Old Statue, New Fat Shaming

Archaeologists found this marble figure at a dig in Çatalhöyük, Turkey. According to the Ministry of Culture the statue dates to between 8000 and 5500 B.C., weighs about 2 pounds, and is around 6.7 inches long.

Of course some people took this opportunity to fat shame the statue (because some people have too much free time.) What I want to talk about today is the comments that I saw that seemed to unravel the whole fat shaming argument whilst trying to make it.   They went something like this:

“I didn’t know that they had [insert fast food restaurant, name of soda, type of food] back them.

Wow, so funny I forgot to laugh.  The thing is, they didn’t.  They didn’t have any of the things that they are trying to get rid of, or tax, in an effort to eradicate fat people.  And guess what, there were still fat people. There always have been fat people, there always will be fat people and eradicating fat people is not a worthy, or even remotely appropriate, goal.

The good news is that the existence throughout history of art that featured fat figures means that we have opportunities to see bodies that look like ours celebrated!

By coincidence, the same day I saw this, I received a package in the mail, a present from Julianne from the completely fabulous LAUGHING GODDESS MAGICKAL APOTHECARY a “gleefully fat and body positive grotto where handcrafted bath, beauty, and magickal goodies await you!

One soap that says I Love My Rolls:

and another fabulous goddess soap:

These join the positive representations of fat that we make sure to have all over our home. 

Bodies of all sizes have been celebrated throughout history and our bodies should be no different! If you have some favorite body positive art feel free to leave it in the comments so that we can all appreciate it.

If you’re struggling with celebrating your body, consider joining us for the 2017 Body Love Obstacle Course!

This year we have two separate options – the BLOC Power Circle – an intense course that includes a series of live calls and is limited to only 10 people, and the BLOC e-Course which is self-paced and utilizes recordings. Both include the same curriculum and are coached by me, Jeanette DePatie, and amazing guest coaches.

“I got everything I hoped and more from this course. I now have an alternative inside of myself – of love and realness – and it keeps getting stronger. This love and realness is pushing out the oppression, and the pain, and body cruelty in my thinking and being. It’s getting so much more fun, interesting and beautiful inside of here! I’m in a growth and stretching phase now, and I’m starting to see the beauty and power and goodness in all bodies, including this one. From my heart and from my body – Thank you thank you thank you.”

Super Early Bird pricing is available during the pre-sale until December 15 so
get the details and register here! 

Note:  if you are a Danceswithfat member be sure to check your e-mail and/or the member page to get your $50 and $30 discount.

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!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

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

Published in: on December 10, 2016 at 11:23 am  Leave a Comment  

Santa Fat-Shames Nine-Year-Old

ShamelessLike many children, a nine year old boy in North Caroline went to visit Santa and share his Christmas list. Unlike most children, this Santa lacked the self-control to keep is size-based bigotry in check and couldn’t let the boy go without fat-shaming him.

Anthony Mayse, 9, asked for an iPod Touch and a drone for Christmas when he was allegedly fat-shamed.

“When he got done, he said, ‘Lay off the hamburgers and french fries,” Mayse told WLOS. “And that really just disrespected me, and I felt awful.”

It affected me so bad that I was crying until I went to bed that night,” Anthony said. “And I want to say to him, ‘You don’t want to disrespect a 9-year-old. Even though what shape and size you are, it doesn’t matter.”

I’m so happy that Anthony is clear that this is completely disrespectful and inappropriate. It’s easy to write this guy off as an asshole, but I think it’s important to look at how messed up our culture has to be for a mall Santa to think it’s cool to fat-shame a child.

First let’s look at what he did, then we’ll look at why he did it.

Stereotyping:

He felt that, based on what the kid looked like, he could ascertain what he ate.  Let’s remember that for all he knows this kid is a vegetarian who has never had a burger in his life.  But our culture – from the government down – actually encourages people to stereotype fat people based on how we look.

Bad advice:

First he states his guesses about what the kid eats as fact, then he suggests to the kid that he should stop eating two specific foods.  He never really says what the point of that is – does he believe that the kid will be healthier or thinner as long as he doesn’t eat burgers and fries?  Maybe he should stick to being jolly and taking pictures with screaming toddlers.

