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Testify!

Marilyn Wann announced today that there will be another hearing for a height/weight anti-discrimination bill in Massachusetts! The hearing will be on January 27th. Marilyn says:

Let's flood the legislative inbox! Email Tracy.Choi@state.ma.us. Please copy me: marilyn@fatso.com. Forward this! -- What to write: That you support H.1850. Your ht./wt. discrimination story (esp. at work, school, doctor, housing, seating) and why you care about this law. THANKS!

Please take the time to send an e-mail in support of this bill. If you are interested in testifying in person, please contact Marilyn at the above e-mail. Getting this bill passed would be a huge win for everyone everywhere.

Byron Rushing of Massachusetts tried two years ago to get a similar bill into law and from what I remember--although the bill didn't go through--things went pretty well. It would be fantastic if we could make this happen this year.
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PS--Check out Marilyn's words regarding Rep. Rushing and her experiences with this bill below in the comments.

PPS--I failed to see Rep. Rushing speak the one time I was in Boston. I now may never forgive myself.

Remembering the good ol' days of WWII

This article from BBC News on the discussion about whether food rationing would solve the 'obesity crisis' would be laughable if it didn't feel a little too close to an actual possibility. The article is chock full of quotes from yahoos that just don't get it, including this choice gem from Dr. David Haslam, chairman of the National Obesity Forum:

"We have a situation where food is available everywhere, open round the clock - cheaper, poor quality, bigger portions - a situation where food is ubiquitous. It is the first time really in history where food is limitless.

"We haven't developed an instinct that tells us when not to eat. Our strongest instincts tell us to eat."

So, rad. I hope all of the hungry people in the UK and all over the world were relieved to find out that food is now available everywhere. Also, no, it's not that we haven't developed the instinct not to eat. It's that we've destroyed any connection to our natural instincts through this perpetual dieting bullcrap.

Oh, also:

"There is a place for the nanny state, especially when you look at kids."

But the nanny state isn't about children, dammit. It's about treating adults like kids, making decisions for them that they are perfectly able to make for themselves. There's a word for someone who is qualified to make a decision for another human being, and that word is: parent. And only if we're still talking about kids. In terms of adults, another adult isn't allowed to make any kind of decisions for me unless I sign a legal document saying so. So why are we even talking about this?

Check out this great discussion

This humble article on The Adipositivity Project over at Sociological Images has spurred a hell of a good discussion on fatness. There are a few folks beating the fat=unhealthy drum, but there are so many other thoughtful comments it's totally worth it. Check it out!

Child obesity gene discovery may cut fat-related child protection cases

{Promoted from the forums - CarrieP}

The BBC is reporting that a group of Cambridge researchers have discovered a genetic factor common to a number of children and teens labelled as 'severely obese'. They also seem to have identified further links between these 'copy number variants' and the regulation of blood sugar levels and appetite, concerns frequently discussed over the years on these very boards (far be it for me to suggest that people in the FA movement have long known what others have persistently refused even to attempt to demonstrate). Worryingly, several of the study's young participants had already been placed on local authority child protection registers 'on the assumption that their parents were deliberately overfeeding them'; the research findings are apparently sufficiently robust that those participants who were previously slated for intervention or removal by the social services have now been deleted from the database and their parents presumably exonerated.

I give this news a cautious welcome, for the 'may' of the headline is not by any means a 'will' and the enormous moral panic and incessant misinformation of the last decade have left us with a metaphorical supertanker of ignorance and prejudice to stop and turn around before the social work and child health professions begin to realise that a child's size may be as natural as their height and entirely unrelated to parental immorality, abuse or neglect. After all, last month's effective admission by a major obesity research institute that their initial apocalyptic predictions, on which much of the policy and media overreaction seen since in the UK have been based, were way off the mark has so far failed to have much by way impact on those policy makers and the government approach to the 'issue' and indeed was quickly shunted from the front pages.

However it is an important step forward which I am hoping that, given the esteem in which the University of Cambridge is held, will maybe encourage more researchers to break from the consensus and have the courage to challenge the assumptions about over-eating and lack of exercise (and perhaps even the scale of the 'epidemic' itself) without fear of censure and dismissal. Most importantly, tonight maybe Britain's fat children and their entirely blameless parents can sleep that little bit easier in their beds as a result of this good work by Dr. Farooqi and her team. I hope that David Rogers, the Local Government Association public health spokesman who called for a nationwide policy of taking obese children into care a couple of years back, sees this and eats his words, and that lawyers acting for the Dundee family, whose teenage son and daughter remain in the hands of the local authority, are paying attention.

