Occasionally I realize how long I’ve been thinking about size and body image. Here’s something a friend just found for me in a digital archive. It’s a piece I wrote in the mid-80s about dieting and eating disorders. Hard to read but the first line is about spring when young men’s hearts turn to love and young women’s hearts turn to dieting. Sadly what’s changed is that men diet now too. That’s not the kind of equality I was hoping for. Also, I wasn’t thinking then about body acceptance for all sizes. Thin women can be happy too–obviously. There’s no need to say Goodbye Twiggie. She’s welcome to the body positive blog celebration too.
I don’t recall the exact reason but I remember as a graduate student starting my writing CV afresh. I didn’t include any of the paid writing I’d done as an undergraduate on my official record. It was all publicly accessible and written for a general audience and I think I worried it was too journalistic and not professional/philosophical enough. That might be true but I like that my topics of interest and core values haven’t really changed. And now I’m doing more public writing again, I’d like some of that older stuff on my CV again.
I’m still looking for a magazine piece I wrote for a Canadian feminist magazine on the feminist potential of Harlequin Romances. It was an interview with a professor about her research. But no clue which magazine or how to find it. I also wrote a book review about the book Emily Murphy: Rebel. Again, it was for a book review magazine that gave you the book and paid you to write a review. Money for writing was how I started out.
I’m still trying to track this stuff down but I thought blog readers would appreciate how long I’ve been writing and fatness and feminism.
When I shared the story to Facebook, a friend reminded me of the drastic measures taken to stop homeless people from napping in public via hostile architrecture.
Here’s an example.
I remember one time my partner Jeff tried unsuccessfully to spend the night in a park in Florida but was woken when sprinklers came on. They weren’t needed for watering. Their purpose just was keeping people from making the park their overnight home.
So for the rich there’s the privatization and commodification of sleep and for the poor, there’s the policing and forbidding of sleeping.
I’ve written before about my struggle to buy winter stuff. It’s frustrating beyond belief. I now have a winter coat. Thanks for your patience Mallory and Sarah. But leggings that fit, that stay up, continue to elude me.
It’s partly because winter came fast. Daytime highs were 15, 17, 13 one week and then 2, 3 and 5 the next. Now there’s a snowfall advisory and a low of-13. It all felt awfully fast. When I’m leaving for work now it’s freezing. It’s partly because I’m too busy to shop (and I hate shopping.)
Oh, and I’m fussy. The cold ankle pant trend isn’t me. I want my leggings to reach my socks and my shoes. What is with the 7/8 length trend?
Back to leggings: My fave are Lululemon–yes, I know they’re evil–high waist Align. In black. (Thanks Ann for the recommendation.) They’re soft and dressy enough to wear to work. I’d prefer a company which manufactured their leggings in North America but failing that I want these in size 12 or 14. That’s what I was trying to order above.
You’d think given that size 12 and 14 are pretty popular sizes that they’d be more easily available. I try not to feel judged by the “sold out online” thing. Gap and Old Navy are a bit easier to find but they don’t last as long as they aren’t as work suitable. I worry about the carbon footprint of clothes so I hate buying stuff that wears out within a year.
There’s lots to juggle here. I hate whining. I just want long lasting leggings that fit. Preferably ethically made. Is that too much to ask?
Feminist philosopher Cressida Heyes describes her feminist sleep project this way, “In 2017 I won a SSHRC Insight Grant for my new project, Sleep is the New Sex. Put simply, I hope to write the first feminist philosophy of sleep. This work continues Anaesthetics of Existence in its focus on liminal states of consciousness and their political consequences, but has a more obviously thematic focus and will be written in a more popular voice.”
We blog about sleep a lot here too. I’ve got lots to say about sleep but the thing that weirds me out the the most is upscale sleep, expensive sleep, sleep with a price tag attached. Fancy sleep.
I’ll get to that in a minute.
Let’s note first that sleep tracks social privilege. For example, black Americans get a lot less sleep than white Americans. In fact, the difference in sleep quantity between the two groups may be enough to explain the difference in life expectancy between the two groups.
“The racial inequalities in the US are stark, but none are more damaging than the health gap between blacks and whites. On average, blacks die at a significantly younger age than whites.”
That important detail out of the way here’s three recent updates from the world of commodified sleep.
First, forget standing desks, napping desks are the next big thing.
Second, Toronto just got its first napping studio. The first adult nap room I encountered was for undergraduate students at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I was a new grad student and I knew that lots of the students, commuters all, led busy lives, taking classes and working, often in shifts that didn’t easily line up. I was happy to see that there was a nap room where you could sign in, nap, and be woken up when you needed to work or go to class. Now they even have nap pods.
Third, I just came back from a weekend in New York. While waiting for a friend, I spied this place, Inscape, a meditation studio in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan that offers “deep rest” classes. You can read more about them here.
Here’s a photo of people in the “deep rest” class.
I can’t imagine paying for napping classes. Spin classes, yes. Yoga, yes. Napping, no. Why does the latter strike me as incredibly privileged and so rich and wasteful while the former options do not? Would you take pricey nap classes?
I much prefer the activist, anti-consumerist approach of the Nap Ministry‘s public nap-ins. or collective nap experiences. “The 2nd Thursday of every month we will be at one of our favorite spaces with a FREE Pop-Up Rest Event. It is a perfect opportunity to experience our programming, meet the Nap Bishop, have a cup of tea, and curl up and rest with cozy yoga mats, pillows and blankets. You can drop in to catch a restorative cat nap or stay for a longer rest. We look forward to seeing you.” Their website includes advice for good places for public napping.
I don’t know about what is like where you live but here in Southern Ontario there’s snow. I did my first sub-zero day of bike commuting. I was shocked to see that even the midday highs went above zero and the snow wasn’t going away.
It was a quick trip from warm autumn weather with highs in the high teens to full on serious winter. I’m struggling to find the things I need. Where are my winter cycling gloves? Where’s my puffy winter coat? Etc etc.
And lots of my friends are struggling to adjust. “Too soon,” they’re saying.
Canadians struggle with our long winters. People are sharing stories of the children and pets excitement at the first snow but confessing that they view it with dread, a thing to be endured not enjoyed.
I’m looking forward to snow tubing with my kids over the holidays. I’m thinking I might go skating outdoors too. I’m definitely excited about fat biking. On the whole, my “winter dread” meter is running pretty low.
I’ll see you out there playing in the snow! How are you coping? Are you ready for snow and cold?
Monday, November 4 – Dr. Samantha Brennan, Dean of the College of Arts, University of Guelph Bad Girls, Bikes, and the Women’s Liberation Movement It’s often said that women rode to freedom on the bicycle. Providing women with both a way to get around independently in the world and freeing them from restrictive garments that made movement close to impossible, cycling was pivotal in the early feminist movement. Avid cyclist and feminist Samantha Brennan will explore the historical connection between women, bicycles, and feminism.
This week I gave a talk in the ARCHAEOLOGY – HISTORY LECTURE SERIES held at the Upper Grand District School Board here in Guelph. We had a packed house and I got lots of great questions.
Here’s a slew of past posts on women, feminism, and bicycles that my talk drew on.