Fat Shaming Body Builder Didn’t Mean It?

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My Best Friend Kelrick got this figurine for me in a little shop in Astoria, Queens. Sadly I don’t know the artist.
Body Builder Diana Andrews (whose Instagram says that she is part of UKBFF  – UK Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation) apparently has some trouble focusing during her workouts. She secretly took pictures of another gym member, then took to Instagram to fat shame her to her 17,000+ followers.

She took a picture from behind the woman, who was working out on a treadmill, and digitally wrote “Love Handles” across it. Then she posted a second time, saying “I bet she’s ordering [burger emojis] for delivery.” (No, I’ll not be posting the picture here, and I don’t think other people should either.  It was taken without permission, I’m not going to add to that.)

Let’s start with the unhelpful responses:

Putting Diana Andrews Down

Nope.  The answer to body shaming is not body shaming.  How Diana Andrews looks has nothing to do with it.  What she did would be wrong no matter how she looks.

You Shouldn’t Shame Fat People When They Are At The Gym

Nope Nope. You shouldn’t shame fat people.  Not if they are working out on a treadmill, not if they are eating pizza they had delivered to the hot tub.  We talked about this already – it’s never ok.

That Girl She Was Shaming Wasn’t Even That Fat

Nope Nope Nope.  The thing is that if someone is being shamed, stigmatized, bullied etc. for being fat, and we say “they aren’t fat” or they aren’t even that fat”  in their defense, what we are also saying is that there is a size at which they would deserve that treatment, and that’s just not true.

My suggested response (choose your own profanity adventure)

“Wow, that was extremely (fucked/screwed/jacked/messed) up! You should not have done that.  You need to apologize immediately and face some consequences for your actions.”

After people rightly went the hell off on her for her utterly inappropriate Dani Mathers impression, she published the following “apology”

“I am writing to express my sincere apologies for my actions. I realised that I was wrong to make this silly joke. It wasn’t my intention to body shame, hurt, or disrespect anyone. Thank you guys for all your messages and continued support.”

Wow, if she managed to be this body shaming, hurtful and disrespectful without trying, she’s obviously a natural. And let me just ask this – if it HAD been her intention to body shame, hurt, or disrespect anyone, what would she have done differently?  I am so very over these fake ass apologies.

What should happen now?

Here are some ideas that I have for consequences:

Her gym should revoke her membership – obviously people aren’t safe with her there.

No other gym should allow her to join for at least 6 months. She needs to learn the joys of working out at home for a while where she can take all the secret pictures she wants of her cats or whatever.

She could be sanctioned by UKBFF  – miss a meet or two. And it would be great if they could come out publicly against fat shaming.

People could unfollow her.  She took a picture without the subject’s permission for the express purpose of fatshaming a stranger in front of her 17k+ instagram followers. She fat-shamed the woman, then she doubled down, then she non-apologized.  I’ll bet that those 17k people could find a better role model.

If you have other ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Regardless, let’s be crystal clear that she is absolutely wrong.

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

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Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

If you are uncomfortable with my selling things on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

Horrific Healthcare for Fat People

Bad DoctorAs Republicans in US government announce a health program that will provide less healthcare for lower income and older people, and enormous tax cuts for the very rich (including, specifically, health insurance companies) there is a lot of discussion about what will happen when healthcare gets even more difficult to obtain

When it comes to fat people, there can be even more barriers created by fatphobia.  The following is a real story from a blog reader, shared with permission, that beautifully illustrates many of the barriers that fatphobia creates to getting evidence-based, competent healthcare:

So I’ve been having a horribly bad asthma flare, for going on nearly six weeks now. I’m wheezy, to the point that people across a room from me can hear the rattle. I’m also full of phlegm, and for the entire first half of this, I wasn’t able to produce any of it. It’s been bad enough that I’ve been in the ER twice, and my O2 sats regularly hang out in the low 90s. The pain in my ribs, back, shoulders, and chest, from struggling to breathe, has been an almost constant companion.

My first trip to the ER earned me a round of prednisone, but my blood work and xrays showed no infection or pneumonia, so no antibiotic. I get uncomfortable symptoms when on high dosages of prednisone, so I altered the prescribed taper just a little and was on it nine days instead of six. I was feeling pretty good for a few days after the steroids, but got worse again, and ended back in the ER two weeks after the original visit, and the night before my appointment with my asshole of a primary.