Out loud:

It’s unfortunate that he is a stereotyping bigot, but it’s more unfortunate that he chose to be a stereotyping bigot out loud.

But Why?

The question as to why this would happen has, as its center, the fact that stereotyping, stigmatizing, bullying, and harassing fat people is encouraged in our culture. To be very clear – fat is NOT the last acceptable prejudice – racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, Islamophobia, ageism, classism and more are all alive and well and far too accepted.  So too is weight-based bigotry.  There are a few reasons why I think people typically engage in this type of behavior:

Ego

I find that very often this is about people who want to say that they earned their “Save the Fatties” jacket and commemorative pin. These people need to remember that other people’s bodies aren’t their business, and that they are not the Fat Person Whisperer.

Cruelty

Some people like to be cruel (often because they are desperate to feel better about themselves and trying to get that done by putting other people down) this is an opportunity to do so under cover of claiming it’s “tough love” and claiming credit for the incredible “bravery” of fat shaming children.

They think they are helping?

If this is actually true (and not just a crappy justification for one of the above reasons) then I think that the person is pretty out of touch. I would compare it to a dude catcalling a woman from a moving vehicle and then saying that it was because he really wanted to get to know her. Even if that’s true, it’s still just completely not ok. And intent doesn’t override impact.

The fact that there are mall Santas who think it’s ok to fat-shame children who are supposed to be there to have a joyful experience, the fact that many children (and many adults) believe that they deserve to be shamed and given unsolicited food advice by total strangers, shows us that our culture has a problem with weight-based bias and harassment.  We need to be clear that this is not ok, that there is no justification that makes it ok, and we won’t put up with it.

Announcing the 2017 Body Love Obstacle Course!

Last year 30 people participated in the first ever Body Love Obstacle Course. Some joined on the live calls, and some used the recordings on their own time. Based on their feedback, we’ve created two separate options – the BLOC Power Circle – an intense course that includes a series of live calls and is limited to only 10 people, and the BLOC e-Course which is self-paced and utilizes recordings. Both include the same curriculum and are coached by me, Jeanette DePatie, and amazing guest coaches.

I got everything I hoped and more from this course. I now have an alternative inside of myself – of love and realness – and it keeps getting stronger. This love and realness is pushing out the oppression, and the pain, and body cruelty in my thinking and being. It’s getting so much more fun, interesting and beautiful inside of here! I’m in a growth and stretching phase now, and I’m starting to see the beauty and power and goodness in all bodies, including this one. From my heart and from my body – Thank you thank you thank you.

Super Early Bird pricing is available during the pre-sale until December 15 so
get the details and register here! 

Note:  if you are a Danceswithfat member be sure to check your e-mail and/or the member page to get your $50 and $30 discount.

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!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

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

Published in: on December 8, 2016 at 11:58 am  Comments (16)  

Flying While Fat – Brilliant Documentary Animation

Stacy Bias is an absolute badass.  You may remember her from her Cards Against Humanity expansion pack – Fats Against Humanity, and her amazing Rad Fatty Merit Badges. Well she is back with a documentary animation that perfectly captures the difficulty faced by fat people who are trying to access air travel.

Stacy explains:

Flying is uncomfortable for many people, but when the physical infrastructure of the plane doesn’t accommodate your body and/or the social attitudes of other passengers make the plane environment a hostile space, flying can be a particularly anxious thing to do. News stories about fat passengers often present them as unreasonably taking up space that is not their own, as a problem for others, dehumanising fat people akin to ‘excess baggage’. To challenge these narratives, this animation presents the voices of fat passengers as they explain the challenges of fitting into spaces that exclude them both socially and materially. The animation encourages people to empathise with fat people as fellow passengers and human beings, and to think about the political and economic relations that contribute to this exclusion.

For more reading about flying fat you can check out:

Stacy’s site:  www.flyingwhilefat.com 

Flying Fat:  But It’s Not Fair to Thin People

Flying Fat:  You’re Right, It’s Not Fat Shaming

I will admit that I have some envy of people for whom the hassles of flying are limited to flight delays and lost luggage, and not whether they’ll be left clinging to the last shreds of their dignity by their connecting flight. Still, I feel like we’re making progress and the more the airlines know that fat flyers are here and not going away, and the more our fellow passengers can see us as living breathing human beings, the more progress we will make and the faster we will make it.

