Monday, December 12, 2011

The Romance of Betas

I papered the walls of my adolescent and early adult existence with the pages of romance novels. As I got older, I expanded to other genres, but romances will always mean safety, comfort, and reliability to the adult Elle. I love romances: their predictable narrative format, their feel-good happily-ever-afters, their celebration of relationships as the most crucial aspect of human existence. I have great affection and nostalgia for some of the more common romantic staples: the initial dislike and distrust that hidesImage bubbling passion, the BFF who represents the shero’s and/or hero’s id, the shero’s stumble or fall from a tree root or from a ladder (oopsy-daisy!) and into the strong arms of that oh-so-insufferable man. I even find adorable some of the impossible euphemisms for orgasms. Overall, I’m a flag-waving fan of the genre. Only one thing causes a slight snag in my overwhelming devotion to the genre: A preponderance of alpha men.
I like alphas; they’re great peeps and all. And sure, I realize romances are all about ideals, from romantic relationships themselves to the people who populate them. But, you know, I also dig gender diversity. Is it just me, or does your heart go pitter-pat at the thought of a tender, nurturing man with a far bigger IQ than gun collection? Or, and maybe this is just me, but I’m seduced by the thought of a nerdy, bespectacled hero, ala Spencer Reed inCriminal Minds or Daniel Jackson in Stargate: SG-1, who use their brains rather than a bullwhip to help the shero save the day.

I don’t write alphas, or at least not traditional onesAt folks’ urging, I’ve written semi-alpha men, but they tend to read more like moody brooders. My question for you: Am I the only one who wants to read about heroes who look like hot nerds and sensuous poets rather than arrogant business tycoons and vampire lords?

Alpha males are great, but is there also room for nurturing, sexy, and soulful heroes with backgrounds in quantum mechanics? Yum!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Paranormal Romance: Celebrating the Beauty of the Common

I like the different. I like the weird. I like things that don’t quite fit, that look a bit too large or taste a smidge too bitter. I celebrate ugly and find inspiration in dissonance. If I wanted to be like everyone else, I would have become an accountant. Instead, I write paranormal romance.

Like many readers of paranormal romance, I like characters who don’t fit the archetypes. My heroes aren’t all alpha males, my sheroes are sometimes fat and happy about it, my female villains (gasp) don’t always sexually smolder to prove they’re powerful.

I wrote my very first published piece of paranormal fiction, Hunted, after pondering, “What would a world look like if women were the warriors and men the healers and thinkers?” My second novel, Hunted Past, grapples with definitions of beauty: Can people with scars – inside and out – be beautiful? Is beauty a noun, an adjective, or a verb? In my third, not-yet-published, novel, Hunted Dreams, my main couple is interracial, interspecies, and intersize.

Paranormal fiction, romance and not, seems the perfect place for wrestling with reality: its multiple pasts, its infinite present, and our hopes and fears for its futures. What an opportunity we have to explore the borders between beautiful and plain, ideal and corrupt, real and fantastic. As for me, I want more discordance, more ambivalence, more category-defying prose and more characters whose commonness and plainness charm us with reminders of our own complexity. 

We Westerners are bombarded every day with representations of unachievable ideals. I think we’re right to expect more from paranormal fiction. In mixing reality with fantasy, we have a unique opportunity to reexamine our relationship with our worlds.

How exciting to begin to explore the beauty of the mundane and the weird. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Let's Not Make Nativism an American Tradition

You, like me, may have stumbled several times across the op-ed entitled “Christmas 2011 – Birth of a New Tradition.” Its chief message?: “Buy American,” a sentiment many of us can support. It’s the writers’ reasoning, as well as their repeated, and disdainful, waving of the phrase “the Chinese” like a nativist, pro-American flag, that knots my granny panties.

Below is a response I posted to a listserv of which I’m a member. Enjoy.

Hey, all.

