Showing posts from August, 2015

Taking up Space

I am feeling determined.

On tumblr I see posts every day about how girls want to starve their beautiful precious bodies to look better or wear that crop top or those thigh high socks and it hurts me inside and it makes me angry and sad that we have a society where people destroying their bodies is so common.

Once upon a time I was a small girl with a big belly who felt sad because no boys would go for her and craved male attention. I got male attention, I got it all over my thighs and my bum and they laughed at me and called me a slut but still I felt unloved and unworthy of love.

I stopped looking, but when I stopped looking I found someone I really love and even that did not fix me, because humans do not fix each other, they fix themselves.

I stopped eating and my belly shrank flat and my ribs protruded and my mind broke. I am still scared, so scared, of going back to that place.

I grew bigger, back to a healthy weight, back to stretch marks and daily exercise and going to the gym. …

I Disagree, But I Understand

I wasn't intending to publish anything until at least September, because I have actual work to actually do - both academic essays and my hustling paying off. But this wouldn't get out of my head.

Back in March an author called Tim Lott published a column on Comment is Free railing against left-wing purism. Certain sections of twitter promptly reacted with disgust that's actually still ongoing, questioning why Comment is Free would ever publish such trash (this is the same Comment is Free that's had notorious transphobe Julie Bindel writing for it, by the way, and that spawned an entire tumblr parodying its weirder articles, so I'm frankly not too surprised).

That is easily answered: hello, he's a reasonably notable writer who works for the Guardian. Also, assuming the Guardian has employees who actually know about the internet, they know an article like this will generate lots of discussion, debate and clicky clicky linky linky. Which means more ad revenue.


Some ranting about positive psychology and the self-help industry

There is a very appealing concept sold by the positive living industry: the critical positivity ratio, or the Losada line. First published in 2005 by the psychologists Marcial Losada and Barbara Fredrickson, their paper uses nonlinear dynamical modelling to show that people need a ratio of just three positive interactions to one negative one to live happier, healthier lives.

It's a brilliant idea, combining mathematical legitimacy and common sense into one weird old tip for being happier.

What a shame, then, that it's also complete bollocks. The critical positivity ratio was debunked by Nick Brown, a graduate student in applied positive psychology, Alan Sokal, a physicist most famous for trolling the journal Social Text by writing complete shit and getting it published, and the psychologist Harris Friedman. There were severe flaws in the theory - for example, in several of Losada's analyses the data used did not meet the basic criteria for using differential equations (con…