The Diet/Beauty Industry Cycle of Dis-Empowerment

I had the honor of being part of the Summer of Body Love event last weekend.  It was an honor to share the stage with Virgie Tovar, Naomi Finklestein and Isabel Foxen-Duke. Sarah Jansen-Mount did an incredible job coordinating and I got to meet and hang out with SO MANY awesome people!!!!!  I did a version of my talk “The World is Messed Up – You’re Fine” and several people told me that the bit about the Diet and Beauty Industry Cycle of Disempowerment was really helpful so I thought I would do a quick blog post about it.

Diet and Beauty Industry Cycle of Disempowerment

The cycle goes like this:

Step 1:  The diet and beauty industries tell us what is good/beautiful.

This happens through a lot of different mediums – advertisements, billboards, fashion magazines and more.  We are told sold a stereotype of beauty rooted in white, thin cisgender, able-bodiedness.

Step 2:  We internalize the message.

We start to believe that the (completely made up) stereotype is reality.  We start to believe that bodies are better the more closely they approximate the stereotype. We even start to believe that only people who can fit the stereotype of beauty can be talented.

Step 3: We enforce the “standard” on other people.

This happens in so many ways.  It happens when we engage in negative body talk against other people. It happens when we care more about what an actress is wearing than the work she did that got her nominated for an award in the first place. It happens when we insist that people should dress in “flattering” ways (which is to say using clothes the create the optical illusion that we look closer to the stereotype of beauty.) In this way we become walking talking peer-pressuring advertisements for the diet and beauty industry.

Step 4:  People are disempowered, the diet and beauty industry profit.

This cycle is incredibly profitable for the people who sell the promise of bringing us closer to the stereotype because, as my friend CJ Legare likes to say, they are in the business of stealing our self-esteem, cheapening it, and selling it back to us at a profit.

We can break the cycle though, and we can do it in a lot of ways. We can stop engaging in negative body talk of any kind, we can interrupt other people when they start engaging in negative body talk (or we can just walk away.) We can examine our own prejudices and privilege as they relate to people who fall outside of the stereotype of beauty. We can purposefully celebrate bodies that fall outside of the stereotype in everything from our social media feeds to the art we have in our homes.  We can ask ourselves if the things that we buy, the bodies we celebrate, and the choices we make are supporting or challenging the current paradigm.

If you want some support, you can join us for the Fat Activism Conference!

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

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!

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

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

 

Published in: on August 23, 2017 at 11:48 am  Comments (5)  

“It’s Not a Diet It’s a Lifestyle Change” is Bullshit

Talking NonsenseYou’ve heard it. I’ve heard it. We’ve all heard it. Back in my dieting days before I did my research I believed it. The secret to lasting weight loss, they say, is that you can’t go on a diet, you have to make a lifestyle change.

This is total, complete, utter bullshit. It’s a lifestyle change alright – you change to a lifestyle where you’re dieting all the time, and it still doesn’t work.  One of the big issues that the weight loss industry has created is a world where any weight loss claim said with authority that sounds even remotely plausible is accepted and repeated as proven fact.  Even in the world of peer-reviewed research, incredible liberties are given to weight loss research when it comes to not having to support their assumptions with evidence.

I was on a panel at a very prestigious school for their Eating Disorder Awareness Week. At one point the school’s dietitian who was on the panel said that the reason people don’t maintain weight loss is that they lose the weight too fast, that you you should lose 1/2 pound a week and then you would keep the weight off. I wasn’t surprised to hear it, there have been versions of this going around since I was a kid.

I knew that the students at the school were super smart and data driven so I said “I must have missed those studies, , who conducted the research.”  She stammered for a moment, then said “Oh, there isn’t any research.” Had I not been there those students would have heard only from a professional dietitian employed by their school authoritatively telling them that they could achieve lasting weight loss by losing 1/2 pound a week as if she was stating a fact, despite having not a shred of evidence to back up her claim.

I think that one of the hardest things we have to come to grips with as we get off the diet roller coaster and start a non-diet path is the sheer number of times we’ve been lied to, and the extraordinary breadth and depth of people who have done the lying.  Some because they believe the lies, some because they want to believe the lies (despite that fact that they’ve been weight cycling for years), some because they want clicks on their site and they know that anti-fat articles are always good for that, and many, many of them for profit.

