Celebrate the Human Form
We all have our own beliefs, and those beliefs are shaped by each of our individual experiences over our lifetime. In a recent letter to the editor [Feedback: "Wrong Spot for a Lingerie Ad," January 26], it was one reader's belief that the visual image of a woman in lingerie accompanying a L'ivresse Lingerie ad was "sexual and suggestive," "objectifying women." I would like to share my own belief about the image in the ad and offer another perspective as a boudoir photographer.
The woman is a beautiful figure. Most days she is a busy mom, wife, business owner, employee and all the things she needs to be for others. She owns this matching bra and pantie set because when she puts it on, it makes her feel beautiful.
As a woman who specializes in photographing women, are my clients objectified? No. The images are art and beauty — a form of self-care, self-acceptance, body positivity and empowerment — and the imagery reflects that intention: self-love.
The woman in the ad is sexy, powerful and beautiful, and she deserves to be seen. Being seen is love.
As a woman, mother, wife and a business owner myself, I support the imagery in the lingerie ad. We have nothing to hide, and a cheeky pantie makes the bum look amazing! Let's not live in fear of the human form but rather accept, embrace and celebrate it! That is my belief, and I will teach my children the same.
[From the Publisher: "Buckle Up," January 26]: Thank you for defending Tim Newcomb's cartoon! I loved it. We need good political cartoons. I appreciate that the publishers of Seven Days consistently back up their writers, cartoonists and designers. Keep up the good work!
Ridicule Is Instructive
Hats off to deputy publisher Cathy Resmer for her editorial defending Tim Newcomb's funny and ouchie cartoon poking fun at Vermont for never electing a woman to federal office and at former governor Madeleine Kunin's chosen designees for U.S. Rep. Peter Welch's seat [Newcomb, January 19; From the Publisher: "Buckle Up," January 26].
Good for Kunin for demanding equity, and good for Newcomb for poking fun at the candidates. If you can't take ridicule — yes, I'm using the R-word — and, most importantly, learn from it, you might not wanna be in public office.
Sometimes cartoons like Newcomb's take all the highfalutin talk right down to earth.
P.S. Kunin was once my babysitter.
I was more than a little dismayed to read Mary Alice Proffitt's letter attacking Molly Gray as a candidate for U.S. Congress [Feedback: "Anyone but Gray," January 19]. Why would someone resort these days to attacking a female candidate by commenting on her appearance and questioning her independent judgment? That's so 1970s. Not to mention Proffitt's casual tossing about of completely unsubstantiated insinuations — "heard firsthand some disturbing things." I mean, come on!
I'm tempted to defend Molly's smarts and her integrity — not to mention her federal and international experience. To any reasonable person, though, her record speaks for itself. And, in any case, we Vermonters can and should do better than this. Sexism and innuendo are no way to treat a candidate for higher office.
Jason Van Driesche
[Re "Flowing Downhill: A Panton Dairy Farm Is Defending a Lawsuit. Some Say Vermont's Regs Are on Trial," January 19]: Let me get this straight. People who made their millions in oil and gas — an industry that profits off the exploitation and mining of finite natural resources — are suing a dairy farm for polluting? You can't make this stuff up.
Who Deserves Blame?
Leave it to James Maroney to flip the script and question the question ["Flowing Downhill: A Panton Dairy Farm Is Defending a Lawsuit. Some Say Vermont's Regs Are on Trial," January 19]. With a fraction of the number of farms left here and ballooning numbers of grants, regs and agriculture department employees, why the pollution and algae blooms?
Not to worry; the government and industries will never admit a mistake, let alone change course. The lake was OK even without any municipal sewage treatment until the switch to liquid-manure spreading in the 1990s. We never had a diabesity and allergy epidemic until the switch from cane sugar to high-fructose corn syrup in all processed foods. We didn't see an insect die-off followed by birds and bats until we radiated the skies with cellphone electromagnetic radiation — though neonicotinoid pesticides aren't helping either, thanks to very large farms.
No need to worry; the blame will likely fall to "climate change" and therefore be insolvable — except with obesity, for which we can shame the large among us.
Love the Lake
What happened to "Don't do it in the lake!"? I am very concerned after reading ["Flowing Downhill: A Panton Dairy Farm Is Defending a Lawsuit. Some Say Vermont's Regs Are on Trial," January 19]. Our drinking water comes from the lake, and state regulators don't seem to be too worried about the manure contamination that is taking place, saying "It's a civil matter" and farmers have enough of a problem dealing with the pandemic instead of making an effort to help them address the problem they are causing!
The lake contamination is not a new problem; it has been studied for the last 30 years and is getting steadily worse. There might also be related health problems ["Deciphering a Disease: An ALS Registry Could Help Find Environmental Risk Factors," January 19].
Time for the state of Vermont to address this issue and deal with all the causes instead of putting its head in the sand and pointing fingers!
