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Plastic banned - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Plastic banned
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nou From: nou Date: July 9th, 2014 12:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ugh, yes, I keep forgetting that diet culture is going to kick in soon for Tobes too :( I think I need to re-read some Ellyn Satter.
j4 From: j4 Date: July 12th, 2014 08:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was going to say I'm pleased that I don't think I've ever heard Img even say "fat" or "diet", but then I realise that's still bad because she shouldn't feel "fat" is a rude/banned/bad word. :-( But if I use it in a neutral/positive context & she repeats it at nursery, I can guarantee that they will tell her that it's a rude thing to say. So maybe better if she doesn't say it at all. Or maybe that's why she doesn't say it, because they've already told her you mustn't call anybody fat. I don't know. :-(

I feel like I'm walking on eggshells when trying to describe anybody to Img at all, to be honest. When asked what somebody looked like Img will currently say quite random things ("she's got hair") as (presumably) she doesn't really know adults in this culture consider salient features of a person's looks. But she has said a couple of times that someone "has pink skin like me" or "has brown skin like L—" (L— is one of her favourite carers at nursery, & is a woman of colour, if that's the right terminology?), which feels fine to me (I mean it's unarguably true & as far as I can tell completely non-judgemental) but I don't know if it's going to be considered offensive by e.g. nursery. I don't know. Minefield. Also wandering off topic so I will shut up now. Sorry!
nou From: nou Date: July 13th, 2014 04:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't see anything wrong with describing the colour of someone's skin, though I think you're probably right in guessing that nursery might disagree. There's lots of stuff online if you google for how to talk to children about race. I think it's really important for parents of white children to do this (parents of non-white children can hardly avoid it).

I hate hate hate that "you mustn't call people fat" thing. It just reinforces the idea that there's something wrong with being fat.

I'm not sure what the answer is to the bigger question of nursery telling her one thing and you telling her another. From things you've said previously, it doesn't sound like they're enormously good at dealing with differences of opinion. I do wonder how they deal with, for example, questions about religion — whether they're willing to take the line of "some people believe X, other people believe Y". When (not "if") Tobes comes to me in a few years time and says he's been told it's bad to be fat, that's the line I intend to take.
j4 From: j4 Date: July 19th, 2014 09:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
There's lots of stuff online if you google for how to talk to children about race.

I will have a look, but most of what I've seen has been from people of colour talking about how to talk to their children (of the same or different skin-colour), and obviously it's very different. I basically daren't talk about race (except in the vaguest terms) to other grown-ups because I have seen so many furious flamewars where I don't even understand the offence given; I'm terrified of saying the wrong thing just through ignorance (which makes it even worse because only the horribly privileged have the luxury of ignorance).

I hate hate hate that "you mustn't call people fat" thing. It just reinforces the idea that there's something wrong with being fat.

I hate it too. :-( But most of the people I meet (& by extension most of the people Img meets) would be really offended if I called them 'fat'. How do you break the vicious circle? I'd be happy to call myself fat but I don't think I am particularly...? Oh god that sounds like I'm fat-hating as well. :-( It's just that when I've described myself as 'fat' I've been told I'm absolutely not, both by people who think there's nothing worse than being called fat _and_ by people who think I have 'thin privilege' & shouldn't try to appropriate fat identity. o_O So... it's another thing I wouldn't dare talk about except to people I know well. To be honest I don't think 'fat' means anything except relative to other things (e.g. I am fatter than X and thinner than Y) and I don't think that difference has any moral value. But I don't know how to talk about my shape/size except to say that it's fine by me. I don't think I'm "beautiful" (I have a separate rant about the "everybody is beautiful" thing) but I don't particularly want/need to be. But that's probably a terribly offensive thing to say for some reason I haven't thought of. :-(

Basically any words for describing people are just a complete fucking minefield. :-( :-( Maybe I should just teach Img "it's rude to talk about how other people look" and then we could avoid the whole thing. :-(