I hear about far too many people who, on their death bed, regret having spent their entire life dieting. In order to break free of the diet and weight loss paradigm that holds us down we have to see it for what it is – a lie, created on lies, supported by lies, and perpetuated by those who lie for profit.  It’s a Galileo issue – the idea that anyone who tries hard enough to lose weight can do it is widely believed, supported fervently with religious zeal, and not at all supported by the evidence.

My life got better immensely and immediately when I stopped buying the lies that I could manipulate my body size, and that doing so was a worthy pursuit in the first place. When it comes to diet culture, that’s the only lifestyle change that I’m interested in.

Ready to put an end to diet culture? Then join us for the Fat Activism Conference:

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

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!

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

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

Published in: on August 9, 2017 at 1:09 pm  Comments (30)  

When Healthy Eating Is Anything But

Do I need to eat this-We live in a culture where people mistake the stereotype of beauty for everything from morality, to work ethic, to healthcare qualifications. One of the places this becomes the most apparent is in celebrity diet culture. There isn’t a single study where more than a tiny fraction of people have maintained any amount of weight loss long term (and even among those, the weight lost is incredibly small), but we’re supposed to believe that because someone is thin and talented, they hold the secret to weight loss and/or healthy eating — and let’s remember that these are most definitely two different things.

We also live in a culture that encourages us to have a seriously messed up relationship with food. Chips are a “guilty pleasure,” but baked chips are “guilt free?” Desserts are “decadent” and vegetables are “clean” (and I don’t mean given a good scrub in the sink).

I have seen “clean eating” defined as everything from a chock-full-o-meat paleo diet, to a vegan diet and plenty of eating plans in between. I’m “good” if I eat some broccoli, but “bad” if I eat it with cheese sauce.

Then there’s our society’s bizarre insistence that we make all food into a performance — from the obligatory “This is so much food, I could never eat all of this” we’re obliged to say when our plate comes in a restaurant, to our tendency to discuss why we are or aren’t eating a particular food (and I’m not talking about in the context of allergies or sensitivities). Or how many minutes on the treadmill we feel we have to do to “make up” for eating whatever we’re eating, how “good” or “bad” we are being with our food choices.

And we have these discussions with whatever rando strangers are also in line at Chipotle.

Combine those three things and you get the total cock up that is celebrity diet culture. In his piece “Clean eating websites like Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop ‘indistinguishable from pro anorexia sites,’” Dr Christian Jessen wrote:

Click here to read my full piece!

Ready to wave goodbye to celebrity diet culture and all the nasty stuff that comes with it?

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

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!

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

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

Published in: on August 3, 2017 at 12:04 pm  Comments (23)  

Do Body Positive Spaces Have to Allow Weight Loss Talk?

What Will you DefendThis question comes up a lot in a lot of different ways.  For our purposes today “weight loss talk” includes any discussion of the desire, reasons, and/or process by which someone wants to attempt to manipulate their body to be smaller.

So, that brings us back to our question: Do fat positive spaces have to allow weight loss talk?

Short answer:  No.

Slightly longer answer: Hell no.

Long answer:

People are allowed to do whatever they want with their bodies – but that doesn’t make every choice people make appropriate for fat acceptance (or even the co-opted and watered down concept of “body positive”) spaces.

While no two oppressions are exactly comparable, as a woman who is both queer and fat, I liken this to someone who wants to have “reparative therapy” to try to become straight. They are allowed to do that, but they should not expect that discussion of their desire, reasons, or process of becoming not queer would be welcome in queer positive spaces. Similarly, it’s completely appropriate – and, in fact, absolutely necessary – that we have fat positive/body positive spaces that do not allow weight loss talk of any kind.

Social justice works in systems, and fatphobia is rooted in systems that include sizeism, healthism, and ableism. Health, ability, and body size are not obligations, barometers of worthiness, or entirely within our control. Insisting that they be prioritized and/or used to judge the goodness/worthiness of a body adds to oppression. The message that bodies are better if they are manipulated to be a different size adds to oppression. If we want to dismantle systems of sizeism, healthism, and ableism, then we need to vastly change the way we talk about size, health, and dis/ability and ending weight loss talk is a big part of that.

Ready for a world that affirms body of all sizes? Join us for the Fat Activism Conference:

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

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!

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

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

Published in: on August 2, 2017 at 8:48 am  Comments (8)  

Yoga, Sizeism, and Randy

Talking NonsenseA fat yoga instructor and blog reader asked that I blog about this, and it’s my pleasure to do so because it’s important that we discuss the ways and places that fatphobia rears its oppressive head, and that we remind ourselves that fat bodies aren’t the problem, fatphobia is.

