User Picture

David

Dossier

Website
http://uhpinyuhn.blogspot.com/
Twitter
dlenton84
Role Models
I started off my response to this section by trying to come up with a list of specific people, but I think that a common thread came through that was probably more important to focus on: I have a great appreciation for people who put themselves out there and really encourage people to THINK.
Distinguishing Characteristics
I have green/grey eyes (they're heterochromatic!); a propensity for sarcasm that is so pervasive that even I don't always know if I'm being sarcastic or not; and a habit of jumping from topic to topic (to topic to topic to...) in ways that might only make sense in my own brain. Oh! I also have a habit of gesturing rather wildly when I speak. AND! My face basically has a mind of its own, so it's extremely expressive if I'm not paying close attention to what it's doing. ALSO! Pink hair. For now.
Fashion Style
Pants and t-shirts. What can I say? I do what I can with the limited options I have!

Posts by David:

Another Quick Update

Hi all!

I just wanted to jump in quickly and do a couple of things:

First and foremost, I want to say a big ole “WELCOME!” to our newest writers. It’s been great to read your posts and I hope that we’re set for many more to come! It’d also be great to have even more people coming on board. Hint hint, nudge nudge. ;)

 

Second, I want to apologise for my absence. I really have been meaning to post – and believe me, I’m overflowing with ideas. But I’ve been acting as the media coordinator for my political group’s campaign for local council elections and it’s a pretty full-on job – particularly now that we’re down to the last four weeks before the big day.

I can’t promise that I’ll be able to throw together any posts between now and then (although I will try!), but I will more than make up for it once I have a chance to breathe. :D

 

In the meantime, y’all keep on being your fabulously fat selves!

 

- David


Site Update

Hi!

A quick update:

- I haven’t intentionally abandoned you all – my ability to connect to the internet has been sporadic at best.

- I have my ideas for how we can keep Axis of Fat going, but I’d also really love to hear your suggestions as well!

- NEW WRITERS. WANT. Email me, yes?

 

I have to dash, but there WILL be more!

 

Hugses,

David


…And That’s When Ashley Judd Fucked it Up.

After speculation that her ‘puffy’ face was a sign that she’d undergone plastic surgery, Ashley Judd responded at the Daily Beast with what has been harkened as a kickass feminist essay, a comment on how patriarchy functions and a response to the Mentality of Patriarchy. And it’s received such a positive response from feminist* sites for a good reason: it’s a good, strong argument against the negative effects of patriarchy in general and the objectification of women in particular.

Of course, not only is it good, but, coming from someone who has been in the business for over twenty years – and who therefore has the ability to take this conversation to the media in a way that most feminists probably only wish they could emulate – it has the potential to bring this ongoing conversation to the forefront of popular culture. Until the next hot topic pops up, at least.

Jumping right into her commentary on the way in which women’s bodies are objectified, Judd opens the essay with the following:

The Conversation about women’s bodies exists largely outside of us, while it is also directed at (and marketed to) us, and used to define and control us. The Conversation about women happens everywhere, publicly and privately. We are described and detailed, our faces and bodies analyzed and picked apart, our worth ascertained and ascribed based on the reduction of personhood to simple physical objectification. Our voices, our personhood, our potential, and our accomplishments are regularly minimized and muted.

Judd goes on to argue that patriarchy “is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it,” challenging the idea that patriarchy is simply the product of men’s subjugation of women and insisting, rather, that it’s a system in which we all take part, but which “privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women.”

If you’re like me, you’re reading all of this so far and thinking, ‘Yes, yes, YES!’ This is a feminist argument, there’s no denying that. And it’s great to hear it coming from someone on ‘the inside,’ as it were.

The response to Judd’s essay has been explosive enough that she’s been able to continue her conversation on a number of shows (according to the Jezebel article, within “the past 24-hours, Judd has appeared on the NBC Nightly News, Rock Center, The Today Show and Access Hollywood Live“) and as much as I would like to say that she’s done an absolutely amazing job of following through on her argument, this is, unfortunately, where it starts to fall apart for me.

