Not So Much “Bitchy” As Fat Shaming

facepalmReader Natasha let me know about a post from “The Bitchy Pundit” on Facebook that talked about a donald supporter who thinks that the Republican Insurance Plan (RIP) is what lowered her insurance premiums -despite the fact that it hasn’t been passed yet. The woman is massively misinformed. She is also fat and that’s where our problem begins.

“The Bitchy Pundit” published the following commentary:

Let me just share a short list of the stupid that this woman has demonstrated, in expressing her belief that Trumpcare lowered her health care costs.

-There’s the obvious stupidity of not knowing that Trumpcare isn’t a thing yet, and her lack of interest in keeping herself up to speed on these things, while still maintaining her desire to have opinions.

– There’s the fact that she’s a VERY religious woman who voted for a pussy grabbing adulterer who has fathered children by 3 different women (just like Jesus would have done). 

– And then there’s her weight. Lord knows I’m not one to fat shame (I’ve been in and out of “fat” my whole life), but this stupid twit voted for someone on the basis of the fact that he was going to get rid of the eye-legals who were taking stuff from HER, but she’s happy to let other people pay for her lack of desire to get on a treadmill 4- 5 days a week.

Is there anything about this woman that isn’t hypocritical or downright embarrassing?

People were on top of this immediately.  Pointing out that saying you’re not a fat shamer doesn’t mean anything if the next thing you do is fat shame. Pointing out that the idea that “fat” = “doesn’t exercise” = “costs other people money” is a tired mix of stereotypes, bad math, sizeism and healthism. Pointing out that using “stupid” is ableist, and making fun of people’s accents is classist, and that this is a hot mess that completely undermines any legitimate point that her post was making.

So she admitted that she had been wrong, changed the post to remove the ableist, sizeist, and classist elements, and thanked everyone for taking the time to educate her.

JUST KIDDING!  She doubled down:

You missed the point entirely: The point is that these people who spend all of their time thinking about how OTHERS impact THEM, spend NO time thinking about how they impact others.

Yeah, re-engaging in stereotypes doesn’t really strengthen your point.

Then she pivoted to this:

Did I say lazy? The fact of the matter is, that when I spend time exercising, I lose weight and avoid being fat. When I don’t, I get fat. That’s just a fact of life. The point is that these people who spend all of their time thinking about how OTHERS impact THEM, spend NO time thinking about how they impact others

Ugh.  While weight cycling (aka yo-yo dieting) is a fact of dieting, the idea that people can control their size is not a fact of life. It’s a myth, the repeating of which makes her look just as ignorant as the woman she is criticizing.  People are lots of different sizes for lots of different reasons. There are fat people who exercise a lot and thin people who don’t exercise at all, and as long as they are exercising as much as they want to (rather than being forced to exercise, or exercising because they have been lied to and believe it will make them thin ) then that’s just fine.  Nobody owes anybody else “health” or “healthy habits” by any definition.   This is cheap stereotyping combined with sizeism and healthism, and a lack of understanding of the extrapolability of an n-1 experiment, and nothing more.

People hopped on with similar justifications but this one stood out to me as particularly harmful:

She is called the BITCHY pundit. Normally I’d agree, but that’s a part of the persona.

So if I call myself “bitchy” that’s a free pass to engage in stereotyping and oppression? I think not. This is the same bullshit that people try to use when they throw the term “politically correct” around as if couching treating people with basic human respect as being “politically correct” magically makes it ok to treat people like shit.  No.  Just no.

So you know that I wasn’t going to let this go by, I left the following comment:

I’m sure you like to think of yourself as “bitchy” but what you actually are here is just another shitty sizeist – stigmatizing, stereotyping, and engaging in appearance-based bullying. If you aren’t able to make a cogent argument without engaging in oppressive behavior and/or if you’re not able to see your mistakes and learn from them, then I’m sure there’s a place for you in donald’s White House, but I think you can – and should – do much better than this.

