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August 30, 2010 / missmarymax

Educating The Education Dept: Pt 2

Well, the project sparked a few weeks back, when I discovered the ill-informed “thinspo” slogan “Nothing Tastes as Good as Skinny Feels” hanging in the department of our campus education office — has (finally!) reached its conclusion.  Or at least, that fun “interim” period where we secretly lie in wait and covertly check back to see what decision (if any) they make regarding their “Nothing Tastes as Good as Skinny Feels” sign.  While we twiddle our thumbs and spy on their office, I wanted to share the last bits of said project.

Step Two, you may recall, was a “fill in the blank” project that gave us all the opportunity to revise the catchphrase.  We got a few more silly replies from people who’d enjoyed the MadLibs, as well as a couple references, a few instances of Epic Geekery, and some straight-up slogans for the revolution.  Check it out:

  •  Nothing slithers as silently as skinny snakes.
  • Nothing is as unheard of as skinny Santa.
  • Nothing stands as well as skinny lightpoles.
  • Nothing tastes as good as skinny hazelnut latte in the morning.
  • Nothing creates as much self-hate as skinny obsession.
  • Nothing promises as much as skinny does… and nothing delivers less.
  • Nothing is as awesome as skinny fat acceptance supporters!
  • Nothing is as heartbreaking as skinny worry.
  • Nothing matters as little as skinny should matter.
  • Nothing looks as sad as skinny pandas.
  • Nothing slithers as silently as skinny snakes.
  • Nothing loses merit as much as a skinny-minded person.
  • Nothing hurts as much as skinny butts.
  • Nothing is as rad as skinny ties -or- Nothing completes a mod like skinny ties.
  • Nothing remains as ridiculous as skinny jeans.
  • Nothing matters as much as skinny costs.

With the help of these fantastic contributions — as well as a few from the previous round — I strapped on my first-person-plural and drafted the following epistle to the Education Dept:

Congratulations!  You’re being subverted!

Recently, a member of our elite squad caught sight of a sign in your office that reads “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”  Since you’re such rad educators, we thought we’d pay back the favor with a little education about this-here slogan.  (It’s ok.  We did our research.)

Basically, the slogan “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” is thought to have originated in the Weight Watchers program — and has since been appropriated by the pro-ana subculture, (in support of anorexia.)  Never underestimate the power of fat-shame to bi-locate.  What starts as an attempt to make Fat a villain — and Fatties failures — easily spirals into body hatred and restriction for all kinds of people with all kinds of bodies.  And seriously, who needs to hate themselves?

Weekly reflection question: How do you think fat people feel when they enter your office and read this slogan?  Bonus: What do you think goes through the mind of someone with an eating disorder?  (Statistically, 1 out of every 10 students who enters your office is likely to be “someone with an eating disorder.”)  Is this the impact you want to be having?

We know it’s hard to quit shaming your body and to take responsibility for the ways your self-talk may affect others.  We know you’re not sitting in your office, twirling your silent-movie-villain moustaches and thinking up ways to make people hate their bodies.  That’s why we took the liberty of playing a few rounds of Mad Libs with this slogan of yours.  We wanted to be able to offer some alternatives.  Have a few highlights from our “Nothing __ as __ as skinny __” home-game:

  • Nothing frolics as lumpy as skinny bedazzles.
  • Nothing pounces as twinkling as skinny gambols.
  • Nothing weaves as woozy as skinny transcends.

These might not make a lot of sense.  (Ok, these DEFINITELY do not make much sense.)  But when we stopped to think about it, we realized something key: The original mantra doesn’t make much sense either.  Science doesn’t support that it’s actually healthier to be skinny.  Skinny isn’t a feeling.  And there are lots of delicious foods to which skinny pales in comparison.  (We recommend rocky road ice cream and pad thai.)

But in case you’re interested in something a little more logical, we followed up our round of Mad Libs with a Fill-in-the-Blank game, the results of which were a bit more straightforward:

  • Nothing creates as much self-hate as skinny obsession.
  • Nothing promises as much as skinny does… and nothing delivers less.
  • Nothing matters as much as skinny costs.

The final decision is yours, of course, but we hope you’ll reconsider your sign’s current message – for your visitors and for your own dern sake.  And because we know educators love their sources, we’ll leave you with a couple of our favorites:

On the notion that fat is unhealthy:  http://kateharding.net/faq/but-dont-you-realize-fat-is-unhealthy/

On the so-called “obesity epidemic”:  The Obesity Myth by Paul Campos

Happy revolution!

-Us

Change how you see, not how you look.

For a finishing touch — and because everything is more fun when it involves confetti — I shredded some Post-It notes for the cause:

I then wrapped the whole thing in an adorably unassuming white envelope —

— and dropped it in their department mailbox.

Time will tell how much impact this li’l letter will have.  But regardless, I give this team of teachers we’ve assembled a mess of gold stars. 

Course evaluation:  Y’all be made of Win.

UPDATE: As of my first attempt to check back (08/30/’10), the “Nothing Tastes as Good as Skinny Feels” sign in our education department has officially been removed.  Chalk that up as some successful activism, friends.  Well freaking done.

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3 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Amy Herskowitz / Sep 27 2010 3:25 pm

    Awesome. Just brilliant.
    I’m a new fan of your incredible writing talent and for your creative activism 🙂

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