When men look at women, it’s sleaze. When women look at men, it’s just plain good fun. An American Apparel case study in hypocrisy.

23 Jun

Booty Alert: some images may be NSFW


Late post today, but I was hosting a luncheon for the parents of a good friend, who are visiting from out of town. Lobster bisque and homemade bread. I cheated and bought the butter. I’m so lazy!




After a very lovely lunch and visit, I popped open my Buzzfeed app and one of the lead feeds was “The Five Sleaziest American Apparel Panty Ads Of All Time (NSFW)”.




American Apparel comes under regular fire for its apparently “sexist” advertising, and in keeping with our theme of lusting after human bodies, I thought today we would explore a little slice of objectification hypocrisy.






Let’s start with the PantyTime ads.




panty 2


What, exactly, are the objections to these ads? Are they tasteful? Well, I guess that depends upon your taste, but you have to be some kind of killjoy to not enjoy campfire tent sex. A dancing fire, endless stars above you, the smell of pine trees, a brook babbling nearby. I’d say the hiking lady looks to be in for an evening of some melted marshmallow fun!




Aside: Don’t try that. Melted marshmallows are total hell to get off. They taste sweet and they’re warm and gooey and they’re fun to eat off a willing body but they stick like some sort of glue NASA uses to repair the space station. Trust me on that one.


Let’s take a look at what the Swedish Lady Mafia thinks about American Apparel. In an act of epic bravery and rebellion, the Mafia had a male model mimic the pose of a female model advertising a shirt? Maybe the product is the shirt? It must be.




It’s a stark way of showing how men on the website are predominantly shown fully clothed and standing in modest poses, while women are often shown in various states of undress and striking sexually suggestive poses.




You know, I agree. The lady on the counter is sexy. The guy on the counter looks foolish, but all that demonstrates is that we have very different ideas about how male and female sexuality are played out. We want different things from men than we do from women.


Let’s take a look at this assertion: men on the website are predominantly shown fully clothed.


Oh, really?


man 2


man 3


man 5


man 4


That’s taken off their home screen! Who knows what loveliness lurks deeper into the site?




Calvin Klein featured an epically objectifying advertisement this past Superbowl, and while a few commenters called it out for sexism on Twitter, most of them gave a huge whooping cheer! Here is Jezebel celebrating an ad that has little to do with the product and everything to do with lusting after a body.




Why is this ad okay?


Oh, that’s because it’s a MALE body being objectified.



Let’s talk about the rationale behind hating the American Apparel ads in particular. The central issue, the key point of contention is WHO OWNS THE GAZE. Who is looking? What thoughts do the images invite? With whom does the viewer identify?


I’ve discussed before a film theorist named Laura Mulvey who wrote a paper about representation in which she claims that men own the gaze on film. Men look, women are looked at: ergo, men objectify women.


And obviously, that’s very, very, very bad.




Let’s start with the male gaze (and I’ll assume everyone is heterosexual in this discussion). When a man looks at an image like this:




He is supposed to experience a strong reaction of desire. The ad is designed to illicit very explicit images in men’s minds. The bubble draws attention to her mouth. What would you like to replace the bubblegum with? The stockings frame her barely covered ass. Would you like to uncover it? Those are no fragile nylon stockings, either. They look pretty robust. Rough and tumble. Her hair is already tousled and messy. Can you imagine making it even more dishevelled? And then what? And then what…..


The ad wants men to visualize strongly sexual imagery. You want to fuck her. For male viewers, American Apparel is attempting to create an association in their mind whereby American Apparel = sexy, hot, powerful, desirable, dominant. The company is hoping that the next time a man who has seen the ad walks by a store window, he might just recall those feelings and pop in and pick up a blue shirt.


That’s how advertising works. Create an association, then transfer it onto a product, which you will then purchase BECAUSE of that association. Seems to be working, too. American Apparel is back to profitability.




I looked for some men objecting to American Apparel’s blatant attempt to appeal to a very animal sort of sexuality, but I couldn’t find one. Seems like most men are perfectly comfortable managing their desires and emotions. Go Daddy has some of the raciest TV spots out there, and gets called out as sexist routinely, but…


When GoDaddy aired its first Super Bowl spot in 2005, it was a $100 million company few people knew with a 16% market share. Fast-forward to 2012, and GoDaddy is a $1.1 billion company with a 52% market share.




Sex sells. To men and women both.


Now let’s talk about the female gaze. As a woman looking at the bubble image, you are supposed to imagine being that woman. You are supposed to understand that she evokes a powerful response in men. Men want her. They desire her. She has power over them, and that power has the potential to lead to lots of benefits. You are supposed to want that power for yourself, and when you slip on your own pair of knit stockings and barely there panties, you will feel it. Buy our products so you, too, can control a man’s gaze and make him want you.




Oh dear. Well, now we have a problem. Nearly 40% of women in American Apparel’s target market (18 -35) are overweight.




How are those chubby ladies going to look in stockings and panties?




Tsk, tsk. Not so hot. And that makes women feel a sense of loathing. Confronting a body that men want and desire and long for makes women who fall well short of that ideal sad and depressed and unhappy.


