I Know What Boys Like, I Know What Guys Want

Nothing to proveI often see women justify our worth based on what men think of us.   I was thinking about this because I heard the song “All About That Bass” on the way home.  In addition to the issues with cultural appropriation and thin shaming there is the message that fat bodies are better because “I’ve got the boom boom that all the boys chase” and that her mom said not to worry about her size because “boys like a little more booty to hold at night.”

I saw a post on Facebook that said “Men like meat not bones.”  So men are dogs, women are dog food, and women should strive to be the food that the men/dogs find most delicious?  And this empowers who now? Or the idea that fat women should feel good about ourselves because we can have sex with/date traditionally attractive guys – trying to fight the system that oppresses women by buying into that system as it applies to men.

Meanwhile Subway has a commercial suggesting that women should eat their sandwiches instead of burgers so that we can stay thin enough to look sexy in our Halloween costumes.  Ignoring the issues with the idea that Subway sandwiches will keep you thinner than burgers, or that fat women can’t look sexy in costumes, the idea that women should buy things because otherwise we won’t look sexy enough is, disturbingly, a tried and true way to sell beauty and diet products

These things always seem to ignore a number of factors – that some men aren’t sexually interested in women at all, that men’s attractions vary to include women of all sizes, that some women don’t care if men are sexually attracted to them (though this doesn’t seem to matter as much since it’s about the social reward for meeting the stereotype of beauty as defined by men,) that “men” and “women” aren’t the only gender categories, that men’s preferences are developed while they are steeped in a culture that shoves a single stereotype of beauty down our throats.  Oh, and THAT WOMEN’S VALUE IS NOT BASED ON WHETHER OR SOME  PLURALITY OF MEN WILL FUCK US.

The underpants rule applies here and so of course women are allowed to judge their value based on what men think of them, I’m not trying to tell anyone how to live.  I’m suggesting that if we work to dismantle a society where all women are encouraged to believe that they should base their self-worth on how attractive men find us – and where the way that we are treated depends on it in many ways – then each of us gets to choose how we determine our value. I think that the power is in creating a world where we have real options and then making an authentic choice, not finding a way to be ok with no choice at all.

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I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on October 7, 2014 at 6:36 am  Comments (42)  

Marathon Update – Disasters I Have Known

StuntsThis blog in two parts.  I’m writing the first part now, before I go running, I’ll write the second after.  I just started with my new IRONMAN Coach and preparing for the marathon is the first race on the way to the 2016 Arizona IRONMAN.  My training plan to this point has focused on run walk intervals and increasing the amount of time that I can run and the speed that I can walk. We’re trying something different for now, it’s still intervals but the idea at first is to make the runs faster and do the walk slower. (Fair warning – the info about time and distance will be vague since I’m paying him for the training, not for the rights to publish it on the internet.) Tonight is my first workout with the new style – it’s a long run using this style of longer faster run intervals and slower walk intervals.  I really have no idea how it’s going to go, and he was super clear that it may feel like stepping back at first, and this is our first workout, but I’m still feeling pretty stressed.

In my experience sometimes I can do much more than I think I can, but running isn’t something for which that has ever been the case. We are also trying some new nutrition stuff and so I ate and now have to wait 60 minutes to go on my run.  I’m trying to stay positive as the minutes tick by before I go out (currently t-minus 21 minutes and counting)  but I’m worried –  What if I just can’t hold a pace that fast?  What if I can’t finish the distance?

This is my first long run since we’ve started working together and we have some time before the marathon and lots of time before the IRONMAN (it’s one of the reasons that I decided to take a full two years) and I understand that it’s a process to dial in where I am and what will work blah blah blah but I just want it to go well.  Time to make final preparations and get going, see you in a few intervals… while I’m gone please enjoy this amusing song about a misunderstood kitty named Sparta

Aaaand I’m back.

When they write my biography, this will be the character building funny part. (As always, 10 points for getting the reference.)  Intellectually I know all the things that I already said – it’s a process, this is our first workout together so we don’t even have a baseline yet, but on a gut level I just want this to go great and it so very much did not.  I became apparent during the first interval that I was not going to be able to hold the pace over the time, I kept trying and failing for the first half of the long run, then I decide to cut the time by a third and that helped a lot, I still didn’t hold the pace, but I was able to keep it closer.

