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I got the newest Ms. Magazine in the mail today, which I of course, immediately read cover to cover. Amongst the standard alerts of injustice, George W. Bush, Abortion FYIs, and a very well written series of college-student essays about feminism on their campuses (wonderful article) was an article which boiled down to being about weight, an article which greatly distrubed me. I had to respond. Perhaps it will go no further than this (though I want to send it to Ms.-- please send me your suggestions!) but this is a form of publication, is it not? Cheers, Kate.

**

"Can you be thin and still be a feminist?"

I am five feet nine inches tall. I weight 110 pounds. I wear size 0 jeans, and when I can find them, size 00. No matter they cost me a fortune, it seems people can look beyond the price tag to that other tag, the one that is, in their eyes, more important. Thankfully, this is not about the amount I pay for clothing that fits, this is about the amount that I receive because of the clothing that fits: the amount of criticism.

Feminism has always been about women accepting one another, and most importantly, about women accepting themselves. Increasingly it seems that is fine, great, dandy, and perfect, as long as the woman in question is average or bigger. Self-identity and personal vision amongst feminists seems to have turned from acceptance to criticism, the common thought being that thinness is the product of eating disorders is the product of our culture is the product of thin, size-zero perfection on the silver and television screens. It is therefore something that is anti-woman (something created to be against the female sex) and from that assumed to be the enemy of all feminists.

Bottom line of common thought: thin women are not feminists, they are the anti-feminist.

I do not consider myself the anti-feminist because of the size (or lack there of?) of my jeans. Rather, I consider myself the exact opposite, I consider myself an avid feminist. I believe that it is important for women, in particular, to be comfortable with who they are in their bodies because this world does not easily allow for that. However, too often, especially recently, I have found woman and feminist themed literature turning from supportive and empowering to a constant attack on the thin American woman, calling that unnatural, and even, a throw back into the patriarchal notion of the “perfect” woman. It seems to be part of the notion that if a woman is thin, she has no self-esteem problems because she sees herself as being perfect like the media suggests.

The August/September issue of Ms. Magazine (a publication I avidly read cover to cover the day it appears in my mail box) has a lengthy “In Her Own Words” account by actress Kath Najimy about being a full figured woman in Hollywood, a story with promise of over coming odds and standing up for what she believes in. However, the article quickly turns from that promise to talks of her chiding a director for his thin casting jobs and the thin and implied ‘weak’ (she was quoted as saying “the only power you have is to lose weight and as you do, you get more and more attention and that is fake power that fills you up instead of real strength) television stars looking for anything they can control (turning to weight loss on a waif thin frame, of course). The essay goes from talks of activism in AIDS and PETA to her quest to shield her daughter from the so-called ‘thin ideal’. She recounts an exchange that took place (over the topic of Barbie) when Najimy’s mother stated, “There are thin women.” Najimy replied, “Every second for the rest of the 90 years of (her daughter’s) life, the world is going to bombarded by how perfect being thin is.”

Every day I am subject to criticism for my size. Example: I was watching a news report a few months ago talking about the epidemic of size zero jeans and how they were attributed to a rise in eating disorders among young girls. I ask the people who want to nix this clothing: what do you want me to wear? What do you want others to wear? We were discussing something similar to this in a class I was in and one girl promptly stated: “It’s not a matter of wearing something, Kate, it’s a matter of eating something.”

Or this one: I was in a store the other day, talking to a “full-figured” friend of mine about how difficult it is to find clothing. While we might be on opposite ends of the spectrum, our problems are very similar. A woman I did not know came up to me and said rather snidely, “Do you have any idea what it is to hate yourself because of how you look? I would give anything to be your size.” I stared at her and promptly replied, “Do you have any idea what it is like to have someone else hate you because of how you look?” She said nothing, only glared and walked away.

From my experience, there is a lot of bitterness. The accepted frame of mind has become that all thin women are diseased and weak, and that is why they are attractive, because they need someone to look after them. That is absurd. Perhaps ultra thin actresses such as Julia Roberts, Calista Flockhart, Jennifer Aniston, and Audrey Hepburn can be attributed to helping encourage eating disorders, but making ‘thin’ the enemy is not going to solve it but merely make the disorders go the other way, perhaps from anorexia to a binge system, something I have at points suffered from: eating and snacking constantly including large meals and once, an entire bag of Oreo Cookies chased with a pint of Ben and Jerry's, all under the pretense of gaining weight. Why? I was tired of the voices, whispers and criticisms. It is not easy being the “bad guy”, the antagonist, the one everyone hates.