One response has been to feature more fat bodies in advertising, like the Dove Beauty Campaign tries to do. But it doesn’t work. Women still dislike their fat bodies.






We live in a culture saturated with the idea that problems belong to someone else. Whatever the issue, the solution is for someone else to deal with it. And if it is someone else’s responsibility to solve the problems, it’s probably someone’s fault the problem exists in the first place.


Here are the reasons commonly given for obesity:


Toxic environment


Food deserts


Contaminated food supply

Big Government and Big Business Conspiracy

High fructose corn syrup


Fast food




Here are the real reasons for obesity


You eat too much

You don’t move your body enough


The first list are all problems for someone else to solve. The real list has one solution: YOU.


When women are confronted with images of other women who clearly put some effort into what they eat and how much they exercise, it triggers anger and anxiety and a search for someone to blame. If women don’t live up to the images in the media, well then, we have to change the media. And if men continue to desire those fit bodies, then we have to change men, too.




size 22


It’s all about making other people change rather than accepting responsibility for yourself and deciding that it’s your body and your choice and you CAN choose not to be fat.




Here’s how we know that the feminist response to women being objectified and thereby dehumanized in advertising is a straw man argument: the same standards do not apply to men. If objectification is bad and wrong and morally reprehensible, and causes us to view the objectified as less than human, then it’s bad when women do it to men, too, right?


Er, nope.




Let’s go back to the gaze. When men look at this ad, they are supposed to want to be that guy. Buy HOM briefs, and you can be sexy like him! Or just get as close as you can. There is little teeth-gnashing and sobbing in the media from men who are confronted with these unbelievably fit, gorgeous men. Few cries of “sexism”. If anything, guys look at these images and decide to hit the gym.




In the same way that American Apparel ads are designed to trigger explicit sexual imagery in men, ads like HOM are designed to trigger explicit sexual images in women. Here is man, displayed for us, in total masculine magnificence.


What would you like to do to him? Are you on top? He’s already leaning back. Seems like a good choice. His socks and underwear frame those beautiful thighs. Wouldn’t they look good underneath you? The tattooed bicep. He seems a little dangerous. This could get rough…..


Oh my.




This ad appeared in Elle magazine!


Here he is again.




Women are invited to turn their gaze on a beautiful man and let their imaginations run free. And that’s okay. It’s totally okay. It’s more than okay. It’s pretty damn spectacular. Jezebel runs a regular feature called Thighlights, in which women openly slobber over a specific male body part.


Mark William Calaway, Phillip Jack Brooks


thighs 2


thigh 3




Jesus. Look at the package on the guy in red.




Oops. I mean, he seems like a really nice person.


Pretty long-winded today, but my point is this: the argument or critique of women in advertising and the objectification of women’s bodies isn’t a debate about women’s self-esteem at all.




It’s a debate about power. The power to look. The power to want. The power to desire. The power to evoke.


And women want that power for themselves, and only themselves.


Kate Upton makes (fat) women feel bad.




Half naked men make (most) women feel good.






Anything that causes ladies to feel bad is wrong by definition. And the thing that makes ladies feel bad is the power of the male gaze. It assesses them, evaluates them and very often, rejects them. That power must be demonized, derided, dismissed as evidence for men being shallow, stupid superficial brutes who see women purely in sexual terms.




If feminists really cared about the relationship between objectification and dehumanization ( a dicey theory at best), they would care about ALL instances of objectification. They would care about EVERY body that is reduced to sexual utility.


But they don’t. In fact, they delight in watching men having to objectify themselves.



Ford’s entire roster of male models take off their shirts and dance for the cameras to the all-too-fitting song “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” You’re welcome.




Feminists only care about one type of body being objectified: slender women.


Those are the bodies that have power, especially over men. Those bodies are testaments to the true power women can wield in the world: they signal reproductive fitness.





Genetically outstanding babies


babies in a row


All the things feminism tries to teach women are NOT important. The continuing appeal of advertising featuring sexually provocative women AND men tells the real story: it matters. Sexuality is one of the key things that define us as humans. And it will always matter.


When sexuality is turned into a power struggle that argues over the ownership of the gaze, the potential for mutually satisfying partnerships between men and women is all but destroyed. Men are made to feel guilty and ashamed. Their preferences are “sleaze”. And women learn that male sexuality is theirs to control and define. Male bodies are objects to satisfy their desires.




Imagine a group of men with a Victoria’s Secret catalogue in the lunch room at work, openly admiring the angels. Get ready for a meeting with HR, dudes. Sensitivity training is in your future. Now imagine a group of women swooning over David Beckham in Elle. HR is probably sitting there drooling along with all the other ladies.


Now imagine any one of those men dating any one of those women.


A culture in which male desire is disgusting and sleazy and women’s desire is empowering and objectifying is a culture in which sexual ecstasy is pretty much impossible.


“Only the united beat of sex and heart together can create ecstasy.”

― Anaïs Nin, Delta of Venus


Images of beautiful women shouldn’t be threatening. They should be a welcome reminder that we are all physical creatures, inhabiting skins that long for one another’s touch.


That’s not sleazy. It’s beautiful. For men and women both.




