Are the Obese an Endangered Species?

Here is a joke that my LSP recently told me. The setting is a job interview. 161

Interviewer: “What would you say is your worst quality?”

Candidate: “I have to admit that I am brutally honest.”

Interviewer: “Why, I don’t think that honesty is a negative personality trait at all!”

Candidate: “I really don’t give a flying fuck what you think.” Continue reading

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FFG Respectfully Responds to Fat: A User’s Guide

Lion in front of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Lion in front of the Art Institute of Chicago.

I am in my element, learning new things in a foreign land with people I have never met before. While attending a cultural studies conference in Chicago, I have chosen panels according to my interest rather than my expertise. Skipping the talks about art, medicine, and museums, I am listening to arguments about the politics of American comedy, the exploitation hidden within contemporary bicycle culture, the challenges of researching Klan robes, and the surprising links between mandated monogamous love and American national identity. I am also paying attention to the embodied performance of each speaker. Continue reading

The Sausage Finger Diet, and other Crazy Ideas

My sausage finger is now ready for amputation.

My sausage finger is now ready for amputation.

I instantly trust the take-charge doctor who enters the room without looking at me. No time waster, he focuses on the bloody hand laid open on a metal table. After prodding the deep cut in my middle finger for ten seconds, he makes a dramatic announcement: “three stitches.” The nurse who preps me for the minor surgery is annoyed, for I have bled profusely, dripping onto the dark gray mat by the reception desk before leaving a detective-worthy trail to the examination room. In her eyes, I am nothing but a biohazard, and a stupid one at that. Continue reading

Anatomy Lessons: Fighting Body Shame (aka It’s a Celebration, Bitches!)

indexIn a memoir called Fat Girl: A True Story (2005), author Judith Moore concludes “I am ashamed and I am resigned to my shame.” It is hard to blame Moore for failing to take pride in her fat body. Large bodies have been associated with inferior, primitive qualities, and considered to be unproductive, undisciplined, and weak for a very long time. Amy Farrell dates the rise of fat phobia to the end of the nineteenth century, when an emphasis on industrial efficiency made fat bodies seem wasteful, undermining their previous status as alluring signifiers of wealth (Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture, 2011). Continue reading