Can you be thin and still be a feminist? Definitely. Feminism is not about being “full figured” and being proud, it is about being a woman and being proud, regardless of the size of your jeans. To be a true feminist, you have to embrace others for who they are and go beyond blaming those who are different for your poor feelings about yourself. Slowly, I am becoming comfortable in my body, but this slow and difficult journey has nothing to do with “fat” or “skinny” but rather of female. The aim of the weighty side of the feminist movement should not be to weed out one type so the other can feel comfortable, but rather weed out insecurities so all can feel comfortable. While easier said than done, it is possible. We cannot let ‘weightism’ become a dividing factor. We are all in this together through thick and thin.

The Movies I Have Seen this Year

Can you tell it is a boring day? I'm at work, btw, but have already listed about 5 items and want to take a break from actually working. Can you blame me? I didn't think so. (stop tsking, you know you would/do the same thing).

Here's another list. THe movies I've seen this year (I'm one of those people who keeps all their ticket stubs)

1.1: What Women Want
1.4: Emperor's New Groove (w/ b/f)
1.6: Emperor's New Groove (w/ little bro)
1.12: Thirteen Days -- first day it came out
1.13: Double Take -- Guy's choice
1.14: Save the Last Dance
1.17: Anti-Trust (b/f's choice)
1.19: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
2.9: Snatch
2.23: Hannibal
2.24: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
2.27: 3000 Miles to Graceland (actually... my choice... why I don't know)
3.2: The Mexican (FUNNY movie!)
3.23: Enemy at the Gates
4.14: Blow
4.27: Tailor of Panama
5.12: Knight's Tale
5.19: Shrek
5.26: Pearl Harbor
6.10: Moulin Rouge
6.15: Tomb Raider
6.16: Atlantis
6.30: AI (I don't care what anyone says, I liked it)
7.6: Legally Blonde (sneak preview)
7.11: Final Fantasy (I also liked this one)
Today: Will see Jurassic Park 3. I'll let you know what I think of it.

If you're counting, averaging about $5.50 student discount price this is about $143 of movies. Just thought I'd share this.

I also forgot two buttons. One is pink and says: "I am not your Barbie Doll" the other is resume paper colored and says: "Why do we kill people who kill people to show that killing is wrong?"

Update

Okay, I downloaded a picture, wohoo, which is going to have to do until I can get my damn bloody bugger of a scanner up and running. *urg! can you tell I'm frustrated?) It's a picture of me and Matt the b/f preparing to go to winter formal. I'm the one in the red dress, btw, in case you're one of those smart-asses who will write me and say "Who is who?" Well gee... I don't know. *shakes head* It's not cute people.

I got a new pair of black boots with a 3.5" heel, yipee! They're fun. They make me more than 6 feet tall. That makes me happy (though I can't wear heels with the b/f, we're about the same height and it's tres weird to be three inches taller than the b/f during formal occasions). I love payless footwear, btw. These shoes fit me! I'm having good luck. And btw, I'm not usually like this. I don't like shopping, especially for clothing, this is just a rare I don't know what else to do with myself moments, so, bear with me, okay? (is that the right bear/bare? bare is naked, but... I don't know, oh well, no worries).

I got my housing stuff sorted out. I do only have one roommate (the triple is room 105 while I'm in room 104)-- they were just having issues. Her name is Katrina, and I'm just hoping that she doesn't also go my Kate, that could be confusing. "Hi Kate, I'm Kate" *big cheesy grin*. Hopefully it's Kat. There's only one person who has ever called me Kat (that would be my friend Liz). *meow*

Also, room 104 is the only room with it's own bathroom. *does little dance* That is soooo cool. That 10 minute walk doesn't sound so bad afterall... hehe. Own bathroom. *big grin*

My Purse

My purse is a very interesting thing. I got it from wet seal for $9.95 about three years ago just before I went to Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Mellon Drama Program (a blast). It is army green with black trim, and starting to wear a little at the top. I have since decorated it with various 'conversation peices' (translation: political buttons) sometimes called 'flair', an expresion you'll only understand if you've seen the movie Office Space (which I recommend, hystarical).