Lots of love,




47 Responses to “When men look at women, it’s sleaze. When women look at men, it’s just plain good fun. An American Apparel case study in hypocrisy.”

  1. Alex June 23, 2013 at 19:57 #

    Only point of grief I have is the reasons why people are fat, as the only debatable part is the conspiracies. The rest can all be grouped together really, though the last two are the biggest things and the rest is les of a factor than people think. On a side note, I hve got to find stylus


  2. IHateFeminists June 23, 2013 at 20:15 #

    Damn those American apparel ads are up close and personal. One can even see a bit of booty rim in some of them. Hory Shet JB you need to give a trigger warning for some of these photos! The red bra wearing Sasquatch made me want to gouge out my eyes! Who knew Lindy West had a twin. I was reading somewhere that the femitard gestapo in Sweden is trying to outlaw men from importing their cute, petite foreign brides and some scuttle butt about outlawing men from peeing standing up. Don’t know how much of this is true but I think men in Sweden need to reach deep and find their Viking heritage. The feminutz and the narcissistic, hypocritical self-esteem issues they possess seems a bottomless pit of bullshit matter where they live. And that “more of me to love” crap I have heard the chubby women’s club say over the years…fuck that. I work out every day to stay in shape and am not attracted at all to them…


  3. Gem (@Gemmarees) June 23, 2013 at 21:11 #

    “When men look at this ad, they are supposed to want to be that guy. Buy HOM briefs, and you can be sexy like him! Or just get as close as you can. There is little teeth-gnashing and sobbing in the media from men who are confronted with these unbelievably fit, gorgeous men. Few cries of “sexism”. If anything, guys look at these images and decide to hit the gym.”

    *brain melt* No.

    A huge percentage of men AND women are obese. The percentile difference is small and shrinking (I was unable to locate the 18-35 age group statistic you cited on the wiki page, but “Though the rate for women has held steady over the previous decade, the obesity rate for men continued to increase between 1999 and 2008” is right there in the intro).

    I mean usually it’s just “women are a bit shit” and a failure to balance that (which is fine, the points usually don’t require balance). But to just state out of some apparent male-flaw blindness that women are lazy, gluttonous, responsibility-dodging fatsos while men…. decide to hit the gym… just no. They don’t. And while they deserve credit for not being at all bothered by natural objectification, where feminists go utterly batshit, that doesn’t afford them a pass on the eating-too-much-moving-too-little front. The growing percentage of obese men are NOT looking at underwear ads and deciding to hit the gym. No matter how much we want to piss off the feminists.


  4. judgybitch June 23, 2013 at 21:14 #

    Those transformation stories seem to feature mostly men, though. And I guess I run with a different crowd. The vast majority of men I know are pretty fit. Maybe because I live in a outdoorsy town?


  5. Gem (@Gemmarees) June 23, 2013 at 21:24 #

    Here’s the article about sitting down to pee:


    It says it’s for hygeine reasons and because men who sit are less likely to get bladder infections. But later in the article the real reason becomes evident:

    “The Left Party’s Viggo Hansen, a substitute member of the county council and the man responsible for the proposal, wants the office toilets to be genderless and as a result, is pushing for the “sit-down only” requirement.”

    Hygeine, my ass.

    Here’s one article about “wife importing” – http://www.thailovelines.com/Frontinfo/thai-women-sweden.html – you can find others with a quick google search. Obviously, it’s Sweden, so it’s framed as the “poor victim women” and “nobody addressing the men”.

    Sweden and Iceland are held up as feminist havens. That may be the case, but I certainly wouldn’t want to have sons there.


  6. Gem (@Gemmarees) June 23, 2013 at 21:30 #

    Potentially, but the statistics aren’t good for men or women. The “bulking up” or “muscle gain” stories tend to feature men more, but there’s a whole load of weight loss ones that feature mostly women. At weight loss sites like http://www.3fatchicks.com/ or http://www.minimins.com/ there’s a dearth of men, to the point that men have a near celebrity-like status.

    And that’s counting the people who are in “maintenance” (having reached their healthy/goal weight) – not just the ones that sign up with good intentions and stay for the word games.


  7. EmceeLucas June 23, 2013 at 22:01 #

    “Honestly, sexiness is a sort of tyranny against women.” – popularheresy, Jezebel

    How long will it be before women internalize this message? Maybe I’m missing something here, but by criticizing advertising depicting attractive female bodies so harshly, feminists are also sending the message that being sexy is not okay. That will just backfire and make women uncomfortable with their bodies, no?


  8. Radical Suburbanite June 23, 2013 at 23:37 #

    Statistically speaking I do think men *and* women are getting fatter. The big difference is in how the genders are handling it. I don’t see men get all twitchy when I giant billboard is erected (heh) in Times Square featuring David Beckham in his underwear, while women will get in an uproar when a similar image is put up featuring Kate Upton.

    I’m guessing it’s because women still realize, even if only on an instinctive level, that there’s real power in being beautiful and letting ourselves get fat is always going to put us on a lower rung of desirability. Men, on the other hand, don’t necessarily lose status because they’re out of shape- they can still get a good looking date as long as they have a good job.


