Weight Watchers Is Harming Kids For Money

Weight Watchers is Harming Kids for Profit Fight Back.Weight Watchers (or WW as they’re trying to rebrand themselves, as if it changes their legacy of harming fat people for money) has launched a new app for children ages 8-17 called Kurbo. I’ve had a few hundred requests to write about it, but it took me a while because I’ve been in a rage coma ever since I learned that, upon hearing from eating disorder experts that this app would harm children, Weight Watchers CEO, Mindy Grossman, responded by saying “It actually strengthened our resolve and made us offensive.” (Trust me when I tell you Mindy, you were already offensive.)

So this is your “Tldr” – experts told Weight Watchers that they are going to hurt kids, and their response was “that just makes us want to do it more.” If that doesn’t convince you of that plain fact that Weight Watchers is a dumpster fire in every dumpster in a factory that manufactures industrial-sized dumpsters, it’s not likely that anything will. Still, there’s more to know here.

First, it’s important to understand that Weight Watchers built their business model with the full understanding that most people lose weight short term while dieting, but that in the long term almost everyone gains the weight back on matter what they do, with a majority gaining back more than they lost.

Their marketing “genius” was in finding a way to take credit for the first part of that biological response, and getting their clients (and everyone else) to blame themselves for the second part, and thus be duped into returning to Weight Watchers to start the cycle again. That created the base of a business model that guaranteed the repeat business they needed to succeed wildly.

Having had success with that model since 1963, until a few years ago people finally wised up, their stock took a dive and they went to desperate measures, including their ridiculous rebrand and their choice to target young children to try to create life-long customers.

Their most recent, and possibly most horrific, attempt at a money grab is to launch this app aimed at kids ages 8-17. The app starts with a seven-day free trial, but for kids to continue with their personalized coach, the monthly subscription fee starts at $69 a month. (The adult version of Weight Watchers online with coaching is $54.95/month)

Let’s look at some facts that are pertinent here:

  • 95% of those with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25 (SAMHSA)
  • 40-60% of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about their weight or about becoming overweight. This concern endures through life. (Smolak, 2011)
  • Among high-school students, 44% of females and 15% of males attempted to lose weight. (Serdula et al., 1993)
  • 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders. (Shisslak & Crago, 1995)
  • Over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors (ex, skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, purging) (Neumark-Sztainer, 2005)
  • In a decade we saw a 119% increase in eating disorder hospitalizations in kids UNDER TWELVE.

Hence those, uh, warnings from eating disorder experts that made Weight Watchers reeeeaaaaallllyyyyy super very much extra excited to do this.

Maybe (in a perfectly reasonable but entirely misguided attempt to feel better about this) you’re thinking to yourself – I’m sure this isn’t about dieting, I’m sure they are just trying to encourage healthy behaviors.

Well, think again, here’s a screenshot that a blog reader sent to me:

Weight Watchers Kids
[TEXT:
How do I plan for red light foods?

“I know there will be red light foods at my friend’s birthday party on Saturday.”

E.g. of  3-step game plan

1. Wake up early to workout (60 minutes minimum)

2. Aim to consume no red light foods until you arrive at the party.

3. Decide how many red lights you reasonably want to budget for the party ahead of time.

Tip 4: remember 3 servings of a yellow ligt food = 1 red. ]

 

 

Before we break this down, I think it’s important to note that Weight Watchers doesn’t have any evidence that any of this will make or keep kids thin. There are no studies that show any method of eating and exercising that predicts thin kids, research from the University of Minnesota found that “None of the behaviors being used by adolescents (in 1999) for weight-control purposes predicted weight loss[in 2006]…Of greater concern were the negative outcomes associated with dieting and the use of unhealthful weight-control behaviors.” Even the thoroughly-steeped-in-fatphobia American Academy of Pediatrics advised doctors and parents to avoid conversations about weight and focus on being healthy instead.

I also think it’s important to point out that the target ages of the app also include the typical ages of puberty, during which an average weight gain of 40 to 60 pounds is expected. Scenario: a kid who has been trying to manipulate their weight with this app for five years – since they were 8 years old – experiences sudden weight gain. I’m sure that won’t cause any problems at all, right? (Sarcasm meter is an 11 out of 10 here.)