Thanks for sharing this call to action. I, for one, am a huge fan of not buying people more stuff, since that's the last thing most of us need. My own personal philosophy is to either eschew presents or else buy people experiences, especially dinner with an amazing person like, well, me. :-D  Also, I'm deeply annoyed by our consumerist culture, which thrives on making people feel the answers to all of life's questions can be found in the aisle of a store. It also actively promotes sizeism, looksism, and other inequalities in hopes of "inspiring" hatred of self, only assuageable by purchasing products. I feel good when I don't participate in the economy of body hatred.

I also think buying local and national is a fantastic project, especially since U.S. corporations outsource to countries like China, Honduras, and the Philippines, because many of those countries don't have unions and don't have to pay their employees a living wage or provide safe and humane working conditions. Also, we have huge unemployment rates in the U.S. and could use the work, but corporations consistently use outsourced labor in order to keep prices low. I don’t like supporting companies that exploit these desperate workers. Given all this, I think it's amazing to support American workers, many of whom are experiencing pay stagnation and mandatory furloughs, instead of buying cheap stuff from mega-stores. 

However, I would also love to see us respect the workers and citizens of China and other nations who have responded to the call of Western corporations and Western greed for useless products. The U.S. has a history of exploiting Chinese, Mexican, and others' labor and then blaming them for taking American workers' jobs and "ruining" the American economy. You can see throughout American history how we've begged these folks for help and, when we're done with them, framed their efforts as attempts to take over our country. Rather than hating on Chinese, Mexican, Filipino, Taiwanese, and other international workers, maybe we should shine the light of our disapproval on Western corporations for outsourcing in the first place, flooding our country with these cheap products, and then trying to brainwash us into believing we need them. 

In sum, I support buying stuff as infrequently as possible. When I do buy, I support buying local. I also support buying fair-trade. I do this because I'm grumpy about what corporations have done to the American worker and our economy. I would also like to see us honor our local and international sisters and brothers who continue to labor in terrible conditions so most of us can "enjoy" buying lots of stuff very cheaply. 

Happy holidays to all of you. May your Tofurky Day rock your socks. 


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Voices! The Voices!

I’m sure some wise person somewhere at sometime said something to the effect of, “When authors create characters, they are in fact merely articulating pieces of themselves.” The fact is, we write what we know, and, if we’ve been doing things right, we tend to know ourselves pretty well; in this way, at least some aspects of each of our characters end up mirroring our own.

That acknowledged, I want to learn to make my characters speak with extremely distinct voices. I just finished writing a book featuring a young, well-educated White woman and a mixed-raced, ex-Army vet. They have distinct personalities and have lived enormously different lives; as such, I don’t want them to sound anything like the other. I found this my single biggest challenge when penning the book. I ended up differentiating them in large and obvious ways: Katana, my shero, refuses to swear and, as a college student, has a pretty decent vocabulary, while Reed, my hero, swears a lot more and uses some slang, as I figured an ex-military man would tend to do. I also kept a certain television character in mind when writing Reed’s lines, which ended up being hugely helpful (and, given that the character is portrayed by Shemar Moore, also kind of, ahem, inspirational).

Did I succeed in making these two characters, who have very different pasts but are also mutually kind, generous, and lonely people, speak in ways unique to them? I hope so. I can’t pretend I have a secret recipe for working this magic and am, in fact, curious to hear if others have ideas on how to use dialogue to illustrate the unique personalities of their characters.

I love making my characters walk, breathe, and talk. The challenge is making their walks move differently, their breaths sigh distinctly, and their words paint unique pictures of themselves as they have been, are now, and will be.

Note: Originally posted here at the Soul Mate Publishing author blog.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

November is National Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month!

The cutest things in the world are kittens and puppies, right? Those disproportionately-large heads, those enormous eyes, that boundless energy and clumsiness, the amoral gleam in their eyes: Nothing in the world is cuter. Right? 

In spite of the obscene, cuddly cuteness of baby kittens and puplets, I admit I find something else even more adorable: An adult animal, especially a senior, that doesn't pee all over my carpet and expend enough energy to make a meth addict crave a nap. 

I LOVE SENIOR ANIMALS. They're awesome. Like me, they're low-key, snuggly, and already know what truly matters in life: snuggles, warmth, and boundless love. 

