Big Fat Facts Big Fat Index

Fat and Immobility

There've been a few stories in the news lately of fat people who are immobile - one 1,072 pound man was getting weight loss surgery, and the other was allegedly grafted to her couch. These articles provided nice fodder for those who dislike or can not comprehend fat acceptance, but at least one group of folks (hi, fark!) wondered if BFB would cover these articles.

My first inclination is to say no, but here's why: it's my opinion that these stories do nothing more than elicit a response of pity, fear, hatred, and disdain. They almost always treat these people as objects. Objects to feel sad about. Objects to fear. The presentation and interpretation of these peoples' lives is quite questionable. To my eyes, these are akin to the circus featuring a fat lady.

So that brings me to the question of the point of newscasts covering these things. I wonder if it's all a reminder: we may be fat, but we're not that fat. And thank God for that! Because then we'd need holes cut out of our walls to get us out, and so forth. I don't want this to be misinterpreted to mean that I feel these people are healthy. If you're immobile, that's a part of your health that is gone right there. But the greater point I'm making is that these people are extremes.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel there's a place for these stories at BFB, and why or why not?

NAAFA Revises Rate Structure | Entry #800

paul September 22nd, 2004 | Link | Side idea: an online venue
Side idea: an online venue where people can tell their stories, their journeys towards acceptance.
Micki September 22nd, 2004 | Link | No, please don't include
No, please don't include these stories. They have little to do with all but the tiniest minority of fat people, and are used against us by those who are already disgusted by anyone who isn't thin. I would like more articles with practical information, such as where to buy clothes, fighting discrimination, self-acceptance, etc.
Carolyn September 22nd, 2004 | Link | Some random thoughts: We
Some random thoughts: We should talk about this issue, at least this one time. There are a few people who are this size and as such, they are part of our community of people who are fat. Is size acceptance to only include those who are fat by social standards but under, say, 600 pounds? I agree that the news reports are not covering them as human interest stories but as oddities. But WE shouldn't treat them that way. Maybe we could explore ways for a very large person to increase their mobility? It seems to me that these are the very people who need fat acceptance the most. The rest of us know how hard it is to get medical care, get and hold a good job in spite of our size. How much worse is it for someone at 600 or 700 (etc) pounds? Right now - it seems like we who are relatively small (compared to 600 lbs) are just "passing". That's not what we really want. But then, what do we want for a very large person? Or what do THEY want?
Micki September 22nd, 2004 | Link | This seems to be a taboo
This seems to be a taboo subject here, but is there a point where weight can endanger one's health? I'm not sure where that point is, and it may be different for different people, but if someone cannot move, there is definitely a problem.
paul September 22nd, 2004 | Link | Nice points, Carolyn. I also
Nice points, Carolyn. I also think the articles out there do speak of how difficult it is for immobile people to get proper care, but it's often done with a bit of a wink (ie, using a certain industrial scale to weigh the person, et al.)
april September 22nd, 2004 | Link | I wonder how many people
I wonder how many people there are in the US who weigh over whatever point (I guess 600 lbs seems to be a prevailing thought)? And do they all have mobility problems? The question of need for the size acceptance movement to delve deeply into the issue of weight so great it legitimately impedes movement depends on whether it's a common enough problem that there's a wide group of people who need a place to go to talk about it. I do think we ought to speak up (as I've seen people do) when people are objectified and mocked for their size; the media portrayals of the very large as freakish are certainly cause for complaint.
