Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Things that Piss Me Off, Part...Whatever

Well, it looks like it's time for another installment of TTPMO.

Number one, the word 'feminazi.' I thought it was just a Rush Limbaughism, and didn't imagine that any reasonable, non-MRA person would use it (the MRA is a whole different bag of crazy to be addressed in a different post, because I could go on for days and gurl, who has time?). However, in recent weeks I've heard several people use it--including some people I previously regarded as sane--and was all like, what the ENTIRE f*ck? Here's the deal. I'd like it if women could be paid the same as men are for doing the same work. I'd like it if the legislative bodies in this country were actually representative of the people they, y'know, represent (that means 50% ladies and 28% minorities--a far cry from what we have now). I'd like it if women could have access to safe, legal medical procedures without de jure and de facto interference. I'd like not to live in a culture where 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted. I'd like not to live in a culture where more than half of teenage girls are fasting, overexercising, vomiting or using laxatives to lose weight. This list of 'demands' is SO OBVIOUSLY equivalent to enacting a plan for world domination through brute military force, including the denigration of broad swaths of humanity as 'sub-human' and the murder of more than 12 million men, women and children. See how those two are totally alike, you guys? Oh, wait, NO.Those aren't apples and oranges; they're dental floss and Siberian tigers. As a feminist and a person of Jewish ancestry, just the word 'feminazi' pisses me off in no fewer than seventeen different ways. Knock it off, plz.

 The Paleo diet craze. Hey, guess what? You know the foods that make up the majority of the 'Paleo Diet'--veggies like asparagus, avocado, eggplant, and tomatoes, or that grass-fed beef? Cavemen--sorry, cavePEOPLE, cavefolk, whatever--didn't have any of that, at least not in the form we know now. The idea that eating grain or dairy is a bad call because our bodies haven't had time to 'adapt' to it is BS too. You know what made us the species we are today, with our big brains and machines and iPads? The fact that we figured out the whole agriculture thing, and along with it, began selectively breeding wild varieties of plants and animals to make bigger, stronger, tastier varieties that were easier to harvest. We made aurochs into cows and wild grasses into the wheat we know today. Actually, domesticating wheat was kind of a big deal.  Wheat enabled the development of city-states in the Fertile Crescent (commonly known as the birthplace of civilization) by being easy to grow in quantity, and easy to store. If you hate on wheat for no good reason (ie, without celiac disease or something), you are saying you hate civilization as a whole. Why do you hate civilization?
I don't really get the Paleo nostalgia anyway. It seems like a throwback to the Iron John/primal scream days of the 70s. Cavefolk didn't live very long--the average Cro-Magnon's life expectancy was 30, on account of the mammoth-gorings and semi-starvation and Paleosyphilis, which is like regular syphilis only bigger and with tusks. The women were squeezing out little ones (Honey, which name do you like best? Ugg, Ogg or Madisynn?) until they died in childbirth or dropped of exhaustion. So did Cro-Magnons get heart disease? No, something else generally killed them first. If you want to eat a ton of veggies and fruits and lean meats, go nuts, but realize that you're probably going to miss those complex carbohydrates when the time comes to hit the CrossFit box.

Somewhat relatedly, the anti-gluten business makes me nuts. Yes, there are people who can't/shouldn't have gluten in their diets--they have celiac disease, and gluten literally makes them sick (an overzealous immune response damages their intestinal lining in response to gluten). How common is celiac disease, and other medically recognized forms of gluten sensitivity? Less than 1% of Americans suffer from it. Yet a recent survey showed 30% of Americans are trying to "avoid/cut back on" gluten. First of all, if you genuinely believe you have celiac disease, YOU CAN'T JUST 'CUT BACK.' THAT'S NOT HOW THIS S$%@ WORKS. I have a friend with legit, diagnosed-by-biopsy celiac disease, and if she eats a salad that has had croutons on it--even if she picks them off--girlfriend gets sick. If I sound annoyed, it's nothing to the anger L can summon for gluten-avoidance dilettantes.
"I feel like most of the time it's just a weight-loss thing to them," she says. "When they're on the wagon, they avoid bread and whatever, and say really self-righteously, 'Oh, I can't, I'm gluten-free,' but if there's pizza or pasta and it looks divine and they really want it, they dig right in, and for the next thirty minutes gluten-free goes out the window. I can't do that. Screw them, seriously. And then at restaurants when I say I need to know if the food is gluten-free, waiters assume a little gluten is OK because they think I'm one of those asshats, and then I have diarrhea and stomach cramps for a week. Screw them so hard."

 Leaving aside L's anger, I'd say the 29% of folks who are trying to go gluten-free and don't have celiac are doing it either for weight loss/to cover up some sort of eating pathology (I've known quite a few people with eating disorders who hid behind the gluten-free thing, which seems to be the newest iteration of the vegetarian/vegan 'excuse' a lot of ED patients used during the 90s and early 2000s), because there's a sort of social cache in doing it (Gwyneth Paltrow is gluten-free! Ditto Miranda Kerr and Victoria Beckham! PS--None of these women, as far as I've been able to find, suffer from celiac disease, and have all received attention for what might be termed 'extreme dieting behaviors.' See what I meant about the eating pathology thing?), or out of some misguided idea that it's "healthier." Sure, eating your way through an entire baguette and a dozen cookies every day isn't particularly good for you--but that's a refined flour and sugar issue, not a gluten issue.

 I don't know, it just smacks of a particular brand of bougie food-purity snobbery to me. It reminds me of a woman I saw once at the health-food coop in Ithaca. She was standing in front of me in the bakery, examining the vegan baked goods. I was waiting on a vegan cupcake, salivating at the very thought, and wishing she'd hurry up. "Excuse me," she called shrilly to the bakery attendant. "Those chocolate cupcakes--they're vegan and gluten free, but are they organic?"
"Those aren't," the attendant said apologetically, "But like you said, they are completely vegan and--"
"WHAT is the POINT if they're not ORGANIC?" The woman half-wailed, half-yelled.
Then she swooped out and I got my cupcake, so whatevs, but Jesus tap-dancing Christ, woman--pull your head out of your patchouli-scented, tightly-clenched ass and eat a damn cupcake.

Here ends the ranting.

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