In case I haven't yet totally harshed your kitten/puppy buzz, below are some reasons from Petfinder and me listing why senior animals are a family's best friend:

1. Baby animals, especially puppies, pee a lot. Seniors have already been potty trained.
2. You're in the mood for a nap and some bad TV? Guess what? So is a senior pet. Even better, they'll probably snuggle with you throughout the whole thing.
3. I know it sounds like I'm making this up, but I swear I'm not: Senior animals somehow have the emotional maturity to understand you offered them a reprieve. They will adore you. You know how everyone says animals offer unconditional love? Imagine that plus pure, continuous worship. Yeah, it's pretty freakin' awesome.
4. According to Petfinder, senior animals are easier to teach. I've always said intelligence is part intellectual and part emotional; senior animals just seem to have the maturity to concentrate harder and succeed more.
5. I have a few cats and have found the older a cat, the likelier s/he is to concentrate more on me and less on other cats. To put it a bit more nerdily: my importance to my kitties is positively correlated with their age. Not to be narcissistic or anything, but who doesn't love being number one?
6. If you have ever wanted to be a superhero like the ones you read about, the fastest and most effective way to do that is to save those whom most others have abandoned and forgotten: senior animals.

If there is any part of you that wants to make a difference in an animal's life and give yourself the best gift imaginable, I urge you to adopt a senior pet right now. If you're unsure how, try Petfinder or message me. 

Thanks, superhero. 

This is me with Velly, a beloved companion and soul mate
who has since passed. I wouldn't trade a single day.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Introducing the Rainbow Fatniks

My BFF and I winning third place
in the talent contest
At its 2011 National Convention, NAAFA was foolish enough to host a talent contest. And tell my partner-in-crime and me about it. After conferring with another friend and raiding the shelves of our friend, Paula's, awesome size-friendly costume shop, we were ready to go.

On August 7, 2011, the Rainbow Fatniks were born. Two fat, black-clad, round-spectacled, beret-wearing drama qu-- uh, I mean poets emerged on the scene and, bongos in hand, proudly performed two fat-pride beatnik poems. For those who can't understand the words, I included them below. 

And to answer your question, no, I don't know why my particular rendition of a fat beatnik channeled an evangelical Black woman. 

Elle's Fatnik Beat Poem

Fat, fat, fat
Does my open mouth scare you?
Does my weight make you feel
Like half a person?
Does the thunder from my thighs
Send you scurrying under the covers at night?
Does the wind from my wings
Blow you away?

Or maybe you think
The smile of my belly
Laughs at you behind your back
Or the sway of my hips
Could might will
knock you to your knees.

I can see your point.

This fat cat knows where it’s at
Ain’t no one’s doormat,
Makes the haters go splat.
She’s bringin’ sexy back.
Fat, fat, faT
A terrible, tasty, temptingly
Tactile treat.
A buffet of sights, sounds,
Smells, and sighs…
But who said you
Could have a taste?

I accept your apology.
This groovy gordita
Is vast
Like a mountain
Like an ocean with room enough
For all the whales and manatees,
With patience, forgiveness
And downright crazy cool
For everyone.

Jules' Fatnik Beat Poem

F – A – T
Little word
For big bodies
Big ideas
Big differences
Big strengths

I am fat.
A superfat fatshionista,
Knockout in my home-sewn works of art.
This look is not available in stores.

I am fat.
Fat man with a thin paycheck,
A Virgo with a thirst for revolution.

I am fat.
A retired marcher
Whose ample bottom spent years
Warming back seats of buses.

I am fat.
Young genderqueer White warrior.
What ze wants, ze gets.

I am fat.
A darker shade of brown
Than “flesh”-colored bandaids.
(Guess they think
I’m too tough to get hurt.)

I am fat.
Scooter-zooming, hot mama
Whose tire tracks are featured
On the backs of bigots’ heads.

Diminutive word
For All. Of. This.
Not obscuring the alluring
Of our salty-sweet differences,
But being the platter
On which our varieties are served.
Come and get it!
Small word,
But, like us,
Vast enough to swallow the world.