  9. judgybitch June 23, 2013 at 23:49 #

    What a great comment! I think you are exactly correct.


  10. Lianne aka CST June 24, 2013 at 01:55 #

    Excellent article. My only contribution is that I can literally SEE women’s heads explode the minute I mention my journey in losing weight (went from mid 300’s to mid 200’s, trying to get to like 145ish…)

    My male friends have been WILDLY supportive. Anything I need. Encouragment by the ton.

    Women? Not so much. “Well, MY man likes me heavier, you just need to get you a good man.”

    And various variations of this theme. Blah. No thanks. I KNOW I would catch so much more attention being smaller. It doesn’t have anything to do w/ self esteem… i’m pretty full of myself. 🙂

    Women I meet seem to just take it so hard that I. Do. Not. Want. To. Be. Fat. Anymore. I’m done using fatness as a shield, as a way to avoid …well, everything. I know how this crowd feels about weight, but I’m definitely trying to “eat less, move more”. 🙂

    btw — long time lurker, first time commenter. I love the mess out of some JudgyBitch. Hell yeah. I have been devouring red pill-ish blogs like the plague…feels like home. Disgruntled by feminism, finding more peace in working with men, rather than tearing them down.


  11. Marlo Rocci June 24, 2013 at 02:15 #

    The only shocking thing about this article is that there are still women at Jezebel that like looking at men. I thought that was an all lesbian site by now.


  12. SSC June 24, 2013 at 04:19 #

    i fucking love your sense of actualism!!!


  13. Rob June 24, 2013 at 04:21 #

    JB, I loved this article. In college I was a contestant in a “Mr. Yale” beauty pageant. Twelve men, one representing each residential college, made fools of themselves for the gratification of a largely female audience. We were objectified, but we were willing participants. One of the feminist blogs on campus wrote an article about the pageant called “Why Not Ms. Yale” that can be found here: http://broadrecognition.blogspot.com/2006/11/why-not-ms-yale.html

    Needless to say I was pretty shocked at the content of that post, and I lost a good deal of respect for the bloggers at that site. You can actually read my response in the comments section. It’s the one signed “Mr. Calhoun.” Thought you might get a kick out of a feminist rant from some of the country’s best and brightest touching on this very subject.



  14. Radical Suburbanite June 24, 2013 at 05:09 #

    Why thank you. 🙂


  15. Feminism Is A Lie June 24, 2013 at 05:44 #

    Couldn’t agree more with this! And funny you should link Tumblr’s “fat is beautiful” bullshit here because one thing becomes VERY clear: this fat acceptance mantra apparently only applies to women’s bodies. Come on, where’s the outrage over the lack of chubby men representing “real men” in the media? Where are the body positivity campaigns aimed at men with self-esteem issues? Tsk, tsk, I’m not seeing the equality here.


  16. Feminism Is A Lie June 24, 2013 at 05:50 #

    Oh, some have already internalised it, just look at feminists themselves and the fat acceptance “thin privilege is evil” movement. Just look at all the excuses these sorts of women make and how they pin responsibility for their body image issues on EVERYONE but themselves and disregard all facts and logic just to continue their toxic lifestyle. Sexiness is so evil that they do everything they can to not be sexy because it will “smash the patriarchy!” and “destroy unrealistic expectations of beauty”. And then of course, they go onto making actual beautiful women feel bad about wanting to look beautiful for themselves and for men because that’s oppressive.


  17. Radical Suburbanite June 24, 2013 at 08:11 #

    Wow! Congrats and good luck on getting to your goal. I’ve also heard the old “men like meat on a woman’s bones” too many times to count, but what I think those women are really thinking is oh crap, if she gets into shape my man is going to wonder why I can’t do the same thing…


  18. Gem (@Gemmarees) June 24, 2013 at 08:15 #

    I’d agree with you entirely. Physical attractiveness is a much bigger deal if you’re a woman than if you’re a man. My contention, though, was with the notion that when women see underwear ads they turn into a bunch of screaming harpies, as a group (no argument there) but when men see underwear ads, they hit the gym (they demonstrably do not).

    I’m good with pointing out the ridiculous shit that feminists do, but not while supporting or letting slip inaccuracies that, were they to appear on a feminist blog about women, would be jumped on (quite rightly) by people who can see through the bullshit.

    Feminism is so ingrained in our culture now that the battle to get rid of it is going to be a long and arduous one. Every charity program that pops up seems to be about “women and girls”. That fight is not going to be won with grandiose, incorrect statements about how super-awesome men are, but with the acknowledgement that men are fully emotional human beings who have hopes, dreams, fears and flaws – and doggedly slapping down the dumb shit that feminists say with facts.

    That’s all 🙂


  19. Gem (@Gemmarees) June 24, 2013 at 08:20 #

    Yeah. And the “fat acceptance movement” is completely damaging. Built on a foundation of fragile feelings and truth-avoidance, just like feminism. It started out well meaning, of course – “don’t call random fat people names, you twat” is a worthy enough message. But since it changed to “you must lie to a fat person if they ask you if they’re fat, DIScourage them from losing weight, deny any link between obesity and health issues, and, if you’re a man, either find obese women attractive or be called PREJUDICE!” Uhm. Yeah. No.