I do wonder how they deal with, for example, questions about religion

I dread to think. :-/ I think all the things they tell her are so completely unexamined that they'd have trouble recognising their own opinions as things that other people could disagree with, they're just How Things Are. :-/

some people believe X, other people believe Y

I think this is a good line to take, & have tried to do this with Img (though it's only really come up with things you are/aren't allowed to do, so far -- e.g. "some parents let their children do X and some don't" -- which is not quite the same as religious/ideological beliefs, but it's a start, I guess?).
nou From: nou Date: July 21st, 2014 12:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, perhaps I thought things were easier to find than they actually are — I should have bookmarked things as I found them. Here's one I did bookmark: Practical tips from Ask Moxie — worth reading the comments and following links too (though some of the links are broken now).

I basically daren't talk about race (except in the vaguest terms) to other grown-ups because I have seen so many furious flamewars where I don't even understand the offence given; I'm terrified of saying the wrong thing just through ignorance (which makes it even worse because only the horribly privileged have the luxury of ignorance).

I don't think there's a short-cut through this, I'm afraid. Though remember that you don't have to join in these conversations before you're ready — you can just listen until you get to the point where you understand things better. Read things written by people who're affected by racism, try to understand their points of view, and keep trying.

I hate it too. :-( But most of the people I meet (& by extension most of the people Img meets) would be really offended if I called them 'fat'. How do you break the vicious circle? I'd be happy to call myself fat but I don't think I am particularly...?

Unless your body has changed drastically since I last saw you, no, you don't appear to be particularly fat, so I think it would just be confusing if you told Img that you are. I think one way to break the circle is to be prepared to say "There's nothing wrong with being fat" if/when someone tells Img off for describing a person as fat — and to repeat it firmly if people try to distract you from that point (e.g. by trying to make you express your own opinion on whether the person is fat or not).

It sounds like the essential problem here is that nursery are promoting unhelpful prejudices and behaviours, and you feel despair over being able to counteract them. If so: some counteracting is better than none. And as Img gets older, she'll eventually get to the point where she can properly understand that different people have different opinions — and I'd hope that as long as you continue being honest and open with her, by that point she'll see you as a Reliable Source.
j4 From: j4 Date: July 27th, 2014 08:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for the link -- looks useful & I will read it (but wanted to say thank you now in case the article sits on my guilty articles-to-read list for 6 months...).

you don't have to join in these conversations

This is good and wise advice!

no, you don't appear to be particularly fat

That's what I thought, but just so used to hearing people thinner than me saying "oh god I'm so FAT" that it's hard to know what other people would describe as 'fat'. :-}

I think one way to break the circle is to be prepared to say "There's nothing wrong with being fat" if/when someone tells Img off for describing a person as fat

I do say this to other adults (there's lots of fat-mocking at work) but it usually ends up with them goes down the route of "OK I guess X isn't that bad, but Y is just too fat" and/or coming up with more and more extreme examples ("what if you were too fat to get out of your house?" etc) to try to get me to say "OK yes that would be too fat". I usually just try to get out at that point (usually online so fortunately I can often just ignore/block) because yes OK there may well be a point for any given person at which fat becomes a problem, but I doubt it's the same for all people and I don't want to make medical judgements about someone else just based on how they look.

(Also in general I hate that "but what if [extreme example]" tactic. E.g. I don't fly and I get loads of "but what if you had to fly to save your grandmother's life? What if you had to fly to save everybody else in the world from evil aliens? Ahhhh! What then? What then?" from dickheads.)

It sounds like the essential problem here is that nursery are promoting unhelpful prejudices and behaviours

Very much so :-(

I hope my little bit of counteracting does some good, but I fear it'll be such a drop in the ocean that Img will come to see me as an unreliable source because of it, i.e. when she figures out that I'm the only person who says X when all her friends and teachers etc say Y then I'm probably the one who's wrong. :-(
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