Missing Links

Laurie and Debbie say:

All kinds of interesting things are going on around the blogosphere:

The resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan and its effect on Afghan women (another brilliant victory of American foreign policy!) is getting some of the attention it deserves. We got this particular example from oursin.

During my time in the city I seek out evidence of change, and I certainly find it. I meet women in the government, including in the ministry of public health, where they are trying to deliver a package of basic healthcare for women. I meet women in non-governmental organisations working on literacy and advocacy projects, women professors and students in the university, and women in the media, including newspaper reporters and television presenters. But each of them has a negative to set beside the positive.

And here at home, Susie Bright notes that everyone’s favorite search engine quietly changed its search engine policies regarding porn a few weeks ago. The new policies are designed to make sure that no one gets to a porn site by accident … which of course makes it more difficult to get to one on purpose. Sign of the times.

The wonderful women at Racialicious found this article on a phenomenon we’ve seen increasing in the years we’ve been doing this work: increasing fatphobia in the African-American community. Racialicious reprints without comment; we’d like to say two things: First, this was beginning when we were working on Women En Large in the early 1990s and now it’s endemic. Laurie sees thin African-American teens seeing themselves as fat, as teens from other groups do: a very sad transition. Second, the link itself is informative and useful, but problematic. The writer at BlackProf clearly isn’t sure what she thinks about fat women, and her ambivalence comes through a bit too much for our taste.

Most of the young women I interviewed for Hungry for More professed pride in their lives and their appearance despite the gawking, the insults, and the constant fat prejudice. In many cases this self-assured attitude proved attractive to men, the women reported. In addition, a self-affirming exterior serves as a psychic armor in a fat-phobic world. Other women use an outwardly confident demeanor to mask the shame and helplessness they feel because of their weight. Valinda, a three hundred pound philosophy student, says she hangs on to her “extra padding” as a way to avoid sex. “Not intentionally, of course,” she admits. “It’s just when you have the man or different men coming on to you a lot, a way of discouraging so much sexual attention is to put on weight. Other than that, food is damn good,” Valinda laughs.

In the just plain good news department, check out Beth Ditto, the most exciting and outspoken fat chick to hit the entertainment scene since Camryn Manheim. “I’m a real woman with real talent. Kate Moss wishes she could be me,” she said in an interview in Frontiers.


And if all that weren’t enough, the new Carnival of Feminists is up at Diary of a Freak Magnet. Ginger did something very different than we did with illustrations, and it’s wonderful. She also chose three of our posts, and a host of other fabulous ones too numerous to mention. As Badgerbag pointed out in conversation the other day, these carnivals are really an ongoing history of feminism in the blogosphere.

Afghanistan, Taliban, women, feminism, fat,porn,Google,African-American, body image, Beth Ditto, Gossip, Carnival of Feminists, Body Impolitic

4 thoughts on “Missing Links

  1. Technically speaking, Google didn’t change its policies so much as they changed their algorithm targeting porn. It seems semantic, but it’s not. They haven’t stopped serving up porn or changed the guidelines that govern where their crawler actually goes, they’ve changed the way they’re serving up results.

    I think it may take a little bit for people to figure out what’s going on, but people looking for porn are pretty tenacious and will eventually figure out that more refined searches will work.

  2. I am an African-American woman and it really saddens me to see what’s going on the our community regarding the weight issue etc. I think music videos have greatly contributed to this turn of events in addition to pier-pressure and the media’s fat-phobic attitude.

    My daughter and I have a fashion company called, Jahqoi. We specialize in plus-size clothing for women. And I’m a member of several size-acceptance online groups. A lot of our customers complain constantly about the way they’re treated (the taunts, pressure from family members etc). And many of them are even afraid to buy ‘sexy-looking’ clothing. They fear they’ll be verbally attacked for trying to look attractive. My heart goes out to these women. I’m just so glad I’m past that point now. I don’t care what people think. I’m a BBW and I love myself. That’s what matters.
    One day I hope to become a motivational speaker, so that I can do my part to help these young women learn to love themselves.

    Thanks for letting me have my say and thanks for this incredible blog. We need more people like you!
    – Dorez

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