My Readers are NOT Idiots and Other Keen Observations

When people disagree with my blog, there are three main points that they tend to make:

1.  I am a liar.  It is impossible to be healthy and obese.  I covered that here.

2.  I’m must hate thin people and encourage thin bashing.  I find this incredibly offensive.  I covered it in detail here.  And Here.   And Here. And about a hundred other places.

3.  It’s fine for me to think what I want (even thought it’s obviously wrong and stupid), but I’m incredibly irresponsible for putting it in a blog because people will read it and choose Health at Every Size like I did and then they’ll die of fatness and it will all be my fault. Oh, where to begin with this one.

The diet industry in this country makes nearly 60 billion dollars a year convincing people they should want to be thin.  They are assisted by almost every major news and media outlet buying into the conflation of weight and health and giving us 386,170 negative messages about our bodies every year, along with extraordinarily irresponsible reporting. Then there is the multi-billion dollar beauty industry.  Self Magazine put 34 weight loss stories on their cover in 2010 alone.  That’s almost 3 cover stories every month for just ONE magazine, and that doesn’t take into account the fact that they choose nearly every model in every picture based on a single standard of beauty . Billions of dollars and billions of work hours going into convincing people that they should want to be thin and that thin and healthy are the same thing.

I am one woman blogging a few hours a week.

What I’m getting at here is that if my message is that much of a threat to the mainstream then I think that they should consider how weak their message really is, and whether or not they want to keep pushing that message.

Even more to the point, my readers (with the possible exception of the people who stumble onto this blog and make this kind of comment) are not idiots.  They are capable of weighing evidence and making their own decisions.

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve said on this blog that I’m not trying to tell anyone how to live, simply demonstrating an option. People are allowed to make choices that are different than your choices or my choices, and that in no way invalidates your choices or my choices. We are all the boss of our own underpants, and we are not the boss of anyone else’s underpants.  Why everyone except these commenters is able to grasp that I will never know.  Of course you don’t have to agree with me but I think that this is just a big sack of not-my-problem.

Published in: on May 29, 2011 at 7:38 am  Comments (20)  

20 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I would like to know how these concern trolls think it’s any better for someone like me who is fighting an uphill battle to accept herself at all to choose to continue the losing strategy of hating myself because I can’t be skinny rather than choosing the winning strategy of making healthier choices for my overall health, not because said choices might make me skinny. As well, when I was skinny I was at my unhealthiest. My hair was brittle and falling out and I felt weak and dizzy a lot of the time because I was malnourished from starving myself. So…hmm…
    Nothing else to say there!

  2. Amen, sister! Love how articulately make your arguments – it puts the trolls to shame.

  3. My new motto might be “be the boss of your own underpants, not mine.” I love that.

    This is excellent.

  4. Actually, Ragen, I must beg to differ. We obviously are all idiots because we have never heard anti-fat arguments before and need to be told everywhere, every time…including in our own spaces. We are also too stupid to know our role as fat people/allies, which is to bow down and grovel every time a Diet God comes to force upon us our penance and to be grateful or it.

    Seriously. Fat people aren’t allowed an ounce of self-esteem, any accommodation, or anything that doesn’t resemble 100% fat hatred because, allegedly, we are encouraging obesity. Yes, we have government programs that are out to make us all fat. People are constantly harping the dangers o thinness on TV.

    Keep on blogging. You’ll get used to the trolls and learn to laugh at them.

  5. Hi Ragen, I just discovered your blog and I want to cheer you on. You are covering a subject that is brushing against the mainstram of society and this will bring up strong feelings and harsh comments from some people. But the rest of us so need you and your outspoken ways. Please keep posting.

    • Thanks Cerise, I really appreciate the kinds words and the encouragement. I’ll keep posting as long as people keep reading (and probably even if they don’t!)

      ~Ragen

  6. I am so in love with your blog! I’ve just started reading the last few weeks and love the way honest, pointed, and funny way you say what needs to be said. I write about what is means to be female (reconnecting with my own femininity) and body image comes up often (thgouh I don’t write about it as well as you). May I put a link to your blog on my blog website?

