Laurie Toby Edison


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Friday Links

Laurie and Debbie say:

All we have to say about this astonishing assortment is that “body image” is hardly a limited topic.

Looking for the perfect street protection? How about a hot pink tampon taser?

tampon taser

All of the ad copy is fabulous, including “ready for honorable discharge at a moments notice.” But the best of all is “Need not be female or menstruating to use effectively. Tampon taser/stun gun to be used for security purposes only or in self defense. It is not intended nor recommended for vaginal insertion.”

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the deletion of Peggy Munson’s DVD from the Lambda Award reading in San Francisco. We’re pleased to say that the Lambda Awards in other cities did feature her reading, which is also now available on the web. Meanwhile, here’s an interview with Munson, conducted by Rachel Kramer Bussell and posted at Feministing. Even better, Munson posted her DVD to her myspace page. The work is hot, and while it takes a little while to recognize how queer it is, it certainly is queer.

Here’s just one teaser from the Munson interview:

“[Origami Striptease] is a love story that goes through a meat grinder, ice chipper, and paper shredder. An erotica writer falls in love with a character named Jack: they have ridiculously hot sex until then Jack unravels once he becomes obsessed with ice cubes, Greenland, and Zamboni ice resurfacing machines. … Everything is shredded–language, love, reality, narrative–and redemption is not an easy road.

At Feministe, zuzu found a whole new level of fatphobia. Some British scientists got the bright idea of adding the appetite suppressant leptin to infant formula. As one of them is quoted in the original article from the Guardian, “The supplemented milks are simply adding back something that was originally present: breast milk contains leptin and formula feeds don’t.”

Zuzu nails the issue perfectly:

So, um, why not, say, make it much easier for women to breast-feed if it’s so vitally important to deal with the “obesity epidemic”?

Well, I guess that would be because nobody profits from breast milk. But a leptin-based formula would probably be patentable, and certainly profitable if you could convince people that it will keep their kids from getting fat in adulthood, no matter what they eat after being weaned.

Keira Knightley is considering giving up a successful acting career. It sounds like she is uncomfortable with many things about fame (what thinking person wouldn’t be?), but the straw that may break her back is her status on the pro-anorexia boards and discussion groups. She does not want naturally thin women to be “scapegoats for promoting a mental illness.” As regular readers here know, anorexia is more complicated than that; at the same time, we have to applaud Knightley–many other stars would just pat themselves on the back.

We are neither surprised nor horrified to discover that lesbians are more likely to have a high BMI than straight women. First of all, it isn’t clear what method the researchers used for “overweight,” but there’s an implication that it’s BMI, which could simply mean that Lesbians are taller or, as the article does mention, more muscular than straight women. More to the point, however, is this quotation: “The results of these studies indicate that lesbian women have a better body image than do heterosexual women.”

Yep. In fact, we’ll take it one step further. Having primarily or only male lovers is generally bad for your body image. Straight men have better body images than gay men also. Yes, of course, there are thousands of exceptions, and we value each one of them.

Just as Zuzu nailed the enhanced baby formula, Lindsay at Majikthise does perfect justice to an ad about internet stalking, which (surprise!) warns girls of what might happen to them if they aren’t careful.

Predictably, the Ad Council’s message is “Think before you post, little girl.” Just once I’d like to see a campaign called “Think before you stalk, dude.” Or: “Just because a minor posted this doesn’t give you the right to throw it in her face, creepy adult.”

The 37th Carnival of Feminists is up at Kitkat’s Critique.

And finally, evolutionary biology for your amusement:

Why do male ducks have huge phalluses?. Because female duck anatomy is complicated and fascinating.

Dr. Brennan argues that elaborate female duck anatomy evolves as a countermeasure against aggressive males. “Once they choose a male, they’re making the best possible choice, and that’s the male they want siring their offspring,” she said. “They don’t want the guy flying in from who knows where. It makes sense that they would develop a defense.”

We got the the tampon weapons from the extraordinary Bruce Schneier via Steven S., the Keira Knightley link from Kerry at waywardcats, and the stalking article from Arthur D. Hlavaty. And someone we can’t remember pointed to the lesbians and weight article.

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10 Responses to “Friday Links”

  1. Why not make it easier for women to breastfeed (which was a good idea before leptin was discovered) *and* add leptin to formula?