More of This
Vermont needs more people thinking like Jim Crook and others in your article ["Raising the Stakes," January 26]. The government cannot do it all. Cheers to you, Seven Days, for exposing these folks to the general public!
U.S. Vets First
[Re "Vermont's Housing Crisis Complicates Afghan Refugees' Resettlement," December 15]: I'm ashamed of our country and the policy makers who seem to think that Afghanistan refugees deserve more than the armed services veterans who make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom! Mad River condos for Afghans while our vets sleep in cars or tents and beg for handouts on the streets! Disgusting misuse of federal funds! Nothing against the misguided volunteers; their hearts are good, just not aimed properly.
After our guys are taken care of, then worry about Afghans.
["Sentence Served? Prosecutor Sarah George Offers Chance at Parole to Man Who Murdered His Wife in 1993," January 26] was a very disturbing article. Life without the possibility of parole should mean exactly that for murder cases. The idea that a state's attorney has the ability to resentence someone guilty of murder with the approval of a Chittenden County Superior Court judge is incredible but not surprising, given the slap-on-the-wrist justice system in Vermont. At a minimum, only the governor should have that authority.
As for Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George, I can only say: Who really cares what she stands for or believes in? But given some of her previous decisions, it's also not surprising. The idea that her personal beliefs trump the grief caused by Gregory Fitzgerald's actions to the family of the victim is really hard to fathom. Maybe the people in Chittenden County should really be careful whom they vote for.
It should also be noted, and is not mentioned frequently enough in cases like this, that the murdered person is dead forever — not for five, 10 or 35 years. In addition, good behavior shouldn't even be considered in capital murder cases.
In ["Frog Hollow Hires New Executive Director," January 19, online], about the new interim executive director at Frog Hollow, it is noted that their name is Daniel Zeese and they use "gender-neutral" pronouns. It would be more accurate to say the actual pronouns they use. There are numerous gender-neutral pronouns, and they are only gender-neutral when referring to someone whose specific gender you don't know or to a group of people. As soon as you are writing or speaking about a specific person whose gender identity you are aware of, any pronouns used are gender-specific, though they still may not allude to a binary gender identity. If a person is trans and/or nonbinary and uses they/them, ze/hir, she/they, etc., you are specifically referring to that person in their gender.
Additionally, in the quote from the president of Frog Hollow's board when she is speaking about Daniel as an "inspiring" candidate, she misgenders them. While you've edited her quote to use their last name in brackets twice, you did not edit her misgendering. Maybe this was an intentional choice, letting it be known that, despite trying to address allegations of discrimination, Frog Hollow's board still cannot respect and correctly use its new ED's pronouns, which I guess is good reporting transparency. But it is also poor editing and a painful experience to see the edits for Zeese's name twice in the sentence and still see the misgendering.
I hope that Seven Days and Frog Hollow keep learning to respect and correctly use pronouns.
Druschel is a trans inclusion educator.
- MATT MIGNANELLI
Congratulations to Jordan Adams on reaching his health and wellness goals ["Fat City," January 19]. Addressing mental health issues, building in more exercise and healthy eating — great! It's the rare person who doesn't need more of that. Going into specifics about a heavily restrictive diet that borders on disordered eating two days a week — not so great.
Every person's wellness journey is different and unique, and it would have been lovely if this article had acknowledged that and then stopped there. Sharing a thought such as "Yes, I exercised a lot, but you lose more weight from caloric restriction than from exercise" should be recognized as downright dangerous.
To be clear, losing weight quickly is not synonymous with losing weight safely or healthily. Diets that work for one person may not work for another and may even encourage unhealthy eating habits that cause more harm than benefit. Share your story and be proud of your journey, but choose your words wisely.
I'm writing with concern over the article "Fat City" [January 19]. Although there are elements of mental health and self-care, this article perpetuates the stereotype that "fat" equals "bad" and "thin" equals "good." Fat-phobia and anti-fat bias has seeped into many parts of our culture, and we are trained to believe that this is a moral truth. The author touches on the fact that he can comfortably walk around London all day and sit on an airplane. This hints that others do not experience the same luxury, but it stops short of recognizing that people who struggle with those types of bodies don't deserve to be treated any differently than he does after losing 100 pounds.
Additionally, there are some elements in this story that verge on disordered eating. "Doing 5:2 helped me completely redesign and reevaluate my relationship with food." This is an understatement, because essentially not eating for two days a week for more than a year appears to be an unhealthy relationship with food. This calorie count can trigger someone who is desperately seeking something to try. The nod to "iron will" is just plain upsetting. This article should more clearly note that this was a personal journey and not a prescription, as each individual well-being journey is different.
People crave the success that this author had. While the work is admirable, this article just falls short of being newsworthy while perpetuating a stereotype that harms much more than just fat people.
To continue learning, read Aubrey Gorden's What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About Fat.
Editor’s note: This piece was clearly presented as a personal essay. It was not a news story, an advice column, a how-to guide, a scientific report or a think piece about societal norms — and did not purport to be any of those things.