Feb 07 2006

To Be Hot And Nuts

What happens when you’re hot and nuts? Behold the godawful story of Nia, the 17-year-old paranoid schizophrenic who is “too beautiful to be in a psychiatric ward.” It goes a little something like this:

Nobody in the hospital has ever seen such a gorgeous patient. Hardened psych nurses are fascinated by her hotness. Fellow inmates lure her into the sack. Dudely doctors tremble before her exquisiteness. They give her a drug. It starts to work.

But then “tragedy” strikes. The drug that works also makes her fat. This a horror the doctors find intolerable. Her beauty is “destroyed.” So they take her off that drug because in a patriarchy a hot girl cannot be fat. So Nia immediately goes nuts again because the new drug, though it does not make her fat, also doesn’t work. She is nuts again, but at least she’s still a babe. Whew. That was close.

But she is so nuts that, after a month of hell, doctors reluctantly put her back on the fat drug. The crazy part is that Nia doesn’t give a crap about being fat. She’s happy as a clam to get rid of the voices. Yet the doctors assume that, because she isn’t crying herself to sleep every night over her lost beauty, she isn’t really getting well at all. Any 17-year-old in her right mind would be bulimic and wanna slice herself up with razors under these circumstances, right?

Seriously, the doctors–and these are psychiatrists–can’t decide which is better: to be hot and nuts or fat and sane.

Dude, if you ever decide to go crazy, it better be from an overdose of ugly pills.

[Thanks, g, via Mind Hacks]


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  1. Amber

    Oh give me a fucking break.

  2. Sara

    Yeah, this story completely pisses me off. I must be insane, because I actually don’t care about the slyph-like beauty I lost after I got out of college. Sure, I weighed less then, but I was also depressed and miserable.

  3. Kat

    I don’t know what to do besides shout obscenities. Good fucking god.

  4. Amber

    Let me reformulate that first comment into a more coherent thought.

    According to the author, “The treatment had reversed a Faustian pact in which Nia had been beautiful and mad, and replaced it with another—in which she was fat and sane. But was it really a blessing that Nia seemed to have no conception of what she had lost?”

    This makes me so mad I can’t see straight. What a shame there isn’t a pill to cure my attitude that I’m fat-and-ok-with-it. Since apparently in thinking so, I’ve just as serious a mental illness as schizophrenia. Oh my god.

  5. Clare

    I wrote a letter to the editor. I’m sure they won’t publish it. I did manage not to include the word fucktard anywhere.

    That last paragraph
    “The treatment had reversed a Faustian pact in which Nia had been beautiful and mad, and replaced it with another—in which she was fat and sane. But was it really a blessing that Nia seemed to have no conception of what she had lost?”
    is insulting in about 10 THOUSAND different ways and makes me want to slap the authors and Nia’s dr’s repeatedly about the head and face.

    better to be schziophrenic than fat

    if you are fat you damn better weep about it every day and suffer suffer suffer over your lost beauty until some man comes and loves you despite what you look like.

    I can’t even BELIEVE that article. I can’t even BELIEVE they think that she should feel bad about being SANE because it means she’s fat. I seriously think 100 people with mental illnesses stopped taking their medication the minute that was published. And – wait – what’s that I hear? Yup – 106 new eating disorders started.

  6. tigtog

    By their own accounts, when she was thin the beautiful Nia could not avoid The Gaze, from women as well as men, and was constantly being sexually importuned, if not worse.

    So the drug blocks the voices and getting fat saves her from The Gaze and the contingent harassment, and they think it’s wrong that she’s relieved rather than grieving for lost beauty?

    I’m currently battling being unhealthily obese, and having difficulty dropping the necessary 20kg because I love being invisible to The Gaze, and if I get back to a healthy weight I’ll be noticeable again, even though the 75kg weight I’ll be happy with is still unfashionably heavy.

    How. Fucked. Up. These. Doctors. Are.

  7. Nik

    What gets me is that with all of the questions posed by the author of the article, never once was the girl in question questioned. Instead of wondering about the trauma of being fat, why didn’t they just ASK her how she felt about it? Did the author even meet this woman? If she really doesn’t care, then that’s that. Everyone else is concerned about her beauty. We have no idea what she thinks about the situation. It’s ridiculous! This woman does not possess her own image, it is possessed by others gazing upon her. It is shocking that anyone would compare being fat to being insane, with fat coming out the loser. One’s sanity is not something to trade in so others can appreciate another hot bod. It’s also absurd that with all of the news and the many people in the world suffering with mental illness, the article that gets written is about a beautiful teenager who loses her figure. Did I already mention that this is ridiculous?

  8. apophenia

    I’m almost more offended by that woeful prose.

    “She blended in, lumpenly.” This is writing?

  9. Jennifer

    I’m with apophenia on being offended that she’s called “lumpen.” Plus it hints that her friends and boyfriend will dump her for being fatty fat fat. Lovely! I guess the girl’s lucky they didn’t just plain leave her to be crazy after the first go-round.

    Jaysus, if my only options were to weigh 500 pounds OR to be batshit, possibly irretrivably/irreversibly insane, I’d pick the fat. And diabetes runs rampant in my family already. If those are my ONLY options, I wouldn’t care so much about not being skinny any more either!

  10. manxome

    I knew it was Zyprexa (olazapine) before I even clicked the link.

    I gained 50 lbs. in 3 months on that stuff. No other side effects, and clearest mind ever. You can fucking believe that I was thrilled to be able to think straight again, and weight gain as a side effect is a kazillion times better than tardive dyskenesia (Neurontin), being dopey (Topamax), or mania (every flippin’ anti-depressant). My only complaint about the weight gain? Busting out of my britches, I looked forward to it stopping so I could buy new ones with the confidence that I wouldn’t outgrow them in 2 weeks.

    “Her story?” More like a dipshit pill-pushing man fantasy story. Please tell me that the “details” that have been changed are everything between the byline and the final punctuation.

    Perhaps Dr. Fuckwit could include a few more “facts”.

    Zyprexa weight gain typically levels off after a few months. No need to remove someone from it for that reason only if its working.

    The Zyprexa appetite effect is not something that can easily be curtailed by diet lessons. It is a mind-blowing hunger that cannot be satisfied, where one with a normal appetite suddenly can down entire cakes and pies in no time, without a hint of indegestion, without even realizing it.

    Forget it. I’m too pissed to be coherent.

  11. Sarah

    The whole tone of the article is irritating. And it’s incredible that anyone, let alone doctors, should think that choosing between being fat and having untreated schizophrenia is some sort of dilemma.

    I love the bit about how the parents “couldn’t bear the thought of their beautiful daughter going mad”, like if she was less hot, it would be ok?

