Thick Dumpling Skin

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Posts tagged On Our Radar

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On Our Radar: Frances Chan

Is BMI causing trouble again? Yale student Frances Chan had to meet with Yale clinician for weekly weigh-ins and was threatened to be put on medical leave if she did not comply to gaining weight. 

"You’ve gained two pounds, but that still isn’t enough. Ideally, you should go up to 95 pounds." I hung my head in disbelief. I’ve already shared with you the memorable exchange that followed.

She had finally cracked me. I was Sisyphus the Greek king, forever trapped trying uselessly to push a boulder up a hill. Being forced to meet a standard that I could never meet was stressful and made me resent meals. I broke down sobbing in my dean’s office, in my suitemate’s arms afterwards, and Saturday morning on the phone with my parents. At this rate, I was well on my way to developing an eating disorder before anyone could diagnose the currently nonexistent one.

It seems Yale has a history of forcing its students through this process. A Yale Herald piece from 2010 told the story of students in similar situations. It’s disturbing how little things have changed. “Stacy” was “informed that if she kept failing to reach [Yale Health]’s goals for her, she would be withdrawn for the following semester.” Unfortunately, “the more she stressed out about gaining weight, the more she lost her appetite.”

Furthermore, a recent graduate messaged me saying that her cholesterol had actually gone up due to the intensive weight-gain diet she used to release herself from weekly weigh-ins.

It is clear that the University does care about students suspected of struggling with eating disorders. And it should. Eating disorders are particularly prevalent on college campuses and Yale is no exception. However, because the University blindly uses BMI as the primary means of diagnosis, it remains oblivious to students who truly need help but do not have low enough BMIs. Instead, it subjects students who have a personal and family history of low weight to treatment that harms our mental health. By forcing standards upon us that we cannot meet, the University plays the same role as fashion magazines and swimsuit calendars that teach us about the “correct shape” of the human body.

I was scheduled to have a mental health appointment at 9:00 a.m. and a weigh-in at 10:30 a.m. this past Friday. But I’m done. No more weigh-ins, no more blood draws. I don’t have an eating disorder, and I will not let Yale Health cause me to develop one. If Yale wants to kick me out, let them try — in the meantime, I’ll be studying for midterms, doing my best to make up for lost time.

Read Frances’ story here.

UPDATE from Yahoo:

“It seems like assumptions were being made based on her appearance, and that it was very discriminatory. Low BMI doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy,” clinical psychologist Maria Rago, vice president of the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, tells Yahoo Shine, adding, “Even if you have an eating disorder, you have a right to go to school.” 

Rago notes it’s clear the university means well. “But eating disorders are more about your behaviors and your thoughts than your weight,” she explains.

Finally, though, after Chan’s struggling with weigh-ins, pleading with doctors to not place so much emphasis on her body mass index, and eventually writing to university President Peter Salovey to apprise him of the situation, officials relented. 

“Just visited Yale Health with my parents and met with a new doctor. She apologized repeatedly for the ‘months of anguish’ I went through and admitted that BMI is not the end all be all,” Chan posted to her Facebook page on Friday. “She also looked at my medical records since freshman year (which the previous clinician had not done) and noted that she saw that my weight had remained around the same. So she trusts that I do not have an eating disorder and admitted that ‘we made a mistake.’”


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On Our Radar: Geena Rocero on TED

Geena Rocero, a Filipina transgender model, talks about her powerful story at the most recent TED conference. 

We love this part in particular: 

"All of us are put in boxes by our family, by our religion, by our society, our moment in history, even our own bodies. Some people have the courage to break free, not to accept the limitations imposed by the color of their skin or by the beliefs by those that sit around them. Those people are always a threat to the status quo to what is considered acceptable." 

Sexuality is fluid. Gender is a social construction, just like how race is a social construction as well. 

Thanks Geena for sharing your story. You go girl. 


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On Our Radar: Lammily

Remember a while back we posted about a barbie that we actually liked? Well, here’what’s next: 

Motivated by a strong desire to show that “average is beautiful,” Lamm has decided to make his designs come to life with a doll called “Lammily.”

Lamm decided to take matters into his own hands after being bombarded with questions about where to buy a Barbie of normal size. The entreprenuer is offering prototypes of his toy to the first people to donate to his CrowdtiltOpen campaign, but his plan is to eventually be able to distribute the doll widely online and in retail. The longer term vision also includes embracing diversity by creating dolls with different ethnic backgrounds and body types.

Read more about it here

Com’on toy companies, get with the program. Oh and hopefully when Lammily is finally released, we’ll also see dolls of all colors in the same line so that Lammily isn’t the only good example out there.  