(Poems written by the inestimable Elle Hill)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Response to Torrid's Mass Email Entitled "What's the Skinny?"

Dear Torrid:

Me wearing my anti-bully
t-shirt from Torrid
I have a burning love for your store and so appreciate your willingness to accommodate the awesome girth of women of average size and above (average American woman is a size 14, as I'm sure you know). Given all that, why would you write an email entitled "What's the skinny?" I know what the slang term means and understand you're trying to maintain an image of a hip, youthful company. But since visiting your shop is one of the few pleasurable and non-sizeist experiences we fat girls have, I would really appreciate you not mocking us by employing a term that, as a symbol of all we're not but are told we "should be," has been used in the past to degrade and marginalize us. 

In the future, please rethink the thoughtless use of such terms, no matter how hip and cool they make you sound.

Oh and while we're talking, expanding your size ranges to include larger ones would be amazing. Fat women of all sizes have too few stylish options; we'd appreciate all the help we can get. 

Elle Hill, PhD*

* Note: This is the real reason I toiled through 16 years of college: so I could add weight to my letters of praise and complaint to various companies and politicians.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hunted Past is OUT!

I'm comin' out! 
I want the world to know,
Got to let it show
I'm comin' out...
There's a new me comin' out
And I just had to live
And I wanna give
I'm completely positive....
~"I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross

I refer, of course, to the new release of my first full-length novel, Hunted Past! Yes! It is finally available for purchase! I'm so proud, if I could, I'd hand it to my mom and let her pin it to the fridge!

Hunted Past is available in digital and paperback forms, through the publisher and through Amazon (the paperback and Kindle versions of which suck up tons of profit, so go through the publisher). And, in case you have forgotten, the synopsis is below. 

What are you waiting for? It's out! Go get it!

Serena O’Donnell, a healer, copes with depressed and suicidal patients dealing with past tragedies. She lives a quiet and safe life, comfortable in the thought she is free to define her own path. Suddenly a random phone call tumbles her existence into a fantasy realm peopled with warring superhuman beings who seem to know more about her than she does.     
Gabriel, a Field Psychic, is committed to protecting Serena but in the process discovers he wants to be more than her bodyguard. Serena and Gabriel team up to discover why she has earned the secret warriors' attention and explore Serena’s past for clues.
Their journey becomes one of self-discovery, healing, and the slow burn of unexpected passion. The answers they find could bond them in love or forever tear them apart.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The New Elle Hill Logo

So I'm co-sponsoring a Big, Fat Flea Market in Duarte, CA on December 9 and 10, 2011. (Yes, I'll chat more about that in the future.) I'm also the one designing its publications, and while carefully pasting logos into various documents, a dreadful realization suddenly kicked me in the frontal lobe: I don't have an author logo. 

"No logo?" you gasp. "But, Elle, how could you, a future New York Times bestseller, have neglected such a vital marketing logistic?" I know, right? Shameful! 

It takes a lot of brushing
to look this good.
So, with that thought in mind, I did what any writer would do when faced when the ugly reality of their logo-less existence: I whined to my little sister. But oh, my little sister isn't just any little sister. She's also a visual artiste. Score! She designs all my visual stuff, my oldest sister tends to all the logistical and informational stuff, and I just sit here and look pretty while brushing my lustrous, seal-brown hair (see previous post). 

Sadly, my little sister was busy doing other projects I'd helpfully tossed into her lap. So alas, alas, I was forced to dust off my extremely limited Microsoft Publisher skills and cobble together a placeholder logo. I actually designed six, and this was the one all three of my test peeps agreed on. 

