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absentmindedfan
Sep 16th, 2007, 03:58 PM
The past few weeks I've noticed a trend on this forum that represents a wider trend throughout society, and it upsets me.

There are beautiful, wonderful, caring, compassionate vegans on here who even by just existing are making a positive impact on the world, and too many of them hate themselves because of ridiculous unnatainable ideas of beauty or success created by a media desperate to cripple everyone's self esteem to force them to seek solace in spending money.

It upsets me that some lovely people on here choose to value themselves only by how they look in relation to a skinny unhealthy stereotype. Your body is an amazing thing, it deserves your care and respect. Don't starve it, don't stuff it, just feed it with healthy varied vegan foods, give it fresh air and exercise and revel in the fact you are alive. The rest will take care of itself, you will be the size you are meant to be. Focus on health not appearance or weight, focus on how lovely you are as a person. Your body will change and age as you grow older but you will alway be the wonderful person inside that body who people care about and treasure.

Do things that make you happy, have a bath, go for a walk, spend time with people you care about, work towards your goals of studying or learning a new skill..make these the things that make you happy not whether you ate under 500 calories today or exercised until you passed out, because ultimately chasing the 'perfect' body doesn't make you happy it makes you miserable, you either starve your body to punish it and damage it or stuff yourself with food that isn't good for you. And even if you did reach that 'perfect' size then what? Get even smaller? Why not aim for goals that you'll feel truly proud to reach, that help you grow as a person not shrink as a body...learn something new, enter a race, work for a charity...

I want this thread to inspire people to look inside themselves and see that there is a person in there that they love and care about. Maybe listing new goals, or things we like about ourselves would be helpful. There's too much pain and unhappiness in the world to not love ourselves, or at least begin to try to...

BlackCats
Sep 16th, 2007, 05:10 PM
That is a very positive post AMF.:)

I have had lots of problems with my eating patterns and still feel absolutely enormous, even though I know I used to be 5 stone heavier than I am now. It doesn't help that there is so much focus on weight issues in our society.

(This isn't really to do with weight but I feel proud of myself that I allowed my photo to be taken recently as I realised I haven't let anyone take my picture in 8 years, apart from in work situations where I was forced to. I feel silly that I have lost any documentation of those years.)

Russ
Sep 16th, 2007, 06:20 PM
Word.
AMF this was actually exactly what I was saying when we were talking like two hours ago (though more articulate). Haha. I didn't realise you'd already made a thread about it.

I have no particular reason to be on here, I was just curious as to what this post said. And I agree with Aphrodite. It's a very positive post :) I think that with attaining anything you need to be in a positive state of mind and realise that, whatever it is, it's not the only thing that's important by any stretch. There's plenty of things we can do that make us happy. Give yourself a break and spend some more time doing these things and honestly, you'll feel better and things will be easier to cope with. They won't seem quite so overbearing, and it won't seem so hard to change.

That's my two cents. Coming from a guy who used to be a burnout depressive but is now content with life about 99% of the time.

Aphrodite, I find it quite strange that you feel enormous, when I met you I could have sworn you are slim .. ? I think the thing about self-perception is, we're more likely to take on board the negative things said about us while brushing off the positive things, and it's easy to end up with a distorted perception of who we are. I'm not just talking about weight (it having not been an issue for me) but anything really.

scarlett
Sep 16th, 2007, 07:22 PM
I'm starting to like myself a little better, if not quite love yet :) After the years of being told I was ugly, evil, worthless, fat etc... I'm only just getting my head around the fact that I don't have to believe that and I can be happy without punishing myself and my body ! I was constantly compared to my super skinny "beautiful" sister by my mother and it did affect me quite badly.

I've recently started to make a dent into my list of things I want to achieve/goals and it does make me proud and more confident when I achieve them. Also doing things that make me happy, even if they're only little things also really helps :)

xwitchymagicx
Sep 16th, 2007, 07:50 PM
.

