Not Sorry for MeMe Roth

If you’ve been reading about the recent irrational statements by MeMe Roth like I have, you are likely not surprised. MeMe Roth has been featured on news shows as an “expert” on obesity, since she purportedly has a fat family and is herself thin (and conventionally attractive and young enough to appeal to the talking news-Barbies and -Kens).

I’ve been scanning through the comments on the wonderful posts about MeMe Roth’s telling comparison (overeating is like raping your own body) and disordered confession (she refuses to eat until she runs four miles, which at the time of the interview – 330pm – had not yet occurred), and I noticed a good bit of anger, as well as much pity.

Where do I stand, as a victim of abuse and recovering disordered eater?

Not. Sorry.

Why?

Because she’s hurting other people. If she kept it inside or amongst friends and family (though NOT children), I’d feel sorry for her. I really very truly would. But the idea that she goes on national television, lies consistently about her one-person “organization” so that she can pander her hate agenda in front of millions of people already damaged by the misinformation fed to them by a culture that worships thin, makes me very assuredly shed every last particle of pity I could potentially feel for MeMe Roth.

Regardless of what one’s issues are, and how they were obtained, one NEVER has the right to harm someone else. Psychopathy is no excuse for murdering souls. The idea that MeMe Roth (Meredith Clements) was ever given a informational platform in the first place lets you know how sick and fatphobic our media culture is. Sure, she was likely put on not because the journalists producing the shows actually agree with everything she says, but because she’s “good TV.” However, it’s not like they could put someone on who they thought the public would perceive as a total raving lunatic, and certainly not multiple times. That means that they themselves buy into at least some of her rhetoric.

And that, folks, is the scariest part of this whole mess. Get Meredith Clements off the screen and into counseling, please! I will never be sorry for someone who foists their issues onto others in such a destructive manner. We all have stories, but not one bit of what has happened to us gives us the right to hurt others.

How Dare You Be a FAT Girl Scout?

One of my most vivid anti-fat memories from childhood was the summer I attended a Girl Scouts day camp. It was my first camp experience, and it was filled with the smell of rotting pine needles (lovely), swimming in a warm forest lake (even lovelier), and learning how to build fires and recognize poisonous plants.

What could mar this fuzzy, nostalgic memory of youth? One incident, which brought home to me, perhaps for the first time, that fat people are deviant, meant to be ridiculed and ostracized until they conform.

It was morning. Our camp counselors were older girls, who stayed overnight in the tents (unlike us little kids). They would often hold a sort of “pow-wow” in the morning dew, with the little kids sitting on logs in rows before them. They would talk about what they were planning to do that day, and give us our counselor assignments (I recall it was the first time I heard the word “latrine”).

Most of the camp counselors were thin or average. However, I recall that one of them was fat. The interesting part of this is that I don’t think I even realized it until that morning, when she was mocked, marginalized, and raked over the coals for the sin of being fat.

Before our assignments were given out that morning, a practical joke had been planned by a couple of the thinner counselors. One girl, a particularly sour-faced brunette with a ponytail, pulled something out of her pocket.

“What’s this?” she asked the little kids, who were speechless. “Is it a big pillowcase? Or maybe a sheet? It’s just — so — huge!!” And she stretched it over her head.

It was a pair of panties. Specifically, the fat counselor’s panties.

Now, in retrospect, the counselor wasn’t really that fat, nor were her panties nearly as wide as they were made to seem. In fact, she was likely about the size I am now, perhaps a bit fitter (I’m much more sedentary these days than I used to be, due to the thinness of my extra time and pocketbook, certainly not due to desire). But that’s really beside the point. The point was that she was markedly larger than her thinner counterparts, and THAT was her crime.

The fat counselor’s face went beet red, and she feigned a laugh. The little kids then began to laugh tentatively — sadly, so did I. Suddenly, that particular counselor looked a lot more grotesque to me – ridiculous, even. The mind of a child is particularly malleable to suggestion, and the suggestion that she was deviant due to her size made her LOOK like how they were painting her – bigger, grotesque, unwanted, unlovable, mean, lazy.

