A Comment Section Worth Reading

fat shaming naturalOne of the great joys of writing this blog has been the people who leave comments here.  It makes me happy beyond words that the comment section of this blog is full of great insights, advice, support, and conversation.  It means that people who come here can break the cardinal rule of being fat on the internet which is, of course, never read the comments. Recently a massively fatphobic Facebook post generated another comment section that helped restore my faith in humanity. But to tell the whole story, we have to back up a bit…

A “journalist” (who, admittedly, may have been looking more for attention than a great teacher for her kid) recently wrote a piece called “Why I refuse to let my daughter be taught by a fat teacher.” In her own words, the nursery assistant who would be working at the well-rated school with her toddler was “a lovely woman, kind and great with children.”

Unfortunately, this journalist’s stereotypes about fat people got in the way, and she decided to move her child to a different facility. Let’s be clear about what happened — this woman chose a school based solely on how the teachers looked.

She feels that this is acceptable because the teachers look fat and she thinks it should be ok to discriminate against fat people. As if any bigot doesn’t think that their bigotry is justified. Like so many bigots, she tries hard to paint herself as the victim:

“This is the first time I have publicly admitted to feeling this way. Aware that the reaction would be anger and vilification, I censored myself. I told everyone I preferred the other nursery because it was smaller and friendlier. I knew I would be accused of discrimination, or ‘fat-shaming’, if I admitted the truth.”

She’s wrong though, nobody is accusing her of discrimination or fat-shaming — since it’s not an accusation at all, but rather a statement of fact.

This is the textbook definition of discrimination and fat shaming. It’s awful for the teachers involved (apparently there was *gasp* more than one fat teacher at the nursery), though they also probably dodged a bullet avoiding having to deal with this woman. Mostly I feel badly for her child who is growing up with a proud bigot for a mother, and for any fat friends her child will make (if she’s allowed to be friends with fat kids at all.)

If you think this situation can’t get any more screwed up, Garry Robinson of Kaizen Outdoor Fitness would like you to please hold his beer while he uses his Facebook presence to double down on encouraging fat shaming/

But this is where the good news starts. The comment section on this Facebook post is EPIC!

Click here to read the rest of the piece!

Want to create a world where this kind of fat shaming is considered wrong by everyone? Join us for the Fat Activism Conference!

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14 thoughts on “A Comment Section Worth Reading

  1. Wow, that IS pretty amazing!

    It is ridiculous to compare smoking and fat people, because as those surprisingly lovely commenters pointed out, smoking is a thing you do and fat people are people.

    But I was *actually here* when the tide turned against tobacco in the 90’s, and this guy’s not only got it ass-backwards (doctors shifted from shame to evidence-based blame-free care because shame wasn’t working), he’s also ignoring the number one biggest factor: what finally put the nail in smoking-as-a-mainstream-pastime’s coffin was backing off individual smokers entirely in favor of going after the tobacco INDUSTRY. There were trials in which those people he denigrates and claims were made “social pariahs” were the *plaintiffs,* and were actually awarded millions of dollars in damages (that’s 90’s money) for the health problems courts determined they were not adequately warned against. Here, under “third wave,” is a summary of just *some* of the ongoing-at-the-time court cases my high school teachers made us watch before class.

    https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/tobacco-litigation-history-and-development-32202.html

    But I can see why that keeps getting left out of the conversation, because right now, the number one obstacles to a healthier, longer-lived fat population are the exploitative reduction industries. If society were going to address fat peoples’s health the same way it addressed smoking, diet, “fitness,” and weight loss drug companies that take our money in exchange for products that give us permanent heart, liver, and joint damage and then run away laughing as they chalk our illnesses and deaths up to “obesity” are the first thing they’d have to go after (and *seriously,* not just those cute li’l slaps on the wrist they’ve been getting). That’s why I don’t see it happening. If Joe Q Mainstream places a higher value on his airline seat than a fat person’s life, he definitely isn’t going to support fighting a glamorous villain-with-good-publicity industry that makes sixty billion dollars while promising to weave him thin people out of fatties.

    Evidence-based fitness and healthy movement are important, but when it comes to choosing a fitness plan, “shame” is just one letter away from “sham.”

    1. Oh, wow! You actually linked to the information! It’s almost as if you know how to do proper journalism, or something! You probably can tell the difference between “studies,” and studies, and “everyone knows” and actual facts.

      Good for you.

      And I am so, incredibly sick, of people saying that fat equals bad behavior, stupidity, greed (she used greed several times), and actions, rather than a simple state of being.

      However, I noted that she declares she never eats more than 1,500 kcal a day, which makes me think she has got to be REALLY grumpy, all the time, because she is literally being tortured.

      http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2008/02/how-weve-came-to-believe-that.html

      The Starvation experiment showed some interesting things:

      1) “As the men lost weight, their physical endurance dropped by half, their strength about 10%, and their reflexes became sluggish — with the men initially the most fit showing the greatest deterioration, according to Dr. Keys.”

