Of Course It’s About Fat People

OrganizeI was alerted to a post on Facebook that shamed fat people in an attempt to make a point about gay rights.  It was a picture of a fat woman in a Chik-fil-A chair that was too small for her with the caption “Welcome to Chik-Fil-A where being obese is “genetic” but being gay is a “lifestyle choice”. The conversation that followed illustrates the kind of ridiculous defense of fat shaming that people try to get away with, and that we can speak out against.

(Note:  The quotes from “Strong Intelligent Women” can be triggering, you can skip them and still get the idea.  Also, I was not the first or the only person to point out the issues, I’m including only my quotes because I want to get this out and I don’t want to use other people’s comments without permission)

Here’s what happened:

Ragen (that’s me!)

Trying to shift prejudice, bigotry and shame onto another group is not a way to win a civil rights battle with integrity.

As a queer woman I’m told that being queer is a choice, that other people know more about my sexuality than I do, and that I can change if I really try and so I deserve to be treated poorly. LGBT civil rights activism fights against that, and says that even if being queer is a choice, I deserve to be treated with respect.

As a fat women I am told that being fat is a choice, that other people know more about my body/habits/health than I do, and that I can change if I really try and so I deserve to be treated poorly. Fat civil rights activism fights against that, and says that even if being fat is a choice, I deserve to be treated with respect.

“Strong Intelligent” Women

For the people making jokes about weight: This is not the point of this meme. The point is hypocrisy. Second, that behavior is not permitted on this page. The members here make great points. This page is about equality and love for ALL people. We support people with any kind of weight issues. Please focus on the true points of this meme.

Ragen

Pro-tip: If your hypocrisy point requires shaming fat people, then it’s about weight and fat people. The fact that you refer to fat people as having “weight issues” illustrates your issues with us. Please focus on the fact that, as several commenters have already told you, you are hurting people – if your civil rights action requires shaming and stigmatizing another group of people, then it’s time to think of another way to make your point. What you’ve done here is wrong, it’s bigotry, and the fact that you are choosing to tell fat people what is and is not fat shaming is unconscionable.

Strong Intelligent Women

Many people say that obesity is genetic. Eating fried chicken daily, can make you obese. These are 100% truthful but secondary points of the meme. The main point is hypocrisy. Millions of people who subscribe to those points, deny the empirical evidence of genetically gay people. A large portion of these people are Christians who actively promote and eat at that restaurant, because it donates to official LGBT hate organizations. Is the issue that the person in the pic, has a weight issue? Should such people’s pics, be banned from the media and public display? Isn’t that a prejudice? This meme has very little to do with weight and isn’t the point. I have had many complaints from overweight people for not posting enough pics of overweight people. No matter what we post, someone is ready to be offended and complain. We received racism complaints for a pic yesterday, simply because black people were in it. People can try their best to twist or invent bogus intentions of our postings but it will not change the obvious real messages. People may not like some pics but none of them will be removed unless they can be proven false. We will never censor facts for feelings.

Ragen

This is the absolute most weak and pathetic defense of obvious fat shaming, stereotyping and prejudice that I have ever seen. I’m embarrassed for you. If you don’t understand the difference between requests from fat people to post positive images of fat people, and the picture you’ve posted that is clearly meant to be derogatory – with the goal of shaming fat people for the purpose of trying to put queer people in a more positive light then you should take “intelligent” out of your name immediately. You’re just trying to justify fat bigotry when you could be fighting it.

Activism Opportunity:  Speak out:  Click here to comment, like comments that you support, and/or see the full discussion.

To be clear about the activism, for me it’s not about the original poster, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I’m not the bigot whisperer.  It’s for the fat people who read things like this that go unchallenged, and for the people who are reading this and have the initial thought “Hell Yeah” but then read something that a fat person has written about fat shaming and think “oh yeah…” and then read another post by a different fat person and get to “Oh Hell No!”

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Published in: on August 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm  Comments (57)  

57 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Makes me think the saying – I can explain it to you, I can’t UNDERSTAND it for you!!!!

  2. And she misses a huge, huge point: even if fatness were a choice, and queerness were a choice, IT WOULDN’T MATTER. The fact that both states appear inherited is secondary. The main point is that someone else’s private choices are none of anyone else’s business.

    Also, throwing other causes under the bus for your own gain is one of the worst fouls in the game. Civil rights is all about bringing everyone to the same level, and your movement can’t do that if you’re tearing another group down.

    • DINGDINGDINGDINGDING! We have a winner! Please select your choice of either a cigar or a cocoanut.

      • Is a cocoanut a hybrid of a coconut and a cocoa bean? Because that sounds FANTASTIC.

        • Actually it’s the sad result of my attempting to spell before having my first cup of coffee… but it does sound kind of spectacular, does’t it?

        • I would eat the HELL out of a cocoa bean/coconut hybrid.