Unfortunately my pushing during the first half meant that I was super exhausted the second half, the last half mile wasn’t so much an interval run as it was me being unwilling to quit until I hit five miles.  (That scene from Burlesque where Cher says “I will never give it up” actually popped, uninvited, into my head.)

So I know that I have time, a great coach, and stubborness on my side.  I just have to keep moving forward and keep reminding myself that I decided to do the marathon and IRONMAN  because I wanted to do something that I’m not good at (and tonight is a big checkity check in that box) and I wanted to run right right at my fears.  So I’ll leave you with this video that I’ve always found super inspiring and remind you that you can read more about my IRONMAN journey at www.IronFat.com

Like this blog? Consider supporting my work by becoming a member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you. I get paid for some of my speaking and writing (and do both on a sliding scale to keep it affordable), but a lot of the work I do (like answering hundreds of request for help and support every day) isn’t paid so member support makes it possible (THANK YOU to my members, I couldn’t do this without you and I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support!)   Click here for details

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Here’s more cool stuff:

Buy my book:  Fat:  The Owner’s Manual  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details

Dance Classes:  Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details 

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on October 5, 2014 at 11:03 am  Comments (7)  

F*ck PETA

Angry FrustratedFair warning, if you couldn’t tell from the title, today is a swearing ranty day.  PETA is up to their old tricks, using fatphobia to try to convince people to become vegan.

This time it’s with a proposed ad that creates the optical illusion that a bus is tiling to the right because of a fat man with the slogan “Time to Go Vegan.”

 

Fuck you PETA.

First of all, I’m not excited about a campaign that tries to get what they believe is the ethical treatment of animals accomplished through the unethical treatment of fat people. Maybe they should change their name to PUTOFF (People for the Unethical Treatment of Fat Fatties) at least the acronym would be apt.

Also, I hate to break it to PETA, but a guy who looks the one in their picture could easily BE a vegan.  There are fat vegans.  And they are often treated horribly by the vegan community because of bullshit like this that suggests that a vegan diet will make everyone thin, that being thin should be the goal of a vegan diet, and that any vegan who is not thin is a “bad example” of veganism. If you really believe that being vegan is the right thing to do morally, then perhaps take a pass on creating a culture of shame, stigma, bullying and bigotry toward people who are doing what you believe is the right thing, because you don’t like the way they look.

PETA spokesman Ben Williamson told Creativity (where you can leave a comment by the way) that the ad is “a light-hearted way of putting across a life-saving message.” This is a stunningly clear example of why people who aren’t the targets of bigotry (including and especially those creating the bigotry) should not get to comment on the severity or likely effects of it.

I hope that the irony of using humor based on bigotry to forward what a group believes is a social justice issue is not lost on anyone. And I hope that PETA takes their fatphobic bullshit and fucks right the hell off.

EDIT!  A note about comments:   One of the things that I love most about this blog is how awesome the comments section is and how respectfully people generally disagree and stay on topic.  That said, I know that food choices can be something that brings up a lot of emotions so a quick reminder that this is a space to talk about the Size Acceptance and Fat Activism, Health at Every Size etc., it is not a place to moralize about food, or shame anyone for their choices around food – even if you’re passionate about your beliefs, even if you’re certain that what you believe is right and what others believe is wrong.  Those are conversations that you are absolutely allowed to have, you’re just not allowed to have them here.  I ask that you please respect my request and don’t make me spend a bunch of time moderating comments. If you have questions you can check out this post and/or feel free to e-mail me at Ragen at danceswithfat dot org.  I hope you understand. Thanks.

Like this blog? Consider supporting my work by becoming a member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you. I get paid for some of my speaking and writing (and do both on a sliding scale to keep it affordable), but a lot of the work I do (like answering hundreds of request for help and support every day) isn’t paid so member support makes it possible (THANK YOU to my members, I couldn’t do this without you and I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support!)   Click here for details

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Here’s more cool stuff:

Buy my book:  Fat:  The Owner’s Manual  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details

Dance Classes:  Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details 

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on October 3, 2014 at 9:07 am  Comments (37)  

Caffeinated Underpants for Weightloss?

