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Archive for the ‘media’ Category

There’s a great post over at The F-Word today from Abby O’Reilly on workplace discrimination towards overweight women, or women who are perceived as larger than whatever standards patriarchy decides to arbitrarily put in place. This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently, as I’m running the hellish gauntlet of job applications. In the past, I’ve largely worked for local governments, charities and not-for-profit organisations, and I think, to a certain extent, I’ve been protected from this kind of bullshit (although obviously I’m not saying that it doesn’t exist in these sort of places). But I’m just about to apply for a job with a publisher that is for profit. And I’m most definitely a size 16.

I have struggled with my weight for years, as I think I’ve mentioned on here before. However, recently I’ve been working through Fat Is A Feminist Issue with the Compulsive Eating Workshop I set up at Sussex Uni. and I actually think I might be losing a little weight. It doesn’t really matter to me, though. I am, for the first time in my life, actually starting to genuinely think I look good. It’s been a slow, painful struggle. Did I mention slow? Sometimes it feels as if you’re taking three steps forward and then being slingshotted a mile back, but starting to accept and maybe even love my body is what I’m concentrating on right now.

If I don’t get this job, I think I will inevitably wonder why, especially as I am very well qualified. Was it because I’m not a size 8 beauty? I’ll never know, and perhaps it’s not worth torturing myself. I’ve not been passed up for many jobs after the interview stage, as Abby O’Reilly has, and so probably need a few more refusals to really start getting worried about my income.

Have any of you guys suffered instances of discrimination at work based on your physical appearance?

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Food For Thought

Here are some quotes I found wich have helped me see the connections between the media, our individual feelings and society as a whole.

First, Noam Chomsky. This is a transcription from an interview he gave for The F Files, which you can download for free in their webpage:

“”People are very suspicious, rightly; they don’t trust institutions, we know that, and rightly, practically any of them; Society has been atomized. There’s plenty of activism and popular organizations, but none of the main institutions are around. I mean unions are mostly gone; political parties don’t exist; we have what it’s called “elections” but don’t enought talk about that, there’s very little that you can get asociated with. In fact it’s one of the reasons why most of the activism comes out of churches. They’re there. (…) You know, you have people who don’t like what’s going on, who’ve been throught pretty hard times, don’t trust anything, don’t like what’s happening and they have no way to react. So you latch onto something. (…) That’s easy to happen in a depolitized society, an atomized depolitized society where people don’t know what to do. In a place where people have a relatively high level of freedom (…) pretty high priviliged, very atomized, separated from one another, no groups that they know how to affiliate with, (…) they are just lost. “What can I do”.”

In short, we are all powerless and lost.

Here’s a quote from a book I’m reading about the impact of the media, by Ignacio Ramonet: (Translation by me)

“Suveys establish a new form of conditioning that influence us without us noticing. By constantly reminding us of the wishes of the majority, it suggests us that we go in the same direction. Given that the indecisive tend to align themselves with the opinion of the majority. Paul Watzlavick (…) has shown how an isolated individual ends up doubting his own feelings and how he arrives, to not distinguish himself, accepting the opinion of the largest number of people.”

In short, when we are isolated, we end up doubting ourselves and going with the crowd.

And last, a quote by Professor Edouard Zafirian (translation also by me):

“In the United States, where violence and crime are treated as diseases of the individual, prescribing Prozac avoids having to ask uncomfortable questions about the social causes of these disorders. I ended up asking myself if these medications, when consumed in excess, don’t act as social regulators that help to avoid rebellions.”

In short: medications help put the onus of social problems on individual people, and stop them from seeing the larger picture.

These ideas are incredibly relevant to my personal life. I might blog about them some other time. I hope someone else finds them as useful as I have 😉

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