Fat People are Not Political Punching Bags

We already know that the cultural stigma, oppression, and bullying of fat people is extremely profitable to the diet industry and that people like Jillian Michaels, Steve Siebold, and Paul Plakas have made millions off of fat bullying and oppression – trying to solve social stigma through weight loss which is essentially just giving the bully your lunch money and hoping he beats you up less. Obviously I think this is disgusting.

What I see more and more of is politicians using fat people to gain political points. It seems to go like this – the politician wants to do something that scores them points and avoids having to spin a possible downside. Since the country is already whipped  into a fat hating frenzy, they just go after fat people with some random untested policy that promises to rid the world of us whether we like it or not. Luckily for them the diet industry has spent years convincing people (including fat people) that we should not be trusted to tell our own stories, so this works out great for them.

So New York City Mayor Bloomberg supports a ridiculous law saying that people in restaurants can’t buy sugary drinks more than 16 ounces.  No word on how much ice has to be in the drink and of course people can add as much sugar to their giant coffee or tea as they want, and it doesn’t affect convenience stores so you can go across the street from the restaurant to a 7-11 and buy a quintuple big gulp 2 gallon barrel of  Mountain Dew (and I’m not shaming you if you do it, I’m a writer – I’ve been there).  It apparently doesn’t matter that there is not strong evidence that the ban will do anything for health outcomes of anybody, or do anything other than cause restaurants to pay for an extra cup and straw for people to buy 2 drinks putting more garbage into circulation. But what the hell, he gets to say that he is “doing something about obesity.”   To show how foolproof this is, Mayor  Bloomberg announced the initiative on the same day that he went around celebrating…wait for it… Donut Day. So he spent half the day saying that businesses should be limited in the size of drinks that they can serve because of big bad fatties, and the other half of the day getting photographed eating donuts.  And people still cheered his “hardline stance” on obesity. Nice spin if you can get it.

Michelle Obama makes the probably well-intentioned but absolutely horrible decision to wage war on fat children. She does this while simultaneously supporting an anti-bullying campaign and sees no dissonance between the tw0 (even though appearance, including weight, is the number one reason that kids are bullied.) Then she goes on notorious weight bully Dr. Oz’s show and says that fat people are the greatest threat to national security, then gets credit for working to end this greatest threat.  That’s like me saying that I think that lack of hummus is the greatest threat to National Security, then saying “Hey, I just made hummus so everybody praise me.”  What the hell?  And she does it knowing that the media is unlikely to call her out on it, not because they don’t agree that she is wrong or out of touch, but because they don’t want to point it out and risk their relationship with the White House.

I do not want to let this go without comment.  Fat people are people, we deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and that includes not being used to score cheap political points.  Let’s put an end to fatty hunting season and let’s do it now – when you see this kind of thing consider speaking up, pointing it out and telling your actual story.

Like the blog?  Check this stuff out:

Dance Class DVDs are now available for pre-order  Click here for the details

Check Out my Book:  Fat:  The Owner’s Manual.  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here to order

I’m excited to say that my book was just endorsed by Linda Bacon: “Whether you are fat or thin, Fat: The Owner’s Manual will educate you about life in a fat body. It includes top notch information, solid science, support, and general inspiration to help all of us navigate a world rife with size prejudice and weight stigma. Ragen’s style is to provide ideas, without moralizing – and she does a particularly good job of separating the civil rights movement of Fat Acceptance from the health practice of Health at Every Size. Highly recommended!”  Dr. Linda Bacon, professor, researcher, and author of Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth about Your Weight.

Get Special Deals from Size Positive Businesses

I do size acceptance activism full time.  A lot what I do, like answering over 5,000 e-mails from readers each month, giving talks to groups who can’t afford to pay, and running projects like the Georgia Billboard Campaign etc. is unpaid, so I created a membership program so that people who read the blog and feel they get value out of it and/or want to  support the work I do can become members for ten bucks a month  To make that even cooler, I’ve now added a component called “DancesWithFat Deals” which are special deals to my members from size positive merchants. Once you are a member I send out an e-mail once a month with the various deals and how to redeem them – your contact info always stays completely private.

So if you find value in my work, want to support it, and you can afford it, I would ask that you consider  becoming a member or supporting my work with a  one-time contribution.

The regular e-mail blog subscription (available at the top right hand side of this page) is always completely free. If you’re curious or uncomfortable about any of this, you might want to check out this post.  Thanks for reading! ~Ragen

16 thoughts on “Fat People are Not Political Punching Bags

  1. I’ve long despised Ms Obama for my own reasons, but when she started her Anti-Obesity project, that’s when I completely lost respect for her even as a human being. In fact, one of the issues of :a certain magazine arrived in my mailbox last month with her giant face on the cover, and it riled me so much that I took a black sharpie and drew sunglasses, a curlicue beard, missing teeth, and scars all over her face. Very childish, I know, but I couldn’t stand having her staring at me whenever I went into the bathroom!

    1. Your comment about “bathroom reading” reminded me of an essay I read years ago about the original 19th-century Sears Roebuck catalogues. Apparently, one letter they received asked SR to “go back to using the other kind of paper, the new stuff is not as absorbent and I’m having to use three sheets now when one or two used to do.”

