A couple of days ago I got a lovely massage. After two non-stop cross country flights, two 3- hour bus rides, and doing my workouts in the fricken freezing cold of New Hampshire, it was very welcome. And it added to the rage I would have felt anyway when several readers let me know about a woman who had just finished a half-marathon was denied a massage because, at 250 pounds, she was “too fat” for the tables. According to its website, at Natural Healing Center in Aurora, Colorado, the practitioners “are hand selected because of their training and ability, as well as their extensive experience and an innate gift as healers” Innate gift here having the meaning of ability to fat shame.
They go on to explain that “Healing is truly a “we” event. We build strong relationships with each patient so they have a partner in healing.” Unless you’re fat. Then you can you fuck right off.
My three hundred pound ass has had about a billion massages and never once was my weight a concern so I felt a bit confused when I read that Penny Wells, the center owner, claimed that a 165 pound man recently broke a table. According to theaveragebody.com, the average American man weighs 191 pounds so it sounds like Penny needs to stop buying her massage tables a the 99 cent store.
What was even more upsetting to me was that, in the reports I saw, the lead quote was the woman saying “‘I mean I’m not tiny, I know that, but I’m working on it.” Of course she is allowed to feel this way and do whatever she wants with her body. I just want it made clear that but it still it’s not just people who are trying to lose weight who deserves a shame-free massage. The truth is that everyone, of every size, deserves shame-free health and wellness care from a healing center where the uniforms aren’t “no fat chicks” t-shirts.
If you’d like to tell The Natural Healing Center what you think about this, you can shoot use this form to shoot them an e-mail.
Then I got a bunch of reader e-mails about “Dear Prudence,” Slate’s advice column, where a woman wrote in because she is concerned that someone else’s child is eating too much. Of course, being prudent, Prudence told her that if she is looking for her beeswax, she won’t find it on someone else’s kid’s plate. Just kidding! She made a video where she illustrated the little girl as, I’m not kidding or hyperbolizing in any way, having a pig face. I’m not linking or including the picture – you’ll have to google if you want to see this one.
Those of us who are mere mortals might suggest that, even if it was appropriate to food police other people’s kids – which it’s not – her snapshot view of this girl and her eating habits do not give this woman the information that she needs to make any kind of determination. Luckily for Prudence, she’s a psychic who can tell the future so she let’s us know:
“Unfortunately, what’s going to be going on inside this little girl eventually is going to be broken down joints, a failing pancreas and clogged arteries.”
Wow, that’s specific. While you’re at it Prudie – I can call you Prudie, right? - I could use next week’s lottery numbers.
But, Prudie says, don’t just keep your food shaming to yourself and an advice columnist, you’ve seen her eat two meals so go ahead and give her an eating disorder diagnosis and call the authorities (anonymously of course, since being a tremendous coward makes it easier to be all judge-y)
“And given that the parents seem committed to super-sizing her, I think it would be fair for you to contact this girl’s pediatrician. You can send an anonymous letter, and describe the compulsive eating. It might be helpful for an adult with authority to intervene.“
Hell, why not just kidnap the girl and keep her in the basement on a diet of water and celery sticks – OMGDEATHFATZ ARE COMING FOR HER THE MOST HORRIFIC BEHAVIOR IS JUSTIFIED!!!!!! Or, you know, not.
This is 100% not okay. It is terrible advice, and I think it probably says more about Prudie’s own issues with food and weight than it says about how to deal with other people’s kid’s eating habits.
If you’d like to share any thoughts on this, you can contact Sarah Trankle at 212 445 5330 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ll end today’s news trifecta with a little bit of win:
Julia Louis-Dreyfus chose to star in a commercial in which she first incorrectly guesses that a co-worker is pregnant and, when corrected, says ” “I would like to apologize to Betty for thinking that she was pregnant. Obviously she hasn’t dated anyone in forever!”
I have good news but I’ll give you a second to get over any pure rage you’re feeling at the idea that after mistaking a fat woman as pregnant the solution is to shame her by indicating the nobody would ever date her.
Good news: the commercial was pulled from Israeli television after the Yedid Association for Community Empowerment wrote an official letter of complaint:
“There are a lot of weight-challenged individuals in Israel who are treated in an irreverent and hurtful manner. There is no justification to illustrate a stigma which suggests a larger woman is either pregnant or simply too fat for anyone to consider going out with.”
I do not love the term “weight-challenged” but let me just say big ups to the Yedid Association for Community Empowerment for doing their part to have some basic human decency since Julia Louis-Dreyfus couldn’t seem to scrape any together.
I just try to remember that each of these things is another opportunity for tiny acts of revolution and an opportunity for more people to realize how far we’ve gone down a very, very bad road.
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