Friday, August 20, 2010

A Post About Hacking, But Not About AJ Hackett


Are we on the same page if I write a blog about Facebook hacking? Not the genuine kind of hacking where hackers steal all of your personal information for the purposes of credit card fraud or identity theft, and it's never as funny in real life as it was when it happened to Monica off Friends. Just the Cyber Bullying Lite kind. The kind where some unsuspecting soul leaves their Facebook logged in and they come back to find that their status has been updated to "Mmmmm I love PENIZ" or "Jenna is my best friend and without her the world would stop turning" or something. Trust me, it's a thing. I have never really been one to participate because my hatred of organised fun begins at Scrabble, hovers over cards and skateboards, then reaches to the very corners of obstacle courses, team sports and any kind of activity where there are rules. Generally, this hatred prevents me from doing most things socially apart from drinking and eating cheese. With Facebook hacking the rules seem to be loosely based around forgetting to log out and having friends who are assholes.


Sometimes though, hacking can actually be kind of funny. Once, my friend Felicity hacked into Rupert's Facebook to update his status to "I hate Love Actually." To those who know Rupert, this was truly shocking. Through denouncing Martine Mccutcheon's beanie; a soundtrack of classic Christmas hits and eight or so clumsily woven heteronormative plot lines, it was as if Rupert had thrown away his first born child. And for a conservative gay man, the disposal of a much wanted baby would be cause for concern indeed. Rupert actually loves Love Actually. How could you hate it so suddenly, Rupert? Don't you know that the twelve year old girl who played Joanna sung 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' so perfectly that they had to add in little breathing sounds in post production to make it believable? Don't you know that the reveal when Hugh Grant is kissing Martine during the school play actually happened in REAL LIFE and the audience reaction is real? Haven't you watched the deleted scenes that they filmed in Africa? There was an initial flurry of internet activity, with offers of support and counselling coming as thick and fast as the gays would have gone to the box office if the vaguely homosexual storyline in Valentines Day was actually advertised in the trailer. Then, the hoax was revealed. Widespread relief. Congratulations Felicity.

Other times, hacking can actually be really offensive. Offensive even beyond the I'll-update-your-status-to-be-something-sexual-because-don't-you-know-you're-a-girl-and-you're-supposed-to-put-out-but-God-forbid-you-act-like-you-like-it kind of hacking. When I got home tonight, I noticed that a Facebook aquaintance of mine had been hacked.

E's profile picture had been changed to this:

E facebook hack
(Edit - um okay, photobucket. Block an image of a woman doing up her pants. Here is a link to the image.)

E's status had been updated to "Mmmmmmm www.buckangel.com"
(That link is mightily unsafe for work by the way, Buck Angel is transgender porn star. Well, it's unsafe for work if you work at a school or a Government Department. If you worked at like, Good For Her, it would probably be fine. Here is his wiki.)

And she had 'liked' the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce. A group whose bio reads:

"The Task Force: the uncompromising voice for LGBT equality for more than 30 years.
[...]
As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all."

How hilarious. Fatphobia, Transphobia, Whorephobia and Homophobia all bundled into one side-splitting hack.

When I masochistically kept scrolling down my news feed, I saw that another Facebook aquaintance, K who totally does not know E and has a vastly different social circle due to both geographic location and age, had also been hacked. Just a charmingly simple dose of homophobia this time:

k facebook hack

By the way, the full name of that group was "I hate it when guys hit on me when I am quite obviously a lesbian". LOLZ, right?

The only thing that makes this stuff funny is privilege. The privilege that the hacker and the hackee have to utilize othered and marginalized groups as their punch line. It is funny to make E's profile picture that of an actual living, breathing fat woman who has thoughts and feelings and likes and dislikes and desires and goals, because E is thin. It is funny to post that she loves Buck Angel, a transman porn star, one because she is cisgender and because transexuals can't be sexual, because they're gross, right? And because no-one should admit to watching porn, because it's dirty, even though it seems like Buck is laughing all the way to the bank. It is funny to make E join the Gay and Lesbian Task Force and for K to assert that she loves being a lesbian, because in real life E and K are actually heterosexual. Would it be funny if I joined the Gay and Lesbian Taskforce? Oh no, wait, I have a girlfriend who I have LESBIAN SEX with so the joke is over. It is funny because E and K and their friends live in a society where thin, straight and cisgendered people have the privelege and the power. Their bodies and their gender and their sex lives aren't just considered a joke in and of themselves. Fat people, gay people and transpeople aren't normal, so they must a be a joke.

