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  • Rachel 8:12 pm on April 19, 2011 Permalink  

    Eating and Food Policing in Advertizing 

    Yanno whats been bugging me for the longest time now?  How women are allowed to eat on tv commercials. To wit, TEENY TINY BITES. BITES SO TINY AS TO PRACTICALLY BE MUNCHING ON AIR. WITH A GODDAMN HAPPY SMILE ON THE FACE.

    Who eats this way? Seriously?

    I don’t ever see a man eating food this way on tv.  No; pizza, burgers, whatever–its being shoved into a wide open, anticipating maw.  I guess such rapacious enjoyment of food is too UNSEEMLY for women.

    Has anyone else noticed this?

     
    • bigliberty 8:16 pm on April 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Yes. This. Completely agreed. It annoys the hell out of me.

      The ads where I see women taking a big bite? Sexualized with food as a poor proxy for a penis.

      So if we’re not blowing a dude, we better not be eating, either.

      • Rachel 8:39 pm on April 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        OMG YES. Yanno whats really sad, I never really noticed that I had noticed that until you mentioned it just now, and its totally TRUE. Goes to show just how normalized objectification is.

    • Kathy 8:21 pm on April 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I know! Who bites a teeny edge off the corner of a Dove chocolate like that?! I put the whole thing in my mouth and suck it! *nods*

    • vesta44 11:17 pm on April 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Ah, I’ve figured it out!!! Those women who take those teeny tiny bites? They’ve had WLS to get thin and can only take teeny tiny bites of anything, otherwise they won’t be able to keep it down. And the ones who are taking the big bites, well, they’re sluts, of course (food sluts or sluts for sex, same difference).
      The “tiny bites” registered with me because I’ve had WLS (it failed, of course, and I’m fatter than ever) and tiny bites is all I could take of anything I ate and they had to be chewed to mush in order to keep them down (and even though the stomach-stapling has come partially undone, for some foods I still have to take small bites and chew it very, very well to keep it down, and this is 12 years after the stapling came undone).

    • Elizabeth 1:35 am on April 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I tend to nibble on things, but when I do it around people, they laugh it me (often calling me “Squirrel”), so I can attest it’s definitely not the usual way people eat.

      But I think the ads with small bites are aimed at women (see dainty and lady-like you’ll be if you eat our product! You won’t be a glutton and you DEFINITELY won’t get fat!), whereas the ads with women eating phallic food–as Big Liberty so aptly mentions–are aimed at men, associating the food with sex in the time-honored advertising strategy (I’m thinking particularly of the horrible Paris Hilton hamburger/car wash ads).

      Though it’s strange really, if you’re trying to get the average woman-objectifying straight dude to buy, say, a hamburger, isn’t showing that hamburger as a stand-in for the phallus kind of counter intuitive? Since the point is for him to eat it, right?

    • Kirsten 7:20 am on April 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Oh but don’t you know? Only big fat disgusting smelly gross women take normal sized bites! Tiny thin pretty petite sexysexysexy girls take little tiny tiny bites. And then chew it for 42 hours like the chic in the granola bar commercial. Seriously, W. T. F. I mean, yes, you should chew your food well. You should. It’s how it was meant to be done. But I don’t think that it should take you the entire segment of a commercial to chew up what would be probably about 3 of those “whole grains” (yeah right, processed to within an inch of its life).

      I refuse to watch commercials like that. Refuse. And I won’t buy the products. it’s going to get to the point that I’m not going to be able to buy anything eventually……

    • Mrs. Sprat 7:37 am on April 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve noticed this too. A lot of women on sitcoms pick up forks and then put them down again, just right so the don’t eat it at all. Now I’m sure some of this is a money thing, the more times they have to do the scene, they have to keep replacing the food if there is a huge bitemark, but I’m sure some of it is about looking lady-like. One actress who doesn’t do that is Sarah Jessica Parker. Say what you will about Sex and the City, but she eats a burger with gooey cheese coming out everywhere, takes HUGE bites of apples and really, truly eats and enjoys her food on the show. It’s a nice change.

    • notblueatall 2:43 pm on April 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Yes! It’s so annoying. Either they over-sexualize food (it’s never sexy to me anyway) or they perpetuate the women-shouldn’t-eat thing. UGH!

    • Lisa 3:19 pm on April 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I remember watching this advert for, I think, one of those breakfast drinks, aimed at both men and women. The men in the ads were shown drinking the stuff and working out whilst the women just worked out. So… women don’t eat now? Cause that’s like really healthy you know. Its ridiculous and makes me so angry.

  • Rachel 7:14 pm on February 22, 2011 Permalink  

    NOM NOM NOM 

    So, there I was on Meetup.com, minding my own business, browsing and looking for interesting things to do in the area. Wondering if there were any fatty meetup groups around, I typed up “fat” in the search box, and hit #1 was a HAES group (HOORAY!) but hit #2 was a “fitness and activity group to stay FOREVER YOUNG” and the description pulled no fat-hating punches! Check this out! (trigger warning for ridonkilous fat hating spew):

    …Oh I forgot, i don’t list restaurant events that tend to draw people with Big Guts and Fat Butts that find walking-hiking or any other physical activity a burden either so you can rest assured none of them will eat you alive if they are hungry. We are people that enjoy doing things as a SMALL close group at a variety of places and activities with the goal to keep things SIMPLE, generally CLOSE in travel distance, INEXPENSIVE, ENJOYABLE..

    (emphasis mine)

    YOU GUYS!! I KNOW!!

    At first I was offended, because come ON, it takes more than just being hungry to make me eat people, amirite? Then after a few minutes, I just couldn’t help but laugh at how ridiculous an image that is, and my writer’s mind (being presently busy with writing a sword & sorcery type fantasy epic) came up with the following satirical nursery rhyme on the spot.

    FEE FIE FOE FUM

    I’M A FAT LAZY BUM

    HATE TO WALK HATE TO RUN

    BRING ME SKINNIES ON A BUN

     

     

     
    • Ashley 12:37 am on February 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Haha nice little ditty. That’s crazy but at least you did find a HAES group.

    • Jazz 8:06 am on February 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Bring me skinnies on a bun!!! Love it.

      Me? I eat people all the time when I get hungry. The office is decidedly beginning to lack humans. Need to hire.

    • wriggles 8:08 am on February 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      ridonkilous fat hating spew

      I’ve written a post which uses those exact terms!

      And I think you’re right humour is the best way to whip the rug out from under this mentality. People can be as snobby as they want about fatz if it gives them a bit of self esteem-goodness forbid they’d actually have to do that by ya know, raising it on their own- but if (those of us who can manage) don’t indulge their feelings of superiority. It gives them something to do.

    • notblueatall 12:44 pm on February 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Nice! I came across similar ones on my meet up site, too. Is there a way to report them for excluding people? I doubt it. Oh well.

  • Rachel 7:20 pm on February 2, 2011 Permalink  

    DONUT! 

    In my other life, I am a jeweler. I have a BFA in studio arts and my particular emphasis and passion is in jewelery design and fabrication. At this point in my life, though, I don’t have the resources to realize my visions, so I spend most of my jeweler energies designing and ogling other people’s creations. The other day I came across this fabulous gallery based in San Fransisco, Velvet da Vinci, and spent over an hour or two admiring the work in the gallery images.

    And then….

    I found the images of Lynn Christiansen’s 2009 show “Maybe Just One More” and saw so many beautiful pieces, but one image stood out to me as the most hilarious and possibly most subversive piece in the entire collection–subversive in the sense that if a Fatty McFatty Fat like me wore it in PUBLIC, it would be like I were taking PRIDE in my fatness and in the horribly sinful JUNK that made me so obscenely disgusting! Wearing a DONUT BRACELET?! Why, that would be THUMBING ONE’S NOSE AT ALL THE SELF-HATRED AND FOOD MORALIZING WITH WHICH ALL FATTIES MUST FLAGELLATE THEMSELVES!

    I want this bracelet.

