Robert L. Crosnoe, You Appear to Be a Dink UPDATED

Dear Professor Crosnoe,

Congratulation on getting your article written up over at The Chronicle of Higher Education.   Too bad you appear to be a dink.  I have only four words of advice for you–find you a feminist.

Here’s the problem (and I’m sorry I have to quote so much from The Chronicle but most of my readers can’t actually read them online and I don’t want them to miss out): your article finds, and I quote,

Many obese girls skip college because of mental and behavioral problems associated with their weight, according to a new study by Robert L. Crosnoe, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin.

Obese adolescent girls, the study found, are half as likely to go to college as are non-obese girls, and those who attended a high school where obesity was uncommon were even less likely to enroll.

The study, which tracked 11,000 teenagers, also found that obese teen girls were more likely to consider suicide, have negative self-images, and use alcohol and marijuana than their non-obese peers.

By contrast, the study found little difference between the college-enrollment rates for obese and non-obese boys, leading to the conclusion that body image plays a greater role in girls’ self-concept and education choices.

“Obesity has been identified as a serious public-health issue, but these results indicate the harmful effects extend far beyond physical health,” says Mr. Crosnoe.

Let’s take a look again at what you say.  You say, “Obesity has been identified as a serious public-health issue, but these results indicate the harmful effects extend far beyond physical health.”

Bless your heart!  No they don’t.

What your results indicate is that it sucks to be a fat teenage girl in today’s society.  And, guess what?  It does suck.  In general, it kind of sucks to be a teenage girl in today’s society and, if you have something noticeably different about you?  Whoa, doggie.

But see, here’s the problem, you’re conflating a harmful effect of being a teenage girl–that your body is up for public scrutiny; that because it’s up for public scrutiny, people are free to (and often feel obliged to) let you know what they think of your appearance; that you must find some way of navigating the conflicting demands of appearing to be sexually available to everyone who wants you without appearing to be a slut; AND that, if you fail to meet people’s expectations, they will make your life hell–with a harmful effect of being obese.

You’ve proved that it’s not actually a harmful effect of being obese, because boys don’t suffer from it.

How can you not see that?

My second huge problem with your conclusions, based on how they’re typified here, is that, even if a lack of going to college is linked directly to obesity, it’s not the fat chicks’ faults.  There are things that are often a direct result of being obese.  You are obese; you can’t get the seat belt on an airplane to buckle around you.  Cause and effect.

But–you are obese; you don’t go to college?  No.

That’s other people making you feel bad about yourself because you don’t meet some arbitrary beauty standard and making you feel like you aren’t worthy of attending college.  That’s not actually a problem with the fat chick; that’s a problem for the fat chick.

Why would you reward anti-fat bigotry by suggesting that it’s the fat chick who should change?

Would you, if you did a study on college attendance and race and found that fewer black kids go to college than white kids because black kids face racism and bigotry that leads them to think they can’t succeed in college, ever write a sentence like “Race-related conditions have been identified as a serious public-health issue, but these results indicate the harmful effects extend far beyond physical health”?

I doubt it.  I think you’d see that it’s not the race of the person that is the problem, but society’s attitude towards people of that race which is the problem.  Why is that type of body hatred apparent and not this type?

Just wondering,

Aunt B.

P.S.  Argh!  Professor Crosnoe, NM has convinced me that you, yourself, are clearly not a dink, but have been misrepresented by the Chronicle in such a way as to make you appear like a dink.

I still stand by my original assertion that there’s something deeply dink-like and troubling about the Chronicle piece, but I apologize for not looking into you further to discover that you were not the source of the dinkiness.

My sincerest apologies to you.

Dropping Bombs in the Middle of the Story

Slate.com has a story about Muslim polygamy here in the U.S.  I will summarize it for you.  Blah blah blah some Muslim men have more than one wife.  Some Muslim leaders don’t mind.  Some Muslim women don’t mind.  Some do.  And so forth.

Now, you may remember Akon from such publicity stunts as dry humping a fourteen year old girl on stage and tossing some other fan off stage.

Ha, I’m sure some of you may see where this is going, but I’m reading along on Slate.com, wondering if I could put up with being a co-wife when, bam:

Similarly, Senegalese-American hip-hop star Akon casually revealed to a New York radio host in late 2006 that he not only had four mothers growing up but also currently has several wives at home in Atlanta. (He said he would go public with his “multimonogamous” family only if he had his own reality show. Just imagine it: Big Love meets Run’s House.)

Well, slather me with butter and call me a biscuit.

At the Vet

Mrs. Wigglebottom is at the vet. I am in full-on fret until I hear from my parents how it went.

UPDATE: So, Mrs. W. tried to bite the vet. Not my proudest moment as a dog owner. Also, apparently, her problem is in her knee. He wanted to do x-rays for another $150 and then send her to a specialist to do surgery. Apparently she needs a specialist because she’s “so big.” For the record, she’s sixty pounds. He says that there’s a danger her leg may atrophy as she realizes that she doesn’t need it and stops using it. Of course, as it is right now, she uses it 98% of the time.

So, I don’t know. We’re going to try giving her buffered aspirin twice a day and Dad thinks we should put an ACE bandage on it and see if that helps.

I mean, it’s not that she’s not using the leg at all. She almost always uses it, but sometimes you can tell that she’s not putting as much weight on it as she is the other leg. She only limps when she’s been curled up in the car or after she’s had to do something with her leg that she doesn’t normally do (like getting in and out of the bathtub).

I don’t know. I’m going to have to talk more to my parents about it and maybe see about getting a second opinion. I love my dog and I don’t want her to suffer, but I also don’t want to get sucked into shelling out a bunch of money on her for surgery if there’s some other way that we can address it.

And I’m confused about why he wouldn’t be able to do the surgery. I think of a big dog as being one that’s over 80 or 90 pounds.

I don’t know. Internet, advise me. Does this sound reasonable or sketchy? Should I call the vet at lunch and ask him to tell me what he told them, on the off chance they’re not relaying it correctly? And, if so, what questions should I ask? Also, how hard is it to get a dog to eat aspirin? Keep in mind that she eats everything from poop to tamales.

UPDATE, AGAIN:  I just got off the phone with the vet, who said that she’s got noticeable thickening of the knee tissue and he’s pretty sure, especially after talking to me about her activities, that she’s got a partial tear somewhere in her knee, either her meniscus or her anterior cruciate ligament.  But he wants to do an x-ray to make sure that it’s not a bone issue or, most unlikely, cancer.

If it is a partial tear, we’ve got some options.  We can make her comfortable and wait until it inevitably tears completely and then find someone in town who can do the TPLO procedure, which is going to run a couple thousand dollars.  He doesn’t do that procedure; he doesn’t know of anyone in general practice who does, but it’s got the best outcome for dogs like her.

I then channeled Exador and said, “Two thousand dollars?  How much to just chop her leg off?!” which worked well to bring the conversation back to the land of the sane, because, apparently, you can chop a leg off for a little of nothing (ha, it tickled me to hear my vet talking like a mechanic), but he’d want to get in there and just do what he knows how to do before we did anything as drastic as chopping her leg off.

So, I guess I called his bluff.

On the other hand, I am a weeping mess just thinking of having to take her to the vet and having her sedated for the x-ray.  Lord, folks, I really hope I’m the biggest baby you read or else I don’t know how you can stand the internet.

Anyhoo–I’ve got to talk to the Butcher because we’ve got to come up with the x-ray money at least and pronto.