The fat camp counselor had the grace to laugh it off (though visibly humiliated), pocketed the panties when given back to her, and that was that.

However, that experience was to paint my vision of fat people and, as I moved from a slightly pudgy seven year old to a markedly pudgy thirteen year old, my vision of myself. It wasn’t until these past two years, when I’ve been involved in fat acceptance, that I’ve retraced this old memorial and laid a bouquet or two at its feet.

I wonder what that fat counselor is doing now, and how her life went as she got older. I hope she has found happiness and acceptance (especially from herself). I wish I could find her again, to tell her I am sorry for laughing at her, sorry for not knowing what I know now.

Say What?

I just came across thisand feel it deserves some attention.

So this fellow posts his picture (above) and says

“I’m fat,” reads the title of the photo. And the photo description says: “I’m terrified. Putting up this image is the single most horrible thing I’ve done to myself … but it’s for a purpose. I’m fat. I’ve been fat for a while. I have a belly and manboobs. I have a 38″ waist. Starting today, I’m making a change. It’s time to hit the gym. Maybe telling the world that I’m doing it will force me to keep going.”

Let’s break it down, because something isn’t registering. Terrified? Of what? Does that picture terrify you? Because, if it does, I’m not feeling it. You know what I’m feeling? A huge surge of pity. Because anyone who is terrified of a little pot belly is being fed a huge line of bullshit from the media, and is doing their health far more disservice with their terror than they are with their body types or their diets.

I agree it’s a horrible thing to do to oneself – not posting a picture of a little potbelly, mind you, but hating yourself that much. I’m not a big preacher of self-love but that doesn’t mean self-loathing should take its place! How about thinking of other people for a little while? Sometimes that takes your mind off irrational fears, like how much your waist measures.

Speaking of which, 38 inches? THIRTY-EIGHT INCHES? Pshaw – meet my left thigh, suckers!

Haha. I don’t really know what my thighs measure, I’ve got better things to do with my time. But honestly, 38 inches is “terrifying”? Are you joking? Does he think they’re going to have to cut a hole in the wall and hoist him out with cranes or something? (Not that that would make him a bad person.)

The link above posts the picture and the caption/info, and then some pearls of “widsom” about it.

1. Fat is serious business and calls for serious measures.

Does it indeed? I’ll keep that in mind.

2. Sometimes you’ve got to bare your bulge to realize you need a change.

Oookay.

A little public humiliation can help in the accountability department.

Humiliation? Terror? Can help? With accountability? Would it help you be “accountable” or would it “motivate” you to anything? Because I find those methods a bit less than helpful.

3. Support can be a powerful motivator — even when it comes from strangers on the Internet.

If you were talking about something else, I guess that would be true, but what does he need support for? I don’t see how people supporting your erroneous terror and self-loathing is a positive thing. Enlighten me.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One person’s fat is another’s cuddly bear.

True, but this positive message is buried under 20 layers of terror, loathing, humiliation and despair. Had they instead put up his message and picture, stated the bit about beauty being in the eye of the beholder, and built from there a positive way for this man to start looking at himself, to stop being terrified (possibly by bringing up some good solid information as to why he’s not doomed to die tomorrow because of his little paunch, this could have been a wonderful message.

4. Photographing yourself through the weight loss process is not a bad idea.

Well, I really don’t know what to say about that. The weight loss process generally consists of week after week, month after month of deprivation, weigh-ins, lamentations at the piddling 2 ounces that came off one week and gnashing of teeth the week you *gained* two pounds, followed by redoubling of gym efforts, slashing calories far below any recommended healthy levels, cutting all the joy out of the process of cooking and eating, making disgusting substitutions for things you like and crave in favor of cardboard rice cakes until you can’t take it anymore and go on a binge because you’ve been starving for the last 8 weeks; followed by a shame spiral and a redoubling of starvation efforts, starting the vicious circle all over again. End result? Fatter than ever. And a much harder time losing any weight or inches next time you make the attempt – you’ve fucked up your metabolism now.