So get your shit together and just apologize for fat shaming (Pro-tip – if you have to say you’re not fat shaming right before you do it, you’re probably fat shaming. And if the Lord thinks you’re not one to fat shame, then they haven’t read this yet.) Stop fat-shaming immediately (which will keep you from having to make all those pesky declarations about how you’re not doing it) and while you’re at it stop using ableist terms (like stupid”)

It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s the right thing to do. It differentiates you from the horror of a human being in the presidency who acts exactly like you’re acting right now. So just do it. Messing up sucks, we’ve all done it, saying you were wrong is difficult but I believe that you can rise to the occasion.

Stigmatizing, stereotyping and oppression by any other name would still be bullshit, so call yourself “bitchy” or “politically incorrect,” call yourself whatever you want – it does not and will never justify oppression.

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!

In training for an IRONMAN triathlon.  If you’re interested, you can find my training blog here

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

 

 

Published in: on March 18, 2017 at 12:08 pm  Comments (11)  

The Truth About Weight Loss Surgery

TRUTHIn the past couple of weeks, I have heard from the friends or family of three different people — all with very similar stories:

They were a member of Size Acceptance community who had made the decision to have weight loss surgery. They didn’t care about being “skinny,” they just wanted to cure their Type 2 Diabetes, or fit on a roller coaster, or shop for clothes in stores instead of online, or get married. Their doctors told them that surgery would help all of that, so they had surgery.

And now, all three of these people have died from complications from the surgery. Now, instead of riding a roller coaster with their mother, a woman’s kids will grow up without her. Instead of shopping for clothes at the mall with her friends, they had to shop for black dresses for her funeral. And instead of having to manage Type 2 Diabetes (something that thin people also do), a woman left her life unfinished and her husband a widower.

And their family and friends contacted me to ask that I tell the truth about weight-loss surgery, so that their deaths won’t be in vain.

People are allowed to do whatever they want with their bodies, regardless of the reason or risk.  That doesn’t change the truth about weight loss surgery: some people are happy with the outcome, some people have horrific lifelong side-effects, some people regain their weight but keep their horrific lifelong side effects, and some people die. And there’s no way to know which group you are going to be in until you are in it.

You can read my full piece about this here.

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!

In training for an IRONMAN triathlon.  If you’re interested, you can find my training blog here

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

Published in: on March 16, 2017 at 11:19 am  Comments (12)  

Children’s Book Teaches Fat Shaming – Sign the Petition

Angry FrustratedAre you looking for a book to introduce kids as young as 4 years old to size-based stereotypes and bigotry? Then you’re in luck (and also a monster – seriously, pull it together this is a terrible idea) “Don’t Call Me Fat!: A First Look at Being Overweight” is there to make sure that kids enter kindergarten fully ready to stereotype and bully fat kids. 

Let’s start with the title, which could be re-written “Don’t use an accurate adjective to describe my body, use a word that pathologizes me based on how I look instead.” This is severely messed up.  We’ve talked before about the danger of trying to make “fat” the Voldemort of adjectives (that which must not be named) since fat people are fat whether we call ourselves that or not, and pathologizing bodies based on their size has all kinds of negative consequences when it comes to getting evidence-based medical care.

We need look no further than the cover for the stereotypefest to begin. A sad fat girl stares longingly at the cupcakes at a birthday party while all the thin kids play behind her, completely oblivious to the table ‘o treats (because thin kids don’t like cupcakes AT ALL – it’s a fact.  Well, it’s an alternative fact.  Ok, it’s just a total lie.)

 

In this book your 4-8 year old will learn to shame, stereotype and stigmatize any and all fat kids they come into contact with. For example, they’ll learn that fat kids can’t take care of themselves or make decisions about food or movement, in fact “Often they need someone like their friends or family or teachers to learn how to take care of themselves by eating less and exercising more.” Seriously – that’s a quote directly out of the book.