  20. princesspixiepointless June 24, 2013 at 09:03 #

    Agreed. Obesity related illnesses have overtaken smoking and drinking as top killers in the U.K.


  21. gwallan June 24, 2013 at 09:05 #

    “went from mid 300′s to mid 200′s, trying to get to like 145ish”

    “Women? Not so much. “Well, MY man likes me heavier, you just need to get you a good man.”

    Well done Lianne. You’ve escaped the crab bucket. Don’t let those other women pull you down. They don’t want you to succeed. You’re their competition after all.


  22. Spaniard June 24, 2013 at 09:30 #

    When you walk down the streets in any Russian town, you freak out. It seems that 80% of women are topmodels. You go to the McDonalds, and the waitress looks like Scarlett Johansson, you go to the supermarket and the cash machine girl looks like PJ Sparxxx. And, so on. But Russian women are so humble. Not conceit, not enttlited, not bitch. When a Russian woman gets marry she means it. Her family is the most important thing on Earth. Russian women fight for they family like female lions. There is no more “me”. It is all about “family”.
    Adolf Hitler was plain dumbass. He thought Russian people were “subhumans”, that is why he was fucked up in Russia. Ther is much more blonde blue eyed people in Russia than in Germany. There is Mediterranean type as well, and Jewish, and a touch of Asian. And the result is so gorgeous. It is not true that Russian men are ugly. they are not. They are good looking too. And Russia has great culture and tradition. Going to the ballet is as popular as going to the ice hockey.
    God save Mother Russia!!! Say by a “Ispanii” (Spaniard) who deeply loves Russia.


  23. Master Beta June 24, 2013 at 10:17 #

    “Here are the real reasons for obesity

    You eat too much

    You don’t move your body enough”


    That’s like saying:
    “This restaurant is busy because more people are entering it than are leaving it”

    Obviously true, as with obesity where you are by definition eating too much. But most people want to know why are there lots of people going into that busy restaurant? Is the food excellent? Are the service staff friendly and attractive? Perhaps it’s rival restaurants were closed by the health inspectors recently etc…
    Likewise with obesity, we all know overweight people overeat, but that’s not at all useful information – why are they overeating? Overeating is not the cause of obesity, it is an intermediate step.


  24. judgybitch June 24, 2013 at 10:19 #

    Okay, so why are they overeating and what, and more importantly who, is responsible for that?


  25. Spaniard June 24, 2013 at 10:25 #

    There is something about female condition close to the catholic doctrin of transubstansation. Anything which touches the female body becomes “purified” and “divine”. I am not joking. Look, fat men are slobs but fat women like Adele are so sexy. Men smoking cigarettes is so filthy and discusting, but women smoking cigaretes is sexy and glamorous. Men who go with hookers -like myself- are creeps and dirty, but hookers theirselves they can walk throw the dirt and remain shiny and inmaculate. Lots (millions) of men fall in love madly about hookers. It is a classic in Literature and movies.


  26. Spaniard June 24, 2013 at 10:32 #


    What a word.


  27. GrimGhost June 24, 2013 at 10:35 #

    I’m with you 100 percent, Lianne. In March 1987, I realized that I was a fat man and getting fatter, and I resolved, “No more of this.” Fourteen months later, I came in third in a 5K race. (There were only about a dozen participants, BUT STILL!) The point is, I know how I got fat, and I know how I got slim, and “Fat Acceptance” is a crock.

    Which reminds me: Slim and shapely JB, in your second video, you ROCKED that red Uhura dress!


  28. Spaniard June 24, 2013 at 11:59 #

    The feminist speech has two sides. One is “stop objetification of women” and the oter one is “showing half naked women as much as possible to make all men submissibve an gawking at female beauty, sexiness, and power”.
    You have the ugly feminists Kate Miller school and you have the glam and so femenine feminists Cosmo school.
    I think Jezabel is more the second type.
    Feminism is a contradiction. The word “feminism”, in fact, means absolutely nothing. All things that women say to men about women and about men (except JB or Esther Vilar) is bullshit. All things that women say to women about women is bullshit too. And all things that women say to women about men is a bunch of contradictions. Is hard to say this but women are so competitive, it is true, but most women are just plain and adorable dumbass.


  29. Feminism Is A Lie June 24, 2013 at 11:59 #

    Don’t let the feminists know you’re comparing them to religious folk, they’ll have a conniption. But I do know exactly what you mean and it’s a ridiculous double standard! And by acting this way, feminists just portray the idea that women are so freaking mentally fragile that the whole world must cater to their ego else their lives fall apart. Hey, that may be the case with feminists themselves, but I sure don’t need them representing me. However you cannot be a strong, empowered woman and a perpetual victim at the same time. Also, men smoking cigarettes is sexy.


  30. Feminism Is A Lie June 24, 2013 at 12:20 #

    Most women I’ve known simply jump onto the bandwagon of whatever movement makes them feel better about themselves without truly considering the reality of the situation. I almost jumped onto the feminist bandwagon too, but it was feminists themselves that lead me to seeing the contradictions and lies in their ideology. I guess I really should be grateful to feminism?