  12. LL

    Heh – I saw that over at feministe and grumped over there. But yeah – like Jennifer, the “lumpen” comment is the one that reeeeeeeaaaalllly got me going.

    Lumpen, my ass. (Well, actually yes – but that’s beside the point.)

  13. Donna

    ‘Tis more important for a female to be aesthetically pleasing to others than to be mentally or physically healthy. This is the Faustian bargain foisted upon all of us in the sex class, and poor Nia doesn’t realize that. I’m half surprised none of those helpful professionals have suggested euthanasia yet.

  14. Hattie

    That is really something. It speaks to our cultural obsession with beautiful young women. They are not people; they symbolize things. When I was young and lovely I could never figure out why what was going on around me never seemed to have anything to do with what was going on in my head. Guess this poor woman just caught an extreme case of it.

  15. A White Bear

    Don’t you get the sense from the description that Nia was even “mad” in a beautiful, tragic, gorgeous way? And that her “sanity” is somehow itself lumpen and banal? Obviously the writer of this article hasn’t spent enough time around schizophrenics. When my thin, handsome college boyfriend went mad, it wasn’t a beautiful tragedy. It was horrific and violent. He tried to kill me. He tried to kill himself. Rarely did we end an altercation without bloodshed. Fuck this writer for pairing gorgeousness and madness in this grotesquely symbolic way. I’m sure the chick’s boyfriend will be so happy to be able to store his knives without a safe that he won’t care if she’s elephantine. If he and her family would rather have Nia a miserable trembling sleepless thin monster than a pudgier young woman capable of smiling and rationally linked thoughts, then fuck them too. And fuck her doctors for suggesting it. Fuck all of them.

    A friend of mine was put on an anti-seizure medicine that made her lose a ton of weight really fast. It was scary. Her metabolism cranked up to gerbilic levels. She went into her doctor to ask about why she was wasting away and if her organs would fail, and the doc said (direct quote): “Wow. Usually the ladies don’t exactly complain about that particular side effect. Heh. If you know what I’m sayin’.”

  16. Charlie

    I love this line:

    Had she really rejoined the image-conscious world of her peers?

    Or had she really rejoined the image-conscious world of her doctors and would-be chronologers?

  17. Cass

    The little-known epilogue to Hippocrates’ Oath: no fat chicks. And to think this poor girl still faces the unimaginable horror of having to age!! This could be the issue that swings patriarchalists over to the cause of physician-assisted suicide…

  18. Clare


    “I’m too pissed to be coherent.”

    No, you are coherent. Beautifully coherent. You just keep being that coherent and buy all the pants you need and eat all the cakes you want. Rock on with your cohent-ness (and I’ll go buy a dictionary).

  19. Sigh

    Of course insane chicks are better off in the world today than the sane ones. The crazy ones don’t notice their rights to their own bodies slipping away, as cafes in Japan start instigating skanky maid themed dress codes for their barely legal waitresses!

    At one cafe, maids get down on their knees to stir the cream and sugar into the customer’s coffee.

    Yasunori Tomita, a 32-year-old salesman and first-time customer, said, “I don’t have a girlfriend at the moment so getting pampered by maids will have to suffice for now.”


    “Being a maid is all-consuming,” said Hinaka, a maid at Royal Milk Cafe who goes only by her first name. “I’m not acting like a maid here, I am one.”

    Aren’t we all, these days.

  20. Joanna

    Manxome, I really glad the medication worked for you!

    After years of pretending that my depression was situational and not chronic, I finally recognized that I’ll have to take medication to make sure I don’t slide back into paranoid suicidal thoughts. I’ve found one that works except I gained 20 lbs and went from a size 6 to a size 12. I just gave away all the clothes that don’t fit any more. And my friends and family are all telling me how happy and healthy I look and how happy they are for me. But unlike Nia, I’m 48, not 17, so my days of hotitude are thus officially over! Seriously, I have to hope that Nia will get more support from her parents than from the doctors or the idiot writers.

  21. Joanna

    Whoops, that would be “I’m really glad…”

  22. Xtin

    When the swirling fog of crimson rage clears for long enough for me to see through for a moment, I think A White Bear nails it by pointing out the vicious subtext that sanity is banal and somehow bourgeoise, and when attached to A Major Hottie, madness is romantic and something you could totally pitch to some assmuncher producer at Universal. Not to mention, you know, unless they’re crazy, hot girls are dumb, so at least the paranoia and delusions break up the monotony.

  23. manxome

    White Bear: “A friend of mine was put on an anti-seizure medicine that made her lose a ton of weight really fast. It was scary. Her metabolism cranked up to gerbilic levels. She went into her doctor to ask about why she was wasting away and if her organs would fail, and the doc said (direct quote): “Wow. Usually the ladies don’t exactly complain about that particular side effect. Heh. If you know what I’m sayin’.”

    Topamax, right? That’s the only med I ever lost weight on. It also made me forget where I put my brain (thus it’s common moniker “Dopamax”), and is the only one that stands out as a weight-loser in the psychotropic meds category (thus why ‘pro-ed’ wannabes try to get put on it all the time.)

    Docs constantly write off side effect concerns as being “non-compliant”. Psych docs are a particular thorn in my side, I’ll leave it at that.

    Clare: “No, you are coherent. Beautifully coherent. You just keep being that coherent and buy all the pants you need and eat all the cakes you want. Rock on with your cohent-ness (and I’ll go buy a dictionary).”

    Heh, thanks, Claire. I could rant on psych stuff all day. Basically the point was that people who are dealing with mental illness are expected to put up with all kinds of nasty side-effects, lest they be treated as diffucult ‘non-compliants’. There are some serious side-effects, and you can pretty much count on dealing with several with each med. If you’re lucky, you’ll have few, and they’d be the milder, manageable sort.

    One-time weight gain is just such a non-issue when it comes to having your mind back, and not having to deal with organ problems.

  24. Donna

    Hattie, you are correct. Beautiful young women are not real people and their brains aren’t real brains. Poor Nia’s broken mind is merely an obstacle to the dude in his quest to possess her juicy bits. Plus, I’ve noticed it’s axiomatic in the Adam Corolla jerkwad contingient that that The Psycho Chicks are the Hottest!

  25. A White Bear

    This may be slightly off-topic, but since Xtin brings up the film industry, I’m tempted to ask:

    What’s the deal with movies about dudes who are going insane being “cured” by the love they receive from a good woman? I honestly fell for that shit, as a lot of other people I know, too. These films are based on the rhetoric that the “crazy” in a man is merely an overlay that, if properly pulled back by love, can yield the perfect dude. Any of us who’ve found ourselves in the position of holding together someone who should be on meds or getting treatment of some other kind know that there isn’t some reward of a grateful, safe lover on the other end. There’s just co-dependency and danger.