Announcing the 2017 Body Love Obstacle Course!

Last year 30 people participated in the first ever Body Love Obstacle Course. Some joined on the live calls, and some used the recordings on their own time. Based on their feedback, we’ve created two separate options – the BLOC Power Circle – an intense course that includes a series of live calls and is limited to only 10 people, and the BLOC e-Course which is self-paced and utilizes recordings. Both include the same curriculum and are coached by me, Jeanette DePatie, and amazing guest coaches.

I got everything I hoped and more from this course. I now have an alternative inside of myself – of love and realness – and it keeps getting stronger. This love and realness is pushing out the oppression, and the pain, and body cruelty in my thinking and being. It’s getting so much more fun, interesting and beautiful inside of here! I’m in a growth and stretching phase now, and I’m starting to see the beauty and power and goodness in all bodies, including this one. From my heart and from my body – Thank you thank you thank you.

Super Early Bird pricing is available during the pre-sale until December 15 so
get the details and register here! 

Note:  if you are a Danceswithfat member be sure to check your e-mail and/or the member page to get your $50 and $30 discount.

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!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

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

 

 

Published in: on December 7, 2016 at 10:50 am  Comments (5)  

Trump Appointee Wouldn’t Hire Fat People

Bad DoctorDelos “Toby” Cosgrove, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, was recently selected by Trump to join an advisory committee that, according to a news release by the administration”brings together CEOs and business leaders who know what it takes to create jobs and drive economic growth. My administration is committed to drawing on private sector expertise and cutting the government red tape that is holding back our businesses from hiring, innovating, and expanding right here in America.”

You may remember Toby from that time he told a New York Times reporter (for an article whose misinformation could be the subject of its own blog post) that he thinks “obesity” is a disease, and that if it were up to him he would refuse to hire “obese” people.  There are massive problems with the idea of considering a body size to be a disease.  There are massive problems with a medical professional insisting that eating less and exercising more “solves obesity” despite the fact that  the research doesn’t, in any way, back him up. There are also massive problems with the Cleveland Clinic’s own wellness program and hospital performance, which wellness expert Al Lewis points out in this great piece.

Those are serious problems, but not the biggest problem here.  The biggest problem is that Toby thinks that “obesity” is a disease,  and he would refuse to hire “obese” people.  So what he is saying is that, as a doctor and healthcare executive, he thinks it’s ok to discriminate against people who have a disease (in this case a disease whose only common “symptom” is the end result of a math equation.)

He is a medical doctor who is literally advocating healthism and sizeism as a hiring strategy, completely disregarding the qualifications of the applicant. And now he is on a forum that’s going to make recommendations to the government about hiring.  Not great news for fat people who want to be hired and paid for our skills, and not based on other people’s bigotry, stereotypes, and misconceptions.

To be clear, donald campaigned on a platform of blatant racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, misogyny, and anti-queer and anti-trans sentiment, was supported and endorsed by the KKK, and has created his cabinet with people who believe the same, so fat people in the US are among many groups who now find ourselves citizens of a country where members of the administration are excited to oppress us.

That’s why it’s important that we not let things like this go by without comment, that we not allow this to become normalized, and above all that we not allow other people’s bigotry to make us question our self-worth.

Imagine if instead of refusing to hire qualified, talented fat people, we refused to hire bigots to consult with the government about hiring. That would be progress.

Announcing the 2017 Body Love Obstacle Course!

Last year 30 people participated in the first ever Body Love Obstacle Course. Some joined on the live calls, and some used the recordings on their own time. Based on their feedback, we’ve created two separate options – the BLOC Power Circle – an intense course that includes a series of live calls and is limited to only 10 people, and the BLOC e-Course which is self-paced and utilizes recordings. Both include the same curriculum and are coached by me, Jeanette DePatie, and amazing guest coaches.

I got everything I hoped and more from this course. I now have an alternative inside of myself – of love and realness – and it keeps getting stronger. This love and realness is pushing out the oppression, and the pain, and body cruelty in my thinking and being. It’s getting so much more fun, interesting and beautiful inside of here! I’m in a growth and stretching phase now, and I’m starting to see the beauty and power and goodness in all bodies, including this one. From my heart and from my body – Thank you thank you thank you.