EileenHawk September 23rd, 2004 | Link | What strikes me is that yes,
What strikes me is that yes, once you get over about 350-400 lbs, you are going to have mobility problems. I weigh 220, and I have mobility problems due to osteoarthritis in my knees. Osteoarthritis runs in my family, and I have always had jobs that were hard on my knees, on my feet all the time, etc. However, I am trying to get better. I may never walk without a walker again, but neither do I think losing twenty pounds is going to make a big difference in my knees as I have no joint space left. I have started doing yoga, probably not as much as I should, but at least I am trying. The other thing is sometimes I have felt left out on this board because although it is true that my blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol are all normal, and a heart catheterization five years ago was also normal, I do have other problems. As to the lady that was welded to the couch (she actually had a huge bedsore from immobility and lying in her own feces and urine), what comes to mind is how depressed must she have been to lie down and not get up even to use the bathroom. And what kind of a husband lets her lie like that for years? I think we need to reach out to these people, too, so that we never have to read another news report like that. We know how isolating fat is, why would we isolate the people who don't fit the portrait of the fit, fat, happy person this website caters too?
GirlyGirl September 23rd, 2004 | Link | I think it's important to
I think it's important to remember that these people are PEOPLE, not just a statistic or something to laugh or gasp at during the nightly news. It'd be unfair of us to say "Society should accept fat people.. but just the normal fat people." I mean, what if a homebound person came across this site and didn't see him/herself included in the community? Imagine being aliented by OTHER fat people. I'm not saying I think it's a healthy or happy way to live but people do live that way and I can't think of anywhere for them to go online to find help and support. It seems like everyone wants to make a mockery of them, something to act as a warning "If you keep eating like that, you're going to be stuck on that couch until the day you die." I know what it's like to feel like I'm alone with my struggles but I can't imagine feeling like I have NO ONE to turn to other than Jerry Springer. Anyway, what I'm saying is that we can acknowledge that it's unhealthy but I don't think we should ignore them. It's just not very nice and I'm all about empathy.
GirlyGirl September 23rd, 2004 | Link | Oh, I also wanted to say
Oh, I also wanted to say that I don't think this site is geared specifically for the fat and healthy individual. I can tell you that I'm completely out of shape (more due to laziness than my size, really) but I've never felt weird about coming here. That'd be like if the gay community said "Gay people should be treated like other people.. but only the healthy ones!" I don't think it's a matter of actual size, health, etc. I think it's about the fact that fat people are people.
Carolyn September 23rd, 2004 | Link | Micki said "But is there a
Micki said "But is there a point where weight can endanger one's health?" and GirlyGirl said "..that we can acknowledge that it's unhealthy.." I know I'm taking those out of context, but I'd like to comment. Both posts seem too close to the diet mantra that fat is unhealthy so we must go on a diet to lose weight. A very fat person wouldn't have any greater success at losing weight and keeping it off than us "medium-sized" fat people. That's one of the main points of size acceptance. People who are extraordiarily tall have some severe health consequences to their health because of their height. The same thing is true of very fat people. Because they are so far from the "norm", there is some consequences to their health. It seems to me that very fat people would benefit in the same way very tall people benefit. Medicine should treat the "things" they can and do their best to make them more comfortable on the rest. It's like a pipe-dream or a smoke-screen that their weight can be treated. And yes, I think we should reach out to every fat person who is left on the fringes of society. We should be writing letter and protesting when news outlets treat a fat person like a freak. They shouuld be called on their "snickering" attitude.
2DayIs4Me September 23rd, 2004 | Link | I don't think "we" should
I don't think "we" should talk about "them." I think "we" should talk about "us." To whatever extent "we" feel like a person's challenges are our challenges, I think we should talk about it. I think if some of "us" feel that our mobility is impaired and we want to discuss it, we should. But I don't think "we" should talk about some "them" (who are different from "us" in some significant respect). Perhaps there is a way to reach out to more people who are immobile, etc., assuming that there are probably more people in that position than are currently participating -- and BTW there are a lot of reasons for being "immobile" - spinal cord injuries, advanced ALS, amputees, polio survivors, various other conditions, illnesses and injuries ... and some of the people with those conditions will also be fat even if there's no question that something other than their size is responsible for their mobility problems... the internet actually gives a lot of "virtual mobility" to people who'd otherwise be quite isolated by their lack physical mobility, and perhaps more outreach to those who are immobile or isolated (i.e., unable to leave home, living in remote areas, in prison or other isolating institutions, etc.) would be a good thing. Then perhaps "we" would have more experiences to share collectively amongst us, without having to talk about some (absent) "them." But I don't feel particularly comfortable discussing serious issues facing people "we" can at best characterize as "them" because none of "us" are among the "them" that "we" are talking about. Even people who are "immobile" (for whatever reason(s)) should be able to speak for themselves, and be listened to and heard by those who are differently situated. But "we" shouldn't be talking about "them" without "their" participation in the discussion. MHO.
