Laurie Toby Edison

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Links, Links, Links

Debbie says:

Laurie is off visiting her daughter, so I’m blogging by myself. She suggested a link list, and I pushed back, but I’ve been clicking around this morning and what I keep finding is … more links. So here you go.

Brynn at Shakesville (which used to be Shakespeare’s Sister) has an excellent post on gender essentialism, and how it colors everything in our society. (Brynn doesn’t use the phrase “gender essentialism,” which is just shorthand for the belief that you know a great deal about people if you just know whether they are male or female.)

Our society believes that males are naturally tough, aggressive, non-emotional, and dominant and that females are soft, receptive, emotive, vulnerable and in need of protection. As a transsexual, I know from firsthand experience and from having been accepted wholeheartedly into both female and male society, that this simply isn’t true. I firmly believe that males and females, all of us being human beings, are much more alike than we are different, especially when you consider the full spectrum of us all: from the most effeminate males to the butchest females.

As a kid who believed he was a boy-without-a-penis, I internalized a masculine gender-identity and adopted a masculine gender-role appropriate to my environment. Growing up in an anti-intellectual, redneck environment, the only emotion I knew how to identify was anger (or more often, rage). I never cried, because–“Only crybabies cried.” I viewed vulnerability with contempt and patterned my identity on power, competition and always coming out on top.

In short, I was bit of an asshole. And had I been born in a male body, I would have been applauded and rewarded for my antisocial behaviors. (To a degree tempered by other factors, like class and race. Although, being white, the latter was not a disadvantage.)

Read the rest.

I wouldn’t expect to link to a diet blog, and I strongly recommend turning your eyes from the ads on the side, and reading the commentary with your protective eyewear. Nonetheless, the site provides an excellent visual aid on fashionable female shapes in the 20th century. The commentary isn’t all bad, and has a great quotation from Anne Bolin, but I’m still wishing there was a way to bookmark the photographs without the site.

On Majikthise, Lindsay is talking about another scare health article from the Washington Post:

As the first wave of baby boomers edges toward retirement, a growing body of evidence suggests that they may be the first generation to enter their golden years in worse health than their parents. While not definitive, the data sketch a startlingly different picture than the popular image of health-obsessed workout fanatics who know their antioxidants from their trans fats and look 10 years younger than their age.

Boomers are healthier in some important ways — they are much less likely to smoke, for example — but large surveys are consistently finding that they tend to describe themselves as less hale and hearty than their forebears did at the same age. They are more likely to report difficulty climbing stairs, getting up from a chair and doing other routine activities, as well as more chronic problems such as high cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes.

Lindsay makes some good points, and I certainly agree that it’s useful to see the Post reporter acknowledge class as a factor. However, it won’t surprise any of our readers to note that the meat of the article is fat-bashing, and as with 98% of fat-bashing, the facts aren’t there to back up the claims:

While cautioning that the data are just starting to emerge, researchers say the findings track with several unhealthy trends, notably the obesity epidemic. Two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and those extra pounds make joints wear out more quickly, boost cholesterol and blood pressure, and raise the risk of a host of debilitating health problems.

Right. Never mind that these findings are being reported across a variety of weights. Never mind that lack of exercise doesn’t necessarily result in obesity, but it does result in creaky joints. Never mind that there’s no proven connection between fat and cholesterol or blood pressure. Let’s just go right to the fat of the issue. *sigh* I wish Lindsay had taken the time to point this out.

While we’re on the subject of the obesity epidemic, let me fight down my nausea and disgust for a moment (so you can share those feelings!). Every time I think my horrific-o-meter has been kicked over the edge and broken, I read something else: in this case, Susan Powter’s “wellness camp” reality TV show, in which campers will be given public (sometimes televised) enemas, perhaps by personalities such as Paris Hilton. Sandy Szwarc at JunkFood Science has been following (and being a strong activist around) This horrifying story was originally reported as being about children; as the link reports, it appears actually to be about legal-age adults.

Do I need to say anything about this? I didn’t think so.

And to cheer you up at least a little after that horrible thought, here’s a new entry into the political bingo card file. Let’s play Hoyden About Town’s antifeminist bingo! For those of you not familiar with the concept, you get a square every time someone makes one of the predictable statements on the card, and you win whenever you get five in a row, across, down, or diagonally. Lauredhel says she had a hard time limiting to her 25 squares; I think she did a pretty good job. Her post also links to some other examples of the genre.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember where I first found the “wellness camp” piece: the historical photographs are from Alan Bostick and the anti-feminist bingo came from bibliofile.

2 Responses to “Links, Links, Links”

  1. Nancy Lebovitz Says:

    Never mind that lack of exercise doesn’t necessarily result in obesity, but it does result in creaky joints.

    You can also get creaky joints from too much exercise–I’m shocked at how young some of the people I know with bad knees are.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if fat people are more vulnerable to joint damage from exercise–not just from the weight, but because they’re more likely to take a self-punishing approach.

  2. Nico Says:

    The gender essentialism topic is certainly something I’ve grappled with a while, and as someone who studied the difference in gender communication, I can say that a lot of it is societal.

    How culture affects what is inherently biological (say, feminine behaviour, even in female-identified transgenders, say for instance) is what produces a lot of the mannerisms that may or may not match up the gender we ascribe them to.

    Communication being one of them. I’ve very often, and with a great deal of accuracy, been able to peg who is female and male online simply by how they type/talk, but honestly, there are people that can lead me astray simply by adopting more “girlish” mannerisms. It’s an interesting thing to think about.

    Given the Internet’s cloaking anonymity, it becomes easier and easier to hide/obscure/blur the lines and why I think a lot of people who don’t feel like they “Fit the mold” feel more comfortable being there where gender assumptions may be relaxed or even non-existent.

    This has gotten me rolling on for a potential blog post, for sure.

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