Caffeinated UnderpantsReader Jenna sent me a link to an article that brings a whole new meaning to The Underpants Rule and has one of the best first paragraphs I’ve ever read:

“If you purchased caffeine-infused underwear because of promises it will make you thinner, federal regulators say you were hoodwinked — but at least you can get your money back.”

As I researched this story today I found that a lot of people used it to take cheap shots at people who have been made so absolutely desperate to lose weight by a society where there are very real negative consequences for not fitting a stereotype of beauty that they bought the shapewear, hoping that the promises were true.

Let me start by pointing out that the research shows that there is no intentional weight loss method whose long term success is more than a few percentage points better than caffeinated underpants.  Weight watchers own research shows that the average client loses 10 pounds, then gains back half of that by the second year. Then they stopped asking which is probably because research shows that most people gain it all back (with many gaining back more than they lost) within 5 years.  We’re currently seeing a trend of two year studies that finally admit that every single participant regained weight, but claim that it’s ok because they are still lower than their starting weight  – conveniently forgetting to mention that they’ve given themselves a three year cushion.

In fact, caffeine infused underwear might well be safer than dieting since you may avoid messing up your metabolism and levels of grehlin and leptin.  Plus you can take the undewear off, unlike dieting which leaves the body in a biologically altered state well after the diet is done. Not to mention that the underpants simply won’t change your body size, unlike dieting where you are most likely to lose weight in the short term and gain it back in the longterm which, when done multiple times opens people up to the dangers of weight cycling (aka yo-yo dieting.)

So instead of asking why people would choose to wear caffeinated shapewear (or shapewear at all…) why not ask why people laugh at caffeinated underwear as a weight loss attempt because it has a 0% success rate, while recommending methods that are only a couple percent more effective with major downside risk?  People are allowed to do what they want with their bodies but we need to start giving people honest information about the (very low chance of) long-term success and the rate of downside risk.  The FTC has taken another step by taking measures against the companies that lied about the effects of caffeinated underpants, but there are lots more steps to take.

Like this blog? Consider supporting my work by becoming a member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you. I get paid for some of my speaking and writing (and do both on a sliding scale to keep it affordable), but a lot of the work I do (like answering hundreds of request for help and support every day) isn’t paid so member support makes it possible (THANK YOU to my members, I couldn’t do this without you and I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support!)   Click here for details

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Here’s more cool stuff:

Buy my book:  Fat:  The Owner’s Manual  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details

Dance Classes:  Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details 

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on October 2, 2014 at 8:35 am  Comments (22)  

Living a Normal Life

No apologyReader Deanna sent me an article   (TW: The article has some problematic language) about how her city has purchased ambulances that are created to accommodate fat people. Predictably many people disagreed with the decision, calling medical care for fat people a “waste of taxpayer dollars.”

Obviously it’s horrifying that people feel like that whether or not someone gets life-saving care should be based on how they look (and what stereotypes are associated with that) – the idea being that people like them having ambulances and medical equipment that fits them is a basic right, but fat people having access to the exact same things is a “special right.”  Nobody seems to care that items that accommodate fat people also often do a better job accommodating people with disabilities and the elderly, as well as accommodating thin people. (And of course that doesn’t even begin to discuss the ways that racism, ableism, and classism affect the ability to get good medical care.)

The fact that people feel like this is not a surprise to me, it has been made perfectly clear to me that there are people who are happy to “win the war on obesity” by making fat people thin, or dead.  I don’t think that this actually represents as many people as it might seem, I just think that people who hate fat people also love making anti-fat comments on the internet.

The thing I want to talk about today is a bit more insidious. Even among the comments that were supportive of the city buying the ambulances there were several that said that they hoped that they found a way for people who need the ambulances to lose weight so that they could live “normal lives.”  I’ve heard this before from people who are taking exception to my decision not to diet. This is an extension of the problematic idea that fat people who deal with social stigma should solve it by losing weight, rather than by fighting social stigma.  In the “normal life” scenario the idea is that the world is created to suit people of a certain size (and often those who are currently able-bodied, neurotypical, white etc.) and everyone else should do what they can to fit that mold, rather than making the world more accommodating.  This puts the responsibility for those who aren’t accommodated on them to change themselves rather than realizing that the issue is the lack of accommodation.