    • Bingo!

  3. She may be strong. She may be intelligent. She has still failed entirely to logic.

    • ROFLMFAO…too priceless for words!😀

    • Using actual hypocrisy to point out perceived hypocrisy? PRICELESS.

  4. I recently posted the link to the Marilyn Wann article from the HAES blog. A gay friend of mine immediately responded with every cliché in the book: big portions, no exercise, gluttonery…the whole nine yards. I basically responded that I could spend a whole day explaining why “everyone knows” is wrong and then I said I really didn’t want to get into an argument with him. I didn’t want to cop out, but I really didn’t want to expend the time and energy to explain something to someone who, I believe, wouldn’t listen anyway.

    It’s a shame though. And I did think of the underlying hypocrisy: a gay man, who feels the stigma of the anti-gay idiots all around him, spouting ridiculous clichés about fat people.

    Sigh.

    • Probably pointing out the hypocrisy would be just spitting in the wind – you can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into in the first place. I completely understand your weariness.

      • Oh wow! “you can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into in the first place.” That is brilliant. I am totally going to quote you!

    • I’ve thought the same thing but then I read a thought-provoking comment (can’t remember where, unfortunately) about intersectionality, how anyone is capable of prejudice, and how many of us do have some sort of privilege in one way or another even if we still belong to a minority group. So I try not to hold one group, or individual, to a higher standard just because they have a [different] minority status.

      A thin person, whether gay or straight, still has thin privilege, for example. And just because a person is straight shouldn’t mean that there’s a free pass from being called a hypocrite while the person in the minority group gets that label piled on top of everything else.

    • My biggest fear every time I set foot in the dance studio. My teachers are hot, skinny, male, and gay. I’m the exact opposite of all of what they are. I am afraid of them because of that.

  5. If you ate fried chicken at every meal (or every day), chances are you’d encounter health problems a lot sooner than you’d encounter obesity. And considering studies show that obesity is not the killer but poor health is (and that obesity /= poor health), the argument becomes invalid.

    All that aside…the phrase that stuck out to me was “we never censor facts or feelings…” but that’s EXACTLY what they tried to do to Ragen. Their message was, “Here is our viewpoint. You must agree with EXACTLY how we feel, or your opinion doesn’t count.”

    Or, as I’ve seen happening with “free” elections in other countries: “You are free to vote for whomever you wish, but we will shoot you if you don’t vote for the right person.”

  6. “We support people with any kind of weight issues.”

    Really? Really?! With “friends” like you, who needs enemas? 8P

    Their clue meter is reading zero…

  7. Btw, there are plenty of thin people who eat plenty of fried chicken — is it their choice that makes them thin?

  8. Ragen, this is a meme from months ago. At the time, many of us voiced our anger at having fat people shamed so that the creators of the meme could attempt to make a point about Chick Fil-A’s anti-gay stance. We noted at the time that any time you attack one group to make a point about another group, your point loses. It felt as if we were fighting through quicksand. Most of the time, people came out with the “everyone knows” points about people having to exercise and not eat as much. We responded with the answers about weight being mostly genetic, with a setpoint, and that there were also other determinants that had very little to do with amounts of exercise and calories consumed. We also said that there were many fat people who were gay and also many fat people who were disgusted with the stance of the Chick Fil-A CEO on gay people.

    After a while, I didn’t see that disgusting post/meme quite as much. But it was uphill fighting all the way. I am sorry that it is still around.

  9. Thank you, Ragen for fighting these battles so publicly; and keep us updated if there is anything more please. I appreciate your willingness to keep at ’em. It would just exhaust me when the folks keep coming back with one dopey answer after another.

  10. She has no graciousness about the entire thing. Instead of stepping back and saying, “You know what? You were right. I pulled a bone-headed move because I didn’t think it through clearly,” she basically said, “Oh, yeah?” And then threw a bunch of ill-considered childish arguments after it. Even though she started a new thread about the possibility of taking the meme down, she is still NOT GETTING IT. It’s kinda sad and angry-making.

    • Really, she was like a two-year old! I expected “nyaahh nyaahh, nyaahh” or “neener neener” to come out of her eventually.

  11. “No matter what we post, someone is ready to be offended and complain. We received racism complaints for a pic yesterday, simply because black people were in it. People can try their best to twist or invent bogus intentions of our postings but it will not change the obvious real messages.”

    Wow! What garbage this woman has where her empathy should be. I’m embarrassed for her. So two marginalized groups of people have contacted her about her racism and fat bigotry and her response is to gaslight. “twist or invent bogus intentions” Seriously? Dismissing those people as liars and saying they’re not smart enough to understand their own lived experiences to point out oppression when they see it. .. hmm.. where have I heard that before. Talk about tired bullshit memes. Privilege denying rubbish.

