Bodies, Confidence, Media

Special K Size Code

I love this ad in theory. All the women getting to see their bodies in a way that doesn’t require a number ranging from low to high. AKA good to bad. Because that’s what many women see when they look at a tag.

The other day I bought a skirt that was a size 10. And that is a number I rarely see on my clothes. But I looked at this 10 and I only thought of one thing.

I remembered this summer when I bought a really cute pair of shorts and they were a size 2. And that is not a number I see on my clothes very often either.

The point is that I can wear those “size 2” shorts in the morning and the “size 10” skirt that same night. Why? Because the numbers ARE MADE UP. Every brand has their own version of the chart. It’s why I don’t really do online shopping. I have no idea what size I’m going to be. Medium-ish?

So why not instead of a number come up with a somewhat nonsensical chart? Something like the makers of TheyFit use (P.S. If anyone reading this has used TheyFit or Coripa condoms I’d love to hear about your experience. I’m very curious).

TheyFit makes condoms in 95 sizes to custom fit your penis. And one of the things they boast is their “Randomized Size Code.”

Which is basically what the Special K measuring tape is, right?

Maybe, until it’s safe for women to take up space again, we can start thinking of our clothing sizes like randomized codes with no meaning other than that they just fit you.

The dark-wash shorts are #Levis size 6. The light-wash shorts are #H&M, size 8. #HowFuckedUpIsThat #SizesAreArbitrary #BeautyIsntDefinedByANumber

It’s a band-aid and I’d rather women just unabashedly take up space, but while we work on ending fat-shaming…

I guess that’s what irks me about the Special K advert, it’s a band-aid and makes no attempt at all to address or fix the hemorrhage. It takes advantage of the hurt that women feel and gives them a ray of sunlight to hold onto, a thing that makes them feel better for a moment. But it’s relying on that hurt being there and so it doesn’t attempt to rectify it. And so by not being part of the solution, it’s part of the problem. A sort of well meaning part of the problem.

Bodies, Confidence, Obedience

I’m Sorry That You Think You’re Fat And That You Care About It Because You Think Fat Is A Bad Thing

The other day I got to see a friend I rarely ever see.  A friend I cherish and respect.

As long as I’ve known her she’s been the same weight.  And as long as I’ve known her she’s been griping about this mythical ‘normal weight’ that she used to be.  The weight she was before she was ‘overweight.’  And she called herself fat.  And she said that other mutual friends of ours who were the same ‘over (but seriously not really) weight’ were also ‘overweight.’

You know what really drives me crazy?  The word Overweight.  You know what is Overweight?  A 51 lb suitcase.  And that’s according to TSA, who no one takes pride in listening to.  Ever.

So why do we buy into the idea that your weight at age 20, when you’re on 3 different sports teams, is your ‘normal’ weight.  And that once you go a hamburger over that weight, then you are FAT?

As the oft-problematic Moran puts it:

The worst part is that she accused our friend’s kid of also being Overweight.  At 5 freaking years old.  She said that she wouldn’t ever dream of letting her body anxiety rub off on this kid, but you know what?  It will.  Whether you want it to or not.  I’m sure it already has.

Because this perspective is the problem.  That your weight, which is healthy, which is not obese, which is not even approaching being a health risk for you or anyone else is capital-W Wrong and needs fixing in yourself and others.  That just because you and her and her don’t look like Cindy Crawford, you must be in need of fixing.  THAT YOU’RE ACTUALLY JUST GOOD, KIND, SKINNY PEOPLE TRAPPED IN BAD, FAT BODIES.

“Female fat [as] a moral issue is articulated with words like good and bad. If our culture’s fixation on female fatness or thinness was about sex, it would be private issue between a woman and her lover; if it were about health, between a woman and herself… A cultural fixation on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty but one about obedience.”

– Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth

But that’s not how bodies work.  Your fat content is not what makes you a good or worthy person.  You are beautiful.  Your body is beautiful.  Just ask your husband.  What do you think you see that none of us do?  and why do you think it’s inherently wrong?

And do you know how I know your issues are going to rub off on our friends kid?  Do you know who you sound just like?  You sound just like the problem.

P.S. You’re probably reading this so please remember that I love you.  Your position on this just offends everything I stand for and makes me really really mad.

Bodies, Confidence

A Skinny Girl On Fat Phobia

Today I lift a post completely from somewhere else because it’s already perfect.

From One Skinny Girl To Others: A Few Words on Fat Phobia

July 5, 2012

I have often made the argument that white folks ought to talk to other white folks about racism and white privilege. As people of color, we get tired of having to always be the ones to talk about these things, always having to be responsible for other people’s education and understanding, when these issues are not our issues, but the issues of a whole country and a whole world. It is important for white people to educate themselves about race, racism, white privilege, and white supremacy. It is necessary. In the same way, it is necessary, and in fact ideal, for men to talk to other men about misogyny and rape-culture. That should not always be the job of women. These things are everyone’s problems.

