This is what the Obesity Apocalypse looks like. Pretty menacing, huh?
I just came across a post by closetpuritan pointing to an article in which the author, in all apparent seriousness, describes the existence of fat people as “the obesity apocalypse.”
When I read shit like this, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Or both. On one hand, it hurts that there are people out there–published authors, no less–who see the existence of bodies like mine as something akin to a zombie takeover or nuclear winter. On the other hand, it’s too ridiculous not to laugh at. It illustrates just how absurd anti-”obesity” rhetoric truly is.
And it would make a really, really great band name. I can picture it now: a riot grrl-esque group of fierce fatties, with reclaimed epithets like “fat bitch” scrawled across their exposed stomachs in lipstick. They wear metallic booty shorts and, like Beth Ditto, often perform in nothing but their undies and bras. They rock hard, take no shit, and inspire legions of young fat girls to revolt.
Sometimes I just get really angry that we live in a society where size is seen as a proxy for health, and health is seen as a proxy for virtue and worth.
Fuck that shit. We’re all worthy.
I hate how pervasive this shit is. How pervasive the stereotypes and assumptions about fat people are–such that sometimes, they come out of the mouths of the people you’d least expect. Out of them mouths of people who, 99% of the time, are on board with fat acceptance and HAES.
Those offhand remarks from supposed allies cut so much deeper than the constant stream of fatphobia from the greater world–which I’ve mostly learned to tune out, laugh at, or analyze intellectually.
It’s not fun to get hit in the gut with a reminder that the world sees me as inferior.
But it also motivates me.
It reminds me why I do fat activism. Why I post pictures of myself and others being unapologetically fat and fashionable, why I’m working to build fat community here in Boston. Why I stand up for the inherent worth of all bodies.
Fall is glorious.
I apologize for the lateness of the links roundup–my brain was way too tired on Friday to deal with it, and I was out all day yesterday. But I will make up for it with lots and lots of interesting stuff (thank you, internet, for being so smart and thoughtful this week).
-As a cupcake fanatic, I am contractually obligated to announce that ModCloth now has a plus size cupcake-print dress (!).
-North Carolinian fatties, check out this upcoming clothing swap!
-There’s one for Philadelphians too.
-Fellow Bostonians, check out the launch event for Thicky Chicky, an online plus size boutique. (I finally get to attend one of those glamorous fatshion events I see all over the blogosphere, yay!)
-Fancy Lady Industries, known for their iconic fat necklace, now has beaded tiaras and other cool new handmade things.
-Skorch’s top ten plus size Halloween costumes.
Watching Amber Riley dance always makes me happy.
If you read one thing this week, make it Rachel Cohen-Ruttenberg’s essay Shame and disconnection: the missing voices of oppression in Brene Brown’s “The Power of Vulnerability.” A taste:
People from any marginalized group can do all the personal work on themselves they want, but that work is not going to magically get them off the margins and connected into the larger society. If you’re on the margins, it’s not your attitude that’s got you disconnected. It’s stigma and systemic exclusion. I can be the most psychologically healthy, spiritually evolved, kick-ass disabled person on the planet, and that is not going to solve the social, sensory, and architectural barriers that enforce my disconnection from the able-bodied world every single day.
She also has a great follow-up post, Connection takes more than courage.
Now, on to the rest of the links…
-s.e. writes about the problem of greenwashing in the fashion industry.
-The Frugal Fatshionista reviews Light in the Box, which sells inexpensive formalwear in both straight and plus sizes.
-These indie nail polishes and lipsticks look fabulous.
-I love the clothes in Skorch’s Plus Night Out Recap.
Amber Riley = the awesomest. She’s so adorable and such a great dancer!
-Shannon talks about what things changed–and what didn’t–when she unintentionally lost weight.
–Four fat-positive Netflix picks (and one you should avoid).
-Why “fat-phobia is the last acceptable prejudice” is such bullshit.
-Ragini writes about the recurrence of her eating disorder and her experience with extreme fatphobia in her native India.
-Sonya Renee reflects on the invisibility of women of color within the fat acceptance movement.
–What about really fat people with health problems?