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On Our Radar: Words From a Father to His Daughter (From the Makeup Aisle)

I’m not going to lie. My father wasn’t always the most doting. If I have to pick one memory of the two of us being BFFs, it’ll have to be a memory of a video tape that I watched of me. I was running around a park/museum and climbing all the statues, front teeth missing and all. In the video, even without my dad’s face, I could hear the love in his voice as he asked me what I was doing. A memory, of me watching a video tape, of a memory rather than an actual memory. So meta, I know. 

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To date, I have to really squint my eyes and figure out when my father is trying to tell me that he loves me through the indirect and subtle things that he says and does. And I’ve wondered many times if the way I feel about myself would’ve changed if my father told me that I was perfect in his eyes. This is why when I see and read about a father’s affection to his little girl (e.g. when Jay-Z released his song for Blue Ivy) , I get teary-eyed.

Fathers, the way you guide your children will be so important in the way they develop their self esteem. I hope this post by Dr. Kelly gives you some inspiration. We might not be able to change the past of how we grew up and all the things that were said to us, but we certainly change how it is that we help our children grow.

Dear Little One,

As I write this, I’m sitting in the makeup aisle of our local Target store. A friend recently texted me from a different makeup aisle and told me it felt like one of the most oppressive places in the world. I wanted to find out what he meant. And now that I’m sitting here, I’m beginning to agree with him. Words have power, and the words on display in this aisle have a deep power. Words and phrases like:

Affordably gorgeous,

Infallible,

Flawless finish,

Brilliant strength,

Liquid power,

Go nude,

Age defying,

Instant age rewind,

Choose your dream,

Nearly naked, and

Natural beauty.

When you have a daughter you start to realize she’s just as strong as everyone else in the house—a force to be reckoned with, a soul on fire with the same life and gifts and passions as any man. But sitting in this store aisle, you also begin to realize most people won’t see her that way. They’ll see her as a pretty face and a body to enjoy. And they’ll tell her she has to look a certain way to have any worth or influence.

But words do have power and maybe, just maybe, the words of a father can begin to compete with the words of the world. Maybe a father’s words can deliver his daughter through this gauntlet of institutionalized shame and into a deep, unshakeable sense of her own worthiness and beauty.

A father’s words aren’t different words, but they are words with a radically different meaning:

Brilliant strength. May your strength be not in your fingernails but in your heart. May you discern in your center who you are, and then may you fearfully but tenaciously live it out in the world.

Choose your dream. But not from a department store shelf. Find the still-quiet place within you. A real dream has been planted there. Discover what you want to do in the world. And when you have chosen, may you faithfully pursue it, with integrity and with hope.

Naked. The world wants you to take your clothes off. Please keep them on. But take your gloves off. Pull no punches. Say what is in your heart. Be vulnerable. Embrace risk. Love a world that barely knows what it means to love itself. Do so nakedly. Openly. With abandon.

Infallible. May you be constantly, infallibly aware that infallibility doesn’t exist. It’s an illusion created by people interested in your wallet. If you choose to seek perfection, may it be in an infallible grace—for yourself, and for everyone around you.

Age defying. Your skin will wrinkle and your youth will fade, but your soul is ageless. It will always know how to play and how to enjoy and how to revel in this one-chance life. May you always defiantly resist the aging of your spirit.

Flawless finish. Your finish has nothing to do with how your face looks today and everything to do with how your life looks on your last day. May your years be a preparation for that day. May you be aged by grace, may you grow in wisdom, and may your love become big enough to embrace all people. May your flawless finish be a peaceful embrace of the end and the unknown that follows, and may it thus be a gift to everyone who cherishes you.

Little One, you love everything pink and frilly and I will surely understand if someday makeup is important to you. But I pray three words will remain more important to you—the last three words you say every night, when I ask the question: “Where are you the most beautiful?” Three words so bright no concealer can cover them.

Where are you the most beautiful?

On the inside.

From my heart to yours,

Daddy

Read more from Dr. Kelly here.

- Lisa

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On Our Radar: 10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Working Out

Came across this article and loved the message. What I would’ve loved more though, is for it to not just be for daughters, but for all children and teenagers. Body image issues and eating disorders affect both male and females. There’s no doubt that pressures facing women are more severe, but we all know that silence around an issue is even more dangerous.

Mid-way through a recent group exercise class, the teacher lost me. She didn’t lose me because of some complicated step sequence or insanely long set of burpees; I mentally checked out because of a few words she kept saying over and over. “Come on! Get that body ready for your winter beach vacation! Think about how you want to look at those holiday parties! PICTURE HOW YOU’LL LOOK IN THAT DRESS!”

"THAT DRESS?" My brain couldn’t focus on an image of some random dress hanging in my closet. All I could think about was my three-year-old daughter hearing and trying to process those words.