And, at the end of the day, it's a joke right? I should lighten up, huh. I just need to take a train to Chilloutville. It's not as if jokes like this actually perpetuate power imbalance in our society or anything. It's not like the majority of transpeople have suffered from abuse and it's not like gay people are sometimes prevented from seeing their long term partner while they are dying, because they don't have the same civil rights or anything. It's not like fat people are physically attacked because of what their body looks like. I mean why do my feminazi chums and I have to take everything so seriously?

angelina

Sorry, I had to post some Angelina because I was getting too worked up. Being a feminazi can be very exhausting.

Just a hint, if you are in doubt about your hacking behaviours, don't rely on OTHERED GROUPS IN SOCIETY for your punchline. Or just ask my friend Felicity for advice. Go for the weak spot. Which in an idealistically built-on-equality-and social-justice kind of world would be less about sexual orientation and more about British romantic comedies. Bring on the hacks! Four Weddings and a Funeral! Notting Hill! About a Boy! Bridget Jones! Bridget Jones and the Edge of Reason! Come on my friends, Hugh Grant and I are waiting!

NB - Dear readers, it has come to my attention that it was actually Scarlett who pranked Rupert, actually. Scarlett, from Sweet Bitch of the Week fame. Hacking, it is a secretive business.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Sweet Bitch of the Week: I Heart Amelia Hart


I should probably stop entitling these as 'Sweet Bitch of the Week' posts, because I really am yet to manage any kind of regularity. I was perhaps kidding myself that I could commit to any kind of positivity on a weekly basis, but who doesn't love a trier? Especially when that trier will ply you excellent role models and photos of babes.

My Sweet Bitch of this week is Miss Amelia Hart, whom I discovered through her blog Good Stuff Only. This was one of the first plus sized fashion blogs that I started looking at, and I love it. My eyes really like looking at these blogs but I also think they serve a really important purpose for fatty visibility. When was the last time you saw a fat person on the Sartorialist? Like, never. Fat people exist. Fat people have to wear clothes, or else they would get arrested. Often fat people look really awesome in their clothes, and often when you look awesome, people are going to want to look at you too. So it's really awesome that blogs like Amelia's exist, because Scott Schuman isn't doing anything for the fatosphere. Actually, he isn't doing anything for anyone other than men in Milan with well cut suits and girls in sundresses on bikes. (On the subject of fat people existing and therefore having to wear clothes; I'm talking to you now mainstream fashion. Don't give me any more bullshit about a lack of demand to extend your sizes. Just get on with it, it will probably end the recession, along with gay marriage. Although, am not sure I even want to be able to go into Glassons or Supre and fit into everything in the shop. My current regime of looking for over sized tunics, lycra and jersey means that I don't feel quite so guilty for trying not to think about how shitty fast fashion is for everybody apart from like, Chief Executives.)

Fatshion blogs are also important for fat creativity and fat community and for giving ladies opportunities to commit fat fashion theft. How else would I have found out about my ASOS Curve leggings if I hadn't stolen the idea off Definatalie? Actually, I probably never would have found out about Natalie's blog if my friend Meg hadn't linked me to her. My legs would have had to continue wearing normal leggings without any mesh panel inserts. Tragic.

I basically think Amelia is a mega babe. To be honest, I have an Internet crush on her. She posts amazing outfit photos, makes excellent make up choices and gives sage advice about bike shorts. I really like how many lovely vintage pieces she has, especially because finding plus sized vintage clothing is really hard work. It is labour. When scouring TradeMe for fatty vintage I often compare my bleary eyes to that of a Victorian seamstress. On a lighter topic than the industrial revolution, here is Amelia with Beth Ditto (as pictured here), which basically rules:

<span class=

I've never met her but she makes me want to chop off all my hair, dye it red and wear a crop top. Here's to you Miss Amelia, you sweet bitch of the week.