Super Early Bird pricing is available during the pre-sale until December 15 so
get the details and register here! 

Note:  if you are a Danceswithfat member be sure to check your e-mail and/or the member page to get your $50 and $30 discount.

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!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

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

Published in: on December 6, 2016 at 2:25 pm  Comments (5)  

We’re Fat People, Not Metaphors

Actual SizeOne of the ways that weight-based bigotry is perpetuated is the use of fat people and being fat as metaphor.  Recently reader Jen commented about a situation where this was happening to her and gave me permission to blog about it.

I am the only fat person, in a group of 14 people, for whom issues like alcoholism, drug abuse and domestic partner violence seem to play third chair to the issue of: “at least I don’t look like her.” And no, I can’t prove this, but when half of the examples from the books that the groups’ facilitators use have to be examples of how “not to eat too much”, “because that is a short time reward vs a long time goal” (ie a cookie vs weight loss), I get sort of…paranoid. Like one can BE paranoid about an issue that seems to run 24 7 in every element, aspect and goal of modern American Society.
Seriously, have they NO other examples?

As they say – it’s not paranoia if they’re actually after you.  Fat bodies, being fat, and stereotypes about being  fat are used to represent everything from  greed to laziness to capitalism and more.  Our bodies are freely used for whatever the negative metaphor, comparison, or representation of the day is.  As if we have no feelings about seeing people who look like us constantly used to represent everything bad in the world, or as if those feelings aren’t important.

Our bodies are not yours to photograph and throw all over the internet as a metaphor for anything (or as some bullshit People of Walmart nonsense.)  We are PEOPLE, these are our BODIES, and EVERY BODY deserves respect.

Of course we each get to choose how to deal with the oppression we face. For me, when this happens in person I’ve found that one of the most effective tools is to use confusion, acting like I don’t understand the comparison and making the person explain until the problem is obvious and they get too uncomfortable to continue.

When it happens online, I propose a little bit of simple at-home activism.  Every time you see fat people or being fat used to represent something negative, leave a comment like “Fat people aren’t yours for the metaphor-ing. Every body deserves respect!” If you want to take it one step further send an e-mail to the source of the story – tell them your personal story, send them this blog whatever, but let’s teach people that this behavior isn’t ok.  Also, I’ve found that this kind of activism can reframe this issue for me – now instead of feeling angry or hurt or ashamed when I see this happen, I can look at it as a chance to educate, and advocate for myself.

I am super excited to announce the 2017 Body Love Obstacle Course!

Last year 30 people participated in the first ever Body Love Obstacle Course. Some joined on the live calls, and some used the recordings on their own time. Based on their feedback, we’ve created two separate options – the BLOC Power Circle – an intense course that includes a series of live calls and is limited to only 10 people, and the BLOC e-Course which is self-paced and utilizes recordings. Both include the same curriculum and are coached by me, Jeanette DePatie, and amazing guest coaches.

Both are a step-by-step program that gives people the tools, coaching, and community to create a rock solid foundation of self-esteem and body love, and teaches the strategies and skills to leverage that to create the life you’ve always wanted.

Super Early Bird pricing is available during the pre-sale until December 15 so
get the details and register here! 

Note:  if you are a Danceswithfat member be sure to check your e-mail and/or the member page to get your $50 and $30 discount.

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!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

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

Published in: on December 5, 2016 at 2:53 pm  Comments (12)  

Fatphobia Claims Another Life

Bully Free ZoneToday’s blog is pretty intense – content warning for discussion of bullying, harassment, and suicide.

Brandy Vela sent her sister Jackie a text that said “”I love you so much, please remember that, and I’m sorry for everything.” Then she took her own life.