Of course I can’t speak for all fat people, I can only speak for myself, but if you want to help me as a fat person have a “normal life” then I would ask that you focus on the ways that our society currently fails to accommodate fat people.  If you’re not fat a good place to start can be looking at things that you get as a matter of course that fat people don’t – ambulances and healthcare items are a really good example, so is something as simple as seating at a restaurant, theater, or on public transportation.  Ask yourself what a “normal life” means to you, then ask yourself what could be done to give that to fat people without making fat people thin.

If you are fat and you’re dealing with the idea that your size means that you can’t live a “normal life” it can be helpful to remember that the reason for that is that many things were created by people who ignored the fact that fat people exist.  That’s not our fault, though it can become our problem. As with any oppression, the people on the receiving end get to deal with it in whatever way they choose. Those who wish to help dismantle it would do well, as a first step, not to suggest that we should blame people whose lives are affected by a lack of accommodation for that lack.  Not being blamed for the oppression I deal with would be a great start to me being able to live a “normal life.”

Like this blog? Consider supporting my work by becoming a member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you. I get paid for some of my speaking and writing (and do both on a sliding scale to keep it affordable), but a lot of the work I do (like answering hundreds of request for help and support every day) isn’t paid so member support makes it possible (THANK YOU to my members, I couldn’t do this without you and I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support!)   Click here for details

Book Me!  I give talks all across the country about self-esteem, body image, health and wellness for people of size and more, and I’d love to speak to your organization. (I’ll be in Northern New York and Central Pennsylvania in the next couple of months if you are in those areas and would like to add an event to those trips.) You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Here’s more cool stuff:

Buy my book:  Fat:  The Owner’s Manual  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details

Dance Classes:  Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details 

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

 

Published in: on October 1, 2014 at 12:08 pm  Comments (27)  

Self-Esteem For Sale

Fat MoneyToday I have seen multiple commercials for diet companies and beauty products and it reminds me of something that my friend CJ Legare says – that the companies take our self-esteem, cheapen it, and sell it back at a profit.

The basic process is that first they make a normal human experience (wrinkles, eyebrows, cellulite, short eyelashes, large bodies) into a “problem”.  “Do you suffer from the heartache of short eyelashes?”

Because of social conditioning and the real benefits to getting as close as we can to the stereotype of beauty (and the real punishments for not trying to do that) some people will start to worry about this right away, others take more convincing.  That’s ok because the advertisers aren’t done yet, there’s a second level:

The goal of the second level  is to remind us that we only have value in as much as men want to have sex with us (regardless of whether or not we’re interested in having sex with men, what we want is not part of this calculation.)  Men are subject to this kind of advertising as well but I’ll focus on women for the purposes of this particular post. “Men love long, lush lashes.” Insert image of woman with long lashes in the arms of a man.

The idea here is to prey on our insecurity – to blame normal human conditions like being single, or going through a rough patch in a relationship, on something aesthetic that we can buy their solution to fix.

Then there is a final step that ups the ante.  Maybe it’s because the product doesn’t work (*cough* dieting *cough*), or because of the side effects (your lashes are longer so just ignore that permanent eye discoloration), or the risk (side effects include:  growing a third arm, homicidal tendencies, and death).  For this, the products tend to tap into the big ideas that have been heavily cultivated over time, specifically:  if you’re not young-looking, thin and in a relationship you are a failure.  Then they create enough fear or pain to override the logic that might normally cause us to decide that the risks are not worth it (like perhaps getting a smaller body is not worth the risks of stomach amputation like permanent constant nausea, malnutrition, a high failure rate, and death.)

It’s easy to fall into this, I’ve certainly done it.  It’s not the same as buying red lipstick because you love red lipstick – it’s going through all the foundations desperate to find one that will hide my splotchy cheeks, until I remember that there is nothing wrong my splotchy cheeks.

