Why words like “overweight” bother me.

Juan Carreño de Miranda‎'s
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If you’ve been paying attention the past several years, you’ll know we have an “obesity epidemic” on our hands.

Well, that’s what they like to call it. I don’t, because it makes it seem like we fat people are the disease. The way we get treated by most people, you’d think we were.

I don’t mind the descriptor “fat”. In fact I embrace it. It’s completely devoid of any negative or positive denotation — all it means is that I have an abundance of adipose tissue on my frame. That’s it. Simple, to the point, accurate. I am fat.

However, the connotations associated with the word — well, that’s another story. Here’s the skinny (pardon the pun) on denotation vs. connotation, in case you’re not aware: denotation is what a word actually means. Connotation is what people think it means. And because what people think as a whole shapes our society and thus, our language, connotation will quickly become denotation.

That’s why pejorative words are pejorative. They get used as an insult long enough and soon that’s all they are, regardless the actual denotations of the words themselves.

Connotations are completely valid ways of understanding the definitions of words — words mean things, and they don’t exist in a vacuum, separate from society. However, as I am a member of certain groups that are constantly marginalized and referred to in pejorative ways, I’m very invested in the idea of reclaiming pejorative words to remove the negative connotations.

Continue reading Why words like “overweight” bother me.

30 in 30: Day 12 (in which I pick apart Anne McCaffrey’s “feminism” and tell you why ten year olds really should not read her books (or my posts, truthfully))

A book or series of books you’ve read more than five times

Ugh. I really really really wish I could say The Black Jewels Trilogy for this one, but unfortunately I keep on losing my copy of that one and haven’t replaced enough times to have read it more than five times (I have read it four times). So in the interest of full disclosure…Freedom’s Landing, by Anne McCaffrey.

Don’t judge me! I was young! I did it for the money sex scene!

To be fair, though, Freedom’s Landing is a pretty good book, even if it is a prime example of some of Ms McCaffrey’s Favorite Tropes (that sounds like it should be a holiday dish of some sort: Favorite Tropes! Made of tears and repetition!).

She does ease up on the RACE A GOOD, RACE B EVIL (because A is for Aryan and B is for Black, see?) thing a little bit, but then puts all the blame on RACE C (for…cookies. They are a NEVER food!). To wit: book starts off with the Catteni established as the Bad Guys (with the exception of one, Zanial, who’s “good” even though he did try to rape the main character within the first 10 or so pages of the book) and the Terrans, Rugarians, Deski, and…some other alien races I’m forgetting the names of being the Good Guys. Catteni go around subjugating planets and taking slaves. One of the uses for slaves: making them colonize less-than-friendly planets for the Catteni, who will then move in and take advantage of all the slaves’ hard work. Apparently this works very well for them, and is important, as it is the basis of the entire book.

So, Kris Bjornsen and her fellow slaves get dropped on this planet…along with Zanial (it’s her fault she’s there, by the way, because when he made a move to grab her and rip her clothing off, she hit him over the head with a blunt object and then went to toss him in a deserted street of the main town of Barevi, only to get gassed because of the slave riots), whose life she saves by convincing the self-established leader of the slave-colonizers that Z would be useful.

By the end of the book it’s revealed that the Catteni are being controlled by a greater, EVILLER race, the Eosi (so I suppose they’d be Race E), who possess Catteni and make them do really gross things (like vote Republican). It is also revealed that Zanial has an amazing cock.

Because oh yes. Kris falls in love with him. And they totally do it. And it’s actually pretty hot, granted, but perhaps not the best thing for an impressionable 10 year old to be reading. Not because of the sex scene — I’m fully sex positive, and think kids can learn about sex and know about it a lot earlier than we give them credit for  — but because of the relationship dynamic.

Continue reading 30 in 30: Day 12 (in which I pick apart Anne McCaffrey’s “feminism” and tell you why ten year olds really should not read her books (or my posts, truthfully))

30 in 30: Day 02 (in which I’m actually pretty serious about The Fifth Sacred Thing)

Day 02 – A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about

I’ve been putting off writing this post, because I was playing World of Warcraft. (You thought I was going to say something thoughtful or poignant, didn’t you? Silly. You should know by now.)

Truth is, there are a lot of books that I wish more people were reading and talking about — they range from actual literature to my own to feminist theory. The one I settled on is a piece of fiction.

Continue reading 30 in 30: Day 02 (in which I’m actually pretty serious about The Fifth Sacred Thing)

Book Review: Unleashed (Paranormal Romance). Now with more swearing!

Recently I was given a copy of Unleashed — a set of 4 short stories all in the genre of Paranormal Romance.

Awesome, I think. I need a good escape.

Unfortunately, two out of four of the stories made me want to escape back into real life because the men I know are better than the ones portrayed within the stories. That’s pretty damn sad, considering I’ve classified my last two relationships as wars because of the PTSD they’ve given me (Vietnam and Desert Storm, in order, in case you’re interested).

I mean, there’s a reason we read romance — we want to believe in people loving each other. I am the Mulder of paranormal romance — but my Scully side wants a little more from romance stories than “instant soul-mate, just add tears”.

But. Not knowing any of this before I started, I dove in eagerly into the first story, “Bond of Silver” by Rebecca York.

Continue reading Book Review: Unleashed (Paranormal Romance). Now with more swearing!