    I’m thinking of A Beautiful Mind (man drops meds to screw hot wife whose love alone tames his paranoia), Punch-Drunk Love (violent angry man prone to rages finds woman who likes rough sex to focus his energy), and many many others I can’t remember right now. Is it responsible to be peddling the myth that the right kind of love = psychiatric care? After Punch-Drunk Love, all I could think was, the first time that guy imagines she’s cheating on him, he’ll bash her brains in.

    What I imagine happens is that some screenwriter (say, PT Anderson) has always felt a little weird, a little out-of-the-loop, so he invents a character who is an exaggerated, actually insane version of himself. The screenwriter falls in love with a quirky chick (say, Fiona Apple) who makes him feel normal and cared for, so he invents a love interest who makes his insane character feel sane, and thereby makes him sane. But there’s a big difference between quirky social awkwardness and potentially violent problems in brain chemistry.

    Reverse the gender roles and it’s Benny and Joon, too. Ack!

  26. Hissy Cat

    Dear sweet jesus in a jalopy, I just read that train wreck of an article and wish so much that I hadn’t. It’s not just insulting to women. It’s insulting to mental health patients of all genders. It’s insulting to mental health care practitioners (I’ve been to my fair share, let me tell you, and even those who I clashed with were not the blank, dithering turdfaces described here). It’d insulting to the 19th century novels from which the authors take their inspiration. Its insulting to readers in general and even, I think, to the pipes in the hospital building it describes so unconvincingly.

    Seriously, hands up if you think “Nia” is totally ripped off from a Lifetime original movie.

    On a not really related note– manxome, I take Topamax. Clearly, it isn’t for everyone, or even most people, but I had tolerating other drugs, and Topamax works for me. I tolerate the side effects well– nausea abated after a few weeks and my appetite returned. I don’t do the anxious overeating/ binging I used to do (purging, for me, was never an issue), but for me, that’s a good thing. I don’t get the dopey feeling you mention. I don’t think Topamax makes me, you know, stupid. What’s my point? I’m not sure.

    Man, that article was the worst thing I ever read. It makes me mad at my eyes for letting it in my brain.

  27. Meganann

    Fuckin’ yikes!!!

    So…her psychaitrist wanted to fuck her while she was crazy, but was sad that his perfect little Pygmalion got fat. Because women do not, under any circumstances, have the right to get fat.

    Above all else, it strikes me how crippling this young woman’s beauty was. Everyone around her objectified her. Now maybe she will be able to look around the world and be seen as a person rather than an object. Sounds like a bonus to me.

  28. Les

    This article grrrrrrrrr!!!!

    As for movies: I once fell in love with the beautiful but insane. Oh my go, I am not doing that again.

  29. Twisty

    It’s been a rough day here at Patriarchy-Blaming HQ, and I’d like to thank all y’all for the lovely insights in this thread. It’s great when the readers do the blaming for me. I second the awesomeness of A White Bear’s analysis. And “lumpen” really stuck in my craw, too. And thanks, Manxome, for the autobiographical footnotes.

  30. manxome

    Hissy Cat, Just know that I’m raising my hand to agree that it sounds like some crappy movie ripoff.

    I keep going back to the claim, “names, details and locations have been changed.” Does that make this fiction of not? Doesn’t matter. The author is a psychiatrist. This is what came out of his head. Eww.

    “I don’t think Topamax makes me, you know, stupid. What’s my point? I’m not sure.”

    Me neither. Different people, different effects. Moreso, it seems, than with meds for most other things. So much so that you feel like a lab rat, hoping that you get put on one that is tolerable and effective for you sooner, rather than later.

    Sorry for the excessive autobiographical-ness. Back to general outrage.

    The author is a psychiatrist. Eww.

  31. Hattie

    I refuse to diet. I’m not fat. But I am big. So what. When I was thin, I smoked, felt sick a lot of the time, and was miserable. Now, age 66, I feel wonderful. I get sniped at a lot for not understanding how low class it is to be big, but I have escaped that ravaged look.

  32. piehat

    Along the lines of what tigtog and meganann (and maybe others?) have said, it seems like gaining weight probably helped this girl to be more sane. If you’re a paranoid schizophrenic convinced people are staring at you and talking about you all the time, it can’t help for that to really be true.

    I was actually giving this article and Nia’s doctors the benefit of the doubt until I got near the end. I mean, it’s reasonable for a doctor to try and find a different medication if the one a patient is on is causing rapid weight gain, which does have potential negative health effects. But you guys are all completely right. The way this idiotic article puts it, this girl’s identity is irrelevant, and the only valuable thing about her is her appearance. And if Nia can’t see that, she must still be a little crazy. Sickening and insulting. I just really hope that her doctors’ views have been distorted here and it’s just the authors of the article who think this way.

  33. robin

    White Bear’s insightful comment 51 was exactly what I was going to say –
    the demeaning, sexist, woman-caging romanticization of a beautiful woman in the throes of madness is just revolting.
    I wish upon every one of those patronizing jerks of doctors just a minute of the terrors of certain mental illnesses so that they can have a little understanding of what their patients know too well. And while they’re at it, they can straighten up their stupid faustian-bargain metaphor and realize that a woman’s soul ( the soul being sold to the devil in the Faust legend) does not reside in her beauty.

  34. Liz

    Twisty, I hate so much that you’re having a rough day over at PBHQ. Sometimes the whole universe just sucks.

    And manxome, I join the others in thanking you for shedding light from your personal experience. For some reason, this totally deranged article makes me see red redder than any other blameworthy post ever has.

  35. robin

    wishing you much respite from the stuff that’s getting you down.
    We adore you and you expand our horizons greatly. Please feel better soon.

  36. Burrow

    Bleach, I need bleach!

    *fuming* Anything I wanted to say has all ready been expressed really well, besides the fact that I couldn’t write anything coherent after reading that anyway. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

  37. Richard

    You miss the point of doctors’ dilemma. The goal of mental health treatment is getting the patient back to what is referred to as one’s “baseline personality”. Nia had NOT returned to her baseline after being given the drug that cured the voices. There was concern that she was just replacing schizophrenia with obesity, BOTH of which are serious health issues. The fact that Nia was not concerned about obesity made the doctors wonder if she was really as well as she appeared. The article says this. Under your theory, preservation of her beauty is all that mattered to anyone who was treating her. However, if this had been true, then no treatment at all would have been recommended as she was already beautiful. You can’t credibly argue it both ways.