Ok, so let’s talk about this absolute disaster, starting with the fact that Weight Watchers thinks third graders should be making three-step plans to attend birthday parties.

The app divides foods up into “stop-light” categories of green (“Go!”), yellow (“Slow Down!”) and red (“STOP and Think!”) (Exclamation points and capitalization strategy are verbatim from Kurbo which, as you probably already guessed, I will not be linking to.)

Dividing food into categories like this is a red flag for disordered eating, but it’s pretty clear at this point that Weight Watchers doesn’t care. It’s also an issue for kids who are food insecure and other kids who may have limited options for what to eat for whom just getting enough nutrition to survive can be an issue. (Let’s remember that most kids are not in charge of the foods to which they have access.)

Note that step 1 of the plan says to workout for “60 minutes MINIMUM” (emphasis mine) So, again, we’re telling 8-year-olds that in order to eat some cake at a birthday party, they must earn the right through exercise of at least an hour. This is a three-fer of harm:

  1. It creates the belief that one has to earn the right to eat through movement which is, you guessed it,  a red flag for disordered eating.
  2. It creates a “never enough” belief around exercise. Suggesting that kids as young as 8 should lose sleep to force themselves through an hour or more of exercise that is not by choice or for fun is ludicrous.
  3. It sets kids up to see exercise as prevention of and/or punishment for not being thin, which gives them an excellent chance of learning to resent movement and exercise – especially since kids come in lots of sizes, and this app will never change that.

Which brings us to a fact that should be obvious – the app will harm every kid who uses it and every kid who knows about it,  but it will do the most harm to fat kids (who are already trying to navigate a fatphobic world) both because it will be another tool to marginalize them, and because they are unlikely to change their body size so it will be seen as another alleged “failure” to attain thinness, which never should have been a goal in the first place.

The marketing for the app includes “before and after” photos of children, so that if kids aren’t sure what kind of bodies they should hate (be it their own body, or other kids) they can check the before pictures to make sure.

I’m already hearing stories from blog readers about parents who are actually bribing their kids to use the app with, for example, a phone. Which tells fat kids that in order to “deserve” what everyone else has – the ability to connect and communicate with their social network (which actually IS tied to health,) they first need to be thin, or at least commit to trying to be. That’s a lesson that will continue to harm them for the rest of their lives if they internalize it.

I’ve been doing this work for over a decade and have heard hundreds, if not thousands, of stories of people whose lives have been harmed by Weight Watchers. And now they want us to hand them our kids. Say no. Fight Back. Teach your kids that the world is messed up, they are fine.

Was this post helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

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!  (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)

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!

I’m (still!) training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com or on Instagram.

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

 

 

 

Church Leader Fat-Shames Teen, Who Fights Back Beautifully

fat shaming naturalJenna went to church to sing and celebrate as a worship leader in the contemporary band at her Methodist Church. But then Sister Bonnie-Better-Than-You of the Church of Fatphobia went to work.

Bonnie somehow believed that being a “Church Leader” involved following a 19 year old into the bathroom (where the girl had gone to see if there were any updates on a hospitalized family member,) to wag a fatphobic finger at her and tell her things like “Don’t come back on that stage with those shorts. I’m warning you.”

People are going to want to see the shorts and I’ll leave a picture, secure in the knowledge that we all understand that any argument that contains “she’s not even that fat” is harmful and fatphobic.

Bonnie’s behavior would never, ever be ok, but is even more inappropriate in this situation because, as another church member pointed out, this is a “contemporary service” that is youth-focused and “guests are encouraged to come as they are.”

But this story takes a turn for the better – quick-thinking Jenna turned on her cellphone video to capture the abuse, and gave herself and her body a full-throated defense. It was emotional, and profanity-laced, and absolutely beautiful (if you’re thinking about tone-policing, rethink, and then don’t.) Despite the power and age differential that Bonnie Busy Body was trying to exploit, through tears and sobs, in a situation that should NEVER have happened to her, Jenna defended herself fiercely and fearlessly. The video can be found here, trigger warnings for fatphobia and abuse of a position of power.

