Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Food for thought: Zero calories

One of my new favorite columns online: Body Wars on Salon.com.

Well, duuuuh.

There has been some buzz going on about a research study recently published by the university of Arizona. the study looked at global attitudes about obesity and found that in places where being overweight was once seen as a positive, stigma is growing.

In some places attitudes are merely shifting, but in countries like the U.S., the psychological damage related to obesity is becoming profound. A quote from the published study shows just how warped our perception about weight has become:

"The participants were asked to choose whether they would rather be obese or have one of 12 socially stigmatized conditions, such as alcoholism or herpes. In many cases, the women would rather have more of the other conditions, with 25.4 percent preferring severe depression and 14.5 percent preferring total blindness over obesity."

Having been both obese and depressed, I am well aware that both conditions are deeply stigmatized and social judgment is pervasive. I am not depressed now, but I know that if I were to fall ill again, I would not take any medication that has weight gain as a side effect.

Weight gain was one the top two reasons I stopped taking all of the medications that were supposed to help my chronic pain and neurological blips.

So, yeah, I'm with the study participants. I would rather suffer terribly than be fat. It all comes down to social acceptance.

Click here to link the study. To read a much better commentary than mine about this, click here.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Heart of Darkness

I've been thinking a lot about compassion lately. It's a quality I want to embrace more readily. This is a struggle. This is a struggle because I am inherently a judgmental person.

Many people who know me believe I am a liberal, through and through. This is actually not the case. I think I'm balanced. I am very liberal on some topics, but down-right narrow-minded on others. This doesn't make me a bad person. It means that I hate many of the realities of this world.

I think the Second Amendment was a huge mistake. It made sense at the time in the context it was written, but I'm pretty sure today's gun laws were not what our founding fathers had in mind. I agree with Chris Rock: Bullets should cost $5,000 then there wouldn't be any "innocent bystanders." And really, is anyone actually hunting wild game with semi-automatic weapons?

I don't think that living in public housing should be easy. It shouldn't be a way of life. I spend quite a bit of time in the public housing complexes in my county, and I always come away discouraged because of what I see. Here's what I propose. Anyone who wants the assistance and breathing room public housing provides should not be allowed to consume alcohol or recreational drugs at any time while living in taxpayer-funded housing. Mandatory random drug testing. Anyone, male or female, of childbearing age should have to be on birth control for the duration of the time they are in public housing. It should be a condition of receiving assistance. Additional babies would not equal additional assistance dollars. All family planning services would be free for residents, as would classes in nutrition, health, financial literacy, and those for GED preparation. Daycare would be free for those parents who who work or attend school in a certificate program. Get convicted of a crime, lose your lease.

School administrators who suspend a five-year-old kindergartener for slapping another kid's hand in response to that kid snatching the first kid's Play-Dough, well, they should be fired. They obviously lack critical thinking skills and have no clue about the purpose of kindergarten as it relates to child development.

Panhandlers should be required to have a permit and their earnings should be taxed.

When people intentionally take up two parking spots to avoid getting scratches on their car, their cars should be vaporized.

Taggers should go to jail.

Smokers and the morbidly obese should have to pay more for health insurance.

Hospice care should be free. Counseling for end-of-life options and decisions should be mandatory. And free.

Banks would not be allowed to screw their customers--the people whose money keeps them in business--with greed.

Food stamps should only cover healthful foods. Period. No junk, no soda.

All religious organizations should be taxed as the businesses they really are.

No more pork barrel projects, agricultural subsidies, energy industry tax breaks, etc.

At election time, there should be no bilingual ballots. No, no,no. Learning English is a requirement of gaining citizenship and has been for a very long time. Therefore, nobody who is eligible to vote should even need a bilingual ballot.

The pledge of Allegiance should be restored to its original authored form, and the words "under God" (added by conservatives in the 1950s) should be taken out.

Pharmaceutical companies should not be allowed to advertise to the consumer, not should they be allowed to wine/dine or sell to physicians. Physicians should be required to take a certain number of professional development credits each year, and none of it can be presented or sponsored by any pharmaceutical.

And that is the not-so-compassionate world according to May Voirrey.

It has advantages

While watching the finale of "The Amazing Race" last night, my husband started to visibly cringe when all of the participants--male and female--had to undergo a Brazilian body waxing. While Frank winced at the coverage of hair being ripped from human flesh, I was absorbed by my own attempts to imagine participating in the episode. I was puzzled, actually, as I tried to imagine what would happen to me in that situation.

Here's the thing. I have essentially no body hair. There is no lack of hair on my head, but my arms and legs, which used to have a somewhat downy covering of baby-fine blond hair, are almost entirely hair-free. I do not have to shave my underarms because there is nothing there to shave. Occasionally I will sprout one or two lone, fine underarm hairs, but otherwise, the skin is smooth, soft, and hairless.

I wasn't always like this, though. I was never a particulary hirsute person at all, bu somewhere in my 30s, my skin stopped producing hair. No one has ever been able to explain this to me.

There is an exception: My big toe, and that's just a bizarre anomaly, all things considered.

A Brazilian body wax would probably strip me of my skin. Ewwww.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

No wonder I'm tired

That's a lot of laps around the sun.