What do you think about this shot? And what are the chances you’d publish your own gut for the whole world to see?

I think I’ll leave that one open-ended. While I don’t particularly want to post my face online, I don’t think I would mind posting a picture of my belly. I know Melissa of Shakesville posts pictures of hers and to hell with any negative opinion, rightly so. Maybe we all ought to do it to help this fellow realize there is nothing weird or terrifying or disgusting about him, and to tell these fitness people that there is nothing at all positive about humiliation and terror as a “support” mechanism. If anyone can think of a way to gather such pictures and send get the message through to this man, who looks perfectly normal to me, I’m all ears.

Keith Olbermann’s Fat Jokes Aimed At Conservatives – Har Dee Har Har!

Keith Olbermann, the obviously-pro-liberal-biased “journalist” on MSNBC, is known for his puerile jokes about conservatives. Rather than be clever, he resorts to playground jabs at the appearance of those conservatives that particularly irritate him: mainly, fat jokes.

Props to Newsbusters.org for these gems:

During an interview with Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter, Olbermann began: “In his inaugural address, the President essentially tried to create a wedge between those who are reasonable and those who are not. Of course, he was talking about the Muslim world. Is it possible in this different context that he’s trying to do the same as he seeks bipartisanship with the Republicans, sort of, you know, separate, Mullah Limbaugh from the herd?”

And further down the post:

After Alter talked about how Obama, like Reagan, tries to talk about the big picture, Olbermann made another one of his infamous jabs at the physical appearance of conservatives, which at times have come in the form of fat jokes. Olbermann: “And we won`t make any large jokes about Mr. Limbaugh.”

Last September, while discussing one of the presidential debates, Olbermann talked about the possibility of Obama “throwing Henry Kissinger back in Senator McCain’s face,” adding that doing so “is physically a tough act to do certainly.”

Another post on the site reveals fat jokes about about Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes made by Olbermann. Please go and read the full post, since it’s breath-takingly hateful. An sampling:

The trend toward fat jokes began last Wednesday, September 27, as Olbermann proclaimed that Ailes had “achieved a perfectly circular shape” as the Countdown host attacked Ailes’ criticism of Bill Clinton’s conduct during an interview with Fox News host Chris Wallace. (NewsBusters post on that Countdown.)

On Thursday’s show the personal insults continued as Olbermann called Ailes “the circular gentleman” and referred to him as “Sydney Greenstreet,” an overweight and bald actor who passed away in 1954. The Countdown host also recommended that Ailes “leave some food for Canada.” (First recounted in this NewsBusters item.)

But the first two days were only an appetizer compared to Friday as the Countdown host not only directly called Ailes “fat ass,” but made several other fat jokes during that one show, calling Ailes “the round man” and “the rotund refugee.” He also referred to Ailes making a statement “between pies” and cautioned viewers: “Don’t get your hands too close to his mouth.” (Mark Finkelstein’s NewsBusters item on Friday’s insults.)

The man should be ashamed to call himself a liberal in the true sense, and especially should be ashamed to call himself a journalist. I don’t care if his Countdown show is opinion-based — personal, hate-filled jabs are just a sign that he wants to destroy the character of these people and not his substance differences with their politics.

Destroying people? Bad. Destroying their politics? Better.

Keep trying, Keith.

Universal Healthcare is not automatically fat-friendly

As one individual in the UK put it, commenting on the recent article by Marianne Kirby from the Rotund:

Given that we’re obliged to contribute to a universal health provider, there is a legitimate public interest in criticising avoidable behaviour which increases the burden upon it, whether that be over-eating, lack of exercise, or substance abuse.

If the time comes when it is possible to opt out of contributing to that system (rather than merely consuming it), and choosing one that rejects the wilfully unhealthy, that legitimate public interest will no longer exist.