    • Hi KellyO,

      Thanks you so much and welcome to the blog, I’m glad that you like it. I checked out your blog and I really enjoyed what I read (in particular the piece about wearing a dress, I hope that your son is feeling better), I’ve added it to my list of blogs to read. I would be honored to have a link on your website, thank you so much!

      ~Ragen

  7. Ragen, as one woman blogging a few hours a week and not getting paid for it to another…You can be the boss of MY underpants any time you want!!! :D

    • Awww, Thanks Dr. Deah,

      Maybe we can join forces and be Underpants Overlords? (I typo’d that on the first try and said Underpants Overlards – I think I might like that better!)

      ~Ragen

  8. Myself, I spent the first 26+ years of my life feeling that I had to settle for less because I was fat. I wasn’t able to lose weight and therefore be considered attractive and high-functioning. The slow realization that this was a long trick being played on me, and on all fat people, made me pretty angry. Maybe that’s what some of these haters are responding to– not you, but that your awesome message illustrates that they (like me) wasted a LOT of time feel bad, settling for less, and generally thinking ourselves ugly and lazy.

    To quote Lothar of the Hill People: It is a new idea, and so we must fear it.

    • I had to Google Lothar of the Hill People, excellent reference! I think that you are right- there are definitely some people who rebel at the idea that all of the self-hate and torture they’ve put themselves through may not have been necessary.

      ~Ragen

  9. Another winner! Good job, you knocked it out of the park, AGAIN! Sometimes you can’t teach certain dogs ANY TRICKS. Just remember, these are the people won’t listen, and refuse to learn! These are the same people, who when shown irrefutable proof the sky is blue, that instead of realizing the truth. They act out, putting their hands over their ears and shake their head. They don’t want to recognize the truth. These people really believe if they just keep their ears covered and keep shaking their head, then the truth will just GO AWAY! And you will too.
    Keep up the good work and don’t let them get you down.

    • Hey Lauren,

      You are so right. Some dogs just don’t WANT to learn any tricks – they’re just happy licking themselves out in the yard and that’s a perfectly viable life choice.

      ~Ragen

  10. On the contrary, your blog (and other wonderful body-positive blogs out there) keeps me healthy. Your blog reminds me that I don’t have to starve myself to the point of heart failure to be acceptable, beautiful, healthy…. Your blog helps me step back from the brink of my eating disorder and center myself again. Your blog is an inocculation against body hatred and self-destruction. Keep doing what you’re doing, girl! You’re helping a lot of people.

    • Hi Tina,

      Thank you so much for sharing that. I’m really impressed with you and I think that your story of finding the support that you need to stay healthy is really powerful. You’re one of my heroes today!

      ~Ragen

  11. I hope I am not an idiot, I like to think I can reason and search for myself the answers I need.

    I like the fact you present an alternate view that thin does not equal fit and/or healthy.

    I love that you encourage people to use their bodies that you encourage them to dismiss negative I am too fat to try thinking.

    As I have said I have been working out in the gym for over a year and I weight exactly the same BUT I am fitter, stronger, more condfident and painfree.

    If in time I loose weight so be it, but my primary reason for enroling was to gain fitness, improve my outlook on life and enjoy movement and my body which is happening and for that I am very thankful.

    • Thanks Kate,

      I’m feeling certain that you are not an idiot and I’m happy that you are having a good experience with working out. Keep kicking ass!

      ~Ragen

  12. I’ve been reading your blog for about half a year now, and I just want to say that you are both inspirational, articulate, and powerful. It is rare to find such authenticity and self-love on the internet in these cynical times. It’s always a pleasure to read your blog, and I hope that you know that for every person who comments positively on your entries, there are likely dozens, like me, who silently read and appreciate your words. Thank you for doing what you do!

    • Thank you so much Luiza, I really appreciate the kind words and encouragement!

      ~Ragen


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