This blog is on hiatus until February. I’ve got important stuff happening offline for a few months. Till then!
This blog is on hiatus until February. I’ve got important stuff happening offline for a few months. Till then!
There’s also been (at least in the States) a restriction of what food stamps can buy based on whether it’s ‘healthy’ or not — which, of course, turns poor folks who rely on food stamps into lab rats for nutrition experimentation. -ATL
Not true. Food stamps in the US (the SNAP program) have no restrictions on unhealthy food:
- Soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, and ice cream are food items and are therefore eligible items
- Seafood, steak, and bakery cakes are also food items and are therefore eligible items
Since the current definition of food is a specific part of the Act, any change to this definition would require action by a member of Congress. Several times in the history of SNAP, Congress had considered placing limits on the types of food that could be purchased with program benefits. However, they concluded that designating foods as luxury or non-nutritious would be administratively costly and burdensome.
And even if SNAP did have restrictions on junk food, it’s a wee bit melodramatic to say that would make poor people “lab rats for nutrition experimentation”.
Does ArteToLife really think cutting back on soft drinks and candy leads to malnutrition? Really?
Just spent a while going through your tumblr. I'm left with one recurring thought: why is there so much that is wrong with this person? So...what is going on with you? Some stuff you write makes it clear you're smart, but then you fuck it all over by being a fatphobic asshole. Discuss.
Okay, anon. Let’s go.
What, exactly, is your question here? Since you can’t be straight with me, you’re going to have to put up with a long, meandering answer that answers what I damn well want it to.
You, like a lot of the anons and FAs that send me asks or reply to my reblogs, seem to be under the impression that my arguing with them is equivalent to an attack on their very person-hood. I have had a girl tell me I am “fat-shaming scum” for saying that certain surgeries are more difficult and more dangerous to perform on the obese (when she wanted to know why she was excluded from certain voluntary procedures due to BMI). These were verifiably factual statements, but it was as if I had called her a worthless waste of space and spit in her face - the rage and vitriol she responded with was shockingly out of proportion to what I had said. I see that a lot. And what amazes and terrifies me the most about that is that, a year ago, I might have agreed with you and the people who react similarly. If I had continued to think what I did at the time; and if the points I make in this blog were being made by someone else instead. That terrifies me because it’s completely insane.
To me, this really speaks to the crazy fanaticism of some internet “social justice” circles. And to be honest, I hate being put in the position where I feel obligated to say that, because I think a lot of social activism gets dumped on enough as it is, by people who really are invested in the status quo. I have been a “Social Justice Warrior” (as detractors call it) since I was 17, and it is still something I care about. I do still think that racism (for example) is an institutionalized system, and not individual jerk people. I do think it’s reasonable to ask ourselves how we contribute to these systems, and how we systematically benefit.
But. But. There’s a lot of internet SJ that I have had to start to walk away from in recent years. The “safe spaces,” the “don’t tone police me, asshole,” the stupid banalities (“intentions don’t matter!”), and on and on. I once read this book, which ultimately makes the argument that the usage of a racial slur is highly nuanced and heavily dependent on context and intentions - yes, even when white people use it - and I politely dismissed the entire book on the basis of that supposed truism I had been taught was the “right” opinion. I wish I could go back in time and kick myself. Not because I ever have intentions of using a racial slur; but because it’s a thoughtless argument. Intentions are the difference between murder and a hate crime anon, and the unthinking game of Telephone that internet “SJWs” like to play with whatever they collectively decide is the “right” opinion to have this week doesn’t help their case(s) in the long run.
People in social justice circles love to pride themselves on being willing to do the “hard work” of examining their own prejudices (and doing such a terrible job of it, oh ho #humblebrag). Thing is, if you do it for long enough, “check[ing your] privilege” becomes almost automatic. Apologizing is automatic, outrage is automatic, over-analyzing everything to death is automatic, and smothering and ignoring any little niggling voice asking if this perspective you are hearing is verifiable, demonstrable or correct is most certainly automatic. Science is biased…don’t tell the underprivileged what they feel…and lived experience trumps all!