  38. kathy a

    horrible article. don’t you think this is a slightly-fictionalized account of the junior doctor’s own stupid patriarchal garbage? what a jerk. little does he know, if he is not lumpen already, he may be one day soon. or lumped upside the head — one or the other.

    manxome, you are terrific!

    twisty, best wishes for dinner tomorrow. with luck, there will be no more news like this between now and then.

  39. Ancrene Wiseass

    Holy moley!

    What an utterly contemptible piece of horseshit.

    The most bizarre aspect of the article to me was the instant assumption that Nia’s not minding all that much that she was fat, so long as she wasn’t experiencing psychotic delusions, was probably a sign that she was still crazy.

    Dude! Are you fucking kidding me? Not only–as tigtog and others have said–is she now free from the oppressive, unprovoked, unwanted attention she got for her appearance, but she doesn’t think there are trains full of people who hate her running through her backyard or that the newsreaders are after her. She isn’t being leered at by “attentive” male doctors or being stalked by fellow mental patients. She isn’t curled up alone in her room with the radio turned down low.

    Sounds like she’s got plenty of reasons to be happy to me!

    It’s the patriarchal assholes behind the “happy-fat-chick=crazy” equation who are insane. Not Nia.

  40. kactus

    This was brought up in a comment thread over on feministe, so I’m just going to quote piny’s response because she says it so much better than I could:

    “Nia spent the days isolated in her room. The other young people in the unit found her intriguing. One boy of similar age who had been admitted with mania became instantly infatuated with her. His adolescent urges and manic disinhibition were a fertile mix and the staff found him trying every trick in the book to get into her bedroom. It’s remarkable what can be contrived, even in a locked ward. One night, they were found in bed together. Nia was put on one-to-one observation.”

    …I’m sorry, gentlemen, what do you mean to say here? I don’t think it’s come out quite right. Because I read this and it seems a little unclear, a little equivocal, a little misleading. There’s this word lurking between the lines, I wish I could remember it, it’s on the tip of my tongue, starts with “r” and rhymes with, I can’t believe you assholes would wail and gnash your teeth over some pudge on a teenage girl and then turn around and softpedal RAPE.

    That’s the one! Rape. Yes, rape. She was raped. He raped her. This was rape. Attempted rape, maybe; “in bed together” is a little vague. (I’m sure that wasn’t intentional.) You remember: the word we use to describe some guy forcing himself on a woman, carnal knowledge without her consent and all that?

    “Sexual assault” would have worked too, really. “Stalking” and “harassment” would have been gravy. “Criminal negligence,” while you’ve got your notepad out. We’re not picky over here in feministland.

    Let’s show our work, shall we? You’ve provided such a florid description of her madness. It’d be a shame to waste it now that we’re trying to talk about what actually happened.

    Amazing, infuriating stuff, that.

  41. Ms Kate

    I wonder if some of her “beauty” was actually her fragility and waif-like Ophelia thing going down?

    Now, I could understand experimenting with meds if one worked for her but made her so heavy so quickly that her health otherwise deteriorated. That is enough of a warning sign to try something else. But if “something else” does NOT work at other than toxic doses or at all, fat is what she should be.

    Particularly if that is what she herself chooses. We be talking 17 here, people! Where the HELL is the VOICE of Nia in this article? Anywhere to be found?

  42. A. Nony Mousse

    I was a big girl, but fully manic when I started Lithium. I was told that I would gain weight and shouldn’t exercise much, etc. etc. etc.

    When my mind cleared and the clonipin ran out, I found myself losing weight. Why? No more compulsive eating. I also ignored the exercise advice and chug lots of gatorade if I’m in for a sweaty day.(replace electrolites – very important).

    Of course, I’d be thinner if I were nuts …

  43. morgan

    “She blended in, lumpenly.”

  44. morgan

    Sorry, for some reason the rest of my post got cut off. That quote above is from the article, showing just how sensitive the journalist is.

  45. kathy a

    no, nia’s voice is not here. except, she said the voices finally went away, and she didn’t mind the weight gain. those are the two most salient points, but they kinda got lost.

  46. ismnotwasm

    Having worked a bit with the mentally ill, this is the biggest bunch of bullshit I’ve read in a long time. Weight gain is a common side effect of psychotropics, and I’ve seen more than one “beautiful” girl gain weight. And they’ll tell you it’s better than sleeping in squats talking to themselves or the crack addicts nearby,
    eventually ending up in 5 point restraints when their mental world collapes. Nice how this young woman had such a supportive family. Many don’t.

    So one of my questions is, what exactly was it about this particular young women that was so ethereal? Tall, thin, nymph-like desirablity combined with vulnerablity? What? This is supposed to be unique?
    Mental institutions are filled with people that look all kinds of ways,–young men and women scarred from self-mutilation to very charming,very handsome young men who have sociopathic personality disorder to classically beautiful bi-polar women who are in such a manic phase, their beauty is covered with extreme makeup.
    Jesus, that is one disgusting article that degrades women and the mentally ill so effortlessly it could have left me speechless if it hadn’t pissed me off.

  47. CafeSiren

    Okay, 1 stone (14 pounds) a week is a lot, and if it seemed that the authors’ concern was the potential health problems that could result from such sudden weight gain, I could almost forgive them.

    But do the authors ever say “My god, she could suffer severe health problems”? Hell no. Not once. It’s all about her appearance. And it’s not even that she’s upset (she’s not). Rather, it seems that she’s committing the unpardonable offense of depriving other people of the inherent privilege they have to objectify her.

    The fact that they never even mention her physical health in this context shows that they don’t give shit one about this girl. She exists solely as an object to be fetishized, both for her beauty and her disease. Effective medication has removed both of these, and now she’s just an ordinary girl. God forbid.

  48. CafeSiren

    And by the way, dammit — if the author is going to try to use some made-up derivitave of the word “lumpen”, he should at least look it up. It’s about socio-economic class, not about appearance. Unless, of course, he really does mean to say that her altered physique has cast her down from the near-angelic to the status of plebeian social outcast (skipping entirely over acceptable humanity). Which, now that I think of it, may be the entire point of the article.

  49. Arwen

    Twisty, I would like to complain about your comments policy. You can’t post this and expect me to comment in any coherent, intelligent manner. Because all I can say is:
    “Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.”
    Thank you.

  50. emjay

    My ex-partner’s mother hated me for being a fat Jewish lesbian and would tell me to my face that I needed to diet. (My ex was also two of the three, and she didn’t appreciate those qualities in her daughter, either.) Ex-mom-in-law also suffers from untreated paranoid schizophrenia. There was never any question in my mind that I had the better deal.