They’ll also learn that fat kids can’t be athletic, are constantly sad, and are likely (and possibly deserve?) to be bullied. With the combination of fat-shaming text and fat-shaming illustrations, by the time they’ve finished this book your kid should be fully primed to be a bully with an eating disorder.

If your kid is fat, this book will give them the chance to learn the meaning of “cruel irony” including the idea that this is their first look at what it’s like to be fat in a fatphobic society.

This book is horrible, it should never have been published and it should be taken out of circulation.  Happily, eating disorder therapist Jennifer Rollin has created a petition to help right this wrong.  You can sign it here:  https://www.change.org/p/book-teaches-children-to-hate-their-bodies

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!

In training for an IRONMAN triathlon.  If you’re interested, you can find my training blog here

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

 

 

 

 

Published in: on March 15, 2017 at 10:43 am  Comments (19)  

Only A Healthcare System Rooted in Fatphobia…

Bad DoctorIn the US we have a healthcare system that is rooted in fatphobia.  This is demonstrated to fat people in numerous, sometimes dangerous and even life-threatening, ways:

Only a healthcare system rooted in fatphobia

  • would create hospitals and clinics without rooms, furniture, or medical devices that accommodate fat people – despite the fact that these items exist, and these centers knew that they will be called upon to treat fat patients when they built the buildings and bought the supplies.

Only a healthcare system rooted in fatphobia

  • could create a world where thin people are encouraged to eat whole foods, slow foods, and locally grown foods, but fat people are encouraged to join weight loss schemes that deliver frozen food in a baggies to us to be microwaved and consumed, or include 5 reconstituted soy protein shakes a day that are even less successful than they are rational.

Only a healthcare system rooted in fatphobia

  • would create a situation where fat people’s actual health concerns are shrugged off by doctors who are desperate to focus on their body size instead, such that thin people get evidence-based health interventions and fat people get diets that have basically no chance of making us thin or healthy (which are two separate things.)

Only a healthcare system rooted in fatphobia:

  • would consider it ethical for a doctor to recommend amputating someone’s perfectly healthy stomach  – leading to possible death, horrific lifelong complications, and malnutrition – so that they the patient can shop in “regular” clothing stores, or walk in high heels

Only a healthcare system rooted in fatphobia:

  • would prescribe fat people dangerous drugs that can kill us, have almost no chance of of making us thinner in the long term, or healthier (again – two separate things)

Only a healthcare system rooted in fatphobia

  • would create a world where thin people with type 2 diabetes are given insulin and other evidence-based treatments, but fat people are given a surgery that amputates a perfectly healthy, functioning organ and often results in dying, or a lifetime of horrific side effects far worse than type 2 diabetes.

Only a healthcare system rooted in fatphobia:

  • would create a situation where fat people consistently have a completely rational fear that our doctors will kill us, either through a lack of competent care, or an excess of negligent care

We need a healthcare system that acknowledges the natural diversity of body sizes and the fact that even if doctors believe (sans evidence) that making fat people look like thin people would make us healthier, there isn’t a single study where more than a tiny fraction of people succeed at significant long term weight loss, so they have literally no idea how to get it done.

We need a healthcare system that actively wants to support the health of people of all sizes, rather than trying to make everyone the same size and only caring about people’s actual health if/when they are not fat. We need a healthcare system that is not rooted in fatphobia and the good news is, it’s entirely possible to have one.  If you want to read more, this piece by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor is a great place to start.

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!

In training for an IRONMAN triathlon.  If you’re interested, you can find my training blog here

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

 

 

 

Published in: on March 14, 2017 at 1:03 pm  Comments (28)  

Fat Shaming Body Builder Didn’t Mean It?

IMG_1846[1]

My Best Friend Kelrick got this figurine for me in a little shop in Astoria, Queens. Sadly I don’t know the artist.