wicked September 23rd, 2004 | Link | 2DayIsForMe -on the mark as
2DayIsForMe -on the mark as always! You go girl... I mean these are those of us who probably have faced more discrimination and hatred and have had greater difficulty adjusting that anyone else. I must say I think that "where to get clothes" should definitely get secondary importance to the challenges faced by those us threatened by immobility.. Ultimately I have to say "finding cute clothes in my size".. I mean I am not calling anyone shallow or anything here, but it just seems to me that while it is nice to have links provided to plus size shopping tc. , as Kell would have pointed out before she stopped positng here, whent there are real issues to be dealt with such as decent health care, the issue of respect, the issue of immobility, saying we should stick to clothes, shopping etc. seems a bit frivolous..
paul September 23rd, 2004 | Link | I want to stress that I'm
I want to stress that I'm not talking about inclusion here as a part of the community. BFB is open to all people of all shapes and sizes. My question was, simply, is it worth blogging the stories that in my opinion tend to sensationalize and dehumanize?
paul September 23rd, 2004 | Link | And a further question based
And a further question based on wicked and 2Day's comments: what needs to be done to "make" those problems realistic? Looking back on my original post, though, I can see how my wording can be mistaken for an exclusion - and some of my sarcasm could be lost.
wicked September 23rd, 2004 | Link | I have two thoughts I have
I have two thoughts I have had on this kind of thing for a wile: 1) whne I first saw the 1072 pound guy's story, one thing that struck me was how very humiliating it must have been for him having to be weighed on a livestock scale(all this also adds to the media's gloating appreciation of the "freak" aspect of the story) and all the physical difficulties due to findign nothing that fits-a hosp. bed etc. Ultimately it looked like these people were helped out wherever they needed help by a group called "The League for Human Dignity". Who as far as I can tell have nothing to do with any fat acceptance movement. I know that Fat acceptance organizations have limited resources and money but I think that seeing to it that those of us in this mans position are treated with dignity as far as the bare necessities of transportation, housing etc. go is an area that could use some work. 2)The other thing is a common policy to be agreed upon regarding feeders and "induced" immobility. While there are some of us like this man Patrick Dueuel (who unfortunately though seems to be on his way to Gastric Bypass right now), there are also some women who are artificially brought to this state by feeders. Feederism is a dicey subject in fat acceptance circles. Sometimes people have roundly told me off on message boards for daring to say that I oppose feederism. I know that BFB's policy on this is against rather than for feederism but I think we need to think a bit more on this issue and lay out why we think its wrong. I have had people say "men find your fat attractive and this is a problem? whats wrong with you?". Now that isn't it at all-it isn't the finding fat attractive that I have a problem with. Its this forced feeding, which reminds me of forced starvation, I have a problem with-we need to define, distinguish and separate the issues.
stef September 23rd, 2004 | Link | I appreciate critical
I appreciate critical discussion of how stories of extreme situations involving fat people are used to fuel discrimination against garden variety fat people. And about how the stories are, as you say, "sensationalized and dehumanizing."