    • yeah I saw that , and I was like I have to get a look at this picture to see what they are talking about . Lo and behold it was indeed racist, the comments made it even more stomach turning. One lady even saying “It’s only racist if it says the N word” another gentleman stating ” I only had a problem with the church part” People breaking their necks to defend the offensive post ,and saying people are just too sensitive . As a black woman and a fat woman this is disheartening . However My friend David talked about this with their logic and laughed . I think it was because of how ridiculous it was , also my favorite comment on her response was the sarcastic come back of ” # equality is for thin people”

  12. Comments are disappearing from the original post before I can “like” them. How mysterious!

    I think the thing that really made me give up on the page admin ever getting it was this comment, in response to something that I’m not sure is there anymore (the only person I see mentioning thin privilege is one whose name differs from the one the admin used): “…your assuming remarks about “thin privilege,” is an attack on thin people.”

    Nope. Just…nope.

  13. I commented, and politely at that, and got blocked for my troubles. I guess that equality she’s talkin’ about is only for those who agree with her.

    • Now she’s deleted my posts as well. Censorship in action. It troubles me because all that is left is fat hate. Some fat person coming across this thread will be lead to believe everyone feels fat is bad because there is no dissent.

      • Me too. And now she has some kind of “Fat Acceptance” smarmy campaign going on her page.

  14. The entire FB page is a bunch of poorly thought out us vs them memes. With all of the ridiculous responses, the admin is clearly not going to open her mind to any difference of opinions. It is frustrating to know how someone is promoting “equality” under the guise of bigotry

  15. I’m borrowing the term “bigot whisperer,” because it fits perfectly into another discussion I was having today.

    As for this, it seems like even if the folks who are fighting Chick-Fil-A can’t or won’t actively support you, they could at least listen to you and not do things that make it worse.

  16. I too have been blocked — not just from posting but from LIKING others’ posts. Pathetic!

  17. Every time I think I know how low people will sink, something like this happens. I know it’s a silly, naive dream, but I’d really hoped that once someone gently corrected her, she’d at least take it down, even if she didn’t agree.

    I really didn’t see it coming with her making fun of people, banning people, etc. I really didn’t. It sucks.

  18. I posted this as my facebook status directly after reading that post and the post discussing that post: People in comment sections are so very lucky that I do not have the ability to explode heads remotely when enraged, because I would have just committed a whole lot of psychic murder.

  19. And now she seems quite proud of fending off her “attackers.” I think the word “obtuse” applies here.

  20. I can’t believe how bad that was. Reading those ridiculous, cliched defenses cost me way too many sanity points:/

  21. I followed the arguments on facebook and I could see she was just. not. getting. IT. No matter how many times, and in how many different ways people tried to explain it to her. Either she is not capable of understanding fat shaming, or she is throwing up walls on purpose to defend her actions. Right or wrong be damned.

  22. I posted and she deleted it and I am now apparently banned as a troll. So now anyone who disagrees with sloppy logic and offers a different opinion is a “troll”? Seriously? Now *she’s* playing the victim of oversensitive fatties? Apparently in her mind fat people rank behind gay people in the ‘oppression olympics.’ Or maybe we fatties are just standing on the sidelines watching all the other oppressed groups compete and yelling stuff at them. FML.Why did she have to bring fat into it? WHY? She derailed her own fucking argument!

  23. I praise you for the energy you have to deal with these people! I can be sensitive to someone else’s oppression because I myself am oppressed but it has always confused me that FA is so difficult for people to grasp😦

  24. Huh. I posted 3 separate comments that were there at lunch time but are gone now. Interestingly, I can’t seem to find the comments in my FB activity log, so I guess they are gone forever.

  25. I got banned and called a liar for asking why can’t we just treat everyone as people in the comments. She seems to be doubling down on the hate though with her latest post.

  26. Great point, as usual, Ragen! I googled to search for the image of which you speak in the article because, amazingly, I had not come across it before. I found another article by another gay writer who has taken a similar stance as you on the issue.

    http://inourwordsblog.com/2012/08/16/on-chick-fil-a-can-we-stop-using-the-fat-argument/

    • Karen, thank you for that link.🙂

  27. Oh dear me. Now the admin is on our side. She has posted a real gem about supporting people of all sizes and opposing a whole laundry list of stuff. Oddly, she did all the stuff on the list herself just today. It truly amazes me watching her rewrite history. As an aside, I’m still banned. I sure can feel the love and support. 🙂

    • Unfortunately, the comments there are mostly awful:/

      • Agreed. They are all extremely triggering, and no one can disagree with them because if they do they get banned.😦 I’m scared for anyone with self-image issues looking at that.

