Saturday, June 6, 2009

Why are boats (or cars, or nations) referred to as 'she'?

Alright, so I rarely post here anymore, as I'm certain you've noticed. I've been focusing on school and getting my health in order. I'm about to move into an apartment with my friend as we prepare to transfer schools for the fall, so my mind has obviously not been in the right mindset to be making epic posts of any sort. I hope to change that, but we'll see. I haven't been thinking too much about fat acceptance stuff sadly, but I have been putting a lot of thought into feminism. This post is about boats, nations, and other things that are referred to as 'she'.

You've probably noticed that most things are assumed to be male. "Look at the cute doggy! Well hi there mister doggy!" might be something you hear coming out of you or your friends' mouths. You may even hear a bee referred to as mister bee (if you're as into personification as I am, of course) despite the fact that the chances are far greater that any bee you see is a female, as bee colonies are highly matriarchal and the men are used only to impregnate the queen. So why is all of this relevant? Because there are a few realms where this gender assumption is not made, and these include boats, cars, nations, etc. Upon googling "Why are boats female?" and other such keywords, the answers received range from logical to just plain wrong, but unsurprisingly, very few had the hint of feminist thought. My explanation differs from the logic of such answers as "other languages have gendered articles, and this is just some leftovers from years past" in that I believe that it is due to the passiveness of the 'shes' in question.

A ship was historically sailed by men, and is still today simply a mode of transportation which must be sailed by someone. A car is similar, in that it is driven, and serves only as a passive means of getting from point A to point B. A nation is somewhat different, in that it physically isn't used to go anywhere, but one is historically led by men, and, while important, is still passive in that it must be run, and cannot exist without a leader or a group of leaders allowing it to exist. For these reasons, I feel that the calling of ships, cars, and nations 'she' is actually a custom rooted in sexism. Historically women have been viewed as passive beings who are to follow her husband or father's directions. It would make sense, then, that such passively controlled things as modes of transportation or countries would be referred to as she. After all, it has been the perception of our society that women are to be controlled and looked after, so that they may live out their lives serving the important men in their lives.

Who knows, perhaps there is a better explanation than I happened to stumble upon, but from what I can tell, considering how passive these things are, and how most things are assumed to be male otherwise, I feel that there seems to be a definite correlation between the two.

(For more feminist-related stuff, please see my other, easier-to-keep-up-because-it-requires-less-time-and-thought blog at The Female Gaze)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My therapist is a jerk.

I like using titles that will hopefully get more clicks than if I were to use a simple title :) Anyway, hi everyone, sorry about the scarcity of my posts. I have returned to school once more, and am spending even more time with my boyfriend due to the fact that I am at his school for a semester! It's quite nice. In regards to my health, I am feeling much better now that I am truly participating in health at every size, meaning that I am eating healthier and exercising, causing me to feel far better than before. I hope to post more often, but it's difficult when you don't have mad study skillz (I don't). Also, sorry about the misplaced banner. I keep meaning to work on my layout edit, but I can't find time to learn the XML needed to make the layout I keep dreaming of. Let's see where I can go in the next few weeks with this :)

Somewhat recently I saw my therapist for a second time. As it was, he hadn't helped me much. I mean, my problems all have to do with the fact that I realize I'm being silly, but don't know how to change my behavior, yet his answers are always the same. "You need to realize that that behavior isn't good." Ya think? I just said that! Anyway, the last time (and I mean it... The last time) I saw him, I was discussing my plans for my health with him. I told him how I was exercising at least a half hour everyday, and how I was eating better portions through my own little quirky ways, such as by using a heart shaped bowl to eat out of whenever it's something I shouldn't be eating a whole lot of anyway. I explained my own theory to him, since I enjoy self analysis, and told him how I felt that my love of the heart bowl stemmed from a perceived and long-lasting view of myself as less than feminine, and that I might be overcompensating in ways in order to feel more feminine than I naturally am. His response was what frustrated me quite a bit, though. He said "well that makes sense... Also, you might find yourself becoming more and more feminine as you lose weight." I had told him numerous times that my goals were always becoming more healthy, not losing weight and, if I do lose weight, that it would be due to a cutback in caloric intake, not for aesthetic reasons. It frustrated me that he would try and assert that being overweight has kept me from being feminine, and for assuming that I truly wanted to be feminine at all. I mean, everyone likes to express traits associated with the other gender here and there, so it made sense to me that I would occasionally feel that I am lacking in certain ways, and compensate for that in little ways here and there. Have you ever had a similar experience with a therapist or someone simple making different assumptions?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fat acceptance, feminism, and Japanese niche gaming collide!