The following is an excerpt of the conversation that Judd and the hosts had on Access Hollywood Live (the second video in the Jezebel article):

Billy Bush: Let me ask you this. Every time – often times – if a woman comes in – and let’s use, [I couldn't work out her name] was in the other day, I’ll use her as an example, she lost 50 pounds, said to her ‘wow, you’ve lost 50 pounds’ – she’s been open about it – ‘you look fantastic! God, you look great.’ Is that – that’s an objectification, in – to some degree. Is that okay? ‘cause I think most women, when you tell them ‘you’ve lost weight, boy, you look wonderful,’ they feel good about it – they like that.

Ashley Judd: And I believe that is one of the ways that it’s very cunning and insidious. Because it is a compliment, yet it’s a backhanded compliment. And, you know, when I hear…or see someone who’s carrying that kind of weight, what I think is that there’s probably some disordered eating, that there are health problems, that there’s self-esteem issues, that there – that, you know, that there’s a lot more than just the number on the scale.

[emphasis added]

…*sigh*

I understand that I might be expecting a bit much from Judd – after all, this was an off-the-cuff question and she didn’t exactly have time to think about her response before giving it – but I find that her pathologisation of fat within the framework of a discussion about the damaging effects of the media’s focus on women’s bodies is, at best, highly problematic.

There’s also more than a hint of this same concern about fat within Judd’s essay:

Four: When I have gained weight, going from my usual size two/four to a six/eight after a lazy six months of not exercising, and that weight gain shows in my face and arms, I am a “cow” and a “pig” and I “better watch out” because my husband “is looking for his second wife.” (Did you catch how this one engenders competition and fear between women? How it also suggests that my husband values me based only on my physical appearance? Classic sexism. We won’t even address how extraordinary it is that a size eight would be heckled as “fat.”)

Within this paragraph, Judd is making a salient point about how weight gain is used as a weapon against women, with the media trying to tell them that they should feel insecure about themselves and, as she says herself, creating a sense of competition between women as a result.

But she also goes to great length to justify, or explain away, her weight gain, by saying that she just didn’t exercise for six months (which is “lazy”). And, while she makes the point that heckling a woman for being “fat” at a size eight is “extraordinary,” there’s something that I find troubling about her specificity in this instance. I wonder if, in light of her comment about weight on Access Hollywood Live, she would feel the same about a woman who was a size ten, or eighteen, or thirty-two? I admit, this is conjecture on my part – and perhaps it’s even unhelpful conjecture, insofar as it is attempting to go beyond what is said and therefore risks being completely off the mark – but there is an almost nervous repudiation of fat here that, again, I find troublingly problematic.

There is a similar distancing from fat in Judd’s closing paragraph, where she asks the question, “who makes the fantastic leap from being sick, or gaining some weight over the winter, to a conclusion of plastic surgery?” Again, the justification – It happened over winter! That happens to everyone! – makes for an odd bump in an otherwise smooth argument.

I don’t think that any of this makes Judd’s overall argument less worthy of the positive recognition that it has received. This is a conversation that needs to continue – and if Judd can use her celebrity to push this in the mainstream media, then all the power to her! She is clearly more then capable of making the points that need to be made; and she’s doing it within an overtly feminist framework, using words like “patriarchy” on talk shows and filling me with happiness along the way.

I can even understand that, as someone who has lived in the lime light for so long, she would have internalised issues about her weight. It makes sense!

I just wish that, when making the point that objectification “affects each and every one of us, in multiple and nefarious ways: our self-image, how we show up in our relationships and at work, our sense of our worth, value, and potential as human being,” that she wasn’t simultaneously making comments about weight that reinforce the very same system that she’s set out to fight. Because this is not a conversation that should have any “buts” or “unlesses” attached to it.

* I’m only including this because, well, Jezebel


This Week in Fatness IV

Happy Easter, y’all!

