In Response to: Does Feminism Have a Class Issue? (Belated Post)

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A day late but here it is! Which is probably not the best way to start off my posts, but I have lots of excuses as to why I was unable to put up a blog yesterday, I promise (just give me a little longer to concoct some better ones). Let’s all just agree to pretend it is still Monday, okay? Thanks.

This post was inspired to continue the conversation about class and feminism. So, do I think that (mainstream) Feminism has a class issue? Yes definitely! (Read the Curve article for some economic insight on this subject.)

I think it’s more that people find it difficult to completely see outside themselves even when they are trying. A lot of that is just ignorance. We don’t actually know the everyday problems and struggles that others face because the evidence is not right in front of our faces. That is a HUGE issue and really not a good excuse anymore with the plethora of information at our fingertips that the Internet provides. Yet we are still completely unaware of problems that are just outside of our peripheral vision.

As a white, middle-class, cis female, there are a lot of trials I have never had to know and most likely never will. I grew up in a community that I could fall back on should something go wrong, and a family who had the financial stability to support me when I worked for little pay when I moved back home in my early 20’s. I am privileged and blessed that the majority of my personal feminist fight deals with principles, definitions, and details, and not fighting for survival. But that is not the case for everyone, just those who have the loudest and most accessible voices in American feminism at the moment.

There are many things that the privileged have access to that others don’t. Education, healthcare (usually), respect, birth control, affordable childcare, recognition, safety… And, like with affordable childcare, it’s not just about having convenience, but having the opportunity to improve your situation. If you can’t afford childcare, how will you have time to work to improve your station? How will you have the chance to further your education? How will you have the chance to take the “equal opportunity” supposedly guaranteed by law?

It is very important for all of us to realize not just how the Civil Rights movement will help ourselves individually, but even more so how it will improve the lives of those who have a more pressing need. We ought not be complacent in our ignorance or only focused on egotistic goals. A lot of this is the idea of solidarity. But you can’t have that if you don’t even know the very real issues others face.

So get out there and educate yourself! Practice empathy! Imagine people complexly!

Here are a few places to start:

– Intro to the concept of the Poverty Trap

– On how “I don’t see race” is an excuse that erases identity

Cultural Sensitivity

– On trans-feminism (read ALL of them!): Natalie Reed

Transnational Feminism

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“Your Best Body NOW!”… or yesterday.

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Welcome to Femminique!

This being my first post, and your first taste of this blog, I thought it appropriate to put a bit more expose in this piece.

It being July, we are well into one of my least favorite things in life: diet season.  Every advertisement seems to scream “EAT THIS, BE HAWT, LOSE WEIGHT. BE HEALTHY.

Well you know what? This is total rubbish.  There is nothing healthy about the diet industry. Most diets preach low calorie, low fat, or low-something-or-other. But the simple truth is that each of these diets prey on the pervasive emotional need of Americans to lose weight, never mind that the majority of diets are nutrient deficient. Diets focus on weight loss for the aim of thinness, which in our society is associated with beauty, goodness, happiness, and satisfaction. The diet industry preys on our basic need for love and acceptance by pretending to provide these things instantaneously.

Cloaked in the guise of health, fad diets promise to get you weight loss so that you can finally be at a “healthy weight.” What exactly does this mean? The American obsession with weight, and by proxy the propagation of fat stigma, uses the language of the BMI scale.

BMI, or body mass index, is a proportional measure of height and weight. That’s it. It cannot tell actual body composition, although this too can be problematic (but this is another conversation entirely).  See, BMI really tells you nothing about the actual measures of health, like lipids, blood pressure, or genetic risk. Although the pervasive idea is that fat people = unhealthy people, this is simply false.  At my medical industry job, I see people of every size that have chronic health conditions every single day. Sadly, fatphobia has invaded the health care industry too.

The issue with fat phobia and the proverbial “obesity epidemic” consists in social pressure, in beauty. The ideal body shape and ideal appearance has varied through the course of time. The obsession with being thin, or being strong, or being lean, is just that: an obsession. And what’s more, is that it is fueled by an industry that knows a large majority of people will fail to lose weight. Diets set you up for failure, because every time you fail is an opportunity to sell you something new, be it a “fat busting” shake or an fad exercise program, “ONLY $3.00 per day!”

I have come to understand, both through research and through my own struggles with self-acceptance, that health is being mindful with your body. Eating for both pleasure and nutrition. Loving both the curves of fleshiness and loving the stark silhouette.  Health is moving your body in ways that suit you, whether that is picking up heavy things or doing tai chi.

There is good science (HAES) that says individual’s healthy weight (and therefore shape) is dependent not on a national standardized scale, but on the individual genetic and environmental make up of a person.

So I encourage you, with“bikini season” diet flood in full swing, to be bold: love your body as is.

For more information on HAES, visit http://www.haescommunity.org/

And for some great encouraging art check out this lady http://carolrossettidesign.tumblr.com/post/89000688919/ok-i-also-found-some-little-grammar-mistakes-on

And for more musings on my life, health care, self love, and even some thoughts on feminist marriage, stay tuned!

Also, watch out for intros from your other lovely mods, Bobby Wren and Roy Glib!

Welcome to femminique. Open your mind, challenge your own standards, and love yourself fiercely.