Today is Columbus Day...a day which has a pretty disturbing past, such that I'm not sure why anyone would "celebrate" it. Mark Anthony Rolo has a piece up about what today really means.
"We should have been wiped out," she says. "It's a miracle Native people still exist. I have never liked the word 'conquered.' We are still here after 500 years. And maybe every time Columbus Day comes around, we should rethink who the real heroes are: the explorer or the survivors?"Every time "Half the Sky" gets held up as the greatest thing, I've had a nagging doubt in my mind. That doubt was just perfectly articulated by Sayantani DasGupta at Racialicious:
This is a bit older (in Internet years) but if you're interested in fat activism or body positivity at all, I highly suggest you add Fat Heffalump to your Google reader. Last month she tackled myths about fat bodies:
...I often ask my students to evaluate a text’s ethical stance by asking themselves –"whose story is it?" For example, are people of color acting or being acted upon? Although the film does highlight fantastic on-the-ground activists such as maternal health activist Edna Adan of Somaliland, the point of entry, the people with whom we, the (presumably) Western watchers, are supposed to identify, are Kristof and his actress sidekick-du-jour.
2. Having a fat body is like carrying around a 2o/50/100/whatever lb/kg sack of potatoes/dirt/lard whatever.
Wait, the average adult skeletal structure weighs about 20lbs right? So is having a skeleton like carrying around a 2olb weight?No it’s not. Fat bodies are not attached to us, like some kind of extra luggage – they ARE us. Our whole bodies hold ourselves up – bones, muscle, organs, skin, fat, everything – it’s all part of a complex machine that propels us around our lives. If you hand me 50lbs, I’m going to feel it’s weight, because it is not part of me. But 50lbs of my own body weight (or whatever number you choose) is part of me, and it has it’s own function in my body. The only time I’ve felt like I’m carrying a burden is when I believed I was worthless because I was fat. That wasn’t the physical weight of my body, it was the weight of stigma.