Friday, January 05, 2007

Eat, Skinny Girls, says NYC Subway Personnel. Skinny Girls say, How Dare You!

Just thought I would put my two cents in on this article making the rounds online in the usual places. But before I do that, why don't I go ahead and put up the articles that MSNBC seems to think goes very well with any of us interested in fainting women? And let's add some astute commentary, as well, shall we?

Having a kid in the house makes you fatter (Next time, leave her on the subway.)
FTC fines 4 diet pill makers for false claims (Claims to make you lose weight in ass, not brain.)
Reading diet articles can be bad for girls (So don't read this one.)
Fainting dieters delay NY subways (If you must diet, drive.)
9 healthy foods that may surprise you (I doubt it.)
Bring on the wine, hold the trans fat (Drinking may impair scientific reasoning.)
1 in 3 low-income preschoolers obese (This is their biggest problem.)
Universal Studios parks ban trans fats (Amusement park without churro = excellent place to avoid.)
Hot broccoli: Thief gets $50,000 worth (This is for real. "Health" food sure is "hot" these days.)
Is that holiday cookie 'splurge worthy'? (Hint: yes.)

Although I'm sure we're all a bit surprised that there are no links to Henry James stories or something, apparently we're all supposed to be up in arms about this article because it dares tell women how to eat and is super patronizing and all that. To which, you know, I say, just check out the other articles. One article in seventy hundred that tells women to eat enough food so that they don't PASS OUT ON THE SUBWAY (as opposed to the others, which are of the usual, "Lose weight, fattie!" variety) doesn't give me such a bad feeling in the long run. Sorry.

Here's a tip: if this story pissed you off more than other articles that are of the more "usual" variety, like, "Being Fat Causes Terrorism" and so forth, then maybe you should think about where your sympathies lie. Do you think it's unfair to tell thin women that they are "unhealthy" just as it is unfair to tell that to the "obese"? Or are you merely bristling from having the tables turned?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was going to respond to: Do you think it's unfair to tell thin women that they are "unhealthy" just as it is unfair to tell that to the "obese"? Or are you merely bristling from having the tables turned?

With: The former. Because who the hell invited these people to comment on our bodies?

But now that I've read the article, I don't see anyone telling skinny girls to eat. I see 'don't starve yourself, you'll faint,' an entirely different thing. A sane thing. So did they change the article, or what?

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Lindsay Beyerstein said...

I don't really cotton to the idea that fellow citizens should make unsolicited comments on each others' physiques.

If it were true that a lot of people were collapsing on the MTA because of extreme diets, then I'd say it was a newsworthy item. Then again, I don't know that it's true, and the evidence supplied was unconvincing.

Here's what I bet is really happening. If you faint on the subway, the rules say they have to summon EMTs. The EMTs will give you what they call a SAMPLE history: Symptoms, allergies, medications, previous major illnesses, LAST MEAL, and events leading up to the incident. I bet a fair number of people who collapse on the subway will tell you that their last meal was a while ago, whether they happen to be dieting or not (and many New Yorkers are). It doesn't necessarily mean that they passed out wholly or partly because they're dieting.

According to the version of the subway swooning story that I read, there are just over 350 "stop train" incidents per month, for all causes. A little over one stop per day, per month, on a transit system that serves something like 2.5 million riders per day. Between hypoglycemia, diabetes, low BP from all causes, etc, etc, I'm guessing that starvation per se is low down on the list of train-stopping problems in this city.

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Victoria Marinelli said...

Okay, you just made a Henry James joke in the service of feminist argument. I am now your reader-for-life. (Linkage @ my site amended accordingly.)

9:12 PM  
Blogger Mustang Sally said...

We should be true to our body types. I am naturally lean so am healthy at what some might say is a slender build. However I am also naturally strong at a modest weight. Add to this some gymnastics in my youth and weights at the gym now and I cannot be accused of being fragile (unlike a starved larger body type would be). Well, actually I was, not long ago meeting a friend with new manfriend in a diner. He dropped a comment when ordering that I need to feed myself to keep up my strength looking at my bare arms. Well some might dare to call them skinny (until I flex them and scary biceps pop up). I took umbrage and sized him up. Soft office type non-exerciser. So down plonks my right elbow on the table and I challenge him to an arm wrestle. He merrily links up and I say go. After a few seconds I see he is at full power and a smirk crosses my face as I realise I can hold him. I go on the attack and slowly drag his bigger arm down to the bench top. His face was beet red. "Maybe you need to keep your strength up", I added squeezing his somewhat spungy bicep. I am a cocky b***h sometimes. I flexed my muscle for him. "Feel my emaciated arm", I said sarcastically rubbing it in. He nervously felt my conquering bicep. "Jeez Sally, you been eating spinach?", said my female friend seeing the shocking bulge on my upper arm. I can't say I don't enjoy my vanity and power. I have to say he was much more subdued and polite for the rest of the meal.