  31. Lianne aka CST June 24, 2013 at 13:44 #

    Oh everyone is so sweet. I definitely see that “oh crap, competition!!” thing and a few women have tried to shame me for being vain. Yep, you’re right, I am. I want a better body because the trouble with fat acceptance is that it’s telling you that you aren’t capable of doing any better than what you look like. I’m sorry, if anyone thinks their *best* is 345 pounds, I have news for you: you need help. For real.

    Unless you’re a sumo wrestler, then just roll on all the things. O.o

    I have noticed a lot of the fat-trapping comes out of feminists in my world. Yet these same feminists will drool over Johnny Depp in a heartbeat and scorn the nerd next door who has a bit of a soda belly.


  32. Lianne aka CST June 24, 2013 at 13:45 #

    Thanks, GrimGhost and congratulations on your own fat loss journey. I know how I got fat too, and it sure wasn’t on veggies and lean meat. 🙂 Instead of eating through my feelings, I decided instead that I’d find constructive outlets for tension… like speedbag training. 🙂


  33. Gem (@Gemmarees) June 24, 2013 at 14:17 #

    I couldn’t disagree more. Looking at your restaurant analogy, the “cause” would be “because food tastes good”. Fair enough. And there is more of that good tasting stuff – almost infinitely more – available now than there was in the past, at affordable prices, from almost every shop everywhere. It’s really not that long since obesity was a rich man’s problem.

    But we LIKE to eat, and we have an appetite that’s built for storage. The entirety of history until recently: Food is available, we eat a lot of it, our bodies store energy as fat, food becomes scarce, the body enters ketosis and uses the fat stores we’ve laid down. If we’re lucky, there are enough periods of plenty to sustain us through the periods of ketosis and we don’t starve.

    Our bodies are awesome machines that convert food into energy and stored energy very efficiently. But we’re not entering ketosis any more. There’s no reason for us to eat more calories in a day than we use. But the appetites remain the same. These processes that evolved over hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of years, have not changed in the last less-than-century (a veritable blink of the eye, relatively speaking) that we’ve had plentiful food (in the developed world). Considering we’re only one shockingly-unlucky asteroid or supermassive volcanic eruption away from food scarcity that’s a good thing, really, but it does mean that we have to learn to ignore the very strong impulse to lay down fat stores and learn to eat only what we need.

    And hey, that’s demonstrably more difficult for some people than others. I’m a large hypothyroid woman. Getting smaller, but still large. But the equation is still the same, even with a greatly impaired metabolic rate: if calorie input is higher than calorie output, fat happens.

    We can do all the soul-searching in the world. We can tell big people they’re big because they eat because they’re sad and it’s not their fault. We can slap an eating disorder label on everyone, from amnaesic bulimia to “binge eating”. But putting those labels on people and creating excuses really doesn’t change the fundamental, underpinning truth: food tastes awesome because that is evolutionarily advantageous, and if you eat too much of it you’ll get fat, and if you don’t either burn that fat off or enter ketosis once in a while, you’ll probably get ill – or uncomfortable at the very least.

    You can’t counter the awesome taste of food and its dopamine-inducing greatness with a dose of sympathy and explanation. Those things are excuses that enable people to continue feeling GREAT when they eat. And the accompanying “fat acceptance” movements that tell them (or us, even) they should also feel great later, when they’ve been throwing calories in for years and years and they hate what they look at because it is, taking a general overview of what it is to be “attractive” to most people, objectively ugly.

    When you tell fat people they’re not fat, they’re not unhealthy, there’s no benefit to losing weight, it’s not their faul they’re fat, it’s not as simple as an equation, there are probably mysterious forces at play that are keeping them fat so reducing calories and increasing exercise won’t work anyway…. you become a BIG (puns!) part of the problem. And for most fat people (who are generally regular people with regular intelligence levels) it’s more than a little bit patronising. It is un-fucking-believably frustrating to be 200lbs+ and express a desire to lose weight to a friend or relative, in the hope of support, only to be confronted with a witheringly pitying smile and a patronising pat, and a consolation of “there there, you’re not even fat”.

    And oh god, the GASPS that come out of people when my (amazingly supportive, incredibly pragmatic, normal weight) partner acknowledges that I’m overweight. You could swear he’d just taken a shit on some kids.

    The obesity epidemic will keep on getting worse for as long as we think that telling people “eat less and move more” is somehow rude.


    Sorry – that was longer than I expected.


  34. JohnX June 24, 2013 at 15:56 #

    That’s a good question… what is causing this? If I knew the answer, I’d be a rich, rich man.

    It’s not a failure of will, as some would like to think, because people eat just as much, and move as little as they did before the “epidemic”. Assuming that someone is obese because they eat too much is simplistic and easily proven wrong. In reality, people eat more because their homeostatic feedback systems are broken and adipose tissue is preferentially created instead of feeding that energy to metabolism. The brain screams for more glucose because it’s all being stored instead of being made available to general metabolism. In short, obesity resembles starvation at an endocrine level.

