One of the offshoots of the “War on Obesity” and the obesity epi-panic that has followed, is the rush of people, organizations, and movements that have tacked “anti-obesity” onto their platform.
A reader who is into knitting sent me a newsletter she received where a woman who was described as a “mentor” said that “if everyone in the world learned how to knit” then “people wouldn’t over-eat (their hands would be kept busy)” and the we would all be “better-looking.”
I just saw a PSA about ending food deserts that talked about how it would end obesity.
A company will deliver delicious meals right to your door. Convenient! Delicious! But then they throw in that their company helps end obesity.
An app that helps you reach your goals. And, you know, fight obesity.
I was reading an article about guerrilla gardening and stopped when they starting talking about how being part of this movement meant you are part of “ending hunger and tackling obesity.” I think it would be pretty hard to garden with people constantly trying to tackle me. Also, I’m pretty sure that these people are signing up to garden, not to be defensive linemen.
From a PR standpoint I understand why it happens – the media LOVES to write about anti-obesity, and there is tons of funding out their for those who say they are trying to figure how to create a world with no more fat people in it.
It’s also easy to do since, at our currently OMGDEATHFATZ DefCon4 Fatty Level Orange status, all an “anti-obesity intervention” needs to be considered evidence-based and ready for implementation is a thin person saying it’s a good idea.
It is also incredibly oppressive. It says “Thin people should come to our movement for health, or ethical reasons, to fight poverty and hunger, or because they like to knit. Fat people should join our movement so that we can fix you by changing the way that you look.” That’s fucked up. This is not a tree, fat people are not kittens, we are not in need of rescuing by a knitting newsletter. Throwing fat people under the bus to get PR, for funding – making a movement in any way about eradicating fat people from the earth – is oppression pure and simple, it makes many fat people feel unwelcome, and it needs to stop.
We always have the opportunity to do activism around this – whether it’s sending an e-mail, posting something on Social Media, or creating our own communities around our interests and hobbies where people of all sizes are welcome. Of course we’re never obligated to be involved in activism and either way it can be helpful just to recognize this jumping on the “no fatties” bandwagon for what it is – completely messed up and totally not ok.
Let’s Hang Out!
Schools are back in session and I’m booking talks for Spring and Fall of this year. If you want me to come to your school, business, or organization (even if you’re not sure how to get it done), just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org and we’ll talk about the options. If you want to bring me to your community but don’t have funding or an organizational affiliation, I can help you with that too – e-mail me and we can talk about the possibilities. See you soon!
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