  28. So it’s after midnight, and I just checked up on their threads again after wasting my whole morning trying to get people to see the light. My comments are gone; in fact, everyone with a dissenting opinion has had their comment deleted. The admin has boasted about banning 130+ trolls, though I was amused to see one of the bigot minions calling her out on the banning, saying ‘You’ve sent us out on a couple coordinated troll attacks. Why is it okay for us to do, but you shut conversation down and ban everyone when it happens here?’ Hypocrite warning!

    More annoyingly, the page’s latest post is a graphic of a bunch of fat women with overlaying text about the group’s ‘love and support for people of all shapes and sizes,’ but the caption accompanying it begins with, and I quote, “Accept your body and accept the help to change.” Then a bunch of links that include ‘but what about your health!’ AND ‘but what about the children!’

    SIGH.

  29. FFS, I spent at least 2 hours on there trying to help her understand the negative impact she was having on her cause and that she was actually harming fat people. EVERY SINGLE one of my comments was removed, even though I was not hostile, mean, or rude. Apparently I’ve been “banned” to because, like above commentors, I can’t leave comments or even “like” other comments. And she removed HUNDREDS of comments from other people that where laying down some really impressive and intelligent arguments. She’s calling us all “trolls”. I guess people defending themselves against those who are oppressing them is considered “trolling” now.

    I’m so sad I didn’t screen shot some of the comments that are now deleted. She got rid of basically all the comments that didn’t agree with her. We put up a very good fight, but sadly, she’s erased us and all that we’ve contributed to the conversation.

    Like one of the above commentors, I’m sad for any fat people going over there now, the only comments she seams to be keeping are the ones that agree with her. And almost all of the comments are by weight bigots. Under her new “We love and support people of all shapes and sizes” meme she’s written “Accept your body and accept the help to change”.

    LOL Oy. Is that some bullshit double talk or what? The fatphobia is strong with this one. At least part of her name is right, she is “strong” in her bigotry.

    • Stacy, I saw your comments and the comments of others (I was banned long before, or else I would have joined in!) and they were very well put and reasonable. When I looked, the commentary was 10:1 against her, and an hour later, she had deleted everything to make it look like everyone was in favor of her hate. So pathetic.

  30. Wow, she declared: “This attack campaign from several opposing Facebook pages, to get our members to leave, has failed and this pic still stands.”

    So, a large number of people, NOT from opposing Facebook pages, but from fat acceptance communities and fat activism sites, comes to her page to PLEA for her to understand that what she is doing is very damaging and hurtful to a marginalized, stigmatized, and oppressed group of people and in her mind she pretends that it was only a planned attack from an opposing Facebook page to try and reduce her member numbers. Really??? After all that work. After all that patient explaining, this is what it’s been labeled? She didn’t get it AT ALL!!! Talk about delusion. She’s completely rewritten everything to suit her little fantasy of being some “martyr for truth” against the raging hoards of “trolls” hell bent on “reducing her membership numbers”.

    Or pleas to be treated as human beings, to be treated with respect and dignity has been erased and labeled as an “opposing Facebook page troll attack with an agenda to reduce membership numbers”. Wow, fat people’s experiences being erased yet again.

  31. I wonder how she would feel if this was changed to, “Accept your sexual orientation and accept the help to change.”

  32. It might have to do with it being 4:45 in the morning and the large amount of wine a friend and I consumed earlier before exploring the swinging gallows end of humor to sober him up, but upon reading this I couldn’t help but wonder if Strong Intelligent Women was really Poorly Coded AI.

    And on that note, I’m taking my cat and my lingering drunkenness and going to bed.

  33. I told her to at least have the balls to own her blatant prejudice, and I, too, am banned now. Even if I like the page, I can’t comment on or like posts or the comments of others.

    Coward.

    • Hah.. she had bragged about gaining members.. but I’m sure most of those new members were people trying to “like” the page so that they could comment on her hatred.

      • Oh, I left right after confirming I was actually blocked. I’m sure others did, too. :p

  34. Threw my own bit of spaghetti against the hater’s wall. I wonder how long it will stick…

  35. This sort of thing drives me nuts! You can’t say you’re fighting for human rights against one form of discrimination, by buying into another type of discrimination. Two wrongs do not make a right. I have a sense of humour (I’m told) but this sort of ‘joke’ is just lazy cliche. Yes, fat people eat fried chicken, policemen eat donuts, facially disfigured people always turn evil and try to take over the world… oops, one too many superhero movies. Point is, it isn’t funny and it doesn’t make a very good point even. And I say that as a fat, disabled lesbian.

    Also FYI, ‘Strong Intelligent Woman’: that’s not ‘strong and intelligent’, it’s mule-headed and narrow-minded. There’s a difference.

  36. This reminds me of the PETA adverts that while attempting to promote awareness of the environmental impact of mass farming animals (which I think is an important issue) they used images that shamed fat people and particularly fat women, which is an abhorrent tactic. It’s hard to understand how people can’t comprehend that it’s not okay to denigrate one group or cause while promoting another.


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