HappyVegan
Sep 16th, 2007, 09:18 PM
This was beautiful AMF. One of the things I've learned through being sick for so long is that being healthy and energetic is so much more important than the way you look. In trying to recover, I've gone from wanting to lose weight to look better to wanting to lose weight so that I can hike more difficult trails and climb large rocks easier. We are such a loving group of people, I wish we could all extend that love to ourselves.

sugarmouse
Sep 16th, 2007, 09:24 PM
That is a great peice of writing AMF, and I do have a feeling it is aimed at me among others.:(
I do love myself and I do know how lucky I am..I cannot explain my desire to be thin...

absentmindedfan
Sep 16th, 2007, 09:39 PM
I would really reccommend 'Fat Is A Feminist Issue' to everyone. Beg, borrow or buy it cheap off Amazon, it is an amazing book. It really helped me examine my desires to be thin and the associations I had with it, and I've pretty much lost them thanks to the book.

BlackCats
Sep 16th, 2007, 09:45 PM
I read a review of that Susie Orbach book in The Big Issue years ago and have never got around to reading it.:rolleyes: It sounded really good. I might hunt for it.

It's strange that women try to make themselves smaller and smaller, it's as if they feel that they do not deserve to be here.:confused:

xwitchymagicx
Sep 16th, 2007, 09:50 PM
Maybe because that is what some women think the opposite sex wants...because of the magazines.

Although if I was a bloke, I'd want a women that was there and not pretty much invisible with nothing to hold onto. :rolleyes:

sugarmouse
Sep 16th, 2007, 10:00 PM
I have read fat is a feminist issue, but I read it for my studies not for leisure. I agree it is a great book, but it is a very feminism orientated book and I am not a feminist at all far from it.. so not sure if I can refer to it really. I really want to be thin again like I used to be.. it makes me happy to be thin.

Russ
Sep 16th, 2007, 10:23 PM
I would really reccommend 'Fat Is A Feminist Issue' to everyone.

I have not read the book, nor am I aware of its conclusions, but the title seems to suggest that it is only women who could have an "issue" with their weight, and this "issue" is one of sexual oppression.
I'll let you work out for yourself what I think about this. But in my opinion, "fat" is a human issue.

xwitchymagicx
Sep 16th, 2007, 10:57 PM
I have read fat is a feminist issue, but I read it for my studies not for leisure. I agree it is a great book, but it is a very feminism orientated book and I am not a feminist at all far from it.. so not sure if I can refer to it really. I really want to be thin again like I used to be.. it makes me happy to be thin.

Me neither, I'm more of a everythingist. :confused: I don't really get what a feminist is anyway. lol

Dragonflye
Sep 17th, 2007, 12:11 AM
Wow AMF, very wise words. Nicely put!

tipsy
Sep 17th, 2007, 12:46 AM
i go dancing.

whenever i feel bad about my body for some stupid reason or another...

it always makes me feel more confident.

plus your burning energy and having a great time!

dancing at the club, in my bedroom, on the street.

sometimes it takes a couple of drinks, sometimes not... sometimes i dance with others, sometimes alone. but im always glad i did it!:D

foxytina_69
Sep 17th, 2007, 04:13 AM
i used to dislike myself for many years, but over the last few months ive been focusing on purely loving myself, no matter what i weigh. and i really do love myself now. i was touching my body the other day just saying i love you to myself, because its so important to love yourself. i surround myself with positivity now, and do things for my health. i agree with happyvegan, you really do learn how to love yourself after being sick for so long. i do still want to lose weight though, but that doesnt mean i dont love myself. it can mean exactly the opposite actually.

cookey
Sep 17th, 2007, 08:43 AM
For me, I feel more happy with myself and my body as I get older. I am truly happy with my body. I know that men find my attractive as I am and even more if I feel super confident.
I know few men find very thin women attractive and that this is not something to aspire to. If I look in women's magazine's I see women who I do not want to look like. I especially don't like the very bony top of arms look that they have. I always wanted strong muscular shoulders and that is what I now have.
If you take some time to look through porn magazines aimed at men or even things like FHM, you will see that the women there are much more varied in shape.
I also think that I am finally getting a handle on what clothes suit me which has taken years! I now throw out clothes if I put them on and don't feel good in them.
As for loing weight, as some of you know, I am a fitness professional and have dealt with many weight management clients. There are usually complex issues around this and much as I bang on about calories in and calories out, they are usually too stuck in their ways to change.
My advice is pretty much as AMF, eat healthily, find exercise you truly enjoy, let go of your negative attitude towards yourself and allow yourself to have a great life.