For a horrible story that should never have happened, it has the happiest possible ending. The church issued a letter of apology that was crystal clear that Bonnie was wrong and did “great harm,” Jenna said that her pastor promised her that Bonnie “will never be able to be on any sort of committee/any leadership role in our church ever again. (Jenna has asked that people not attack her church, as they are working to fix the problem.)

Remember that no matter what size someone is, and no matter what they are wearing (looking at you, People of Walmart apologists), fat-shaming is never ok, and being fat is always ok.

Was this post helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

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!  (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)

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!

I’m (still!) training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com or on Instagram.

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

 

 

Fashion Bashing – Just Don’t

I was recently in a Facebook conversation with someone who posted this picture of  Barbie Fierra, just to tear her down:

Barbie Ferreira MTV Music Awards
Source

The person on Facebook started by assuring us that she, herself, was a size 22, then went on at some length about why she did not like the way the dress looked, including the claim that Ms. Fierra “needed shapewear.”

Through the course of the conversation, as she had done with her statement about shapewear, my conversation companion consistently gave her opinions as if they were fact (“she just doesn’t look her best”, “the outfit doesn’t do her justice” etc.) citing her job (or hobby, I’m not certain) as a “stylist” as justification for her claims. I repeatedly said that she is entitled to her opinions (and that if someone wants to pay her for her opinions then that’s great for both of them) but they are just that – opinions, not facts. I got blocked, so here we are.

Let’s start here. This woman chose to wear this outfit. Unless and until I hear that she was forced to wear it and didn’t like it, I support her right to choose what she wants to wear.

Fat women and femmes (and women and femmes in general) get enough criticism for our personal choices, so there’s no good reason to bash each other for what we choose to wear. Not to mention that the mainstream concept of fashion is rooted in thin, white, cis, hetero, classist, able-bodiedness and often ends up being just another method to enforce these oppressions.

And for the record, I don’t buy that whole “I was criticizing the fashion, not the person” thing. If the fashion is on a person, then you are criticizing that person’s choices (yes, even if they were working with a stylist.) Unless they were literally forced to wear the clothing – in which case we have bigger things to criticize than the outfit – then what they are wearing is still about their choice.

Besides which, what precisely is the goal here? Are we hoping the person in the picture will see the commentary and feel bad about themselves? Hoping to give others the message that criticizing women and femmes for their (clothing) choices is completely ok? Trying to make ourselves feel better by putting down someone else down?

It doesn’t really matter because the truth remains, this is a shitty thing to do.

I personally like the outfit because it flies in the face of all the rules that fat women and femmes are supposed to follow in order for clothes to be “flattering”  – use tight undergarments to push our boobs up and in and smush our fat around to get as close as we can to an hourglass shape, smash our belly as flat as we can, don’t let our belly outline show, blah blah. (People can wear whatever they want, but nobody needs to wear shapewear – our bodies are just fine in their natural, non-underwear-manipulated shapes.)

That’s what I personally like about the garment but, again, it absolutely doesn’t matter if I like it or not because SHE likes it, and SHE’s wearing it, and I support that 100%.

If you don’t like this look, one option is to keep it to yourself. Either way, you’ll have to talk about it elsewhere because I’m not here for fashion bashing.

Was this post helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

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!  (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)

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!

I’m (still!) training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com or on Instagram.

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

 

 

The “Even Though They’re Fat” Fallacy

fat shaming naturalHad this exchange on Twitter :

First let’s get some things clear. It doesn’t matter if using drugs is or isn’t comparable to being fat, this is not okay to say, for the reasons I explained in my tweet. Anything that starts with “even though they” and end with “we treat them with basic human respect” is bullshit – because regardless of what is said in the second part, the first part seeks to deny humanity. No, just no. Give narcan to people who need it, and CPR to people who need it, period.

This is an extreme example of the “even though they’re fat” fallacy. In it, people get to perpetuate fatphobia by being clear that being fat is a most definitely still a bad thing (nobody ever says “Even though they saved all those puppies from the fire, we’re still going to treat the burns.”) before trying to take credit for still treating us with a modicum of respect as if that represents part of their commitment to community service.

This is easily fixable by replacing “Even though” with “fat people exist so….”

Let’s practice!