In the ER the second time, xrays again showed no pneumonia. They couldn’t get my O2 sats to stay above 90, even after two breathing treatments and 40mg of prednisone, but since I was seeing the primary the following morning, and my pain levels had improved greatly with the breathing treatment, they let me go home.

Primary visit. This asshole has lectured me about my weight, both personally and through his nursing staff, since my first visit. He started in right away with weight. He’s convinced my weight has caused my issues…never mind that I’ve had asthma since childhood, or that I’ve been this same weight for three years. Never mind this is a sudden onset of intense symptoms. Never mind that he hasn’t addressed my concerns about better managing my asthma in general, say, with a prescription for the oral Singulair that’s worked well for me in the past, or even by making sure I’ve got rescue inhaler refills called into my pharmacy. (I’ve been making do with Urgent Care prescriptions, and by under-treating or using alternative/OTC treatments when I do have flare/attack symptoms)

Never mind that I live with a smoker, which triggers symptoms, or that I was unexpectedly exposed to triggering cold temps when I had to change a flat tire, just before the flare. Never mind that I’m almost every single year, this time of year, struggling with respiratory issues related to poor indoor air quality and/or illness. Or that the least time I had a flare this prolonged or this severe was while my hormones were dealing with puberty, and I’ve just begun the menopausal drift.

At least he finally agreed to prescribe me an at-home nebulizer and refilled (with just 3 refills for the year -cue eye roll) my rescue inhalers, right?

Grrrr…

Referral for a lung function test & consult with a pulmonologist. Techs at the lung function were perplexed that the primary would assume weight was primary, with all the other things I reported. They agreed that, without a sudden significant gain, a lifelong asthma diagnosis want suddenly going to be triggered into a flare by a stable weight. I was having a pretty good breathing day that day. Their evaluation was that there was no COPD (which asshole primary had been sure would be the result), but that the results definitely indicated and supported my already well-documented history of asthma.

That was last Monday.

Thursday, I went to Urgent Care because of pain and fullness in my ears. Because of my O2 sats and audible rattling in my chest, the doctor there performed an exam based upon that, asking questions about duration of symptoms and medical history. She was unsatisfied with the care actions of the other doctors I’ve been seeing, and prescribed Doxycyclene to treat what she suspected is an underlying infection.

My smoker at home has been gone out of town for a little over a week. During that time, I’ve been using the nebulizer almost every four hours, and then added the antibiotic…I’ve been coughing up some massive amounts of chunky, gunky lung butter, folks. Major improvements, not only to background pain levels, but to chest rattle, energy levels, and overall O2 sats. (I’ve got a portable at-home monitor) I’d been seeing slow progress with just neb treatment & reduced second hand smoke, but every nebulizer treatment since beginning antibiotics triggers major coughing spells that bring up big chunks.

Today… I receive a call from asshole primary’s nurse. In a chipper, sing-song voice, she reports that the pulmonology results indicate my weight is the culprit and that primary doctor recommend reducing calories. I asked why then, after regular nebulizer albuterol treatment, reduced second-hand smoke intake, and powerful antibiotics, now I’m finally improving? And why only now, after three years of maintaining at this weight and an entire lifetime’s history of asthma…why now am I only just now having an asthma flare, because of my weight?

Fucking bullshit. I’m going to need some major restraint, and a whole lot of willpower to keep from going postal at the pulmonologist’s appointment Monday. This is straight up lazy, dangerous, bad medical practice.

In the US system of “healthcare” (which is based on the idea that it’s cool to let people die if they aren’t able to “sufficiently” contribute to the bottom-line of multiple for-profit companies – including CEOs who make more than $100,000 a day) it is very difficult for many people to get healthcare, with the worst situations happening to the most marginalized people.

Another layer to that for fat people is the practice of thin people who can get care receiving evidence-based interventions, and fat people getting diets no matter – as we see clearly in the situation above – what the evidence suggests (which is especially a problem since there is no reason to believe that the weight loss methods prescribed by doctors will lead to thinness or better health – which are two different things.)