Body Builder Diana Andrews (whose Instagram says that she is part of UKBFF  – UK Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation) apparently has some trouble focusing during her workouts. She secretly took pictures of another gym member, then took to Instagram to fat shame her to her 17,000+ followers.

She took a picture from behind the woman, who was working out on a treadmill, and digitally wrote “Love Handles” across it. Then she posted a second time, saying “I bet she’s ordering [burger emojis] for delivery.” (No, I’ll not be posting the picture here, and I don’t think other people should either.  It was taken without permission, I’m not going to add to that.)

Let’s start with the unhelpful responses:

Putting Diana Andrews Down

Nope.  The answer to body shaming is not body shaming.  How Diana Andrews looks has nothing to do with it.  What she did would be wrong no matter how she looks.

You Shouldn’t Shame Fat People When They Are At The Gym

Nope Nope. You shouldn’t shame fat people.  Not if they are working out on a treadmill, not if they are eating pizza they had delivered to the hot tub.  We talked about this already – it’s never ok.

That Girl She Was Shaming Wasn’t Even That Fat

Nope Nope Nope.  The thing is that if someone is being shamed, stigmatized, bullied etc. for being fat, and we say “they aren’t fat” or “they aren’t even that fat”  in their defense, what we are also saying is that there is a size at which they would deserve that treatment, and that’s just not true.

My suggested response (choose your own profanity adventure)

“Wow, that was extremely (fucked/screwed/jacked/messed) up! You should not have done that.  You need to apologize immediately and face some consequences for your actions.”

After people rightly went the hell off on her for her utterly inappropriate Dani Mathers impression, she published the following “apology”

“I am writing to express my sincere apologies for my actions. I realised that I was wrong to make this silly joke. It wasn’t my intention to body shame, hurt, or disrespect anyone. Thank you guys for all your messages and continued support.”

Wow, if she managed to be this body shaming, hurtful and disrespectful without trying, she’s obviously a natural. And let me just ask this – if it HAD been her intention to body shame, hurt, or disrespect anyone, what would she have done differently?  I am so very over these fake ass apologies.

What should happen now?

Here are some ideas that I have for consequences:

Her gym should revoke her membership – obviously people aren’t safe with her there.

No other gym should allow her to join for at least 6 months. She needs to learn the joys of working out at home for a while where she can take all the secret pictures she wants of her cats or whatever.

She could be sanctioned by UKBFF  – miss a meet or two. And it would be great if they could come out publicly against fat shaming.

People could unfollow her.  She took a picture without the subject’s permission for the express purpose of fatshaming a stranger in front of her 17k+ instagram followers. She fat-shamed the woman, then she doubled down, then she non-apologized.  I’ll bet that those 17k people could find a better role model.

If you have other ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Regardless, let’s be crystal clear that she is absolutely wrong.

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 March 10, 2017 at 6:30 am  Comments (20)  

Horrific Healthcare for Fat People

Bad DoctorAs Republicans in US government announce a health program that will provide less healthcare for lower income and older people, and enormous tax cuts for the very rich (including, specifically, health insurance companies) there is a lot of discussion about what will happen when healthcare gets even more difficult to obtain

When it comes to fat people, there can be even more barriers created by fatphobia.  The following is a real story from a blog reader, shared with permission, that beautifully illustrates many of the barriers that fatphobia creates to getting evidence-based, competent healthcare:

So I’ve been having a horribly bad asthma flare, for going on nearly six weeks now. I’m wheezy, to the point that people across a room from me can hear the rattle. I’m also full of phlegm, and for the entire first half of this, I wasn’t able to produce any of it. It’s been bad enough that I’ve been in the ER twice, and my O2 sats regularly hang out in the low 90s. The pain in my ribs, back, shoulders, and chest, from struggling to breathe, has been an almost constant companion.