    I can only imagine that looks I would get if I wore it out and about. I would just laugh and laugh and laugh.

     
    • Twistie 8:21 pm on February 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      MUST! HAVE! NOW!

      It would go so beautifully with my scarlet fat necklace.

    • Dee 8:26 am on February 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      OMG, a WHIPPED CREAM PURSE!

    • Jazz 8:41 am on February 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I’ll take the profiteroles thanks very much!

    • notblueatall 3:48 pm on February 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Love this! And I will have to check out that gallery. Too cool!

    • Buttercup Rocks 4:40 pm on February 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t think I’ve ever wanted a bangle quite so much in my entire life. (And I’ve wanted many).

  • Rachel 9:41 pm on January 5, 2011 Permalink  

    No Turning Back from the Dark Side. 

    I have just engaged in my first act of overt FA activism.

    This is a big deal for me. Even though I have been in FA for nearly three nears now or so,  I haven’t actually ever had the courage to fight back against the standard narrative.  I’m not a confrontational sort and Im not one to present myself as an expert when I cant back myself up. Instead, I’ve spent the last three years quietly absorbing everybody’s words; every linked study, every argument made, and every myth busted.  When it came to being an activist, I simply refused to be a part of the normal dialouge.  If someone wanted to talk about her diet, I simply put on my deaf face (blankey mcdead eyes) and said variations of “thats nice”.  If someone wanted to snark on her body, I simply expressed my disagreement, and changed the topic or walked away.  If someone attempted to moralize food, praise or judge my food, I simply said “I dont beleive in diets–food is food” and ate whatever I was eating, often looking at whomever annoyed me right in the eyes. That usually shut them up.  (The one thing I have still not yet figured out how to handle is when someone says “I lost X pounds this week!” I don’t want to reward that statement with praise, but I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by dismissing them either. Right now, I just say “Thats nice.”)

    Until today that was the extent of the activism I have been comfortable with.

    Today though, a facebook friend of mine, who is VERY new to the whole FA concept after a lifetime of fighting with her body, and only recently resolved to stop dieting, learned from her doctor that her fasting blood sugar is 135, and is back on medifast.  I nearly flipped. Instead I posted on my wall a link to “You Did Not Eat Your Way to Diabetes! and then I did something I hadnt done before; I started evangelizing, and y’all it FELT GREAT!

    I dunno where this stuff came from or how I even remembered where to look for the stats I needed (thanks should probably go to Notblueatall for refreshing much of my memory with her post today) but because of everything I’ve learned through three years of reading FA blogs, I was able to tell my friend why she shouldn’t ever feel bad for getting diabetes:

    NO NO NO, dont ever blame yourself for it! even the American Diabetes Association says you cannot eat your way to diabetes. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-myths/

    A relevant quote: “Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight. ”

    Weight gain is only moderately correlated to diabetes, it is NOT a cause, but more likely to be a SYMPTOM of long term metabolic disorders. Only 18% of fat people have diabetes and (from webmd) “Of people with diabetes, 21.1% were obese, 9.8% overweight, 5% normal weight, and 4.2% underweight.”

    Dont EVER let a doctor tell you that your eating caused your possible diabetes. Doctors are fat-phobes and brainwashed by big pharma. As for treating your blood sugar, all you need to do is moderate your carbs and exercize everyday. Improvements in health metrics resulting from weight loss alone are temporary–studies show that exercize is itself an effective regulator, and works long term regardless of weight. I’ll see if I can find the sources.

     

    I’ve never been this “Activist” before, but Im glad I did, because now my friend is reading Kate Harding’s FAQ,  and doesnt sound like she hates herself for having high blood sugar–a state she admits runs in both sides of her family.  PEOPLE, DONT BLAME YOURSELF FOR YOUR GENETICS, COME ON NOW.

    Do I feel ready to be more activist-y in the “real world”?  I  dunno, but I do feel ready to start rehearsing for it. And thats quite a thing to imagine–ME telling folks what’s what?

    Shit, son.

     
    • noceleryplease 8:35 am on January 6, 2011 Permalink

      Good for you! The description of what people go through on that Medifast plan scares the bejeezus out of me!

    • Ashley Pariseau 8:51 am on January 6, 2011 Permalink

      I was involved in a study for diabetes last year and we found that it’s more like 40% percent of people who are overweight have diabetes and 8 out of 10 people who have it are overweight…but I’ll have to dig up the papers I kept from it.

      Anyways, my grandma always told me I was going to get diabetes from eating too many sweets.

      • CTJen 5:19 pm on January 6, 2011 Permalink

        Ashely, it would be interesting to see the sample size and research protocols of that study. Did they control for factors like genetics and participant lifestyle? How was this study peer reviewed and by whom? And where is this study published? Even if the statistics you report are on the up and up, it still doesn’t prove a causal relationship between fat and diabetes.

      • Rachel 6:38 pm on January 6, 2011 Permalink

        I too am interested in hearing more of of that study’s details. the figures you cite seem exceptionally higher than results of previous studies, like the one I referenced on webmd. To be honest, I suspect your study’s sample size was small. Small studies tend to show inflated results. but regardless of any inflation, your figures echo current data that the rate of fatness among diabetics far outweighs (HA!) the rate of diabetes among the fat population. To wit, you cited “40% percent of people who are overweight have diabetes and 8 out of 10 [80%] people who have it [diabetes] are overweight.” This pattern, consistently shown across medical data, indicates that the causal relationship–IF ANY–between fat and diabetes runs the opposite direction of what is commonally claimed. that diabetes causes fatness, not fatness diabetes.

    • Jenna 9:28 am on January 6, 2011 Permalink

      Kudos, darling! Isn’t speaking out exciting and scary all
      at the same time? But with it comes catharsis and speaking the
      truth in some ways, at least for me, settles that truth into my
      being. Plus, those of us who are continuous activists like myself
      can get relief when it is someone other than our voices calling out
      because that does get tiresome. There is nothing better in the
      world than to hear your views being defended by another. Keep it
      the good work!

    • CTJen 9:48 am on January 6, 2011 Permalink

      You go girl!

    • notblueatall 2:26 pm on January 6, 2011 Permalink

      I just happened on your blog today serendipitously and wow! Love this, love you and thanks for the linky-love! It took me awhile to give myself permission to voice my honest and true thoughts, to be my most authentic self, but thank Maude for FA and my fellow fatty bloggers. We support each other and share our experiences with all who would read them. That alone takes courage. Rock on!

    • Christine 12:19 pm on January 8, 2011 Permalink

      “Of people with diabetes, 21.1% were obese, 9.8% overweight, 5% normal weight, and 4.2% underweight.”

      It would be useful to get some context around this quote, because it leaves the other 60% unaccounted for.

      • Rachel 12:36 pm on January 8, 2011 Permalink

        I totally agree with you. This is the link to the webmd article I lifted that stat off:
        http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20100210/percentage-of-overweight-obese-americans-swells
        WARNING SANITY WATCHERS POINTS REQUIRED
        Which summarized, but did not link to or provide any context of, the 2009 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, and of which stated only that “The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index findings are based on telephone interviews with 673,000 adults in January 2008 to December 2009. About 90,000 surveys were done each quarter, and the margin of error for the quarterly results is +/- 0.3 percentage points. “

  • Rachel 12:58 pm on June 14, 2010 Permalink  

    Just A Number 

    So, I’ve been gaining weight for a while, ever since I broke up with my ex Valentines Day 2009. It is only natural that I should gain, since before the breakup, I had been depressed and stressed and didn’t eat and lost some weight. Then after we split, I became a whole lot less active, but started to eat again, so I got bigger. I could tell because my clothes got tight, and I had to shop for new pants and bras twice. It seems to have leveled off now. I must confess that I really hope I have leveled off and stopped gaining because a) I’m sick of shopping for pants and bras, y’all and b) I am a couple pounds shy of the Big 200.

    Yeah, I weighed myself. Went to a naturopath appointment, way back in January, and out of some morbid curiosity regarding the fatness of my body, stepped on the scale. I really wish I hadn’t weighed myself, because when I saw “197” I had an OMGNOT200!DOOOOOOM! moment.