Brandy was the victim of cyberbullying.  According to Jackie:

“People would make up fake Facebook accounts and they would message her and she wouldn’t respond and they would still come at her…They would say really, really mean things like, ‘Why are you still here?’ They would call her fat and ugly. She was beautiful, absolutely beautiful; the only thing people could find to pick on her was her weight.”
Jackie says her sister changed her phone number and reported the bullying to police, but was told they couldn’t help her.
“They couldn’t do anything because [the suspects] used an app and it wasn’t traceable and they couldn’t do something until something happened, like they fight,” Jackie said.
This is a story that far too many fat people on the internet know far too well.  Anonymous cowards who use the tools that the internet provides, and the fact that laws haven’t caught up with technology, to do things online that would be illegal if they did them in person, or even using traditional mail.
 –
If you’re one of these bullies and you’re reading this, know that you killed Brandy Vela.  You have blood on your hands and it will never, ever wash off.  Walk away from this now, find someplace to hang out other than online hate forums, find something to do that isn’t mistreating fat people. You can walk away, and you should.
 –
If you are the victim of these people, please know that you are not the problem – they are. You are fine, your body is fine, you do not deserve this – you never did, and you never will.
 –
Friends and family are honoring Brandy’s life: Post-it Notes filled with loving words cover her bedroom, and blue hearts are tapes all over the hallways in her school.
 –
I’d like to suggest another way to honor all of those who have been victims of cyberbullying. When you see trolls online putting fat people down, trying to keep us from living the lives we want, trying to keep us from telling our stories and creating community, trying to make sure that we can’t even exist in the world for a moment without constant shame, stigma, bullying and harassment, remember that while it’s easy to write them off as sad and pathetic (and they certainly are both) they are also something else – they are murderers. Brandy is sadly not the first or last to fall prey to them, and we should hold them accountable.
 –
Stories like Brandy Vela’s break my heart. Casualties of the horribly conceived and horrifyingly conducted “war on obesity” and the cyberbullies who all too eagerly enlist themselves in the  army of hate.
 –

If you are a fat person, know that you are amazing. In the face of a crushing amount of bullying and stigma, in the face of the government recruiting our friends, families, and employers to fight a war against us, in spite of the intense oppression that tries its best to crush us, that we keep living our lives is a testament to our incredible strength.

And yes, it’s ok to be fat.  And if they want a “war on obesity” then we will damn well give them one. And know that you can’t be strong all the time so if you are feeling low – if you fear that you may become a casualty of this war – reach out around the fatosphere, and let’s be here for each other.

In a world where waking up as a fat person and not hating ourselves is considered an act of rebellion, I’m proud to be a rebel. In a world where refusing to spend all of my time , money and energy trying to manipulate my body size is considered a crime against society, I’m proud to be a criminal. In a world where loving my body is an act of revolution, I’m proud to be a revolutionary.

Fuck the trolls, fuck the cyberbullies, and fuck the “war on obesity.” Live loud and proud my fellow fat people, because we are nothing short of extraordinary.

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!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

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

Published in: on December 2, 2016 at 10:33 am  Comments (14)  

Underpants Rule

Underpants RuleThis is one of those annual tradition posts – it’s the Underpants Rule and it is pretty simple: when it comes to personal choices, everyone is the boss of their own underpants. So, when it comes to personal choices, you get to choose for you and other people get to choose from them and it’s not your job to tell other people what to do and it’s not their job to tell you what to do. To illustrate, if someone is considering saying something about personal choices that starts with

  • People should
  • Everyone ought to
  • What people need to do
  • We should all
  • Nobody should
  • You shouldn’t
  • blah blah things that have to do with underpants that aren’t yours blah blah

then there is a 99.9% chance that they are about to break The Underpants Rule. Of course telling you that you should follow the Underpants Rule is, in fact, breaking the Underpants Rule which is pesky, so let me instead make a case for the Underpants Rule and then you can make your own choice.

I chose a Health at Every Size practice (knowing that health is not an obligation, barometer of worthiness, or entirely within our control)  because I am a fan of research, logic and math.  I think that the research clearly shows that a HAES practice gives me a much better shot at supporting my health with way less downside risk than a weight loss- based health practice.

There are people who think the exact opposite of that.  I know that because they come here and tell me so – they say that I should make a different choice.  This blog is my little corner of the internet.  It exists only because I created it and I am thrilled to pieces that people enjoy reading it, that people get inspired by it, that it gives people information to make choices etc. I try very hard to make sure that I always follow the Underpants Rule and never tell anyone else how they have to live when it comes to their personal choices, and yet people come here and try to tell me how to live when it comes to my personal choices.  That’s annoying.

For this reason, I would never go onto someone’s weight loss blog and tell them all about Health at Every Size and quote research as to why I think it’s a better choice.  Those are not my underpants.