Once our self-esteem has been cheapened it’s hard to rebuild the value.  So I think the trick is to interrupt the pattern at the beginning.  There is an old Simpsons episode where the advertisements come to life and Lisa figures out that the solution is to just not look at them -when they stop getting attention they cease to be alive.  She even sings a little song and I tried to find it for you guys but my Google-fu has failed me.  It’s pretty straight forward, the lyrics are:  Just don’t look.  Just don’t look.

The secret here is that they can’t have our self-esteem unless we give it to them.  We can make decisions to purchase based on what we truly enjoy rather than the fear that we won’t be enough without a product.  We can choose to spend our money on products that advertise to us without trying to make us buy their products through fear or self-loathing.

We can also decide that there is nothing wrong with aging, short eyelashes, or bodies of every size. These companies that treat us so poorly and sell us products that don’t work or have horrible side effects only exists because we give them our time and energy and money.  We can make it stop and each person who opts out makes a difference, every dollar we don’t spend on their products is a dollar that they can’t spend marketing self-hatred back to us.  I don’t know about you, but they can have my self-esteem when they pry it from my cold dead hands – it is not for sale.

Like this blog? Consider supporting my work by becoming a member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you. I get paid for some of my speaking and writing (and do both on a sliding scale to keep it affordable), but a lot of the work I do (like answering hundreds of request for help and support every day) isn’t paid so member support makes it possible (THANK YOU to my members, I couldn’t do this without you and I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support!)   Click here for details

Book Me!  I give talks all across the country about self-esteem, body image, health and wellness for people of size and more, and I’d love to speak to your organization. (I’ll be in Northern New York and Central Pennsylvania in the next couple of months if you are in those areas and would like to add an event to those trips.) You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Here’s more cool stuff:

Buy my book:  Fat:  The Owner’s Manual  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details

Dance Classes:  Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details 

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on September 30, 2014 at 9:18 am  Comments (23)  

Stronger

It's Me!  As drawn by the fabulous www.tonitails.com!

It’s Me! Or, it’s my Phat Avvy, created by the fabulous http://www.tonitails.com!

Everyday I get hundreds of heartbreaking e-mails from people who are doing their best to deal with fatphobes in their lives – whether it’s family, friends, coworkers, people who have chosen to be combatants in the “War on Obesity”, or the sad people who decide to be internet trolls.  If you’re dealing with this, I want to encourage you to ask yourself this question – could these people do what you do?

If they had to face people like them would they be able to put up with it and keep going like you do? I think people forget that every single thing fat people do – including just getting out of bed and leaving the house – is done under the crushing weight of stigma and oppression that is based the bodies that everyone can clearly see.  That makes leaving the house an act of bravery, and liking ourselves a revolutionary act.  Especially when everyone from the First Lady to major media outlets are encouraging people to think badly of us and treat us poorly.  And yet we keep getting out of bed, leaving the house, living our lives, following our dreams.

And more and more of us are claiming our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of our happiness in the bodies we have now, and that takes serious guts.  More guts than I imagine the people who leave me hate mail and can’t even find the courage to sign their real names could muster.

So keep on keeping on fatties (and keep on keeping on allies of fatties).  While you are reminding yourself that fatphobia is deplorable, and the way we are being treated (by people who are everything from misguided to mistreating us in a desperate bid to deal with their own self-hatred) isn’t right, and that we will end this prejudice in time (and in the meantime, doing whatever it takes to keep yourself ok,) maybe you can also take heart in the fact that our haters couldn’t do what we do everyday.

Like this blog? Consider supporting my work by becoming a member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you. I get paid for some of my speaking and writing (and do both on a sliding scale to keep it affordable), but a lot of the work I do (like answering hundreds of request for help and support every day) isn’t paid so member support makes it possible (THANK YOU to my members, I couldn’t do this without you and I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support!)   Click here for details

Book Me!  I give talks all across the country about self-esteem, body image, health and wellness for people of size and more, and I’d love to speak to your organization. (I’ll be in Northern New York and Central Pennsylvania in the next couple of months if you are in those areas and would like to add an event to those trips.) You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Here’s more cool stuff:

Buy my book:  Fat:  The Owner’s Manual  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details

Dance Classes:  Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details 

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

Published in: on September 29, 2014 at 11:20 am  Comments (8)  

Online Dating in a Fat Suit

Actual SizeRecently a site dedicated to “the fine art of picking up girls” decided to see what happens when men and women get dates online using pictures of them thin, and then show up at the date with fat suits on.