 

THIS WEEK IN FATNESS…

…In Blogs

 

…On Tumblr

 

…In Action

  • Ragen brings to light the discriminatory hiring practices of Citizen’s Medical Center in Victoria, Texas and suggests that you let them know what you think about this.
  • Curvy Canadian talks about a plus-size yoga class being offered at YogaZonePLUS. I’m putting this under ‘in action’ because it might be something others could look into making happen in their own areas?

 

…In the News

 

…In the Spotlight

This week’s highlighted site is actually a specific page on Big Liberty, which provides a bunch of references to studies that debunk common misconceptions about being fat. So, I recommend that you check out Truth Behind Fat: References.

 

…On YouTube

I want to add this section to the weekly round-up, because I think there’s a lot of really good stuff out there. Think of it like the ‘in the spotlight’ section though, ’cause it probably won’t be based on what’s posted during a particular week.

This week’s video is: Fat Rant 3: Staircase Wit

(I will try and work out why embedding doesn’t work for me for future posts, I swear :P )

Please, email us your links, suggestions and feedback!

Previous Weeks In Fatness: 1, 2, 3.


This Week In Fatness III

THIS WEEK IN FATNESS…

…In Blogs

 

…On Tumblr

 

…In Action

  • Ragen explains why “Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine” is a misnomer and suggests emailing them to explain why their fat shaming ad is irresponsible. (Details at the bottom of the post)
  • Dr. Patty Thomas relays a request for interviews with people who have been told they are “pre-diabetic.”

 

…In the News

 

…In the Spotlight

This week’s highlighted site is Fit Fatties, a site which is focused on creating a safe space for fat people who are interested in discussing fitness. According to the site’s description, “people of all sizes, ages, abilities, and activities have a place here.”

Sound like your kind of thing? Then check it out.

Please, email us your links, suggestions and feedback!

Previous Weeks In Fatness: 1, 2.


This Week In Fatness II

Late? Yes. Less awesome? No.

 

THIS WEEK IN FATNESS…

…In Blogs

 

…On Tumblr

 

Remember: I don’t do Tumblr, so this is where I reeeeaaaally need your input.

 

…In Action

  • Sometimes it’s just good to know that actions have results: billboards responding to the controversial “Strong4Life” campaign have gone up!
  • Lesley Kinzel has a book coming out called Two Whole Cakes. You can pre-order it (links in the body of the post).

 

…In the News

  • Over on The Hoopla, Dr. Samantha Thomas discusses the idea that ‘thin = good and fat = bad.’
  • The editorial choice to use ‘headless fatty’ images in the above article prompted Kath to respond with her own article, where she makes the point that just because she’s fat doesn’t mean that you know her.
  • And while a lot of people like to yell and scream about how allowing your children to be fat is akin to child abuse, Jezebel points out that Vogue apparently think it’s cool to talk about putting 7 year olds on diets, despite obvious distress. ’cause there isn’t anything wrong with that.

And I was going to link to a couple of other things, but the commenters were just too arsehole-y.

 

…In the Spotlight

This week’s highlighted site is Fancy Lady Industries. Possibly most well known for her Fat necklaces, Natalie also does awesome custom portraits. If you want to see how awesome, you should go check out her blog.

 

Please, email us your links, suggestions and feedback!

Previous Weeks In Fatness: 1.


This Week in Fatness I

Hello and welcome to the first of what will hopefully be many installments of This Week In Fatness.

The fatosphere can seem like a big place* and – especially if you’re a bit short on time – it’s possible that you’re not able to keep up with all the great things that are being posted by fat activists and their supporters.

That’s where This Week in Fatness comes in!

The idea of this digest is to provide you with a collection of links to materials that I believe are stand-out examples of what’s happening in online fat activism from week to week. There’ll be a particular focus on blog posts, but it’s my hope that the content – and the format – will be shaped with your feedback in mind. So, please make sure you use the email at the bottom of these posts to share your links, events, websites and ideas.