    But why? Why is that number so horrible? Its just a number: whether I weigh 199 pounds or 201 doesn’t change me, or any of us, as human beings. Even if our culture does decree that it shall be the Magic Cutoff of Worth(TM). Too many women subscribe to it, like Oprah, and I don’t want to be one of them.

    So, since Janurary, I’ve been telling myself that 200 is just a number and that it does not really reflect my actual shape and size and WORTH of my body and myself. It does not make me any less desirable–in fact, while it lowers my attractiveness for some men, it raises it for others, and for the men I ultimately wish to meet and date, it has no bearing whatsoever. And I believe that, seriously, but gaining all that weight still bummed me out, because, yo, shrinking clothes suck.

    Yet even with all that internal pep-talking, and the reinforcing I got from y’all, the Fatosphere, I still felt like crap. Of course, I had been feeling like crap for a long time, since before my ex and I split. I thought it was due to my several food intolerances, diagnosed just this October. Eliminating gluten and caffeine from my diet has done tremendous amounts of wonders for my sense of health and well-being. But even though I slept better and lived better (not dealing with painful abdominal cramping and diarrhea after EVERY goddamned meal) I still felt like crap. My energy levels went up, and my mental stability improved, but I still felt sluggish, weak, bloated, out-of-breath, tired, irritable, impatient, and flat out ugly and undesirable. In short, I felt “FAT”. (I use this phrase not to comdemn fatness, but because it is the term so many American women–maybe even other english-speaking women and men?–use to describe their discomfort with their bodies.)

    I refuse to diet, in any form. They don’t work long-term and instead just make you hungry and angry and stressed and self-hating, and then you start yo-yoing and shit. I just refuse to go down that road. Hell, my diet is restricted enough as it is, being gluten-intolerant. In fact, I refuse to get sucked into the whole wish-fullfillment trap of the Fantasy of Being Thin, and I have rebelliously denied that fantasy by eating whatever the fuck I wanted, when I wanted. But that hasn’t made my crappy-body feelings go away.

    Then a couple months ago, it came to me. I need to move, be active. I used to hike and walk a lot, before the ex and I went splitsville. And my healthier diet and better sleeping habits expanded my energy reserves. But I haven’t been active at all since the breakup. I just work, eat, read, and sleep.

    So, I joined a gym.

    I hate gyms. I hate machines and the whole thin=fit culture rampant in gyms. But this gym is the regional YMCA. Its got a POOL. Two, in fact. Most gyms in this area of the country just don’t have pools (don’t ask me why, cuz I sure don’t know). I love, love, LOVE to swim, and hadn’t been swimming since I moved out here. And since the whole tenet of HAES is to find activities one loves to do, I opted to join the Y.

    I’ve gone 3 times since joining on the 1st. And, y’all, I’m so glad I did this. Swimming makes me feel euphoric and relaxed, calm and tired, and at peace with the cold cruel world. It makes me feel strong. And since I’m not focused on BEING SKINNY, I can actually enjoy feeling my body glide through the water. I can enjoy the bubbling hot tub. I can meditate in the steam room. I can watch the Zumba chicks dance and say “that looks fun, I will try that next week.” And best of all, I can climb on the locker room scale, see the numbers say “197” and NOT GIVE A FUCK, cuz, y’all I feel great! 200 really IS just a number. Whether I am above or below that “magic cuttoff of worth”, I”m still me. I’m still here. Am I still fat? Hell, yeah. Do I still “feel FAT”? Hell, no. And that’s all anyone, thin or fat, can ask for; our worth and our ability to feel good and be worthy, does not depend on some damn number.

     
    • Jazz 1:37 pm on June 14, 2010 Permalink

      I need to move too. I mean I really need to move. Because otherwise I think I’m going to become one with the couch… Forget couch potato, I AM the couch.

      Somehow though, I just can’t seem to get off the damn thing.

      • Rachel 4:16 pm on June 14, 2010 Permalink

        LOL. all I advise you is do find an activity you enjoy, something that feels like play or is pleasurable, and do it when you want to, and dont give a fig for “results”. However, the “wanting” to is the tough part, and I cant help ya there. Plus, girl, you just got back from vacation in Brittany. you need to relax!

    • Living 400lbs 3:45 pm on June 14, 2010 Permalink

      I toured a bunch of gyms a few years ago, and I noticed the Y had a much more kid-friendly vibe. If anything, the kid-friendly kind of reduced the lose-weight and be-sexy focuses, which I thought was nice. Have you noticed anything like that?

      (Of course not all Ys are the same, just as all 24Hr Fitness or Gold’s or Curves are the same….)

      • Rachel 4:20 pm on June 14, 2010 Permalink

        This Y is definitely family-centered, focused on providing clean, safe facilities and programs for the community. Its all about being active and healthy of course, but there’s nothing on the walls that pushes the obesity doom rhetoric. But then again, I haven’t yet taken any of the fitness classes or personal training or nutrition services. And even if I did, as a deaf person, I’m pretty insulated from that shit. Yay me.

    • dominique 3:55 pm on June 14, 2010 Permalink

      Ya, I know that. If I hadn’t started crazy dieting at 12 years old b-cuz a friggin asshole Doc told me «you are very obese» I’d probably be 160 pounds again. However, after years and years of disordered eating, diets, exercise and obsessing about weight I’m 232 and struggling because it still tends to make me sick. I say to myself that I’ll never diet again b-cuz that’s what got me there. DIET MADE ME ZOMGDEATHFAT. So SCREW YOU Doc Whatever, and miss, keep in mind that it’s just a number. You’re doing well and it’ll prevent you from keeping putting on, I’m sure. Keep on HAES- ing. xxxx

      • Rachel 5:03 pm on June 14, 2010 Permalink

        thanks! I am also leery of doctors because of that increasingly vitriolic fat hate. I dont even have a personal physician, excepting my gyno and my naturopath.

    • maggiemunkee 4:01 pm on June 14, 2010 Permalink

      tangentially: i have recently returned to my gym after taking a few months off due to a severe first lupus flare. for funsies, i got on the scale. it read 135. i was baffled – i haven’t weighed that little since grammar school. and because at my last doctor appointment i weighed 300 on the nose.

      someone had switched the digital screen from pounds to kilograms. HA!

      • Rachel 5:04 pm on June 14, 2010 Permalink

        LMAO.

        btw, metric is for heathens. YES! ;)

    • Anna 7:03 pm on June 14, 2010 Permalink

      What a great post, and something I definitely needed this morning. I put on a bunch of weight when I went overseas, and since then have been hovering around 90kg, which is my cutoff number because omg 90kg is what my MOTHER weighs. Heaven forfend!

      Being active certainly does make a difference. I LOVE the gym, and I also do roller derby and volleyball. Being able to focus on what my body can do rather than what it looks like is really helpful. I hate that that’s been swayed recently by unsolicited comments on how I dress.

      You know what, I think I might actually go swimming this week too. You’ve inspired me. Thankyou!

      • CTJen 6:51 pm on June 16, 2010 Permalink

        forfend is a great word! LOL!

    • Heidi 6:37 pm on June 15, 2010 Permalink

      Maybe it’s a crazy question…but can you just ditch the weighing? If it really doesn’t matter (unless you have a health condition that warrants keeping an eye on your weight because of meds, etc.), why bother with knowing the numbers at all?

      I don’t know many people who can truly look at numbers on a scale without feeling any kind of emotional response, because that scale is *triggering*! If you are one of those people, great…otherwise, just ditch it. THAT was one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done!

    • CTJen 6:52 pm on June 16, 2010 Permalink

      “Maybe it’s a crazy question…but can you just ditch the weighing?”

      So. Much. This.

  • Rachel 9:01 am on April 27, 2010 Permalink  

    Thoughts on the ABC vs Lane Bryant Ad 

    The big news this week is the apparent fat phobia of ABC execs in denying a Lane Bryant lingerie ad from airing during prime time hours along with Victoria’s Secret’s “Naked” advertising.