I do not enjoy (or believe them) when people tell me that I need to become smaller to be attractive.  Therefore I would never say that thin women need to become larger to be attractive.  Besides the fact that I don’t believe it, those are not my underpants. (Not to mention that the path to high self-esteem is probably not paved with hypocrisy so doing to someone else exactly what I don’t want done to me seems ill-advised.)

The “War on Obesity” is an underpants rule breakdown on a massive scale. A group of government, public and private interests (with various profit and political motivations) has chosen a group of people who are identifiable by sight and is now trying to tell us everything from how we have to prioritize health, to the path we have to take to become healthy, to how our bodies have to look.  Who died and made them Underpants Overlord?  Nobody. (And another year has gone by and I’ve still not received my official fat person pony.)

My metaphorical underpants and my actual underpants have something in common:  if I want somebody else in them, that person will be among the very first to know.  I have definitely not invited the executives at HBO, Kaiser Permanente, the government, or the diet industry into my underpants.

Over the years, there have been some misunderstandings about the Underpants Rule – mostly confusion about what is and is not covered, I wrote about the limitations of the UR here.

Now, I’m not telling what to do (cause, you know, Underpants Rule) but I’m suggesting that if you don’t like it when people attempt to be the boss of your underpants, then maybe take a pass on trying to be the boss of someone else’s.  I’m fairly certain that “Do unto others exactly what you don’t want them to do to you” is the brick rule or the pile of crap rule or something – at any rate a LOT of steps down from platinum and gold.

Remember, you are forever the boss of your underpants – occupy your underpants (with a nod to reader Duckie for that phrase)! I’m going off to see if there is a Guinness World Record for number of times the word underpants is used in a blog.

Underpants. Underpants. Underpants.

Underpants.

Under…

…pants.

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!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

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

Published in: on November 30, 2016 at 12:30 pm  Comments (11)  

My New Favorite Fat TV Character

Actual SizeMy sadness over the fact that Chrissie Metz’ character in This Is Us has decided to have stomach amputation (announced in an episode that I think they should have named “An Ode to the Stomach Amputation Industry”) has lifted a bit because I discovered maybe my favorite fat character ever on a TV Show.

The show is called Scorpion and it’s about a group of geniuses who work with the US Government to solve crimes (why did nobody tell me about this show before now?) The character I’m talking about is Sylvester Dodd, played spectacularly by Ari Stidham. (Note – I don’t know how Ari identifies size-wise, I think of him as a fat, he might not agree.)

What I love about the character is that he is a very multi-dimensional main character, the character is very physical and often given very physical tasks to do that are literally life and death and, with the exception of him being called “Big Fella” in a good-natured, non-judgmental way, his weight is never an issue (at least as far as I’ve seen.  Fingers crossed since we’re basically binge-watching this show right now.) The show isn’t perfect, it can play on stereotypes and there could definitely be more diversity in casting,  I enjoy the show and it makes me so happy to see a fat character portrayed as something other than a self-loathing side kick.

If you have favorite fat and fat positive TV characters (ie: multi-dimensional, no diet talk, no weight loss talk, accepting/affirming of their size etc.) please feel free to leave them in the comments.

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!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

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

Published in: on November 28, 2016 at 2:55 pm  Comments (30)  

Handling The Friends and Family Food Police

Guilt Free EatingThis post is a danceswithfat tradition, offered for those who may have to deal with inappropriate friend and family behavior during this “holiday season” (whether they are celebrating any holidays or not.)

Ah, is there anything more fun than being under surveillance by the Friends and Family Food Police?  There are only a couple of things that I can think of – root canal, shaving my head with a cheese grater, a fish hook in the eye…

This happens to almost all of my fat friends, but to be clear it happens to thin people too – food judgment and shaming happens to people of all sizes and it’s never ok.

I think that we need to remember that fat hate and body shaming is modeled for people all over our culture, fear of being fat is a driver of a lot of behaviors.

First, I always suggest that you be prepared for boundary setting when you go into this type of situation.  Think about what your boundaries are, and what consequences you are willing to enforce.   So think about what you would be willing to do – Leave the event?  Stay at a hotel?  Cease conversation until the person can treat you appropriately?  Be sure that you know what you want and that you can follow through.

As an example, I’ll use that age old shaming question “Do you need to eat that?”