Instead of:

“Even though they’re fat, we should still give them medical treatment”

Try:

“Fat people exist, so we give them excellent medical care because our stereotypes and bigotry don’t come into play when it comes to our job of giving medical care to humans.”

Instead of

“Even though they are fat, they still need clothes”

try

“Fat people exist, so they should have access to affordable clothes that they like.”

Instead of:

“Even though they’re fat, they shouldn’t be bullied.”

Try:

“Fat people exist, so they should be treated with basic human respect. Nobody should be bullied, WTF is wrong with you?” (The second part is optional based on your situation.)

Sometimes this comes from a place of internalized oppression. In which case it can sound something like:

“I may be fat, but I still deserve to be treated with respect.”

or

“I should be given competent, evidence-based healthcare, even though I’m fat.”

or

“Yes I’m fat, but I should have access to affordable clothes that fit and that I like.”

When we hear ourselves say these things, it’s an indication that we’ve been duped by a culture chock full ‘o fatphobia (which, it turns out, is incredibly lucrative for those perpetuating it.) It’s not surprising that this happens, but we don’t have to continue to be a part of our own oppression.

To fix this, we heed the advice given by President Bartlet to Will – take the equivocation out of it:

I’m fat and I should be given competent, evidence-based healthcare.

I’m fat and I should have access to affordable clothes that fit and that I like.

I’m fat and I deserve to be treated with respect.

People are lots of different sizes for lots of different reasons, and none of those sizes requires an “even thought they” before “we treat them with respect.”

Was this post helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

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!  (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)

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!

I’m (still!) training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com or on Instagram.

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

 

Nike’s Plus Size Mannequins Uncover the Truth About Weight Stigma

A couple of years after introducing their plus size line, (which still has plenty of room to grow as it currently only goes up to 3x) Nike has added some plus size mannequins in their London Flagship store.  And fatphobes the world over (I’d say very likely the same ones who are constantly complaining that fat people don’t exercise, as if that’s any of their business,) lost their collective shit. Reader Natasha let me know that a popular UK publication (which I’ll not be giving traffic by naming or linking to) described the mannequin thusly:

“not a size 12, which is healthy, or even 16 – a hefty weight, yes, but not one to kill a woman. She is immense, gargantuan, vast. She heaves with fat.”

Setting aside the fact that health and weight are not the same thing (there are healthy and unhealthy people of all shapes and sizes,) and that health is not an obligation, barometer of worthiness, entirely within our control, or guaranteed under any circumstances, and setting aside the fact that she doesn’t “heave with fat” so much as she heaves with plastic, as she is a mannequin, and that she doesn’t heave at all because, again, mannequin, I have to wonder what image this writer’s tribute to fatphobia and synonyms conjures up in people’s minds.

View the mannequin [insert creepy whispery voice…] if you dare…

Nike Plus Size Mannequin
Source: https://www.cnn.com/style/article/london-nike-mannequins-scli-intl/index.html

Now, we know better than to make an “it’s not even that fat!” argument, but if hysterical internet fatphobes are to be believed (and they aren’t,) this mannequin is “promoting obesity.” They claimed the same thing about the clothing line, so let me just reiterate part of what I wrote about that:

  

  

 

 

 

 

Was this post helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

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!  (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)

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!

I’m (still!) training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com or on Instagram.

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

 

 

 

Dismantling Diet Culture

Diet Industry booty callIn honor of No Diet Day, I wrote a blog post for the National Eating Disorders Association blog (I’m an Offical NEDA Ambassador!) about recognizing and resisting diet culture:

Diet Culture is dangerous and harms people of all sizes, including by perpetuating eating disorders and making a full recovery almost impossible. But when it comes to identifying Diet Culture in a world that is sadly rife with it, there can be plenty of confusion. If we truly want to prevent eating disorders and create a culture where full recovery is possible, we need to learn to identify Diet Culture and speak out against it. While this list certainly isn’t exhaustive, it covers some of the main tenets of Diet Culture, as well as some options for fighting back.

You can read the rest on the NEDA blog here!

Was this post helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

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!  (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)

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!

I’m (still!) training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com or on Instagram.