Now, please look at this more closely. The junk science the UK citizens are fed gives them even more reason to legislate thinness. Why, oh why, does anyone believe junk science would magically “go away” with universal healthcare? You’re still going to get outsourced groups writing the medical guidelines, and they’re still going to claim that fat raises risks in all cases, and they’re still going to recommend that fat people need to be eradicated.

Excuse me, but I’m already hated enough for my body in the USA. I don’t need a “legitimate public interest” in it, too.

I know this is cross-posting, but it’s worth it.

Here’s richie79‘s reply in this the thread “The Fat Police Are Coming” over at BigFatBlog.com:

They want a nation full of thin people who eat salads and drink water.

You know what though? I actually wonder sometimes whether they do (want everyone to be thin, that is). Sure, that’s what they CLAIM to be fighting for. But if they were, surely they’d have more regard for what works (ie leaving people alone and letting them live their lives free from the anxiety generated by heavy-handed attempts to influence the average body size of entire populations)?

As you point out the Government are throwing around huge amounts (our) of money in the form of donations to pressure groups and research grants for obesity researchers. In the last few years a huge, self-sustaining industry has sprung up on the back of this with the purpose of launching obesity campaigns, generating obesity research, writing stories and making TV shows about the obesity epidemic. And as such, if there *were* no obesity epidemic, say, because new research was discovered that dismissed it, or the figures that showed that measured child obesity (for what that’s worth) had stopped rising and that life expectancy was actually increasing proportionally to average BMI were properly publicised and taken seriously, or for that matter, all their miracle interventions worked and fat people were somehow abolished or outlawed (shudder) there would be a heck of a lot of people clearing their desks.

Or perhaps not. A poster on a BBC messageboard I frequent suggested that many of today’s obesity crusaders may possibly have been anti-smoking zealots in a previous incarnation. Most of these public health types believe that the war against smoking is close to being won, with blanket bans in much of Europe and various US cities having had a dramatic effect on the numbers taking up the habit. The number of stories about smokers and smoking has rapidly dropped to the extent that one barely hears it mentioned in the Health sections of newspapers nowadays. Where anti-smoking posters once hung in GP surgeries, now they’re all about BMI, waist measurements and Type II diabetes. And it’s interesting to note how the war on obesity seemed to really get going at around the same time as smoking stopped being regarded as the number one public health issue.

Obesity is even better from Big Nanny’s perspective, because it gives them opportunities for the control of the individual that smoking did not. Did you ever hear of local authority ‘smoking police’ coming into peoples homes and demanding to know whether the parents smoked, or children being removed from homes because either they or their parents smoked? Certainly the groups of 11 and 12 year-olds who used to puff themselves silly outside my secondary school didn’t seem to be living in fear of a knock on the door from the gubmint.

Whilst they’ll all move onto something else eventually (probably alcohol; prohibition will be tried, and fail, all over again – maybe we Brits will even flirt with it this time) in the meantime they’ll be sure to milk this one for all they can, and doing so depends largely on generating as much hysteria as possible through exaggeration, hyperbole, dubious research and statistics coupled with the simultaneous suppression of any research or statistics which undermine their crusade in order to skew or close down the debate.

Trouble is, so far it’s working a treat, and the damage being caused is little short of catastrophic and possibly irreversible.

Richie, you da MAN and your wife is a very lucky woman! 😉

I love it when people get it, you know? They see the writing on the wall, and they know how to logically connect the dots and then predict potential future events using induction alone. Kudos!

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures

spacedcowedgirl had a great comment on Rachel’s post on the Wii Fit:

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard that sure, eating disorders are a problem, but fat kids are KILLING THEMSELVES (or their parents are killing them) so desperate times call for desperate measures. I would be willing to bet that a majority of Americans would see basically no problem with shaming a fat child, destroying his or her mental health, and possibly triggering an eating disorder, as long as these steps put the kid into the normal BMI range.