    Those of us on psychotropic drugs put up with plenty to be able to get through the day. To keep my depression at bay, I’ve dealt with weight gain, weight loss, stomach distress, headaches, and loss of sex drive. For the most part, all of them are worth it if it means I am a functional human being and not spending months in bed crying.

    How unsurprising that doctors could be so entrenched in the patriarchy that they would find it problematic that a young woman wouldn’t buy into their standards of beauty and wouldn’t think being fat was worse than insanity. After all, isn’t it better in our culture to be dead than fat?

    I’d like to know if the male patient in Nia’s bed was there because she wanted him to be, or if he took it upon himself to go there. If it wasn’t by her choice, well, lots of women without mental illnesses have gained weight after sexual assault or abuse to make themselves feel that the are less attractive to would-be assailants or abusers.

  51. mythago

    Wow. There are not enough baths in the world to scrub off the ick from this article.

  52. Betsy

    Thanks for the heads up, Twisty. Everyone, write the bloody editor! Here’s the letter I just sent:

    To the editor:

    I was astonished at the tone of the article “Beautiful Madness.” The insensitivity and sexism of the belief, apparently shared by both the psychiatrist and the authors, that somehow, being “sane and fat” is as tragic as being “beautiful and mad” is beyond offensive. If the doctors were concerned about her health, rather than her appearance, then the authors should not have focused on their distress that “Nia’s *features* were being corrupted.” And here I thought women’s minds were at least as valuable as their bodies. Silly me.

  53. TP

    It’s truly terrifying that such deluded, sexist fuckwits are allowed to prescribe medication to very vulnerable people. That they are considered capable of making decisions on their behalf, believed to be in their best interests, is fatally flawed as demonstrated here.

    I hope that Nia’s case can help them to realise that being sane and fat is a damn site better for your helth and well being than being schizophrenic and hot.


  54. Kaka Mak

    Why am I not ever surprised by this?

  55. DrSue

    HissyCat, as a mental health professional,I thank you for your statement that we’re not all like that, and thank you, also, everyone who shared personal experiences.

    Paranoid schizophrenia usually does not occur in a cultural vacuum. That is, there is a genetic component, but the disorder tends to be kicked off by a stressor. It seems likely that “Nia”‘s paranoia was induced, at least partly, by the realization that people really were looking at her and talking about her, and not in a reassuring way. Not only did the medication address the organic component of her schizophrenia, it took away the stimulus for others’ aggressive and disordered responses. Maybe that’s why the meds that didn’t make her gain weight didn’t work so well–just a thought.

  56. whyme63

    “She started to take on the shape of many of the chronically mentally ill. Her jawline collapsed below puffed-out cheeks. Her stomach sagged above her jeans.”

    Yeah. Because fat people? Are CRAZY.

    I think this story made my eyeball pop right out of my head.

  57. Christopher

    What. The. Fuck.

    The authors of this piece have to be putting us on, right? Nobody’s this fucking sexist, right? RIGHT?!

  58. weeza

    It seems to me that the doctors ‘caring’ for Nia had no experience of what it was like not to be alone inside her own head. I’ve not experienced ‘other’ voices so I can only imagine the relief she felt when they stopped.

  59. laughingmuse


    I cannot believe – CANNOT! – that the person overseeing her case was concerned when his patient WASN’T concerned with her weight gain. After coming out of a personal hell of schizophrenia, why the fuck would you care about gaining weight? The horrible burden of invisible voices and torment is gone.

  60. Kyra

    They honestly think she should have more of a problem with people *ignoring* her, or brushing her off, than she does with the people in her head deliberately tormenting her?

  61. Dim Undercellar


    I doubt the ability of a paranoid schizophrenic in full psychosis mode to give informed consent to any sexual liason. I would call that rape even if she had said “Come take me, big boy!”

  62. Clare

    manxome and everyone on the board who fights the good fight to get the right medication, it’s better to be sane with side effects than insane without them. Most of the time I just try to decide which side effects are tolerable and which aren’t. Dry mouth, tremors, low sex drive, weight gain – why not? At least I’m not suicidal. What SUCKS is when you put up w/ the side effects and you ARE in your right mind and people decide to tell you that you’re not really ok. For Nia, apparently choosing to not hear voices coming from a train in her back yard or through her television was a good exchange for some weight gain (and no one said obesity, Richard, and even if they had, it would still be HER FRIKKIN’ CHOICE). For me, I have 100000000 emotions and strong beliefs and no amount of medication is going to change that (well, technically, I could be drugged into submission, but it would have to be against my will). So when people say that I’m too emotional, I’m too angry, I get upset to easily, I should get my meds checked, I want to SCREAM. I need my meds checked when I can’t get out of bed, when I want to jump off the nearest bridge, when I’m convinced against all logic that the sun will never shine again. The other stuff, that’s just my personality. I’m a loud, emotional, opinionated woman. I don’t plan on taking medication for that. The Nia story just reminded me how much woman are expected to act a certain way. If you don’t, there must be something wrong with you. For those of us who take medication, if we express ourselves in unpopular ways, it must be our medication. It can’t possibly be our own personalities.

  63. A White Bear

    Absolutely, Dim Undercellar. This is something I learned as a very hard lesson when I was dating someone whose paranoid schizophrenia was just starting to show itself. He was incapable of giving any meaningful “consent” to sex. I often assumed that, because he initiated intercourse, that I could then have sex with him. Afterward, he would sometimes burst into tears, try to kill himself, have fantasies that he had “hurt” me, or scream that I had raped him. Only years after I separated from him did I realize that, yeah, I did rape him. The guilt is immense.

  64. manxome

    “You miss the point of doctors’ dilemma. The goal of mental health treatment is getting the patient back to what is referred to as one’s “baseline personality”. Nia had NOT returned to her baseline after being given the drug that cured the voices.”

    Richard, with all due respect, this is bull. What was her baseline personality? Thinness? The fact is that he is more concerned about how “peers” might react to her physical appearance, rather than how relationships in general will change as she and others adjust to them without psychosis being a part of the mix.

    “There was concern that she was just replacing schizophrenia with obesity, BOTH of which are serious health issues.”

    They are not equal. One is an immediate threat. The other is a 40 lb. weight gain that could put someone at higher risk for future ailments. Somehow I don’t think that even the good doctor was thinking about future health issues. After all, she used to be beautiful and great to look at.

    “The fact that Nia was not concerned about obesity made the doctors wonder if she was really as well as she appeared. The article says this.”

    The article does not indicate whether Nia’s baseline was to be concerned about obesity. Since we assume the higher weight is new for her, no “baseline” was set here. So any concern about it’s indications of her mental health are projection.