So behold, the new (and perhaps temporary) Elle Hill logo. I welcome all thoughts. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In Support of Brown

Picture this: A shero’s flaxen hair streams in some generic breeze while her muscular love interest flexes his shirtless pecs and tries not to care that his curly black hair is gorgeous in a sex-tousled kinda way.
You know what bugs me the most about this imaginary scene? No, it’s not the trite imagery, nor is it the traditional gender enactments. Well, okay, maybe that. But most of all, I’m annoyed that the shero — that far too many of our sheroes – is blonde.
I know flowing blonde hair is a romantic staple (although less for us paranormal romancefiends), but, really, must we? Have you ever seen coffee-brown hair stream in a generic breeze? Pretty darn sexy. Or a magnificent afro bounce in the sunlight? Glorious. So why do we authors, like so many media professionals, persist in over-representing a very small percent of our population?
Depending on which article you read, natural blonde Americans (sorry for the snub, Canadians and others) account for anywhere between two and sixteen percent of the population. According to Wikipedia (and yes, I love me some Wikipedia!), redheads are one to two percent of our population. Everyone else has brown or black hair. In spite of what you see in mainstream media, that’s eighty or so percent of us, folks.
I get it, I do: blonde hair represents fun, innocence, it’s rarer and therefore supposedly more valuable, it’s shorthand for the cultural and political capital associated with Whiteness, etc., etc. But until we start reflecting the glory of brown and black hair, women of all races and ages are going to keep shuffling their booties into the pharmacy anddisproportionately grabbing bottles of “haystack honey” hair dye from the shelves.
I’m writing in support of brown. I love dark hair. I love the way it glistens in the light, the way its frizzes and dreads and ponytails bounce against strong shoulders. I love that brown and black come in as many shades as there are people. And most of all, I love that we as authors have the opportunity to unearth beauty in the most common of places.
Yes, brown and black are the most common hair colors in the U.S. (and worldwide!). That’s awesome. Given that, I suggest we take a step or two back from our impulse to crown our sheroes with platinum, golden, honeyed, wheat-colored, or fair tresses. Now is as good a time as any to start celebrating the beautiful rainbow of brunette diversity.

*Note: I originally posted this for the Soul Mate Author Group blog right here

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hunted: A Review

The reviews for Hunted, my saucy little 15,000-word novella, are pouring in! I can hardly keep track of them! Well, okay, there have only been two, but they both mean a lot to me. One is on Hunted's Amazon page (oh yes, it has one!) and one is online, sitting there for the world to see. And you know what? You all need to see it, too:

This review was written by Ann Montclair, an obviously-brilliant and talented writer of our times. Thanks, Ann!

Hunted by Elle Hill is a paranormal romantic thriller set against the backdrop of modern day Los Angeles. The gritty, kick-butt heroine, Gray Leigh, is a Hunter, a superhuman with the ability to sniff out and destroy Leeches, another kind of superhuman that feeds on human misery. When Gray is sent to protect a scientist who has come dangerously close to unearthing their secret world, she finds Dr. Simon Romero more than worth her attention. Between flurries of violence and philosophical musings, these two make time for some serious romance. Action, thrills, passion, and humor blend to create a novella with spice. I especially enjoyed the clever snippets of Spanish that added local, believable flavor to the tale. Hunted is a fast, fun read that delivers memorable characters, succinct plotting, and a romantic element that serves to amplify the tension and suspense.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Well-Behaved Betas Make History, Too

You know those awesome Facebook memes where you get to talk uninterruptedly about yourself? (I’m convinced middle-class White women made them up because we’re socialized to relinquish our social and verbal space and these memes allow us to stake tiny claims in conversational territory.) I recently accepted the challenge of naming “fifteen fictional characters (television, films, plays, books) who've influenced you and that will always stick with you.” My soul-deep desire to talk about myself wasn’t what surprised me; it was the tenor of my answers.

My list of the literary and TV characters that have most inspired me includes, among several others, Beth March from Little Women; Willow Rosenberg from Buffy, the Vampire Slayer; Jane Eyre from, well, you know; and Spock from Star Trek.

My initial reaction: Geez, am I a nerd! Okay, not really a shock. My secondary reaction: As a friend, Pippa Jay, and I subsequently discussed, our favorite characters tend to be “betas.” I like betas. Alphas are rockin’. Alphas get crap done. Alphas kick booty and take names afterward. 

Betas are the thinkers, the planners, the ones who would often rather paint a picture or prune a garden than shake down the villain. And you know what? I dig them.