The pins on Kate's Purse:
-- a punk patch with the same color scheme as the purse which reads: this is what a feminist looks like.
-- black pin: "Actually, guns do kill people"
-- green pin: "I read banned books"
-- yellow pin (one of my favorites): "He's pretty, but can he type?"
-- Rosie the Riveter pin "We can do it"
-- bright orange pin: "If you think Education is Expensive- TRY IGNORANCE" - it will be my mantra when I'm aggrivated that I can't afford to buy a coke out of the vending machine because of tuition.
-- blue pin with orange writing: "I am a shameless agitator"
-- smiley face pin from the Bubba-Gump shirmp company resturaunt in San Fran: "Stupid is as Stupid does"
-- fire colored pin: "At first they burn books, then they burn people"
-- orange pin with white center: "Friends don't let friends vote Republican" (in case you had any doubt what my political leanings were)
-- the traditional "Free Tibet" pin (every even sort of activist need one)
-- blue pin: "Defunding education is defeating the future"
-- orange pin with children on play ground: "It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber"
-- brown pin with yellow and red writing: "Radical it's greek meaning to go to the root of the problem"
-- orange and pink and red pin with white writing: "I am an aquired taste"

And that's just on the actual purse. Buttons on the strap:
-- white pin with circular design: "Well behaved women rarely make history"
-- white pin: "I still read books"
-- 60s style advertising woman with coffee mug and white writing: "If you want breakfast in bed, sleep in the kitchen"
-- half red, half yellow pin: "Fight aids, not people with Aids"
-- blue pin: "Wild women don't get the Blues"
-- light blue pin: "Every mother is a working mother"
-- resume paper colored pin: "Minds are like parachutes- they only function when open"
-- lime green colored pin: "This is what a feminist looks like" (purchased long before the punk patch afore mentioned)

Good/Bad day

I got my housing information from Smith today and I am not in my top one or two areas, which really, really, really stinks. I'm in the quad, which isn't so bad, I guess, they actually seem really cool, but all I can think of is below zero temperatures, lots of snow, and ten minute walk to class. Ugh. Shoot me now, please, before it starts to snow. Oh well. At least I won't have to worry so much about the freshman 15. On an even weirder note, I have two roommates in a room which was specified as a 'Double'. Not the one triple in the House, but a double. I don't so much mind being in the triple, but if there are three of us in the double room, it might be a little cramped. Ugh.

On another side note, my mother basically gave me a gift card to Abercrombie and I went to get some new clothing and they have 00 sized pants! I'm so happy! Pants that actually fit, I'm amazed. Thrilled even. It's the little things (literally I suppose) in life which make it good. So the events of the day almost cancel out. I bought a pair of loose-fit grey pants and a pair of white khaki corduroys.

I am watching an old Friends episode. I think it might be the first one. I don't even like this show. Why am I watching it? Oh yeah, there's nothing else on and nothing else to do.

I am at work.

Here I am. At work. I figured I needed to have an entry taking place at work so here it is. I am at work. My work is pretty standard really. If you've ever read Dilbert you will understand. I have a PHB and everything, almost identical to the comic character too, so that is a little frightening. I work with the b/f in the same small tiny little office (do you get the hint?) It's barely an office, it is more a 9x9x9 box in the middle of the store which is either freezing cold or burning up. There's not really room for us here, we have two computers, two computer desks, two computer chairs, a large shelf for my ebay items (btw: I take the junk they can't sell in the store and I sell it on ebay-- or try to-- if you're interested in photographic junk go to ebay and look up Photomark2, that's my work), a photography display where I photograph, a filing cabinet and not to mention me and the b/f. Occasionally co workers will pop by and sometime the PHB will, and we're honestly not particularly fond of that because then we have to exit out of all the non-work related sites/programs that we use over the course of the day and we have to do that quickly-- thank god for alt-tab. *praise be*

The office is really pretty normal, though I hate to think of it that way. We all pretty much hate our jobs but are here because we need the money, not as though it really pays anything. I wish it paid more because I would have to save everything that I make over the course of this summer in order to afford the $1,000+ amount of books that I'll need for my first year or so at Smith, which just isn't fair. Ugh! BUt as one of my new buttons on my liberal purse says: if you think education is expensive, try ignorance. I just have to keep telling myself that. ugh. I have been trying to get commission, but yeah, that's going to happen, uh huh, come on Kate get into the world of the living and reality and the good old fashioned American commerce system of pretending you're going to do something for your employees only so they leave you alone (if you think about it, it's really very cleaver: appeasement without intent).

*sigh* Anyway... soon... I am almost out of here... one... more... hour...

Another day...

So it is another day down in the grand countdown to when I leave for Smith. Now it is 48 more days. 48! It seems like a life time... but it will be over soon tg. I'm watching 13 Days on my lap top DVD player while I write this. It's a good movie... a little long and historical though. :P I like that. lol. Probably why I'm watching.

"Come on Kate, we all know you like it because Kennedys are involved."