      Note: So, this woman would rather have a thin and starving person, who has reduced physical endurance, reduced strength, and reduced reflexes, than a fat person, simply because she KNOWS, by looking at the people, that the fat person WILL be slower, and the “healthy weight” (with absolutely no evidence or information about how that person achieved the “healthy weight”) will be faster, with better reflexes? I don’t think so.

      2) “The men became nervous, anxious, apathetic, withdrawn, impatient, self-critical with distorted body images and even feeling overweight, moody, emotional and depressed. A few even mutilated themselves, one chopping off three fingers in stress. ”

      Note: I’d much rather have my child watched over someone who is not going to snap and cut off body parts, even if they are her own, and not my child’s. After all, what if my child SEES that, and decides that this is a good and healthy role model, because Mommy says so?

      Note, again, that ALL of the participants had a bare minimum of 1,600 kcal per day, in addition to being constantly monitored by doctors. And yet, even with the constant monitoring and safety precautions, one of them still got obsessed enough to dismember himself.

      In other words, someone who is naturally thin has no excuse to be such a horrible jackass to fat people. Someone who is is dieting every day for the rest of her life, at a level that would make a psychologically tested and approved man chop off three of his own fingers, because she believes she has a fat woman inside her, waiting to bust out, if she doesn’t always keep on top of it, might, *might* have some excuse, or at least some sympathy, because she’s actively being tortured (by herself, but also by society), every single day.

      However, I would not trust a torture victim to make the best choices for her child.

  2. Great article Ragen! I hope this woman’s daughter never becomes fat or she will probably be disowned.
    I want to comment on what Garry Robinson said, “When we finally had enough and turned smokers into social pariahs, only then did the message hit home. We just don’t tolerate it any more and our society is better off for it.”
    I hate being discriminated against because I am fat, and I hate when it happens to other people too, such as smokers. I don’t smoke, but I did about 12 years ago. My little sister smokes. She is not a pariah, she is my sister. So many people look at smokers with disgust and assume things about them. People who smoke also deserve to be treated as humans and have the same rights as everyone else. So smoking is bad for you, so what. We don’t treat people with desk jobs as social pariahs (and sitting is worse than smoking they say,) or people who drink alcohol, or people who put Equal in their iced tea, or people who have a lot of stress, etc. etc. All things that are not healthy. Why pick and choose what to discriminate against and what to accept. Anyways, in many other countries, smoking is huge. Europe for example, has a lot of smokers. I regularly go to Italy and literally everyone smokes (and drinks.) Smokers are not treated like social outcasts. Not to mention, Italians still have pretty good health and long life expectancy. And NO, I am not suggesting people should smoke.

  3. From reading this woman’s page it sounds like she is jealous of fat people who are happy and not trying to change themselves. The weight loss and diet industries are really f-ing people up mentally and physically. My sister is in the hospital because of complications (blood clots, hematoma, necrotic tissue, blood loss) that she had because of both a tummy tuck and liposuction and the doctor didn’t even tell her of these complications.

  4. So glad people stepped up! I saw the article but couldn’t bring myself to read it. I’m so frustrated by the ongoing belief that people are fat solely because they eat to much of certain foods and never exercise.

  5. Always a prey to morbid curiosity, I read the article, and it’s quite the piece of thin privilege. She is unbearably smug and seems to think she has every “excuse” for being fat covered—SHE never eats more than 1500 calories a day (maybe the starvation makes her crabby: that’s a very low-energy diet); SHE lost weight; SHE exercises half an hour every day; SHE has a thyroid deficiency —and SHE stays “trim” so everyone else can too, obviously.

    And obviously no fat people restrict calories or exercise. Because obviously.

    Because everyone knows.

    Like so many fatphobes, she seems to genuinely believe that society has embraced adiposity, that fat people are encouraged and celebrated everywhere they go, and that she has a deity-driven mandate to SHOW EVERYONE THE LIGHT!!!!! (It’s probably Freudian that initially spelled that “diety-driven.”) Does she really think her TODDLER will grow up *wanting to be fat* because a nice lady or two at daycare is fat?

    (Ragen sometimes uses the imperfect but illustrative substitution of “queer” for “fat” to demonstrate how ridiculous a fatphobic article sounds; for similar reasons—I’m from a Jewish family—I use “Jew.” Suppose this woman saw that the teachers looked Jewish? Wondered if they’d have the motivation to save a Gentile toddler in peril? Worried her child might normalize Judaism, might—the horror—*want to be Jewish!! Talked about how she’d personally overcome her Jewish tendencies? It’s kind of irrelevant, I admit, but it happens on my head.)

