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Fri, May. 13th, 2005, 02:29 pm
Questions for all the readers

1. Body image -- tell me how you feel about it. Both your personal image, other people's views, and/or the concept itself.

2. Eugenics (the theory of stemming population growth to solve hunger, poverty, etc). Feelings on if that works, how it would, why do you personally like it, etc.

3. Obesity -- disease, genetic, or just a personal problem?

I'm working on a solo performance piece, and I'm interested in these issues. I may use your words personally in the play, and if I do, I'll be sure to ask your permission. But in general, I just find it an interesting discussion, so DISCUSS!

Sat, May. 14th, 2005 01:04 am (UTC)
slaparaphilia

1. Body image is part of self-perception. If I had had a different body, I would have had a different body image. I would have thought of myself differently (not necessarily better, just differently); others would have interacted with me differently, both based on my body and my projected self-perception...... We are who we are. I don't know if I'd trade what I have (or don't have) if it would change who I am.

I think it's possible to find yourself beautiful and sexy, though I don't know if I've met many people who do....

2. Eugenics is retarded. The whole point of sexual reproduction is to increase genetic variety. Someday it might be all the ugly, stupid people who are the most successful. Who are we to judge? But if you're just talking population reduction.... As pleasant as it would be at first, people are still people are still people... We'll be selfish fuckups no matter how many of us there are. There is no new beginning. There is no way to eliminate suffering. Forcibly sterilizing people is an insult to human rights; take that as you will. Whoever decides who breeds or not is bound to be misguided. And what if a meteor hits the earth tomorrow? Fuck it. Let's live it up while we can. We could be crawling over each other, eating the dead, more of a plague upon the earth than we already are... And still be as comic and tragic as we ever have been. Kill the many so the few may have spacious lawns... Why the hell not? I'd volunteer to have all my reproductive organs gored out.

3. Obesity: Nature and nurture both, I'm sure. Ideally, people would be able to consciously decide whether or not they give a fuck about their weight. If it's a mental illness, an obsession with overeating that's disturbing to the person, then it's sad. If it's due to circumstance (habits formed when young, poverty), then that's also troubling. If it's a personal choice, then rock out. No worse than drugs.

Sat, May. 14th, 2005 03:43 am (UTC)
mgafm: longggg

1. I hate the modern world and it's obsession with thinness. I've lost 50 friggin' pounds and still feel like the biggest cow in the universe if I put on a pound or two. I like to tell myself that I am happy at my weight, but if someone came to me tomorrow and said I could way 120 pounds forever if I sold my soul, I'd be like... Where the hell do I sign? It's not that I think I'm ugly, I'm really quite conceited. I like to look at my face in the mirror, I love my hair, I like my skin, I even like the general shape of my body, but the minute I start to critique it I see fat rolls and flab and blargh, all of which are exaggerated in my head. And I know that and I still just want to peel the flesh from my bones.

*cough*

So... yeah.

And the thing is, I know that my body image has affected my behavior in a negative way. I know that if I could look at myself and see me as genuinely okay looking, I'd be more positive and I'd be more involved in things. But, like I said, 50 lbs later and it hasn't changed. You can take the fat out of the girl, but she'll always be fat in her head.

The weirdest thing is when people try to tell me I'm pretty or when my boyfriend tells me I'm sexy or looks at me. I'm always thinking "He's looking at my thighs, they're all gross or he's looking at my tummy, I must suck it in. Oh god I am so hideous, why is he lying to me?!!?"

2. I'm not saying kill all the people, I'm just thinking... make sterilization and abortions and the right to die all options that we can choose without having to pay exhorbitant amounts of money. teach safe sex. and Kill the Fundamentalists, because that's the only way any of the other stuff will happen. Population problem gone! But don't kill all of the poor people, or the stupid people, or this or that race, because if nothing else we need people to take advantage of their labor, because we don't wanna work in the fields.