Liz September 23rd, 2004 | Link | I don't watch television and
I don't watch television and I must read the "wrong" newspapers because I never saw either of these stories. I can think of no reason I would want to read stories that treat any person -- fat or thin -- as an object or a sideshow in the circus. Therefore, if that is what these stories are doing, I don't think you should post them. However, if some newspaper or other source were to do a serious article on the mobility problems that confront some fat people, and use a story like this as an example in a respectful way, I think you should consider posting it. (Perhaps I am dreaming to think this could happen, but theoretically it is possible.) It's true that there are many different conditions that can lead to mobility problems -- my mother-in-law is not fat but has mobility problems because of a stroke -- but fat can lead to mobility problems, even in the absence of other problems and it can make mobility problems associated with other conditions worse. I know because I have been there -- partially immobilized because of my weight. Therefore, I think the issue of fat and mobility, if treated in a respectful, informative way, is an appropriate topic for a fat acceptance site.
Micki September 23rd, 2004 | Link | Some think that clothing and
Some think that clothing and appearance are frivolous topics. I disagree. How a person looks can make a big difference as far as self-esteem and income. I also suggested topics such as fighting discrimination and self-acceptance. Emphasizing topics that most of us can relate to and find useful seems more productive than discussing stories such as these, which the media puts forth mainly to ridicule fat people. I agree that very large people can speak for themselves. Maybe someone in this situation can give his or her viewpoint on this subject
sjbrodwall September 23rd, 2004 | Link | Many people in the fat
Many people in the fat acceptance community seem to operate under the assumption that fat is a more or less boolean variable--either you're fat or you're not. Fat affects people to greatly varying degrees, and this tendency to see the issue in black and white causes a lot of strife in our community because it obfuscates our differences. The issue of whether or not 600+ pound people are relevant to this site is a perfect example. Most midsize people have a lot more in common with thin people than they do with people who are 600 pounds plus. Likewise, just because a person weighs 200 pounds does not necessarily mean that she is more mobile than someone who weighs 400. Fat affects us all in different ways, and we all have different pet issues, which do not necessarily vary dependent on size. The fact that someone accepts the label "fat" for herself doesn't safely allow anyone to make any assumptions about her at all. Not the way that the label "politically progressive", for example, allows others to safely make some assumptions about the bearer. Even the label "gay" allows others to make at least one assumption about the bearer; the label "fat" doesn't allow me to assume anything about the bearer at all! Not that she's over a certain weight, not that she would look a certain way to me, nothing about her health...nothing at all. There is no guarantee that I'm going to have even one thing in common with another person identifying herself as fat. I'm not making these statements to be divisive. I'm more interested in highlighting the diversity of our group. Attempting to speak for the fat community is a major balancing act. I think Paul does a better job than most. Thank you, Paul! Regarding whether or not I think these stories are appropriate: It doesn't make sense to me to cover these kinds of stories directly as news, but it makes perfect sense to cover the reaction of the public and the media. Whether or not we have even one thing in common with a 1000+ pound person, the fact that the public thinks that we do says something about how fat is perceived societally. And that is something that's right up BFB's alley.
ajoyce September 23rd, 2004 | Link | I like to talk about cute
I like to talk about cute clothes. Cute clothes do a lot to make me feel good about myself as a woman, which in turn makes me more likely to go out there and Fight the Good Fight. If that makes me a shallow moron, so be it. So here's what this shallow moron has to say about the whole "size acceptance and the 800 pound man" issue: Whether or not a person's mobility problems are "caused" by his/her weight is irrelevant if there's no safe and effective way for them to become "acceptably" thin. It's a little like asking whether homelessness is "worse for you" than owning a San Francisco Victorian; if the homeless person has no shot at buying that house in the first place, what difference does it make? We do have to consider this issue, I think, if only because it's an ad hominem response for so many people to the SA movement: "But what about the people who are so fat they can't move? Are you saying they shouldn't lose weight either?" My answer: "No, I'm saying there's no proven safe and effective way for them to do it. You might as well ask someone to go out and buy a winning lottery ticket. The fatter someone is, the lesser their chance of ever approaching a socially acceptable form, much less maintaining it permanently. Anyone who claims otherwise is smoking your ovaries."