    Except, I’m not so sure that fat phobia is at play here. It seems to me to be primarily a case of patriarchal normativism.

    Let me explain. In the LB ad we see a curvy girl in figure-enhancing lingerie making a date on her phone, then admiring herself in the mirror, and walking out the door clad only in a trench coat. The implication being that this woman is heading out for some hot sexytimes–and is very much looking forward to it. And her paramour has no idea what’s coming to him. Oh la la! Viva la fat femme!

    This is a woman who owns her body and her sex. She is not meek–she is sexually confident and assertive. She does not wait, like the Vicky’s models, passively and winsomely, for her lover to come and satisfy himself on her. No, instead she goes out knowing exactly what she wants and with no doubt that she is going to get it.

    Well, that just simply isn’t “proper!”

    This is still a patriarchal culture, and women are supposed to be passive objects for male sexual consumption, not active consumers themselves. Any woman who is sexually aggressive is considered “bad”–slutty, mean, promiscuous, man-eating, deceptive, and evil. Consider the characters in movies and TV that are sexually dominant women: the vast majority are portrayed invariably as Villains. The Damsel’s nemesis, or the Hero’s weakness, who must be overcome.

    In the context of the LB ad, the sexually dominant attitude of the character adds the element of the taboo to her nakedness–magnifying her sexual presence tenfold. In contrast, the gyrating sirens of Victoria’s Secret are nearly invisible in their adherence to female norms.

    The fat phobia here is incidental–a symptom of normativity. A person who is evidentially “normal” has more leeway to engage in non-approved behaviors than one who is not “normal”. It is remarked upon, but it is not threatening. Much like rich white suburban white boys dressing and acting like poor urban black youths. Non-threatening people engaging in “bad” behavior are eccentric–whereas Abnormal, threatening people engaging in the same behaviors are labeled deviant, and are in need of immediate correction. Or censorship.

    So, the “problem” with the Lane Bryant ad is not merely that of a “fat girl” showing off, but its of “fat” girl engaging in “deviant” behavior. That’s just not allowed, because why then, “normal” girls might get ideas!

     
    • Jazz 9:06 am on April 27, 2010 Permalink

      I just googled the commercial. That woman is supposed to be fat?

      OK, she’s not skinny, but she’s nowhere near fat! Only big thing about her is her boobs.

      Gimme a fucking break!!!

      • living400lbs 10:46 am on April 27, 2010 Permalink

        She’s a size 16, which is considered plus-size. I don’t know her BMI, but the CDC would probably classify her as clinically overweight or obese. This is one of the little secrets of the “OMG over half of Americans are overweight or obese!!!!” stories: most people who are clinically overweight or obese aren’t very fat.

        So yeah, the model isn’t fat the way I’m fat. She’s actually much more typical.

    • CTJen 9:10 am on April 27, 2010 Permalink

      (@)Y(@)

    • vesta44 9:58 am on April 27, 2010 Permalink

      You know, I think you just might have hit the nail right on the head with your analysis of why ABC and Fox didn’t want to air that ad. If it had been done the same way as the Victoria’s Secret ads, there might not have been as much of a problem getting it aired.
      And while fat people might not consider the model in the Lane Bryant ad fat, compared to Victoria’s Secret models (or most other mainstream fashion models, for that matter), she’s fat – she has natural cleavage, actual hips, legs that aren’t sticks, and a belly that isn’t concave (in other words, she’s not a hanger for the lingerie, she owns the lingerie, it doesn’t own her).

    • Ashley 11:56 am on April 27, 2010 Permalink

      Interesting perception on the issue!

    • lifeonfats 12:13 pm on April 27, 2010 Permalink

      While I do think the ad showing the woman being sexually confident and somewhat aggressive may have been socially threatening, I still believe that the idea of a plus-size woman who isn’t being seen on TV as self-loathing, dieting, or feeding her face, but positive and not starved for love is something mainstream networks are afraid to show, because someone will accuse them of being fat-friendly.

      When FOX’s “More to Love” premiered, there were comments saying how unhealthy all of the female contestants were and it was encouraging fat people to not lose weight. It’s this fear of fat people being treated as human that really causes others to show poor judgment on their part.

    • April D 11:52 am on May 3, 2010 Permalink

      Fantastic take on this. I think it is likely a combination of these fears. I also get a sense that there is another fear here: that fear that portraying a fat(ter than usually allowed on TV unless as a joke) woman in a positive light might work, even a bit, to wreck the impact of all those ads immediately before and after extolling the virtues of self-hatred (of your body, size, shape, non-perfect whatever) to be cured only by product X. As you say, not only is she fat but she’s deviant because she dares to consume sexual confidence: instead of passively display her “goods” for the male-centric gaze, she’s off to put them to use! And that scares the pants off folks who are complacent in this normative spirit-crushing of women that exists. Not sure I can even formulate where I’m going with that except to say fantastic bit of analysis, you’ve really got my brain crackers grinding here!

  • Rachel 1:13 pm on March 24, 2010 Permalink  

    Well, If You Ask ME! 

    I stumbled across this “Dear Annie” bit while reading the fluff section of my local paper. (Online source is here. As always, Sanity Watchers Points required due to douchebag comments!)

    Dear Annie: I have a 12-year-old son who is grossly overweight, as is my wife. I’m worried that my son will become an obese adult. My wife blames her obesity on her childhood and believes if we say anything to our son about his weight, it will only carve it into stone. But it seems not saying anything might be just as bad. My wife’s brothers were chubby until they became teenagers and then thinned out. But everyone in my family grew up fat and stayed fat. My son is sensitive, so I don’t want to say anything that would make him feel like less of a person. What do I do? — Worried Dad

    If it were me tasked with doling out advice, this is what I would say:

    “Dear Dad:
    I commend you for respecting your son’s sensitivity, as well as wanting him to be healthy, but you worry overmuch about your son’s weight. As a matter of fact, people’s health have very little to do with weight. There are lots of fat people who are healthy and live long lives, and just as many thin people who are short-lived and ill.

    Moreover your son is only 12 years old. He is about to start–or is starting–puberty, and he will need a lot of excess weight to convert into the muscles, bones, brain, and organs of his genetically-determined adult body. If that body is meant to be fat, nothing you can do will change that. Your task as a parent is to encourage your child to eat nutritous foods, to enjoy being active, and to provide guidance and encouragement as he navigates the tricky path of puberty and adolescence. It is not your job to force your son’s body to fit into some arbitrary social mold.

    In fact, it sounds as if in writing this letter you are loooking for permission to circumvent your wife’s wishes so that you may shame your son thin and force him into a mold that is more pleasing to your eyes.

    Using the term “grossly overweight” implies that your son disgusts you. It is a very judgmental perception. It is not the basis of a healthy relationship with your son, and will not lay the foundation of the healthy man you say want your son to become.

    Don’t project your own loathings and insecurities onto your child.

    Listen to your wife. Don’t shame your son. It won’t make him thin. Forcing him to do exercizes he does not like and to eat foods that won’t satisfy his growing body’s natural need for high-energy foods is just another way to shame him. It would feel like torture, and your son will know why you are torturing him: because he’s too fat to be accepted by you. That won’t make him thin.

    Just be a parent who loves him. Nurture his body and encourage him to test his limits, but don’t force him into a mold you think he should fit into.”

    But is that what Annie says? Of COURSE not. Instead she trots out the tired “eat less, move more, be a healthy family!” tropes, and makes a asston of bigoted assumptions to justify it. Let’s break it down, shall we?

    Dear Dad: Your son’s biggest problem is the fact that both of his parents have weight issues.

    –No Annie, his son’s biggest problem is that Dad is being a judgmental ass. And the only person who has a problem here is Dad.–

    The most effective way to help your son is to model healthy behavior. Get rid of the junk.