My first trip to the ER earned me a round of prednisone, but my blood work and xrays showed no infection or pneumonia, so no antibiotic. I get uncomfortable symptoms when on high dosages of prednisone, so I altered the prescribed taper just a little and was on it nine days instead of six. I was feeling pretty good for a few days after the steroids, but got worse again, and ended back in the ER two weeks after the original visit, and the night before my appointment with my asshole of a primary.

In the ER the second time, xrays again showed no pneumonia. They couldn’t get my O2 sats to stay above 90, even after two breathing treatments and 40mg of prednisone, but since I was seeing the primary the following morning, and my pain levels had improved greatly with the breathing treatment, they let me go home.

Primary visit. This asshole has lectured me about my weight, both personally and through his nursing staff, since my first visit. He started in right away with weight. He’s convinced my weight has caused my issues…never mind that I’ve had asthma since childhood, or that I’ve been this same weight for three years. Never mind this is a sudden onset of intense symptoms. Never mind that he hasn’t addressed my concerns about better managing my asthma in general, say, with a prescription for the oral Singulair that’s worked well for me in the past, or even by making sure I’ve got rescue inhaler refills called into my pharmacy. (I’ve been making do with Urgent Care prescriptions, and by under-treating or using alternative/OTC treatments when I do have flare/attack symptoms)

Never mind that I live with a smoker, which triggers symptoms, or that I was unexpectedly exposed to triggering cold temps when I had to change a flat tire, just before the flare. Never mind that I’m almost every single year, this time of year, struggling with respiratory issues related to poor indoor air quality and/or illness. Or that the least time I had a flare this prolonged or this severe was while my hormones were dealing with puberty, and I’ve just begun the menopausal drift.

At least he finally agreed to prescribe me an at-home nebulizer and refilled (with just 3 refills for the year -cue eye roll) my rescue inhalers, right?

Grrrr…

Referral for a lung function test & consult with a pulmonologist. Techs at the lung function were perplexed that the primary would assume weight was primary, with all the other things I reported. They agreed that, without a sudden significant gain, a lifelong asthma diagnosis want suddenly going to be triggered into a flare by a stable weight. I was having a pretty good breathing day that day. Their evaluation was that there was no COPD (which asshole primary had been sure would be the result), but that the results definitely indicated and supported my already well-documented history of asthma.

That was last Monday.

Thursday, I went to Urgent Care because of pain and fullness in my ears. Because of my O2 sats and audible rattling in my chest, the doctor there performed an exam based upon that, asking questions about duration of symptoms and medical history. She was unsatisfied with the care actions of the other doctors I’ve been seeing, and prescribed Doxycyclene to treat what she suspected is an underlying infection.

My smoker at home has been gone out of town for a little over a week. During that time, I’ve been using the nebulizer almost every four hours, and then added the antibiotic…I’ve been coughing up some massive amounts of chunky, gunky lung butter, folks. Major improvements, not only to background pain levels, but to chest rattle, energy levels, and overall O2 sats. (I’ve got a portable at-home monitor) I’d been seeing slow progress with just neb treatment & reduced second hand smoke, but every nebulizer treatment since beginning antibiotics triggers major coughing spells that bring up big chunks.

Today… I receive a call from asshole primary’s nurse. In a chipper, sing-song voice, she reports that the pulmonology results indicate my weight is the culprit and that primary doctor recommend reducing calories. I asked why then, after regular nebulizer albuterol treatment, reduced second-hand smoke intake, and powerful antibiotics, now I’m finally improving? And why only now, after three years of maintaining at this weight and an entire lifetime’s history of asthma…why now am I only just now having an asthma flare, because of my weight?

Fucking bullshit. I’m going to need some major restraint, and a whole lot of willpower to keep from going postal at the pulmonologist’s appointment Monday. This is straight up lazy, dangerous, bad medical practice.