Which brings me to Fat Acceptance.
It was automatic for me, when I first heard of FA, to fall into the familiar pattern of acknowledging all my failures to treat everyone exactly equally. It had basically all the right elements to appeal to someone who had been a part of SJ circles for years. It has all the human tragedy and built-in outrage that anger addicts crave, doesn’t it? Fat Acceptance is appropriately counter-culture if you don’t trust authority, isn’t it? And god forbid you fail to be an “ally” to all the right groups of people, right? That makes you a bad person, doesn’t it, anon?
And FA really has a soothing narrative, when you think about it. Look at how many social problems it actually solves by arguing they are not problems at all: worried about health care costs? Never fear, they shouldn’t be higher in the first place because being fat is not unhealthy! Insurance companies are just fatphobic, right, and all of that will be solved when people just acknowledge how biased they’re being, yeah? Worried about more and more children becoming obese? Never fear, that’s not a social concern, they’re going to be just fine. Besides, there aren’t REALLY more obese people, right anon? We’ve always needed outsized coffins and super-sized MRI machines, right? They just haven’t existed in necessary numbers before because fatphobia and reasons. This is a LIE, and entirely explained by people changing how obesity was defined in 1998 (did you see a huge jump at 1998? yeah, me neither), and people getting older! (When that whole map goes red? Smoking cessation, guys. Smoking cessation.)
And I have fat family members and friends, and I have watched the pain and angst it has caused them over the years to see themselves as ugly failures for their bodies. My family members in particular (most of my family is fat anon, especially on my mother’s side) - much of my earliest memories revolve around playing at their feet while they endlessly discussed the diets they had tried, were on, were going to try, and how gross and unlovable they felt. It was a constant backdrop to my childhood; and in retrospect, the dysfunction of it pains me. So yes. I had my own reasons initially for wanting to believe Fat Acceptance was right.
But I had suppressed, uneasy doubts. Any sane person would. (Virtually all FAs do, unless they’re just really that far gone; lest you think I’m suggesting they’re actually all nuts, not just lying to themselves.) After all - I’ve spent most of my life in close quarters with fat people. Some of them very fat. I’ve watched what fatness did to their bodies - and it wasn’t pretty. Struggling to breathe. Pained to walk. Fighting to get up from a chair. Unmotivated to get involved in the lives of their children when it involved moving too much.
And this year, many of them have taken a turn for the worse. Tough surgeries followed by a seemingly unnecessary number of complications for their age. Gallstones from the greasy food they can’t stop eating. Terrifying 2am calls for the ambulance while a loved one screams in pain on the floor. Constantly, constantly at the doctor’s, the naturopath’s, the nutritionist’s, the spa. Anything just to hurt less.
I come from a people of great longevity. People who, in previous generations, have lived into their hundreds with some of their eyesight, their hearing and most of their minds intact. And yet, late at night when I sit outside my mother’s bedroom door and listen to her gasping for breath in her sleep, I am certain I will lose her before I exit middle age. She’s not in good shape these days, and I only just turned 29. She’s 49.
I can’t ignore it, anon.
The spokespeople of Fat Acceptance keep claiming it’s not a fight about health. They say that we should be able to acknowledge each other’s humanity without bringing health into it as a measure of who deserves to be seen as a person and who doesn’t. We agree on that much. But they are wrong to say it’s not about health, and they are wrong to say arguments about health are disingenuous. You know what I think is bullshit? To be thin and call yourself an “ally” to this movement - being willing to sacrifice public health to feel like you’re a nice person who treats everyone exactly the same is selfish. You don’t even have the excuse of trying to protect your own ego or mental health.
So let me turn this around on you, anon. What’s wrong with you? Seriously, ask yourself: fat or thin, what do you get out of Fat Acceptance? Could you get that same thing somewhere else? And is it worth the cost?
People like the Fat Nutritionist and other FA bloggers build their reputations on telling people what they want to hear, back themselves up circularly with other blogs, and misrepresenting obesity research they don’t even appear to read.
Why are you okay with prominent FA bloggers profiting in popularity (and sometimes, actual money) off misleading people who don’t understand how to tell what a good source is and (very humanly) want to be told they’re okay?
