Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dear Racists: Get over yourself. Sincerely, Misty

I grew up listening to my grandparents chat about how annoying it was to have to listen to people "jabbering" in Spanish at neighboring tables in restaurants. They felt that English should be made the national language. They used to encourage me to learn Spanish so that the bilingual children of Mexican immigrants couldn't "steal" jobs from me.

My mother refused to take a very good job in another part of the country because she found out that there were a high percentage of minorities living there. When asked about other important factors (median income, property values, cost of living, etc) she couldn't answer. When she found out there were a high percentage of minorities, she stopped looking.

When I moved into my first apartment, it was in a neighborhood where many African Americans lived. My grandfather came to visit and we ate at the nearby Chicken Express. When he noticed that we were the only white people there, he made a loud joke about black people and chicken and horrified everyone in the restaurant except one little old man who apparently had a great sense of humor about it. I wish I'd had a chance to stop and get to know that little old man.

When I went to college, I had to choose between copying the behavior that my elders had modeled for me and thinking for myself, and I'm so glad that I chose the latter. (Even if it may have occasionally upset the family whose values I rejected.) I have come to know so many amazing people that I would never have met if I had continued in my family's tradition.

I'm sure that I have said things that were offensive out of pure ignorance. I'm so glad and thankful that I have friends who were patient and gave me time to learn the things that my family neglected to teach me. On behalf of all the children of racist parents out there, I regret that you had to take on the burden of educating us, but I'm so glad that you did. Thank you!

Racism is not hereditary. The fact that people were "raised that way" is no longer an excuse.

It's time to wake up and move into the 21st century.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

What is "obese"?

I haven't posted in awhile, but I haven't really had anything positive to say in awhile. Luckily, life is getting better. Hoorah!

Of course, that means I also have the excess energy to see things on Facebook and get vaguely annoyed.

Lately, this picture has been going around my Facebook:

I don't have a huge problem with this picture, really. In fact, I laughed and passed it on like everyone else. But when I saw the way people were talking about it, I realized that there IS a problem here. The problem is that with all good intentions, this picture encourages people to try to judge themselves based on their dress size. People compare themselves to these sizes and go, "But I'm a size 4 and I don't look like that!!"

So here's what I wanted to say to all women everywhere: Your dress size is meaningless for judging how you look. One woman can be drop dead gorgeous at size 16, and another can be extremely overweight at size 16. In fact, being classified as "obese" doesn't necessarily have anything to do with what you look like. Your weight is just a number.

I know you've heard all this before, so I'm going to try something new. I used my webcam to take a picture of myself. The quality kind of sucks and I didn't bother changing clothes or posing to try to make myself look good, but you should be able to get a general idea of my figure.

I happen to think I look pretty damn good. Maybe I don't have a tiny waist, but I'm satisfied with myself. FYI, I am a size 16 (same as the woman on the above right), and I /definitely/ don't look that good in my underwear, but you'll have to use your imagination, there.

Here is the kicker: At 190 pounds I am only 10 pounds away from being "obese" according to the BMI scale. That puts me at the very top of the "overweight" range. Does that picture look like a woman who is 10 pounds away from obesity? Nope. And why? Because the scale doesn't work for everyone. And that is why the obesity rate in this country is 60%, and yet you look around and it definitely doesn't seem like 60% of the people you see are fat. The term "obese" does not mean what you think it means!

So for all you ladies out there worrying because you wear a size 16+ and only the "plus size" stores carry your size, or because some scale told you that you were "obese", or because you don't like the number that pops up on the scale... Stop worrying about it. You are beautiful. No, you are absolutely breathtaking.

And I like looking at women, so I should know. ;p