snivelingchild
Sep 17th, 2007, 09:02 AM
skinny unhealthy stereotype

very thin women
Not that I feel that I have to defend thinness, but I wish you wouldn't use these phrases to mean what I assume is unhealthy, starving bodies. I think of myself as very thin, though I have a decent amount of muscle, many of the dancers I know have much more leaner, smaller muscles from being so flexible so they are even thinner than me. This includes one who has lupus and trouble gaining weight, but she still manages to be very healthy and beautiful. I know none of you are against a woman's natural body shape, but the general tone just seems a bit....icky to me, I don't know. With the amounts of anorexia and bulimia hitting us as a culture, are we coming to use the word "skinny" the way the word "fat" has been used in the past to denote a negative connotation?

Not sure if my minds too clear right now from lack of sleep, but I hope that made enough sense.

absentmindedfan
Sep 17th, 2007, 10:37 AM
I agree it is a great book, but it is a very feminism orientated book and I am not a feminist at all far from it.. so not sure if I can refer to it really. I really want to be thin again like I used to be.. it makes me happy to be thin.

Which is exactly what the book deals with. Starving yourself does not equal happy. And as for not being feminist at all...can you elaborate? I presume you don't mean you want to give up the vote and have your life defined by men..or do you?


I have not read the book, nor am I aware of its conclusions, but the title seems to suggest that it is only women who could have an "issue" with their weight, and this "issue" is one of sexual oppression.
I'll let you work out for yourself what I think about this. But in my opinion, "fat" is a human issue.

Well firstly perhaps it's best to judge the book after you read it rather than before ;)
And secondly the book does focus on women yes (it is quite old too, weight and body fascism are becoming unisex now) but it does not make out that men are the root cause of women's body issues, rather a damaging consumerist society and the mixed psychological messages you get growing up as a woman. The book encourages you to be happy with who you are, and trust your body to look after itself.


Not that I feel that I have to defend thinness, but I wish you wouldn't use these phrases to mean what I assume is unhealthy, starving bodies...
I know none of you are against a woman's natural body shape, but the general tone just seems a bit....icky to me, I don't know. With the amounts of anorexia and bulimia hitting us as a culture, are we coming to use the word "skinny" the way the word "fat" has been used in the past to denote a negative connotation?


Well being unhealthily thin rather than lean and lithe and healthy is negative, hence it being called unhealthy. I am not saying anyone who is naturally slim is wrong, everyone is meant to be a different shape. Indeed that's what I'm arguing - be the shape you are meant to be not bigger or smaller or whatever. What word/phrase do you suggest I use for someone very very thin?

sugarmouse
Sep 17th, 2007, 10:52 AM
[QUOTE=absentmindedfan;361778]Which is exactly what the book deals with. Starving yourself does not equal happy. And as for not being feminist at all...can you elaborate? I presume you don't mean you want to give up the vote and have your life defined by men..or do you?

Being thin makes me happy. everyting feels better to me the thinner I get... I am still eating, just less than I was, I am still a size12.

I am against most of feminism. I am not against men, as radical feminists are, nor am I against the way women are treated in society, as liberal feminists are, I am happy being a woman and I am happy to look up to men, as I want to be looked after by them. I guess that is an anti feminist way ofliving and thinking.

absentmindedfan
Sep 17th, 2007, 11:07 AM
I am against most of feminism. I am not against men, as radical feminists are, nor am I against the way women are treated in society, as liberal feminists are, I am happy being a woman and I am happy to look up to men, as I want to be looked after by them. I guess that is an anti feminist way of living and thinking.