Without further ado, let’s get into this, the first installment, of…

THIS WEEK IN FATNESS…

…In Blogs

 

…On Tumblr

 

NOTE: I’m not on Tumblr. I don’t really get Tumblr. So this is an area where I am particularly relying on you all to let me know about relevant materials.

 

…In Action

  • The Well-Rounded Mama highlighted this survey being conducted about plus size women’s experiences with maternity care providers.
  • Ragen is preparing a slideshow for iVillage called “Pictures of Health – Diet Quitters” and she wants you to get involved. She’s also calling for submissions for a “The Moment I Knew I HAD to Stop Dieting” video project (check the bottom of each post for details)

 

…In the News

 

…In the Spotlight

This week I want to highlight The Adiopositivity Project, which is an ongoing photography project that “aims to promote size acceptance, not by listing the merits of big people, or detailing examples of excellence (these things are easily seen all around us), but rather, through a visual display of fat physicality.” Check it out. [Possibly NSFW]

 

AAAAAAND that’s it for the first installment of This Week in Fatness. I hope you find this to be a useful and educational project and that it continues to grow from here.

 

Please, email us your links, suggestions and feedback!

* Pun completely unintended, but clearly appropriate.


The Place of Video in Online Fat Activism

Ironically, I can’t get this video to embed. So, a link: The Place of Video in Online Fat Activism


Online Dating (While Fat)

For some reason, 2012 has been a year where online dating is being mentioned in both my on- and offline worlds with increasing frequency. Pros, cons and (missed) opportunities seem to abound – and everyone who’s taken a crack at it seems to have a mixed bag of experiences under their belt, which I guess can be said of any kind of dating.

I’ll admit, online dating holds a certain appeal for me. I’m a bit of a social recluse at the best of times and, while I might be a gay guy, I’m not someone who’s into the “gay scene,”* which means that my opportunities for in-person interaction with other queer guys is limited, to say the least. So, being able to connect with other gay guys across the span of the internet, whether it be for a chat or the possibility of something more, isn’t something that I’m going to turn my nose up at.

It’s worked out okay for me in the past, too. Putting aside the fact that I’m currently single and it therefore hasn’t worked out too well for me, I can’t say that internet dating has been a complete waste of time. And as much as I have my own issues with how gay guys present themselves and interact with each other online (which is a whole series of posts in its own right, probably), I still currently check OKCupid and will check into at least a couple of gay male apps on my iPhone every now and then.

In other words, it is a thing that I do.

Of course, online dating is a particular kind of experience for people who aren’t necessarily of the (white, thin, straight) “norm.” There are certain decisions that need to be made about ‘outing’ yourself, for example as being queer, a person of colour, in an open relationship, a parent, etc. In some cases, you can hide (or choose not to divulge) certain things about yourself, for whatever reason. In other cases, that doesn’t really work.

Being fat is one of those things that can raise questions about the need for disclosure. It can be as simple as deciding whether or not to use the Myspace Angle (it’s an Urban Dictionary link, so click at your own risk) in your photos; it can be a matter of clicking the “curvy” (or equivilent) option for body type options on sites that offer that option; or it can even be a matter of saying straight up in your profile that you’re fat.

There’s also the option of signing up to sites that are specifically catered to setting up fat people with each other and their admirers. I tend to think that this is easier for women (and particularly women who are looking for men), but I also imagine that concerns about being the object of someone else’s fetish cross the minds of everyone** when considering these sites, regardless of their gender or sexual identity.

SO! I’m curious. How do YOU negotiate the world of online dating as a fat person?

 

* Yet for some reason every six months or so I’ll have an urge to go visit Oxford Street, because the idea of the place seems so much more fun than the reality generally is. What is up with that?!

** Unless you’re into that, in which case, cool!


The Rhetoric of Personal Responsibility

Guys.

Guys.