    –Way to make assumptions based on stereotypes! You’re assuming a lot here. You think you know exactly WHY this family is fat. You hear “obese” and automatically make the leap–which is completely unfounded–that this family eats primarily “junk” food. You have no evidence that this is the case. There could be medical issues. There could be disabilities. At the very least its obvious there is a genetic component. Whatever is the case, YOU DONT KNOW WHY ANYONE IN THAT FAMILY IS FAT! YOU DONT KNOW HOW THEY LIVE.–

    Cook nutritious meals with lots of fresh vegetables. Have fruit available to snack on. Eat the way you want your son to eat.

    –How CLASSIST of you. You assume they have access, money, and time to fresh “healthy” foods. Wiithout getting into the whole morass of the class issues of food availability here, how DARE you assume they don’t eat fresh, nutritious foods?–

    Then take him with you for bike rides, neighborhood runs, basketball games and softball practice.

    –Once again with the classist assumptions! You assume they live in an open, safe, and spacious neighborhood, and enjoy sufficent leisure time and money to indulge in what are really activities of luxury. You don’t know where they live, what their family schedules are like, how much money they make. Furthermore, how DARE you assume that this family, or the son in particular, aren’t already active?–

    You will teach your son the good habits he will need for the rest of his life — and improve your own health in the process.

    Way to subtly call Dad here a fatty fat fat, Annie. Way to reinforce his own internalized fat-hate. What a masterful display of fat shaming! Bravo, Annie, Just bravo!

     
    • Katie 2:11 pm on March 24, 2010 Permalink

      I made the mistake of clicking through to the article, the commentors pretty much thought Annie was right on and offered their own fat shaming advice.

      • Rachel 2:19 pm on March 24, 2010 Permalink

        Oh yes, Sanity Watchers Points are required at that site, like practically every other off-FA site out there! I will also add this warning to the top of the post. Thanks!

    • Meems 2:51 pm on March 24, 2010 Permalink

      I read that one and was also utterly disgusted by her response. Thanks for writing something about it…maybe you should send this post to her/them.

    • CTJen 6:25 pm on March 24, 2010 Permalink

      ugh!! serioulsy, UGH!

    • Anna 8:18 pm on March 24, 2010 Permalink

      -head desk-

      This is fucking ridiculous. I really wish my mother had been so respectful of not elcturing me on my weight, even if the reason is “Not to make it worse.”

      What an ass this dad is. Being grossed out by your son? Get fucked.

    • Kirri 7:21 am on April 4, 2010 Permalink

      I read some advice from a locally renowned nutritionist last week regarding signs that your child is unhealthy. Susie Burrell’s #1 sign was that your child just LOOKS different from the other kids in school. Way to give a child a complex, Susie.

  • Rachel 11:33 am on December 29, 2009 Permalink  

    The “naturally thin” double standard. 

    Before I get into the meat of this post, a quick Torrid update. Joy from Torrid contacted me at the end of the day of my rant and basically apologized for my troubles, explaining why they had the policy they did, and assuring me that they will rewrite their system to make it easier for deafies in the future.

    They also offered to send me my order with free express shipping. I declined and bought a Crockpot from Target instead. I currently have a chicken cooking at home as I work. I’m so excited about my first crockpot chicken!

    Ahem.
    So, today I was reading an actual printed newspaper (made on real wood pulp!) while on break, and came across an article entitled “Naturally Thin People have Life Challenges Too”
    It was an…interesting bit of writing. I found an online copy here.

    Overall, it wasn’t a bad article. A lot was said about how you can’t judge a person’s health by his or her size, that weight is more than what we do or eat, and that genes and metabolism have much to do with it, and that talking to people about their weight or appearance is rude, and probably damaging.

    While genetics and ethnicity play major roles, there is no one-size-fits-all reason why some people are slim and remain so without really trying, says Kaiser Permanente registered dietitian Nora Norback.

    Bottom line: Don’t judge a body by weight, because it’s not about numbers. “It’s about health,” Norback says. “Healthy people do come in different shapes and sizes, but at the extreme ends, we certainly see more health problems. We make a lot of our judgments on how a person looks. But you shouldn’t assume that someone is unhealthy if they’re really thin.”

    To rule out eating disorders, Norback looks at a variety of factors beyond the scale, including body image, diet and malnutrition, hydration status and exercise frequency. Certainly, it’s important to remember that there are naturally thin people who make an effort and those who just are thin without trying a whole lot.

    However, despite all this good news, I came away from it mildly miffed at the double standard that these things apply only to thin folks. For instance,

    But the skinny life has its challenges. Clothes are difficult to find. And Brueheim has heard a lifetime of hurtful comments. “I’m healthy, I have a lot of energy, and yet people will say such things, like, ‘Gosh, you need to eat more.’ We’d never say such things to an overweight person,” she says.

    “…never say such things to an overweight person.” The hell you say! Yeah, no one tells fatties they need to eat more, but they sure do feel free to tell fatties to lay off the chips and cookies all the time. And the actual truth of the matter is that a dieting person, fat or thin, does need to eat more.

    When it come right down to it, I’m miffed at the double standard that what applies to thin folks doesn’t apply to fatties. I’m miffed that the eating habits of thin people–healthy or not– are judged morally superior to fat people’s. I’m miffed tht thin folks get the benefit of the doubt from the media, the health industry, from society. Why can’t us fatties get the same benefit?

    Oh, yeah, cuz we are all greedy, overconsuming slobs hell-bent on destroying the earth with our evil fatty ways!

     
    • Atchka! 12:11 pm on December 29, 2009 Permalink

      Oh, come off it Rachel. Thin people are under much, MUCH more pressure to eat more than fat people. You act like it’s so hard being fat. “Oh, look at me, I’m fat, so I can’t by affordable, stylish clothes in my size.” Wah, wah, wah.

      I’m a size 4 and the other day I found this gorgeous dress that was a size 6 and it hung on me like a tent! This is oppression of the highest order!

      You fatties are so lucky. It’s like this world was handed to you on a silver platter. I mean, every Hollywood movie stars a fat actress effortlessly falling in love, all the magazines boast the beauty of curves, and everywhere you look, there are “Stop Being So Damned Skinny Already” campaigns.

      Get out of your ivory tower, Perfect McFatty and try living down here with us real people for once.

      Peace,
      Shannon

      ps Congrats on the Torrid affair.

    • noceleryplease 12:27 pm on December 29, 2009 Permalink

      The comments on that article were, for the most part, surprisingly mild. I expected a lot more fat hate in there.

    • hsofia 2:52 pm on December 29, 2009 Permalink

      I have a really thin friend who does get heckled and criticized about what she eats (or doesn’t eat). And it’s hard for her because she used to have an eating disorder. It doesn’t just hurt her feelings; it is painful because she has to struggle not to resort to her past behaviors and mindset.

      I have another friend whose body changed post pregnancy (of course), and she was rueing the loss of her wardrobe and the figure she’d had before, when another friend told her, “oh thank god; you were an emaciated stick before; you look way better now.”

    • Anna 7:16 pm on December 29, 2009 Permalink

      Huh. It never occured to me before, but when she says “You would never say that to a fat person” it sounds like it comes for a place where they’re offended, but honestly don’t think it’s on par with “Hey, you should try not eating so much” etc because they can’t imagine fat people would get offended, because surely they don’t know any better right?

      I’m not articulating this post very well.

      • Anna 7:21 pm on December 29, 2009 Permalink

        WAIT! I thought of something!

        The example I’m thinking of is like, if a person is of race A and someone makes a derogatory comment towards them, they could say “No one would ever say that to someone of race B!” but people do say that to people of race B, but the first person can’t comprhend that would be JUST AS offensive.

        The old “My oppression is worse than your oppression” hooplah.

    • Ashley 6:49 pm on December 30, 2009 Permalink

      I didn’t see anywhere where they said that fat people don’t have trouble finding clothes that fit. I’m pretty sure most people realize this and a list of other trials and tribulations fat people go through. I think the article was just trying to say that thin people go through things too.

    • CTJen 8:28 pm on December 31, 2009 Permalink

      Shannon already said everything I was going to. So… yeah. FUF!

