archives: stereotypical

gift guide for cranky fat feminists!

Gift ideas for the holidays, for all of the cranky feminists in your life (fat or slim)! This is a gift guide in progress, so don’t forget to check back for more great finds!

books I recommend!

Fatropolis will take you away to an alternate world where big is beautiful. Hiding your body is unnecessary. Shopping for clothes is easy. Eating your fill isn’t embarrassing. If you’re a fat woman (or man!) this is a book you don’t want to miss! (age appropriate for high schoolers as well)

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide is a book to not read lightly. It’s important work, it’s an important read, but it comes with a giant trigger warning. Amazon says “…a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world. One chapter at a time, this is an important read.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic is a graphic novel depicting Alison Bechdel’s childhood, adolescence, and discovery of her sexuality. She shows us her vulnerabilities, her family problems, and her journey to adulthood. I’ve read this several times, and highly recommend!

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood is a graphic novel depicting Marjane Satrapi’s coming of age in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Don’t miss this! (also age appropriate for high schoolers)

buying books instead of drinks

my wishlist!

On my personal wishlist is Sex Object: a Memoir, by Jessica Valenti. Amazon says “Valenti explores the toll that sexism takes on women’s lives, from the everyday to the existential. From subway gropings and imposter syndrome to sexual awakenings and motherhood, Sex Object reveals the painful, embarrassing, and sometimes illegal moments that shaped Valenti’s adolescence and young adulthood in New York City.”

Fresh off the press, Feminist Fight Club: an Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace, by Jessica Bennett is also on my wishlist. Here’s why: “Part manual, part manifesto, Feminist Fight Club is a hilarious yet incisive guide to navigating subtle sexism at work, providing real-life career advice and humorous reinforcement for a new generation of professional women… Hard-hitting and entertaining, Feminist Fight Club blends personal stories with research, statistics, and no-bullsh*t expert advice. Bennett offers a new vocabulary for the sexist workplace archetypes women encounter everyday.”

Fight Like a Girl introduces readers to the history of feminist activism in the U.S. in an effort to celebrate those who paved the way and draw attention to those who are working hard to further the feminist cause today.” How could this not be on my list of books to read and give?!

Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History features 40 women from 31 countries around the world. There’s also a list of 250 additional rad women to check out on your own. Get inspired, or inspire others with this awesome collection!

strong women

 

coloring books on my wishlist!

The Yoni Coloring Book is an awesome gift for anyone you know that loves to color, or would enjoy creating crazy colored vulvas! The illustrator is part of our CFF community.

The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Coloring Book: A Tribute to the Always Colorful and Often Inspiring Life of the Supreme Court Justice Known as RBG. Need I say more than “notorious RBG coloring book!”? <3

 

 

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Reflection: The Business of Being Born

The first startling statistic of childbirth in America is that less than 8% of births are attended by a midwife. In Europe and Japan, midwives attend an average of 70% of births.

Startling stats, part two. The USA has the number one worst maternal death rate and the second worst infant mortality rate in the developed world.

Perhaps this makes more sense when we realize that in other countries midwives deliver babies, not doctors. Obstetricians are always available or on call in case of delivery emergencies. Obstetricians don’t do the majority of baby delivery in any country except the USA.

What’s the big difference?

Capitalism.

Hospitals in the USA are businesses, and businesses are all about increased traffic and turnover. Pregnant women in — baby out — minimum recovery time — goodbye. Any time additions lose money.

In an effort to keep turnover high and profits higher, many women are nearly immediately administered pitocin to induce stronger contractions. This is painful, so women are then offered and encouraged to have an epidural for pain relief. But epidurals slow contractions. Therefore she needs more pitocin to keep up the rate of contractions (and then needs another epidural…) The fluctuation between pitocin-induced contractions and epidural slowing contractions takes oxygen away from the baby, and too often results in “emergency” c-sections.

Since 1996 there has been a 46% increase in c-sections, s that by 2005 one in three births were c-sections. Additionally, it has been documented that c-sections peak at 4pm and 10pm — when doctors are ready to go home before shift changes. The surgery is relatively simple on the part of the obstetrician, meaning that they’re less likely to be sued than in a traditional birth.