siamesemeg September 23rd, 2004 | Link | Great posts ajoyce and
Great posts ajoyce and sjbrodwall. I have nothing to add to this "Regarding whether or not I think these stories are appropriate: It doesn't make sense to me to cover these kinds of stories directly as news, but it makes perfect sense to cover the reaction of the public and the media. Whether or not we have even one thing in common with a 1000+ pound person, the fact that the public thinks that we do says something about how fat is perceived societally. And that is something that's right up BFB's alley." Exactly.
wicked September 23rd, 2004 | Link | I don't think that caring
I don't think that caring about cute clothes or whatever makes you shallow. But I certainly don't think it would help any movement that wants to be taken seriously(and I do think that in fat acceptance we are still struggling even to get accepted as a legitimate movement right now)to prioritize important things like healthcare or discrimination over something like cute clothes. I can't help noticing often times that any post reg. clothes here usually has about thirty comments and causes intense discussion, while the post a few days ago about drugmakers pushing for faster FDA approval didn't spur of any discussion. I sometimes wonder if we as a movement might be losing sight of the more important goals. I don't think when black people were fighting for their rights the first or second thing on their manifesto would have been "finding clothes that flatter black women." If there is place that sells good plus size clothing-good!Lets support them, buy there stuff etc., but if I am spending time discussing topics on the web about what challenges we are facing, I would rather see immobility or decent healthcare being addressed seriously than restrict BFB postings to where I can get good plus sized thongs. I think this same topic has been rehashed elsewhere on this same blog ad nauseum before so this is probably redundant. Anyway I am not attacking anyone or calling anyone a shallow moron. I do however dislike seeing immobility dismissed as its only relevant to a few of us if the argument is that it takes away time that can be devoted to discussing clothes. I realize that that might not be what was meant-and I apologize if I got it wrong :). Communication over the web always has its problems. Peace.
2DayIs4Me September 23rd, 2004 | Link | Paul, In response to your
Paul, In response to your question: I think the issue is not one of size or immobility, but one of journalism. I enjoy having my attention called to worthy news items. I don't enjoy having my attention called to tabloid journalism. Since I don't care for tabloid journalism, don't read it, and don't have any respect for it in the first place, I really don't much care what is being said in that genre. I guess my def of tabloid journalism is not just that which is published by generally recognized tabloid organizations, but also that which is published by anybody, including so-called mainstream news organizations, when it is in the same style or genre as that published by tabloids (and we definitely are seeing more of that all the time). In other words, sensationalism, poor reporting, lack of in-depth investigative reporting, lack of fact checking, obvious pandering to voyueristic interests or monied interests, treating ANY individual like a freak rather than a human deserving of dignity in order to shock and entertain, lack of appropriate respect for the privacy of individuals who are seriously injured, in shock or grief, or dead ... etc., etc., etc. --- THOSE are things I consider Tabloid Journalism, and I don't read it, and I don't particularly want to read ABOUT it either. I'd be just as happy if you passed by those kinds of stories and stuck to higher quality journalism (both pro and con) on which we could focus our thoughts and responses.
Stefanie September 23rd, 2004 | Link | I'm not sure what this
I'm not sure what this subject has to do with feederism, first of all. There are lots of ways to become immobile (many people, thin & fat, are just one accident away from it), and I'm not convinced that women with little or no genetic propensity to fat can be brought to 600 lbs or whatever "artificially." In any case, I think these stories are important because they point out how marginalized and isolated people can become at higher weights. This is something that should concern us - not because "fat is evil" but because we live in a very unforgiving society: unforgiving of difference; of medical conditions; of poverty; of mental illness.
Cass September 24th, 2004 | Link | If I were the person in
If I were the person in either of those stories, I would not want a bunch of people (well meaning or not) discussing me in some blog somewhere. What I would like is an open and nonjudgemental environment where I could post and have people with similar issues discuss with me (rather than about me) concerns and ideas. This is just my opinion, but I think when news articles like those come up, we could take the opportunity to reach out to those in need, to let them know that there is a place for them, and to offer a helping hand. By looking and discussing the actual issue (i.e. ways someone who is very sedentary or immobile, regardless of the numbers on the scale, can safely increase their activity) instead of discussing the person and their private circumstance, we can be part of the solution. I guess I am trying to say we don't need to avoid the issue or the people involved--we need to respond in a manner that provides respect and dignity.