      Just sayin’ 8)

  2. Saturday was the neighborhood block party (why yes, I do live in an episode of Leave It To Beaver, why do you ask?) and I baked up a storm all week for it. I love to bake, I’m really good at it, I have the time on my hands, and I don’t get the chance often to pull out all the stops.

    So I bring out a pile of tasty desserts, and about half the people there light up and start digging in. But this year, the other half all seemed to think they needed to Say Something to me about it. One woman felt the need to tell me that her son ate like a horse as a teenager, but of course he didn’t get fat because he stopped eating when he wasn’t hungry anymore.

    And that’s when I leveled The Stare at her and said “That’s what I do, too. But I come from a long line of fat people and that’s why I’m fat.” Then I poured the smile back on and continued the conversation on another subject.

    Eat my cake. Don’t eat my cake. That’s up to you. But don’t you dare use my cake as an excuse to tell me how I eat, how I live my life, and why my baking a lot of delicious goodies for a festive occasion where a large number of people need to be fed is A Very Bad Thing.

    Oh, and out of the layer cake, tart, galette, and batch of yummy scones I baked? I brought two slices of cake back into the house at the end of the party. What’s more, I saw a lot of smiles from people who had a slice of something delicious.

    Yes, next year I’ll go bonkers with the baking again. I’ll spend my entire week baking. I love to bake, I’m damn good at it, and it’s up to me how I spend my time.

    Anyone who doesn’t want to eat it is cordially invited to simply not put any on their plates, and leave both me and the people who do choose to eat my goodies in peace.

    1. I prefer to live in a home on a large lot and not in a neighborhood, but if I decided to live in a neighborhood I would prefer to live next door to you!

      Baking was a part of my upbringing as well. I have some breads, cookies, pies and cakes that I bring to all the major family functions. Through the years I’ve heard more and more of the negative, *sigh* “I shouldn’t be eating this” or “just a small slice”… but low and behold, they are always all consumed. I wish we could just enjoy the goodies without all the commentary. I will do my best to facilitate positive food discussion this year!

    2. Here are the facts:

      1) You love to bake.
      2) I love to eat delicious baked goods.

      Can we come to some kind of arrangement? (Unfortunately, I don’t live anywhere near you.)

  3. I have a double-barreled snark for NYC’s drink restriction:

    1. To utilize time and energy dreaming this up — never mind enforcing it, how *is* that supposed to work? — they’ve obviously solved all the crime.

    2. Oh why stop there? Why not restrict the size of beer servings? It can be argued that’s a *better* idea. I go to a 7-11 and swallow a 60oz cup of Mountain Dew, I burp a lot. I go to a 7-11 and suck down a like amount of beer, I will probably wrap the car around a tree *and* burp a lot. Burping < Car-Wrapping+Burping

    As to the First Lady, I think she's a nice lady who's got an uncommon big stage to act out some significant issues. That's her business; that she's also making it everyone else's is wrong. Speaking personally, I took *quite* enough crap for my weight from my classmates. I don't think having to take it from the teachers would've done anything but make certain psychological issues much worse.

  4. A 16-year-old friend of a friend killed herself last week because she was sick and tired of other kids calling her fat. That is the ONLY answer I have to anyone who does this SHIT and calls it OK.

  5. I have been totally disgusted with Dr. oz and michelle obama. Not to mention blumberg. NO caps for them. I do not respect them at all. It is hard to believe it is so bad. HOw bad does it have to get before something is going to change? HOw many more teens are going to die to get the attention of people? Im past beyond anger. I am so frustrated. I will continue to do my part.
    PS I had a person approach me at a cancer event and mentioned something about cancer and being fat. WTHell does that mean?
    Why do people thing fat causes cancer?

    1. The fat and cancer thing may be because they are now doing studies that say literally that fat people don’t do as good on chemo because it was never tested for dosages on fat bodies. It’s like some forms of birth control. nobody ever bothered to actually check if fat people need more or less of a thing than the people they chose to study. At least on the chemo front there are new trials going on. Which is another kind of health care discrimination. It’s like them doing all the heart research on men and suddenly they find out that all that advice they give means squat for women who have bodies that behave differently during heart attacks, and are more likely to be misdiagnosed because women aren’t listened to.

  6. Since you brought up the soda, Rolls Not Trolls might want to do a sweep of the latest “research” on soda being linked to obesity. Some of the comments are just face-desking-ly outrageous. (like http://news.yahoo.com/soda-studies-cite-stronger-obesity-200714161–sector.html?_esi=1 )

    It’s getting to the point that pretty soon anyone who might be deemed “fat” will be shamed if they attempt to stock up or help supply things for a party.

    I’m so sick of the “argument” of “Just look in their carts…” as if that’s a true baseline to get a glimpse into someone’s entire life.

  7. Years ago, at a family reunion, one of my cousins said that I needed to come live with him and his family and we’d ‘be skinny in no time!’. My sister said, ‘No thanks! We’ve tried The Humiliation Diet, and it doesn’t work!’

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.