*sigh* True, true, I just can't get anything past you guys, can I? But yes, it is probably a little sad. I have most of his speaches memorized. I have a poster for every wall and then some, pages of clipping, books galore, a box filled with old magazines, the GI Joe action figure... the GI Joe action figure... *big grin* That makes me laugh.

Yeah, just so you know, I'm not a freak... I promise. I think.

What did I do today? Got up. Watched Dune-- the sci-fi channel mini series. It was okay, too much blue screen though, I guess I got too used to million dollar effects... So I finished that. Did some stuff for mom-- I vacuumed. Ugh. Not fun. Then I talked on ICQ/IM to Canadian buddies mostly and some new future Smithie palls of mine. Then I went to church, oh a thrill a minutes, came home, ate dinner, talked on ICQ/IM some more, now here I am. Writing about something none of you really care about to I am sorry.

Honestly, I would write about something else, but there is nothing interesting going on in my life. Honest. Nothing. It kind of sucks.

My mommy loves me :)

I came home from a movie night with my friends. The b/f and I went out earlier in the evening and went around to used bookstores (my favorite, Changing Hands and also Bookman's, where I got old JFK Life magazines for a dollar each-- I love people who don't know what they have) and then we got together with The Group. I finally got them to watch the Godfather (part I-- II and III are for later dates, I think) which was not really an easy task, but they watched it and liked it like I said they would. So that was cool.

I got home, right, and my mommy bought me Thirteen Days on DVD. *Kate happy :)* My mommy loves me and is not afraid to indulge my little obsession. *sigh* And so then we had a nice talk and that was great. Am I the onyl teenager who likes talking with her mother? i hope not. That would be REALLY sad. We have a great relationship. Not Gilmore Girls relationship (yeah, how fake is that? Totally unrealistic, false, and otherwise... ugh! but hey, it's the WB I guess...) but it's pretty good. We understand one another I think. I don't mind it anyway... But yeah, it's almost 2am so I think I'm going to do something really weird and get some sleep. *aghast amazement, I know*

I open my journal...

So in an effort to pass the time of the Longest Summer (a gift from hell, part one), I began to talk with future classmates from Smith College, where I will be attending in the Fall (thank God!). One of them had a website and through the website I found her on line journal and through the online journal I found out how to create my own and voila! here it is. So, I am sorry, but you can blame her for the fact that I am able to type out these meaningless little titters that come out of my head. Thank goodness you don't actually have to listen to me in person, right? But seriously, I'm not that bad, just get to know me. *insert cheesy game show host grin here*.

One think I am warning you about right here and now I have a tendency to be a little cynical and sarcastic, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, is it? I don't think so. If it was, I probably wouldn't be this way, but in all honesty, I blame my mother and my time in the Public School System (which I love and still strongly endorse despite the time I actually spent there-- and yes, I spent time there, I never skipped a class *as she discovers how absolutely uninteresting that really is*). But the Conspiracy of the Charter School is something to be discussed at a much later occasion.

Yes, much later indeed.

So I figure this will be a great way to 1) pass away boredom as I wait for this endless summer to come to the end (that I have been told is there, somewhere), 2) share ideas, and 3) get people thinking, maybe, though that of course assumes I start thinking and I'm thinking that might actually be too much to ask (maybe)-- it is summer after all.

Okay... so about me? What do you want to know? I have an opinion for everything... lol... yeah, you think I am joking but I assure you, I am not.

I'm an aspiring writer really and I am having issues (as you think: "you're having issues? wow... and you felt you had to actually tell us this... why?") because I have finished my first novel-- editing and everything-- and am unsure as to where to go now. Yes, seriously. I have query letters out looking for a viable agent willing to give me the time of day and keeping my fingers crossed that maybe I can sell this and maybe get some pocket change for my expensive college education that I can't really afford. But that, too, is another rant. But I think I've lost my voice-- no, I can still speak, but I mean my writing voice. It's gone... I can't find it... I surly wish I could. So I've been working on this other novel but it keeps getting stuck and I have the feeling it will be written very much like my other one was, in pieces, and I will probably spend another five years on this one. *ugh*. Yes. Five years. Five years writing one piece of fiction. Though, if it is any consolation, I have been told it's actually quite good... hum...

So I'm trying to figure out exactly what I'm doing here, although I've just come to the realization that this is a diary and therefore does not really need any plot, which is good mind you, because my life doesn't have a plot. Nope. Nada. At least, not yet, though I have a feeling that this will come in quite handy for keeping in touch with my friends back here when I go to college ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COUNTRY! *excuse me while I dance a little jig* :)