Fatshadow September 24th, 2004 | Link | I feel so late to this
I feel so late to this discussion that I almost hesitate to jump in. But Iíd love it if these kinds of issues were discussed here. Any person who is the subject of news (cough) reporting or public humiliation because of their weight is my concern. Is there a point where being fat can endanger oneís health. Probably. Maybe the only thing more dangerous would be what people do to try and lose weight. I am suspicious of the idea that a person eats and lolls their way into 700 + pounds. I think there are other things going on. Some fundamental genetic difference, or some chemical imbalance, or something. And I donít feel fat negative saying that. I think a person of any size ought to be treated with dignity, employed for jobs they are able to do, able to access heath care that sees their body as an individual health story and not just another person who canít control their appetite, etc. But hereís something I always think about when I hear about a loss of mobility as a loss of quality of life, or loss of health. There are people who have lost mobility for reasons other than weight. I donít want their lives to be read as "less than." Obviously a loss of mobility can be troubling and live changing and that might not be good. But I think talking about it those terms is not useful and it is somewhat chauvinistic. Iím not sure I could ever be that size. And Iím really very fat. Maybe 400 pounds. Iím not sure. So what is it about some fat people that they can continue to gain into four digits? Iíd like to know. Not because itís good or bad, or right or wrong, or something to be avoided. But because Iím fat. And Iíd like fatness to be thought about by medicine and science and culture in a complex manner and not in the one size fits all broad stroke way itís talked about now. The conversation always seems to move toward a notion of pathology. Maybe a person is allergic to wheat. They stop eating wheat and they lose weight. Maybe they are still fat but they are mobile. What does the individual want? What is their story? Do they feel like they have the support they need for kind of life they want to live? Is the allergy to wheat a pathology? I think itís an allergy. You can deal with an allergy. Iím not saying itís easy but you can deal with a specific allergy. Is speculating on things like this diet talk? I donít think so. But, some might. Anyway. I really do wish we could talk about these things. Because these are the issues of our community.
EileenHawk September 24th, 2004 | Link | One reason I would like to
One reason I would like to see these stories posted is so that we can reach out to these people. And protest some of the things going on. For instance, the media has dropped the story of the woman welded to the couch. I want to know if her husband was cited for the obvious abuse she suffered. If lying in your own feces and urine is not abuse, many state nursing home surveyors are sure making an issue of this "non-abuse." Should this woman be forgotten because she was fat, and it is seen as "her own fault" she was living that way? Where was the community and Adult Protective Services? I am outraged by all these stories. Of course, on the other hand, reporting them to agencies would probably lead to WLS or some other torture. But it might be better than lying in your own feces and urine. About mobility, ome of the problems with mobility impairment is that it has been "medicalized," like obesity and other things. In order for Medicare or Medicaid to pay for a scooter or power chair, nowadays, you have to not be able to take a single step. Well, I can walk about 3 blocks before I am in pain. This keeps me from doing a lot of things I might otherwise do. Fortunately for me, my father, who also has had bad knees, bought me a scooter, so I can get out and do those things. There was a recent story about a town in Kentucky where there are no sidewalks, and there are so many scooters and power chairs they are a danger to the cars and themselves. And it says "people who haven't been to church or out shopping for ages are now going." We need these things for social reasons as much or more than medical reasons, no matter why we are immobile, but god forbid the "compassionate conservatives" would pay for it, even if it might mean that people were less depressed, and they had to spend less money on anti-depressants. No, I'm not an angry fat person, why would you say that?
