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Monday
Apr302007

When Old Posts Find New Life

Right now, the beginnings of a hate-fest is occurring on Fat Vaginas. It's interesting to see how someone stumbles upon a piece and then spreads it throughout their sphere of influence. I originally wrote the piece as an informational/humorous article about myself and fat women's vaginas - helping care providers understand and know how to work within the heart and spirit of fat women. Up until now, the piece has been loved and welcomed by providers and fat women alike.

However, a fat woman wrote today and said she did not have a fat vagina and she was offended by what I had to say. She then sent the link on to someone who would be REALLY offended by what I wrote and she has now written... er, SCREAMED... and I am smiling, waiting for the avalanche of comments to flow into my emailbox.

Watch along with me, eh? (And I am not taking it personally, you will be proud to know.)

Another post that has an entire life of its own and has for awhile is Tokophobia - the Fear of Childbirth. I've promised the tokophobes I would write more on this and am still formulating thoughts - and then, yesterday, Kristina says in the comments section of Taking Things Personally:

"...wanted to say that my SIL had a deep fear of birth and was grossed out from it, having been traumatized by seeing an emerging baby head out of a hairy vulva on TV as a young child. She opted for ceserean, but not before I suggested that she watch a video and learn about what a surgical birth entails. With all the sucking, burning smells and the obvious carnage, it is certainly not a good alternative to "gross". Probably not the best method of help although I did it with the best of intentions of preparing her for the experience.I'd be interested on what you would have to say about how to deal with patients who have a true fear/gross-out factor in regards to childbirth?"

I encourage you all to read the comments in Tokophobia and begin a dialogue - listening... really listening to the women who bare their souls in my blog, bare their fears, their horrors... listen and then comment to them. Offer them your heart. What would you say if you let your heart lead first?

Reader Comments (11)

I'm really disappointed that you've chosen to identify the comments you've gotten today as a "hate-fest." As of my reading right now, most (with only one exception) have been respectful and thoughtful, even appreciating the work you've done about raising awareness about needs some women may have that are not addressed in health care training. But they have challenged you on elements of your article which appear fat-phobic, and unfairly generalizing. Your use of your own body in your writing is a brave departure from the clinical detachment of many in the medical world, yet the danger is in presenting your experience as some kind of standard or norm. It is unfortunate that you've chosen to ignore commenters' valid concerns in favor of writing them off as "hateful" and "angry" - your condescension is unwarranted, as is your tinge of smugness about how you "used to be" one of those angry fat people... before your weight-loss surgery, is the obvious implication. It is possible to be fat, and healthy, and happy, and orgasmic, and thoughtful, and not "angry," just concerned about the burying of useful information for women of size in fat-phobic anecdotal "evidence."

April 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSheila

Hmmmm....what wonderful comments you had on your tokophobia post. If I let my heart lead first, I would say that my SIL made a good decision to go ahead with the cesarean. She has a wonderfully healthy baby, a good memory of her birth, and a safety net that a c-section is a tolerable option if she decides to have another child. Barb, what does your heart say? (BTW, despite intentions of rationality, my heart ALWAYS leads first.) Thanks :)

May 1, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKristina

Well, I am very glad you are being so levelheaded and generous about the "new life" I've sent over to your blog, because I REALLY appreciated your original post and wanted it to have another audience... my blog and podcast, which then led to more links and more links, etc.

I knew it would be very controversial, but I am so sick of everyone being in the dark about their vagina-- in many respects, not just the fat issue-- that I thought it was remarkable that you directly offered your practice and experiential information. I was just as interested to see all the comments on the critical threads... there needs to be a lot more conversations on these subjects.

So thank you, and I'll be reading regularly!

May 1, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterExpiration Date

Some are kind, some are just cruel, but that is to be expected. I need to write a post about what I mean when I say I was a former angry fat chick. They take such offense at that! It's just not as simple as the words sound.

Anyway...

On to life things... babies to tend to.

May 1, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

If it isn't as simple as the words sound, then, especially in a medium that relies solely on words, you need to make yourself more clear. The stereotype of the angry fat woman is a powerful one and just because you don't mean it that way.... Well, that's not an automatic assumption when so many people DO mean it that way.

May 1, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterThe Rotund

"article about myself and fat women's vaginas"

You forget to state: vaginas that have GIVEN BIRTH!

Why do you lump all vaginas belonging to fat women together? The common denominator here is that your vagina and those that you examine on a regular basis have been birthing vaginas. Will you have us believe that you've examined the vaginas of fat women who have NEVER given birth?

Seriously?

May 1, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

*to add to my previous post:

fat women who have NEVER given birth and are not pregnant.

May 1, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

expiration date wrote: "I knew it would be very controversial, but I am so sick of everyone being in the dark about their vagina-- in many respects, not just the fat issue-- that I thought it was remarkable that you directly offered your practice and experiential information."

Darling not everyone is in the dark about their vagina, but thank you for speaking on my behalf. Not.

And you would think that Navelgazing who supposedly is very much in tune with body awareness and healing, especially of other's vaginas, could have gone so long without addressing her own vaginal problems. If I had a vagina that shot out a tampon with a sneeze, I would be crazy, plain CRAZY not to address this issue with my healthcare provider. Yet she apparently didn't and she's the one who's trying to teach me things about my vagina? No thanks!

May 1, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Yeah you made me angry NM. Especially the remark about angry fat women and how you used to be one too. OMG smug. I know you say you didn't mean it that way but...

But I don't want it to stop you from bringing cool topics like fat vaginas up and I hope it doesn't. I for one feel happier that you pissed me the hell off and made me think about it all, than that you didn't.

May 1, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterfatfu

An article devoted to Angry Fat Women?

You know what, I wish more women would get angry. I wish more women would speak up for a variety of reasons, in a variety of situations. It should be encouraged, not diminished. Perhaps this is a chance for you to reflect upon your approach to providing health care, rather than a rant opportunity against Angry Fat Women.

May 3, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

You didn't read clearly. I said a post entitled "Angry Fat WomAn."

ME.

*sigh*

It seems I am wanted to be seen as wrong even when I try to write right! It's quite frustrating, really.

May 3, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

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