ETA: more about the story here, from AOL via the NAAFA blog (whatever you do, don't read the comments on the AOL link!).

Colleges and Wellness

I'm sure by now you all have read this article about Lincoln University's controversial policy to make all fatties take an extra class to learn how to not be fat. Well, Scott sent me this article (thanks Scott!) about what other schools are doing, and I have to say that some of them have really gotten it right. A few just have classes and weight loss programs but some are actually walking the walk by offering healthier eating options in the cafeteria and creating opportunities for physical activity.

I, for one, don't have any problem with the idea of having a mandatory class on health and wellness, in fact I was under the impression that it was already a requirement for graduation in most schools. The only real issue I have with Lincoln's policy is the singling out of people based on their BMI. As Norfolk University's spokesperson says about their mandatory wellness class, "We just know that every single one of our students needs this information." Yes. Everyone needs to know how to develop healthy habits and take care of their bodies, even if they never choose to use that information. Heck, I hated taking Trigonometry when I was younger and I have never, ever needed any of that information, but it was a requirement so I did it. Wellness is no different.

Like talking about fat rights?

Rachel of The-F-Word.org needs your help!

As the media contact for The Fat Rights Coalition and a personal blogger who writes on issues of eating disorders and body acceptance, I field lots of public relations requests from media outlets worldwide, from international luminaries like CNN and The New York Times to small town papers looking to make a local connection on a larger issue. I’ve participated in some of these public debates in the past, but because I am a journalist myself, I have made the decision to limit my involvement to helping my fellow journalists out behind-the-scenes and referring them to other activists who will speak on the record. And that’s where you come in. I’m making what I fondly call my Big Fat Rolodex so that I can easily and quickly refer future media requests to the right activist or field professional. While I am looking for professionals like social workers, doctors, researchers, professors, lawyers, health care workers, therapists/psychologists, nutritionists and fitness experts etc… I am also looking for anyone with personal experiences with eating disorders (who don’t mind sharing details of their disorder), weight-based discrimination and fat rights activism. If the Fatosphere has taught us anything, it’s that the personal is indeed political.

If you’d like to be included as a potential media contact, please send the below information in an email to Rachel (at) the-f-word (dot) org with “Media Contact” as the subject.

  • Real name, first and last
  • E-mail address
  • Phone number (optional)
  • Region: state and country
  • Website address (if applicable)
  • Available for: Radio, TV, Print
  • Area(s) of interest: i.e. fat rights, eating disorders, health, nutrition and fitness, legal issues, fat studies
  • Relevant credentials: (certifications, degrees, affiliations, personal experience)

Honestly, if you're even remotely interested in speaking out for fat rights, please contact Rachel. I get requests to do interviews pretty frequently and I would LOVE to be able to pass those on to someone who actually likes public speaking. Help us out!

Fat Studies Reader event in NYC!

Those of you in NYC, get in there! I wish I could go...

Published by NYU Press, The Fat Studies Reader is a milestone achievement,
bringing together fifty-three diverse voices to explore a wide range of
topics related to body weight. From the historical construction of fatness
to public health policy, from job discrimination to social class
disparities, from chick-lit to airline seats, this collection covers it
all.

Edited by two leaders in the field, Esther Rothblum and Sondra Solovay,
foreword by Marilyn Wann, The Fat Studies Reader is an invaluable resource
that provides a historical overview of fat studies, an in-depth examination
of the movement’s fundamental concerns, and an up-to-date look at its
innovative research.

Our reading will include 4 essays from the reader.
There will be time for mingling, book signing and a Q & A.

Lara Frater - Fat Heroines in Chick-Lit: The Gateway to Acceptance in the
Mainstream?
Kathleen LeBesco, PhD - Quest for a Cause: The Fat Gene, The Gay Gene and
the New Eugenics
Elena Andrea Escalera, PhD - Stigma Threat and the Fat Professor: Reducing
Student Prejudice in the Classroom
Heather MacAllister - Embodying Fat Liberation (read by Kelli Dunham)

We will have books on hand to purchase.
Hope to see you at this event celebrating this important contribution
to academia and the exploration of body liberation.

Date: Friday, December 4, 2009
Time: 8:00pm - 11:00pm
Location: Re/Dress NYC
Street: 109 Boerum Place
City/Town: Brooklyn, NY

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=170087632668&ref=nf

Fat Studies on Colbert

According to the wonderful Susan Stinson, Amy Farrell, a contributor to the upcoming Fat Studies Reader, is going to be on The Colbert Report on Wednesday at 11:30 pm. She will make arguments against charging higher insurance rates for people with higher BMIs. She also has a book coming out soon called Fat Shame. How exciting!

