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Monday Links and Weekend Eats | 18 April 2016

Monday Links and Weekend Eats | 18 April 2016 Posted on 18/04/20164 Comments
Ahoy, hello! My name is Jenny. I am a thirty-something human female from Manchester in the north of England. I enjoy rainy days and sad songs, custard donuts and salt & pepper chips and beer, lentil dhal and fried okra, X-Files and Twin Peaks, fierce fat heroines and mental health advocates, dogs and cats and otters and a very special beirdo. To paraphrase Sylvia Plath: "I blog because there is a voice within me that insists on writing lots of ridiculous chuff".

Hey folks, I sure hope you had a good weekend? I spent most of Friday and Saturday fighting a (minor) plague in bed, and nursing (read: assaulting regularly with an anti-bacterial spray until the trust drained entirely from our relationship) the poor wee pooch who is still suffering from her mystery snout problem (did you know you can follow her every move on Facebook and Instagram?)

Anyhow, here’s another small roundup of links from the past week, and of course some weekend eats.

Animals & Humans

  • Useless Creatures
    “Improbably, wildlife conservationists now also often hear the call of the useful. Along with a large contingent of eco-finance bureaucrats, they try to save threatened habitats by reminding nearby communities of all the benefits they derive from keeping these habitats intact. Forests, meadows and marshes prevent floods, supply clean water, provide habitat for species that pollinate crops, put oxygen into the atmosphere and take carbon out, and otherwise make themselves useful. In some cases, conservation groups or other interested parties actually put down cash for these ecosystem services — paying countries, for instance, to maintain forests as a form of carbon sequestration. The argument, in essence, is that we can persuade people to save nature by making it possible for them to sell it. They can take nature to the bank, or at least to the local grocery. They can monetize it.”
  • My Best Relationship is with my Dog
    Tova and I became a “we”: We’re moving in the spring; we sleep late on Sundays; we favor cafés with outdoor patios. I’d never been a “we” with anyone else: There had been me and there had been him, and there had always been more him than me. Love meant indulgence. But all those times I made Tova sit for her supper, all those tussles in the dog park that I broke up, all those moments I pulled her to my heel and let the squirrels go by—that was love.
  • Why we love dogs more than humansThe American Animal Hospital Association surveyed married women in the U.S. who owned dogs: 40 percent of them said they got more emotional support from their pet than their husbands or children. So why do we love some animals so much that we consider them members of the family, but eat other animals (that is, for you non-vegetarians out there)?

Body Positivity / Fat Positivity

  • My body doesn’t need a cure: Sizeism, classism and the big-business hustle of the clean-eating industry
    Our culture has always found ways to problematize poor people and fat people, often conflating the two groups in the terrible stereotypes of the Pepsi-swilling welfare queen, and the Cheeto-munching, NASCAR-loving boogeyman who willfully inflates healthcare costs for everyone with his abominable laziness. The great unforgivable ugliness of these types is their perceived lack of virtue: They don’t have the hustle or the grind to make something better of themselves, something more productive. Something useful. People who can afford to spend top dollar on personal trainers and “clean eating” must, by contrast, be go-getters, the holders of high-paying jobs with impressive titles. Thin bodies, or “healthy bodies,” are, therefore, associated with industriousness—which makes them inherently more worthy, more respectable. Clean eating is really about the purity of the soul. And if we are what we eat, then healthiness is close to godliness.
  • It’s True: Body Positivity Isn’t An Excuse To Be Unhealthy
    Health is not an obligation, barometer of worthiness, entirely within our control, or guaranteed under any circumstances. Body positivity and “health” (by any definition) or “healthy habits” (by any definition) do not have to be related to each other in any way. People are allowed to decide that their worth is somehow tied to how closely they are able to approximate the stereotype of beauty, or their “health” by whatever definition they are using, or how well they stick to their workout plan. What they aren’t allowed to do is suggest that everyone (or anyone) else has to buy into that.If you need to engage in sizeism and healthism, if you need someone else to feel badly about themselves so you can feel good about yourself, if you need everyone to make the same choices as you in order to feel ok about your choices, then I feel sorry for you. You are under no obligation to love your body, but you are absolutely allowed to love (or work on loving) the body you have – exactly as it is right now – no excuses needed.


  • Bye, Erykah: Why I’m Not Here For Badu’s Body-Policing Tweets
    Miss Badu must have her own unique definition of fair. I see nothing fair about policies that literally revolve around clothes when they are worn by girls and young women. Not only do gendered dress codes play into victim-blaming and slut-shaming, they help to cultivate and perpetuate rape culture. Supporting the policing of young girls’ attire for the purpose of reducing distractions for boys and men merely lays the foundation for the ‘she was asking for it’ defense when survivors of rape or sexual assault happened to be wearing ‘tight’ or ‘revealing’ clothing at the time of the attack.



  • The Art of Listening (Or Your Allies are More Important Than Your Ego)
    “As a writer, words matter to me deeply. I am protective of them and I take great pleasure in the delicious variety available to me. At the same time, as a writer who is also a vegan and an activist, I care about being effective and a considerate, reliable ally more than I care about individual words. If I learn that something I’ve said is unintentionally harmful, I can adapt. There are many words out there including, “I’m sorry. I hadn’t thought about that. Let me try again.” There are many options. My guess is that if you want to write off any critique as the “word police” coming after you, your advantages are clouding your ability to understand your own privileged status and clouding your ability to empathize. You need to take a step back.”
  • The dark side of Guardian comments
  • Call climate change what it is: violence

And now some weekend bits & bobs….. There was a cheeky (unphotographed) Chinese takeaway on Saturday night (my cravings were fierce) and a similarly undocumented quinoa ‘thing’ from Takk in Manchester’s Northern Quarter on Sunday afternoon. I’m afraid to say it was a bit Too Vegan for me. We had to depart immediately to Foundation Coffee House to have cake and hot chocolate afterwards…..

How about this little garden pal, too? My ~bird table~ (plastic tray nailed to deck rail) is proving popular lately!

This was the scene on our decking at 7.13am on Sunday morning. Unacceptable for mid April, I’d say.

I hope you all had a splendid weekend, folks, and aren’t too bummed out that it’s Monday!

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    1. Thank you! Ha I took that photo through the kitchen window so it isn’t too bad considering 🙂

  1. Thanks for all the article recommendations; I read “Useless Creatures” — I’ve had this lingering sadness about a young forest that will be torn down soon for yet more construction, and this article felt like a comforting hug. 🙂

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