    Well, a big wet raspberry to her and all her cronies. I merely hope she comes to understand what a fool she looks like and grows some empathy, for her daughter’s sake if not her own.

    1. “Like so many fatphobes, she seems to genuinely believe that society has embraced adiposity, that fat people are encouraged and celebrated everywhere they go, and that she has a deity-driven mandate to SHOW EVERYONE THE LIGHT!!!!! (It’s probably Freudian that initially spelled that “diety-driven.”) Does she really think her TODDLER will grow up *wanting to be fat* because a nice lady or two at daycare is fat?”

      *dons foil hat*

      I strongly suspect the average fatphobe’s idea of a fair world is one where anything they want to do to or about us is legal and consequence-free, and so many of them perceive the world as being biased in fat peoples’ favor just because it isn’t THAT bad.

    2. Oh, and don’t forget her “concerned” assertion that “nobody is born obese.”

      Uh, yeah, actually, if you want to actually use the “obese” term for babies, and the “healthy weight” term that some idiots have set up, deciding what weight is good and what weight is bad, for newborns, actually, yeah, some babies are born obese. Some are born “overweight.” Some are born “fat.”

      Most are just born, and then have the fat-hatred poison splashed all over them sometime after birth, but yeah, it happens. People, even doctors, have been known to judge newborns as “obese.”

      The difference is that the vast majority of people do realize that babies NEED fat, and that the baby fat will in almost all cases, fade out, as the child grows, especially during a growth spurt.

      But sadly, it seems the vast majority of people is becoming only a majority, and soon, I’m afraid, it will not even be that.

      1. Heads up for a lot of anti-fat-person obesity epipanic language and general premise:

        http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2016/01/14/463072893/can-babies-be-obese

        Spoiler alert: while experts agree infant weight is complicated and in SOME cases CAN be nonindicative of future weight, the answer is ultimately yes. Babies can be born “obese,” and even with “early intervention,” they can stay that way. Being one such baby, I knew that… and frankly I am not so sure the fatphobes who trot out the ‘nobody-is-born-obese’ line don’t. It’s just they have these magic chants that are supposed to make the fat bogeyman go away, and “nobody is born fat” is one of them.

        Then again, while I didn’t read them, the way you and Ziggy Blum are describing these op-eds, it sounds like they went through the whole grimoire.

        1. I did a fun with BMI thing a couple yrs ago, and compared a baby born 7 lbs. at 12 inches compared to 22 inches long. The 12 incher was BMI 34, the 22 incher was almost bmi 30. These are avg lengths of humans at birth, so yes it does seem that babies are naturally born “obese”.

  6. I read the original article, and some of the comments. My “favorite” was the one who called her article “fact-driven.” Because she kept asserting that “studies show,” and “it’s been proven that,” this and that bad stuff about fat, INCLUDING, “Fat causes cancer.”

    Yet, for all her “facts,” she never once linked to a single scholarly article, study, paper, or anything like it. “Studies show?” Show us the studies!

    She’s a professional journalist, you say? Don’t they teach “link your sources” in journalism school, anymore?

    She’s entitled to her opinion, of course. But the way she put that opinion out there, as “fact,” with no back-up at all, in a just-so story that “everyone knows,” at the same time being absolutely cruel to the people she doesn’t like, was just… A not-good thing.

  7. Not really surprised here. I almost never am. I kind of wish I was, but we are moving from a time when people at least felt they needed to feel chagrin, shame, embarrassed over their moronic but privately held biases. We are moving into the age of, I just believe this and even if you think I am wrong, miss informed, a total twat, and have proof of this, I still believe what I do. Which is a given, people are gonna think what they are gonna think and believe what they want to believe, unfortunately these beliefs and the actions and lack of actions that follow them create the world the rest of us have to live in.
    I got on the bus, was a full-ish bus. I am 380 pounds, dress well, and carry myself with confidence and walk carefully so as not to EVER stumble, trip, fall, brush up against any one if I can help it. Seat, seat seat, half filled seat, I just keep walkin’ get to the middle and plan to stand as I scan the back of the bus (raised section) a young woman with a four or five year old two seats back looked at me like she could have happily killed me and spit on my corpse.
    Lady, I wouldn’t sit next to anyone ever on a bus and least of all you, if that was your point, or possibly you can’t feel your face and don’t know how mean you look, or, perhaps you are the end result of: “If you keep making that face your face will stay like that.” It did.
    I don’t know, better to know, better to not know? You could be blind (literally) and never see these people hate and anger but their choices create a society of judgement and idiocy that all of us have to fight day after day. Do they care? I don’t know. The woman writing the editorial seemed to be concerned with blaming pothers for blaming her for something she thinks she is gonna be called on. Awareness of guilt? Like that EVER stops anyone from doing the thing they feel guilty for.

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