1. My little brother turned 19 on Tuesday. He’s coming to Durham tonight for a birthday dinner and an early morning IMAX 3D showing of The Dark Knight Rises. I remember vividly the day he was born. He now takes Vector Calculus and drives and shit. I’m old.
Truth be told, I’m actually not really surprised that this kind of language is being used on a pro-ana, er, “pro-skinny” website. Making connections between “fat” bodies and cultural stereotypes of the poor can be traced back to the historical conjuncture in which “the Welfare Queen” was born. This Reagan-era discourse aided in the cutting of federal assistance programs during the 1980s. In order to make this decision popular with the public, one of Reagan’s presidential speeches relayed an image of a welfare-leech from the Southside of Chicago. Pop culture and other cultural phenomena reified this symbol more concisely: the Welfare Queen was black, a mother of too many children, drove a Cadillac, and was also fat. This myth benefitted Reagan’s plans for a trickle-down economy, and the image continues to operate in our contemporary neoliberal climate, as it demonizes bodies that appear to be failing at individual responsibility.
You see, according to cultural logic, if you are poor or if you are fat, it’s your fault. It’s not surprising that race would be conveniently intertwined in this hypothesis, since the same ideology that promotes individual responsibility also argues that racism is over. So if you’re a person of color without a job, guess what? Still your fault.
Of course, Skinny Gossip doesn’t say anything about people of color, but she isnaming Whiteness, and, in general, Whiteness is only named when it is also classed (e.g.: “red neck,” “white trash,” etc). A proper, upstanding neoliberal citizen isinvisibly White, upper-middle class, and in control of their body. But those working-class, NASCAR-driving Southerners? They get set apart from hegemonic Whiteness for their similarities to the stereotypes of people of color. In a word, it’s about excess. Fat-bodied and/or attracted to fat bodies, Wal-Mart shopping, andsexual.
Preach, Raech! This relates directly to my post about the moralization of eating AND is just plain genius and a big part of the reason I went to grad school in the first place.
3. The internets. I’ve had a metallic taste in my mouth since Thursday morning and it’s DRIVING ME NUTS AND NO AMOUNT OF WATER/COFFEE/CHOCOLATE CAN MAKE IT STOP. Turns out it’s those pesky pine nuts I toasted and added to my spaghetti squash. And the ones in the pesto, also in the spag squash. While I love the internet and its ability to tell me I have “Pine Mouth,” a real, live phenomenon currently under investigation by the FDA, in under 2 minutes and for free, I do not love Pine Mouth.
4. Weekends. In the past two weeks I’ve had crazy weeks at work and two job interviews. Job interviews are stressful because you think about them from the second you get the call until the second you know whether you got the job. The interview itself is just the highlight of that process. I am quite ready to do nothing for two days.
5. PRs! I PRed my back squat this week AND there was a kettlebell/sit up combo WOD, which is basically the best workout ever.
Hope you all have a good weekend. I promise to blog more once the job craziness is over.