According to a piece in the Huffington Post, when men showed up looking fatter than their photo for five dates the women were reported to be “nice,”  one woman mentioned that he looked different, three were willing to move forward with this date or go on another one, and one kissed him.

Women who showed up looking fatter than their photo had very different experiences.  Men told them that they were angry, that the date was a waste of gas and time, that they were married, and in one instance the guy went to the bathroom and didn’t come back.  Keep it classy dude.

The Huffington Post piece points out that a study has shown that women who date online are afraid of meeting a serial killer and men who date online are afraid of meeting someone fat, that definitely seems to be playing out here.

Before we get too far into this, the problematic nature of the fat suit still applies – we have plenty of credible reports from actual fat women about what it’s like to be fat and date on the internet, and we should be careful about putting more stock in the reports of thin people pretending to be fat than the actual experiences of fat people.  Still there are things to be learned from this.

When I broke the cardinal rule of being fat on the internet and read the comments, the most common justification for the men’s behavior was that the women lied.  One man compared it to being “breach of contract” which I think is pretty telling – the idea that how women look is a contract for services that they should not breach and that a reasonable response to the breach of that contract is a complete suspension of basic human decency.

[Edit:  Added to address some comments]  I think it’s interesting to discuss what constitutes “lying” about one’s appearance.  If my picture showed me as a brunette but I showed up for the date blonde would that be a “breach of contract?”  Would it be reasonable to say that since I lied about my appearance I obviously can’t be trusted?  Would the men’s behavior be considered an appropriate reaction?  What if someone had makeup on, or a padded push up bra, or shapewear in the picture but not on the date?  What constitutes lying about appearance?  Or is this really more about the social stigma that is placed on being fat, especially as it relates to being a woman. Do we believe that if everything in the profile is correct but the picture is out of date that person is “lying”?  It wasn’t a picture of a different person after all, it was a picture of the same person looking different than they do now in one aspect. I don’t necessarily have answers to these questions but I think they are worth asking.

I can also tell you from experience that even stating clearly that you are fat, complete with pictures of you hanging out being fat, will not protect you from going on dates with fatphobic jerks. I’m lucky to be in a fabulous relationship now (Hi Julianne!), but when I was dating I always considered this a good weed-out tool.  Regardless of my own weight, I would never date someone who wouldn’t date a fat person (or who would only date a fat person, or who would rule out entire groups of people based on physical characteristics.)

To be clear (and to avoid hundreds of e-mails misrepresenting the First Amendment) I’m not saying that people aren’t allowed to have these requirements of potential mates, I’m just saying that not being that kind of person is part of my requirements for a potential mate for the following reasons:

  • If someone has a specific body size or physical appearance as a relationship requirement, I have to wonder what happens when time or circumstance changes the superficial?  I never count on a tiger changing their stripes so if they are only willing to date me based on how I currently look, I assume that things like illness, accident, or aging that change my appearance will destroy the relationship, quite possibly when it would be most critical for me to have support. I’m not about to set myself up for that.
  • This person is either saying that they are comfortable dating based on superficiality, or   insisting on what I think is the implausible idea that their attraction is something that is objective, isn’t affected by the cultural bigotry in which they are steeped, and isn’t changeable, and I don’t think that any of that is true.
  • I think that eliminating everyone with a certain physical characteristic as a potential mate is bigotry, plain and simple, and I would have concerns about this person displaying bigotry in other realms.

People are allowed to do what they want including only dating people who look a certain way and using less than accurate pictures on dating profiles.  Neither of these is for me because, to paraphrase George Washington, I learned a long time ago that I would rather be alone than in bad company.