In the US system of “healthcare” (which is based on the idea that it’s cool to let people die if they aren’t able to “sufficiently” contribute to the bottom-line of multiple for-profit companies – including CEOs who make more than $100,000 a day) it is very difficult for many people to get healthcare, with the worst situations happening to the most marginalized people.

Another layer to that for fat people is the practice of thin people who can get care receiving evidence-based interventions, and fat people getting diets no matter – as we see clearly in the situation above – what the evidence suggests (which is especially a problem since there is no reason to believe that the weight loss methods prescribed by doctors will lead to thinness or better health – which are two different things.)

If you find yourself in this situation, the first thing to know is that you are not the problem – the system and the doctors you are dealing with are. You have every right to be frustrated and angry – this is bullshit. Well-meaning people will give you advice that is at best completely useless and unhelpful and at worst will make the problem worse. However you choose to deal with this is valid.

Some suggestions for dealing with this crap can be found here.

You can also check out the Fat Friendly Health Professionals List – and if you know fat friendly health professionals anywhere in the world, please take a moment to add them to the list. These are stopgap measures that individuals may be able to use to help, but let’s also remember that the true solution is accessible healthcare for all, free from fatphobia.

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 March 8, 2017 at 3:49 pm  Comments (30)  

Things That Are Not Size Acceptance

WTFI have been receiving a lot of e-mails lately talking about nonsense that is appearing in spaces that are specifically labeled as Size Acceptance/Fat Friendly/Health at Every Size so I thought I would clarify things – at least from my perspective and as I moderate it in my spaces.  As far as I’m concerned, the following are not, and never will be appropriate in Size Acceptance/Health at Every Size/Fat Friendly spaces.

A Diet By Any Other Name Would Still Be Bullshit

This category is for anything that suggests that people should (or are likely to successfully,) manipulate their bodies by any method.  I don’t care if it’s through eating, exercise, lifestyle change, organ amputation, meditation, self-compassion, or eating 100 calorie bags of magic weight loss beans.  If it’s about weight loss, it’s not Size Acceptance or Health at Every Size (HAES).

OOOOh scary  b-O-gey man

The “O” here stand for “Obesity Epi-Panic.” This category is for anything that suggests that fat people should be eradicated, eliminated, fixed, or feared.  That message is stigmatizing, and oppressive, and needs to get the hell up out of here. If an article contains this kind of crap (ie: people need access to healthcare because OH MY GOD FAT IS COMING FOR YOU!!!) then let me gently suggest that you at least point out that it’s a problem and, preferably, find an article that contains the positive message without the stigma. And if you want to up your game, you can write a note to the author to suggest that they make their point without a side of fat shaming.

Only You Can Prevent Fat People – Or, You Know, Not.

There has always been a diversity of body sizes.  There always will be. There will always be fat people. Discussions of how we can prevent fat people from existing are a waste of time that perpetuates stigma and oppression and draws resources away from creating a world that is the most conducive to everyone’s health (like, for example, a world without shame, stigma, bullying, oppression or poverty in which everyone, of every size, has access to excellent, compassionate, evidence-based healthcare for a start.)

Side by Side by Side

Anything that suggests that bodies are better or worse based on their size or a change in size (whether it’s a comparison of the same body, or different bodies) is sizeist bullshit. No. Just no.

Size Limits

Think that spandex isn’t for anyone who wants to wear it?  Have a problem with fat women in bodycon dresses? Think some people deserve to be accommodated by not others? Judge fat people who use scooters?  Ever spent time on one of those “People of Walmart” type sites?  Ever used the phrase “but at some point you’re just too fat…”  That’s not Size Acceptance, it’s the opposite.  Those who want to act like this will find a community of pathetic trolls excited to accept them on reddit.

We live in a sizeist world, driven by diet culture – it’s ubiquitous.  We can’t force people to opt out of this, but we absolutely deserve to have spaces that are free from these types of shame, stigma, bullying, and oppression. 