<span class=

(Slight niggling thought that am possibly just using Sweet Bitch of the Week as an excuse to post pictures of busty red heads. Am pervert. Am ignoring inner voice questioning my objectification of women and instead concentrating on vague statements like 'celebration of womanhood'.)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Va-Jesus Christ.

To be honest with you, lately I've been thinking quite a lot about vajazzling. Well, not really a lot a lot. It's not like I'm approaching my two year anniversary with my girlfriend and I have automatically developed an obsession with pussy decoration. I’ve just been thinking about it more often than usual. And like, it's normal that I've been thinking about it quite a bit, because it seems like you can't even move on the internet recently without bumping into someone talking about vajazzling, or possibly even making a joke about her lesser cousin, Clitter. Possibly it seems like I have been thinking about it more than usual because until like, May, I hadn’t thought about vajazzling at all, ever. And you know, the thought of vajazzling actually isn’t sitting that comfortably with me. Which is probably what it feels like to have tiny jewels glued all over your pubic area, but having never put on any kind of clam costume, I can't really comment. And as a don’t-knock-it-till-you’ve-tried-it kinda girl, maybe vajazzling is actually really great. (FYI, this approach to life also applies to beetroot, Vegemite and cream cheese on toast, as well as anal sex and handwriting analysis). But I still feel uncomfortable. About vajazzling, not anal sex.

Uncomfortable, offended. They’re all the same. I think I'm going to try and use this post to unwrap exactly what it is that is about vajazzling that is making me feel uncomfortable. If you don’t like disjointed self analysis and patchy feminist theory, stop reading now. Blogging; it's like psychotherapy but cheaper and more public.

To get started, here is that video where Jennifer Love Hewitt brought vajazzling into the public consciousness: (Link, in case my HTML doesn't work.)




And here is a YouTube of a lady called Bryce getting vajazzled: (Another link)



And here is a blog post (Title: I Vajazzled And I Liked It) where a woman from Crushable wrote about her experience getting decorated. In case you were wondering, she had sex and none of the crystals fell off.

Obviously, I’m uncomfortable that women feel they have to vajazzle in the first place. To explain my discomfort I was going to try and write something about the beauty myth and femininity and feminism and the associated health risks, but then I found this article by Amanda Hess, which I think you should probably just go and read instead. Here are some highlights:

In last week’s post, I floated the following equation:

Sexual Repression + Capitalism + Sexism =Vajazzling

I think it would be appropriate to add “Pseudo-Feminism” to the list of Vajazzling’s contributing societal factors. But first, let’s tackle the good old fashioned anti-feminism at play here: Capitalism will find a way to exploit any weaknesses in our society, and sexism is one of them. Take Liz Lemon’s analysis of Valentine’s Day from 30 Rock: “Valentine’s Day is a sham created by card companies to reinforce and exploit gender stereotypes.” You could say the same thing about the cosmetics industry, plastic surgeons, and Vajazzling technicians.

When it comes to personal appearance, it’s no coincidence that femininity is marked by performance, while masculinity is just as often defined by men not performing things. Shaving your body hair is feminine; not shaving is masculine. Plucking, waxing, or bleaching stray facial hairs is feminine; growing a few days of stubble is masculine. Applying makeup is feminine; not painting your face is masculine. Dying, styling, blow-drying, and curling your hair is feminine; keeping a low-maintenance hair cut is masculine.

I suspect that this is because women are encouraged to achieve societal power through their appearance and sexuality, while men are encouraged to achieve power from . . . reaching real positions of power, like running companies and governments. Sure, women who are very successful at performing femininity can gain some real power, too. Maybe there’s a two-year window there where women can translate their success in this field into posing for Playboy, or shaking in a music video, or stripping, all of which can translate into money in the bank—until they get a little bit older and fall out of favor in those industries. Maybe some women can aspire to be trophy wives and get their social validation by being married to a successful man. The majority of women won’t be able to make a career out of performing femininity. And yet, we’re still shaving and waxing and plucking and dieting and padding and inflating and cinching and painting and dyeing and surgically trimming our labia and, now, vajazzling like it’s our jobs—even as we have been successful in claiming real power as Senators and CEOs and lawyers and doctors and journalists.

