Hello

Sorry for disappearing. Summer and stuff.

Here’s a picture of Brooke Candy grabbing her pussy:


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Aaand a fat shaming doctor

I went to see the doctor last week. I thought I had a urinary tract infection, so I made an appointment, boiled a glass jar and peed in it first thing in the morning.

The doctor asked all the appropriate questions about my pee and my body. He asked if he could also ask some questions about me as a person and my life, to get a better picture of his patient. Some of the questions made sense, some seemed a bit odd (For example, he basically asked me if I’m religious, and then said “we’re not supposed to ask about religion, but…”). Then he asked me to lay down so he could feel my stomach. He asked me if it hurt when he pushed different spots. And then… he asked me if my parents are fat.

While pressing and feeling my stomach.

I said my mum is. The doctor said “Don’t get fat.”

After the pressing and feeling of stomach was finished, he lectured me some on why it’s important not to get fat, because once you’ve got that belly, it’s hard to get rid of. He also had his own theory about how it’s more difficult to give birth if you’re big and your belly is floppy.

After we’d talked some more, and I’d given my jar of piss to some guy for testing (which was way less awkward and scary than any other part of my doctor’s visit) the doctor recorded some information in one of those talk-to-yourself-so-you-can-write-it-down-later thingies. That situation felt very weird to me and probably would have regardless of what he was saying. But when he described my “rounded abdomen”, that just put the extra sprinkles on top, or however you say it… In another round of advice giving the doctor told me I should exercise to get rid of that roundness, and I should start while I’m “still young and pretty”. I thought to myself something like “This guy has got to be f-ing kidding me” and said something like “Uhuh. Okay.”. Anything that would get me out of there quickly and painfully, but without explicitly agreeing I needed to lose weight.

And that was my first doctor’s appointment since becoming a “real adult”. My first taste of health care for the grown up.

I had three main problems with the doctor’s comments about my weight/exercise/looks:
1. I didn’t ask for them. I was there on strictly urine related business, and not for dietary or exercise advice. And I certainly didn’t ask for his opinion on the way I look.
2. I’m not fat. I’m not skinny either, and I have got some belly fat. But then most women do. I really fear for the patients of a doctor who thinks you can exercise away your belly. That the normal state for a healthy person is flat. And I hope he doesn’t get to meet a lot of young girls (because I don’t think he’d be as likely to say these things to a guy) in his remaining working years, because if he’s going to tell everyone with any ounce of body fat that they need to lose weight… He’s going to do a lot of damage.
3. Even if I were fat, the doctor’s job is to talk about my health. Unless I’m having health problems because of my weight, there’s still no need for him to comment on it, and there’s certainly NO need for him to push his ideas of what a beautiful body is on me. So don’t use any words like “pretty” or “beautiful” and stop freaking bringing weight up when we’re talking about my vagina and my piss!

Another things that scares me about this doctor, and many others I’ve heard people tell of encounters with, is that they’ve got so many ideas of what’s healthy that aren’t based on scientific fact. It’s like they’re playing amateur nutritionists, except they’re doctors so people think everything they say about the body is the absolute truth. They’ve got this immense power over people, both because they’re considered experts and because you come to them for help with something so very important – your health and well-being. And in the situation of being a patient with a doctor in his office it isn’t easy to speak up if you feel you’re being mistreated or the doctor’s talking crazy.

Which is why I didn’t say anything, and why the next person he does this to probably won’t say anything either. But because I at least have the advantage of being fairly articulate I’ve decided to file a formal complaint. I don’t think doctors should get away with treating their patients badly and being unprofessional. I’m not sure my complaint will change anything at all, but I’d rather do something than nothing any way.


ps. Even if I’ve been annoyed and thinking about this since the appointment, what inspired me to write this post was this other great post by Fat Heffalump about how the bodies of fat people are considered public property. I think similar ideas lie behind comments on thin bodies as well, when the person who takes the liberty of commenting on your body does it to prevent you from becoming fat – or else, to compliment you on filling the norm and not being fat. In either case, there’s a sense that everyone’s entitled to comment on your body, weight and appearance, because “health”. Which is utter bullshit, of course.

And don’t I love hatin’ on bullshit… Almost as much as I hate the bullshit itself.