Why the lack of midwives? Answer one is that there is a lack of understanding what women in labor need (in the USA). The biggest reason though is that hospitals don’t like the competition — therefore many insurance companies don’t like to want to pay midwives. This means midwives have to fight insurance companies for what is owed to them, and many go bankrupt. Midwives average $4 thousand for their services, while a hospital bill is often around $13 thousand.

preggo dress

Food for thought —

Natural birth releases a huge cocktail of hormones and “love drugs,” helping a new mother to truly bond with her newborn. A c-section bypasses this, and no love hormone cocktail is released into the mother’s body. Does this screw up one in three kids later?

Also, do labor and delivery drugs fuck with infants? In previous studies with formerly used drugs there were side effects later in life for these babies. For now, and this round of drugs, there are no conclusive answers yet.

Links:
 
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[cranky] CFF manifesto (in progress)

CFF became a place for me to understand that there is more than fat shaming — there is skinny shaming too, and that I’ve participated in it. Today, I do post mostly about fat shaming, but I make a point of never skinny shaming.

gabourey sidibe

I’ve also reflected a lot on how I’ve felt fat since probably the age of 9 or 10. I hit puberty early (period came at age 10) so I was extra tall and hairy early. I’ve always had wide shoulders, and by 6th grade I was a 36C. I was always bigger than every other girl, and most of the guys. I told myself constantly that I was fat. Middle school (the years of self hate, mean girls, exploring make up, leg shaving, girl on girl hate…) only made my fat feel fatter.
Since then I’ve realized that almost all of us felt fat (regardless of how little we may have weighed). I want this page to be a community in which everyone who has ever felt fat — ever — to feel safe and realize that we must love our bodies. Even if you want to change your body (weight, gender, tattoos, clothes) you have to start by loving your body.

You only get one body.

strong women

Every day when I check CFF I’m reminded that I MUST love my wonderfully imperfect body. I am reminded the true meaning and importance of intersectionality, looking through comments and looking at all of the countries and cities the “likes” originate from.

This then reminds me that all over the world fat means different things. When I was in Ghana fat was a good thing (although personally traumatic for the first six weeks). We must accept our bodies, love our bodies, and remember that maybe it’s your society that does not “approve” of your body — but it’s not the world that does not approve.
she dares to take up space

I love messages from other CFFs, and posts shared on the wall. It helps open my eyes more to the world outside of my little ass-backwards southern city.

I somehow was incredibly sheltered from the fact that men have body image issues as well. Having CFF really opened my eyes to this, and I’ve worked my hardest to include all genders in body image conversations. My own father’s body image problems have also been eye opening. He weighs much less than me, but is desperate to lose 20 pounds. His doctor hasn’t asked him to lose weight, it’s just for him and the man he sees in the mirror. While I don’t understand it, I still have to respect him.

pretty

Always a work in progress, respect and choice are essential to feminism.

[feminist] pink or blue

I’m spending the week with my godchildren just outside of Nashville. My nephew is 3, my niece is 2, and there is a newborn baby boy. (Yes, my best friend is 23 just like me. She’s been happily married since she turned 18– all the kids were very much wanted, and totally unplanned.) Kiddie bowls and silverware and sippy cups come in lots of bright colors, and the kids get to pick out which color they want to eat from out of whatever is clean. Green and orange are at least as popular as blue and pink, but if plates are put out without asking and one is pink my nephew insists on his sister eating from it — “here sissy, this is your bowl.”

How in the world does he already know that pink “is a girl color”?!!

boy pajama drawer

My niece has her own closet, and my nephew has his own that he also shares a corner of with the new baby. The boy closet has a wide array of colors, but no pink or purple. At all. The girl closet is eye-burning pink — every shade of pink imaginable with splashes of other colors mixed in. Nearly all of their clothes are hand-me-downs or gifts from grandparents.