If you find yourself in this situation, the first thing to know is that you are not the problem – the system and the doctors you are dealing with are. You have every right to be frustrated and angry – this is bullshit. Well-meaning people will give you advice that is at best completely useless and unhelpful and at worst will make the problem worse. However you choose to deal with this is valid.

Some suggestions for dealing with this crap can be found here.

You can also check out the Fat Friendly Health Professionals List – and if you know fat friendly health professionals anywhere in the world, please take a moment to add them to the list. These are stopgap measures that individuals may be able to use to help, but let’s also remember that the true solution is accessible healthcare for all, free from fatphobia.

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

If you are uncomfortable with my selling things on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

Things That Are Not Size Acceptance

WTFI have been receiving a lot of e-mails lately talking about nonsense that is appearing in spaces that are specifically labeled as Size Acceptance/Fat Friendly/Health at Every Size so I thought I would clarify things – at least from my perspective and as I moderate it in my spaces.  As far as I’m concerned, the following are not, and never will be appropriate in Size Acceptance/Health at Every Size/Fat Friendly spaces.

A Diet By Any Other Name Would Still Be Bullshit

This category is for anything that suggests that people should (or are likely to successfully,) manipulate their bodies by any method.  I don’t care if it’s through eating, exercise, lifestyle change, organ amputation, meditation, self-compassion, or eating 100 calorie bags of magic weight loss beans.  If it’s about weight loss, it’s not Size Acceptance or Health at Every Size (HAES).

OOOOh scary  b-O-gey man

The “O” here stand for “Obesity Epi-Panic.” This category is for anything that suggests that fat people should be eradicated, eliminated, fixed, or feared.  That message is stigmatizing, and oppressive, and needs to get the hell up out of here. If an article contains this kind of crap (ie: people need access to healthcare because OH MY GOD FAT IS COMING FOR YOU!!!) then let me gently suggest that you at least point out that it’s a problem and, preferably, find an article that contains the positive message without the stigma. And if you want to up your game, you can write a note to the author to suggest that they make their point without a side of fat shaming.

Only You Can Prevent Fat People – Or, You Know, Not.

There has always been a diversity of body sizes.  There always will be. There will always be fat people. Discussions of how we can prevent fat people from existing are a waste of time that perpetuates stigma and oppression and draws resources away from creating a world that is the most conducive to everyone’s health (like, for example, a world without shame, stigma, bullying, oppression or poverty in which everyone, of every size, has access to excellent, compassionate, evidence-based healthcare for a start.)

Side by Side by Side

Anything that suggests that bodies are better or worse based on their size or a change in size (whether it’s a comparison of the same body, or different bodies) is sizeist bullshit. No. Just no.

Size Limits

Think that spandex isn’t for anyone who wants to wear it?  Have a problem with fat women in bodycon dresses? Think some people deserve to be accommodated by not others? Judge fat people who use scooters?  Ever spent time on one of those “People of Walmart” type sites?  Ever used the phrase “but at some point you’re just too fat…”  That’s not Size Acceptance, it’s the opposite.  Those who want to act like this will find a community of pathetic trolls excited to accept them on reddit.

We live in a sizeist world, driven by diet culture – it’s ubiquitous.  We can’t force people to opt out of this, but we absolutely deserve to have spaces that are free from these types of shame, stigma, bullying, and oppression. 

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

If you are uncomfortable with my selling things on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Let’s Stop Body Shaming donald’s Regime

 

defendRecently, upon hearing that donald thought it would be funny to ruin the career of someone who disagreed with him, Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach tweeted out:

“Hey @realDonaldTrump I oppose civil asset forfeiture too! Why don’t you try to destroy my career you fascist, loofa-faced, shit-gibbon!”

I commented: “I do not support appearance-based attacks. I do support calling donald a fascist shit-gibbon.”

I find myself doing this a lot lately. I hate this regime and everything it stands for and I’m committed to resisting, and I’ve seen lots of appearance-based attacks being  made, and lots of justifications for why it’s ok. In my most recent piece for Ravishly I make the case for why it’s not:

You can read it here!

 

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

If you are uncomfortable with my selling things on this site, you are invited to check out this post.