What do you think of this? I, for one, agree with her. The culture is getting so toxic with respect to the Obesity EpiPanic Daily Media Scares (some of which include re-releasing panic-mongering press releases from last year) that people are getting hysteric. They would do anything to get their kids into the Arbitrary McMagic! SuperFittingIn “NORMAL” BMI, including putting kids on diets, sending them to boot-camp style fat camps to punish them for being fat and starve and overexercise them into conformity, even though it’s been shown to cause lower weights as well as stunted heights, and mental deficiencies (note: “malnutrition” doesn’t mean they had too little “good” nutrition defined as lean protein, wheat-based everything, fruits & veggies. They’re also talking about a fundamental lack of (gasp!) calories and (double gasp!) fats and (oh, the gasping horrors!) sugars).

A Quick Comment (having to do with Healthism)

In summary: tiffabee posted “French Women Don’t Get Fat: Part III.” She was sitting with a woman from New Jersey on her way back to the airport, during her trip to Paris. Fifteen minutes into the ride, the woman starts talking about how there were “no overweight people in Paris.” Since the two of them (tiffabee and the woman) would be considered not overweight, tiffabee made the point that the woman just assumed she would engaged in the negative, hateful talk about fat people. Of course, tiffabee did not (hooray!).

However, there were some interesting comments to the post (some which had nothing to do with the post itself, as is characteristic of our weight-obsessed culture, which uses nearly any hook to harangue fat people and/or the obesity “problem” — which was, quite delightfully, tiffabee’s point all along — thanks, commenters, for playing into it so well! LOL ). Here are two comments I specifically addressed:

#1:

But come on, you have to admit, being obese isn’t healthy; it’s not comfortable either. I am constantly pissed off at how the inner thighs of my jeans wear off so quickly to the point of tearing.

I’m all for body image acceptance; I wish I loved my body more than I do. I also wish I was healthier. In the context of my family medical history, my obesity isn’t a good omen.

In the end, it’s not really about fat for me; it’s about health, which is NOT equal to thin (see Nicole Ritchie and most runway models); but obviously, we’re all susceptible to the popular conception of beauty, so all people tend to focus on is whether I’ll be able to wear a bikini or not.

It’s a vicious circle; if a less-than-stick-thin woman wears a bikini, people will stare and gag; so that woman will focus on getting thin so people won’t react that way; so then she’ll be the next one to stare and gag at the next fat woman that wears a bikini; and it goes on and on and on…

#2:

I don’t think that O’Maolchathaigh was equating obesity to immorality. He was merely saying that obesity is a problem.. not that obese people are.

I agree with many of you that people should be more accepting of overweight people. But we all make judgments, so I don’t see the point in being angry about it. When tiffabee says that she thinks people in LA could stand to gain a few pounds, she is essentially judging them on their weight. We are all guilty.

If we cannot say that people should lose weight, who are we to say that people should gain weight?
Unless we look at eating disorders such as anorexia and bulemia and so we must intervene for the people’s well-being. In which case, we must also say that we must intervene and say something about the eating disorder of eating excess to the point where you are putting your life at stake.

I think regulations on diet and exercise are important if a person cannot stick to one to save their lives (meaning this in the most literal way). That doesn’t mean I think all non-fat people should go out and start forcing overweight people to go on a diet. But some people are in need of regulation from a dietician or some kind of accountability from a friend or family member.

It’d be nice to acknowledge, also, that a lot of the spoken judgments about obese people stem from insecurity about one’s self-image. Perhaps that is the problem– the declining self-image today– and not the “status quo” or a lack of societal acceptance.

And my response:

I don’t “have to admit” being obese is unhealthy. You cannot look at a person and determine their health based on how much they weigh. That’s absolutely ludicrous, and no different from statistically-based assumptions about sex, religion, and class (i.e., not all women like romantic comedies, not all Catholics have big families, not all poor people live at McDonald’s).