In my letter to Jon Stewart after the fat suit debacle I encouraged him to bring fat activists and scholars on his show. It is great to see Colbert is willing to do this; however, he is known for heckling his guests, keeping true to his satire of conservative talk show hosts. Previously Colbert has welcomed Leonard Nimoy on his show discussing the Full Body Project, and he has also talked about the Headless Fatties phenomenon.

Dear Weight Watchers, I have two letters for you.

I intended to write about this article by Japanese scientists that says fat people are more likely to live longer than thin people (yay fatties!), but I got sidetracked by how annoyed I was that we are still wasting so much time, energy and cash trying to figure out what size our bodies need to be so we can live the longest, healthiest, happiest life when millions of people in the world are genuinely suffering. Which led me to this:

You know what I would like to see? I would like to see Weight Watchers STFU about fighting your body's own signals of hunger and actually do something to FIGHT HUNGER. With all of the cash they're raking in making people feel bad about themselves and their choices, they could certainly buy some grub for some needy folks.

***at which point I had to stop and Google search just to make sure they weren't already doing this, because you never know, and, lo and behold, they actually are! Sort of. But you know what's gross about the whole thing? Not just the part where they pay out for pounds lost, there's also this fine print:

For every 1 million pounds lost during the campaign period, Weight Watchers will donate $250,000, up to $1 million. Pounds lost by Members will be determined by average weight lost per meeting attendance during campaign period multiplied by total number of attendances during campaign period.

So hypothetically, if you gain weight during the campaign period, Weight Watchers will take their money back. If you weren't already feeling guilty that your body isn't small enough, now because of you, hungry kids won't get to eat. Way to go fattie.

The fact that WW chooses to base the amount of its charitable gift not on a concrete action but on a physiological result that it well knows is beyond a person's immediate control (otherwise WW'd be out of business by now, right?) just highlights how clearly profit-driven their motives are and how much they do not give a shit about helping anybody but themselves.

You know, I've never really sat down and thought about this at any great length, but I really really hate those guys and the impact they have on women and men in our culture. I hate the fact that every now and again perfectly nice people in my office flog diet culture at me because of their stupid WW at work program. I hate the pyramid scheme cultishness of the whole thing, how they infiltrate local schools and churches, how they plaster ads on just about every website I enjoy, how their main enemy is A VITAL BODY SIGNAL called hunger (who is actually a rather cute little fuzzy orange thing).

I hate how they lie about their effectiveness over and over, how they pretend to not be a diet, how they support the idea that if a person isn't losing weight, he or she must just not be trying hard enough, how they've been in the weight loss business for 36 years and they still can only demonstrate an average 6.6 pound weight loss per person per YEAR. Know how much it costs to be a WW member for a year? $360 bucks. That's almost $60 per pound, people. Their product doesn't work worth a darn and they're still making money hand over fist.

There is not a middle finger in the world big enough for what I would like to convey to Weight Watchers and the diet industry in general. It's the only line of business I know of where it doesn't remotely matter if the product works, people will still clamor for it. The whole thing just makes me ill.

Shining a light on Fat Love

Are you or your significant other Fat? Are you in super magical love? Go here and send your story and photo to Lesley for inclusion in The Museum of Fat Love!

If, like me, you are perpetually single and every so often wonder if being fat might not just disqualify you from love altogether, check out the gallery. It will restore your faith in the possibility of love for every body. Srsly.

My Completely Unneccessary, Silly Letter to Jon Stewart: What's a Girl So Upset About?*




I know this letter is long and that's now how you're supposed to do protest letters, but I'm long-winded, people.


Dear
Jon Stewart,

Your bit with the fat suit on Monday’s show (September 14th,
2009) was distasteful, less than amusing, lazy, and sorely problematic. I know
what you were trying to do. People called you all lazy for taking three weeks
off; and since fatness is the ultimate symbol of being lazy, you got in a fat
suit. And since Jon Oliver had joked on his radio show about eating two whole
cheese steaks (or so I hear), you threw that in. Since you have a playful
relationship with Brian Williams, you took the opportunity to incorporate him.
I get that you were taunting your naysayers.  