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 March 7, 2017 at 11:56 am  Comments (7)  

Let’s Stop Body Shaming donald’s Regime

 

defendRecently, upon hearing that donald thought it would be funny to ruin the career of someone who disagreed with him, Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach tweeted out:

“Hey @realDonaldTrump I oppose civil asset forfeiture too! Why don’t you try to destroy my career you fascist, loofa-faced, shit-gibbon!”

I commented: “I do not support appearance-based attacks. I do support calling donald a fascist shit-gibbon.”

I find myself doing this a lot lately. I hate this regime and everything it stands for and I’m committed to resisting, and I’ve seen lots of appearance-based attacks being  made, and lots of justifications for why it’s ok. In my most recent piece for Ravishly I make the case for why it’s not:

You can read it here!

 

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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

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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 March 3, 2017 at 4:22 pm  Comments (14)  

Bob Harper’s Heart Attack

bob-harper

I wonder if everyone in this hospital gets to bring their dog into the room?

I think this broke the record for fastest time to me getting 100 requests to write about something: Bob Harper has suffered a heart attack.  If you’re not familiar, Bob is one of the original trainers, and now the host, on the abomination of a show that is The Biggest Loser.

He was working out in a gym when it happened and luckily an MD was nearby to give him CPR and use the defibrillator to keep him alive. He was unconscious for 2 days. (At this point I’d like to point out that you can get CPR certified and learn how to use the Automated External Defibrillators and possibly save a life.)

I want to start here:  I’m sorry that Bob had a heart attack, I’m glad that he is recovering (and that he is lucky enough to be able to afford the care he needs – including a 10+ day stay in the hospital.)  I take no joy whatsoever in his health issues.

I also understand, and experience, the frustration that the people e-mailing me and asking me to write about this are talking about.

Because every story about Bob’s heart attack mentions his genetics, and the fact that genetics are a huge part of heart attack risk. That’s true, of course.  The issue here is that you won’t hear Bob telling that to the contestants he is screaming at on the show, and you will never see a paper fall all over themselves to talk about genetics when a fat person has a heart attack.

Bob makes his money telling people to attempt to manipulate their bodies in ways that are dangerous – sometimes very dangerous (and also, by the way, hardly ever work) because, he tells them, it will help them avoid heart attacks.  Bob makes his money suggesting that fat people should be blamed for having heart attacks (as if genetics don’t play a part in body size, or risk of heart attacks,) but now suggests that thin people should not –  even if those thin people participate in under-eating and/or over-exercising which can also predict heart issues.

For the record, I believe in blame free, shame free, future oriented healthcare, so even if Bob’s habits around food, exercise, sleep and/or stress played a part in his heart attack I don’t think that he should be blamed or shamed for it.

This situation brings the following into sharp relief:

  • Thin people have all the same health issues as fat people, so being thin or becoming thin (even if it was possible for more than a tiny fraction of fat people) can neither be a sure preventative nor a sure cure for any health issue.
  • Regardless of anything else, health is not an obligation or barometer of worthiness. Though research suggests that behaviors (rather than body size, or body size manipulation) are the best way to support health, there are many other aspects that contribute to health outcomes that are not in our control (including the oppression that comes from being fat in a sizeist world.)
  • The Biggest Loser is a horrific show in which fat people are physically and emotionally abused and it needs to go off the air. If the show were done with dogs instead of humans it wouldn’t have lasted even a single season because animal rights activists would have (rightly) gotten it shut down for cruelty.  This has nothing to do with Bob’s heart attack, it’s simply a fact I like to point out at every available opportunity.

A big part of fat phobia in our culture revolves around the idea of a “healthy weight” as if there is a weight you can achieve at which you will be immortal unless and until you get hit by a bus.  This does a disservice to everyone since it suggests that for fat people the only thing we can do to support our health is try to manipulate our body size (which, again, is not what the research says) and it suggests that thin people are healthy because of their body size, which is also not what the research says.