    “Under your theory, preservation of her beauty is all that mattered to anyone who was treating her. However, if this had been true, then no treatment at all would have been recommended as she was already beautiful. You can’t credibly argue it both ways.”

    They were required to treat her illness. They did it, reluctantly, after first compromising her mental health and physical safety so she could continue to appear physically attractive to them.

    It’s not arguing it both ways. It’s being appalled that others’ judgement of our hotness can even be put on the same level as our mental health.

  65. Joolya

    There’s a whole genre of pop song devoted to the theme of “This chick I like is really fucked up but in a HOT way”. Seriously – Twisty, you should post on this. I bet we can all think of examples. I like the one that goes “She says she talks to angels”. How hot is that? Almost as sexy as heroine addiction!

    Maybe this schizo girl should try some heroine with her psych meds . . . then she’d be a sane, skinny, and sexily devoid of agency. What could be hotter than that?

    Aside from the “lumpenly” which has already been addresses upthread, this was my favorite passage:

    “The deeper dilemmas of causation—of whether a problem begins in the brain and extends to the mind, or vice versa—need not detain psychiatrists working at the front line of mental illness.”

    What the hell does that even mean? And why is the author writing in faux-Victorian bodice-ripper prose?

    This was sickening. Not one quote from this poor girl – and the assumption BY ALL INVOLVED that she couldn’t possibly be happier to be chubby and not hear voices than thin and tormented! And that her friends might drop her, her boyfriend dump her, and her parents love her less because she’d gotten fat. What if this chick had been sane and gone to college, smoked pot, drank beer, and ate chips and gained the “freshman 15” like so many college girls (who are not depressed and anorexic) do? Would they expect her to be a social outcast? Because as far as I can tell, talking to people who aren’t there, not going to school, and standing stock still for five hours are much more damaging to one’s social life than a puffy jaw line. This is so insulting on so many levels, in addition to the atrocious murder of English prose.

  66. darkymac

    Howdy Clare,

    Thank the devil the medication has worked for you.
    You make so much sense.
    Which is pretty humbling for someone who’s never contemplated diving into the abyss but who gets told every day that she’s a loudmouthed witch.
    It’s taken me all my strength most of my days to fight back and keep myself from letting those bastards wear me down.
    Respect to you for fighting both the bastards and the illness.

  67. mythago

    It’s being appalled that others’ judgement of our hotness can even be put on the same level as our mental health.

    With the ‘others’, in this case, being her treating physicians, or at least the one who wrote the article. The whole tone was not “we were concerned with her health and with possible harassment about her weight”–valid concerns–but with the author’s personal attraction to Nia. That’s the creepy part.

  68. Clare


    I appreciate the props! I wish I was poetic and articulate like you.
    My illness is an illness but nothing compared to what the Nia’s of the world have gone through. I’m lucky – I know what’s wrong with me and my wee synopsis (sp?), and I have the help I need to take care of myself. I also have people in my life who take care of me when I’m too down to kick ass on my own behalf. I try to do that for others when I can. Good karma, I figure. Need me to call and yell at any doctors for you? Just let me know.

    I wish I was half as good at convincing the world that fat isn’t ugly, that women aren’t objects, that harassment isn’t ok as I am at keeping myself sane. Especially since all those things will drive a woman insane.

    I’m thinking of making myself a tshirt that says “I’m not crazy, I’m just pissed off.” Maybe we can find Nia and give her one.

  69. Fran

    Why don’t they call this article by the proper title; “The dillema of modern phsyciatry–Keeping Nia fuckable”.

    A day late per usual but I had to pipe in on this.

  70. whyme63

    And can I just say–Angelina “The Sexy Psycho” Jolie hasn’t helped to dispel this ideation one little bit. Ms. Concerned Global Citizen Human Rights Crusader needs to take a good look at the image she’s created, and own the damage done.

  71. Josef K

    Sounds as if the male gaze drove her crazy in the first place. If you have the male privilege of walking down the street unjudged, you’re not going to understand what it feels like to be stared at whenever you leave the house, and how it can unhinge you if you’re already vulnerable.

  72. kcb

    It’s been my unfortunate experience that most people simply cannot see beyond the surface of others *and* have been trained to see thinness as an overarching Good. It’s a yawning blind spot in our society.

    Thinness is so thoroughly culturally and corporately linked with good health, sexiness and overall success in life that even after my middle son was stillborn, I got complements on my pound-a-day, completely unhealthy weight loss even from friends and relatives who should have known better. “You look great!” they would chirp, knowing full fucking well that I was so grief-stricken that I could hardly eat at all.

    Nia needs new doctors, IMO, preferably ones who haven’t been brainwashed by the you-know-what.

  73. Twisty

    There’s an article in the the current issue of Bitch Mag about the bogosity of Hollywood’s love affair with thin white crazy girls. The author is a black woman who, not surprisingly, has a different story to tell about the realities of being black and crazy.

  74. Lindsay Beyerstein

    I started wondering what the doc really means when he says Nia doesn’t care. Is she indifferent, resigned, happy, or what?

    There’s a definite undercurrent of hostility towards Nia in the article. Maybe he’s pissed off at her for defying his injunctions not to eat. (“The dieticians came and went, with little effect.”)

    I can imagine a normal 17-year-old who’s just been to hell and back rebelling against injunctions to watch her weight, especially if they’re coming from a creepy psych resident. Olanzapine makes some people ravenously hungry. Maybe Nia just wasn’t willing to feel hungry all the time in order to please her psychiatrist.

  75. Galloise Blonde

    Prospect is supposed to be a left wing mag too.

    My brother was beautiful too, in fact, extraordinary. When I walked around with him, men, women, old, young, everyone stopped and looked at him. It was a bizarre sensation; being female and blonde I’m used to getting looked at, but being with him it was multiplied by ten. Six foot five, waist length white-blonde hair and a face like an angel — and not in a girly way. He has schizophrenia, he went on Olanzapine, he gained a lot of weight. In fact, its even possible he’s been in some of the same institutions as Nia, as my family is not un-adjacent to Cardiff. Now when I walk round with him, people just see a big, scary fucker and get out the way. (Being 6″5′ he looks big, rather than fat, but his face is puffy). Does he give a shit? Nope. I get the occasional pang myself, when I see him after a while but it doesn’t bother him one bit. He doesn’t even notice it. He’s sane, and that’s what counts.

    So, go on, ask me, have any of his doctors ever tried to change his meds to reduce his weight? Why, no, as it happens.

  76. manxome

    I completely missed Clares kick-ass righteous anger post at #62. One huge “ditto” from me.

