No Pitying, No Preaching, No Problem

Design by Kris Owen
Desig by Kris Owen

I was watching a cooking show.  There was a chef whose passion was “healthy cooking.”  She started out by talking about how many people in her family “struggle with their weight”, she teared up as she talked about how sad it was for her to watch.

Then, when she went in front of the judges with a soup that was a horrific looking combination of black eyed peas and cabbage – pureed –   she suddenly got angry and went on a rant about how she was “fed up” how there is “no excuse for it.” Happily the judges were not into the attitude which for me neatly  summed up two reactions that people have to fat people that I find utterly inappropriate and unwelcome.

First – Pity.  Don’t want it, don’t need it, won’t listen to it.  There is nothing pitiable about my body.  As I’ve mentioned before I do not “suffer” from obesity, I do suffer from people’s attitudes about my body.  That’s a suffering that will end as soon as people acknowledge that bodies come in different sizes for different reasons, that there is no wrong way to have a body, and that it’s nobody else’s business at all.  When someone says that they pity me because of my body it indicates that they think there is something superior about their bodies. My body is amazing and I won’t allow it to be treated that way without sticking up for it.  People can keep their pity, and their opinions and assumptions of my body, to themselves.

Preaching is the second issue.  It seems like every time I turn around someone’s trying to score points by giving “tough talk” to us fatties.  Telling us that they are just fed up with us and our big, fleshy bodies like we should care how they feel.  Saying that the world needs to stop “coddling” us, asserting that the world would be better if we didn’t exist,  waging war on us for power, politics and profit.  Suggesting that the problem with fat people is that we’re just not bullied and oppressed enough.  Somehow certain that the reason we’re not thin is that 386,170 negative messages a year about our body are just not enough. That somebody needs to tell us we’re fat. If shaming fat people made us thin, we’d all be thin.

I reflect sometimes on how the achievements of fat people are made more impressive because we accomplish things under the crushing weight of near constant stigma and bullying. Despite the pitying, the preaching, and the constant drumbeat of “your body is wrong”, we keep rising above, keep fighting back.  Just getting out of bed when you know the work water cooler conversation is going to be about fat shaming documentaries, or going to the gym when you know you might deal with jerks are gold medal sports some days and we just keep doing it.

So go fatties go! Everyone else can keep their pitying and preaching to themselves, I think we’re fine.

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15 thoughts on “No Pitying, No Preaching, No Problem

    1. I wonder if this is the same cook I’m imagining. The one who boasted her kids had never tasted bread, or something silly, and was so obnoxiously proud of herself.

  1. My body definitely runs better on sufficient quantities of tasty food than on starvation rations of foods I find repellent.

    What’s more, my meals go down a whole lot better without a lot of bullying mixed with sanctimonious hand-wringing… and then they don’t come right back up again.

  2. Your post reminds me of a story on the news this morning. All this stuff is going on in the world. Plenty of tragedy, war, etc. to fill a 1/2 hour news program. But, what do they show? Honey Boo Boo at a blueberry pie eating contest! She won – and the news chick was just full of sympathy and disgust for the poor little fat girl with blueberries all over her face. You could tell by looking at the newscaster that she was totally grossed out. One of the other hosts tried to cover for her by saying how cute Honey Boo Boo is. They showed all these photos – you know what people look like in any kind of eating competition. Made me so sad and pissed me off too.

    You are absoutely right, nobody needs to pity, shame, educate or bully us – we are just fine!

    1. I have a “friend” who was ranting about Honey Boo Boo reading five uncooked hotdogs and how unhealthy that was and that she’s bound to have heat problems because of her eating. *facepalm*

  3. I’m amazed at what passes for ‘good t.v.’ these days anyway. And while there is nothing wrong with black eyed peas and cabbage… I can see how they might be used in a less than appealing soup. Personally I love cabbage in any way I can get it… but that all came in a later-life palate change that had nothing to do with weight loss … it had to do with budget and curiosity.

    I’d like to see more data on the impact of bullying, stigma and shaming in the public view. Somehow, I get the feeling that fat people are somehow exempted from the groups who are not to be bullied…

    kids with braces… don’t pick on them
    adults with disabilities…. don’t pick on them
    people of color… don’t pick on them
    fat people….. don’t… well, o.k., maybe a little

    1. With the right seasonings and side dishes it might be good. (I’ve done kale and white kidney beans together in soup, and that’s tasty as all get-out. Part of it is pureed and then added back into the pot to make the soup thicker.) But I’d still rather not eat it next to some yahoo who thinks it’s a “medicine” that will cure me of a disease that I only have in her imagination. 😉

      1. Ditto this. Cabbage soups are delightful, but a side dish of condescension can ruin the flavor of anything.

  4. Yesterday, I saw yet another panic-fest on the front page of our local rag about the childhood “obesity epidemic.” On the same page is a report that the new Farm Bill will force 80,000 people in the state to get by with $58 less a month for Food Stamps. DX

    Can you imagine if the Body Cops out there were as vocal and enraged about the poor (working, or otherwise) going hungry as they are about body fat? Yeah, like that’ll ever happen. [rolleyes]

  5. Reblogged this on Sly Fawkes and commented:
    Chef “Healthy Cooking” sounds like she was a real expert at talking out both sides of her mouth. I’m glad the judges weren’t buying what she was selling.
    The two “P’s with which fat people are treated: pitying and preaching, add up to a third “P”: a big pile of POOP!
    People need to get over their crappy attitudes and stop blaming those who don’t adhere to an arbitrary standard of beauty.

  6. All due respect…I really despise black-eyed peas. They actually make me twitch. As for cabbage…yup, pass it over!

    I noticed the other night on the back of my instant brown rice box was Jillian’s smiling face for The Biggest Loser. I’m still debating writing a letter to Minute Maid about that BS. I like brown rice with soy sauce and broccoli because it hits the spot, not because I want to shed unsightly pounds (BTW…which ones are the unsightly ones again?).

    Thing is…even if I did all the working out that Jillian does, followed her diet to the letter, did EVERYTHING I was “supposed” to, I wouldn’t be thin…I’d be a very solid muscular large person with heart problems. Because that’s what happens to me when I attempt to diet myself into my “ideal” weight. I’d still have big legs and big boobs and still have trouble finding clothes that fit me properly. *eye roll*

  7. I read an article the other day that deconstructed those ‘fitspiration posters’. One of them was the ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ and I got to thinking about how I felt when I was relatively thin. I was in my teens twenties and had way to much sexual attention for my comfort level. It did NOT feel good.

    Yeah, being horrified and judgemental about other people is a terrible way to treat anyone.

  8. TW: fat hate language

    I wish fat haters could see how childish and immature they are. Looking at people with big “I-I-I’m going to cry!” eyes as they talk about how fat people not meeting their definition of healthy burdens them. Then throwing a tantrum, “THERE’S NO EXCUSE FOR OBESITAH, WWWAAAAHHH! WWWAAAH!” It’s as if they’re just going after fat people, because if they ever had to deal with a real issue, they’d have to grow up.

    They say we waddle. I’d rather be the one who waddles, instead of the fat hating adult-child who toddles.

  9. At least as a person on the smaller end of fat, I’ve encountered a lot more pity than hostility. It’s not any better than out and out hostility, it’s just a different flavor of awful.

    Speaking of flavors, the pureed cabbage/black-eyed peas combo made me think of baby food. The kind that’d come in a Magic Bullet recipe book or something.

    But then, I’m not especially fond of cabbage or black-eyed peas, that might be my bias. But even if it was the most delicious soup ever, it’d be soured by the heaping helping of sanctimonious crap on the side.

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