I dunno why I watch reruns of John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara in McLintock! (1963)... because I am a glutton for punishment?
The movie amazes me in its "playful" but violent sexism; the way the music goes all cutesy flutes-and-piccolos-and-pipes when he is chasing her around and eventually forcibly carries her up the stairs, Rhett Butler-style. She is still issuing orders to her black servant as he carries her backwards to the second floor, to have his way with her. Now, I ask you: is that cute or what?
I have written here before of how uncomfortable I am with the old movies I am simultaneously addicted to. I have also written of how common it is, in these old films, to find something horrifyingly reactionary right next to something progressive. In McLintock, John Wayne takes up for the beleaguered Comanche Nation, who get thoroughly shit on in no uncertain terms. As a kid, I remember watching this movie; it was my first real education regarding Native American rights (or lack of them) and what had actually occurred in the Old West. Remember, we were all raised on "bad Indian" history lessons, and the whole truth was not presented to the masses until Dee Brown's landmark bestseller, Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.(1970)  My mother read passages of the book out loud to us, with an incredulous tone in her voice. Most of us had no knowledge of the history of broken treaties and lies; our history books unambiguously portrayed the Indians as bloodthirsty killers that needed to be 1) wiped out or 2) converted. Ironically, the same movies that slandered the Indians, also reminded us that they were human beings, they had their own ways. The movies, then, were subversive.
And so, we get a movie that tells the kids: The Comanches got messed over. And then, the same movie joyously-endorses spanking grown women; it famously winds up with bitchy Maureen getting turned over John Wayne's knee for some good old-fashioned discipline, as the wild-west crowd (who hate these uppity red-headed broads from back East) cheer him on. (Stefanie Powers, the Duke's daughter, is also spanked by her boyfriend, while the cutesy flutes play on in the background and Dad chortles delightedly.) Lots of talk about manhood in this movie, and what it means to be a man. For George Washington McLintock, not surprisingly, manhood is some heavy patriotic assignment from God Almighty. (The Comanche, too, proclaim they will not take charity from whites, which is for the widows and orphans; they are MEN and will die like warriors.) This movie is a whole tutorial in manhood, and the proper place of MEN, even as it extends empathy to the indigenous people... but wait, not all of them. The MEN. The Comanche males are given a voice here, but their concerns are all about their vanquished manhood, not the fate of their tribe and nation. (And does anyone believe that? Sounds like more John Wayne, doesn't it?)
I watch this stuff to look for progress, since it sometimes appears that there is none. But watching this, I assure you, there is!
And another thing, common to old Hollywood westerns: The horses look sick and overworked. At the end credits, I didn't see any such, "No animals were harmed during the making of this picture," and highly doubt they could make that claim.
The Fat Wars in Feminist Blogdonia rage ever onward. The Feministe "Fat and Health" thread nearly blew up feminist Blogdonia. There is currently an "answer post" by Zuzu, titled "Fat and Health, A Response" with another accompanying endless thread. This time, no "fuck yous" and so on (as I wrote back on September 3). It's most decidedly a love-in, as everyone blows kisses to Zuzu for restoring order and assuring everyone that there is no connection between fat and... well, apparently anything.
But as I read the piece, a few things jumped right out at me.
I have been wondering why I don't understand what is being discussed, exactly, and I think the light is dawning. Once again: class and age.
Question: Is this how a lone black woman feels when they enter a room and all the white women are talking about how they fix their hair? Uncomfortable, disconnected?
And here it is: I don't know what lots of these fat women are talking about, and it's time I came right out and said so.
Example, Zuzu says weight and eating are not connected. Of course it is. For me, it certainly is, and for the hundreds (thousands?) of people I have talked to about fat on my job, it most assuredly is. I hear about bad food choices due to no time for preparation (the appearance of the home-microwave and the incidence of increasing obesity are a definite correlation!), no places to exercise, no time to walk anywhere (not even into a building from the lower parking lot), no opportunities for fitness at all. In the thread, folks assure us that changing this state of affairs is good, and yet at the same time, tell us that obesity is okay. But both realities can't be true; the first situation has in fact CAUSED the other.
Zuzu claims Monica's original post seemed to highlight the "moral failings" of fat people. Then I got it, at least some of it: If you admit that food makes people fat, then people are bad for eating too much food. Therefore, food doesn't make people fat, since we have to be nice to everyone, and that is regarded as a rude thing to say. (It's a lot like Chris Prentiss' approach to addiction at his classy Malibu treatment center: His first step is to NOT call you an addict and make you feel bad.)
Being fat is no moral failing. Being an addict or alcoholic is ALSO not a moral failing (yes, I just compared them). Oppressive, harried, breakneck-paced modern capitalist American life works on us all in different ways; I don't know anyone who emerges totally unscathed. Some of us smoke pot to relieve stress, some of us exercise or do yoga to relieve stress, some of us eat to relieve stress, some of us drink vodka to relieve stress, some go to BigPharm to relieve stress, some come to me and ask for herbs to relieve stress.
