Sara Lin Starred It: 2013-04-02 (Beautiful Belly Edition)

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I cannot get enough of loving this image. I never thought it would have this much impact on me, to see a cartoon character depicted as cute and lovable and fun . . . and have a fatty stomach. She’s adorable and she looks like me. Suddenly the complaints people have about never seeing somebody who’s like them depicted positively in the media make sense on a much more visceral level.

I think I should get her tattooed on my upper thigh or something, so I never forget that chubby can be cute. Because honestly, we live in a society that makes it really hard to remember how flat bellies are not the most important thing in the universe!

More things that have stood out lately as I’ve wandered the web:

  • In case you’ve forgotten, people trying to push weight loss products don’t particularly want you to feel good, and this is pretty well the correct response to anyone who’s trying to shame you into hating your body enough to give them money for the (unlikely-to-succeed-in-the-long-term) cure. And the only reason I throw in that “pretty well” there is because I know some people – self included – are allergic to ice cream. (Via Fat Heffalump, who appears to have purple hair and I think I’m in love.)
  • If family and friends are being well-meaning jerks by nagging you about your weight/diet/exercise choices, here’s a polite and friendly letter asking them to please butt out. (Via This Is Thin Privilege.)
  • Excellent and wonderful Ragen Chastain explains the size acceptance movement as it relates to questions like “How can  you say it’s okay to be fat?” or “Why should my tax dollars go to pay for fatties’ health care?” (Via Dances With Fat.)
  • A manifesto on what feminism is and is not that makes it very clear how patriarchy hurts men as well as women, and how feminism helps everybody. It really knocks down the men’s-rights complaints quite neatly. (Via Polyverse.)

  • Some thoughts on race-specific pro-life ads and how they backfire by shaming impoverished minority women who haven’t got the resources to even face a meaningful choice about abortion. And then, as soon as these same women decide to carry their pregnancies to term, the conservatives lecture them about having “welfare babies” they can’t support. (Via Sociological Images.)
  • And hey, as long as we’re talking pro-life here, there’s one question pro-life protesters can’t quite wrap their minds around: “if abortion becomes illegal, as you would like it to be, what do you think should happen to women who break that law?” (Via RH Reality Check.)
  • A critical look at how cultural assumptions about sex and gender influence North American rape law, which – it turns out – is largely based on the idea of sex as a commodity women control that men desire, rather than a collaboration between two people. (Via Feministe.)
  • Why do girls get so offended when randoms want them to show off their pretty smiles? Because it’s not our job to look pretty so they’ll be pleased. (Via Butterflies and Wheels.) Related: how women get repeatedly taught to avoid “bitchiness” has a direct impact on whether they’ll feel able to make their lack of consent clear and forthright. Women don’t fight back against their rapists because that’s what we’ve taught them. (Via Fugitivus.)
  • Disney characters speak up against rape, and it’s magical. (Via This Is Rape Culture.)

  • Awesome woman of the week: a Polish woman who smuggled children out of the Warsaw Ghetto in her tool box while working as a plumber. (Via Polyverse.)
  • I’m very enthusiastic about same-sex marriage . . . but it’s important to remember that it’s not the most important issue facing LGBTQ folk. There are far worse struggles going on. Check out the stats. (Via This Is Rape Culture.)
  • Did you know that intersex people are legally excluded from marriage under various legal systems, a state that will continue even if same-sex marriage becomes legal? Me neither. Whether marriage is “between one man and one woman”, or whether it can include two males/females in one union, that still doesn’t say a single word about someone who falls outside the binary. (Via Taboo Jive.)
  • For anybody who needs to know, it’s absolutely not true that your kid will get autism from getting too many vaccines too soon. A recent study confirms it once again, and David Gorski’s reflections on it – and on how often we need to go over anti-vaccine claims, and why anti-vax proponents’ arguments against the study hold no water – are very interesting. (Via Science-Based Medicine.)
  • Science and aliens, and why life underneath our favourite planets may be far more likely than life on the surface, like what Earth has. (Via Quirks and Quarks.)
  • A few words on contraception and menstruation, and how unnatural it really is for women to have their period every month . . . because in nature, we’d cut down on periods by being pregnant all the time. Birth control advertisers should be pointing this out more; I never would have guessed fewer periods may have medical benefits. (Via Sociological Images.)
  • The iconic dancing Hawaiian girl? She’s not iconic. I know, I was shocked too. The more you know! (Via Sociological Images.)
  • In the midst of several adult men bowing down in prayer, a small girl stands over them and watches.

    Image via The Telegraph.

    A state representative from Arkansas got a letter about a prayer-in-schools bill from a mom who was concerned about bullying her non-believer daughter had experienced. Her elected representative responded by pointing out that “the fool hath said in his heart, there is no God”. Thanks for all your help there, sir. (Via Friendly Atheist.)

  • Are Catholic hospitals just as good as secular ones? Erin Matson argues that they’re not, and advises every woman to insist on being taken to places that won’t restrict her medical care based on arbitrary religious rules. It’s probably good advice. (Via RH Reality Check.)
  • A German shoe company called Atheist Shoes does a study and finds out that packages they send to the States take longer to arrive and are ten times more likely to disappear when they’re wrapped with packing tape bearing the word ‘Atheist’. (Via Friendly Atheist.)
  • I remember learning in high school that Hamlet’s fatal character flaw was indecision, how he just couldn’t get on with killing his stepdad even though that was obviously the best course of action. But what if Hamlet was actually a really amazing skeptic doing the right thing? Would you murder your mom’s new husband on the say-so of a ghost? (Via School of Doubt)
  • In a tidy home kitchen, a man kneels before a woman, handing her a bouquet of pink tulips and wearing a pleading smile. She stands leaning against the countertop, rolling her eyes, unsmiling, but she is accepting the bouquet.

    Image via Girl Meets World.

    Libby Anne’s heartfelt reflections on why we should be forgiving and empathetic towards eleven-year-old Grace Evans, who spoke against same-sex marriage before a House committee as a political prop for the right-wing attitudes of her family and her church. (Via Love, Joy, Feminism.)

  • And some words about forgiveness and abuse that I wish I’d heard sooner – ideas like “you don’t have to do it” and “forgiving doesn’t mean resuming contact” and “saying they’re sorry doesn’t mean they deserve to be forgiven”. It’s specifically aimed at sexual abuse survivors, but I think it’d be helpful for anybody. (Via John Shore.)
  • Now, for something fun: if you thought the velociraptors in Jurassic Park were clever girls, check out the ones in this parody video. (Via The Mary Sue.)

And if you haven’t seen it already, here’s a link to my latest article on the Friendly Atheist, about how often Pope Francis mentions the devil and how devil talk tends to indicate a shift to a more conservative brand of Catholicism. If that’s possible. And, sadly, it is.

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