    There’s no one responsible for it, it’s not a conspiracy but appears likely creation of a obesogenic environment and activation of “thrifty” epigenetics in about a third of the population.

    For instance why would me and my (fraternal twin) brother be so different? Raised in the same household, same sports, same diet, and yet he’s thin as a rail and can eat anything, quite literally, and remains at a set weight. We both have detailed records, and while I’m more active and eat less and higher quality food, I have significantly higher body fat.

    When someone can use “eating too much” and “not moving enough” to explain these kinds of differences, I’ll give it more credence. But back in reality those of us with some medical education know it’s not the cause.


  35. Clover June 24, 2013 at 16:16 #

    I’d go with “You eat too much of the wrong stuff.” Rather than too much in general. I down more calories than your average man most days, and I’m technically underweight. However, the food I eat is mostly fresh organic meat, eggs, and dairy – no preservitaves, sugar, or flour for me. Oh, and I don’t exercise much…all my muscle tone is from vigorous cooking and sex.
    But yes, fatness is something individuals can change by eating and moving sensibly, not some condition imposed by the outside world. Ignorance and laziness are the causes of fatness, and only intelligence can really combat them. Whining certainly can’t


  36. Emcee June 24, 2013 at 16:20 #

    “Most women I’ve known simply jump onto the bandwagon of whatever movement makes them feel better about themselves without truly considering the reality of the situation.”

    That’s just it. I’m becoming increasingly bothered by the idea that people are supporting social justice movements (not only feminism, necessarily) not for the greater good, but for their own selfish viewpoint. The fat acceptance movement you pointed out is a good example of that, as one that shames attractive people for their “thin privilege” in order to justify their own passive lifestyle.

    “… but it was feminists themselves that lead me to seeing the contradictions and lies in their ideology.”

    And then they call you a bigot for calling them out. Of course, the many men and women forsaking feminism are feminists’ own fault, but I’ve never seen a feminist admit that – that maybe, just maybe, the entire movement is driving away potential allies by failing to distance itself from goofball feminists like Adria Richards or those idiots at the UofT protests.


  37. Clover June 24, 2013 at 18:26 #

    What’re you counting as ‘higher quality’ food? If that’s the main difference, maybe it’s down to something you eat that he usually doesn’t…


  38. feeriker June 24, 2013 at 19:52 #

    and what, and more importantly who, is responsible for that?

    Three words: Genetically Modified Foods, especially grains and cereals. Truly toxic stuff that makes people fat and sick.


  39. Gem (@Gemmarees) June 24, 2013 at 23:54 #

    There’s no reason why fraternal twins should have the same sort of metabolism any more than non-twin siblings should. And there are HUGE BMI disparities between siblings all over the place.

    People don’t eat just as much and move just as little as they used to. Not even close. In countries where obesity is reaching epidemic proportions, physical jobs like mining and steel-working have been replaced with service jobs, which require far less energy. And people are eating more than they used to for the simple fact that it’s available, and they’re rich enough to be able to afford it. For a vivid example of how that is the case, check out economics and BMI graphs for developed countries. Look at Ireland specifically, in relation to the UK and US for example. Ireland was still relatively poor for longer, but as wealth increased so did obesity (and still is). Like other developed countries, but later, and in line with an increased wealth and availability of food.

    And sure. There’s evidence that a very small minority of people may be obese or remaining obese because of issues with their homeostatic feedback systems. The cause of the “break” though is usually posited to be obesity. Not to forget, of course, that in reality, where people with some (or a lot) of medical education exist, almost every study or experiment ever done that *enforces* a reduction in calorie intake and an increase in energy expenditure results in a marked weight loss. Studies that rely on participants’ self reporting, not so much. Flabbergasting.


  40. Zach June 25, 2013 at 14:45 #

    The AMA has voted to classify Obesity an official disease and not just a physical state from which numerous other conditions and diseases sprout. The debate rages but it is telling that even within the medical/AMA community many cite that making obesity a disease frames it in a way that (in theory) allows the “patient” to “feel” better served by the medical community.

    So we have yet another example of the nanny state stepping in to relieve 1/3 of the population of personal responsibility for the condition of their bodies. Outcomes of individual behaviors and decisions are overwritten by victim status. Status that officially shifts costs, responsibility, and treatment from that of the individual and their choices to the system and its fixes. The prevention approach is abandoned in favor of expanding the market for pharmaceutical regimen, invasive surgical fixes, and any other quick-fix “treatments” for something that is undeniably behavioral in the majority of cases.

    There is less shame when you have a disease and are not just fat because you eat too much, poorly, etc. and can’t be bothered to exercise. And we all know that only certain populations can be shamed into modifying/altering/directing their decisions/behaviors.

    The timing of this is also interesting, as it seems to be a convenient lead-in to Obamacare. Don’t objectify, or shame, or judge, unless it is for extracting utility from men, inspiring unbridled consumerism in all, and/or propagating the growing minority (majority) classes of protected consumers. The hypocrisy is the same, be it feminism or other ilk of the agency/victimhood cult. This model is proving to be grist for the mill when it comes to shifting the burden, cost, responsibility to the dwindling minority who make choices and live by them through their own hard work and diligence and honesty.