Ever see that bumper sticker that says “Well-behaved women rarely make history”? I used to like to pretend it described me, but after several years, I finally admitted to myself that, no matter how often I proclaimed it to the contrary, I am a well-behaved woman. And you know what? I’m making history.

I love strong characters. Long live the alphas! But let’s never, ever forget the characters who make the cookies, ask the philosophical questions, type up the notes, and sweep up after the s/heroes have finished kicking ass. Brava to the betas out there whose strength lies not necessarily in their fists or their fierceness but in their compassion, intelligence, and generosity.

As Gabriel Marcus mulls in Hunted Past regarding Serena O’Donnell, his love interest: “It was his experience that the strong always put the needs of the weak before their own.” Serena is a physically powerful character, but the greatest source of her strength is her compassion, her desire to make a positive difference in others’ lives.

I honor the strength of gentleness. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hodgepodge Post

I have tons of thoughts burbling in my brain and no ability or inclination to work them into a creative whole. As a result, below is a random smattering of thoughts and announcements. 

1. Hunted Past, my full-length novel, will be released on October 28 through Wild Rose Press. Like in paperback and everything. Seriously. Given the October 12 release of Hunted, this is a good month for Elle! (Pretty cool, since it's my favorite month and the one that contains my second favorite holiday!)

2. October 19 is my first favorite holiday. It's National Love Your Body Day! That means today is LYBD Eve! Are you loving your body right now? If not, better stop what you're doing and start lovin' on it. Your body does a lot: Processes those brilliant thoughts, moves you from here to there, hugs partners and provides pets with resting places, breathes, processes toxins, looks smokin' in neckties (ties look sexy on everyone, no matter their sex), and countless other things. And yet how do you repay it? You diet and deprive it of nourishment; feel guilty when it tells you it wants sleep, sex, and other awesome things; make it wear uncomfy shoes; and too often tell it it's ugly, not fit enough, not as [insert adjective] as [insert name]'s. Your body is beautiful. It's functional. It's you. If no other days, take today and October 19 to celebrate your body's glorious beauty and capabilities. 

3. I just purchased and read My Princess Boy. I plan on sharing the book with my Marriage and Family classes and wanted to share it with you three blog readers, too. It's a precious book and has the most beautiful drawings. I'm not one to recommend consuming objects (unless it directly benefits me, I mean), but for those who might need or want it, this is a lovely and loving resource. Long live princess boys and princely girls!

Happy Elle Hill month! Happy Love Your Body Day! Happy readings!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday: Hunted Dreams

I admit I'm kinda new to this six-sentence Sunday phenomenon, so forgive me if I'm doing it wrong. Below I'm pasting, well, six sentences from the manuscript I just sent my publisher. It's not out yet, but I feel pretty confident saying it will be soon. It's by far my best work yet -- er, not that Hunted and Hunted Past aren't fantastic and all...

Below is the first time our shero, as yet unnamed, meets our hero, Reed. Happy SSS, everyone!


Reed gestured to the sky, the walls, the buildings that crowded around them at unnatural angles. “This is your world,” he said, “not mine. I’m just a bit player. Somehow you pulled me into your subconscious playground.”
She drew her breath in sharply, and her nostrils flared. “Are you saying this is a dream?” she all but whispered. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Interview with the Va-- uh, Author

A dark and intriguing author photo that surely
makes you want to buy more books
and unravel the mystery that is me. 
I was interviewed by sister-author and all-around-awesome woman Donna Shields on the release of Hunted. To hear more about your favorite author (Me, right? Uh, right?), head on over to Donna's blog post. And while you're there, you might decide to buy one of her books. And maybe an extra digital copy of Hunted. Just a suggestion.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hunted Promo Video

Some call it a promotional video. Some call it a book trailer. I call it two minutes of PURE AWESOME! Thanks to the (inexpensive yet uber-professional) work of Kris Owen of Wolfwen Entertainment, I now have some dramatic music and visuals to stoke the fires of desire for my paranormal romance novella, Hunted, released today through Soul Mate Publishing

(And btw, I paid good money to use that drool-worthy picture of Simon, the crazy-hot Colombian scientist and our shero's love interest. Never say we artists don't sacrifice for our art!) 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Jump on board the blog merry-go-round!