The fat yoga instructor asked the 20,000+ members of a fat yoga teachers group on Facebook to please consider dealing with any weight-based biases they might have that are keeping them from being able to properly welcome and teach fat students:

Yoga one

A svadhyaya is an introspection or self-study. “I’d like to ask all y’all to do a little svadhyaya…” Sounds like a reasonable request to me, but apparently not to Randy Hodur who took it upon himself to speak for most of the group, insisting that the post offended a whopping 90% of its members.

Despite having to deal with someone proving that he is an asshole by pulling percentages out of it, the OP remained calm and collected:

Yoga 2

As if striving to prove the OP’s point for her, Randy immediately misplaced all of his shit (trigger warning for misogynist bullshit and language from here on out. Feel free to skip Randy’s messages if you don’t feel like dealing with it.)

Yoga 3

Remember – this isn’t some pathetic reddit fat hate group, this is a professional group for professional yoga professionals…

Yoga 4

It’s ending with “just a thought” that really puts the shit icing on this crap cake. I’m not 100% certain that anything he’s said here qualifies as a thought, but we’ll leave that analysis for another day. It turns out that Randy’s girlfriend owns a yoga studio and people in the group were wondering if maybe nobody should ever go there lest they run into Randy.  He decided to fix the situation by attempting to win gold in the Non-Apology Olympics:

yoga 5

We’ve replaced this actual apology with some bullshit…let’s see if they notice…

Yoga 6

And it goes on…because it wouldn’t be a real non-apology unless the person who did terrible things attempted to make themselves the victim

Yoga 7

There is a great breakdown of the “apology” here.

Randy’s girlfriend reach out to the fat yoga instructor to apologize for her boyfriend’s abuse and to assure her that Randy does not teach in her studio, which is definitely a relief.

The Yoga world has many issues including appropriation, racism, sizeism, ableism, classism, queer and trans phobia and more.  A great place to start understanding and dismantling these issues in addition to the excellent teachers mentioned by the OP (and in addition to ongoing svadhyaya) is Decolonizing Yoga.

In general, notice fatphobia when it happens, call it out when you can, and always refuse to normalize it or blame the victim.

Ready for a world where fitness doesn’t come with a side of sizeism:

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

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!

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

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

Published in: on July 25, 2017 at 7:28 am  Comments (17)  

Is Slate Not Hiring Fat People?

Yesterday I was moderating friend requests on Facebook and I was reminded that far too many people connected to social justice are still rampant weight bigots. I’ll be scrolling through someone’s profile and see them on the right side of all manner of social justice movements; supporting Black Lives Matter, Queer and Trans rights, opposing Donald and all he stands for. I’m ready to press the “accept” button when I see that they have posted and defended articles and memes engaging in crystal clear oppression of fat people.

This experience prepared me for reading Slate’s recent job posting for a Political Editor. No, I’m not looking for a new gig, I was reading the post after receiving an onslaught of e-mails from fat and disability activists who were horrified by the bullet under “Requirements

  • A fast metabolism and strong organizational skills

What the hell?

Are they really saying that they don’t want a Politics Editor with hypothyroidism? Or are they stating a preference for editors with hyperthyroidism? Is this an attempt to suggest that only the thin need apply? Did they not know that they could be in violation of DC Human Rights Act (which is one of few that protects from discrimination against appearance) and ADA/EEOC guidelines?

The question I was being asked most in the e-mails flooding my inbox was, “Why in the world would a fast metabolism have anything to do with an editing gig?”

I had heard this term in journalism before, so I had an idea about the misunderstanding, but I still felt it was a terrible choice of words for a job posting. I e-mailed Slate for comment.

Click here to read my full piece about this!

Ready for a world where we don’t use sizeist, healthist, ableist metphors in job descriptions?

 

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

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!

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

 

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

 

Published in: on July 19, 2017 at 7:32 am  Comments (2)  

The Biggest Loser – Ding Dong the Witch is Dead!

Don't let the door hit youon your way out!Reports are coming in saying that The Biggest Loser is cancelled. That’s excellent news and I could not be happier. Let’s recap this crap:

The Biggest Loser was a horror of a television show in which fat people were physically and mentally abused as they tried to lose as much weight as possible, as fast as possible, regardless of the danger, for a chance to win a tiny fraction of the amount of money that the show made off their abuse.