What about people like Ragen Chastain, a woman who fabricates stories about her “fatphobic” doctors (since when does your doctor analyze your blood right there in the office, and how often does anemia - even on a low-calorie diet - kill you?) and her own athleticism (look at her claiming to work out 3 hours a day there - that’s more than some Olympic athletes)? Or Tumblr’s own “ArteToLife” who has claimed to have a Master’s from Harvard while actually only possessing a BA from Boston U? These people are grandiose at best, and have untreated personality disorders at worst.
Why are you okay with the movement being led by people who extravagantly lie to their admirers about their accomplishments AND their perceived enemies? Are you okay with people fostering a sense of constant victimization in each other?
Fat activists love to throw around that bullshit “95% of diets fail,” statistic. But even if we were to take that at face value and agree that eating less has such a low rate of success in bringing people’s weight down…surely that is only a stronger argument for preventing obesity in the first place? Surely our focus should be strongly on prevention, if turning things around in adulthood is so impossible? And yet, FA routinely opposes movements to improve public nutrition - especially for children, our most vulnerable group. They slam the First Lady and Jamie Oliver for being “fatphobic.”
Why are you okay with the fact that this movement doesn’t care for the genuine future well-being of our children beyond protecting them from bullies?
One of the those tiny, niggling doubts I used to have about Fat Acceptance revolved around pets, anon. I’ve seen terribly overweight pets, and they are not healthy or happy animals, ever. But I reasoned to myself at the time that perhaps the science behind animal bodies is less complex than it is in humans, and surely no fat activists would really be okay with fat, overfed animals… I was wrong, of course.
Why are you okay with people in this movement advocating for the abuse of animals?
So anon. Thoughts?
I mean, I’m honestly kind of insulted that you claim to have spent a decent amount of time on my blog, yet you have so little of substance to say. We can fix that though, right? What common points of interest do we have? Why does a “smart” person disagreeing with you on this issue have to be so threatening?
There’s a bag of unmarked tea bags in my pantry. I was feeling adventurous and I steeped one, and the tea is delicious.
Now I’m a wee bit sad because I have no earthly idea what kind of tea this is to buy more.
No seriously. There’s no anon option. So where are the anons all coming from?
Whatever you put in the name field will be published. The email field will not be published.
The beautiful thing about elliptical machines is that you can chase after thin privilege and catch up on Tumblr at the same time.
A while back I bought some tahini, and I went looking for something besides hummus to use it in. I found this recipe for salad dressing, and since then I’ve eaten a prodigious amount of spinach and lettuce.
I just ran out of dressing, again. I may have to start making double batches.
Thin privilege isn’t being told in 3rd grade that the reason you’re more developed than other girls your age is because you’re fat.
A review of more than 100 studies found overweight girls tend to reach puberty earlier than their peers do.
Biology is not thin privilege. Starting puberty on time is not a “benefit unduly awarded to thinner people”. Society doesn’t cause it. Activism will not change it.
Stop being ridiculous, TiTP.
(The review paper is here, but it costs $30 to see it.)
I spent Saturday morning cleaning the kitchen, folding laundry, and researching TiTP. I lead a thrilling life.
Researching TiTP is shooting fish in a barrel. Nearly every post I see goes into my notes. Oh look, some hypocrisy. A thin privilege that’s not even a privilege. An incitement to violence. More hypocrisy. Medical misinformation. A grownup whining their parents won’t give them money. Hypocrisy again. Can they even go three posts in a row without being hypocrites?
Our electricity kinda got cut off today.
Because it’s winter, we can still use any appliance below 240 volts, so the microwave will work. But that means no stove.
What the hell do I eat for dinner? Microwavable stuff is so expensive, practically everything we have left needs to be cooked on or in the stove!
I think I have a can of tuna for a cold meal, but I don’t know if we have bread.
Do you have potatoes? You can prick one with a fork, nuke it around five minutes, wrap it in aluminum foil, and let it sit for five more minutes.
Also, I hope your electricity gets sorted out.