-If you don’t want to become enraged and incredibly sad, avoid these three pieces: a special report on medical fatphobia, one woman’s experience with a weight-loss-encouraging workplace wellness program–while she was fighting a life-threatening eating disorder, and the terrifying story of a man who died after he was refused medical treatment based on his weight. This is why we fight.
1.) That Cortnie Girl: Another angle of my body love on this quiet Wednesday morning.
My body is not diseased, my body is glorious and it can do amazing things like smile, eat veggies, walk downtown, lay on the floor with friends, walk around at the park, wear bright lipstick, get sunburns even after applying sunscreen, orgasm, eat ice cream, cuddle with kitties, work out, take baths, and wear tight clothes.
It can do all of these things without your permission and diagnosis. So stop trying.
2.) Living 400 Lbs: Why I think declaring obesity a disease is harmful. This is a meticulously sourced list of reasons, and it’s wonderful.
3.) Shakesville: The AMA declares obesity a disease.
I am not a problem to be solved. My body is not a disease to be cured. I cannot overcome my very physiology and make my body do something that it is simply unable to do. The only “cure” for my “disease” is to be a person I am not and cannot be.
What if we, as a society, took some of the money that we’re spending on fighting the existence of fat people and instead invested it into clean energy?
As Kath points out, the amount of money spent on weight loss is ridiculous, and could go to so many better uses:
The weight loss industry alone was worth almost $800 million just here in Australia. Can you imagine what could be done for $800 million per year in this country? We could all have completely free health care for every Australian, more than we would ever need. People with disabilities could have all of the equipment that they would ever need, and any support and care they would ever need. No human being in Australia would go without food, water or housing. Education would be free for our whole lives, from kindergarten through any university studies that we would care to take on. Medical research into every known actual disease, from the common cold to cancer could be funded fully.
Here in the US, the weight cycling industry is worth $66 billion. 66 fucking billion.
Can you even imagine if we invested some of that in clean, renewable sources of energy so that thousands of people wouldn’t die prematurely from coal pollution every year, let alone from the effects of climate change?
It makes me incredibly angry that people are dying from both fatphobia and environmental destruction.
I wish so badly that we could kill those two birds with one stone instead of continuing to pour money into a industry that hurts, maims, and kills.
I wish so badly that we lived in a different world.
(edited for a bit more, uh, family-friendly picture…)
Ugh, ugh, ugh. If you haven’t heard already, the American Medical Association has “recognized” “obesity” as a disease.
I don’t even know how to express how angry this makes me.
But I’m glad to see the fat community responding fiercely and forcefully. I’m glad we are not silent. I’m glad we are resisting together. I’m so grateful I have this community.
A few must-see responses:
1.) Marilyn Wann’s petition to the AMA to stop defining “obesity” as a disease. Sign it and pass it along!
2.) Fat Heffalump: I am NOT a disease.
But being at one end of the statistics doesn’t reflect who I am. It doesn’t reflect how I feel. It doesn’t reflect what my body can do. It doesn’t reflect my value as a human being. The AMA doesn’t know what it feels like to exist in my fat body. They don’t know what it’s like in my body to wake up after a deep sleep, stretch and feel that stretch go down to my toes and up to my outstretched fingertips. They don’t know what it feels like in my body to go swimming, feeling the cool water soft and cocooning around my body, and the wonderful sleepy feeling I get afterwards.
3.) The #IAmNotADisease hashtag on Twitter. There’s so much good stuff going on there. Here’s a sampling, including a few of my own tweets:
I was poking through the new books section in the library today when I noticed that Dara-Lynn Weiss, of the infamous Vogue article about putting her 7-year old daughter on a diet, now has a book about the same thing.
ARGHHH. So much argghh.
I feel so, so, so bad for that girl. I can’t even imagine how awful it must be to have your parent turn your weight into a public spectacle. To be forced onto diets from a young age, and then be made the subject of a book about how your body is so terrible and must be fixed. It’s so wrong, on so many levels.
I wish I could reach out to Weiss’ daughter and tell her that her body is perfect just the way it is. I wish I could tell her that her mom’s prejudice, not her body, is the problem.
I wish I could protect her.
I wish so, so badly that I could protect her.
From her mother, from other kids who undoubtedly bully her (how could you not get bullied, if your mom writes a book about how fat you are?), from the prying eyes of readers across the country.
All I have are wishes. Wishes and rage.