Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cross-Post: Finessing the Holidays

Cross-posted from my other blog. I think this is relevant for lots of folks.

My heart goes out to folks who find this time of year difficult, daunting, draining, and somewhat or completely debilitating.

I have not quite found a way to finesse the holidays, but I am sure working on it.

Sassafras Lowery does finesse the holidays and has a great post, "Queerly Reclaiming the Holidays," which I first read last year...and which I think is pretty broadly useful.

I've worked on #2 and #3 this year, and at times it has helped me feel better and also bond with my partner and friends. But at the same time, if the holidays already feel like a lot of work for you, you might end up even more drained.

My advice is do what you can when you can to the extent that it makes you feel good OR to the extent that it helps you work through the bullshit and baggage that might emerge or present that you can, potentially, feel good. For example, there is so much pressure to be and feel happy this season that my impulse to repress feelings of depression, grief, guilt, etc. is strengthened. But rather than ignoring it, I am trying to face it, express it. I have also tried harder to keep my emotional lines of communication open because my instinct is to cut those channels off in an effort to be happy (for others). I have been finding myself on my steadier ground by working on this. Importantly, I find myself more able to access joy authentically.

Especially at this time of year, take care of you. *BIG HUGS*

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Love and Laughter

If you are as in love with Robyn as I sometimes am, you will likely die a sweet death of laughter if you are not careful, so take a deep breath first as SNL's Tarran Killam recreate's Robyn's video for "Call Your Boyfriend" with the help of some cast and writers, at 4:30 in the morning in a relatively small room filled with people. In my mind, it is a serious homage to Robyn and the dedication is clear. I loved every single minute. Enjoy.

Aside from the obvious, one of the most hilarious parts, for me, is the complete and unwavering straight face on Bobby Moynihan and the way he starts to turn his body away at the end, still with the straight face, as though he is spent and totally *done* with this silliness in which he was obviously compelled to participate.

For those of you unfamiliar with Robyn, here is the original video:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fat in the Classroom: What NOT to Do

Hi, folks! For awhile now I've been working on an "Intro to Teaching Fat Studies" presentation with a colleague, which we plan to make into an online workshop. Thus far, our focus has been on a Fat Studies 101 sort of deal and topics and activities which might be useful in the classroom.

We had bounced around ideas about a practical section that addressed the issue of desks, though I had tabled it--in part because there's no simple solution. However, the issues of desks and chairs has come up a good bit in my dissertation interviews with size accepting fat women, and this week I started recalling other disastrous classroom experiences friends have told me. Teaching teachers how not to be assholes about fatness should really be our first priority...and a bare minimum for educators interested in being, you know, good educators.

So my goal is to have the first section of our online workshop deal with these sorts of practical issues--in large part, a "What NOT to Do" or a primer on "how not to shame and alienate fat students."

Thus far, I start out by suggesting that teachers don't comment on students' bodies at all, noting that marginalized folks live in a world which thinks nothing of commenting on their bodies as if they are public property and open to commentary/scrutiny. 

Obviously, another important suggestion,  for all kinds of reasons besides not shaming fat students, is not to WEIGH students or have them weigh themselves.

Also, educators shouldn't use fat or body-shaming photos or other imagery or analogies in an uncritical way. For example, teachers shouldn't engage in the popular meme that fat folks are the de-evolution of the species (Google "evolution fat" if you are unfamiliar with this increasingly popular imagery/meme).

But I need some more ideas. Have your educators engaged in body shaming and/or privileging of certain bodies in your classes?* Hearing from you all about your own experiences will help me give teachers more concrete examples and alternatives. Let me know what teachers are doing wrong, so we can try to educate folks and improve the classroom experience for fat folks.**  

Edited to add: Please, if you are willing, also share how this experience made you feel. I think it is important to voice the impact this stuff has on real live people.  

Edited to add Pt 2: If you don't feel like leaving a public comment, feel free to email me confidentially at withoutscene at gmail dot com. 

*The workshop will be about fat, but I plan to address the larger context of bodies and embodiment in the classroom.
**We focus on the college setting, but experiences at all levels of education are surely helpful.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fat Feminist Resilience

Fat feminist.
Academically out of control.
Outrageous embodiment
Discomforting to you.
Professional perplexer
Defying your logic.
Unapologetic and indefatigable.

So I'm no ace at poetry, but there's that. I was having trouble writing anything with conviction today, so I tried to think about what this blog is about and started with the first line.

I believe in being defiant and indignant despite the unease and disruption it causes others, but sometimes it takes a lot of resilience to be someone who makes people so uncomfortable...merely by being. I'm certainly not the only person to experience this, especially in academia, but it remains a challenge nonetheless.