It only matters what works for you.

Archive for March, 2015

Enough with the shaming.

I was reading this article about fat stereotypes online the other day and when I got to the part about fat shaming my head nearly exploded so I thought it deserved its own post.

The free dictionary defines shame like this:




1. a. A painful emotion caused by the awareness of having done something wrong or foolish: felt shame for cheating on the exam.

b. Respect for propriety or morality: Have you no shame?
c. Psychiatry A pervasive, negative emotional state, usually originating in childhood, marked by chronic self-reproach and a sense of personal failure.
So, we’re talking about being foolish and wrong, a lack of respect for propriety, and instilling chronic self-reproach in people who don’t fit the society size norm.
And some people feel this is a good idea. The argument is always ‘well, if it helps people lose weight’.
It doesn’t. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t think anyone actually thinks that it does. I think that argument is self serving for the many, many people who like to be self righteous and smug suggesting that those who are fat are intentionally doing something bad and consciously making a choice to do something that hurts others.
Which is utterly ridiculous.
I will accept that fat hurts society when the government stops pimping for the grain industry and the diet industry and suggesting that we continue to eat in the way that has caused the population to gain weight every year that it’s been the recommendation, and yet is ‘backed by science’. Also when they come up with a solution that doesn’t involve disconnecting the intestines and that has a better than 5% success rate.
All fat shaming does is make people hate them selves. Feel overwhelming shame that we’re BAD. And it reinforces the idea that we’re somehow doing this to ourselves on purpose.
Of course there are plenty of people who got on the scale January 2 and realized that they’ve gained 10 lbs since Thanksgiving. They all resolved to go to the gym for 8 weeks, eat salads for the first month, and by spring break they’ll all be back to their bikini best.
But none of those people are the ones who get fat-shamed. The ones who get ostracized are those those who need to lose 2 and more sizes and I promise you, the number of those people who are a) unaware of their socially undesirable status and b) who haven’t already tried to do something is zero.
Even worse, our society has made fat shaming completely acceptable and that makes life for fat children hell on earth.

An unexpected pleasure

After all the years of combative and distrustful relationships with my physicians, every pleasant encounter with my current doctor is a surprise. It shouldn’t be, really, after 3 years, but it takes time to get over the past I guess.

I drive 45 minutes each way (assuming no traffic problems) to see this woman. And it is worth every minute. She respects me. She listens to me. She believes in patients who participate in their own care. It’s really too bad that it took me so long to find someone like that.

It isn’t that I wanted anything radical. I asked for some specific blood tests so my other care provider, an acupuncturist, could have some specific numbers for reference. I asked to try another small increase in my thyroid meds. That’s it. Yet there are so very many doctors who would make you fight for every test, like it was going to come put of their personal pocket or cause the downfall of civilization. So many who make you fight for every mg of thyroid med like it was an illegal drug. I had to wait until I was nearly 40 when things changed and you started to be able to order your own blood tests to even get the test that properly identified my problem, and I had to pay for it out of pocket. Why?

Why does it feel like current medical standards have a vested interest in keeping people under treated for thyroid? I don’t really think it’s a conspiracy, but I’m at a loss to understand what it is. I have so many friends who can’t get a full thyroid blood panel because their doctor just won’t order it. So many who are stuck with not enough synthroid, or stuck with synthroid when it obviously isn’t working for them.

How did the system get so fouled up?

I started this piece to be all happy about my wonderful doctor, but I guess there is still too much wrong with the industry to just leave it with that.

She’s amazing. I’m glad I searched as long as I did to find her. I’m really really glad I’m one of the lucky ones.

I’m just really angry that getting good health care requires luck.

How many ACES in your hand?

I love TED talks. They make it so easy to find out about new research, old research put together in new ways, or ideas that really make you think.

Today’s TED is about a new finding in how your past affects your future.

The basic premise is, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) affect your health over the course of your life.

The experiences they studied were:

  • Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • Physical or emotional neglect
  • Divorce or separation
  • Incarceration
  • Parental substance abuse
  • Parental mental illness
  • Domestic violence

I don’t know about you but the list of people I know who didn’t experience at least one of those is pretty darn short.

They figured out that if you have 4 or more, then your risk for certain kinds of problems goes up a lot. My mind immediately jumped to risky behaviors. Of course people with difficult pasts are more likely to have issues, their experiences with drugs, eating disorders, smoking, and other things cause consequences. The thing is, the risk stays higher even when they control for those behaviors.

I’m sorry to hear she reports that this isn’t being pursued more aggressively, because they can interrupt the process if they do it early enough. It would be great if more people had heard about it.

What are we saying?

A few weeks ago I happened across this article about how difficult it is to find non-sexualized clothing for young girls, suitable for active play and getting dirty.

Then I found this image on Facebook that says:

When you interrupt a girl’s school day to force her to change clothes or to send her home because her shorts are short or her bra straps are visible, you are telling her that hiding her body is more important than her education. You are telling her that making sure the boys have a distraction-free learning environment is more important than her education. You are telling her that boys are more entitled to an education than she is.

And suddenly I’m wondering how no one I’m reading is drawing the parallels from the current slut-shaming trends in schools to Islamic purdah? (Purdah, if you aren’t familiar with the term is what they call separating out the women so the men can’t see them, either physically or with clothing, in Islamic countries or parts of India and other places.)

The fashion industry is decreeing that all clothes should be short and tight and revealing, and in order to be ‘pretty’ you must wear those clothes. Then other segments of society tell the girls that if they wear those clothes that they are slutty and don’t deserve respect.

Anyone else see the problem here?

School administrators are telling girls that the way they dress is distracting to boys. That attitude, that men can’t really control themselves when faced with attractive women? Is what keeps the stories of horrific rapes in India rolling through our newsfeeds. It’s one of the ways they justify requiring burkas, or abayas in the Middle East. It keeps girls out of boys schools, which often keeps them out of school all together.

It reinforces the idea that boys are better and more important.

Try a search of Huffington Post, generally regarded as a reasonable information source, and look for ‘objectification’.

Or watch the awesome Laci Green:

We are on a very, very slippery social slope. Let’s not let this continue.