Think I’m exaggerating? I’m not. I merely understand the nature of statistics, and I also understand how odds ratios have been used in the calculation of obesity stats in order to make some “risk factors” seem far, far more determinant of health status than they are. Read about that here: http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2006/12/study-sidebar-odds-ratios.html

Besides, carrying the torch of healthism doesn’t give you to the right to impose your beliefs on someone else, regardless. You don’t want to be fat? Fine, don’t be. But don’t start making blanket statements about connections with health that you don’t understand, and using the “but it’s obvious!” non-argument to make your case, and expect anyone to take it seriously. Also, don’t assume that the rest of us ascribe to any so-called “popular” notion of attractiveness. I certainly do not.

“If we cannot say that people should lose weight, who are we to say that people should gain weight?”

Someone can be starving to death and need to gain weight (because it’s been shown, over and over, that without food you do indeed waste away and die, regardless of who you are). But no, nobody on the street can be *sure* of that. In fact, last time I checked, health and medical issues are *private,* and are supposed to be your and your doctor’s business. The point is, no one can tell by looking at someone what their health problems were, and even if they could, then it woulds STILL BE NONE OF THEIR DAMN BUSINESS.

The problem with our society (in respect to weight issues) is that people make other people’s weight their business. Family members, friends, teachers, bosses, colleagues, and strangers feel free to comment on your body, what you’re eating, or subject you to long tirades on their own weight issues, eating, dieting, etc. Food has become a symbol of morality and strength amongst more than just fringe circles, with Mickey Dees seen as the lowest of the low and vegan whole-foods local markets seen as the pinnacle of morality. People feel free to sneer at or feel superior to others (especially if they’re fat) if they’re seen eating the “wrong” foods, buying the “wrong” groceries, or feeding their kids the “wrong” foods. Think I’m exaggerating? Ask any fat person who’s grocery-shopped. Ask someone who eats fast food in public if they don’t feel embarrassed if they think they’re eating the “wrong” foods, or if they feel proud if they just have a bottled water and an energy bar.

We’re taught to be “proud” of weight loss, that it’s an “accomplishment.” How can you extract that from morality? Accomplished = good, = better than non-accomplished, i.e., better than people who didn’t lose the weight. Weight loss, for all but the very thin, is generally seen as an accomplishment.

Gaining weight is seen as an accomplishment only in extreme cases, usually when dealing with people who are severely underweight. Even pregnant women are being increasingly coached not to gain “too much weight” during pregnancy, or they’ll risk having a big baby. Of course, this is completely unsupported by *any* evidence at all, at best a misinterpretation of diet.

The fact is, most of the commenters here can’t imagine a society where people *weren’t* morally judged based on their weight. Healthism is just another excuse for passing moral judgment on those you believe are being “willingly” unhealthful. Athletic injuries are quite common; and, you can easily argue, athletes bring them on themselves by being athletes in the first place. Yet there is no vilification of these “unhealthy” people. &etc.

The Fat NIMBY Argument

I’ve stated before that I believe it’s theoretically possible for a dieter to be pro-fat rights. People accept all sorts of contradictions in their lives with seeming ease; one can be a proponent for the rights of a group without wanting to be a member of that group, sure.

However, there’s a bigger picture that I’m beginning to realize with this whole “I’m for fat rights but personally want to lose X lbs.” The Not-In-My-Backyard (NIMBY) argument.

Most people are familiar with NIMBY arguments: one realistic model is pro-alternative energy activists not wanting the view from their summer beachhouse marred by off-shore windmills.

When a dieter says, “I’m for fat rights but personally want to lose X lbs,” it’s a variation of the NIMBY argument. They’re for fat rights, sure, but they’re going to impose a restrictive lifestyle on themselves and possibly their family because, personally, they don’t want to be fat(ter). Rationalize it any way you want — “Even though I want to lose X lbs I’ll still be considered fat by society’s current standards,” or “I don’t want to be thin, I just want to be a size healthier!” or what have you, it’s simply a Not-In-My-Backyard argument.

And many, many other civil rights activists more experienced and eloquent than I can tell you why the NIMBY argument is a fallacy and will only ultimately hobble any civil rights movement.