    • erika 12:11 pm on January 18, 2010 Permalink

      People tend to act like it’s NOT hurtful to say “You look anorexic” to someone, but it really is. I’ve been skinny my whole life and I’m constantly bombarded with things like “You’re never going to get a man because you have the body of a little boy”(I didn’t know little boys had boobs?..) and “Eat something, you look disgusting.”, and my overweight friends get comments like “Put down the bag of chips, fattass”…but someone in our group of friends someone usually tries to make her feel better…while they just laugh at me when someone makes a mean skinny comment about me.

      The article wasn’t saying that fat people don’t go through cruel treatment, it was just trying to say that thin people go through crap as well. People are so hell bent on hating skinny models and skinny actresses, that no one thinks skinny people have feelings.

      “Real women have curves” and “Skinny women are disgusting/not real/unhealthy” campaigns are EVERYWHERE….you really never see “All body sizes are beautiful” campaigns…it’s always one or the other and it usually ends up with one insulting and putting down the other(i,e: real wome have curves/men like curves).

    • Sefi 4:10 am on June 15, 2010 Permalink

      “And the actual truth of the matter is that a dieting person, fat or thin, does need to eat more.”

      Not that I encourage trying to lose weight, but why is it assumed that a person isn’t eating enough if they are dieting? Dieting doesn’t mean starving yourself, it could just be eating more whole foods and using portion sizes, it could be eating more food or eating in a way to make sure you are fueled enough to exercise. Some people on diets eat 1500 to 2000 calories+ which can be more than non-dieting people.

      Also, as Erika said, almost every campaign to boost one group will put the other down. How is anyone supposed to feel good about themselves being played off each other like some weird middle school game?

  • Rachel 9:19 am on December 18, 2009 Permalink  

    Boycotting Torrid 

    I am a big girl, and I have big ol’ calves, right? So you know that means finding boots is nearly impossible. My feet are medium 7 and my calves are 18″. I was so DELIGHTED that Torrid sells boots that fit both my feet and calves. And when my folks gave me Christmas money, I decided I wanted to spend some of it on a pair of black Britney boots from Torrid. The store in the mall didn’t have them in stock, so I went ahead and ordered them online.

    Yesterday evening, I got an email to call to confirm, for security reasons, my ownership of the card I used to place my order.

    Now, first off, I hate making phone calls. As a deaf person, its an incredible hassle. I have to use a third-party system called a relay service, and more often than not, its a negative experience. I’ve had people think it was a solication and hung up on me, I’ve had people lose patience with the process, I’ve had system failure and lost connections. The thing is every time I make a phone call through relay, it is always to a company or utility or agency, and it sometimes takes 3 tries to get a live person to respond to the phone so I can get actual business done.

    Like I said, making phone calls is not a pleasant experience. It is always, invariably stressful.

    Anyway, I digress.

    I got an email from Torrid.com telling me to call to confirm my order. Immediately my blood pressure starts rising.

    It only got worse. Here’s why:

    Here is the transcript of the call I just had with them through the relay service.

    Text in bold is the Torrid.com rep. Text in Italics is me.

    IP RELAY RO80479F
    PLS HD DIALING
    866 867 7431
    RING 1
    (RECORDING)
    thank you for calling torrid.com
    (message in different language)
    (recording to relay)
    to speak with a representative regarding a new or existing order please press 1 for(pressing 1)
    (HOLDING)
    (music playing)
    RING 1

    (F) one moment i really could not hear you clearly hello qq can you hear me clearly qq

    Hello yes, my name is rachel I’m calling to process my new order my order number is ############

    so you would like us to place a new order using relay? one moment one moment please…

    Ok

    i was yeah i can see here that this order was connected for a verbal confirmation from the credit card holder but uhm since this order was verification so we need to speak to the card holder about this order and since we need to speak with the credit card holder we could not do verbal through ip through relay the customer needs xxx you need to call us she may need to call us so she can verbally confirm the order over the phone

    Um hello I am DEAF. This IS my verbal confirmation. I AM the card holder

    yes i do understand that ma’am but we need to speak to you directly we need you need to give us a call by yourself so you can verbally confirm the order

    That is not possible because I am DEAF and cannot HEAR you.

    one moment please
    (HOLDING)
    okay uhm the last option that we have is you may need to to call us the one the bank who issued your card for this order so they can confirm that we have the same information on the order based on your credit card information

    Ok…how bout this. Can I have my friend call with me, and she help me hear your instructiuons and I speak into the phone?

    i apologize but uhm we could not do that it’s either you may need to speak uhm you may need to speak to us directly about the order or the bank will call us to verify if we have the same information on the order based on your credit card information

    I see. Well that’s just too much trouble you guys really need to rewrite your discriminatory policy regarding deaf people. Please cancel my order immediately. I do not want to give you my money.And please send a cancellation confirmation to my email.

    i really do apologize for that one ma’am as request i’ll go aheadand cancel the order since the order didn’t check you are not charged for the order is there anything else?

    No absolutely not. Thank you for help, I understand you are not to blame but I do hope you will report my extreme dissatistaction to your management. This IS discriminatory.

    i do apologize ma’am that we could not really do verbal confirmation through relay the reason why we re doing verbal confirmation on an order with the card holder is to make sure that you will not be charged for fraudulent charges on your account rest assured ma’am i ll go ahead and forward your concern to my supervisor yes i do apologize ma’am but since you could not do verbal confirmation you may need to contact last option that we have

    I understand, but you need to give deaf people useable options. This is not. Perhaps I will, but due to your policy I am not willing to give you money. Thank you. Have a good day.

    thank you for calling have a great day

    I’m sure.

    (CALL ENDED)

    This phone call left me pissing, hopping mad. I probably could call my bank, but I honestly don’t want to. Not just because its a major hassle, but because I shouldn’t have to. Torrid really does need to create an anti-fraud procedure that accomodates the limitations of deaf and speech-impaired customers. And because they don’t, or won’t, I refuse to give them money.

    Even if they are the only damn place where I can find some goddamned boots that fit me!

     
    • buttercup 10:16 am on December 18, 2009 Permalink

      Wow! Un-freaking-believable! That is outrageous!

      I would recommend Avenue, but I’m not sure they carry 7s.

      • Rachel 10:39 am on December 18, 2009 Permalink

        If I recall correctly, their size 7s have 17″ calves. Too small for me :(

    • Trabb's Boy 10:17 am on December 18, 2009 Permalink

      Wow, that is HORRIBLE!!! I can understand companies with policies that discriminate against fat people. I don’t like it, but there’s no LAW against it. Jeesh, I wish the world could be just a tiny bit more sensitive to people who don’t happen to fit in the middle of the bell curve.

      I’m impressed that you handled yourself so graciously. And I’m glad you put it on your blog so others could see what jerks run that company.

      • Rachel 10:41 am on December 18, 2009 Permalink

        I wouldn’t say they are jerks, just clueless. And the Torrid rep was just doing her job. Can’t blame her for that. :) But the clueless policy is totally douchehoundy.

    • wellroundedtype2 10:25 am on December 18, 2009 Permalink

      On Torrid’s web site, there’s an option to send an email regarding customer service. One option is to send it to the CEO (I’m sure not read personally by the CEO).
      Here’s what I just sent:
      Torrid needs to create an anti-fraud procedure that accomodates the limitations of deaf and speech-impaired customers.
      I won’t be ordering anything from Torrid until I hear that the procedure has been changed. I am not speech impaired or deaf, but this is unacceptable to me.

      • Rachel 10:42 am on December 18, 2009 Permalink

        Oh thanks so much for tip! And thanks also for the support. I will be be sending my own complaint when I get home tonight. Thanks!

    • Atchka! 10:26 am on December 18, 2009 Permalink

      Okay, I know this was like a horrible experience, but that person’s response was fucking hilarious. It’s like he/she has never heard of deafness before.

      “Um, you need to call for verbal confirmation.”

      “But I’m deaf.”