3. A little of each. It's a serious psychological problem for a lot of people, and while some might argue that that makes it a personal problem, it's also a deep societal issue that needs to be examined with a lot less disgust and a lot more reason that it seems to have been. Maybe instead of focusing on how to make these people skinny, we should figure out why they are all overweight in the first place. I mean, our culture is such a Super Sized, Quantity over Quality, Bigger is Better kind of place that of course we want to eat more. And no one wants to exercise. So even people who don't have eating disorders get big. And then there are the people (like me) who eat because it makes them feel better, both emotionally and physically. Because of various things I've gone through, food is a comfort for me. I like my carbs. Woot. But I also have thyroid condition which makes me metabolize slowly and suffer from low blood sugar levels. So what happens, when I eat not only is it a psychological comfort my body also goes hooray we feel so much better now. It's totally dumb. Which is why being anorexic for like a month was so cool. Because my body got so confused. *sigh* I also think that there's a big question of parental involvement and responsibility. Because my parents were major dicks about my weight but they never bothered to see if there was something more to it than me not eating perfectly. *shakes head* It's healthier to be slightly overweight. But to be honest, fatness disgusts me. Like makes me want to vomit disgusts me. You usually have to be pretty fat to cause that reaction in me. People who are slightly heavy, like I was, I generally don't even think of as overweight. I think that people can be attractive and somewhat heavy. It's just that I think thinness is attractiver... because i like anime and because there's something about taut skin with no developed muscle or major fat deposits beneath that is really pretty.

So kiss my big fat ass that I hate with all my heart. I guess.

Sat, May. 14th, 2005 07:49 pm (UTC)
rbrav

I may have an uncommon perspective on this, being a male medical student who used to be really skinny and is gaining weight, but here goes ...

1. Yeah, again, all part of culture. Back in the day, more robust women were considered attractive. Heck, even in the '50s, attractive didn't mean super-thin. Look at Marilyn Monroe.
My personal body image is kinda weird. Being a guy, it doesn't matter as much to me as it seems to matter to women, but I do still care about it. I used to be super-skinny, and I was pretty self-conscious about it (less so when Ashley told me she found it attractive). This past year, I've gained 15 pounds or so, but unfortunately, it's almost all in my gut. That feels even worse, since I can point to a part of my body and say, "Yuck." Need to work on that, but it takes effort, and ... meh.
And Ashley, you are very attractive. I'd never lie to you about that. I also consider Nicol attractive, and I say that knowing full well there may be consequences.

2. I'm in favor of getting rid of all the stupid people, but then we wouldn't have very many people left, and it might be harder for me to entertain myself.

3. All of the above and more. There are diseases associated with eating, and also with body image (eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorder, etc.). There are also genes that make people keep on weight better, have slower metabolisms, and the like. But these genes didn't magically become super-powerful in the past decade, so they clearly aren't the only problem.
Also a personal problem, though more a cultural problem -- Americans are fat, and places that adopt American culture are getting fat, too. Ashley wrote, "Maybe instead of focusing on how to make these people skinny, we should figure out why they are all overweight in the first place." Not gonna happen in America. In addition to being 'bigger is better,' we're very much 'treatment, not prevention.' We spend way more on healthcare than other industrialized nations do, yet our health is only as good, if not worse, than theirs. They focus on preventing problems -- they don't have terrible diets, they exercise, etc. In America, it's more "eat as much crap as you want and never exercise, and then surgery will fix you." You can't even get some of those surgeries in other countries, because there, it's your own damn fault if you weigh 500 pounds. Here, you weigh 500 pounds because you embody the American way.

In summary, we suck.

Sat, May. 14th, 2005 08:23 pm (UTC)
claustrophilia

actually, its good for me to get a male perspective, not only for variety, but also because i just KNOW that someone is going to accuse me of being one of those weirdo feminists, when i'm really an executive feminist, sort of like eddie izzard only feminist and not transvestite.

additionally, you have an interesting perspective as a long-term skinny person who is gaining weight, rather than habitually skinny and never gaining weight ever (like sally), enforced skinny (like anorexics, including my stepbrother), or in the process of losing weight (like ashley or caitlin), or stuck in a rut and full of hate about that (like me).

i'm flattered you think i'm attractive. *i'm* not going to get you in trouble for that, because i think med school has enforced enough objectivity upon you that you can look at something and think "attractive ... not attractive" without getting wildly personal about it. additionally, i know you love ashley for her personality, and her body is just an added bonus. that's completely different.