This is such a loaded question. What do they mean by “need”? Are they asking if my glycogen stores are depleted? If I am near starvation?  If my body at this moment requires the precise nutrients that are delivered by cornbread stuffing and gravy? Or do they feel that fostering a relationship with food that is based on guilt and shame is in my best interest?

This question is custom-made to make someone feel ashamed.  I think it’s asked for one of about three reasons:

Judgment

The person asking the question has decided that it is their job to pass judgment on your activities.  Being too cowardly to directly state their opinion, they use this question as a mode of passive aggression to “make you admit it to yourself”.  This is one of those situations where they would probably claim to be mistreating you for your own good, also known around this blog as “Pulling a Jillian“.

If the person asking this question truly cared about you and your health (however misguided they might be), they would talk to you about it in person, alone, at an appropriate time, and they would ask a question that invited dialog, not try to embarrass you in front of people while you’re eating what is supposed to be a celebratory meal. That right there is some bullshit.

Power/Superiority

Remember that some people never psychologically got past Junior High and nothing makes them feel so powerful as judging someone else and then making them feel like crap. Maybe because they are drowning in…

Insecurity

The person asking the question perhaps struggles with weight stigma, their guilt about eating etc. and since they feel guilty for enjoying the food, they think that you should feel guilty about it too, or they want to deflect attention from their behavior to yours.

The degree of difficulty on discerning someone’s intent in this sort of thing can range from “of course” to “who the hell knows”. Here’s the thing though, from my perspective it doesn’t matter why they are asking it:  I am not ok with being asked, and I get to make that decision.

So you’re at a holiday meal, you take seconds on mashed potatoes and someone asks the dreaded question:  “Do you need to eat that?” It seems like the table falls silent, waiting for your reply.  What do you say?

If it’s me, first I quell my rage and resist the urge to put them down (Yes, I do need these mashed potatoes.  Did you need to be a total freaking jerk?)

Second, as with so many situations where people lash out at you, remember that this is about their issues and has nothing to do with you.   If emotions well up, consider that you may be feeling embarrassed and/or sorry for them, and not ashamed of your own actions.

Finally I suggest you find your happy (or at least your non-homicidal) place, and try one of these:

Quick and Simple (said with finality)

  • Yes (and then eat it)
  • No (and then eat it)

Answer with a Question (I find it really effective to ask these without malice, with a tone of pure curiosity.  If you’re not in the mood to have a dialog about this, maybe skip these.)

  • Why do you think that’s your business?
  • What led you to believe that I want you to police my food intake?
  • I thought that you were an accountant, are you also a dietitian?

Pointed Response (be ready with a consequence if the behavior continues)

  • I find that inappropriate and offensive, please don’t comment on my food choices
  • What I eat is none of your business, and your commenting on it is not ok
  • I have absolutely no interest in discussing my food intake with you
  • I’m not soliciting opinions about my food choices.

Cathartic (but probably not that useful if you want to create an opportunity for honest dialog)

  • Yes, because dealing with your rudeness is depleting my glycogen stores at an alarming rate
  • If I want to talk to the food police, I’ll call Pie-1-1
  • I’m sure you’re not proud of the completely inappropriate behavior you just exhibited, I’m willing to forget this ever happened
  • Thanks for trying to give me your insecurities, but I was really hoping to get a Wii this year
  • No, but using my fork to eat helps to keep me from stabbing you with it

I don’t believe that guilt is good for my health and I’m definitely resisting arrest by the Family and Friends Food Police.

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!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

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

Published in: on November 23, 2016 at 11:08 am  Comments (17)  

Q&A About Chrissy Metz and Contractually Required Weight Loss

know fat chicks

Design by Kris Owen

Chrissy Metz is one of the stars of the television show This Is Us.  As is all too often the case, she plays a fat character who is “struggling with her weight”  As is less common, the contract she signed to play the character includes a requirement for weight loss.  She says:

In our contract, it did state that that would be a part of it, to lose the weight in the trajectory of the character as she comes to find herself. That was a win-win for me. Because it’s one thing to try to do it on your own. But as human beings, it’s an ego thing: We’re more likely to do something for someone else.

I just have to be very clear. Whether or not I lose weight or stay the same, it’s purely a choice of mine for health. Not because I think that plus-size, curvy, voluptuous, big bodies aren’t attractive — because I think they’re awesome and sexy.

