Irresponsible Me

I got a bunch of hate mail today calling me “irresponsible” for writing what I do.  I was going to blog about it and realized that I had already.  Here’s an oldie but goodie about how my readers are not idiots:

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 an average of 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.

What I’m getting at here is that if my message is that much of a threat to the mainstream then I think 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.

The E-Book is “Name Your Own Price”!

I wanted everyone to be able to afford Fat: The Owner’s Manual – Surviving a Thin-Obsessed World with your Health, Happiness, and Sense of Humor Intact  so it  is now available in soft cover and e-book which is “name your own price”

Become a Member, Support The Work!

This month’s member deals come from More of Me to Love, Jodee Rose, The Fat Nutritionist, Golda Poretsky, Jeanette DePatie and of course me. If you are a member and haven’t received the e-mail with details and passwords just let me know!

I do HAES and SA activism, speaking and writing full time, and I don’t believe in putting corporate ads on my blog and making my readers a commodity. So if you find value in my work, want to support it, and you can afford it, you can  become a member (you get extra stuff, discounts, and you’re always the first to know about things) or you can support my work with a  one-time contribution.  The regular e-mail blog subscription (available at the top right hand side of this page) is still completely free. If you’re curious about this policy, you might want to check out this post.  Thanks for reading! ~Ragen

Published in: on July 17, 2012 at 12:02 pm  Comments (20)  

20 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Reblogged this on 40inireland and commented:
    “The diet industry in this country makes nearly 60 billion dollars a year convincing people they should want to be thin.” … so very true. People have their minds screwed with so they feel bad about themselves and at the same time they get another group of people they can hate because they are different from the “norm”.. which isn’t a freakin norm to begin with ’cause it consists of goals that are unobtainable by the broad population. And all that to the end of filling somebody else pockets. Maaaaaaannnnn……

  2. You are one woman blogging, but your work is a lifeline to so many people. Your work is incredibly important. Your message is a threat to the misaligned mainstream, and I for one would be lost in the mire of hate and duplicity if it wasn’t for people like you.

    PS I raced through the book, loved it, and am now re-reading at a slower pace, again, because I loved it. Your message is vital, your writing is a joy to read. Thank you for writing it and thank you for letting us name a price 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your comment, it completely made my day (which is not an easy thing to do at 5:30am!)


      • It’s only the truth!

  3. Oh sure, you’re just one woman blogging about her choices and the actual logic behind them, but you’re dangerous as hell. Know why? Because you’re the kid pointing out the fact that the emperor is wandering around in his skivvies!

    Nobody may be allowed to think that – let alone say it out loud.

    This kind of reminds me of a conversation with her aunt in the fifties my mother told me about. Her aunt felt that ever mentioning that communism existed would damage the US because then everyone would want to be communists. My mother asked her if communism was so great that everyone would want it, why shouldn’t it ever be mentioned? Yes, she knew what communism was. No, she didn’t particularly want it. She thought people should know what it was so they could make up their own minds as to whether or not they thought it was a good idea.

    But if people hear about HAES, well, that’s dangerous. Right? Because everyone will want it? I have several friends who have heard about HAES from me… but they’re on weight loss diets right now because they believe the vast majority of what they hear.

    Of course, when they start gaining the weight back, I’ll still be here with a copy of your book to loan them if they want to learn more.

    Damn, we’re insidious!

  4. Keep doing what you doing. If a writer never got complaints, I would wonder if anyone was really listening. That is what makes this so wonderful. That we can have our own opinions and still embrace thoughts and ideas of others. Your work is amazing. I don’t always agree with you, but I find that you make me think and it changes the way I approach my issues and challenges. I am no longer a doormat to other people’s requirements and suggestions. You do good work!

  5. Ragen – you make a comment at the end your blog about “Why everyone except these commenters is able to grasp that I will never know”. I have come to the conclusion over years of reading different view points that most of them do grasp the concepts but that they DO NOT CARE. It is “beneficial” to these people to continue to believe as they do – facts or no facts. Let me try and explain myself.

    You and many other bloggers have mentioned this over the years, but it’s about being able to marginalize those of us who are fat, since doing it to fat people is still OK (legally in most places) and in our increasingly narcissistic society (yes, my viewpoint – others may disagree), being able to marginalize us fat folks makes these people feel better about themselves, even if only for a short while. Your underpants rule is right on in this – why worry about the streak in my underpants when I can focus attention on your underpants (clean or not).

    Why do I say narcissistic? As far as I understand it, and a psychologist can correct me here, one of the classic traits of narcissism is bad boundaries. From Wikipedia – “Narcissists do not recognize that they have boundaries and that others are separate and are not extensions of themselves. Others either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist are treated as if they are part of the narcissist and are expected to live up to those expectations. In the mind of a narcissist there is no boundary between self and other”. Underpants rule indeed.

    But, I’m not saying anything that you and hundreds of others haven’t said over the years. What IS different for me is that I am no longer keeping quiet about my feelings. I don’t bring up the subject of size and health and fat or thin or diet or anything else with friends, family or co-workers (much like my thoughts on discussing religion in the workplace, not really the place) – until they do themselves. Then oh yeah – it’s been GAME ON. I have used your blog and the excellent arguments herein in order to strengthen my position.

  6. Hi there! I just found your blog yesterday and I wanted to say that not only are you very intelligent, but you really know how to make a point, and I like that! It’s also great the way that you deal with hate messages. I think the people sending you hate are only angry because they don’t understand what you are trying to say. They think that you believe everyone should be fat and eat McDonald’s all day or something. But I get exactly what you’re trying to say: that weight doesn’t determine health and fitness, and you’re a perfect example of that fact. I suppose I decided to comment out of the genuine hope that reading positive comments like this one, from people whom you have impacted, makes running this blog worth it, even through the hate that you get from those who are ignorant. Have a great day!

