The assumption that fat people who are able to suppress their weight will have the same health outcomes of people who have never been fat. That has never been proven (partially because weight loss almost never works long term, so there haven’t been enough fat people who have maintained weight loss to even test the hypothesis).
The assumption that anyone who tries hard enough can lose weight. There is not a single study where more than a very small fraction of people are able to maintain weight loss for 5 years. There is absolutely no reason for us to believe that long-term weight loss is possible for the vast majority of people.
The assumption that all thin people are healthy and part of the “solution”, and all fat people are unhealthy and part of the “problem”. There are plenty of thin people who have the kind of lifestyle that is stereotypically assumed of fat people, and there are plenty of fat people who eat and exercise in a way that is stereotypically assumed of thin people. But that’s not the worst thing here, the worst thing is the idea that it’s ok to wage war on people because they are, or are perceived to be, unhealthy – that’s messed up. In truth, there are healthy and unhealthy people of every size, and everyone has the right to eat as they choose, move as they choose (or not), and everyone has the right to exist in their body regardless of size or health, without anyone waging war on them – whether they eat “unhealthy foods,” or risking their health with things like mountain climbing, or playing professional sports, or not getting “enough” sleep.
Then there’s the assumption that waging a war of constant shame and stigma on people will make those people healthier, and that having a war waged against them that creates a world where they are encouraged to internalize shame, stigma, bullying, and blame themselves for their oppression will have no negative health ramifications on a population. This is obviously ridiculous. People don’t take care of things that they hate and that includes their bodies. There is, unsurprisingly, no evidence to suggest that people are are the subjects constant stigma, shame, and public humiliation become thinner or healthier as a result. There is research that constant shame and stigma are correlated with many of the same diseases to which obesity is correlated, and that women who are concerned about their weight have more mental and physical illness than women who are fine with their size, regardless of their weight.
The problem with the war on obesity is that there is a war on obesity. It’s a war built on baseless assumptions, fought with faulty ammunition, and constructed so that the only “winners” are those who profit from it, and where fat people end up as casualties.
Meanwhile there are people without access to the foods they would choose to eat, without safe movement options they would like to try, and without access to evidence-based healthcare. But the government would rather spend it’s time fighting the ridiculous war on fat people. What a tremendous misapplication of time, energy and money.
So we will fight this war, we will win, and then we will do our damndest to make sure that kind of unconscionable abuse of power, people and waste of resources never happens again.
The Fat Activism Conference Is Back – Super Early Bird Rates End September 15!
This is a virtual conference so you can listen to the talks by phone and/or computer wherever you are. Whether you are looking for support in your personal life with family, friends, healthcare providers etc. or you’re interested in being more public with your activism with blogging, petitions, protest, projects, online activism, or something else, this conference will give you tools and perspectives to support you and your work, and to help you make that work intentionally intersectional and inclusive, so that nobody gets left behind. Click here to register!
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Book and Dance Class Sale! I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!
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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!
I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com
A movie about my time as a dancer is in active development, you can follow the progress on Facebook!