I see. Feminism (esp. 3rd wave) isn't anti-men, nor is it against you wishing to have relationships with men and enter into equally fulfilling partnerships with them. But the key there is equal. I don't see why anyone would not want the sexes to be equal, to be able to discard the way gender can define someone's life and opportunities and just get on with being human.

Russ
Sep 17th, 2007, 11:31 AM
Well firstly perhaps it's best to judge the book after you read it rather than before ;)

That's why I said I don't know its conclusions and it seemed like this to me, from the title. ;)


And secondly the book does focus on women yes (it is quite old too, weight and body fascism are becoming unisex now) but it does not make out that men are the root cause of women's body issues, rather a damaging consumerist society and the mixed psychological messages you get growing up as a woman. The book encourages you to be happy with who you are, and trust your body to look after itself.

That sounds like a positive book that is probably worth reading for a lot of people.


Feminism (esp. 3rd wave) isn't anti-men

Modern radical feminism seems to me to be extremely anti-men. It is so much more misandry than equality, focusing energy less on helping women than trying to make life that bit harder for men. I'm not just talking about the Scum manifesto lunatics, but actually more mainstream groups (still lunatics, but, acceptable ones). Example: the feminists at Stockholm University decided to dedicate their time to ... breaking through the glass ceiling? No, a War On Urinals. Apparently, standing up to pee is symbolic of women's oppression, and they want to stop all men from doing it. Urinals are now banned from campus, and this notion has spread through continental Europe (mainly Germany from what I have read). BS - they know full well it is not symbolic of anything. It's quick and convenient. Women dictating how men go to the bathroom is extremely invasive (not to mention disturbing, and absolutely none of their business) and is simply a case of "empowered females" scoring one over males. This is only one example of a much greater trend that is indicative of what feminism is turning into now that its original goals have, for the most part, been achieved.

I could give many more examples too but this isn't the place, I just felt I had to call you out on the idea that feminism is not anti-men, because today it seems the greater part of feminists are.

absentmindedfan
Sep 17th, 2007, 11:36 AM
Perhaps, but to me feminism is about equality not the anti-men crap that you describe above which doesn't do anyone any favours. 3rd wave is about defining feminism by yourself, it is what you make it. There's alot of cool DIY punk/crossover feminists using the net to spread the word. Sadly alot of them are drowned out by the fruitcakes you describe. However, saying feminism is anti-men is about as useful as saying Maoist rebels represent socialism - there are so many factions (and fractions of factions) that it's difficult to make a generalisation as to where the movement is going as a whole.

It upsets me, because the more news-worthy anti-men stuff gets into the news and public consciousness 1000 times more than the feminist groups pushing for change all over the world for men and women.

BlackCats
Sep 17th, 2007, 11:53 AM
I am a feminist and I am not anti-men. I think the world we live in is patriarchal and I for one wecome any small steps we can take, males and females, to rectify the imbalance. I do not think it is in male interest to maintain the status quo.

The stereotype of feminists as being militant man-haters is one that I think has evolved as a reaction to a theory that upsets the majority (although females outnumber males I think in terms of population so maybe the dominant body would be a better term.)

I suppose it is similar to the stereotype of vegans being militant fanatics who hate humans. I agree there must be some people that fit this description but I think it is a small minority.

Anyway sorry ha ha. :o

I agree snivellingchild with what you said about labelling very slim women as unhealthy. My friend was saying the other day that people make rude remarks to her because of her naturally slim figure and they assume (wrongly) that she has an eating disorder.

I suppose if women/men are being labelled because of their body shape it doesn't matter if they are being told they are too fat or too slim - it is still a judgement.

xrodolfox
Sep 17th, 2007, 12:08 PM
I am a feminist and I am not anti-men. I think the world we live in is patriarchal and I for one wecome any small steps we can take, males and females, to rectify the imbalance. I do not think it is in male interest to maintain the status quo.


I'm with you!

I'm all for justice, as I think that "equalty" can be used as a tool of opression.

3rd wave feminism is where it's at. Instead of smashing the glass ceiling, lets get rid of the institutions that recreate ceilings for men and women alike.

Anyways... right on.