  7. Thank you–you stand out like a light in the wilderness. I am nearly 60 years old and have spent most of my life fighting myself to be thin. You have given me the courage (a little bit, but more than I had before) to look at myself and think about what I really want and need in my life. The pissers just don’t have anything else to do but be negative. They no doubt are the same asshats I see on Facebook moaning about other things they don’t understand.

  8. is all I have to say to them. As for you… you are inspirational, talented, respectful. Of course, if people hear about HAES it’s dangerous, they might stop to throw money out the window on weight-loss crap… 😉

  9. This is your blog. You can talk about WHATEVER you want to. If someone doesn’t like it, they don’t have to read it period. Personally, I LOVE what you write about because you are SPOT-ON!

    Since I’ve been reading your blog (and a few other HAES), I’ve stopped hating the fact that I am fat. I’m dressing for my body NOW and not the body I may have someday. I am learning to love myself again.

    So, thank you from the bottom of my heart and keep up the G R E A T work!!!! xoxo

  10. I am living proof that believing in HAES doesn’t suddenly make someone fat… and sure as hell doesn’t make them any less healthy!! I stumbled onto your blog and have been hooked ever since. Even though I am thin, HAES changed my whole outlook on life. Now when someone complains about gaining weight, I tell her that she looks great at any size, and show her this blog. When a friend tries to make fun of fat people, I tell her to shut up and show her this blog. When my father (a doctor) talks about fat as a health problem, or gastric bypass surgery, I show him this blog. I no longer snark about other peoples’ bodies out loud or silently, and I no longer judge people’s willpower by their weight. I am in fact aiming to become a personal trainer who focuses on HAES, and trying to open a room in my gym where weight loss discussion is not allowed. Your blog did not make me fat…. it made me a more tolerant, kinder human being. So, anyway, thanks for being so “irresponsible” then.

    • This is a wonderful testimony if you ask me. I recall a conversation over coffee when a friend complained that she’d gained a few pounds and another woman acted so DISAPPOINTED … I gave them both an earful. So, thanks, team mate!

  11. You did forget one little point that these hatemongers tend to forget: The 1st Amendment, Baby! You live and write in the US, therefore your speech (or your blog) is protected by the constitution. So is theirs, of course, but the argument that you should censor your speech so that others cannot read it is, in my humble opinion, unpatriotic. It is your civic duty to share your ideas, especially in the face of the “establishment.”

    Hell, I bet you can go to just about any public library and check out Mein Kampf. And we know that that author and his philosophy was the cause of about 6 Million deaths. And still it is widely available to read. As it should be.

    P.S. Please do not infer that I think you are like Hitler in any way, shape, or form (except being of the same species, which I share). It was just the worst possible form of speech/writing I could think of that is available for public consumption in most libraries.

  12. Ragen, I got your book today and started reading it. What you say in your book and in this blog, along with your other blogs is truth. You have not changed your message and continue to tell the truth. You will prevail and your message will win every time. You are a great writer. You have a talent that is very helpful to the fat community. You are doing the right thing. Keep going and dont let it get you down,not that I thought you were down. Eventually, as truth always does, the message will become known and accepted. You are great and thanks for all you do. Marla

  13. PS I usually reply befor I read the comments. Looks like we are on the same page.

  14. Go, go, go! You’ve got people worked up- that’s a good sign. I was definitely talking back to the national news tonight over their ‘story’ on the latest diet pill. Your voice of reason drawing rational conclusions from facts is a breath of fresh air.

  15. I cannot even begin to express how much I love you! I received your book yesterday morning and have loved EVERY second of it, often times, stopping to read something out loud to whoever was in the vicinity.
    There’s just so much I could say but I hardly know where to begin. I do have a story which was the event that made me realize I HAD to start standing up for my fat self. About a year ago, my husband (also fat and fit) and I drove a half block to an art opening in our (very) small town. We drove because we were going to make a very brief appearance and we had someplace else to be without a lot of time to get there. As we’re walking up to the entrance, another local made a joke about us driving and before we could reply, the woman he was with muttered, “That’s why they’re so fat.” I was devastated. My husband and I walk and do yoga most days and work out with a trainer once a week. We are active, we eat healthy. And, yes, we are fat. But, it was the disdain in her tone and facial expression that made me cry.
    Reading your book was like hearing the voice in my head. At the same time, you’ve really made me realize I need to examine my own preconceived notions about others based on how they look. Thank you!
    I will continue to love my fat and healthy self because I am amazing just the way I am right this second! I will continue to advocate for health at any size! I am looking forward to reading more of your blog because the message you’re putting out there is fantastic. If you ever get in the Chicago area, would love to meet you!
    Fat & Happy!

    • Hi Ellen,

      Thank you so much!!!! I’m really glad that you liked the book and I’m so happy that you are on such a positive journey. I’m sure I’ll be back to Chicago eventually and I would love to meet you while I’m there!


  16. 1) This is your blog and you’re entitled to say WHATEVER you want
    2) If people don’t like it, don’t read it?
    3) Personally, I find it hypocritical that “fit bloggers” defined as blogs that detail their healthy eating and fitness routines don’t get any backlash. I could never eat as little or exercise as much as these bloggers and it makes me feel inadequate and unhealthy. But are people calling them out for being so restrictive about their intake and obsessive about exercise??
    4) Haters gonna hate– stay strong. Be yourself.
    5) Don’t underestimate the power of writing and of words… one person, one blogger CAN make a difference!!

    –Danielle @ Collegiate Feminist

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