  2. Nico says:

    I don’t see why it is fair to say that being with a straight man or many straight men is damaging to one’s body image. In fact, I’ve found in my anecdotal experience that the men I’ve been with have been more assured of my beauty moreso than I even have been, even as a bigger woman.

    I don’t think who you fancy in your personal life is a good generalization for body image – rather, perhaps the media. The who you care about often times are more supportive than those who are merely friends or acquaintances or figures in the media we consume.

    I hope for your sake, and your reputation as informed bloggistas that you are being tongue-in-cheek.

  3. Debbie says:

    Arthur, sure, except for always being skeptical of the profit motive in medicine.

    Nico, experiences differ. I’ve certainly known many men who were wonderfully supportive around body image (and other) issues. Nonetheless, it does seem to be true that men as a group are more likely to be both concerned with and judgmental about their partners’ appearance. I completely take your point about the media–and would point out that most media decisions are (still) made by men.

    It’s always a fine line to acknowledge the truth in stereotypes while remembering that the stereotypes don’t apply to all the people in the group. Thanks for making me think this one out a little more!

  4. […] Found at Laurie Toby Edison’s Body Impolitic. […]

  5. Nico says:

    I think it just felt like a rather unnecessary correlation – dating straight men isn’t going to make it problematic for your body image, but dating men who are overly concerned with it is. Taking them seriously. Believe them, might.

    And I guess I am to say, it is probably more the fault of men (and women) behind advertising/media and the greater culture at least that would degrade a person’s POV and self-image in the first place to make women consider that their potential SO’s views (which have undoubtably been shaped by said culture) as viable and not stand up and brush someone (men/women) off if told to feel bad about how they look.

    It is a complicated problem, one that has no good source and one that I think can’t be whittled down into a statement about who we choose to date. As people with sexualities, things that we have little to no control over in our choice, how is it right to paint those men who seek out women as being more a problem rather than those men who choose to following the prevailing attitudes that both men and women in our culture hold and accept in their lives?

    It does go both ways. A lot of women accept and do not challenge these notions and a lot of men do not either. A lot of girls at earlier ages are far more vicious and cruel towards other girl’s bodies than boys are.

    It is a problem we as people, not necessarily women or men, must do some thinking about.

    Thanks for the response, Debbie!

  6. Actually, I’ve noticed — anecdotally, but anecdotally via working with thousands and thousands of young women and men — that the results of that survey do hold fast. Too, it correlates pretty precisely with rates of cosmetic surgery amoung those populations, as the rate of who gets it most goes straight women, gay men, straight men, lesbian women.

    And for the youngest straight women — at the ages where they’re really forming their body image and identity — pervasive beauty standards held by heterosexual culture most certainly do have a profound effect. So, I don’t think it’s so much an issue of one woman dating stright men as it is heterosexual women being far more concerned with male approval/opinion per their appearance overall, and with the standards set by hetero culture.

    Obviously not some huge proof of anything, but I can say that over the years, I have yet to deal with even one young lesbian woman with the kinds of profound body image problems the hetero girls come in droves with, sparing when we’re talking about trans issues (which one could make a compelling argument for considering as different, and one could also make a compelling argument for being the same).

    So, I saw the study, and I have to say, what came out of my mouth was simply, “Yeah, knew that.”

  7. holly r. says:

    I do not buy that Keira Knightley comes by her body naturally. Look up pictures of her. This one is particularly scary:

    Looks like someone has “naturally” dropped 20 lbs. since Bend it Like Beckham.
    No wonder she has become a poster-girl for pro-ana sites.

  8. Jackie says:

    Ok the Keira Knightley photo. First of all, what designer thought of putting a dress that requires one have a bosom on someone who obviously doesn’t? Or is flaunting the fact you don’t have any chest the new trend now?

    Also, I feel as an actress who’s had the chance to work with two of the sexiest men, in acting now. Johnny Depp, and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers. She really has no right to complain, about anything.

  9. Frank fernandis says:

    As people with sexualities, things that we have little to no control over in
    our choice, how is it right to paint those men who seek out women as being more a problem rather than those men who choose to following the prevailing attitudes that both men and women in our culture hold and accept in their lives?