Like this blog? Consider supporting my work by becoming a member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you. I get paid for some of my speaking and writing (and do both on a sliding scale to keep it affordable), but a lot of the work I do (like answering hundreds of request for help and support every day) isn’t paid so member support makes it possible (THANK YOU to my members, I couldn’t do this without you and I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support!)   Click here for details

Book Me!  I give talks all across the country about self-esteem, body image, health and wellness for people of size and more, and I’d love to speak to your organization. (I’ll be in Northern New York and Central Pennsylvania in the next couple of months if you are in those areas and would like to add an event to those trips.) You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Here’s more cool stuff:

Buy my book:  Fat:  The Owner’s Manual  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details

Dance Classes:  Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details 

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on September 27, 2014 at 9:34 am  Comments (35)  

Cool Story Bro

Small - Things you can tell by looking at a fat personOne of the ways that fat people are oppressed is that people feel free to substitute their stereotypes and stories for our actual experiences.

Studies claim that they have found a way to prevent/cure obesity when what they actually studied were calories consumed, or protein consumption, or consumption of fat etc.  That is not the same thing as body size.

Possibly the most egregious example I have seen of this is a list called “27 People Confess to the Fattest Thing They Ever Did”  (no power on Earth will make me link to it) Basically it’s story after story of people who ate a lot one time.   That not being fat, that’s eating a lot one time. Fat is a description of body size (and sometimes composition), not of behavior.  The practice of judging other people’s eating, then associating that eating with a body size, then justifying stigmatizing people of that body size based on that platform of judgment and stereotyping is, not to put too fine a point on it, bullshit.

I was once in a discussion with a therapist who specializes in working with people who have Binge Eating Disorder (not any of the cool people we know, don’t worry) during which she told me that “In my experience, everyone your size has Binge Eating Disorder.”  I replied “Doesn’t your experience including a sign on your door that basically says ‘Come Here if You have Binge Eating Disorder’?”  I asked her how many people my size she had spoken to about their eating outside of her office, and how exactly did she broach that topic and she admitted that there weren’t any.

I asked if she would think it was reasonable for an orthopedic surgeon specializing in knee problems to say that in their experience everyone who is 5’6 has knee problems because everyone that she sees who is 5’6 has knee problems. She admitted that she wouldn’t and then said “I just don’t see how someone can be your size without binge eating.”  I mentioned a number of things that can lead to people being fat beside Binge Eating Disorder (genetics, weight cycling -aka yo yo dieting, certain health conditions etc.) and asked that she please not substitute an eating disorder diagnosis for a lack of her understanding of how body diversity works, especially since it does a disservice to people who are suffering from BED but aren’t fat and have trouble being taken seriously, as well as the mistaken belief that ending Binge Eating Disorder will result in a thin body.

I spend a lot of time doing research.  Often I explain that Matheson et. al. did a study of 11,761 people and Wei et. al did a study of 25,714 people and that the Cooper Institute Research on fitness and weight is based on the Cooper Institute Longitudinal Study which is a database that has more than 250,000 records from nearly 100,000 people totaling more than 1,800,000 person-years of observation and that this research supports the idea that, knowing the health is multi-dimensional, not an obligation, barometer of worthiness, or entirely within our control, healthy habits are a far better way to support our bodies than weight loss is.

Then I have to wade through 12 comments a day that say “I think you’re wrong because my Aunt Gertrude lost weight and got healthier” Ok? Are you sure it’s the weight loss and not the behavior change that lead to better health?  Do you really think your aunt’s experience trumps a combined sample of more than 120,000 people?

Or this one “All the people I know who have type 2 diabetes or heart disease are fat.”  Is this a frequent topic of conversation among your friends?  Do you know the T2D and heart disease status of more than 120,000 people?

How about this –  instead of tell stories to justify size-based stigmatizing, stereotyping  oppression we could fight it instead.