      “Yeah, but I just need you to call in and talk to me.”

      “I can’t hear you. I’m deaf. It’s not possible.”

      “Still, ya know… I need you to call.”

      I’m surprised you kept your cool as well as you did. I would have been reaming that dumbass. Isn’t there some government office where you can file a complaint? I’ll definitely boycott Torrid, but since I never shop there, my contribution won’t be all that noticeable.

      Peace,
      Shannon

      • Rachel 10:45 am on December 18, 2009 Permalink

        LOL yeah that is sadly funny. And why I was so frustrated!
        I can file a complaint with three orgs: The FCC, the ADA, and the CEO of Torrid. I may do one or all.

        • Atchka! 12:48 pm on December 18, 2009 Permalink

          Do them all because that is seriously bullshit. Major bullshit. What next, they make blind people pass an eye exam? Geez.

          Peace,
          Shannon

        • Twistie 2:18 pm on December 18, 2009 Permalink

          I’m with Shannon here. File complaints. File as many as you can. Torrid’s policy is discriminatory. Your needs as a customer and as a human being are not being met. Their policy is losing them a significant segment of the population as buyers, and they don’t seem to freaking get it.

          I do, however, applaud your restraint in dealing with the poor schlub trying to carry out their policy. She probably gets yelled at a lot more by people with a lot less to complain about.

          • Rachel 2:27 pm on December 18, 2009 Permalink

            Thank you! The question remains though, whether the relay operator in the middle of this was also as restrained. :)

    • boots 10:42 am on December 18, 2009 Permalink

      If there’s an Avenue near you, I recently got a pair of boots that fit my giant calves there…don’t know if that helps!

      • Rachel 10:56 am on December 18, 2009 Permalink

        I’ll have to look. I haven’t seen an avenue around these parts in a while.

    • Jazz 10:44 am on December 18, 2009 Permalink

      Sheesh. And here I was going to check out their boots in hopes of finding a cool pair that could fit me.

      So much for that.

      • Rachel 10:47 am on December 18, 2009 Permalink

        Lol. Thanks Jazzer, but I’m boycotting Torrid, no reason you have to, unless you want to :) They are affordable!

    • Kristin 12:15 pm on December 18, 2009 Permalink

      I am afraid that this might not be Torrid’s hard-line policy, and that you just ended up with a dolt on the end of the line. I would have asked for a supervisor to confirm her assertions. I work at a call center and we have people here who are incompetent and give out bad information on a regular basis. It’s possible she was just dense and didn’t get what you were trying to say. A supervisor should be able to clarify whether that is the official policy or if the person you were talking to is just dumb.

      Either way it is a most unfortunate thing and I’m sorry it happened to you.

      • Rachel 2:30 pm on December 18, 2009 Permalink

        You probably are right; I hope so! I should have thought to ask for a supervisor, but I was too mad to think of it.

    • Suzanne 1:01 pm on December 18, 2009 Permalink

      This is about the boots. I saw a FA website recently where a girl had taken some GORGEOUS black calf high boots to the cobbler and he added a triangular piece of leather and they zipped right up, the workmanship was great. The cobbler says they do that type of alteration all the time.

      I am so sorry for your frustrating experience, I would have been FURIOUS!

      • Rachel 2:33 pm on December 18, 2009 Permalink

        I have no idea where to find a cobbler in these parts. Lol

    • ZaftigWendy 3:33 pm on December 18, 2009 Permalink

      I second what Kristin said. My bet is that a supervisor would’ve fixed the problem, but that the rep you talked to was simply an idiot.

      I really hope that you can communicate your displeasure to their higher-ups and that you receive satisfaction.

    • living400lbs 4:51 pm on December 18, 2009 Permalink

      Gad. Yes, complain. Complain in writing if it’s less stressful. Alternatively you could psyche yourself up, call the same number, and immediately ask to speak to a supervisor.

    • hsofia 6:01 pm on December 18, 2009 Permalink

      That person should have gotten permission from a supervisor to make an “exception.” All they have to do is make a note on the account explaining the conversation just like they would have if you hadn’t used relay. I used to work in customer service and took a lot of calls from deaf folks using relay, and yes, we needed verbal confirmation for things, but relay counted as verbal confirmation! It’s not like there are a whole bunch of credit card thieves using relay to avoid being busticated. It’s so stupid. Ugh.

      Ugh!

    • Seattlejo 7:01 pm on December 18, 2009 Permalink

      Take it to Consumerist.com Seriously, give them the bad press they deserve for this.

    • Duluth 11:46 pm on December 18, 2009 Permalink

      Always ask for a supervisor if you don’t get what you want! I worked at a call center and there were many reasonable things we were not allowed to do, but supervisors could. However, we were not allowed to suggest customers talk to a superviosr… the customer had to ask. There were calls where I was hoping so hard the person would request a supervisor, but they just kept trying to convince me. I’m sure they thought I was stupid and/or mean.

    • bri 1:08 am on December 19, 2009 Permalink

      That is appalling. Totally.

      Do you have someone else who could order them for you?

      • Seattlejo 3:53 pm on December 19, 2009 Permalink

        She shouldn’t need someone else to order for her. The problem is with Torrid, not her. In refusing to accept her order without insisting on voice contact they are effectively removing her voice.

        Not Acceptable

    • silentbeep 1:58 am on December 19, 2009 Permalink

      You are totally right, I don’t blame you for being royally pissed off. They deserve this criticism, and then some.

    • Allison 7:20 am on December 19, 2009 Permalink

      I’m also boycotting Torrid, but because of their. I’m a Canadian live in South Korea, and my (awesome) mom bought me a gift card from Torrid because the (lying) cashier assured her that they ship to South Korea. She bought this gift card for me for Christmas 2008. I spent months emailing back and forth with Customer Service when I discovered that, while they do profess to ship to other countries, they didn’t accept the address I entered into the website as a valid address to ship to. Finally, they sent me my order this November. I recieved it this week. That’s more than 11 months of hassle. Now that I’ve spent the gift card, I will never, ever shop at Torrid again.

    • Allison 7:21 am on December 19, 2009 Permalink

      *because of their lack of honesty in their shipping policies.

    • Pattie 10:22 pm on December 20, 2009 Permalink

      un-f-ing-believable.

      I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. When I’m rolling instead of walking I run into all sorts of fun barriers. There are two places in Vegas built in the late 90s (well after the ADA was passed) that have signs on their doors “Not ADA compliant” as if a sign just wills away the law.

      There ought to be a law…oh wait, there is. Sheesh.

    • Brittney 10:37 am on December 21, 2009 Permalink

      Yeah… anything that involves Torrid and talking to their customer service is a hassle. I ordered pants once and they didn’t fit which took a month to return.
      I actually have another pair of pants I bought from them and just never bothered to return them because I’m a busy student. It’s just not worth it to wait a month for a shipping label to return the clothes.

    • JillyJ 2:49 pm on December 21, 2009 Permalink

      I told your story to my husband, who works as a fraud investigator for a major retailer, and he gave me a little insight as to what was likely going on there, not that it excuses anything.

      He told me that 90% of the “verification calls” that they receive from relay services are fraud. What happens is that foreign fraud rings buy items online with stolen credit cards, have the items shipped to U.S. addresses and then find a way to get the shipments re-directed to their home countries so they can sell the items. Anyway, some inconsistency in the order will cause it to go on hold and the fraud investigator will ask the cardholder to call back and verify that they placed the order.

      The fraudsters routinely use relay services when they call back to disguise their accents and/or difficulties in speaking English. So that might explain why the rep was so insistent on talking to you… those guys are ruining it for everyone. But none of that should be your problem, of course.

      My husband’s only suggestion was that you escalate the issue to the rep’s supervisor. His company doesn’t have a workable policy for verifying orders placed by deaf customers either, but he says they have somehow flagged certain customers’ accounts so that the reps know they are legit and they don’t have to go through this every time they order. Best of luck – I hope you get some response from them.