EmilyH September 24th, 2004 | Link | I think posting those types
I think posting those types of stories would only attract trolls. Even with the current system, they could potentially fake their way in. Sure, there's a small chance one of them might be persuaded to change their mind, but a lot of feelings would get hurt in the process. Maybe starting an open-ended discussion forum for the topic would work better? Just a thought.
lynne September 24th, 2004 | Link | I think stories like this
I think stories like this and this wonderful discussion here can help remind people (ok, and by people, I mean *me*) to examine our own feelings about people who are that fat. It helps to remember that people who are more fat than I am don't really have any more control over their weight than I do. I am reminded of a somewhat obnoxious and not very fat friendly "experiment" I once read on (it is no longer there). Basically, two thin people, one male and one female competed to see which one of them could gain the most weight in 30 days. One thing struck me is how hard it was for them even though they were consuming *massive* amounts of calories. They gained weight but not as much as I would have thought. The other thing that struck me was how quickly and effortlessly they each lost the weight after they stopped force feeding themselves. It kind of gives at least an anecdote supporting the idea of weight set points.
feisty September 24th, 2004 | Link | Regarding the previous
Regarding the previous comments on the popularity of discussions on clothing vs more "serious" topics, it occurs to me that the reason more of us participate in those discussions isn't frivolousness, but simply that it's a topic that affects us more than the others. ALL of us deal with the "finding cute clothes that fit" issue on a daily basis, whereas I - and I'm guessing many others- deal with the other issues only infrequently if ever. The articles I come here to read aren't necessarily ones I have anything useful to contribute to a discussion about-- diet drugs, WLS, discrimination, etc. Sometimes there's something I want to say, but I'm pretty sure a lack of comments doesn't automatically mean lack of readers or interest. We all have an opinion about clothes because they're part of our everyday life. That's not the case with most of this other stuff.
Nineveh September 24th, 2004 | Link | I want to know the truth
I want to know the truth about life as a 1000+ pound person. I want to know the truth about the factors involved. I want those of us who are immobilised by our weight to be represented alongside those of us who aren't. Paul, shed some light on the topic as you have done on all other occasions. Please don't shy away. (Also, I believe there is importance in cute clothing. I consider clothing stores with an upper size of 14 to be a modern equivalent of "whites only" drinking fountains. Social exclusion is used as a potent weapon against the marginalised masses. Our small fights are just as important as our big ones.)
likebutta September 25th, 2004 | Link | I'm really appreciating the
I'm really appreciating the thoughtful discussion on this topic. Like some other posters, I too was distressed at first by some posts that seemed to be using "us" vs. "them" type language in talking about this. Did I miss something in the rules about a size limit for BFB I wondered? "Six hundred pounds--that's just too fat for us." (I'm being sarcastic--I knew there was no size limit in the rules.) But if size acceptance is not about the basic human dignity of the very largest of folks--regardless of "causes," "cures," "health," "unhealth," and all the rest--if people here don't want to talk about their lives and stories and how the media, the public, the health care system treats the fattest folks, if they are not part of the "us" of the size acceptance movement--well, the whole point of what we are doing was really starting to not make much sense to me anymore. But as I read further and got past my kneejerk reaction to that assumption about what size "we" were or were not, I see that in fact there's a lot of people here really working through some complex in a very thoughtful, productive way. So I really do still the see the point in what we are doing here. Whew.
EileenHawk September 25th, 2004 | Link | And there are those of us
And there are those of us who don't give a darn about cute clothes because we can't afford them anyway. And thrift shops rarely have anything plus sized. We larger people tend to get something that looks good on us, and wear it out. Not having to work, I will stick to my jeans, T-shirts, sweatshirts, and comfortable shoes. Ahhhhh!!!
ajoyce September 25th, 2004 | Link | Where I live (midway between
Where I live (midway between Seattle and Tacoma), I do lots of thrift shopping. The Goodwill store right around the corner always has nice stuff on the plus-size racks, and sometimes I'm disappointed when it's too big for me! I guess it depends on where you live.