It’s Weight Stigma Awareness Week, check out this call to action!

http://bedaonline.com/weight-stigma-awareness-week-2014/weight-stigma-awareness-week-2014-call-action/#.VCBbCStdV5k

Like this blog? Consider supporting my work by becoming a member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you. I get paid for some of my speaking and writing (and do both on a sliding scale to keep it affordable), but a lot of the work I do (like answering hundreds of request for help and support every day) isn’t paid so member support makes it possible (THANK YOU to my members, I couldn’t do this without you and I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support!)   Click here for details

Book Me!  I give talks all across the country about self-esteem, body image, health and wellness for people of size and more, and I’d love to speak to your organization. (I’ll be in Northern New York and Central Pennsylvania in the next couple of months if you are in those areas and would like to add an event to those trips.) You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Here’s more cool stuff:

Buy my book:  Fat:  The Owner’s Manual  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details

Dance Classes:  Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details 

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

 

Published in: on September 26, 2014 at 9:48 am  Comments (32)  

Prescribed To Fat People, Diagnosed In Thin People

ConcernOne of the things that always astounds me about the way that our society currently deals with weight and health leads to fat people being prescribed behaviors that would be diagnosed in thin people.

It’s no secret that The Biggest Loser is an abomination, even so Michelle Obama called the show’s contestants Role Models.” Really?  Role models? [tw:  potentially triggering eating disorder talk for the rest of this paragraph]  Consider for a moment if someone who wasn’t fat told their doctor that they were behaving like the contestants on TBL: -severely restricting calories, exercising 8 hours a day, eating large amounts of food that are “forbidden” on their current “diet” and then exercising all night to “make up for it”, and manipulating their weight for their weekly weigh in with dehydration.  I hope against hope that the doctor would not say “good for you, you’re a role model.”

Is it strange to anyone else that even with the big (and problematic in many ways) push toward locally grown whole foods, fat people are still encouraged, including by doctors, to go on Jenny Craig and/or Nutrisystem and microwave food that comes to them frozen in plastic baggies?  Or Medifast where you consume 5 reconstituted soy protein based “meals” a day? I’ve been to several farmer’s markets and never saw even one package of “parmesan puffs” made from reconstituted soy protein there. Again, I’m not arguing for any specific type of eating, I’m just trying to point out the ways that fat people and thin people are given very different messages.

I don’t believe that the same behavior is good for fat people but dangerous for thin people, I don’t think that we should diagnose and treat in some people what we recommend and prescribe to others.

Health is not an obligation or barometer of worthiness. It’s multidimensional and not entirely within our control. It’s not guaranteed under any circumstances. That said, it’s supremely annoying to me that that we have to fight to get decent information about health. But, just because so many other people aren’t using any common sense, and just because so many businesses put profit in front of health or truth doesn’t mean that we have to buy into it.

Don’t forget – it’s Weight Stigma Awareness Week! Check out today’s linkss:

Today’s Links:

http://bedaonline.com/WSAW2014/wsaw-2014-physical-therapy-movement-angela-meadows-msc/#.VCP9YytdXWE

http://bedaonline.com/WSAW2014/wsaw-2014-physical-therapy-movement-tammy-griffith-cpc-crc-cfpc/#.VCP9dCtdXWE

http://bedaonline.com/WSAW2014/wsaw-2014-physical-therapy-movement-rochelle-rice-ma/#.VCP9iStdXWE

http://bedaonline.com/WSAW2014/wsaw-2014-physical-therapy-movement-katie-thompson-ms-lpc-ncc/#.VCP9mCtdXWE

http://bedaonline.com/WSAW2014/wsaw-2014-physical-therapy-movement-jeanette-depatie/#.VCP9tytdXWE

Like this blog? Consider supporting my work by becoming a member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you. I get paid for some of my speaking and writing (and do both on a sliding scale to keep it affordable), but a lot of the work I do (like answering hundreds of request for help and support every day) isn’t paid so member support makes it possible (THANK YOU to my members, I couldn’t do this without you and I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support!)   Click here for details

Book Me!  I give talks all across the country about self-esteem, body image, health and wellness for people of size and more, and I’d love to speak to your organization. (I’ll be in Northern New York and Central Pennsylvania in the next couple of months if you are in those areas and would like to add an event to those trips.) You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Here’s more cool stuff:

Buy my book:  Fat:  The Owner’s Manual  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details

Dance Classes:  Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details 

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on September 25, 2014 at 11:56 am  Comments (20)