I have a few rules for this blog (they’re really more like guidelines…) and one of them is that if 100 non-troll people ask me to write about something I usually do. Today the whole Katie Hopkins debacle passed that threshold so here you go 102 readers:
If you aren’t familiar (you lucky thing) Katie Hopkins is famous for having been part of a reality show, and subsequently saying horrible things to get attention, without a care in the world about the bigotry she perpetuates. She’s now taking her bigotry against fat people further with a ridiculous stunt in which she gained about 44 pounds so that she can lose it to “prove” that people can lose weight if they try. TLC has given her a two-part documentary to, in their words and not hers, “confront her attitudes and put her beliefs to the test, by following her own physical and emotional journey as she gains and loses weight, whilst exploring the broader issues of body image in our society.”
So far she has lamented about how difficult it is to eat 6500 calories a day for three months (if she’s surprised by that then clearly her meal plan did not include a bowl of No Shit Sherlock flakes) and then whined “This is a stupid project. I hate fat people for making me do this…” I agree with the first part. As for the second, I’ve seen plenty of footage of her and in none of it did I seen a gang of menacing fat people threatening to harm her if she didn’t eat a tube of Pringles. As far as I’m concerned the only thing I’ve seen more pathetic than her whining, is people complimenting her for her “bravery” and wishing her luck on her “difficult journey.”
In what I hope is obvious, whatever the outcome the only thing that she’s proven is what happens to her body when she engages in rapid weight gain and then attempts to lose it. This has actually nothing to do with the experience of fat people or the likelihood of weight loss success. Luckily we don’t have to rely on n=1 publicity stunts, because we have actual research on the efficacy of long-term weight loss. While we know that there are some people who manage to lose weight and maintain it we also know that the successes are a tiny minority. And what happens if she isn’t able to lose the weight? What does that tell us?
But at the end of the day her “experiment” is even more pointless than that. Fat people have the right to exist in fat bodies without shame, stigma, bullying or oppression. Even if we could be thin. Also, we’re completely competent witnesses to our experience. The thing that I find so insidious is that this “experiment” is being reported all over the place. And the idea that there is any shred of validity to it is based on the idea that we can’t believe what fat people say about their experiences, so we need a thin person to “try out” being fat, and then we’ll consider their single, completely atypical, experience to be a credible report, more valid that the lived experience of thousands of fat people, and the results of actual research based on the Scientific Method and not the Unholy Bible of PR Stunts.
There are plenty of credible reports about what it is like to be an actual fat person, so those who are interested in our experiences don’t actually need Dr. Oz in a fat suit or Katie Hopkins eating 6,500 calories a day, they could just listen to us.
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