An example of the FINE
available through Soul Mate
Soul Mate Publishing is ready to launch, and they have a full crew of brilliant and talented writers to, um, steer you over the choppy waters of literary deprivation... or something. Okay, really bad metaphor aside, Soul Mate Publishing is launching on Wednesday, October 12, 2011. Woohoo!

Oh yes, my friend, this means exactly what you think it means: Your romantic fiction-less days have come to an end. Just visit Soul Mate Publishing, and they will supply you with your RDA of happily-ever-afters.

Below is a list of blogs you can visit to hear more from amazing authors who, like yours truly, have the privilege of helping Soul Mate launch their amazing new publishing company. I hope you'll support them (and me, but if you're among the three peeps who read this, I imagine that won't be an issue) by perusing and purchasing some of their literary wares. 

Let's help a small publishing company and their crew of dedicated authors stay afloat! If you don't, I might have to resort to another really bad metaphor, and no one wants that.

May you find your heart's desires, my friends!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Fatties are Coming, the Fatties are Coming!

To quote from a press release just issued by NAAFA, the international, premier fat rights organization: "Living Large: Obesity in America is a collaboration between NPR and the Public Insight Network from American Public Media. They have featured a number of articles about being fat in America. They have made available a public survey for you to share your story 'if obesity has touched your life.'"

An opportunity to tell media about fatties? Sign me up! I eagerly clicked on the NAAFA-provided link to the Public Insight Network and shared with them my, ahem, concerns about the (unscientific and irrational) "obesity"-inspired, moral panic tsunami currently crashing down on us Westerners. I am only too happy to share my responses to their questionnaire and urge all three peeps who read this blog to follow my example.  


What conversations do you have - or avoid having - about weight?

As a sociologist who studies bodies and is a member of size-rights organizations, I have conversations every day about weight. Depending on who I'm with, the conversations can take one of two forms: 1. Introducing people to the idea that (gasp!) fat is just another diverse body type and that fat does not necessarily equal unhealthy, and 2. Celebrating body diversity with other fat acceptance activists and exploring with them an understanding of our common marginalized statuses as larger persons.

How, if at all, has our country's collective weight gain affected what you buy, how you travel or how you work and play?

A common torture device for
all peeps over 200 pounds
I imagine our country's collective weight gain has more to do with ever-changing measures of fatness and our increasing life expectancy than with people's expanding waistbands. That said, as a fat person who really enjoys little things like, you know, having clothing, traveling, and being able to fit into the world around me, I appreciate the gradual awakening of businesses and governments to the reality of multiple body sizes.

What, if any, other changes to your daily life have you noticed that you didn't mention above?

Having more clothing options is pretty cool. I wish businesses everywhere would stop wringing their hands over those (media-hyped!) oh-so-scary fatties and supply us with even more of those larger-sized items and services we need, desire, and deserve.

Also, not so incidentally, I wish we had more legal rights for persons of various heights and weights. I would love to know it's illegal for my employer to approach me and say, "Hey, Elle, you're too fat. Hit the bricks, sister." However, this kind of discrimination sadly isn't illegal in California (well, except for a couple of cities).

A fat monster that, at this very
moment, is coming to eat your
children and force-feed you lard
Anything else you'd like to tell us about this topic?

Why is everyone so terrified of fat folks? Kinda silly, isn't it, when we're facing 12% unemployment in California, 23% of American kids are impoverished, and Latina women still earn about 50 cents on every White man's earned dollar?

Bad science completely aside, I will perhaps start taking this whole "obesity scare" (booga, booga!) more seriously once we stop singling out the very visible fatties and start having conversations about the serious health threats of stress, for example, or the astronomical rates of physical violence -- primarily perpetrated by males! -- in the U.S.. (Perhaps we should have some kind of surgery -- a testicle band, maybe, or perhaps another kind of testosterone-loss surgery -- to help alleviate the problem?!)