I am thoroughly convinced that if this show was shot with dogs rather than fat people it would have been pulled off the air after the first episode, because people wouldn’t have stood for this kind of mistreatment of dogs. The fact that fat people would subject themselves to this show is not a justification for the many abuses the show perpetrated.

Now the show finds itself under a cloud of suspicion as former “competitors” talk about the abuses that they suffered at the hands of their “trainers” and the show’s doctor, Robert Huizenga.

Click here to read the full piece, including how the show hurt not only their contestants, but also their viewers.

Want to create a world where The Biggest Loser would never get on the air in the first place?

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

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!

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

 

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

 

Published in: on July 17, 2017 at 1:17 pm  Comments (8)  

We’re Supposed To Worry that Dust Makes Us Fat?

You Forgot Your BullshitToday we have a “study” that illustrates two of the truly ridiculous things that often happen in the “science” of weight and health.

1. You can get funding and published for literally any anti-fat study you can imagine 

In the tiny study, cells from mice were exposed to dust samples from 11 (not a typo, just eleven) homes to see if they would be linked with metabolic disruption including triglyceride and preadipocyte accumulation.

2. The most scientifically illiterate journalists will be allowed to write about it

A piece about this by Henry Bodkin (who, on the same day, had a piece published titled “Wild boar pictured roaming streets of city centre at night”) appeared in The Telegraph. The headline was ‘Household Dust Makes People Fat, Groundbreaking Research Indicates.” Seriously Hank (can I call you Hank?) WT Actual F are you doing?

Even if we assume that Henry isn’t responsible for the headline, surely he’s responsible for the actual reporting.  His piece didn’t bother to link to the actual study nor was it clear about the study’s limitations.  But it began, ambitiously, People should keep their homes spotless if they want to avoid putting on weight, new research suggests.”

That delayed this piece being written by a few hours due to the concussion I experienced from banging my head against my desk.

What the researchers actually said was “Our results delineate a novel potential health threat and identify putative causative SVOCs that are likely contributing to this activity.”

The words “potential,” “putative,” and “likely,” are important here as they all essentially mean “maybe” and do not remotely translate to the ability to suggest – at with with any kind of journalistic integrity – that if your house has dust you’ll become fat.

Now parents (and, let’s be honest, predominantly moms in our misogynist society) of fat kids will be blamed and, perhaps more tragically, blame themselves for not keeping their houses dust-free enough. We need to shut this bullshit down.

Today I’ve seen no less than four articles that included some version of “Is [XYZ] Making Us Fat?”  If an article asks that, I immediately ask myself “is this article a fatphobic (and quite likely ableist, classist etc.) piece of shit?” Hint: the answer is probably yes.

People are lots of different sizes for lots of different reasons and  I would personally prefer that we affirm the diversity of body sizes and spend research money figuring out how to support the health and happiness of people of all sizes, rather than trying to prevent or eradicate people of a certain size.

If you’re sick of researchers getting funding to figure out how to eradicate fat people, join us at the Fat Activism Conference!

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

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!

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

 

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

 

Published in: on July 16, 2017 at 12:09 pm  Comments (23)  

Dress For the Body I Have? Done!

Every year we have to endure businesses and social media friends who for some reason think the fact that it’s summer means it’s totally ok to body shame people by putting out this ridiculous sign.

 

Image may contain: sky

It’s a picture of a sign at an eye doctor’s office (cleverly named “The Eye Doctor”) on which they’ve taken the time to arrange letters to say:

“Welcome to Lewiston When it’s hot please dress for the body you have, not the body you wish you had – thanks.

Can you imagine how it would feel to be a fat person arriving at your eye doctor wearing weather appropriate clothes? Too bad that these supposed healthcare practitioners are so comfortable stigmatizing their clients for a cheap joke.

First, while I’m certain that I’m the target demographic for this sign, the body I have is the body I want so they can G right TFO with this nonsense.

More to the point, it’s like 1,000 degrees outside which means that the body I have is hot AF and my concern is dealing with that, not being aesthetically pleasing to fatphobes. If someone doesn’t like the way I look in these clothes, then there are always at least 3 other cardinal directions in which they can fix their gaze.

Let’s give this another shot, shall we:

Please dress

Want a world with more fashion choices and less bullshit body shaming?

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference!

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

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!