My daughter’s little brain is making sense of the world every single second, taking in verbal and non-verbal cues about how things work and what things mean. And when it comes to exercise, I want her to grow up seeing it as a joy, and not a utility. As a gift, and not a chore. As an opportunity, not an obligation. I want her to do it for the love of it, not to fit into a dress. I want her to grow up knowing that…

Read the full article here.

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On Our Radar: A Barbie We Like

Here’s a barbie (and a DIY project) that we can get down with, even though she is not Asian American:

Most women who played with Barbie dolls have a love/hate relationship with them. On one hand, they are a part of childhood that we can all relate to (99 percent of little girls in the U.S. have at least one Barbie), and on the other, most of us can remember thinking about how we wanted to look like her when we grew up — or expecting to, which is an extremely common idea. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to grow up into the physical proportions of a Barbie doll; and we wouldn’t want to anyway — if Barbie was a real woman she would be too thin to menstruate (not to mention her neck would be freakishly long!).
While we have all long-suspected that Barbie dolls might also contribute to the poor self-esteem and body image issues that seem to start earlier and earlier in little girls, we now have some pretty good science to back up that idea (see below). But Barbie is ingrained in American culture. So how do we deal with the issue of an iconic toy hurting children? We can’t just outlaw them. Nickolay Lamm of mydeals.com decided to use data and creativity to address the issue. He created a doll that looks like Barbie but has the measurements of an average 19-year-old American woman (with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). He made the original model on a 3-D printer, then converted it to look just like a Barbie doll in other ways. Nickolay wrote, “The end result is what Barbie would look like if she was a healthy, beautiful, 19 year old woman.”

Read the full story here.

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On Our Radar: Pretty in Pink

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If you’re in Los Angeles, check out this “Pretty in Pink” Cabaret-Fashion event.  It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Privy’s fashionistas have founded a first-of-its-kind National Asian Breast Cancer Initiative, a program of the Asian Pacific Community Fund. Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death among Asian women, who are also the least likely group to get a mammogram. Furthermore, they face very unique financial, cultural and linguistic challenges in dealing with the disease. Proceeds raised from this event will benefit a national campaign to address this important issue, an initiative endorsed by the Asian and Pacific Islander National Cancer Survivors Network (APINCSN).

More details can be found here.


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On Our Radar: Dis/Orient/Ed Comedy in San Francisco

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What’s all female, all Asian and all funny? Dis/orient/ed Comedy is bringing their first-ever all female, Asian American stand up comedy tour to San Francisco with TWO DIFFERENT SHOWS in a single night, Saturday, September 7th, 2013 at the Southside Theater at the Fort Mason Center in the Marina District!  

The Thick Dumpling Skin family will be there as a community sponsor. Use “THICKSKIN" as your discount code to purchase pre-sale tickets at http://disorientedcomedy.com for $12 tickets.  The San Francisco shows are expected to sell out so be sure to purchase your tickets online! 


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On Our Radar: How to Talk to Your Daughter About Her Body

This is how we break the cycle:

How to talk to your daughter about her body, step one: don’t talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.

Don’t say anything if she’s lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s gained weight.

If you think your daughter’s body looks amazing, don’t say that. Here are some things you can say instead:

“You look so healthy!” is a great one.

Or how about, “you’re looking so strong.”

“I can see how happy you are – you’re glowing.”

Better yet, compliment her on something that has nothing to do with her body.

Don’t comment on other women’s bodies either. Nope. Not a single comment, not a nice one or a mean one.

Teach her about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards yourself.

Don’t you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your daughter, or talk about your new diet. In fact, don’t go on a diet in front of your daughter. Buy healthy food. Cook healthy meals. But don’t say “I’m not eating carbs right now.” Your daughter should never think that carbs are evil, because shame over what you eat only leads to shame about yourself.

Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and that’s a good thing sometimes.

Help your daughter love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident woman. Explain that no matter how old you get, you’ll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make her play a sport she isn’t absolutely in love with.

Prove to your daughter that women don’t need men to move their furniture.

Teach your daughter how to cook kale.

Teach your daughter how to bake chocolate cake made with six sticks of butter.

Pass on your own mom’s recipe for Christmas morning coffee cake. Pass on your love of being outside.

Maybe you and your daughter both have thick thighs or wide ribcages. It’s easy to hate these non-size zero body parts. Don’t. Tell your daughter that with her legs she can run a marathon if she wants to, and her ribcage is nothing but a carrying case for strong lungs. She can scream and she can sing and she can lift up the world, if she wants.

Remind your daughter that the best thing she can do with her body is to use it to mobilize her beautiful soul.

Read the original post here.


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