Have you heard of the game Hachi Koi? Most likely not, unless you live in/have immense interest in Japanese culture/games, or you hang out in places where fat women aren't talked poorly about, but certainly aren't as empowered as the FA or feminist movements intend for them to be. Hachi Koi is a game made for the Nintendo DS that is similar to a dating simulator, but with a twist. described it in the following manner:

In Hachi Koi, the young male protagonist learns that he’s going to die in one month–unless he can fall in love and convince one of the title’s hapless, caressable ladies to return his feelings.
From a feminist point of view, already this game seems like most other dating sims, in that it does little more than objectify the women in the game. Of course, if you really wanted to become involved in a real, emotionally fulfilling relationship, I doubt you would play a game to do that, so it makes sense to me that dating sims would objectify to an extent. But in this one, it takes it a step further, in that the way that you seduce these women is by doing things such as rubbing suntan lotion on them, and bringing them things that make them happy. But this doesn't even begin to cover the more important aspects of this game that, whether or not you might find something wrong with them, they are certainly worthy of mention and discussion.

First off, we have this lovely cast of ladies, as found on the front page of the Hachi Koi site:And, credit being given once again to (as I am unsure of where that site found this series of pics), here are four which are especially important to make note of.
Again, from a feminist POV, I would like to point out how the girl with the largest breasts is treated... Her larger chest seems to also come complete with the most sexualized outfit of these four (hearts and garter belt on her lacy socks; low-cut shirt; 'come hither' stare) and definitely has the most sexualized pose of the four pictured above. Of course, I'm sure I don't need any real lead in to what I'm about to say, as you've all been thinking it since first noticing these pictures, but here's my transition sentence anyway.

They include a plus sized girl. Or, as I would refer to her in casual, non-threatening and without any real need to go over the top with completely PC terms, a fat chick. And, much to my surprise, she's rather adorable! Pink hair, shy smile, well drawn and clean, and an absolutely adorable apple shape. But with her, and my fat acceptance beliefs, I suddenly am uncertain of what to think of this game from a strictly FA POV.

On the one hand, as stated before, they portray her as pretty and cute, which is a definite step-up from how other places seem to treat larger girls. But, as you might have been clued into from the first image, they portray her as always eating. Even on her character page she is seen with food by her. Compared to the other girls, she is the only one who has the food as your interactive option. The others have more playful things (and in some cases more feminist-unfriendly things, like the girl who changes into the cheerleading outfit for her action) like basketballs and horses, whereas this girl, Kurumi, has food that, when dragged to her mouth, illicits an almost sexual response, with little moans or Japanese that sounds as if it was spoken right after an epic orgasm. Yet, even on her page, she looks like a more accurate portrayal of fat people than we usually get, in that her weight isn't being completely showcased in a negative or slobby manner, although it is used to set her apart from the others. Another thing worthy of note on her page is the fact that her measurements are hidden by a look of embarrassment:(alongside another girl's page to show that it is in fact the measurements that are hidden)

I just have to wonder, is it this way because of the stereotype of larger girls being ashamed/embarrassed about their weight? Or is she being portrayed in such a manner to either have 'you' (the player of the game) boost her self esteem so that she is either a) finally happy with her weight or b) willing to lose the weight? Maybe I'd have more insight if my major was Japanese instead of German.

My guess as to the nature of Kurumi? I would like to think that she is there for the purpose of giving the player a wide variety of girls to 'play' with, and for one reason or another they decided to include a plus sized girl with a tendency towards, dare I say, feederism. Now, I'd rather not get into a feederism debate with my lovely commenters just yet, as there shall be another post not far from now discussing it in as much of detail as I can gather. Anyway, back on topic, to be perfectly honest, I am unsure of how to feel about this game overall.

