A note on language and diet culture

This is a follow-up to my post about Crystal Galindo and fat-posi/body posi art.

I just finished having a… conversation, or something seeking to mimic it, with a so-called holistic health strategist, Tonye Tariah.

Out of curiosity, I asked on her About page if her blog is a weight loss blog after she posted a link to it in a comment on my Galindo post, in which **Tonye Tariah said I should have a look at her blog and tell her what I think**.  I can’t stress that part enough. I read through some of her posts and found her language and attitude to be ambiguous at best. So I removed her comment because I couldn’t speak as to what her intentions are by replying to a fat posi post with a link to a health and fitness blog. And I didn’t want her promoting herself on my blog, if it was the case that her blog is a weight loss blog. I also recommended that she be careful about posting links to her blog on fat posi posts where they might not be welcomed for having words like “fitness and health” in the title. Fat women, especially ones who are body positive bloggers, know that people who use these words don’t always have the best intentions or, more important than intentions, the most innocent meaning in their word usage. Some people who have experienced abuse and fat-shaming know that the language around weight loss can be triggering. So I sought to investigate.

Tonye Tariah claims that her blog is not a weight loss blog but also said–

…it’s sad that you confused the notion of fitness, with advocating weight-loss

–Tonye Tariah

Again, I only asked if her blog is a weight loss blog and explained why I removed her comment from my blog. Why Tonye Tariah would respond by calling me “sad” and “confused” is a mystery. What did I say that caused her to treat me with anything less than dignity and respect? And this:

Its […] clear to me that you’re projecting some unresolved issues in the wrong direction (i.e. myself and any other individuals you’ve chosen to villify). Again, good luck to you and may you find the peace you both seek and need! [three smilies]

–Tonye Tariah

Instead of accepting my advice about how she posts comments and my opinion of her blog, she accused me of instigating conflict and essentially said I was attacking her for trying to do a nice thing. How my opinion of her blog and how I handled her comment on a post meant for body positive affirmation became all about her, I don’t know.
Tonye Tariah then deleted my question and responses and her more than condescending and dismissive replies I assume since they aren’t visible on her page. Hypocrites do have to cover their tracks after all. Unfortunately, Tonye Tariah is not the first person I’ve run into who thinks she’s enlightened and no one can tell her anything.

Just a heads-up to anybody else who is curious about this lady and her blog. Maybe you’ll find something helpful there but this was my experience with her and I think other Black women and fat women of Color should know. Her responses to me and her attitude certainly weren’t healthy.

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Hey, I Read Something!: Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee

The thoughts of a Writer Who Reads, utterly disenchanted with everything but trying to love reading again

Gates of Thread and Stone (Gates of Thread and Stone #1)Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Long story short, here’s what got this book two stars and almost got it one: The romance. Every five seconds, Kai is going ON AND ON about Avan’s collar bones, his touch, his mouth, his muscles, his back, his hands, his butt, his voice, or his spine. She does the same thing with Reeve, who is supposedly her brother. And almost the same thing with Mason. This romanticizing and sexualizing is discordant with the better aspects of the story. I would say this book is a YA dystopian fantasy fiction that tells its story using mythology. So having to read through Kai’s almost daydream-like fixations on Avan and Reev’s bodies is annoying as hell. The romance is not written in such a way that it is in step with the rest of story so it wasn’t welcomed in my mind.

Kai’s interactions with boys coupled with her lack of positive, meaningful interaction with anybody else was a huge issue for me. The only female characters really mentioned are mean girl types and “the prostitute”. “The prostitute”? Really? Come on now. And Hina is barely a character since Kai spends most of her time lodged up Reev and Avan’s butts as if they are the only people on the planet.

I was also looking forward to seeing more Infinite. Conquest, Strife, Death, and Famine–that’s what we get. That’s really depressing. All the Infinite can’t be such depressing figures.

Yes, the pacing was slow but that’s not what bothered me. The story is written in the first person, from prospective of Kai. I would ordinarily write off a character like Kai as a “d”-chasing airhead. Yet I gave the book a chance and read through the whole thing. I weep for the wasted potential of this story.

The Art of Crystal Galindo

This is late, but I did go to Crystal Galindo’s art exhibit.

The air was like a relentless hot breath and there was no air conditioning in the building where the art was displayed. As I looked at the paintings, all I thought at first was that I don’t feel unapologetic as a Black women who isn’t skinny. Because its still true that some people’s body types are less ridiculed and abused than others. I have been made to apologize in one way or another for not being the “right size” my whole life. When I looked at Crystal’s work, all I could think about is the legion of women who love their bodies and how I haven’t always felt like that. How I live in a fat-shaming, fatphobic environment. I am unloved. I don’t feel unapologetic.

Yet what I believe hasn’t changed. I’m still the twelve year-old girl in the tie-dye shirt who has never been near skinny and has never been skinny since who firmly believes that I am utterly lovable and worthy and someone out there sees me and loves exactly as I am and that person or people are the only ones who are acceptable. So in a way, I might as well be unapologetic. And I’m 100% on board with this:

Though faced with adversity and harsh critique, Crystal used her numerous self-portraits, body type exploration and focus on the Chicana experience to create her own artistic language. Inspired by the lack of representation of women of color in the media, Crystal’s work spotlights Xicanas in a positive, realistic light. Her latest series, “Dulceria” (Candy Store) uses Mexican candy, sweets, and culturally specific snacks to encourage women and femmes of color to shed the guilt that exists in our community when we practice self-indulgence and independence.

 

–from CrystalGalindo.com

At the exhibit, I balked at the prices of the pieces on the walls; its not that they’re not worth it, its just that, well, never in my wildest dreams could I ever afford one to hang in my hovel. This kind of art, work, and spirit is important and I wanted to thank her for putting it into the world. I was disappointed that the artist wasn’t there. But my intention was to show my support and I tried to do that by showing up.

I should be able to afford one of her prints…