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Facebook discussin’ again / Time for this white, able-bodied feminist to complain about other white, able-bodied feminists

What’s harder than trying to become aware of, and understand, your own privilege? Perhaps getting other people to do the same. From this week’s Facebooks discussions, I have learned people don’t usually like it when you:

Ask them not to use oppressive language. They’d prefer to be able to talk how they like, and use words according to the associations they give them, no matter how other people perceive them. I learned this by pointing out to some fellow able-bodied people that some words they were using could be construed as ableist. It turned out that we couldn’t agree on one of the words and its meaning, and since we didn’t know for sure it was ableist they didn’t really want to give it up. Some said they could stop doing it in the Facebook group we were discussing in, and some didn’t “really use it anyway”. But we did spend a lot of time arguing over the true meaning of the word, even if I told them everyone I know perceive the word as a derogative term for people with developmental disabilities (which was a slight exaggeration, but love and war and all that…). So you know, even if they didn’t, there was guaranteed to be people out there who did. Which I think should have settled the debate except people are people. God, we’re so people.


Oh poor us able-bodied people for having to refrain from using words we  don’t even find offensive…

Tell them not to try to define other people’s discrimination and oppression and/or dismiss their experiences of said oppression. A woman in the same Facebook group posted this fantastic, funny, angry, sad piece she’d written about the double oppression of being an Asian woman in Sweden. About the types of racism and sexism she is exposed to on a regular basis. She directed the text at white middle class feminists who don’t care about her struggle as a WOC (woman of color), and whose feminism doesn’t include her, criticizing them. And of course the white feminists responded by questioning whether this was truly a unique type of sexism – “sexism is sexism” – and if, for example, being sexualized and harassed by strangers is worse for an Asian woman than for a white woman. Some said of course it’s awful being subjected to both racism and sexism, but that doesn’t mean that the sexism isn’t the same as the sexism us white women live with. And that she shouldn’t dismiss our experiences of sexism. Et cetera. There were lots of great comments too, and some of the offended white feminists had both clever and dumb things to say… One even changed her mind after one of my rants directed to her (yay!). But it still bothers me how many people disagreed or kept discussing these, to me very basic and obvious, things that I said:

1. You and I are white. We cannot possibly know what it’s like for [the girl who wrote the text], so we can’t discuss whether her experience of oppression is legitimate or not.
2. Our hurt feelings over anger or possibly misdirected criticism should never be allowed to overshadow stories and messages of oppression, and our similar experiences (like white women’s experiences of being harassed) shouldn’t be used to dismiss them.
3. We should listen to WOC themselves, and base our view of their experiences on their own stories, not ours or our own personal brought-to-you-by-the-head-of-a-privileged-white-woman ideas of what sexism looks and feels like for everyone (else).

A lot of this seems so simple to me. Then I remember it wasn’t so long ago my mind was almost completely preoccupied with the problems of people with the same types of privilege as me – even if I discussed racism once in a while – and I feel I should get off my high horse. But then again, what’s the point if you can’t be upset by people who are acting as obstacles to dismantling structures of oppression? One of my greatest fears is to be criticized for being oppressive. To have someone be (rightfully) angry at me. But I also know that anger is both legitimate and healthy. It serves a purpose. So I’m going to continue being annoyed and upset and hope/fear that people are annoyed and upset with me when I’m being an obstacle to progress, or acting badly. If that means looong Facebook discussions that make my head and eyes hurt, and the occasional feeling of guilt, then that’s the life I’ll have.

A really frustrating, stimulating, difficult, interesting life full of confrontation and people challenging me to be and do better.

Some places to educate oneself:
thisisableism.tumblr.com
disabledfeminists.com

theangryblackwoman.wordpress.com
thisiswhiteprivilege.tumblr.com
tigerbeatdown.com

ps. If I use any ill-fitting words or expressions in this blog post or others, I urge any reader who notices this to tell me. Apart from me talking about someone else’s oppression and discrimination, I’m new to discussions on some of the subjects I bring up. I try to look at how other people have described them before me, but I’ll probably make a lot of mistakes before I learn (and then when I think I’m “finished” I’ll find even more ways to screw up, because that’s how it works).

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Hi there diversity / More on the 12th doctor

I’m involved in a couple of discussions on the next doctor at the moment. In one of them the latest comment included: Talk of how the formula of having a male doctor has already proven itself. “I’m all for feminism, but…” Why change the gender of the doctor just for the sake of it? The creators of the show must have had a reason for not having black/female/other species than human doctors before (So I guess we should just… trust that they know what they’re doing?). And: I’m biased against white males in Doctor Who.