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Maybe he let you win. Usually women are weak physically and mentally in things such as armwrestling. I know wiry people can be strong but I've only noticed this in men. Also women usually cannot develop muscles in their arm so is this exaggeration or wishful thinking?

9:38 AM  
Blogger Mustang Sally said...

Mr Dan, my will is as strong as my arm. I have done sport. I am used to applying force. Usually the stereotypes of stronger man put the confidence with the man. When I flex my powerful female bicep I break that confidence. They pressure is on them. You feeling nervous? Could you handle having your knuckles pressed against the tabletop by a grl? You could be another notch on my belt.

5:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan - women don't need to develop muscles in their arms, they are there already otherwise women wouldn't be able to move their arms. These muscles can be built by normal strength and weight training techniques - look at Madonna's arms if you don't believe me.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Ha, you got me on word definitions. Well, I still don't think that Ms Sally beating one man necessarily demonstrates that women can be super strong. I would guess her and Madonna would lose to an average strength guy like me. Anatomically do women have the same muscles as men?

2:36 AM  
Blogger Mustang Sally said...

I have tested my arm against more than one man, Mr Average Dan. I have had two more armwrestles, and yes I admit I did lose one (against a not average man). Having got a taste of girlpower I was keen take it to the limit. One day I was at the gym off-peak. Only the two people working at reception were visible. So I challenge mr muscle man receptionist. Yes he was a lot bigger than me and bulging out of his tank top so the two of us in competition together looked ridiculous. His face became more serious when his initial gentle start did not take me down. "Be careful Rick, she's got a muscle", said female receptionist seeing my bursting biceps under strain. This made me feel good as I am proud of my arms. I managed to stop his slow progress then he panicked and came back harder. He pretty much had my hand close to being pinned but was struggling for ages to finish me off. "Rick, she is half your size", other woman teased him. My knuckles lightly touched the counter but I had been competitive much to his shock so I count that as a moral victory. I am proof that a woman can be skinny looking (until I flex ;) ) but not frail.

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Jade said...

Way to go, Sally - inspirational. I have to step up my training to have fun like this. Ok, so who this other guy you put in his place? Was he bigger too? I agree that social conditioning can hold back female strength. Women can do pull-ups. Just believe it.

6:21 AM  
Blogger Mustang Sally said...

Jade, no other bloke was not bigger. In fact he was smaller and just a teenager around 15 or 16. At a barbeque he was having some armwrestles with a couple of girls and beating them easily. I saw one girl suddenly grab with two hands and still she could not beat him, while he was making disparaging remarks on the strength of girls. This was my invitation. Besides I was near the start of my gym going life and wanted to test out my strength gains. "Why don't you try a grown up girl?", I challenged. So I put my drink down and joined hands with him as one of the girls said go. The girls were cheering for me. As my lean arm tensed other girl said, "wow, look at her muscle". After moving nowhere for a while I dug deeper and after a series of bursts pinned his hand down. I have to admit it felt great. The girls were razzing the sheepish looking boy, "girls are stronger". "Let's go the other hand", I suggested. This time I found it easier. I think weight training evens out your strength in both arms. I held him steady as he strained for all he was worth. To rub the salt in I picked up my drink and took a relaxed sip. The girls giggled. He surged in anger and moved me a couple of inches. I put down my drink and and took him down in a couple of seconds. "Wow, you're so strong. Could you show us your muscles", a girl said. I obliged and flexed my arms. Muscles popped out. Having established my position as top dog I left them. I saw the girls checking out their own muscles to see if they compared.

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Jade said...

Sally, I'm upping the curls. When I'm confident I'm going to make some challenges. Can you make some more too. Sally. You're conquering new territory (and men). ;)

4:31 PM  

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