What we need is a paradigm that is based on health, not body size, where the focus is on creating a world where people have the opportunity to love and appreciate their bodies, and see them as worthy of care, and where everyone has access to types of movement they want to do, types of food they want to eat, and the kind of healthcare that wealthy people like Bob Harper get. That’s what Health at Every Size is about.  So let’s have a reality show about that.

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 February 28, 2017 at 7:11 pm  Comments (21)  

Stanford Children’s Hospital Excited To Harm Fat Kids

kids-wlsStanford Children’s center is super proud that “Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford’s Adolescent Bariatric Surgery program is the first and only adolescent bariatric surgery program on the West Coast to receive accreditation by the American College of Surgeons Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program.”

While I don’t believe that Weight Loss Surgery meets basic medical ethical guidelines for a number of reasons, I’m not going to go into that today because the surgery is legal, and I believe that adults should have bodily autonomy. So whether they want to partially amputate their stomach or their arm (whatever their reasons) it’s their own business.

But that’s not what we’re talking about here.  We’re talking about children whose incomplete brain development can make them incapable of fully understanding the consequences of this irreversible choice (indeed the press release highlights patients talking about being willing to risk their lives so that they can “ride a bike” and “shop for clothes at regular stores.”)

It may be difficult if not impossible for children to understand that they are signing on for a lifetime of restrictive eating and supplementation to balance the needs of a mostly amputated stomach while avoiding malnutrition.  They may not be able to fully process the potentially very serious consequences of failing to follow the post-surgical diet and supplementation program – either because they would rather live off pizza and ramen like the rest of their college friends in a few years, or because they can’t afford (or decide they have better uses for) $125 a month on supplements for the rest of their lives, or for many other reasons.

It’s also highly unlikely that these kids have been fully educated on the dangers of this surgery. They’ve typically only been presented with stories of people who are happy that they had surgery, not given a balanced presentation that also includes people who deeply regret it and desperately wish they could change their choice, as well as hearing from the families of people who died.

Nor is it likely that they are presented with the concept of Size Acceptance (such that they are clear that there are options other than trying to accommodate bigotry and bullies through dangerous surgical interventions) or evidence-based approaches to health like Health at Every Size (since there are thin kids with the same health issues as fat kids, but they are given interventions that do not include amputating most of their stomachs.)

These kids will be left facing the very real possibility of a life full of horrific side effects and malnutrition, and it’s worth noting that if that’s the case doctors are very likely to simply blame the patients and their body size. Those patients can also safely assume that they will not be interviewed, or have their before and after pictures trotted out, for the next press release. Nor will other children likely be told their stories when trying to decide if they should enter adulthood without most of their stomach.

Tragically, there is also the inescapable fact that some of these children will die from this surgery. So instead of riding a bike (which lots of fat people do) or shopping in  “regular stores” (and the fact that a healthcare facility would use the term “regular” in this way shows how deeply ensconced in fatphobia they are,) these children will be dead.

Their parents will have to bury them.  Their family and friends will have to mourn them, they won’t ever ride a bike or shop again. They will be tragic casualties of the war on “obesity,” a war that wants us thin or dead and doesn’t much care which.  Dead children will be the legacy of the war against body diversity and actual health-based (rather than size-based) health interventions.

So before anyone celebrates the fact that people who perform a barbaric (and highly profitable!) surgery on adults are accrediting people who perform barbaric surgery  on kids, let’s maybe have a moment of silence for the children who will be killed by a combination of fatphobia and surgeons.

If you wish to contact them about it you may do so here:

The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health
400 Hamilton Avenue | Suite 340
Palo Alto, California, 94301
(650) 497-8365 | info@lpfch.org

Samantha Dorman
sdorman@stanfordchildrens.org
(650) 498-0756

Kate DeTrempe
kdetrempe@stanfordchildrens.org
650-721-8527

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 February 24, 2017 at 2:59 pm  Comments (24)