    • Mel 7:19 pm on April 14, 2010 Permalink

      Bit late on the bandwagon here (I’m having a bit of an issue with Torrid returns at the moment, and this popped up when I googled to see if anyone else was having issues.

      Anyway, could I suggest as a solution Duo Boots. They’re in England (I’m in New Zealand, and they ship to me here so shouldn’t be an issue in the states), and they sell their boots by calf size as well as foot size. Despite being an international order, I’ve never had an issue with having to voice verify, and their customer services are speedy and super helpful.

    • Rosie 2:03 pm on August 18, 2010 Permalink

      I’m sorry this happened to you, I’m currently having trouble with an order I placed online. My order was shipped to an address I don’t even have on my online account and I have no affiliations with. I have been dealing with 3 weeks of trying to get some answers. They told me they would finally reship items but wanted to charge me shipping again. It’s been frustrating but I can only imagine yours was more frustrating. Now I paid to reship but they said I have to wait again because they have no idea what happened to my reshipment >_< Supervisors won't help and I don't know what to do anymore!

  • Rachel 3:22 am on December 1, 2009 Permalink  

    25 things 

    Two things compel me to write this post:
    The first is VH1’s Tough Love 2: Episode 3, in which the dating-impaired women are told that being sexy–defined as confident, self-assured, approachable, and comfortable in her body–is one of the most important tools in a single woman’s arsenal. Jenna, the cast member I most identify with, a formerly-fat girl with serious body-image and self-esteem issues laments: “I’ve been fat all my life. I don’t feel sexy. I don’t know how to be sexy. I have no idea what to do with myself–I’m just not sexy.” (Lord, do I know where shes coming from.) When she tries to be sexy she comes off as slutty and fake. The key to being sexy, we are told, is being sexy. It cannot be faked. Sexy is BEING confident and assured and approachable. That comes from within. Which comes from liking yourself.

    So at the end of the episode, I am left wondering how we like ourselves and feel–and thus BE–sexy?

    The other thing that prompts this post is this one from Weightless by way of Dr. Stacy who suggests this exercize:

    “Recognize that your body is just one aspect of your appearance, your appearance just one aspect of who you are. Focus on everything else you are, everything else you have to offer. Make a list of 25 things you like about yourself.”

    Most of the time, when people do these kind of exercises they focus on their “insides”–their personalities or achievements–which is a good start but really doesn’t begin to address body loathing. Who we are is all of our being, and that includes our bodies. Our bodies are not just vessels in which our selves are contained, our bodies ARE ourselves. We would not have life without our bodies. We would not have minds without a body, nor experiences, relationships, senses or thoughts without bodies. Any exercise in self-appreciation must include our bodies. But in this society we have inherited that schism in which we see our selves as comprised of disparate, weakly linked parts: the mind, the body, the soul. Our society teaches us to view our bodies as husks imprisoning us with weaknesses and hindering us with sin.

    Anyway, I digress. The point I mean to make is that instead of listing 25 things I like about my “inside” self, I will include as much “outside” body-conscious things as I can think of.

    I have a feeling this isn’t going to be easy. Like Jenna from Tough Love, there really isn’t a lot about my body that I like–and quite a bit more that I have been conditioned to dislike. Off the top of my head I can think of several things I hate about my body–most of which have to do with it’s shape and fatness–and not so easily do the things I like come to me. But here are some things I do like about the way I look.

    1. The color of my hair.

    2. My nose. Its a family nose, not cute or graceful or anything typically considered beautiful as far as noses go, but its a distinctive, and its my nose, and it fits my face. And marks me as my father’s child.

    3. My waist.

    4. My breasts. Sometimes I like them, sometimes I don’t. But they are the #1 thing that makes me obviously female. Because they are together one ginormous, monolithic rack of doom.

    5. My back. Yeah I got some back fat, but the line of my spine down to the small of my back is sleek and sexy. My only regret is I can’t properlly show it off because of my harness-requiring rack of doom.

    6. I like the full roundness of my bottom.

    7. I have a relatively flat and soft belly.

    8. My shoulders and my neck.

    9. My smile, I don’t have “perfect” teeth, but I do fancy that I have a beautiful smile. And when I smile, as goofy as I sometimes feel, it changes my face to one that is not-bad-looking to one that is pretty.

    10. I look good in well-fitted clothes

    That is all I can think of, for my body. I tried hard to think of something I liked about my legs and my skin, as these are the parts of my body I dislike most, but nothing came to mind.

    Now, moving on to the other parts of myself, which is easier, since I’ve alway liked my inner self:

    11. My intelligence. Sometimes I feel brainless and slow, but I never forget that I am fairly intelligent woman

    12. My bookishness. I love to read, and so much of what I know about myself, others, the world in general, and in the way I think and understand things, I learned from books. I know I am a better person for that.

    13. I am creative.

    14. I rarely make the same mistake twice.

    15. I am a conscientious person and I strive to be as compassionate and as ethical as I can be in my dealings with other people.

    16. I am very even-tempered and slow to take offense.

    17. I have a very curious mind (except in matters of math and sports).

    18. I have a strong sense of my own mind. I am not easily swayed to change it, once I have decided on something. Which is why I am glad I am also…

    19….flexible and readily consider all points of view as valid (not to be confused with correct.) I consider my options before making decisions.

    20. I am not afraid of being wrong. If I make a mistake or an error in judgment, I will admit it, and make amends if need be.

    21. I am very patient. Growing up deaf, I’ve learned to just watch and wait, for eventually all things become clear, and solutions to problems become manifest.

    22. I am very observant and am constantly looking. When you can’t hear, you got to use your eyes to make up for it.

    23. I am very introspective, and I think I understand my own sub- and un-consciousness more than most people understand themselves. It was that introspection that allowed me to cure my social phobia/anxiety on my own.

    24.I like people and think the vast majority of folks are good people; no one is perfectly good all of the time, but most people are decent people most of the time. And I trust that people generally do not have cruel intentions.

    25. I am very loyal, affectionate, and generous with those people I come to love.

    I’m not sure that making this list has actually made me feel more confident and sexier. I certainly don’t think I can walk into a bar or club or a library and pick up a dude. All I can say is that I think I like myself a little better. I suppose thats enough for now.

     
    • Twistie 3:44 pm on December 1, 2009 Permalink

      Great list!

      One thing people rarely mention with these lists: getting to the goal is a process that takes more than writing a single list. Of course you don’t feel sexy yet. You were coming from a profoundly unsexy mental place. The thing is, you feel better about you. That’s about what you can ask of a single attempt at a single exercise.

      Finding ways of feeling sexy just randomly will probably take a significant commitment of effort, much the way getting over your social anxiety did. Me? Most of the time I don’t feel very sexy. When Mr. Twistie looks at me, though, I find that I do.

    • Trabb's Boy 3:56 pm on December 1, 2009 Permalink

      A person with the qualities you list is an awesome addition to the human spectrum! That’s true even if there’s a separate list of things you hate (unless it includes stuff like “When I’m mad I get crazed and can’t be happy until I see a bloody corpse or two at my feet”).

      In terms of being sexy, I agree that self-confidence is very sexy, but so are a lot of other things. When I was young and, I’ll grant you, thin, I was massively insecure about everything including my body. I went the slutty route. It’s amazing how interested guys are when you undo another button and flash one of those Ellen Barkin lopsided smiles (practiced endlessly in the mirror). And, to be honest, there was a fake it til you make it apect to the whole business. The attention gave me some self-confidence which made me a little sexier and on and on. I know that’s not the lesson we’re supposed to learn, but that’s life for you — determined to prove your mother wrong.

    • Jazz 4:20 pm on December 1, 2009 Permalink

      You have every reason to like yourself. You kick major ass girl.

    • Atchka! 4:08 pm on December 2, 2009 Permalink

      To me, it has always seemed that confidence and sexiness go hand in hand. In fact, they seem almost interchangeable. The list is a great way to build your confidence and, subsequently, your sexiness. So, way to go! You’re on your way to sexihood!

      Peace,
      Shannon

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