Tag Archives: calories

February Links

Debbie says:

Just after the turn of the year, when everybody and her sister was telling you how they were going to lose weight in 2016, Veronica Bayetti Flores at Feministing released a whole post of great music videos to counteract the bullshit.  Here’s just one of my favorites, from Mz 007 in St. Louis:

And we really need those antidotes, because Ragen Chastain at Dances with Fat, who is always alert to fat-shaming, found one of the most horrifying anti-fat stories ever (and that’s not easy):

Elaine Yu, an assistant professor and clinical researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital, will be conducting a clinical trial to see if taking pills containing the freeze dried fecal matter of thin people will make fat people thin….

Fecal transplants have been found to a legitimate, and very helpful, treatment to help people with bacterial infections, and the freeze-dried poo pill technology was developed as a way to facilitate these transplants. So now Professor Yu is going to give 20 fat people 6 weekly doses of poop pills (far fewer than in the bacterial infection studies where subjects were given 15 pills a day for 2 days), then track their weight at 3, 6,  and 12 months, telling subjects not to make changes to their eating and exercise habits (obviously, that’s difficult to determine, and I imagine that knowing that you are ingesting poo might have an effect on appetite – I know that researching ingesting poo did for me.)

Further into the post, Ragen deconstructs the assumptions behind this incomprehensible experiment with her usual good sense and flair.

Also deconstructing assumptions about fat we find Ampersand reviewing the Swedish study which said, basically, that you can’t be fat and fit.

I’m not saying that this Swedish study should be ignored (although it has limitations – see below). But it’s one data point among many…

This study only measured fitness at age 18….

So the study didn’t measure if being currently fat and fit reduces current mortality; it measured whether being fat and fit at age 18 reduces mortality over the next three decades. That’s an interesting thing to study – but it’s hard to see how this speaks to whether or not someone like me – a 47 year old fat man – might reduce my risk of mortality with regular exercise in my current life.

Furthermore, since the study only followed male subjects, it’s unclear if these results can be generalized to women.

Staying in the same arena, I saw lots of  links to this story by Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley at Gastropod about why calories don’t correlate to weight. This article doesn’t excerpt well, because it makes so many separate points. If you are at all interested in what calories are, how they are calculated in the lab, how the lab calculations relate to what happens in your body, and why restricting calories doesn’t seem to change your weight (if it doesn’t), this is a don’t-miss story. I’m adding it to my file of “send to people who claim losing weight is simple” links.


I did not realize that 2015 showed a marked spike in news and information about menstruation, but apparently I’m the only person who didn’t. Reina Gattuso at Feministing links to a number of mainstream articles on the subject, and then focuses on two student-led anti-period-shaming groups: Pads Against Sexism and Happy to Bleed.

According to the organizers, Pads Against Sexism (also called Pads Against Patriarchy) was inspired by a public art project by German artist Elone Kastratia, who celebrated International Women’s Day by sticking sanitary napkins (period diapers? vagina towels?) with feminist messages across her city….

Activist Nikita Azad started Happy to Bleed in November, as one of a chorus of feminist responses to a statement by Prayar Gopalakrishnan, president of the Travancore Devaswom Hindu Temple administering Board in the southern state of Kerala. Women aren’t currently allowed access to the state’s Sabarimala Temple (one manifestation of many world religions’ charming tendency to stigmatize menstruation). Gopalakrishnan posited that this could change when a magical machine was put into use to detect whether blood was — in the immortal words of Trump – coming out women’s whatevers

In response, Azad posted a rallying cry wherein she encouraged feminists across the country to post their own messages of menstrual solidarity on pads and social media.

A flurry of media activity in response to both campaigns helped lower the stigma and raised the profile of menstrual issues in India. Writers also took down the idea that periods are only chill because they’re important in making babies and babies are important to patriarchy. And Azad and other activists pointed out that menstrual stigma particularly affects lower-caste women and women living in poverty, who are often forced to miss school during their periods or have no sanitary accommodations at work. 

Oh, how I wish this conversation had been around when I was in high school and college!


Two victories for trans people. The Transgender Law Center reports on advances in restroom availability:

This week, San Francisco joins Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Austin, Seattle, Santa Fe, and New York City in requiring all businesses and city buildings to designate single-stall restrooms as all-gender. While transgender and gender nonconforming people have the legal right to use restrooms that correspond to their gender, this kind of legislation is still a relief for people with disabilities, trans and gender nonconforming people, and families with small children — not to mention women simply tired of waiting on line for the women’s restroom while the single-stall men’s bathroom stands empty.

And Bobby Hankinson at Towleroad reports on advances in competition guidelines:

Previously, trans athletes were required to undergo gender-reassignment surgery. According to guidelines made public on Sunday, the new recommendations remove any restrictions on trans men, and allow trans women to compete in the Olympic Games after one year of hormone replacement therapy.

“The new IOC transgender guidelines fix almost all of the deficiencies with the old rules,” chief medical physicist, radiation oncology, Providence Portland Medical Center Joanna Harper wrote to Outsports via email. “Hopefully, organizations such as the ITA will quickly adapt to the new IOC guidelines and all of the outdated trans policies will get replaced soon.”

Harper, who is also a trans woman, attended the Consensus Meeting on Sex Reassignment and Hyperandrogenism that helped craft these guidelines in November.

And finally, if you are interested in artistic interpretations of human/cyborg/machine transformations, George Dvorsky at io9 shared a fascinating video. Sonoya Mizuno dances in “Wide Open,” the latest music video from the British electronic duo The Chemical Brothers.


All links from my regular reading, which includes Feministe, Shakesville, and Sociological Images,, along with Feministing, and io9, which are featured here, along with other sites. Also, we’re always on the lookout for interesting posts that connect racism and body image, and even more so during Black History Month, so send links if you have them.