    As a side note. Last weekend I got to see this agency/victim objectification/exhibitionism hypocrisy relationship play out as I walked through the local PrideFest. The naked, hyper-sexualized “empowerment” of the sexually omnivorous-homo-dual-trans-non-identity community was impressive. So was Chase Bank’s sponsorship. Luckily my white-male oppressive heterosexuality was largely hidden in all of my shamefully modest clothing, though I was (obviously) repressing my desire to shed those evil traditionalist constructs to run naked through the city with pierced nipples, towing my no-strings (but for the leather leash) non-relationship androgynous life-partner. Instead my GF pulled me close often to mark me as hers – which probably spared me from the most aggressive objectification, though I was eye-banged and brushed against enough that even after 3 showers I still felt like I was the victim of something. I just wish I knew what.


  41. freetofish June 25, 2013 at 17:15 #

    I think this gets right to the heart of the problem. Despite feminisms 40 year push, for the most part Men aren’t wowed by a woman’s career or wealth. We are still visual creature that respond to visual stimuli. Not saying looks are everything, but they are the basis of attraction. Men are still willing to “marry down” for youth, beauty and reproduction. Woman have never been and still aren’t.

    That is the basis of “where have all the good men gone” articles. Career women who are unwilling to marry the plumber, mechanic or other blue collar worker because they don’t have the money or status they are looking for.

    Men on the other hand have always been rated more by what they can provide. Resources, status, social standing. There is a reason even the most beaten with the ugly stick musician has his groupies. If you have any doubts, just google Keith RIchards’ wife.

    I think the other reason feminists get their granny panties in a knot is that these ads with young fit women only remind them the older they get the less they attract the “male gaze”.


  42. freetofish June 25, 2013 at 17:43 #

    Eating to much is a bit to simplistic. It usually boils down to eating the wrong foods. You can eat quite a bit of lean meat and veggies, consume more in volume than one fast food burger. The kicker is that burger, while by volume is smaller, by caloric density it much much higher.

    Caloric density is really the cause of obesity. Many people just do not realize how overly packed with calories and sodium prepared/packaged food is or how to properly read labels in regards to serving size.

    Men’s health has a great set of articles on this. For example the 20 worst packaged foods.

    #1. Worst Packaged Food in America
    Marie Callender’s Creamy Parmesan Chicken Pot Pie
    1,060 calories
    1,440 mg sodium
    64 g fat (24 g saturated)

    Marie Callender’s perpetrates the ultimate sleight of hand here: The nutrition information says this medium-size entrée has two servings, but honestly, when have you ever split a potpie? Lard-strewn pastry tops and cream-based fillings are the lowest common denominators of the nutritionally nefarious potpie, and this one, with an ingredient list that reads like an O-Chem final, beats out dozens of horrendous iterations to earn this special place on our list.
    Sodium Equivalent: 8 small bags of potato chips
    Fat Equivalent: 23 strips of bacon
    Calorie Equivalent: 7 Taco Bell Fresco Beef Tacos

    They suggest a more health alternative, but even it is so overly packed with sodium you shouldn’t consider eating it.

    Eat This Instead!
    Marie Callender’s Oven Baked Chicken (369 g)
    320 calories
    990 mg sodium
    12 g fat (3 g saturated)

    That’s 66% of the recommended sodium per day (1500mg)for a normal adult, in one meal.



  43. Exfernal June 29, 2013 at 15:30 #

    Heh, not exactly “beauty is only skin deep”. Natural beauty (NSFW at places) is an indicator of future health, relationship satisfaction & reproductive ability (for example linked to prevalence of PCOS). Especially abdominal fat & waist-to-hips ratio.


  44. Exfernal June 29, 2013 at 17:00 #

    I think this gets right to the heart of the problem. Despite feminisms 40 year push, for the most part Men aren’t wowed by a woman’s career or wealth.

    Exactly. Yet they still try…


  45. randomviking July 29, 2013 at 16:10 #

    the preservatives and organic farming doesent matter, what will make the difference between people with identical metabolism(motorical calorie consumption, not counting life support) and intake provided sufficent micro nutrition in both subjects is

    the amount of fructose, in witch case the person that ate the most sugar would lose weight and die because of the extra energy spent by the liver.

    the lack of unsaturated fat, in this case the person with lack of unsaturated fat would lose motorical control and die from cramps…

    lack of proteins, in this case the person with lack of protein would lose muscle mass and get killed by a vase or another inanimate object trying to chase him down…

    (if we count water as macro nutrition) lack of or overconsumption of water, in this case the subject either dies like a raisin from dehydration or like an exploding watermelon from blood thinning(yes watermelons explode from osmotic pressure, google it.) another more likely result of blood thinning is getting your muscle tissue, lungs and brain swamped with blood(even more disgusting than watermelon explosion, dont google that.)


  46. Strejda August 31, 2013 at 13:05 #

    Yeah, I think fat-shaming is wrong but encouraging people to keep being fat even when they don’t want to isn’t any better.

    Your incredible overgeneraziton of feminism really hurts your point though. You do realise feminism has its own various sections and differing opinions on any given subject matter, right? Most feminists I know would agree with you.


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