I was reading this article that Doc Samantha tweeted earlier. And after reading Coddington’s argument that I’m fat because I’m incapable of taking responsibility for my own actions, it finally clicked for me. I looked at that photo of yet another headless fatty and wished that my skin was that blemish-free and I was less pale and, oh, wait… I had a moment of clarity. An epiphany, if you will!

Right here and right now, I want to declare to the world that, all potentially contributing factors aside:

I am fat and I take personal responsibility for that!

Wow. I mean, really…wow. That was a cathartic moment for me. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders – only not literally, of course, because I’m still fat. Haha!

*ahem*

The fact is, whether I take personal responsibility for my fatness or not has no material effect on my fatness. I suppose it could, if it then lead on to me making changes to my life that could potentially cause weight loss (although previous experience with exercise regimes and diets tends to suggest otherwise), but that’s really another matter entirely. The act of accepting personal responsibility in and of itself is really inconsequential; it doesn’t mean anything.

Coddington clearly doesn’t agree with this. According to her, if I were not to accept personal responsibility for my fatness, it would have to be because I’m “mentally incapable of choosing what’s right and wrong when it comes to putting food in [my] mouth.” Further, she goes on to sugest that, as a fat person, I’m obviously “too dumb to discern healthy food from bad food” and I must be blaming my fatness on the idea that I’ve been “brainwashed” into wanting bad food by “big institutions and the market.” Because if I were accepting personal responsibility for my fatness, obviously I wouldn’t be fat.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment. I mean, if you’re fat like me, you’re going to need the extra time, amirite!? *badum tish*

Guys.

Guys.

I hope you’re not getting the wrong impression about Coddington as you read this vitriolic tirade well-reasoned argument. She cares.

Every day, in every town and city, we all see fat people waddling along, heaving themselves into planes and cars, but are we allowed to comment on this, the way we were encouraged to shame smokers into quitting (who also cost taxpayers dearly in terms of the public health bill)?

Do you see what I mean? She only has your best interest at heart, because she doesn’t want to see you being a public health nuisance by…uhm…blowing your fatty breath into other people’s faces? Knocking other people over as you waddle about the place? Infecting others with your zombie-like compliance to eating unhealthy food when you mistake them for food and try to eat them?

Guys.

Coddington isn’t saying anything new here – and neither are the numerous commenters voicing support for her. I think that in and of itself is rather telling, because it gets down to the heart of what “taking responsibility” for your fatness really seems to mean: that is, they want you to accept that you’re bringing these negative comments on yourself by being fat.

You are fat, ergo, it’s your fault that Coddington and her ilk feel the need – nay, the responsibility – to all but chase you down the street screaming “FATTY FAT STUPID FATTY!!” at you as you go. Because, guys, to do anything else would simply be “patronising and silly,” which would basically be putting academics out of business. And do you want to cost people even more money!? God, what is wrong with you!?

Of course, it would be a bit problematic for you to just stop eating all that food that you’re endlessly shoving down your gob. I mean, obviously we wouldn’t want anyone to think that “the food industry [is] conspiring to make us obese,” because that would just be stupid! So what if we’re increasingly inundated with advertising that tries to tell us that the only way we can be happy is to be good little consumers – and that advertising for fast food in particular tends to push the unrealistic notion that you can all but live on a diet of [insert brand here] while prancing around on at the beach with your equally attractive and svelte friends. Never mind that fast food is generally a lot cheaper, more accessible and easier to deal with when you’re running against the clock. Because the ever-increasing proliferation of these things doesn’t mean that the food industry is trying to make us obese! Duh. It’s just trying to get as much money out of us as possible – and these are entirely different things!

Jeez, stop being so stupid, fatties.

As Coddington says, “individuals need to be held accountable and stop blaming food and its makers for their problem.” And, I’ve gotta tell you, all of this taking on of personal responsibility has sure made me work up an appetite! I think I’m going to go and grab myself some Burger King. Or maybe some McDonalds.

I could totally go some KFC…

*shrugs*

I’ll just go wherever’s closest, because I am feeling especially lazy today.

See you later!

Guys.


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