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

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

Published in: on July 14, 2017 at 6:59 am  Comments (11)  

If She Wasn’t Trying to Fat Shame, She’s a Natural

fat shaming naturalI received this Facebook post from blog reader Annette today with the note “I know that she’s wrong, but I don’t know how to break it down for her, can you help?”  Well Annette, I can try! Please note: this is some fat shaming BS, if you’re not in the mood to deal with it you can skip the indented parts (which are quotes from the nonsense) and still get the gist of things. I’ll start with the quote in its entirety:

For those who didnt see my post, I posted a pic of a pair of shorts with a 70″ waist. I found them hilarious, and laughed all through the thrift store I saw them in. I meant no harm to any living being, and stated so in the post, nor was I trying to shame anyone who suffers with their weight. I, myself, have weighed 240 pounds. I have suffered with eating disorders my entire life, yet I was lectured by people who presumed that I was fat shaming people. What? So let me say… I send merit to all those who are obese. I pray that you can get this under control… NOT BECAUSE OF THE WAY YOU LOOK, but because obesity leads to heart issues, diabetes, depression, some forms of cancer, and an overall unhealthy life. I respect all human life, and am sorry for those who assumed that they knew I was intentionally implying something else. What a world we live in. Oh, and by the way, I am still laughing

The short answer to why this is wrong is that you can’t say “I respect all human life” while in the same breath engaging in stereotyping, fat shaming, and healthism. If you want to be credible you can’t just say “I respect all human life,” you have to, you know, actually do it.

Let’s break it down:

For those who didnt see my post, I posted a pic of a pair of shorts with a 70″ waist. I found them hilarious, and laughed all through the thrift store I saw them in. I meant no harm to any living being, and stated so in the post, nor was I trying to shame anyone who suffers with their weight.

So this person saw a pair of shorts made for a fat person, and then felt the need to tell everyone she could reach on social media that she found them “hilarious.” But she wasn’t “trying to shame anyone who suffers with their weight.” Riiiiiight.

I can’t imagine what she would have done differently if she had intended to shame fat people. If she wasn’t trying, then she’s a natural. By the way, this is exactly what I mean when I say that I’ve never suffered from my weight, but I have definitely suffered from fat shaming.

I, myself, have weighed 240 pounds. I have suffered with eating disorders my entire life, yet I was lectured by people who presumed that I was fat shaming people.  

Thanks for the PSA that internalized fatphobia is a thing.  The fact that this person used to be fat isn’t doing fat people much good right now is it? I’m sure some of her best friends are fat or whatever, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is fatphobic bullshit.

What?

YOU ARE FAT SHAMING! IT IS SHITTY! YOU SHOULD STOP! That’s what.

So let me say… I send merit to all those who are obese. I pray that you can get this under control… NOT BECAUSE OF THE WAY YOU LOOK, but because obesity leads to heart issues, diabetes, depression, some forms of cancer, and an overall unhealthy life.

You send merit? You can always tell that someone has a grossly over-exaggerated sense of self-importance when they think that they are in a position to grudgingly bestow honor on others. Fat people don’t need your “merit.”  We need shorts that fit us and not to be fat shamed.  We also don’t need your stereotypes, your prayers, or your healthism.

Even if you somehow still believe that tripe that weight and health are the same thing, other people’s health is not your business. In truth, there are people of all sizes with heart issues, diabetes, depression, cancer and whatever the hell she means by  an “unhealthy life” and those people – like all people – deserve respect and access to healthcare, and nothing else about their health is anybody else’s business unless they ask us to make it our business. They should certainly not be used as cheap fodder to justify hand-wringing “Won’t somebody think about the health” fat shaming.

I respect all human life, and am sorry for those who assumed that they knew I was intentionally implying something else. What a world we live in. Oh, and by the way, I am still laughing

You don’t respect all human life.  Those who assumed that you were fat shaming are right. What a shitty fat shaming world we live in because people do crap like this. I’m not laughing. Fix it.

Inevitably people (probably this woman) will turn to the “Can’t you take a joke” defense, so I’ll end with a quick reminder that it’s totally messed up to ask groups of people to become better at being stigmatized and made fun of without complaint, so that other people can laugh at our expense without having to feel badly or have their atrocious behavior pointed out.

Want to help create a world where this kind of fat shaming is seen as completely unacceptable?

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference!

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

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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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Published in: on July 12, 2017 at 8:42 am  Comments (27)