Comments from June 2009
All your comments from June
Comments on this month’s features and reviews
Some body to love, by Lara Williams
Lara William, author of the article, replies
Whilst I think you make some good points about the cost of obesity and the health implications of BMI’s over 25 – the article was not addressing female body types – rather the media’s excessive fixation on the female body.
I was not suggesting any woman should ‘be admired for being obese’, reversely I was suggesting highlighting and applauding curvier or larger female forms is just as damaging as glorifying the very thin.
I’m sure you’ll agree the media scrutiny of female bodies – thin and otherwise – is completely counterproductive in combating obesity with evidence continually revealing the effect of ‘super skinny’ models on eating disorders.
Eating disorders, which of course, will include compulsive eating, binge eating and bulimia, many of which could account for many of the obese patients being treated with ‘OUR’ taxes.
In a culture where we are bombarded with images of female figures, of varying shapes and sizes, where food products are advertised to women as a ‘sexy secret’ or a ‘naughty treat’, there is little wonder we’re a nation with a somewhat messed up attitude to food, health and body image. Not to mention the social implications of obesity including poverty, lack of education, alcoholism… I’m afraid I don’t think it’s as simple as ‘people who can’t be bothered to take care of their own health’.
Jess McCabe, editor of The F-Word, replies
Just to add to Lara’s response: Fat people don’t pay taxes?!
Comments on older features and reviews
For the good of the species? by Eirwen-Jane Pierrot
Raising boys? Help yourself to some gender stereotypes, a review by Clare Gould
Jess McCabe, editor of The F-Word, replies
Not that if your son was gay or bisexual, or “less manly”, that would constitute “hurting” him.
Clare Gould, author of the article, replies
Firstly, thank you so much for all the kind comments. This is my first article for The F-Word (in fact my only published article!), so it was great to get so much great feedback. One reader made a brilliant point about the homophobia in Biddulph. It is a problem that I find often arises whenever parenting talk turns to how we should bring up our sons. “Female” attributes are considered so “other” and male attributes so normal that a certain type of hysteria often creeps in when discussing children who are not keen to conform to rigid moulds. The fear generally seems to come down to preventing boys from catching “girl” and arises firstly from a deep discomfort with any gender role that is challenged but also an exceptionally limited and insulting understanding of homosexuality.
Your questions regarding whether we can expect our sons to take different paths from our daughters through life, were very interesting. For my tuppence worth, I don’t seek to deny the obvious. Men and women will have radically different experiences in life – whether in their jobs, their peer group, their family life. However, I don’t see this as the natural consequence of innate differences between the sexes. Society segregates and different social and peer pressures will all combine to give a different perception of how the world is. What I desperately want to do for both my son and my daughter is to give them the opportunity to explore their strengths and weaknesses as people, first and foremost – and not through some warped gender stereotype of how they should be. I also want to give them the empathy and skills to think critically that will allow them to question society and the status quo. As to the how – that’s a whole different ball game!
[Ed: Response to comment posted in last month’s roundup]Lisa –
I thought your contribution from the green movement in feminism was interesting. I can certainly see potentially problems in a society that ignores pregnancy and childcare as legitimate and worthwhile occupations. The undervaluing of “womens work” in caring for children and the elderly (for example) is exceptionally convenient for a society that rests its economic system on so much unpaid labour. However, I cannot agree that taking issue with gender stereotyping is “narrow and prescriptive” – quite the reverse! I firmly believe that some of the great strengths in the Swedish system arise from a less rigid adherence to gender roles and a society that is more willing to accept individuals for their humanity first and foremost rather than concentrating on their sex.
Once again, thank you so much for the comments. It’s been great to develop my own understanding in this area and your thoughts have helped to crystallise my own arguments as well.
Breaking the circle, by L
L, author of the article, replies
Thank you for your message. I think it is important for victims of abuse to be able to speak up, even though so far I am not able to speak up about it in public. There is still this ‘shame’ attached to it, the fear of being classified as a victim which is what usually happens when one shares such experiences.
I think you did a good thing by facing your past, it is the only way towards a cure. I only wish that more women would do so… I am sick of hearing of similar stories, though I am obviously glad that women speak up. We need to put an end to this violence, I have faith that it is possible. If not in the short run, in the long run.
The biological clock, by Catherine Redfern
Reply to Nigel Planer, by Jen Clarke
On kickboxing, women’s aggression and self-defence, by Jessica Burton
Breastfeeding: radical, feminist and good for you, by Kate Joester
Mind your language, by Sarah Louisa Phythian-Adams
Not a happy birthday, by Amity Reed
From the front lines, by Ella Alexander
‘Hasn’t anybody ever told you a handful is enough?’ by Samara Ginsberg
‘Feminists are sexist,’ by Catherine Redfern
Laura Woodhouse, F-Word blogger, replies
Thanks for getting in contact; this site is along the lines of what you’re looking for I think.