The common element? The stress. Where is all the STRESS coming from? Hm. Let me guess.
In my case, I can easily eat a lot, and I love food. In my prime, I could have been in one of those bizarre eating contests on TV; I have the capacity to pack it in as fast as any of those guys. I can take in amazing amounts of food.  Everyone in my family could also eat amazing amounts, and did. And we were all fat. If anything, we should have been lots bigger.
And you know, I will not shut up about that fact, simply because the Fat Acceptance Police have decided that truth, my truth, is the enemy. It is true. And you know what? I also know that my family ate MORE because they were fucking exhausted all the time, and that is the truth, too. But I read precious little about the relationship between hard work and appetite in that thread. I think most of those women are (like Zuzu) well-educated, elite professionals (which is why I found the chorus of "fuck yous" in the first thread, so surprising).
And the term "fat shaming" keeps annoying me. What is all this "fat shaming" I keep hearing about? What exactly is "fat shaming"? Why is anyone ashamed? Seriously, I'm asking. Why are self-defined feminists complaining about being ashamed of their size? How can you be ashamed without your consent? The task is to NOT BE ASHAMED--not to rearrange reality so fat is actually a good thing, so there is nothing to be "ashamed" of.
In addition, all the fuss about doctors blew my mind. Maybe because I have worked for so many (and listened to them and transcribed their meandering, solipsistic, often silly nonsense), they don't automatically command my respect or impress me much. (M.D. = Medical Deity, but not to me.) All this fear of going to doctors to avoid some arrogant bullshit? (My experience has shown me that many actually specialize in arrogant bullshit, so I am usually impressed when they don't act like that.) But AVOIDING the doctor for this reason? You gotta be kidding me. It's YOUR money; if you are in the USA, you are paying for this shit! They work for you. Why are you putting up with this stuff?
Examples, for your edification:
:: When one doctor said to me, lose weight, I gave him my standard reply: I didn't come here for that, thanks. "Well, that's my opinion," he said, and I said, "Duly noted." He didn't press the issue.
:: Another time: The good doctor kept pressing the issue: lose weight, lose weight, "blah blah blah would be better if you lost weight, blah blah blah," I stopped him, carefully looked him right in the eye and said, "About the weight? I. Have. Heard. You." and made it very clear, any more weight-blather would be VERY UNWELCOME. He stopped.
:: Another time, when asked by a doctor in the first five seconds (the health matter was totally unrelated): "Don't you think you should lose weight?" I asked him, "Don't you think you should want me to pay for this visit?" That always strikes right to the heart of the matter, I've discovered, for just about everyone (in the USA, anyway).
In another words: BE A BIG GIRL, Jesus H. Christ, what the hell happened to feminists? It used to mean you were a PROUD BITCH who didn't TAKE NO SHIT.
When I read "fat shaming" I think of little orphan-waifs weeping and blowing their noses after someone calls them fatty. That was me as an 11-year-old, but I grew out of it. By the time I was 13, whenever these asshole boys would scream "Fat Ass!" at me out the windows of cars, I gave them the finger and told em what I thought of their manners in no uncertain terms, which is even more unprintable than my usual rants. As a young feminist, just discovering the Second Wave, I loved cussing them out and actually regarded it as my FEMINIST DUTY, since I didn't know any other feminists besides my mother. (I decided they needed to hear it!) And my mother had given me permission to use the nastiest words of all, for the boys who yelled at me. My joy over my newly-expanded vocabulary easily eclipsed any upset I may have had over being called "Fat Ass!" (Sometimes, I would even come home disappointed no boys had yelled anything, so eager was I to try out the Forbidden Vocabulary.) Mostly what I noticed was how I would get wolf-whistles AND "Fat Ass!" --sometimes in the very same day. I realized, this was proof of men's inferior, confused sensibilities, they can't even decide if I am supposed to be attractive or not, poor saps. Tsk tsk. My feminism got stronger and stronger.
"Fat Ass!" used to piss me off a lot, but never made me ashamed. 
Moral of MY story: Good God, girls, show some gumption!
I am very tired of the whole VICTIM CHIC, and yes, I am aware of how damnably libertarian that sounds. The libertarians in my readership (quite a few) are likely chuckling in delight.
Another thing I thought of was the Bernard conference, wherein the Second Wave officially imploded. And it imploded over orthodoxy/dogma, the particular dogma being SEX:
Perhaps the most famous confrontation in the lesbian sex wars occurred in 1982 at a conference at Barnard College in New York City. Organized under the title "The Feminist and the Scholar IX," the conference brought together a diverse group of feminist thinkers and activists to consider the complex relationship between pleasure and danger.I remember when Samois, the lesbian SM group, was kicked out of the San Francisco Women's Building, simply for existing.