 

I also get that for you it (likely) wasn’t about fat people
at all—but that’s part of the problem because it was on our backs. I know it seems initially an outlandish notion, but
you being in a fat suit and TDS using stereotypes and images of fat people the
way you did affects my every day life. I’m not saying you hate fat people or
that you are responsible for all of the derision and discrimination fat people
face—certainly not. But you are responsible for what you do, the messages you
spread, and your complicity, especially when so many people regard you as
someone well-reasoned, critically-minded, and progressive, someone who engages
in smart, sharp (if silly) comedy. Hang with me a second.

 

See, I am a fat person, and every day I deal with people
judging me as just some lazy fatass who doesn’t deserve a god-damn thing (aside
from a good fat-shaming, for my own good).
Fat discrimination, according to a recent study[1],
is as prevalent as race and gender discrimination in this country. I’m not just
talking about how people judge me on the street or how there is no room for
bodies like mine on TV. Fat discrimination and weight bias are prevalent in
health care, education, and employment. It affects real living, breathing
people. For instance, it affects the quality and thoroughness of care we
receive from medical professionals, and we suffer and some of us die because of
that.[2]


But what does this have to do with you in a fat suit? Fat suits have
been compared to blackface. Now, that’s not a historically equivalent
comparison in any way, but the the function is similar. You can put
on a fat suit and laugh with everyone else at the fat representation of you and
how gross and disgusting and wrong it is. TDS can further dehumanize fat
people by using a picture of a (faceless) bed-ridden fat person with Williams
face Photoshopped on—participating in what Charlotte Cooper calls the parade of
headless fatties—to drive home how disgusting it is to be fat. [3] And
in the process you and TDS can metaphorically masturbate stereotypes that perpetuate
the bias and discrimination we face in our every day lives—all for your joke
that really isn’t about fat people, which just means you have no regard for us
in the process.
And then you can take
that suit off and you don’t have to deal with the consequences.


Your promotion of fat stereotypes and dehumanization of fat people is part of a greater system of bias, discrimination, and dehumanization which directly affects my quality of life. It helps give people the idea that it's perfectly okay not to have any regard for us. After all, if we didn't like it, and if we had any dignity, we'd just put down the sandwich, right? If you had any sense, you might not assume fat people give up their dignity by virtue of being fat. For more a more
nuanced critique of “Fat on Film” you can visit the recent Newsweek slideshow of the same name: http://www.newsweek.com/id/213419.

 

This is why I’m disappointed in you and the TDS writers. I
expect better. And frankly, the best way to show your audience you haven’t
gotten lazy isn’t by telling lazy
jokes.

 

There are three things you can do to help fat people and
our work toward social justice. First, educate yourself on this issue. Do not
take what you think you know about fat people for granted. Put some critical
thinking into it and be willing to challenge your own assumptions. Second,
bring critical fat studies scholars or fat activists onto your show. Open a
conversation. Linda Bacon (yes, bacon, haha) is a preeminent scholar of Health
at Every Size, who has found that fat people who don’t diet and don’t lose weight can be healthier than
ones who do.[4] She has
just published a book on the subject. Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby also have
a book out called “Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere.” Recently, scholars in the UK
have published a book called “Fat Studies in the UK” and soon the long-awaited
“Fat Studies Reader” will be out. Finally, we don’t care if you make fat jokes,
just make them funny. Make sure that you aren’t merely reinscribing harmful
stereotypes, and make sure they are the same critical quality as the rest of
your bits.

 

Sincerely,

 

Withoutscene

Fat Human Being, Fat Activist, and Doctoral
Student in Sociology and Women's Studies

 


[1] Puhl,
RM., T. Andreyeva, and KD Brownell. 2008. “Perceptions of weight
discrimination: prevalence and comparison to race and gender discrimination in
America.” International Journal of
Obesity
32: 992–1000.

[2]  See the blog
“First, Do No Harm: Stories of Fat Prejudice in Health Care”: http://fathealth.wordpress.com/ and
also the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity website: www.yaleruddcenter.org/what_we_do.aspx?id=10

 

[3] For the record, I know
TDS uses Photoshop to do much more ‘horrible’ things to people’s images—but
there is a particular history of fat people’s faceless bodies being debased and
dehumanized in the media, as your colleague, Colbert, has even pointed out.
Charlotte Cooper’s piece on Headless Fatties can be found here: http://www.charlottecooper.net/docs/fat/headless_fatties.htm

[4] Linda
Bacon’s website: http://www.lindabacon.org/





*Apparently being upset about something so trivial is just silly. And after all "The joke was funny--I'm a fat person and I thought so." And "It wasn't about fat people. C'mon, they make fun of EVERYBODY on that show." "Being angry about it isn't going to solve anything." "You shouldn't let words upset you so much--we should be showing people that words can't hurt us." And, of course, "Don't we [fat people] have bigger fish to fry?"
(These are paraphrases of claims made to me from people who identify as fat-positive, size-accepting, fat-accepting individuals. Claims that I hope to have arbitrated in this here letter.)