  • There is a chubby girl
  • Said chubby girl is portrayed in a visually nice way
  • Unlike most dating sims, this gives the player many options
  • It puts a somewhat positive portrayal of a fat person into a positive (?) light
  • It seems as though the fetish of feederism is an option where it normally is not
  • Women are reduced to simply that: fetishes and appearances
  • Women fall in love with the player by being rubbed
  • The fat girl is portrayed with a lust for food (positive for some fat admirers, negative for the fat acceptance movement)
  • The fat girl succumbs to another stereotype: shame
For the sake of being perfectly honest, I still don't know what exactly to feel about this game, as stated above. It all depends from what aspect of myself I view it, assuming of course that we do know what this game is about, and aren't relying on other (possibly incorrect) translations and such. As a feminist, I dislike this game. As a realist, I understand that dating sims are usually going to be anti-feminism, as it degrades both genders as sex objects. As a fat acceptance blogger, I dislike Kurumi's portrayal as a fat girl. As a fat admirer and, dare I say, casual feedee, this gives more options to normally limited games, in that you can live out a variety of fantasies, including feeding a girl who may or may not grow (...;D) to love her looks.

So what do you, my readers out in cyberspace think of this game? What about Kurumi and her portrayal?

Also, before I head out... Found this on the main site: (drag the bagel-like thing to her mouth) (Script doesn't seem to work here ;A;)


XXLA is finally back!

Hey everyone! My apologies for not having posted in a while; what with my transitioning from my school 400 miles from home back to home and the holiday season, it was difficult to find inspiration to post, let alone actually getting around to it. I still have a little bit of time before I go back to school, so I plan to take advantage of it! I have a post planned that should be published tomorrow, and still have back posts to make up for. Thanks again for voting in the poll from the previous post! If you've yet to do so, please check it out so I have a better idea what areas to focus on in the future. Hope to "see" you guys tomorrow when my post (which I'm about to begin working on after posting this) is finished and published. Hope your holiday season was better than mine!

Check back tomorrow! <3


Monday, November 24, 2008

mini-post monday

I doubt that this will be a recurring theme, but I felt like making a post to update those of you who seem to enjoy reading about the lives of others (I know I do, 'cause I'm nosy like that). Today my boyfriend and I are celebrating our one year anniversary! It's incredibly exciting. I'll spare you all the cheesy lines about how happy I am, yadda yadda, and leave it at the fact that I am quite happy about it.

On topic with the blog, I would like to remind everyone first off of the posts to come:

  • Certainly my boyfriend will have a post sooner rather than later, since he did so well on his first post
  • The post in defense of feeders and feedees, dedicated to my friend, AKA Spencer. If you read the comments, most likely you will have seen his name by now.
  • CHANGE! I wanted to write this post when the title and reoccurring theme would have been more relevant, but alas, I'll just have to accompany this post with a picture of Slowpoke. The change will be related to the changes I've incurred over the past year, and some other important changes.
Bear with me in the coming months, as I will be undergoing one transition after another as I attend another school in the Spring semester, and hopefully yet another school for the coming Fall semester. More on that in the change post.

And last but not least, I would like to thank Sociological Images for linking to my post after I suggested that they cover Risk's manification. Please go here to see their post regarding Risk, or go here to simply view their awesome photoblog.

Now, because I'm curious... Here's a poll that I would love some responses to!


Thursday, November 20, 2008


So I'm going to make the assumption that everyone reading this is familiar with the board game Risk. If not, Wikipedia would be more than happy to explain the nature of this board game with the object of world domination. Alright, those who clicked the Wikipedia link, caught up to speed now? Good, good. In my opinion, Risk has always been one of those games high up with Clue and Monopoly, where if you haven't at least played it, you could find a box with ease at a friend's house, a garage sale, or your neighbor's house. For some, the greatness of Risk surpasses games like Battleship, or the above mentioned thoughtful classics. When my boyfriend first found out that Risk was getting a new look, and ditching its older, outdated style, he looked at it with a positive view, saying that he was excited about it. Being someone with a goal of world domination as well, I too was interested at the idea of this new and supposedly improved Risk game. I went to the Hasbro website, where he and I were both immediately disappointed with the images we were being bombarded with. Sure, I expected a more modern look, but what I saw was little more than blatant sexism, enforcing the gender roles expected of men full force. Now I know what you're thinking... "Now now, we see a lot of bad things enforcing silly gender roles, it can't be THAT bad!" Oh yes, naysayers. Yes it can.

The first image you are greeted with on the official Risk website is this:

And for those lovely tidbits you can't see, here's this gem close-up:And yes, that says "bring your foes to their knees..." That ellipsis only furthers the implication that one might think up when seeing things telling players of a game, which apparently you have to be male to play, to "get on their knees" for them. Yyyyeah.

