Links from Our Readers

Laurie and Debbie say:

We’ve gotten so many good links from so many of you that it’s time to share them around (plus a couple we found on our own).

Lynn Kendall was first with this marvelous post from Kate Harding at Shapely Prose. As Kate says, “No, it’ not April 1, and that’s not from The Onion.” Danish researchers, with a very significant sample size of 14,000 (British) people, report what we already knew: short people have a hard time and (surprise!) have the health responses associated with that hard time. The funny part (especially if you read articles targeted at fat people) is the recommendation:

If men could add just 7cm (2.7in) to their height and women 6cm (2.3in), their health-related quality of life could be improved by 6.1%.

Sure, why not? It shouldn’t be any harder than losing or gaining weight and maintaining the change, right? Right.

This leads directly into Sarah Dopp‘s pointer to some some disturbing professional advice, Career-advice columnist Penelope Trunk says:

If you doubt that your image can inhibit your career, think about this: According to a 2005 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, good-looking people make more money than average-looking people for doing exactly the same work.

The study may be from 2005, but the column is new. Of course, there’s no mention of how many people were in the study, let alone why the Federal Reserve Bank thinks this is important.

Dawn passes along several links, one of which we’re saving for its own post. We were both interested in this story about defining cleaning work as exercise:

The researchers then told half [of 84 hotel] cleaners, via verbal presentations, handouts and posters, that the cleaning work they perform counts as exercise and means they effectively lead an active lifestyle, easily fulfilling government recommendations for daily exercise. The remaining cleaners acted as controls.

A month later the health of the cleaners was assessed again. Crucially, those who had been reminded how much exercise they engage in at work, showed health improvements in terms of weight, body mass index, body-fat, waist-to-hip ratio and blood pressure. The control cleaners showed no such improvements.

The researchers concluded that describing movement as exercise caused a placebo effect; in other words, that believing you’re exercising makes you healthier. That’s possible; it’s also possible that the women who saw the presentations and visuals started moving differently, using their muscles in ways that seemed more like exercise to them. In any event, while the blood pressure is good news, the rest of the “improvements” were a mix of irrelevant (BMI, waist-to-hip ratio) and unlikely to last in significant numbers (weight, body fat).

Lynn Kendall also found this fine piece from writer Catherynne M. Valente on gender disparities in burlesque:

Why is it that while women’s bodies and sexuality are on cheerful display, the men in burlesque are buttoned up, often in full three piece suits? In this particular show they were even in clown face, which only reinforced the idea that men’s sexuality is a joke, women’s is for consumption. The gaze was so very, very male–women are beautiful and sexy and everyone wants to have sex with them, while men are icky and no one does. Now, whose sentiment is that? The straight man’s–of whom there were really not that many in the audience, so why was this kinky-queer burlesque troupe playing to that All Seeing Invisible Eye?

We think this is especially interesting because it does generally fit our experiences in the kinky queer size-accepting world, but it is not true in the straight world, where clubs like Chippendale’s and related male strip performances are the only slightly transgressive delight of bachelorette parties and straight women around the country. Anybody got any idea why this is?

We can’t remember who originally pointed us to this especially clear Shakesville post (by PortlyDyke) on consent. Here’s a useful tidbit from this incisively feminist post on women’s right to say no:

My fool-proof solution to the thorny issue of “consent”:

1) Get a clear “yes” from your partner before engaging in sex AND 2) BECOME A BETTER LOVER

See, I’ve never really thought of it as a problem if my lover was chanting (or screaming) YES! YES! YES! “over and over for hours without interruption” during sex. (“Don’t Stop!” and “Keep doing whatever it is you’re doing!” also do not disturb me in the slightest.)

Read the whole thing; she gives specific directions for Step 2.

If you are at all interested in androgeny, check out our friend Andi’s new site on the topic.

And finally, for your well-deserved belly laugh of the day, Arthur D. Hlavaty points to Chris Clarke, of Creek Running North, hitting the perfect sarcastic note on one of our favorite topics:

Biologists have long assumed that evolutionary psychology, a controversial branch of psychology that ascribes many common social behaviors to genetics, is a muddled blend of half-understood evolutionary biology, selective data mining and resentment of women’s changing roles in society.

A new study, published in today’s issue of the German publication Unwirklichen Genetikjournal, does not challenge that assessment. But it does suggest that some men may be genetically predisposed to believe in evolutionary psychology, a finding that may well suggest future methods of treatment of the psychological malady.

Read the rest; it’s done perfectly.

short people, height,fat, obesity, size acceptance, body image, exercise, cleaning, gender, burlesque, strippers, sexuality, sexual consent, androgeny, evolutionary psychology, junk science, feminism, Body Impolitic

6 thoughts on “Links from Our Readers

  1. Perhaps not so funny…Short stature is poised to become the next manufactured “health condition,” and treatments involve such things as giving growth hormones to children.

  2. i’m having a hard time following what you’re saying about the straight world versus our happy little bubble over here in the queer kinky etcetera world– i recently was involved with someone who is very very very much in agreement with “The gaze was so very, very male–women are beautiful and sexy and everyone wants to have sex with them, while men are icky and no one does.”, so much so that i told him that while it is my policy to take people at their word about their sexual orientation, the part where he’d explained to me four times in two hours that he wasn’t gay because men were icky was beginning to make me wonder if he was protesting too much.

  3. The Danish study and the study of hotel cleaners are closely related and not surprising. There’s a big literature on health disparities, social status, and hierarchies – for one important and famous study, look up Michael Marmot’s Whitehall study. It is a fascinating area; the “placebo” effect in the hotel workers’ study sounds to me as though reframing the work is enough to change the health outcome.

  4. Oh dear. Now shortness is being correlated with pedophilia. I can hear the jokes now: We all want someone we can talk to on our own level.

    And since the same researcher thinks lefties are more likely to be pedophiles, the life of short southpaws has just gotten measurably nastier. Of course, I don’t know how much of a statistical correlation there is between junk science studies and unhappiness, but maybe we can hire that researcher to find out.

  5. i think that sex is really good. whether you are a homosexual or heterosexual. the meaning of this message is be yourself. dont let anyone bring you down. there is always going to be someone in life trying to bring you down. i have nothing against gay people. everyone has there own personal choice. i think that people cant help who they fall in love with. as long as that person makes u feel good about yourself and treats u with respect then thats all the really matter. no matter what pepole are saying about you!!!

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