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

 

Things That Need to Stop Happening in Fat Fashion

Biscuit doesn't care about flatteringWhile things are getting a bit better when it comes to fashion for fat folks, there is still a whole lot of nonsense that goes on, and most of it could stop immediately. Let’s talk about some examples:

The All Shapes and Sizes Lie

If your company does not actually fit all shapes and sizes, then it is absolutely not ok to say that you do. If you fit sizes 00-22, then say “Clothing for sizes 00-22” not “Clothing for every shape and size” or “Clothing for every body.” Not only is it a lie that induces people who don’t have a chance of finding clothes that fit them to waste their time on your website or in your store trying, it’s dehumanizing. If you fit through size 22, but you say “clothing for all shapes and sizes” then what you are saying is that you don’t think people who are over a 22 count as a shape or size. That negates any good that a brand is trying to do by offering at least some sizes that are larger than average.

Self- Congratulations without Introspection

Whenever I see the all shapes and sizes lie happening, I reach out to the brand. Some brands respond positively (for example, one lingerie brand changed the language in the social media post that I commented on, and reached out to me to discuss language, we’re still working on it) Other brands just get defensive, bragging about how they are offering more sizes than some companies so I should just be happy. That’s all well and good, but unless you are making clothing for literally all shapes and sizes (as companies like Smart Glamour do,) you still have work to do, and the least you can do is acknowledge that.

The inches+ Mess

Have you ever seen a size chart like this:
Bust Measurements:
XL: 38-41
2XL: 41-42
3XL: 43-45
4XL: 45+

Wait, what? So the other sizes all have 2-3 inches of stretch, but the 4X is made out of some kind of magical infi-stretch material that fits literally anyone with a bust over 44 inches? Even those of us in the largest size deserve for you to take the fricking time to stretch the material and give us correct information, especially in a situation where we are paying for the garment, and for shipping, and if it doesn’t fit we have to pay for return shipping and don’t get the original shipping refunded, giving us the joy of paying money for a piece of clothing we’ll never wear.

Plus Size Model Who Aren’t Plus Size

If you are too small to fit in the clothes, then you have no business modeling them. The fashion industries desire not to see double chins leads to thin models being “padded out” to wear clothes that are larger than they are. There are plenty of actual plus size people out there who want to be models.

Models Who Make A Living Modeling Plus Size Clothes, But Don’t Want to Be Called Plus Size

Fuck. A. Whole. Bunch. Of. That. If you are so desperate to distance yourself from our community, then get your plus-size ass out of our clothes.

Unrealistic Clothing Portrayals

The dress that caused the controversy is modelled without the clips
Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-48051242

So this happened. Asos forgot to photoshop out the bulldog clips that they used on their model. This idea of “making the clothes look their best” like this, and then retouching the pictures so the buyer can’t see what was done is just false advertising and sets us up to get the clothing and then wonder why TF it doesn’t look like the picture. Considering we live in a world that encourages us to (incorrectly) blame our bodies if the clothes don’t look right, this contributes to poor body image which is the last thing anyone needs. If a brand doesn’t like the way their clothing hangs, they need to remake the clothing, not break out the binder clips.

Fashion Bashing

If someone’s commitment to fashion is about what they like to wear, and they are clear that the ability to “create your own style” is a privilege and that the clothing that others want to wear may not be accessible to them due to money, availability, or other reasons – then that’s fine. But too often, even in plus-size communities, the concept of “fashion” is used as a tool of oppression by people who are still desperate to be at the cool kid’s table, and are willing to treat others badly to feel good about themselves. That truly has to stop. Caring about fashion (especially in terms of capital F Fashion, what’s “in season” or “on trend,”) is entirely optional, and caring about fashion doesn’t make someone better than those who couldn’t care less.

The Flattering Police

This is a subset of fashion bashing. These are the folks who insist that fat people have to dress to create an optical illusion to make us look as thin as possible. As a proud member of the Fuck Flattering Club, I’m here to say that this is bullshit. People can dress however they want, for whatever reason they want, and if we don’t like it, we have the option to look away.

Fashion is a complicated and fraught thing for fat people and, like with so many other things, our attention should be focused on making sure that everyone has access to the clothing they want, and then we should mind our own business about other people’s fashion choices.

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