My friend is afraid to dress either of her boys in pink. “People would look at them funny, and probably make fun of them.” And what would their grandma say if she saw them? “boooooy, whachu wearin’ that pink shirt for?!” If the newborn went out wearing a pink or purple onesie most people would assume he was a girl, and some would of course tell her what a bad mom she is for having her baby boy in a girl color.

girl pajama drawer

There’s already been some social-gender-bending — everyone except their dad wears toenail polish regularly, (Why not have color everywhere possible?!) but that took some serious grandparent-calming the first few times. Also, while my niece absolutely loves baby dolls, my nephew has some as well and loves trying to help his mom in the kitchen (my niece is in favor of magically-appearing food without the kitchen).

We’re planning on watching the kids the rest of the week to see what colors they ask for, but in the mean time I want to reflect on why colors matter.

First, we have to acknowledge that in America baby girls are socially “supposed” to be dressed in pink, and baby boys in blue. We have to acknowledge that the term “sex” refers to biology, and your sexual organs. You are born a girl, a boy, or intersex. Therefore, the term “gender” refers to culture and society– often phrased “social construction of gender.” What does it mean to be a boy, or to be a girl?

my six week old nephew lovin’ on his mom’s boob 🙂

Question: What adjectives have you been called recently?

  • weak, pretty, timid, demure (dowdy/frumpy, matronly, brazen, coy, slut, whore)
  • strong, handsome, burly, macho, stocky, strong (effeminate, queer, weak, timid)

Which line do your adjectives fit into? The top line usually describes girls, while the second line usually describes boys (and the parenthesis are generally insult-words). Comparing boys to girls is often an insult “you throw like a girl,” while for a girl to be compared to a boy is usually a complement “strong like your brother.” Similarly, it’s okay for girls to be dressed in blue, but not okay for boys to wear pink, especially as young children.

Quick homework, go to Toys-R-Us (or some equivalent) online, and search for toys for kids under 5… there is an option to sort for “girl toys” and “boy toys.” Here’s my results– “girl toys” got a pink doll in the top 10 results, “boy toys” got a kiddie sports car in the top 10 results. Pink baby doll, sports car, socially constructed gender.

You see your friend’s young kid for the first time, what do you say? “Jane, your dress is so pretty!” or “Mark, you’re so tall!”– would you ever tell a boy that he was “pretty”?

Right there, you answered no. There is no escape from social constructions of gender. We are all victims of the society we are born into. But, we must all work to end these stereotypes of gender– the manly man and the girly girl. Girls can do anything boys can do. Boys can do anything girls can do. We should never limit our children to dolls and pretend kitchens, or trucks and cars. We should never tell a little boy “you can’t paint your toenails, that’s only for girls” or tell a little girl “you can’t play with trucks, that’s only for boys.” Just like we should never tell girls that they couldn’t be things like doctors, astronauts, truck drivers, breadwinners, or the president; and how we should never tell boys that they can’t cry, become a dancer, or be stay at home parent. Think before you speak and before you buy, and the next time you see a kid in the “wrong” color give them a compliment.

   

[cranky] “useless dependent”

According to my father I am the useless 23 year old dependent. I cannot find a job, and I’m not looking hard enough. Sometimes when the primary breadwinner loses their job, the child steps up and becomes the primary bread winner. Why hasn’t that happened?

Why can’t I be more dedicated to filing out dozens of online applications, and even more walk-in local applications? Why am I so disheartened by my lack of application response that I don’t want to keep filling out applications? I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve received a response from a potential employer letting me know they’re no longer interested and have found their person. I feel like I’m screaming out into a vast wasteland, and my voice has become hoarse. No one wants me to serve their burgers or stock their shelves. No one wants me to be their administrative assistant. Despite over seven years of employee and volunteer management, no one wants me to oversee a single person or task.

Every time I think we’ve made up, and I just start to get comfortable again with my father, this comes up. I’m not pulling my weight, I’m only getting more depressed. I’m able to pay my car insurance and student loan payments but not my phone or my medical bills and prescriptions.

I do something wrong, and then my sister or mother does or says something he deems as mean, and his only outlet for anger is me.

Yes, I have applied for a job today. No, only one job. I’ve done more job research, but that doesn’t really count.

I want to wait tables for drunk sloppy gross men for $2.13 an hour; I want to mop floors and take out trash for $7.25 an hour; I want to pay all of my bills and pay rent. I don’t know what to do. I just can’t keep doing this.