i agree that we should get rid of all the stupid people, but for one thing, inbreeding breeds more stupid people for different reasons, and for another thing, people's definitions of "stupid" are different. while i'm convinced i'm right, my ideas of "stupid" also fluctuate; if i vaporized everyone whose opinion i hated right now, then i would be left with people who agree with me, and i like a good argument now and again. variety = good (genetics agrees with me). and then i'd get pissed and call all these people stupid for agreeing with me. and that's just dumb. plus, i fully recognize that i am a product of my culture, and so if i had to make a choice about what was stupid and what wasn't, then i'd probably pick things almost exclusively western european and american.

i'm not really sure what to do about the fat issue. i personally have always felt that its mainly a matter of personal responsibility, but there is the huge media thing too -- then again, i think fat people glaring at the media then getting a tummy tuck are trying to find a scapegoat rather than dealing with the problem head-on. this is going to get me in more trouble than your "attractive" comment, but i personally feel that drugs are a scapegoat too, and i worry about people, like ashley, who take a bazillion different medications. especially when, you know, hair starts to fall out and such. and i worry about the psychology -- in its "natural" state, if you will, without medication warping it -- of people who agree to get all that stuff done to them, and the parents, friends, society, etc of these people. yes i am holding myself culpable to a great extent, although i'm not entirely sure what i did wrong or how to fix it. again, product of culture.

anyway, yes, people suck in general.

Sat, May. 14th, 2005 10:20 pm (UTC)
slaparaphilia

I do have it pretty damn easy in that, outwardly, my body fits the trend. Given the proper clothing, it fits the trend. It's given me all different sorts of neuroses because up close, I think my body is... malformed. So every time I dress to be attractive, I feel like I'm lying to people. 'You may think I'm sexy, but you would be so horrified if you only knew...' Not run-screaming horrified, but no-longer-wanting-to-fuck-me grossed out. So I don't try to appear sexy because I feel unsexy and don't want to cope with the tension betwixt. But as far as everyday living goes... I can do 'pretty' very easily. Utterly unremarkable. My body suits my lifestyle in that respect (but which came first, the chicken or the...?).

I also have skinny bitch guilt. I have a super high metabolism. I get HUNGRY. So there I am stuffing my face and not gaining any weight while my friends angst over diets. Not my fault, I know, but... Sorry, guys. :-/

It also bugs me that while I know that your body shape is not in style, Nicol, you know and I know that you are highly attractive. Last time I saw you, you had a perfect (though compact) hourglass figure! And what bothers me most is that, in your profession, you would be more likely to be successful if you could just stretch yourself seven inches: smooth out the bust and waist and hips. But your body wasn't built that way and it is beautiful as-is, and it's a crying shame that social consciousness has to be so goddamn retarded. Take England. That horrible trend of the tight shirts and hip-huggers. It looked absolutely DISGUSTING, but people were Brainwashing Themselves into finding it attractive!!!!!!!

Sun, May. 15th, 2005 02:32 am (UTC)
claustrophilia

i don't know how many times i've said this, but i guess it's not enough. EVERYONE LOOKS FUNNY NAKED. you are NOT unique in this respect. i don't know if you've ever seen Real Women Have Curves -- its not a spectacular movie, but there's a great scene where all these fat women take off their clothes and run around in their underwear. cellulite and stretchmarks GALORE. and they all had different body shapes, it was wonderful. and they all looked ridiculous, but you know how it is, it was one of those "empowering" moments where every fat woman in the audience is like, i can do that too. yeah, good stuff.

anyway, the only thing we have to make us look good is clothing, really. consider yourself lucky you can pull a lot of different looks off. see, its not just my body, its the entire package -- i have a very unique look that i can't do a lot with. THAT is what bothers me more than anything. i worry about my weight in regards to my profession not simply about casting and looking fat in some situations, like movies, but i worry about it because an actor's instrument is their body and mine is really out of tune. not just that i'm overweight, i'm not flexible or athletic or strong, and i'm too lazy or egoistic or jaded or poor to do something about it, at least right now. in general, i worry about my look in regards to casting not just because of the weight-height issue -- i just don't look like the average leading lady, so it will probably be very hard for me to find work because of the competition physically. so really, thank god for this solo performance thing.