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Odds and Ends

July 6, 2009

Here are a few things I’ve been thinking about in the past weeks:

This post from Feministe on disability and respectful language. The author, who is disabled, shares her thoughts on reclaiming negative or derogatory terms. She discusses the difficulties of striking a balance between reclaiming these terms and promoting new, more value-neutral ones:

But something holds me back from being too strict with myself, and others in the atypical realm, on the language issue. Sometimes, I feel like embracing the commonly-accepted language to describe my disability-pride, body-positive, radical acceptance politics might help change exactly what concepts come to mind when people use that language.

This column in the Boston Globe, in which a mother shares her thoughts about promoting body positivity in her young daughters. Here’s an excerpt:

I tell my girls that what they are seeing when they see me is a real woman. I show them where their little fists and heels pressed against the skin of my belly when they were inside me. I explain nipples, birthmarks, sex. I shake my booty. They shake theirs. We are absurd. We are lovely.

This Sociologial Images post about an early twentieth-century book, Vaught’s Practical Character Reader. This book explains how a person’s physical features can express their character. This book may seem absurd and racist to us now, but I wonder how far we’ve come from its philosophy. We of course judge people’s character by their appearances; we’re just a little more subtle (or less shameless) about it. Here’s a page from the book:

vaught's practical character reader

And finally, the top ten reasons why the BMI is bogus. Listen to the story from NPR here. It’s really interesting, and talks about the history of the BMI and why it’s a misleading statistic when applied to individuals.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Jill permalink
    July 6, 2009 5:20 PM

    My favorite part of the NPR article:

    7. It suggests there are distinct categories of underweight, ideal, overweight and obese, with sharp boundaries that hinge on a decimal place.

    That’s total nonsense.

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