WTF Rainbeau Curves – Say Something Sunday

You Cannot Be SeriousThanks to all the readers who pointed this out to me (currently 107 of you.)  Rainbeau Curves is a company that sells plus size active wear.  On Monday they decided to try to sell that using diet language and very questionable science – in what I’m sure was a well-meaning piece, written by a well-meaning blogger – called “Ditch the Yo-Yo- How to Maintain a Healthy Weight.”

The piece is heavily influenced by diet propaganda, starting with a picture that includes a scale, a tape-measure, three pieces of fruit and some pills.  It includes food moralizing, it includes confusing “taking care” of your body with attempting to manipulate its size, it trots out tired tropes about “emotional eating” and it actually includes the phrase “Eat to live, don’t live to eat” which made me roll my eyes so hard that I think I saw my brain.

Let’s be super clear about this – health is not an obligation, a barometer of worthiness, entirely within our control, or guaranteed under any circumstances – including at any weight.  There is actually no such thing as a “healthy weight.”  Regardless of how one is defining “healthy,” there are healthy and unhealthy people of every size. There is no weight or height/weight ratio you can achieve at which you will remain immortal unless and until you get hit by a bus.

It’s common for people to suggest that a “healthy weight” is the weight you’ll reach when you’re engaged in healthy behaviors (by whatever definition they are using for healthy behaviors,) but this is just another example of our cultural tendency (created by the diet industry) to involve weight in every discussion of health. There are actual health issues that involve weight (ie – people with certain heart issues need to weigh themselves to be aware of levels of water retention, and those who experience unexplained changes in weight may want to seek out a health care practitioner – hopefully one who won’t diagnose them as “fat” and prescribe “weight loss.) But the idea that there is some weight at which attempting weight loss becomes a good idea is a fallacy. This idea that the path to health is through body size manipulation has made a lot of money for a lot of people and industries, and is part of the “everybody knows” culture around weight and health, but is not backed by science.

In a piece for Huffington Post, researchers Mann, Tomiyama, and Ahlstrom explain that the suggestion that a certain percentage of weight loss will improve health is based on a series of failures leading to another “everybody knows” statistic that isn’t supported by evidence:

Eventually, the medical community settled on the current standard of losing just 5 percent of one’s starting weight, despite having no scientifically-supported medical reason for doing so.

If Rainbeau Curves bloggers want to talk about health there are so many topics they could choose from – getting enough sleep, the research about how enjoying food may help people absorb more nutrients from it, how to protect ourselves from dangerous diet messages, the health implications of stigma and what we can do about it, Health at Every Size and more. There is a world of health discussion that doesn’t parrot the messages that make the diet industry billions (mostly from repeat business.) So, I’m not about to give my money to a company that tries to sell me clothes with a side of diet talk and body shame.

Activism Opportunity:

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13 thoughts on “WTF Rainbeau Curves – Say Something Sunday

  1. It’s a well-known fact that bullying is unhealthy, so why isn’t fat-shaming considered as detrimental for fat people? I think especially when catering to us you should be super careful about which kind of language you use and not use shaming tactics. Why the need to make anyone feel bad about themselves?

    1. I saw “Big River” last week, and it made me want to read “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” again.

      In both the play and the book, there was a scene where Huck is shocked to learn that black people love their children, just as much as white folks do.

      Eventually, he learns that black people ARE, indeed, people.

      I think that the same idea is at play here. Bullying PEOPLE is bad, but bullying fatties isn’t, because (in the bullies’ minds) they aren’t real people.

  2. I really appreciate your blog. My doctors are always pushing the surgery thing at me, which I’ve investigated. Problem is, one of the doctors said that the weight I could lose would still mean I’d still be classified as overweight, or morbidly obese, depending on whose list was used. In the first article of yours that I ever read, you said something that struck me. You said that “this is the body I have…the only one I will ever have.” Ever since I read that, I have looked at things a little differently. I realized that in desiring something different than the fat body I have been given, I am coveting and am ungrateful for the blessings I DO have. This realization has helped me a great deal. I would still like to lose some inches so I can crawl around under my loom and tie up the treadles by myself, but I can live with what I am now. I am more than my size or my weight. Thank you so much, again!

    1. Hah! This made me remember that thing in the Bible. “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s ass.” And it made me laugh. I doubt the double-entendre was intended, but I bet God is smiling about it now.

      Perhaps you could put your loom on risers? Maybe your chair, as well, so the treadles stay at the appropriate distance from your seat? I’d prefer a solid platform for the chair, rather than just a taller chair. Perhaps a wide platform, so you can step up onto the platform, and sidle into the chair, without having to climb up into it like a bar stool (I hate bar stools), and still leave plenty of room beneath the loom and treadles.

      Home Depot and other such stores will cut the lumber for you, to whatever specifications you choose, so you just have to piece it together.

      And if you give yourself an extra inch or two, maybe you can use one of those body-slider things that auto mechanics use, so you don’t have to crawl (that sounds so painful on the knees), but just slide around where you need to be.