And:

This is where the “a woman’s choice!” defenders come in. How could we possibly deny women the choice to engage in these behaviors, if that’s what they love? Look: I don’t begrudge women who make the choice to perform the behaviors of femininity. I perform many of them myself, on a daily basis! Resisting engaging in these things is almost impossible. But I don’t kid myself into thinking that I just love wearing lipstick because I was born that way, or that I shave my legs because I have somehow independently decided—without any influence from my culture!—that that’s the way I personally prefer my legs to look.
She's good, right?

Of course I am offended by vajazzling. Of course I am offended by the culture of pussy shame that we live in, a culture where talking about your genitalia is gross and waxing all the hair off it is normal and where we all say vagina and not vulva, because why would we even bother getting the anatomy right for something as disgusting as what is between our legs? Of course I will defend a woman's choice to vajazzle, until I am blue in the face, but I think there is something bigger here. I am offended that getting a Brazilian is considered to be an appropriate anniversary gift, because here baby, why don’t you have a little less of me. I am offended because so many of my friends have had a boyfriend who wouldn't go down on them unless they had showered in the last five minutes. I am offended by the dudes I have slept with who expected me to blow them every time but who wouldn’t eat me out because they didn't like the taste. I am offended by a world in which I was ever an 18 year old in spotty pyjama shorts and freshly washed hair, dry humping the knee of a guy with dreadlocks but knowing I wouldn't let him get any further, not because I didn't want to but because I hadn't shaved that day. I am offended that labioplasty even exists. I am offended that when gay American author Dan Savage was asked about vajazzling, he said:

[It's] like asking a vegan for her opinion on the wallpaper in a steak house. I'm simply too revolted by what's on the menu to take much notice of the decor.

How hilarious Mr. Savage. I know that you’re gay, but being revolted isn't the same as being disinterested. Also, not all vegans are female, you asshat. I am offended that the censorship of mainstream soft pornography has warped our perception of what a normal vagina looks like. I am offended that labioplasty even exists in the first place. I am offended that some girls are too grossed out by their pussies to masturbate and I am offended that some of my female friends don't want to hear about my lesbian sex life because they think it's gross, even though THEY HAVE THEIR OWN VAGINA THAT I ASSUME THEY MAY HAVE TOUCHED AT SOME POINT. Of course it is this stuff I am offended by. Look, I had to use caps lock. But I also think that when it comes to my vajazzling discomfort, there is a little more than this.

I think that something else I’m uncomfortable about is how people seem to think that vajazzling is HILARIOUS. I am uncomfortable because the mainstream media coverage on vajazzling doesn't talk about the beauty myth or the performance of femininity or the increasing popularity of labioplasty. Not in the Stuff article or the Courier Mail blog or the Guardian piece or Fox News (but actually the Sydney Morning Herald opinion piece was pretty good.) They didn't mention it because it’s a joke, right? I am offended by how Ann Aitken Worth wrote on her Stuff news site blog Are We There Yet? that it must be uncomfortable to ride a bike vajazzled, and that that is funny, but nobody is amused about how it would be uncomfortable to ride a bike with waxing burn or Spanx or in heels and a pencil skirt because that shit is normal. In the quest for beauty it's normal to be uncomfortable and to have trouble taking a piss. I am offended that it's funny that a lady is just trying to please someone, probably a dude, and it's funny to laugh at either her low self esteem, or her wealth of pussy confidence. Or maybe she is an adult entertainer, and that's not a joke, it's job. Or is it funny because vajazzling is something that only sluts would do, and they wouldn't buy the cow if they could get the milk for free? I am offended because of course it makes me think of that Margaret Atwood poem. I am offended because I think there might be some kind of subtext here that pussies are obviously so gross and disgusting and ugly that why would you even bother putting crystals on them. I am offended because vajazzling is hilarious but waxing off all of your pubes at sixty bucks and three ingrown hairs a pop is normal and barely funny at all and it is expected. I am offended because nobody found that Gucci advert funny, and getting a ‘T’ waxed into your pubic hair for your boyfriend Tim’s birthday is a romantic gesture. I am offended because women are supposed to look effortlessly beautiful, and maybe vajazzling is funny because obviously women are trying a little bit too hard. I am offended because reading all of this stuff somehow cheapens my love of lipstick and MAC cosmetics and low cut tops, but I'll still be putting them all on again tomorrow and I don't whether it's because I love it or I think I love it. I am uncomfortable because everyone is just having a laugh and in that Crushable blog, the woman said that getting vajazzled actually hurts.