And towards the bottom is this picture, which isn't in the first screen cap:
A: Unfortunately no, as I was born without a penis. *cries* I guess I just can't take the risk of hurting my fragile female psyche. I'll just go back to the kitchen and make you manly men a sandwich for your intense game... of the board variety. (Also, just noticed this... Is that a pickup truck bed right above the arrow furthest left?)

On this website, the Board Game Geeks review the game before its mainstream release. While browsing through their photo gallery, I came across a card from this game that is also incredibly relevant.

In case the point wasn't driven home enough by the phrase "ARE YOU MAN ENOUGH?" being dropped everywhere like ticker tape in a welcome home parade, they apparently wanted to avoid any possibility of confusion. The winner will be a man. And he gets to demand that people refer to him as sir. I guess the game of Risk is now all about declaring one's self the alpha male.

So, why do I make such a big deal out of all of these things? For one, I hate hate hate gender roles. The idea that playing this game will allow boys to become MEN is ridiculous, because it seems like the only thing it promotes is combat. Since apparently all men want to fight each other all the time, and constantly compete. You're apparently not a man if you don't wish to do that, or so it implies. Another issue I have with this, is that I don't think it's any different from the sexualization of Strawberry Shortcake, as seen and discussed in more detail on Sociological Images. Whereas classic girl things are becoming more "feminine" to fit today's standards, the boy toys are doing the same thing. True, Risk would be intended for an older crowd, but it still puts forth the Axe logic, that men must be demeaned and called something other than men so that they feel inadequate and must purchase said product. Lastly, this frustrates me a great deal because I feel like, as a woman, new Risk doesn't even want my business. Ask anyone who knows me past pointless short talk, and they will confirm that I am quite interested in the prospect of world domination. A game like Risk is right up my alley! But apparently Hasbro (Now with more 'bro!') doesn't feel that women are worth trying to market Risk to. I'll just buy one at a garage sale if I ever want a copy, then.

Sure, this has nothing to do with fat acceptance specifically. But as my ideas and opinions evolve, I wish to keep my blog evolving while I do. Also, I feel I must add that there are so many other things I find annoying with this ad campaign and design overhaul, that I'd rather not get into full detail about, lest it lose the tie-in with gender roles and become a generalized rant. I would like to at least mention, though, based on the overall design (also, pickup truck?) it seems like it's trying to emulate the design of the GO ARMY type campaigns we have in the US. Before, the game of Risk was alright in that aspect, because the characters were set in a time where expansion, conquering, and imperialism were the norms. Seeing this game made modern, and using a United States type army to achieve world domination seems like a very incorrect statement to be making during the time in which we currently live.

What do you feel about the new Risk design change? Both female and males alike, I would love to hear how the images and messages at this site make you feel. Take your comments in any direction you would like; about the gender role norms this reinforces, about how it might work to alienate women, the implications of some of the images and phrases used (i.e. "on their knees" and the pickup truck), or how it makes you feel that they seem to be promoting US world domination.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Introduction and Speculation

Hi, I am XXLA’s Boyfriend.

I picked this moniker because I think it is ironic for a man to be primarily identified by his relationship to a woman, when for centuries the reverse has happened because of patriarchy, male privilege, etc.

So now you know two things about me

1) I have a horrible sense of humor

2) I am a pretentious douche

All joking aside, it is great to be blogging here. It is good to be involved in FA and feminist movements, even if my only contributions are rambling on like a Castro speech and making bad jokes.

First topic: Subcultures, Generalizability, and FA

I wanted my first blog post to be analyze the issue “Is the Nerd subculture more prone to fat acceptance than other subcultures or mainstream culture”, but then I got sidetracked by more general questions about the generalizability of subcultures. This question came to mind because, frankly, I am a Nerd and an open FA (FA meaning Fat Admirer in this context). I have shared my preference with my close Nerd friends and they are all really cool and accepting about the whole thing.

So I was going to make some kind of post questioning if my experience can be generalized into the proposition that FA (Fat Acceptance) will be well received most in Nerd social circles, asking the readers of this blog their experiences with Nerds and FA etc. . But this train of thought eventually led me to a more abstract question about what makes people think they can generalize about a subculture and that subculture will react to certain ideas. Do the tenants of ANY subculture either promote or condemn Fat Acceptance in all its members?

Because of my interest in philosophy I am really good at raising questions, but not as good at answering them. I want to know what you the reader at home thinks about this issue.

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