‘Cause I’m too lazy to write a proper post about it – here is my  copy+pasted reply:

 

“Why? Because hello 2013. Because hi there diversity. And somewhere far away, some sort of work towards ending sexist and all around bad depictions of women and POCs in tv shows. I’d like to welcome that. And because DW has a pretty bad track record in this area, especially considering the endless possibilities of having a diverse cast. The number of women and others who don’t fit into the white, male norm has even gone down since Davies ran the show. And I’d prefer going forwards to going backwards.

But yeah, it could rock the boat. The “formula” hasn’t proven itself, since it has never been tried before. Apart from the fact that I’m convinced it could work, and could even bring more fans to the show (I for one have stopped watching because I’m so damn tired of the same thing all over again – white guy, pretty white girl tralala) – I’d take that risk anyway. It’s one worth taking if Moffat wants to take the show into the 21st century (a bit late, but hey better late than never).

“I’m all for feminism, but…” doesn’t usually mean anything good. There’s no “but” in feminism and applying it in real life, in your working place, in the things you create. Not to me. It’s a necessity if we truly want to move forward. But I don’t want to change the gender of the doctor “just” because of the equality argument. I want the show to change. I want some fresh air breathed into the stale old formula. A change of perspective for the doctor would probably do that.

Yes, I am biased against white males for the role of the doctor, because I want something else. And everyone else is biased against that something else. The people who could see a woman in the role of the doctor, but would prefer a male one, they’re biased too. Be it as much because of the show’s earlier history as because of sexist ideas about women and men (and actresses and actors), it is still being biased.

But at least the scope of physical traits my bias is FOR is wide. Anyone who’s not white AND male is okay. That’s quite a range to pick from, don’t you think? Especially considering half of the world’s population is female.”

“Oh and yes, the writers/producers/etc have had a reason for going with white males. And that’s the reason I’m trying to fight against. It’s called kyriarchy. Patriachy, rasism, sexism. Oh so very neat how it all fits together…”

I should probably have mentioned more than sexism and racism. But I’m sick and tired (as in caugh caugh sneeze snot phlegm-sick – and therefore tired). My brain can only formulate the most basic ideas about discrimination and inequality right now.

 

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Cunting it up

I just discovered this:



Hell yeah! ‘Cause there are too many male “geniuses” already (comedians and other), but not nearly enough of women-centered stories getting attention (referring to “the to do-list” written across Plaza-s chest).

Aubrey Plaza is my new hero.

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12

I may not have seen the last five episodes or so of Doctor Who (I mostly blame the feminist in me and the Steven Moffat in Steven Moffat for that), but I am still going to do my part in the discussions on the next Doctor. So here you go – some suggestions for actors who could play the 12th Doctor:


Joanna Lumley has actually already played the doctor once.


Helena Bonham Carter


Chiwetel Ejiofor


Lara Pulver (Just ignore the hair to the left in the picture. We don’t want that white, male hair for the twelfth doctor, now do we?)


Sophie Okonedo

Jaime Murray
Jaime Murray


Idris Elba


Ace Bhatti


Tilda Swinton


Helen Mirren


Also, even though Jenna-Louise Coleman will stay on as companion next season, I’ll drop a few suggestions for companions here as well. Because it’s fun to dream.


Jessica Brown-Findlay


Robert Sheehan


Ben Whishaw


Lenora Crichlow


Jessie Cave


Antonia Thomas


(Not that we need more white males in DW, but seeing Whishaw or Sheehan following, say Helen Mirren, around the world might be kind of  cute…)

What do you (again with the”you”) think? Any other awesome people who would be great as The Doctor, or as a companion?

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Women who do art: Romaine Brooks


Self-portrait (1923)

Romaine Brooks was born 1874 in Rome. She was American but mostly worked in France and Italy.

I hope you forgive me for copying the art-stuff straight from Wikipedia:
“[Brooks] specialized in portraiture and used a subdued palette dominated by the color gray. Brooks ignored contemporary artistic trends such as Cubism and Fauvism, drawing instead on the Symbolist and Aesthetic movements of the 19th century…”

She painted both anonymous models and really famous (rich) ones, and was most famous for portraits of androgynous women, sometimes dressed in “masculine dress” – which seems to mean fancy suits, and the occasional fancy hat (I like!).

File:Romaine Brooks - Peter.jpg
Peter, a young English girl


La France Croisée (The Cross of France)


Una, Lady Troubridge

File:Romaine Brooks - Portrait of Natalie Barney.jpg
Miss Natalie Barney, “L’Amazone”

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