I’m sure there are some jokes about vajazzling that are really good. A joke about scissoring with disco ball comes to mind. I can’t be bothered developing it but you get the idea. Or when Amanda Hess and her equally great feminist blogger counterpart Sady Doyle said that the male counterpart for vajazzling could be dickerating. Or when my friend Felicity found a sequin from Scarlett’s mini skirt on her inner thigh, and Di made a joke about vajazzling and it was funny because it was topical because there were already sparkles near a vagina. Or maybe a joke about the glowing vagina poster for the Real L Word. Merkins, also possibly topical. I feel like these are acceptable jokes about vajazzling. But when you make a joke about vajazzling and you have no punch line, I don’t think it’s that great. Because you are either making fun of the rare woman who thinks her pussy is so wonderful that it deserves to be decorated, or you are laughing at a girl who is so embarrassed by her own anatomy that she feels compelled to rip her hair out and cover herself in crystals. Neither of which are all that funny really.

(But, to be honest, if you had sex with the dude up there while he was in that costume I’d probably laugh. Even if he just kept the glasses on.)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Some Crap Advice From Facebook

fattestnation
Really? Actually? Australia being "the fattest nation on earth" is something that warrants me to weep salty tears from my very eyes? Is this really necessary? I wasn't aware that it was even common practice to cry over the sexual behaviours of others (sluts, also possibly bitches) in the first place, but crying over what a bunch of people look like seems to be kind of a crap alternative.

My suggestions:
- A death in the family.
- Darfur.
- Sex trafficking.
- Beaches, or possibly Stepmom.
- The gender wage gap.
- Bosnia.
- The way that The Real L Word portrays lesbian sexuality.
- Tilda Swinton signing a petition in support of fugitive child rapist Roman Polanski.
- That bit in the final episode of Sex and the City after Charlotte finds out she is getting a baby and Miranda's house-keeper kisses her on the forehead and tells her she has found out what love truly is, and then Carrie comes back from Paris and Samantha has an orgasm while the bulbs sprout into flowers because SPRING HAS FINALLY ARRIVED.

Friday, August 6, 2010

An Open Letter to James, Who Lives In Christchurch


James, first things first, I want to say that I'm not writing to reminisce about all of the hormonal and opportunistic sex we had in the summer of 2007, or the sex in 2006, or the sex in the more desperate university holidays in 2008. I don't really want to talk about it, mainly because you never made me come and you also kept a cum towel by your bed, which you would hand to me after you were finished with it. I am now concerned about whether or not it was the same towel over a three year period and also about the spelling duo of cum and come, and I can't seem to bring myself to write the word 'cum' for orgasm, because it seems obscene and also ugly and it always reminds me of jizz, which I don't have any of, and I hope that this isn't because of some kind of deep seated sexual issue. I also hope you have washed the towel.

What I am writing to talk to you about is a group that you joined quite recently on Facebook. I don't know if you've noticed, but I like to over-analyse what other people do on the internet, mainly because I'm fascinated by this global and public and intending-to-be-social forum as well as liking the fact that it gives me hard evidence to copy and paste into my blog, rather than just having to recount offensive conversations I have with people in the real word. You mightn't have noticed because although we're friends with each other on Facebook we never really talk, not because things are awkward or anything but mostly just because we never really had anything to talk about in the first place. The sex we would have, usually at your flat because I was home for the holidays and my family is liberal but not that liberal, it was just mostly based upon convenience and inebriation and low self esteem and a similar sexual appetite, so I think it's pretty normal for us not to talk anymore, especially now that it's 2010 and I have a girlfriend and you have a jet-ski. But the page that you liked recently, I guess I found it kind of offensive. If you don't know what one I mean, I have helpfully labelled it for you here, just in case:


curvywomenbig

You liked Curvy Girls Are Better Than Skinny Girls, along with 1,772,675 other people. And like, that's cool. On the surface, this group seems like it might be trying to be progressive, in some way, like that movie with America Ferrera, because the title is size-positive and it makes a statement about how thin bodies are valued over fat bodies. (Although curvy really is a problematic euphemism for fat, because curvy should just mean having curves on your body, and if the word fat wasn't used as as a death sentence and a humiliation maybe people wouldn't need to clutch onto their curves so tightly). But while this group might technically be size-positive, it isn't body positive. It isn't woman positive. It's still rating women against each other, it's still making bodies a competition, it's still body surveillance culture. (Consequently, there seems to be a whole lot of surveying going on on that website.) Fat acceptance isn't saying that fat bodies are better. Fat acceptance isn't saying that everybody should be fat. It's about accepting bodies because they are bodies and they are attached to people with thoughts and feelings and it's about self esteem and it's about how everybody deserves respect, no matter what they look like. Fat acceptance is not body snarking on thin women, and it is not saying that real women have curves. A hip to waist ratio does not make anyone any more 'real' than anyone else. Curves do not a woman make. Criticizing thin bodies is actually just validating sizeism. Celebrating one thing by tearing down something else isn't really very celebratory at all.

And James, if you really want to publicly announce your sexual preferences, there are heaps of groups that you could join to proclaim your love of T&A, without hating on any other kind of body type. Not any of these ones though, because then I would probably have to write another blog post about you. You could just become a fan of Curvy Girls or of Boobs or of Tits and Ass or even the misspelled, but straight to the point, I Love Curvey Woman. (I noticed you are friends with your dad on Facebook though, I hope he's into it). Although really, it still is kind of problematic to reduce what you like about women to their body parts.

I think that part of the reason I felt so uncomfortable with the group you joined, is because I have fucked you. Multiple times. With my curvy body. Should I be pleased that I fit into this so easily definable category of women that you like? Is the Facebook page some kind of compliment? Do I even get to say anything about the way that these Facebook groups turn women into commodities, when I just had sex with you because I was 19 and drunk and horny? Am I allowed to complain when I have sent you a pxt of my tits? Am I allowed to complain when I knew that you would probably show it to your friends and that I didn't mind? Do I have an argument against objectification when I showed all my cellphone pictures of your cock to the other waitresses I worked with at the time, to make a long shift go faster and to show off that I was getting some? In the words of the Shortland Street theme song, is it you or is it me? Do I get to complain about raunch culture, when sometimes I like the raunch? It's confusing, when you start thinking about it. Let me know what you think.

Kind, and now somewhat confused, regards,

Ally Garrett.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Get fucked, Anne Milton.


Anne Milton, I am offended by you. Well not you exactly, because fortunately I have never met you, but I am offended by how you think that doctors should use the word 'fat', rather than the word 'obese', to motivate people to lose weight. Milton, Britain's Public Health Minister, says:

"If I look in the mirror and think I am obese I think I am less worried (than) if I think I am fat," Milton, a former nurse, told the BBC. "At the end of the day, you cannot do it for them. People have to have the information."

Some really awesome fat acceptance writers have already written posts about Milton's patronisingly frustrating use of the word fat. A word which should just be a describing word, like tall or tan or curly-haired, but a word which is actually steeped in a culture of body hatred and of shame, a word that shrouds its venom beneath messages of healthy lifestyles and longevity. A word that is sometimes being used by fat activists with the radical notion that being fat doesn't have to be a bad thing or a death sentence or an albatross around your neck, and that maybe being PRO HEALTH instead of being ANTI FAT might be a more useful way of living life, because loving your body might be more helpful than fighting it. (And Michelle Obama, by the way, I'm looking at you as well. You're no Anne Milton, but I wish that my love of your well spoken poise, your humility and your kitten heels hadn't been tainted by the ANTI-OBESITY focus of your health program. Could you not plant vegetables and encourage kids to move around more often without placing the focus on hating their bodies? What about ANTI-PROCESSED FOOD? ANTI-POVERTY? PRO-BROCCOLI? PRO-HEALTHY BLOOD PRESSURE AND LIPIDS LEVELS? PRO HOT YOGA AND A SWIM EVERY WEEK? Would these not be better wars to wage, rather than starting the battle underneath our skin? And Michelle, while we're talking, maybe it would have been great if you didn't talk about your daughters' weight during your campaign? Maybe the children of America don't need to know that the First Lady hates their bodies?)

