It’s been a while since we did a Say Something Sunday and today Sarah Millimen gives us a great example in her open letter to The Toledo Blade which published a ridiculously fatphobic editorial. Content warning for fat shaming language, and pathologizing body size. Sarah also uses a lot of sarcasm (of which I’m a fan, but I know that it doesn’t work for everyone for lots of reasons, so I wanted to make sure you know in advance.) Here is her letter:
On August 25, 2017 you released an editorial entitled, “The glass city, the fat city”. You started if off by stating how unsettling it was that Toledo rates the seventh fattest city in the country. You then put a link to another article that was written on August 22nd, where the Health Department spokesperson (no worries, I fixed that for you) was quoted as saying this, “We don’t really put a whole lot of thought into these,” she said. “At the health department, we’re always telling people to be healthy, happy, and active in their lifestyle.” It also stated that the department plans on creating environments “promoting physical activity”.
This all sounds great. I like what that article said, and I feel the response given by the health department shows a lot of knowledge and for lack of a better word “smarts”. It sounds as though the health department realizes that the diet industry has a 90-95% fail rate. You know, a rate that would have closed down any other business by now, but because we equate “thin” with “healthy” it is still preying on the insecurities of people and taking their money.
Speaking of the insecurities of people, you did mention in the August 25th editorial that obesity and fatness is a huge cause of bullying. I would almost believe that you cared, except for the part where you say this, “And what does our reputation as a city of girth and sloth do to efforts to present the city as a hip, elegant place where young people might want to live?” It almost sounds like you are saying that people cannot be hip or elegant if they are fat. Which I am certain is not what you are saying since you are against bullying. One could possibly think that you are fat shaming. Is my fatness hindering your “hip, elegant” city rep? My bad.
This editorial also stated that the cities weight problem was, “arguably…the leading public health problem in our region”. Did I miss the resolution of the opiod crisis? Fat people are a bigger problem and a bigger danger than people shooting up, overdosing, and losing their children? Please, tell me more about that…
I’m really trying to find your sources, but the farthest I get is an online magazine called, “Best Life”. Imagine how I feel, when I’m reading this article and you cannot provide me with a shred of evidence, but you do provide me with a link to the August 22nd article where the health department is handling this, I would argue, the correct way, but you just aren’t satisfied with that. No, instead of doing some research, you write this editorial. You want people to think you care, but you are just spreading false narratives regarding fat people. A study by Dr. Linda Bacon of Health At Every Size, revealed that only 9% of individuals who are “obese” or “overweight” based on BMI have health issues directly related to their size. Or should I use your chosen word…girth. 91% of “obese” or “overweight” people HAVE NO HEALTH ISSUES RELATED TO THEIR GIRTH.
Other studies have shown that pressuring people to slim down often has the opposite effect. Pushing people to be thin actually makes them fatter. Oh man, I hope your editorial doesn’t cause more fatties to reside in Toledo. After all, we wouldn’t want any more fatties living here, it may push us up to fat city number 6! God forbid.
There are plenty of ways to do activism, and the more people saying something, the better! If you want some support in your own activism, join us for the Fat Activism Conference:
The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are. Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!
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