    It’s not over when things are “stable”. While everyone else is granted the irritable mood, the poor night’s sleep, the laughing fit, and the moment of forgetfulness because it’s “normal”, you still must defend it as “normal” to people who wonder if you aren’t “slipping” because for you, “perfection” is the standard you must live up to. You are seen as potentially unable to judge for yourself. It’s an irritant at best, and becomes a blockade at worst, as your words and actions can be taken less seriously, putting you at the mercy of others ignorance.

    I may not know if I’m rejected sexually for my weight, and wouldn’t care if I was. I also may not know if I’m blown off professionally or intellectually for my struggles with bipolar disorder, and that makes a huge difference. The author’s of the piece might reach the conclusion that such a concern is not sane behavior. I just might tell them to shove it up their ass.

  77. Ms Kate


    You tell it like it is. I have dim memories of cornering my husband and saying “this is NOT about my medication working or not – it is about YOU becoming a patronizing asshole and treating me like what I think and feel doesn’t matter anymore!”

    We don’t put our human rights in escrow when our minds go walkabout. I could easily point out multiple international standards per the Helsinki Convention that were violated in this article, supposing that it is not fictionalized as much as it is romanticized.

  78. Alexandrine

    Hello Twisty, long time patriarchy blamer, first time poster here.

    This story made me angry because I know how much damage this kind of sexism in a psychiatrist who treats female patients can cause. My mother had the misfortune to be hot and nuts when she was a young woman, and the male gaze (and patriarchal stereotypes about women, for example that they lie, are all crazy anyway, etc.) aggravated her internal mental problems. She was raped by her doctor during her first stay in a mental hospital as a teenager in the 1950s. He, of course, got away with it by claiming she fantasized the whole thing. This abuse lead to my mother as an adult refusing psychiatric treatment that she desperately needed out of fear of sexual assault, which caused a great deal of pain and suffering for her and her relatives (like me!) who got to cope with the full brunt of untreated mental illness. She self-medicated with caffeine, alcohol and various drugs (most legal, some not), and in fact started overeating to gain weight both to discourage men from gawking at her and to combat feeling weak and defenseless. So she ended up fat AND nuts.

  79. Stef

    If people who take this Olanzapine don’t care much about what they weigh, it sounds like the drug makes them a lot more sane than the rest of us. Maybe it should be added to the drinking water.

  80. Melanie

    Ancrene Wiseass said:

    The most bizarre aspect of the article to me was the instant assumption that Nia’s not minding all that much that she was fat, so long as she wasn’t experiencing psychotic delusions, was probably a sign that she was still crazy.

    Exactly. That’s what struck me as well.

    Unfortunately there is a history of linking feminine sanity to grooming and beauty. eg. Hugh Diamond’s before (mad and ugly) and after (sane and pretty) photographs of women in ‘lunatic asylums’ from the 1850s or thereabouts. Elaine Showalter documents this and other examples pretty thoroughly in The Female Malady: Women, Madness, and English Culture.

  81. Clare

    I think we could be a super hero team. We could seek justice for all women who are mentally ill and get screwed over by their doctors. We could have a red phone just like batman and robin and a “bat signal”, except it would be a big “Rx” in the sky. The other women on the board could join us, and we could be an underground team of avengers. I’m sure someone could hook us up w/ a superduper car loaded w/ prescriptions that work with minimal side effects. Others could lobby pharmacuetical companies to test drugs on women, not just men. Still others could infiltrate mental health centers and weed out crap ass doctors like the ones that treated Nia. I even have a name: The Nia Avengers (although, for the sake of democracy and fairness, we should obviously all vote on the name).

    I’m ready. I think it’s time we all unite. Does anyone have a cave we can use as our underground headquarters?

  82. Liz

    Unfortunately there is a history of linking feminine sanity to grooming and beauty.

    When I was growing up in the 1960s, my mother did volunteer work at the state mental hospital as part of a program called “Vanity Is Sanity.” This program consisted of a group of “sane & vain” church ladies going onto the locked wards once a month to help and encourage the female inmates (whose participation in the VIS program was NOT voluntary) to apply lipstick, curl their hair, and manicure their nails. I guess the theory was that “letting themselves go” was not just a symptom of mental illness, but in fact a cause. Yet if a male inmate had dared to don bright red lipstick and wire bristle hair curlers, I imagine he would have been immediately constrained, sedated, and confined.

  83. Sharoni

    Alexandrine – that patronizing, “you’re just a woman what could you possibly know about your own body (or brain, mind)” attitude in male doctors is what drove me to the point where I will not tolerate having a male doctor examine, treat, or come anywhere near me. If I were dying of some dread disease, I still would not have a man as a doctor. There are also some women doctors out there who can be patronizing, but they’re generally farther and fewer between. Plus, women doctors have the same bodily functions and understand what’s going on. The only thing that’s going to cure male doctors is the downfall of the patriarchy.

    Twisty, may you blame forever.

  84. tisha

    Did anyone notice the question: “What would her boyfriend think?”




  85. Eliot M. Gelwan

    As a practicing psychiatrist, my responses to the article, and to your reactions, are here: http://theworld.com/~emg/2006_02_05_blog_archive.html#113963782881953466

  86. darkymac

    Hello Eliot M. Gelwan,

    I blame the patriarchy for your inability to come to terms with the response within the feminist community to your colleague’s offensive article.

    It isn’t clear to me, and I re-read your article, where you’ve explained that your colleague’s approach was **not** egregiously blind to the obvious relief from painful symptoms that Nia achieved through medication and was **not** obviously himself/herself responding disproportionately to their own hyper-sexualised image of a young woman.

    I couldn’t find anywhere in your article where you come to grips with the disgustingly patriarchal language used to frame the scenario. I won’t use extra space to list every smelly word because they have all been pointed out by the commenters in this thread.

    I will not engage with your characterisation of schizophrenia as a kind of over-feeling of everything. That is nowhere the point of the original article and adds nothing to the analysis in this thread.

    For the rest of your analysis of the side-effects of medication, what can a laywoman with almost every other member of her immediate family in the medical business say but:
    Ho hum, everything needs weighing. Let the patient in to the side-effects discussion. You may have a revelation.

    I look forward to a contribution here from a feminist practising psych that may engage with the basis of the outrage about the original article.

  87. Donna

    I got to this point in Gelwan’s article:

    “the issue is really that the impoverishment in schizophrenic illness is largely about a growing impairment in social reciprocity and empathic connection with others.”

    Couldn’t go any further, in a desire to spare my laptop the damage it would sustain by being launched across my cubicle.