Local radical feminists deemed some of the topics offensive and attempted to shut the conference down, claiming it promoted anti-feminist values. Protesters handed out leaflets describing individual speakers as sexual "deviants." Clearly, sexuality had become a deeply divisive issue, even as the focus on such issues as s/m, pornography, and censorship obscured other feminist and lesbian issues related to sexuality.
According to Second Wave dogma, rape fantasies were an invention of male porn, women didn't really have them. No woman actually enjoyed BDSM, more male fantasies, more lies about women. "Porn tells lies about women!" was a picket-sign often held by WAP in various late-70s/early-80s demonstrations against movies (including one of my favorites, the extremely politically-incorrect DRESSED TO KILL). If it was in porn? Then you can count on it NOT being true. No women enjoy stripping, sex work, fetishes, blow jobs, anal sex, or any of that stuff.  Butch/femme lesbians are reactionary, and they need to wise up. Etc. The Barnard conference laid all of this bare, as some women stepped up and said, "Well, I, ummmm, kinda like some of that stuff and think we could even have some feminist versions," and the Second Wave just freaking blew up. KABOOM.
My friend asked me, "Are garter belts going to destroy feminism?" and I laughed my ass off. I never dreamed it would be true.
And now, we come to Third Wave dogma: Fat Acceptance, or Else.
It is amusing that the Third Wave even HAS dogma... mostly they have defined themselves in direct opposition to the Vicious Nun Vibe of the Second Wave: Hey, come on in! We love everybody!
Wow, I guess it turns out that they DO have some dogma, lurking in the rafters, huh? (LOL-gotcha!) And now, they are imploding from the nuclear reaction of people questioning THEIR dogma. Deja Vu all over again. (And as I wrote previously, the disintegration of the coalition, right on schedule.)
It is fascinating to me that BOTH of these dogmas are about a denial of women's appetites:
Second Wave: WOMEN DON'T LIKE BDSM, WE ARE LADIES! We aren't bad girls with bad fantasies and sexual desires! Sex is dirty!
Third Wave: FAT WOMEN DON'T GET FAT FROM EATING, WE ARE LADIES! We aren't bad girls who eat more than our share and have cravings! Food is gross!
Note the similarity.
As I said during the first Feminist Inquisition: I like the Sex Pistols, I like DRESSED TO KILL, I secretly-think all manner of politically-incorrect sexual thoughts. I am not nice. I like sex.
And now I will reprise: I like ice cream, I like cake, I secretly-wish I could eat enormous amounts of cheese with no gastronomic or caloric consequences. I am not nice. I like food.
And the house comes down!
It makes you wonder: How strong was the house to begin with?
 I can't imagine a history book of this kind making the bestseller lists now.
 And as regular readers of my blog know, I don't consider addiction a moral issue AT BASE, but a health/psychological issue.
 It takes an average of 8 minutes for your brain to get the "satiety" message, that you are "full". One of the secrets of eating contests, is to pack as much food in before you get that message, when you simply can't eat anymore. One interesting theory is that some folks get that satiety message "late"; most of the people in the eating contests can go up to 12-15 minutes before they feel the "stop" impulse. Maybe this is key to obesity, too: if you only get X amount of minutes to eat at work or school and you pile it all in at once, you are probably eating far more than you really need, but your brain doesn't get the chance to tell you. One of the major things I have learned is to STOP PERIODICALLY and WAIT for the damn message. For me, takes about 15 minutes, almost twice the length of a 'normal' (haha) person. I am convinced this is a huge part of how increased weight happens in our time-is-money culture.
Also, stress while eating creates indigestion problems, and is a large contributor to acid reflux. Acid reflux medications slow digestion WAY DOWN (causing weight gain, water retention and constipation) and make the problem worse. DIGESTIVE ENZYMES ARE SUPERIOR TO NEXIUM, ET AL., please try some instead of the deadly BigPharm concoctions, I guarantee you won't be sorry (speaking from experience now).
 I also loved the look of surprise on their faces: Sweet, blond, innocent 13-year-old Hayley Mills look-alike (only bigger), suddenly erupts into obscene invective... they just looked slack-jawed and stunned.
I loved it and felt very powerful.
 I can actually recall in one feminist newspaper (probably OFF OUR BACKS, but I won't swear to it), they brought in a battered-women's advocate/activist, to "refute" an SM practitioner. (?!?!?) Do you believe?!?
 One commenter very big on Fat Acceptance was BStu. I checked out this person's blog and the first thing I see is a Notes from the Fat-o-sphere Feed informing me that Judy Freespirit has died. I met her in San Francisco decades ago, one of those very charismatic feminists you simply never forget, and I am saddened.
RIP, dear Judy.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
I dunno why I watch reruns of John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara in McLintock! (1963)... because I am a glutton for punishment?