Yesterday I watched this great video

by Meghan Tonjes and was reminded how little I have been talking to other skinny (or just not fat) women about fat phobia lately. And I thought it was time to write a lil blog about it.

I have often had the experience of hanging with women who are thin like myself, or bigger than me, but not fat, and hearing fat-phobic comments. Once, I was chatting with a co-worker who was flipping through an entertainment magazine, and she was going on and on about how good all these thin women looked, from their bodies to their hair and their clothes. Then she got to a photo of a fat woman. And her face got all twisted up. “Ugh. She needs to lose some weight,” she said.

I was like, “Dude. That’s not cool. You’re being fat phobic.”

And she was like, “No, I’m not! I just think it’s bad to be that fat. I mean, it’s just so UNHEALTHY!”

And you know I had to call bullshit. You just sat here worshiping ten different women who probably barely weigh a hundred pounds apiece soaking wet with a million dollars worth of jewelry on, and now all of a sudden you are worried about women’s health? I’m not buying it.

As a skinny woman, and at times an under-weight woman, I can say there is nothing automatically healthy about being thin. Being underweight is a health risk. Not eating properly, not getting enough fat, is a serious problem. Some of the risks of not being fat enough:

  • weakened immune system
  • fragile bones
  • infertility
  • vitamin-deficient anemia
  • osteoporosis
  • amenorrhea

I rarely hear anyone talking about these health risks. Skinny women are plastered everywhere, held up as an ideal, and nobody ever says, “Oh my God, Reese Witherspoon probably has a seriously weakened immune system!” Yet when talking about a fat person, everyone assumes they know everything about that person’s health, just because they are fat.

Can you be thin and be healthy? Sure. Of course. I am thin and I think I am pretty healthy. I have friends who are not thin, and friends who are fat, who are as healthy as I am. I have friends who are fat who are much healthier than I am. Our weight does not automatically determine how healthy we are.

And, really, let’s be honest, little of this is about health anyway. Talking about it in terms of health is just a convenient way to make fat people, especially fat women, wrong. We live in a society that takes great pains to control women’s bodies, to make sure that women have as little say over their own bodies as possible, and this is no different. If a woman is fat, and God-forbid, happy with her fat self, we are deeply offended. How dare she not let us control her?? Who the hell does this fat bitch think she is??

Maybe she thinks she is a human being with a brain and a soul and myriad experiences that make up a three-dimensional life. Maybe that’s who the hell she thinks she is.

Mia McKenzie is a writer and a smart, scrappy Philadelphian with a deep love of vegan pomegranate ice cream and fake fur collars. She is a black feminist and a freaking queer, facts that are often reflected in her writings, which have won her some awards and grants, such as the Astraea Foundation’s Writers Fund Award and the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award. She just finished a novel and has a short story forthcoming in The Kenyon Review. Her work has been published at, and recommended by The Root, Colorlines, Feministing, Angry Asian Man, and Crunk Feminist Collective. She is a nerd, and the creator of Black Girl Dangerous, a revolutionary blog.

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Bodies, Media, Obedience

Maybe I Call It As I See It

More of Sociological Images being awesome.  If you like them better than me just go read their article.

I’m a believer in Dan Savage’s ‘monogamish’ or ‘pre-negotiated exceptions’ so I’m not morally against  I am however quite offended by their advertising.  It doesn’t get more male gaze-y than this.

I’ve seen this ad for a while and just had a bad feeling about it but Jaqueline, the plus size model who posed for this picture two years ago (not knowing this was how it would be used of course), explained the worst part about it to Jezebel:

these images aren’t just about mocking large women; they’re about policing all women’s bodies:

A size 2 woman who sees this ad sees the message: “If I don’t stay small, he will cheat”. A size 12 woman might see this ad and think “if I don’t lose 30lbs, he will cheat”. A size 32 woman could see this ad, and feel “I will never find love”.

Thus, all women are told that they are perpetually in competition with all other women for the sexual attention and approval of men, and always on the verge of being ridiculed for the failure to meet impossible standards of feminine attractiveness.

And also from Jaqueline:

It’s bad enough that a business exists that encourages and profits from cheaters, but, worse still, that they have the gall to blame a woman’s body on the act, rather than the man who is incapable of commitment and loyalty. It exists in the same school of thought in which a rapist blames a woman’s outfit for his crime.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.  Slut shaming, body shaming.  Same s**t, different smell.

I think it’s also worthy of note that this woman who happens to be a size 32 loves her body and is a small business owner.  The ad reduces her to an X for failing to meet the iron maiden standards but in real life she is a smart multifaceted woman, much like the other women of all sizes who are shamed by this ad. is just stepping on a few thousand women’s faces to make a few bucks.