beakergirl September 25th, 2004 | Link | From what I have read of it,
From what I have read of it, the story about the woman who could not get off her couch was as much a failure-to-care-for-the-mentally-ill issue as it was a fatness issue, but guess which one the media played up. As far as I could determine (for those who were wondering), she didn't currently have a husband. She was apparently severely depressed (which probably contributed to her lack of desire to get off the couch and that allowed the bedsores to develop). She did, however, have a COUSIN who was a social worker! And apparently the cousin didn't really bother to check in on her. I read it more as not a "wow, that's pathetic, how fat she is" situation (which is how some people who commented on it in the media did) but as a "What is up with people when they can't be bothered to check on someone who's hurting, to see how she's doing?"
ajoyce September 25th, 2004 | Link | I had a similar response,
I had a similar response, beakergirl. WTF was going on in people's heads? "Oh, she'd rather just sit there and eat anyway, that's all Those People care about"? And if you don't have health insurance, people just leave you for dead anyway.
MichMurphy September 26th, 2004 | Link | I feel like I am AS
I feel like I am AS interested in fighting for the rights and special needs of the -- for lack of better terminology -- supersized fat person as I am in those of the midsized fat person. Things may get different at different weights for people of different health profiles, but we're all fighting the same basic fight. And regardless if your weight can be proven to directly CAUSE your health problems, it has been determined that weight loss is not as easy (and in some cases, is downright impossible or too dangerous to be worth it) as the media would like you to believe. On a personal note, I have been hoping to direct my career in the direction of helping the fat people who ARE immobilized or disabled. I think there is a whole different type of healthcare there waiting to be developed. I want to have a hand in it. Fat people are people are people are fat people. That said, the media thing is, of course, designed to be a circus, especially when discussing supremely fat people. But that doesn't mean we at BFB can't deal with those articles and open a discussion with the same amount of care that we give to the discussion of smaller fat people. In fact, there are a lot of similarities in the media treatment of ALL fat people...elements of self-righteous pity, blame, and a certain amount of 'freakifying.' It has to be addressed for us all.
blissing September 26th, 2004 | Link | I don't necessarily want to
I don't necessarily want to read those types of sensationalistic articles, but I think discussing the situations, as well as our reactions to the media coverage are important things to do. And here we are doing it! How would we fat accepting people approach a person like this? I can't imagine saying "fat isn't bad" would be a good first line.
catrandom September 27th, 2004 | Link | "I can't imagine saying 'fat
"I can't imagine saying 'fat isn't bad' would be a good first line." Well, why not? The difficulty all fat people face, and people at the extreme end of the spectrum more than the rest of us, is that fatness is, in this culture, understood as definitive. The idiom "I am fat" is to be taken very literally these days. We consider ourselves fat among many other things; to just about everybody else, fat is who are are. Saying to supersized people -- especially those who have recently been treated as freaks -- that who they are in the eyes of the world isn't bad seems like a not unreasonable place to start a conversation.
antidieter September 29th, 2004 | Link | being that overweight and it
being that overweight and it effecting ones' ability to take care of oneself is just too much. but to be treated differently then others who are not as fat or thin, then that is a different situation. what they should of focused on was whether she had underlying problems such as depression, thyroid, or inability to feed herself, for a very famine sensitive individual they cannot go hungry or they get really fat!! did the immoblity come first or the excessive fatness? if she was immobile first due to arthritis or some other condition and lived alone and was unable to get enough to eat or could only eat junk then that would explain the weight gain of so much, she probably was having problems (only guessing here) with getting enough to eat and on time for a very very long time, or her quality was too low that she got that big. it is the famine feast cycle that gets you very fat, not lack of self control or some character flaw (in teh absence of disease). when you get so fat you cannot do the things you love to do that is sad, and it is even sadder when you are treated like it is your fault. RR
Venus September 30th, 2004 | Link | Please do not include these
Please do not include these sick stories. I see them posted enough on diet forums and other fat bashing places. And we KNOW WHY those places post them. Dieters have a feverish need to "prove" that they are on the "right track" by dieting, hence the constant posting of outlandish stories about "those poor, poor obese people" (SOB!) Let's not stoop to that level here.

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