    You see, the problem with mental illness in females is that it so often renders them unable to devote all their psychic energy to fulfill their sexbot roles. And this hurts other people, you know. Won’t you all think of the poor, poor, dudes in their midst who not only might have their tender retinas assaulted by the sight of a woman who is not only FAT, but *gasp!* isn’t even aware that she should be deeply ashamed of it. The horror! /sarcasm off

  88. Joel Sax

    As a sufferer of bipolar disorder, I resent that you used the stigmatizing term “nuts”. I have a hard time believing that people like you are more than ideologues. Compassion means transcending one’s rhetorical framework and avoiding insulting terms.

    “Nuts” is one that we bipolars don’t like outsiders using.

  89. Donna

    Joel, you say we’re ideologues like it’s a bad thing. So don’t worry, I won’t fault you for failing to trancend your own rhetorical framework, nor for failing to realize that this blog employs heavy satire and irony to make its points.

  90. Chris Clarke

    Donna, on behalf of myself and all my fellow failing-to-trancend-our-rhetorical-frameworks-Americans, I wish to complain about your derogatory and eviscerating word choice.

  91. Twisty

    It was only a matter of time before I got outed as an anti-bipolarite.

  92. Meg

    As an interesting side note, my roommate recently had surgery done on her gastronemius tendon. The surgery did not go as planned, and the tendon was severed causing her left calf to severely atrophy, and causing her to walk with a severe limp. Now, my roommate is extremely athletic. Her life goal was always to go to the winter olympics, and she understandably had trouble dealing with this news. She went to another doctor for a second opinion, and he told her that although she wouldn’t be able to wear high heels, most women wanted small legs. My roommate who used to run three hours a day, who regularly won her age class in triathlons, who could have gone to the OLYMPICS is being told that yeah, she will never run or even walk correctly ever again because some docter was a little too clumbsy with a scalpel, and the man tells her that at least she will have small legs. You can imagine how much better she felt after that.

  93. manxome

    Why, there is so much to love in the phrase “‘Nuts’ is one that we bipolars don’t like outsiders using”.

    Joel, as a sufferer of bipolar disorder, I resent that you used the patronizing term “we”. Please do transcend your condescending attitude and avoid the insulting terms.

    Hell, I’ll raise you a resentment with your use of “bipolars”. Surely, as keeper of all that is linguistically compassionate, you would be aware that there are actual persons with bipolar disorder who simply loathe being referred to as “bipolar” rather than a person who has bipolar disorder. It’s that whole “I am more than my disorder” thing.

    I suppose, though, that since I refrain from using such phrases as “I am bipolar”, preferring instead to say something like “I have bipolar disorder”, then by technicality I am not within your frame of reference when you say “we bipolars”. My bad. I withdraw my resentments.

    This does make me one of the “outsiders”, though. Perhaps I can be resentful of that?

  94. Chris Clarke

    Oh, incidentally, Twisty, if you click on the trackback to Mr. Sax’s post, you will see that you are appparently a political party as well, and that People Like You are just as resistant to the sage counsel of Mr. Sax as all those misguided Fat Rights Activists who fail to accede to his hectooring.

  95. Liz

    I would ask Mr. Sax why the ironic use of the vernacular “nuts” offends him but the similar use of “hot” right up there in the very same header doesn’t seem to phase him at all. Doesn’t the use of “hot” imply that there is a stigmatizing alternative state of being “not hot,” and thus also encompass an insulting term? Dude: transcend your own framework.

  96. Donna/Psychperson

    Just to let everyone know that the “Donna” above is not me.

    And I don’t have a problem with being “nuts,” because when I am, I truly am. Gotta have something to laugh about, since the disease of mental illness is so serious.

  97. zuzu

    Oh, incidentally, Twisty, if you click on the trackback to Mr. Sax’s post, you will see that you are appparently a political party as well, and that People Like You are just as resistant to the sage counsel of Mr. Sax as all those misguided Fat Rights Activists who fail to accede to his hectooring.

    He left a finger-wagging comment at my blog about how CELLULITE IS BAD and YOU’RE ENCOURAGING PEOPLE TO DIE and assorted claptrap like that.

  98. lexicon

    @ Ms. Kate in #77

    YES! Just like how my male roommate blames my “crazy” outbursts on PMS rather than his own bullshit asshat behavior.

  99. Kate

    Wow. But, really, why am I floored by this article? A few years ago, I read that a majority of teenage girls would rather lose an arm or leg than be fat. I cried over that fucktard factoid.

    A question that I hope some of you will want to discuss:

    Why is fat so hated by patriarchy? Yes, controlling women’s bodies is of the utmost importance to the beast, but why not control by making women fat? Which reminds of an Alice Walker story about a woman in a box being force-fed until she burst. Great story.

  100. littlem

    Yes, Kate, at the risk of derailing the thread (although the issue of being objectified by the male gaze is IMO very much at the center of both issues) I would like to discuss it.

    There are layers and layers here, but I read something recently (Pandagon? Feministe?) about the anorexic trophy wife/gf being an accoutrement of success for the male (I’m loath to use the term “man” here) who has succeeded economically in American culture (and it not mattering if she was wan and her health was poor as a result of her extreme thinness, as it was yet another marker of the couple’s success as “low class” servants could be hired to do any actual required domestic work, including child care).

    In keeping with that, I’ve also seen more ugly rage directed at fat women than men.

    What I DON’T understand, however, is why fat women enrage these males for “daring” to appear in their gaze, if they (the males) weren’t planning on being attracted to them (the women) in the first place. Is it an extrapolation based on these guys’ assumptions of entitlement that ALL women, at least theoretically, should be sexually available to them – and therefore those who have the gall to “defy” those “standards” should be bashed, literally and figuratively?

    (And anyone who wants to meander about in their own delusions humming “physical assault of large women does not happen”, please remove your head from your butt. I’ve personally witnessed some really sick crap.)

  101. pheeno

    Sort of touching on that, go look at the movie trailer for black snake moan.

    It features a 90 lb Christina Ricci who commits the female crime of being a “nymph” (theres even a handy dandy quiz on the website to find out if YOU are one too) being chained to a radiator by Samuel L Jackson throughout the whole movie.

  102. monika

    For some reason, I am unable to read the original article (it says I need to subscribe?) Is anyone else having this problem?

  103. Twisty

    Monika, this is an old post. When it was originally published, the article was free. Now it, like the drugs that keep cancer patients alive, costs money. That’s capitalism!

  1. Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » The Big Fat Carnival - First Edition!

    […] (Also commenting on this article: I Blame The Patriarchy, BattlePanda, Pandagon, and Shakespeare’s Sister, whose post is also linked in the “body image” section below). […]

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  6. at I Blame The Patriarchy

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  7. Rad Geek People’s Daily 2006-02-14 – Tuesday Lazy Linking

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