Edited to note: I know the racial comparisons I make are problematic. I hate to rely on comparisons to racial discrimination and bias to highlight fat discrimination and bias. I am open to finding new ways to make our cause seem serious and our claims seem legitimate without using analogies to other oppressions. I try not to. But in some cases, I just haven't quite figured out how to really put things in perspective for people without using comparisons. Even if I know it is problematic.

The power of visibility

If you have been even idly thinking about adding photos to Here come the Fat Brides! or Athletes at Every Size, stop what you're doing at this very instant and go do it! Your photos, along with everyone else's, stand up and shout to the world that fat people are people first and we will not be put in a box. Every day when I look at the new additions to the gallery it makes me feel a little bit more normal...a little bit less "other". If they have that effect on me that means they could be having that effect on fat people all over the world. Because of you, fat people you don't even know will look at your photos and feel better about their fat lives. Why, that's practically activism..and all it takes is a few clicks.

Oh hai blatant discrimination!

Rose tipped me off to some fat discrimination going on over in North Carolina. According to this policy document, the North Carolina State Health Plan (for teachers and state employees) will soon be divided into two sections: one for the "good" folks who don't smoke and have BMIs under 40 and one for the "naughty" smokers or people with BMIs 40 or above. Of course the good folks will receive more coverage at less expense than the naughty ones. Participants in the health plan are required to fill out a form every year that attests that they fit into the good group and they also agree to be subjected to mandatory random screenings for smoking and for BMI.

I am both appalled and terrified by this idea and the precedent it creates. First of all, does this mean that an NCSU employee is subject to being weighed and measured at work whenever HR deems it necessary? What about personal privacy? What about a person's body being their own property and not for their employer to judge? What about an employee being compensated on their performance and NOT their body size? Because no matter how this policy was initially intended, this ends up being another way to pay fat people less for doing the same job, as if that weren't happening enough already.

I hate the idea of the smoking thing as well on the grounds that what I do in my off time shouldn't be any of my employer's business, but at least that's a behavior that can be stopped. A fat person can't just stop being fat, despite the world's erroneous belief that all you have to do is just try a little harder to eat less and exercise more and the pounds will magically melt off. No one has been able to find a method of weight loss that works permanently for more than the tiniest percentages of people, which means that fat people are likely going to stay fat no matter how many crunches they do.

Let's not forget that the mainstream jury is still out on fat and health anyway...even Newsweek isn't sure whether fat=unhealthy anymore. Even if it was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that fat people are definitely going to get sick, the whole point of a group health plan is that some people are going to get sick and some aren't. By buying into it you acknowledge that you are going to pay the same amount whether you get sick or not and whether other people get sick or not. If we're going to just weed out the people we think are going to get sick, what's the point of group health then anyway?

On TOP of that, what this plan is doing is funneling the people who are (supposedly) the most likely to get sick into a group that gets less coverage! Those who will likely need health care the most are all of a sudden going to get the least amount of assistance from their health insurance company! If this doesn't prove clearly how much more interested health insurance companies are in profits over actually providing health care, then I don't know what will.

Thanks Rose!

There are worse things than being a fat bride

This article just broke my heart. Samantha Clowe didn't want to be the dreaded "fat bride", so she dutifully got permission from her doctor and started following the LighterLife diet plan. It certainly seemed to work...in her eleven weeks on the diet Samantha decreased her BMI by two whole points. Then she collapsed and died.

My heart goes out to Samantha and her family. I can only imagine the thoughts that might have driven her to choose the plan, like longing to fit her body into society's favored mold, the idea that whoever she was now wasn't good enough to stand up in front of her friends and family and get married. Maybe, like many dieters, she believed that this fat thing was only temporary and if she could just find the right plan and just try hard enough, she could finally be "normal" and, therefore, "happy".

I will confess, I have had these thoughts too. Some not even all that long ago. You know why Samantha and I and millions of other people have felt this way? Because somewhere along the way as we were growing up, enough people told us that our bodies were wrong that we started to believe it. Some of us believed it so much that we tried whatever we could to make our bodies behave and were thwarted when they fought back and grew even bigger, further outside of the realm of okay. Eventually, some of us were so freaked out by being fat that we gladly paid someone to cut into our bodies and mess with the way our digestive systems worked, all so we could finally be..."normal". The thing is, there are a million different kinds of bodies out there. "Normal" doesn't really exist.

