Monthly Archives: November 2005


In the U.S., it’s Thanksgiving.

We look around and there’s so much to worry about, get angry about, and dislike, that we wanted to spend a moment looking at what’s worth being thankful for. Here’s our random, off-the-top-of-our-heads list (with thanks to Richard Dutcher). Please help us add to it.

The New York Times is now making fun of George Bush on the front page
Barack Obama is the senator from Illinois.
Young feminists out there are doing serious work; this wave of feminism didn’t disappear in one generation.
Polio is almost gone.
We have the first (and not the last) vaccine for cancer, beginning with cervical cancer.
Bush was not able to go to war with North Korea, or with Iran.
The European Union is working and changing things: legal to be queer in Romania, the Turks outlawed the death penalty; they take food safety seriously, and they take ergonomics seriously
Queer marriage is legal in some states and some countries.
In California, you can’t lose your kids because you’re queer.
Oakland, California, has a good community school for students expelled for drugs, violence, and defiance, all students of color
All of Schwarzenegger’s propositions failed in California
Resources for fat women are much better than they used to be
The CDC was forced to admit that fat doesn’t kill hundreds of thousands of people each year.
The health at any size movement is getting noisy and getting public exposure.
In the U.S., there’s more access to fresh and natural food, including more gardens in the schools.
The Catholic Church is publicly supporting the theory of evolution.
China and India are both prospering and not fighting each other.
There is peace now in Northern Ireland, and it may even stick.
The Arctic National Refuge is at least temporarily safe.

Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy lots of fabulous food!

“Body Impolitic”

What’s A Mother To Do?

Raising children in this body-insane world is really hard.

The most important thing I did was tell my daughters the truth. I hope my life reflected the truths I told. I don’t believe in protecting my children from ideas or realities (including economic ones), and I gave them reasonable physical freedom in the world, including the freedom to make mistakes.

I’ve raised two daughters (now in their 40s and 30s) who are pretty okay on body image. They are not contributing to the beauty/medical insanity. I’m not sure that my answers are everybody’s answers, or that what I did was ideal, but it worked pretty well for us.

I do usually feel good about myself. I’ve never dieted – I’m a fast burner with a low set point – so I had an unusually good start. One of the major reasons I’ve continued to feel good about myself as I’ve aged is almost 20 years of activist work.

I thought that they were beautiful and told them so often.

I love good food and so do my kids. We cooked and ate together. We had an open refrigerator. I do believe in healthy food but I also believe in treats. I don’t believe in restricting the amount of food they eat. And they got to spend their own money outside the home on their own choice of foods. Did they always choose wisely? No. One daughter would buy candy that she was allergic to. I bit my tongue (hard) and didn’t turn it into a major control issue. She eventually got tired of getting sick and stopped.

When media messages (TV, movies, magazines, music) ran past us, we talked and I commented and analyzed a lot. It worked really well. And now my daughters, as adults, comment and analyze … a lot.

When the inevitable happened – “They say I’m fat!” “They’re teasing me about my breasts/ass/legs/hair.” – I was really clear that “they” were wrong. “They” were jerks, and there were reasons for that, and we discussed them. I’m not saying that my kids’ feelings didn’t get hurt, but I could give them a lot of support.

I really encouraged physical activity of any kind. I wasn’t very active myself as a child, but I was as an adult, and that helped.

We had supportive friends. We went to places and events that reflected our values. My younger daughter was an early and enthusiastic fan of Fat Lip Readers Theatre.

My grown-up daughters are fabulous. I take some credit, but it really does take a sane community to raise a sane child.

Body Image