Linksday Friday

Links got delayed twice this week, but here they are!

Kathleen Turner is 60, and has something to say about aging.

“I don’t look like I did 30 years ago. Get over it!”

“You have to get to that place as a woman where you know your worth isn’t dependent on [looks].”


I don’t know about you, but if this trend gets too prevalent, I’m going to have to stop eating in restaurants.

“We find that customers, in the aggregate, made most of the item substitutions that were encouraged by the messages, such as substituting ham for sausage in a breakfast sandwich, or substituting frozen yogurt for ice cream, though effects on overall calories and fat consumed were small,” reads the report, which does recognize two significant limits to receipt-based nutrition information — “it relies on consumer memory and can only affect consumption on future restaurant visits.”

That said, during the two years during which dozens of Burgerville restaurants were successfully convincing customers to substitute side salads for fries, or grilled chicken for fried chicken, these changes ultimately had little effect on the calories or fat consumed.

Maybe people are just eating what they want when they are eating out? For shame!


Oxytocin has been in the news over the last two weeks. First, an idiotic study claimed that it “makes men almost monogamous.”  What made the study idiotic? Give 20 young men (all of whom probably go to the same college)  oxytocin and 20 a placebo. Great sample size. Then show them pictures of their girlfriends (they all described themselves as “passionately in love with their partners”). On oxytocin, the pleasure centers of their brains lit up more when they saw their girlfriends’ pictures. Without oxytocin, pictures of other young women (selected by independent observers to be equally attractive!) were just as exciting. Well, I guess now we know! Or at least now somebody has doctoral research.

But wait! The 8-year-old oxytocin study that everyone uses to show how important the drug is (this one somehow showed that it makes us more trusting) can’t be replicated. (That one had a sample size of 24 young women.) Basically, replication studies are running 3 failures to replicate for every success. I’m betting the monogamy study will do as badly or worse.


Melissa McEwen at Shakesville debunks another piece of junk science (this one anti-fat), so I don’t have to.

So there might be some correlation between weight and semen production which might be statistically significant and which might affect male fertility in an as-yet unquantified way. Do you think this is prematurely being peddled as a FAT MEN ARE INFERTILE!!1! and LOSE WEIGHT TO SAVE YOUR SPERM!1!! by fat hating publications? Is water wet?

Because of course NBC headlined their article with a Scary Headless Fattie and the words “A man this heavy could be harming his sperm.” He’s harming his sperm by being fat, ya’ll! But maybe he’ll read this study and this will be the final straw to cause him to stop being fat for the sake of his sperm and then his sperm won’t be harmed anymore!


ESSAYS WE SHOULD ALL READ ALL OF (a new Linksday feature, by me):

The meaning of disability by Wilfredo Gomez.

The experience of being disabled is perhaps one most appropriately captured by the use of a metaphor: that of the iceberg submerged in a body of water. That said, there is that which is visible and that which is invisible. However, whether our disabilities are visible or invisible, there are always specters of disability looming, the conscious and unconscious choices that situate how we understand our encounters with the disabled, the extent of those encounters, as well as the expectations that accompany them. Central to this discussion is the question of performance: what does it mean to perform disability? What is an accurate representation of said performance and is it ever consistent with the nuances of reality?

With time, access, and increased education, words like “disability” and increasingly disability studies and disability policy have come into consciousness. They have taken on new significance and have effectively changed the landscape of how I understand my intersecting identities as urban, disabled, and Latino. And while disability and disability studies is a pertinent lens that frames discourses and experience, gone is the language of being handicapped.

What does “nobody matters less than black girls” really mean? by the apparently anonymous blogger at Prison Culture:

And so it appears that for us as black people, trauma and domination have always co-existed with pleasure and celebration. It is with this historical context as backdrop that Beyonce released her “visual album” this past weekend to great fanfare and debate. The past bleeds into the present as sense memory reminds us that we were property and that our bodies were violable hypersexualized flesh. We rage and turn our anger towards our reflections sometimes. We can hardly believe that we are still here when we weren’t actually meant to survive. We have few words to convey our mountains of hurt and of pain. We can’t imagine desire or pleasure without penalty. We’ve survived and my young friend is surviving still. We don’t know how to heal our “broken, burned, and bruised places” yet but we are searching for the right path. We know that we have never been in style and that chattel slavery’s script was written on our bodies. But even then, we sought ways to resist and to seize control. We created dances, embraced fashion, depicted ourselves in photographs, created homemade birth control technologies, had illegal abortions. We did this, we’ve continued to do this understanding full well that: “Nobody matters less to our society than young black women.”


In keeping with the Prison Culture post, December 17 was the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, as every day should be. Here’s a useful column on ways to bring awareness to the event, and to the ongoing issue. I’ll be saving it for next year.


This story has lots of possible interpretations, but without knowing the details I generally support parents being able to be naked with their children (of any age) without it being automatically sexualized.

A Missouri mom was arrested after a Snapchat photograph of her and her 14-year-old daughter — topless in a hot tub — were circulated around multiple area high schools.

The 50-year-old mom and her daughter posed for the photo, “covering their nipples,” in an outdoor hot tub in November, according to the probable cause statement. The woman’s other daughter, a 13-year-old, took the photo on her sister’s phone.

“The issue here is the fact the daughter was 14 and the mother was clearly present and involved when the photo was taken,” said St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar. “It certainly appeared that the picture was posed and it certainly had some sexual overtones.”

Without knowing more, I don’t necessarily believe the prosecutor’s interpretation, and I don’t think the mom should get a year in jail.


And finally, I would never have guessed what “the Lesbian rule” is. Would you?