The thing that really incenses me about this article is that the LighterLife people are blaming Samantha's death on the fact that she started out all deathfat so she was probably just a ticking timebomb anyway. So it seems we are doomed to death even if we go along and do as we're told to conform. What a load of crap.

Samantha was only 11 weeks into the program but on the LighterLife website they say women should do it for 14 weeks or even more if they want to lose more weight at the end of that time. This is at least the third death linked to LighterLife. I wonder how many more people have to die while following their program before someone finally shuts them down.

Update: As suggested by MichMurphy, I've started a photo gallery for fat brides on flickr. Feel free to join, post any and all fat bride photos and pass on the link to all of your fat bride friends! Here come the Fat Brides!

Fat people exercising!!

I am in love with this photo gallery at Newsweek.com. I would like to squeeze it all over and marry it and have little blogger/photo gallery babies. Check it out!

Also here's Athletes of Every Size which is the same basic idea but, you know, not on Newsweek.com.

Skinny thighs bad

I just came across this article at MSN describing a study that says folks with skinny thighs have a 50-100% higher chance of developing heart disease than their thick-thighed counterparts. Of course, they're quick to mention that this is not a "free pass for people who want to skip the gym", or, presumably, for fat people to start loving their fat thighs. Certainly they wouldn't want to give the impression that a nonskinny bodypart would be 'okay' and 'not deadly'...lord knows those fat people are just looking for an excuse to not lose weight.

The comments are somewhat fat-hating, as expected, but I also found it amusing that so many people were skeptical of the study's results. Wait, so the studies about how fat people are just going to drop dead are beyond reproach but this one is complete BS? Sounds fishy to me...

The Fat Wars

If you haven't been following the excellent series The Fat Wars on Newsweek's website, you might want to check it out. Of course the coverage isn't perfect, for instance the article I linked to contains both of the following sentences:

"You can be big and healthy at the same time."

and

"Americans are fatter than ever, and that isn't healthy."

Oh Newsweek, you can't have it both ways. But it's nice to see someone in the mainstream media really talking about fat issues, even if they don't always get everything right.

Ye Olde Double Standard

Sorry to devolve into TMZ territory for a minute, but I was just struck by this article about Leonardo DiCaprio being asked to lose weight for a role. Imagine for a second that the article is talking about a female starlet who happens to be 30 pounds heavier than a director wants her to be. I bet we wouldn't be hearing about how she's beautiful "at any weight" and how after the shoot she will hopefully gain back to a "healthy" weight. It would either be about how rightly ashamed she is that her body displeases someone or how she foolishly chooses to love her repugnant fat body as it is. Silly women, with their misguided self-love.

Fat and the Fear of Movement

I want to direct your attention to this fantastic post at Fatshionista about how we as fat people cut ourselves off from sports and other physical activities because we see them as things fat people aren't supposed to do. I have experienced this a million times in my fat life and I'm betting some of you out there can relate. I can come up with a whole list of physical things I have avoided at times in my life because fat people "don't" or "shouldn't" do them:

Riding my bike (this is a big one that still gives me trouble...I have an irrational fear of being mocked on my bike)
Walking around my neighborhood
Running in my neighborhood
Swimming
Going to the gym
Joining a community sports team
Rock-climbing
Yoga
Learning to salsa dance

I'd like to say I've consistently ignored the fear and accomplished all of these things, but there are a few on the list I'm still a little reluctant to try because of those irrational thoughts. It's a process.

Are there things you have avoided or flat out not done because you are fat? Let us know in the comments!

Paul Campos and America's Moral Panic

Paul Campos gave a great interview over at The Atlantic yesterday, but what I found most interesting about the whole thing were the comments on the article. Almost every one is well thought out, literate, and full of good discussion about the topic at hand instead of devolving into 'fatties are stupid and gross and OMG should just lose weight' territory. I'm not saying they're all favorable or that I agree with all of them, but I find it so much more enjoyable to read a well-constructed point that I disagree with than what amounts to a handful of insults or ignorant BS one might find in comments on other articles.

Anyway, give it a read. A lot of commenters brought up the type II diabetes question which I couldn't immediately debunk in my head. Anyone have good information on the correlation of fat and type II diabetes and medical costs?

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