So I’ll just have to make sure that’s known, because I’m not selling out the big girls. I don’t do that. That’s not me.

As this has been posted to social media by frustrated fat activists I’ve been seeing a lot of questions about why this is a problem, so I thought I would give my thoughts as to the answers:

Lots of fat people do want to lose weight, why are you complaining that her character is one of those fat people?

It’s a problem because almost every fat character who we see on television and in movies is fully invested in fat-hating diet culture. Representation matters, and the fact that almost all media representation of fat people is based on negative stereotypes and diet culture is a problem.  It means that we don’t have role models who look like us (and like looking like us,) and that nearly every time that fat-positive fat people find out that we are actually going to represented (which is, in and of itself, pretty rare in television and movies) it’s not long before we find out that the we aren’t going to be represented at all – the only fat people who are represented are fat people who don’t want to be fat any more.

There are plenty of fat people who aren’t interested in weight loss and we would like to see ourselves represented as well. It’s not just important for fat people, but also for everyone we interact with, whose beliefs and opinions about us are shaped by our media representations as self-loathing stereotypes.

She said that this is about her health, don’t you want her to be healthy?

She is allowed to do whatever she wants with her body for whatever her reasons are, and she is allowed to believe whatever she wants about health.  She is allowed to try to manipulate her body size even though the evidence suggests that the most likely outcome of her weight loss attempts is weight gain. But let’s be clear that she didn’t say that she was losing weight for her health. First she said she had to lose weight per the contract that she signed to be on a television show.  Then, later, she said that it was about her health.

Also when she says “That was a win-win for me. Because it’s one thing to try to do it on your own. But as human beings, it’s an ego thing: We’re more likely to do something for someone else. ” it makes it seem like that’s some kind of factual statement when, in fact, there is no reason to believe that being forced to lose weight for a contract or for “someone else” will have any more chance of long-term weight loss than any other motivation (which is to say, almost no chance at all.)

What will happen if she doesn’t lose weight?

This is a damn good question. She says it’s about her health but what will she be doing to lose the weight – especially if it’s a contractual obligation?  It’s bad enough to eat less than you need to survive in the hopes that you body will consume itself and become smaller, but we also know that over and over again doctors and pharmaceutical companies have been completely fine with killing fat people in attempts to make us smaller so I can only hope that this doesn’t spiral into something horrific just so that television can create yest another shitty “before and after” weight loss as self-discovery fatty story. And even if she is able to lose weight short term, if she’s like the vast majority of people who regain the weight, what will happen then?

She said that big bodies are awesome and sexy, why isn’t that enough for you?

It’s nice if she thinks that, but my fight isn’t just to be seen as beautiful or sexy, it’s to be seen as a human being and not a walking “before” picture. It’s about having the chance to get actual health care based on evidence-based interventions rather than being prescribed a bag of not-so-magical weight loss beans. It’s about fat people no longer being hired less and paid less than thin people with the same qualifications.  Being seen as sexy is nice, but what I’m talking about here is seeing people who look like me represented in media as fully actualized, non self-loathing human beings, rejecting diet culture and leading amazing lives.

But she says that she’s not selling out big people! She says it right there!

She may well believe that, and that’s great, but I don’t think her actions are necessarily in line with her goals here. If she really doesn’t want to sell out fat people she could say something like “I signed up to play a character with a weight loss trajectory and I agreed to be contractually obligated to manipulate my body size to portray that character.  I want to be clear that weight is not the same thing as health, and that neither weight loss nor health are an obligation, barometer of worthiness, entirely within our control, or guaranteed under any circumstances.  While I may choose to attempt weight loss, I understand that weight loss doesn’t make me better or worse than anyone else, and I also want to celebrate fat people who reject diet culture and live amazing lives in fat bodies.”

Once again, Chrissie Metz – like everyone – is allowed to do whatever she wants with her body for whatever reason she chooses, but that doesn’t mean that those choices don’t add to the diet culture that oppresses fat people. I wish her all the best and I hope that she will work hard to fully support fat people and to reject anti-fat culture even as she tries to manipulate her body size to fulfill her television contract.

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!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

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

 

Published in: on November 21, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (16)