Coincidentally, I'm not the only person who is pissed at Milton.. Upon hearing her comments, fat activist Charlotte Cooper from Obesity Timebomb, wrote:

"I had to do a double-take when I first read this article. My initial reaction to a quick skim of the headline was: "Yeah! Call me fat! That's exactly what I want, skip this obese nonsense." I reject obese because I don't want to be defined as a victim of a terrible disease, as someone who need curing, as a tragic figure for pity and paternalistic intervention. But the definition of fat being mooted in this article is as something appalling and dreadful, a shaming weapon. These guys really think that fat is an insult, they don't get it as a marker of one's identity and experience, or a way of describing communities, or its politicised nature. What a shame the BBC did not have the breadth of vision to get quotes from people who might have an alternative viewpoint."

And Kate Harding, of Shapely Prose but writing for The Guardian, says:

"Believe me, I would love to live in a culture where fat merely means "having more adipose tissue than average", and in which that implies nothing about one's character. That's why I shamelessly call myself fat, no matter how many people insist that both the word and my body demand some measure of embarrassment and apology. But it's going to be a long while before fat is used in that value-neutral sense, and in the meantime we all know exactly what most people mean by it: you are disgusting, worthless, not quite human."

Andy by the way, Ms. Milton, you think that fat people "need the information"? You think that fat people need to be reminded about their unacceptable body? You think that fat people aren't reminded every day when they walk past heckling teeangers on a building site or when they walk into a shop to buy some jeans and they meet the gaze of the listless teenager behind the counter? Do you think that being called fat by a medical professional who aims to deliberately shame and humiliate is a good thing? Sorry, what was your job? The Public Health Minister? Oh right.

But maybe, what offends me even more than Milton, is the picture that news website Stuff used to go along with their article. (Speaking of news articles, I was quite impressed that the Herald Sun interviewed some fat activists in their coverage, rather than only lazily reprinting a Reuters article like Stuff did.) The picture wasn't a picture of Anne herself, because I actually had to use both my initiative and my Bachelor of Arts honed research skills to Google Image that one up up there. It was a picture of this person:

subway

And when I was Google Imaging Ms. Milton, this person came up, originally used in a BBC article:

no top

And this person:

milton

And yes, these are people. These are not headless creatures from planet fat. The woman, at the top, might have been going through those gates to get on a train to visit her aunt or go to work or go to the beach or to see her friends. The second man, I wonder what he was thinking when he took off his shirt under studio lighting, a spectacle. The woman in the third photo is walking with her daughter or her sister or her niece. They might have been chatting, but we will never know because she has been robbed of her face and her dignity and her personality and her identity. These headless photos are so depressingly common and they really are also so incredibly insulting. When I think about it, I can conjure up a mental photo album of these images, clipped from every moral panic obesity article I have ever read and every flat stomach advert from down the side of my Facebook (because their advertising targeting system obviously isn't quite good enough to realise that I'm actually looking at fat acceptance blogs), as well as a never ending waddling parade of anonymous asses in khaki pants from every results-not-typical infomercial I have ever seen while staying home sick from uni and watching Dr. Phil. A photo album filled with people I don't know, who might have had their picture taken while at the supermarket or on the way to see their dad in hospital.

And another thing, if those pictures up there were photos of a thin woman from behind, a muscular torso and a girl with an itty-bitty-waist shaking-that-thing-in-your-face, these shots would be sexy. Or if they weren't sexy, per-say, they would at least be sexualised. Just because the woman is fat, the viewer isn't supposed to see her body as sexy. A fat body is obviously not appealing and a fat person obviously doesn't deserve a voice, because they are probably too busy eating anyway.These photos show just how society likes their fat people - othered, anonymous, and as a warning.