      I’m sure you can think of a solution that doesn’t require body dysmorphia. Good luck!

  3. I like the “Ditch the Yo-yo” message. But that can be summed up by saying, “Stop dieting.”

    And they’re an active-wear company? So why not focus on the health benefits of exercise?

    Increased strength
    Increased stamina
    Increased flexibility
    Increased bone density (that’s a thing, isn’t it?)
    Increased speed (if you’re being chased by a bear, this is definitely a health benefit)
    Improved blood circulation
    Stress reduction

    Any others I didn’t think of? I’m sure there are enough to make an entire article, and never mention size once. The only mention of weight should be in that “increased strength” bullet point, where you are able to lift more weight, with more practice.

    OH! I just thought of another thing. Anger management! Don’t punch a person, or go all “mean girl” on them. If someone ticks you off, exercise. It really does help work out the anger. And that’s healthy for yourself AND society, in general.

  4. What is this ongoing belief that if you are ‘overweight’, you must emotionally overeat? It makes light of people who have a complicated relationship with food and dismisses everyone who is just, you know, eating.

    It so annoys me that as a society we can’t let go of this need to change peoples bodies.

      1. On top of being erasing, labeling everyone who is too round-bodied for your narrow-body-preferring eyeballs an “emotional eater,” “binger,” or “food addict” is a gross disservice to people who actually *have* a bingeing disorder or food addiction; it’s as wrongheaded as saying someone “looks anorexic” because you can see his ribs. Those are all real disorders, and using them as shorthand for “unattractive” spreads misinformation about what exactly they entail and makes it more difficult to diagnose and treat genuine cases.

        1. “Looking anorexic” BAH! I have a friend who has a Speedy Gonzales metabolism, and she was frequently called into the counselor’s office, or taken aside by teachers, who were so concerned about her “obvious eating disorder,” and wanted her to eat something.
          Meanwhile, she ate more than a pint of ice cream every single day at dinner (it was her family’s thing – they were all thin), in addition to three square meals a day, and whatever snacks she could find.

          When she got pregnant, she described herself as being a stick who had swallowed a basketball.

          And then there was the other guy who was thin, and literally ate ice cream for dinner, every single day.

          And then there was my thin friend who ate an entire half gallon of ice cream, in one sitting, and though nothing of it, because her entire family always ate like that, and stayed thin.

          They also had no heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, or any of those other “don’t eat ice cream” diseases.

          Also, if someone saw them eating, they would label them as bingers, because obviously, eating that much at once was a binge. Nope. Just standard for them. They had to eat that much, just to maintain.

          Some people just have really fast metabolisms, just like some have slow metabolisms. Amazingly, when it runs in a family of thin people, most people just shrug and accept it. But a family of fat people, with slow metabolisms? “NOOOOO! They’re all lazy slobs, who stuff their feelings with food.”

  5. Maybe Rainbeau Curves should change its name to Monkey’s Paw Fitness, because athletic gear in plus sizes (especially in any size above a 3x) is a widespread need so few people are filling… and then these clowns decide to fill it like your asshole cousin who never sees you and doesn’t know you, but then presents you with a Fitbit at the family reuinion, not because they think you will want and use a Fitbit, but as a backhanded way of saying they disapprove of you existing as a fat person, thinking the expense of the item and rules of social propriety will prevent you from responding to their insult with anyting but polite gratitude.

    Hey, Rainbeau Curves, do you know why fat people buy athletic gear? Prepare for you mind to be blown… it’s so we can use it the same way thin people do! Maybe keep that in mind planning your next ad campaign, because this one is condescending and infantilizing on every possible level.

    1. Fitbit is like scales. You don’t give them to someone unless they actually, and specifically asked for it.

      Also toilet seats. Yes, the year I asked for a bathroom scale, and got it, I was just as thrilled as the year I asked for a new toilet seat, and got that. Because I asked for it, and the people who love me listened, and didn’t say, “Oh, that’s not an appropriate gift. You need something frivolous, instead.”

      But then, I’ve always been the more practical type. I love how Santa gives the naughty girls and boys coal in their stockings. Why? Because naughty boys and girls may not deserve a new toy, but they certainly deserve to be kept warm on a cold winter’s night! Of course, these days, it’s mostly electricity. A modern Santa would probably pay the light bill, instead.

      And a fat bicyclist who actually wants some Spandex pants that fit her (or is it Lycra? I can’t remember – I don’t cycle), rather than just being told to “wear something comfortable/old sweat pants are fine for YOU.” What, thin people are allowed to avoid chafing, but fat people have to deal with chafing and tangled/twisted pants that get caught in the chain and have to be cut loose (been there, done that)? What’s up with that?!

      If you’re going to support fat people exercising, then SUPPORT FAT PEOPLE EXERCISING! Don’t undermine it with backhanded “compliments” and gaslighting.

      Monkey’s Paw is right.

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