For those who aren’t quite clear on it, the prevailing science is this: fat fit people are as healthy as normal-weight fit people, on average; by far the greatest risk factor for heart disease/tII diabetes is genetics; it is a rare anti-obesity study that is *not* backed by a self-interested Pharma company, or power-player orgs like the RWJF; starving a fat child thin will *not* make him eternally healthful and youthful and will in fact likely make him shorter and stupider as well as thinner; the causal relationship between human adipose tissue and any of its so-called comorbities has not been established over nearly 100 years of obesity studies; significant weight loss is impossible to maintain for virtually all people; the correlation between weight loss and increasing health has not been extricated from the correlation between greater fitness and increasing health, or the temporary effects of weight loss itself; every since the creation of the childhood obesity epidemic, the prevalence of childhood eating disorders has soared, and keeps rising even as average weight gain is plateauing; a certain amount of fat is needed for proper brain/gallbladder functioning, and low-fat diets put these organs in danger; there’s a strong correlation between crash dieting/WLS and gallbladder problems, anemia, nutritional deficiences, as well as a whole other host of serious health issues which pale in comparison to most fat-related comorbities, including ED/WLS-related death; WLS and other similar stomach-reshaping/mutilating procedures are for many just forced bulimia; diet foods themselves are not necessarily “healthy,” and the idea of a human being living on no-fat veggies and empty fiber is nutritionally absurd (vegetarian/vegans/raw foodists need fats and proteins in their diets from “bad” foods like bean-types and nuts, and do not live on leafy greens and wheat germ alone), though these are food which are categorized as “healthy” to children, all other foods being lumped into the “bad” category upon which are imposed various levels of “moderation” and restriction; …. ad nauseam. REFERENCES: Search the Junkfood Science website for links to the proper articles, they’re all there.

Considering what we know about the science, the deep hypocrisy of the Fat NIMBY Argument becomes painfully apparent. Dieting for long-term weight loss is virtually impossible and can lead to serious physical and mental health problems: so the “I need to be a size healthier, though I won’t discriminate against you because you’re fat” means you do not accept that fat is not a choice for virtually all people, and you feed into the corrupt diet industry’s mantras and likely also feed their bloated coffers. And that is not fat acceptance, nor is it, in the long-term, good for the fat rights movement as a whole.

EDIT: I’ve included my comment on Attrice’s “Question about dieting and fat activism” post here:

I started writing a response about how dieting and being pro-fat rights can be paralleled to a “Not In My Backyard” (NIMBY) point of view, but it went very long and so I just made a post about it on my blog: https://bigliberty.wordpress.com/2008/05/12/the-fat-nimby-argument/

Summary: The “I support fat rights but personally want to lose X lbs” is similar to alternative energy activists petitioning to not have windmills mar the view from their summer beachhouses. Perhaps they are great alternative energy activists, and do wonderful things for their community, donate money to great charitable causes promoting alternative energy, go to marches and protests &etc.

But certainly one can see how the NIMBY argument is ultimately hypocrisy and thus ultimately harmful to the alternative energy movement as a whole. Those windmills have to go somewhere. Similarly, to state in one breath that for virtually all people fat is not a choice, therefore they should not be treated as moral outcasts and share equal rights with thinner individuals, and in the next breath engage in diet-talk, is ultimately hypocrisy and does *not* ultimately help the FA/FR movement.

Those fat people have to go somewhere. They’re not getting anywhere on good intentions; your dollars further bloating the coffers of the diet industry, your support of anti-obesity initiatives in what has been turned into the experimental laboratory of public school, your desire to shed fat from your own body for  whatever reason, are all silent judgments as fat(ter) people as disgusting/unhealthy/morally inferior to thin(ner) people.

That’s why diet talk is incompatible with FA/FR, and why dieters cannot ultimately help further the fat rights movement. Quite simply, one cannot allow that kind of hypocrisy in a movement and expect it to survive.

