Oral Contraceptives and Informed Choice
Editor

As reported by PBS, a large scale study indicates that depression as a known side effect of oral contraceptives affects young women most of all. The research, published in JAMA Psychiatry, is the first ever to draw a connection between birth … Continue reading

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The dangers of saying Trump is “crazy”, “insane”, “pathological”, or “diagnosable”
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In recent months there has been a steady uptick in media coverage of trump discussing whether he or his proponents are “crazy”, “insane”, “pathological”, or “diagnosable.” You can find one example here in this Mother Jones article titled “Here is … Continue reading

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“Against the False Narratives of Anorexia”

Find at Slate an extended personal reflection by Katy Waldman concerning anorexia and its etiology, with a special focus on the role of literature and narrative. A few excerpts: More fundamentally, though, anorexia is an inveterate liar whose grand theme is your … Continue reading

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Sarah Silverman on Her Experiences with Depression

Also, of course, on being a woman in comedy and other matters. Always wonderful to see a cultural celebrity speaking openly about mental health issues, especially those that disproportionally affect women (and, for that matter, academics). Find interview highlights and a … Continue reading

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Trigger Warnings and Neoliberal Classrooms: an Ongoing Pedagogical Discussion

  “Trigger Warnings & Neoliberal Classrooms: Rethinking Pedagogy in Our Time of Precarity,” an interdisciplinary panel and discussion, will take place at the Stony Brook University Humanities Institute on Wednesday, February 18th at 4:00pm. We would like to begin the discussion here … Continue reading

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“An Ecological Response to Bullying”

IJFAB Blog editor emeritus Tim R. Johnston on feminism, queer theory, care ethics, the centrality of the concept of affirmation, reasons to prefer an ecological response to bullying, and–in closing–some tips for having a positive life experience while in graduate school. … Continue reading

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Murderer-Rapist Almost Euthanized in Belgium: Is the public outcry warranted?

Guest post by Jeff Kirby (Professor, Department of Bioethics, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University). Many members of the international public were surprised and/or shocked to hear that Frank Van Den Bleeken, an incarcerated murderer-rapist, was scheduled to be euthanized in Belgium … Continue reading

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“Is the NHS failing women with autism?”

From The Guardian: Autism, characterised in the past as a result of an “extreme male brain”, is far more prevalent in women than previously thought but is still often untreated because the stereotype focuses on male behaviour; women, it is commonly believed, mask their … Continue reading

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Medication and Aging

There have been recent reports on the over-medicalization of older individuals in nursing homes and assisted living residences. This problem is not a new one. Just imagine: you are overworked and there is not enough staff to take care of … Continue reading

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The Health Benefits of Bullying?

A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has found that a child’s role in bullying (as either aggressor or victim) can have an impact on adult low-grade inflammation. Being a bully predicted lower levels … Continue reading

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Trigger Warnings in the Classroom?

A co-authored piece, “Trigger Warnings Are Flawed,” appeared in Inside Higher Ed earlier this year to explain how the movement to introduce trigger warnings into a classroom setting is already having a “chilling effect” on pedagogy. The authors proceed to … Continue reading

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Eating as Shameful: Food, Gender, Daily Life, and Media Messages

Why do women feel such shame about being seen to indulge, whether or not they are fat? Why do others take such glee in shaming them? Why does this extend even to non-indulgent foods?

I was recently at a social gathering of adults over the age of 25, the vast majority of whom hold PhDs and were academics. At this gathering, a male attendee speaking to a group of about seven people began to mock a pair of fat women he used to encounter who would walk together down the sidewalk briskly and clearly for exercise, and whom he would occasionally see end their walk at a fast food restaurant. He commented about the irony of this, and how much space they took up on the sidewalk which required him to get off the sidewalk to let them pass—as though this would not have been the case with two smaller women walking side by side—and connected this with their eating habits and fatness. Despite gentle pushback from myself and one other woman at the gathering, he doubled down on their rudeness and his shaming of them for eating at the fast food place despite the fact that he had no knowledge of their health other than their body size, no knowledge of what they ordered or ate at the fast food place, and was using them as an object of fun in an “amusing” party story. The raconteur fully expected everyone in his audience to share his attitude. And in many audiences, everyone would have.

This sort of shaming of fat people for eating is common. A “normal” sized man eating a hamburger with juices dripping down his chin and an expression of ecstasy may well be perceived as enjoying his food, but a larger man doing the same thing is likely to be perceived as a glutton.

But it goes far beyond shaming of fat people. Even skinny people, especially women, are often made to feel shame for what they eat. Just consider the standard stock photo of women eating salad joyfully. Or this image of model Barbara Palvin with food near her mouth, presented on a “thinspo” (thinsporation) blog critiquing Palvin for gaining weight (though not enough that her thighs actually touch). The phrase which introduces it is from the blog’s author, and is the way she herself introduced this image.

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The same blog also attacks Kate Upton for her curvy figure. For those who don’t follow such things, Upton was Sports Illustrated’s 2012 Swimsuit Issue Covergirl.  On a page called “Kate Upton is Well-Marbled”, Upton is routinely called a “cow” and the author bemoans what the fashion industry is coming to when Upton is representing the profession:

Look, I’ll admit – I love In’n’Out as much as the next gurl, but it’s not supposed to be an everyday thing, Kate! And we can be sure that Kate is the rare model who poses with food – and then actually devours it.

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