That’s not to say that dieters shouldn’t read FA blogs, or comment, as long as they understand the purpose of the blogs and each blog’s individual rules. In fact, I wish every dieter that exists read FA blogs. But a dieter cannot be a fat rights activist, in the true sense, and though well-intentioned they have the potential to harm the movement to a far greater degree than whatever they’re doing to ostensibly further it.

Comparing Oppressions — a follow-up

So this is a follow-up post to my last post, which linked to the thread on my “home” messageboard ranting about fat people using the power carts at Wal-Mart.

A woman who is tentatively FA messaged me through the board about the thread. I didn’t include her name for privacy reasons.

I’m on your side, I really am.

However, you’re not helping your case with hyperbole.

There are no death camps for the obese. No one is tattooing you and shoving you into a gas chamber.

I lost family in the camps. The comparison doesn’t come close.

You might try using another example of discrimination rather than that.

Of course, you’ve already characterized all Obama supporteers as brain-dead idiots, so take this as you will.

Good luck with your cause.

And my response:

Hi [name deleted],

You’ve mischaracterized what I’ve said, and also made false assumptions. I’ve already explained that we’re not going through a Holocaust, and that what is happening now is not what was happening then. I could have also made the case (which can be shown, independent of charged emotions) that all oppressed groups go through very similar initial characterizations — like they are lazy, stupid, immoral, and what have you. Different groups meet different answers to those characterizations, like you noted (fat people aren’t in concentration camps, and did not ever have to undergo slavery and its long aftermath, or any kind of genocide).

However, to unequivocally believe that we’re not supposed to *learn* lessons from history and past forms of discrimination, and that unfair groupings are no longer happening and that horrible events like slavery, the Holocaust, genocide, physical mutilation, and so forth *can’t* ever happen again, or aren’t currently happening to some groups in some parts of the world, is fallacious.

In fact, a recent _60 Minutes_ piece aired the wonders of gastric bypass surgery, which is the mutilation of the stomach organ in order to, in most cases, force a state of chronic bulimia. The reporting was shoddy (they only looked at 6 people an average of 7 months after the study, still well within the weight-loss “Honeymoon” period of the surgery), and they downplayed the mortality rate making it far lower than in reality, and didn’t mention the horrible side-effects that the majority of patients experience which result in a markedly lower quality of life and end up, in about one-third of the cases, in much earlier death than if they’d just remained fat.

Sanctioned mutilation of an organ to attain unhealthy thinness, trumpeted by a normally serious show like _60 Minutes_ — is that *not* extremely chilling and forboding? It’s not genocide, it’s not murder (though there are arguments to this effect), but it’s using scare tactics and misinformation to make people who are socially unacceptable into people who are socially acceptable, and ruining their lives in the process. And while gastric bypass used to be reserved for only the very morbidly obese (400, 500+ lbs), it is increasingly used on lower and lower weights, with a surgeon in the UK actually proposing it for barely obese people and children as young as 10! A mother in the US took her teenage daughter to New Mexico to get the surgery, since the girl was “unpopular” at school and their doctors had scared them into thinking the then-healthy girl would soon get ill and die of her fatness. I consider this child abuse, yet I think many people would consider this mother as going to the extremes to do the best for her child, in the current fat-fearing, fat-hating environment.

So no, fat people aren’t undergoing gas chambers and genocide, *and I never said that.* What I said is that there is a common pattern of alienation imposed upon undesirable social groups, and fat people were merely having this same pattern imposed upon them. I’m sorry you took offense, but you did not interpret my comparison and later qualifications correctly.

As for Obama-supporters, I never said they were brain-dead idiots, either. I also said in another post a while back that I’m sure there were many people who were voting for him based on concrete issues. I was simply repeating what was told to me by a coworker—when pressed, he didn’t have any issues to present with which he agreed, and he is the one who said, “He’s got a certain Messianic quality that I think appeals to people.” And I agree; and that’s not a necessarily bad thing, but whenever you have people blindly following ANY political leader, it is a cause for concern. I’m certain there are people out there who are blindly following Clinton and McCain, too.

Thanks for the message, and I hope I’ve cleared a few things up.