naafa fashion card

… As a culture, we must embrace different body types and accept that a person’s weight and waist circumference are not a commentary on their worth. Governments and societies must address the social deficits that contribute to obesity – poverty, food deserts (districts with no ready access to fresh, healthy and affordable food) and lack of exercise spaces – to empower people to take care of their own health. In the long run, the medical community must find ways to help people stay healthy through lifestyle fixes, medical interventions, or both, regardless of their size.

I find it difficult to understand how the woman wrote the article that preceeds the above (final) paragraph came to these conclusions. I am glad those were her conclusions, but I wish she could have included more of what led her to this final paragraph because it certainly does not show in the rest of the article.

Caroline Weinberg is not exactly a fat-phobe – but there is a deep thread of healthism and thin privilege in her recent article.

Caroline Weinberg probably means well, but she doesn’t seem to understand that her attitudes are part of the problem when it comes to the stereotype of fat equals unhealthy.

The focus on weight by society as a whole, and the healthcare community in particular, is a major problem for fat people.

Let me reiterate (once again) – there is NO treatment that achieves significant long term weight loss for all but a small percentage of fat people.

I’m not saying we should not be looking for a successful treatment, but we do need to stop pretending that one exists. And we need to stop pretending we can treat fatness by using treatments that have and continue to fail while blaming and shaming the recipient of those failed treatments.

Implying that long term weight loss is achievable if us fatties would only try harder, is harmful. It leads to society believing being fat is a choice; that fat people are simply lazy and lack will power. It leads to fat people being blamed (and blaming themselves) for being fat . It leads to the acceptance of fat shaming. And it leads to healthcare professionals thinking it is the fault of fat patients (rather than the failure of the treatment) when the patient remains fat.

It leads to putting fat children on diets, something that pretty much guarantees that the fat child will grow up to be an even fatter adult.

For the most part, diets not only fail to make you thin, they make you fatter.

Is being fat unhealthy? It depends. Fat has protective properties, especially in regard to those conditions which fat people are most likely to develop (such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease). Yes, fat people, on the whole, tend to develop these conditions; however, fat people, on the whole, tend to have fewer complications and/or survive these conditions better than their thinner counterparts.

Is being fat unhealthy? Who cares? As of now, there is no “cure”.

[To be continued]

“Fat Girls” video

You know that I like fat women, so you’d think I’d like this video (linked below), but I don’t. It’s a fun enough song, but the women in the videos seem a bit like bullies.

You also know that I deeply respect the folks over at Skepchick. Here’s a link to a post by Dr. Rubidium singing the praises of the song and video, and who am I to say she’s wrong?

Penn, part 2

Today I watched the live broadcast of Penn’s Sunday School, with Penn Jillette and others. I mentioned in an earlier post that he lost a lot of weight, and has been talking about it. Well, I think I’m fed up with the diet talk. The last straw today was that he mentioned the Framingham study, and he framed it as, someone who knows the weight of your friends can accurately predict your weight. (Penn usually says that no one should rely on him for accurate scientific information, but saying that doesn’t always help.) He then went on to say that his and his cohosts’ weight loss is causing their friends to lose weight. A great example of confusing correlation with causation, and this from a skeptic.

He followed this up with some antifat talk directed to his cohost Matt, saying that he had appeared in Penn’s movie, Director’s Cut, as a “fat f***” and was cut out, and now will be in the movie again. Which was light hearted banter among friends I will admit, but after the other antifat stuff I had had it.

I feel like I’ve lost a friend to religion. Dieting is like a religion in that it requires faith to believe you can keep the weight off when the science shows that most people can’t. He’s still in the honeymoon phase of his diet, and ex-dieters who are reading this can relate, I’m sure. But this sort of thing isn’t fun for me to listen to.

Penn Jillette

I’ve liked Penn Jillette for a while. He expresses the libertarian viewpoint better than anyone else. (I’m not a libertarian as currently conceived, but have been seduced by its philosophy in the past.) He is also an atheist and a freethinker, and his and Teller’s former show, Bullshit, was excellent at debunking pseudoscience in its many forms. While that show is now over, he currently does a weekly podcast, Penn’s Sunday School, which I listen to regularly and which covers some of the same topics (skepticism, atheism, and libertarianism).

A few years ago, Bullshit did a show on fatness (described here), saying that you could be fat and healthy, and showing Paul Campos and Glenn Gaesser promoting fat acceptance.

Unfortunately, I think, Penn has evolved on this issue. From last year to early this year, Penn lost a lot of weight. I can understand why: he was maxed out on his medication doses, and his doctor advised him that he wouldn’t need the meds if he lost weight. So he’s lost weight, and I understand that he’s off the meds. I’m not going to try to present his point of view; if you want that, look here. He has talked about this several times on Sunday School, but I skip over those parts because I don’t want to hear about anyone’s GODDAMN weight loss. Not just Penn’s, anyone’s.

I did just now look at the article linked in the last paragraph. Briefly, he’s on a diet, and diets don’t work over the long term (5 years and out) for the great majority of people. So he may learn something the hard way. Or not.

In any case, I’m glad he’s doing well, but disappointed to see him fall for a diet, especially given his skeptical background.

Behind the Curve

I’m calling this post “Behind the Curve” to acknowledge how late I am with this post. There have been a few things I’ve wanted to say, but I haven’t had the passion to drop everything and say them here.

There’s another reason for the title: I want to talk about the recently completed Season 1 of My Big Fat Fabulous Life, the reality TV show starring (and in this case, “starring” is accurate) Whitney Thore.

A bit over a year ago, Whitney Thore’s series of videos called A Fat Girl Dancing became a YouTube and Facebook sensation. I was skeptical at first because she came out of nowhere . . . actually, Greensboro, NC, but “nowhere” in that she wasn’t connected to any fat acceptance group. But I started following her on Facebook, and her posts were, and are, fat positive and inspiring with few exceptions. The one exception I can think of is that she has said she wanted to lose some weight to regain some mobility. I don’t have a problem with that statement in itself, although it could get problematic in the execution.

The TV show is a somewhat different animal. Whitney is the same person as on Facebook: fun loving, goofy, and fat positive. But the show gives a negative side not seen on Facebook. You can expect to see a long scene with Whitney crying in every episode. I do understand that the show has to provide drama and conflict, and I admit that there were scenes that I really liked, but overall this is not the show for me.

But please don’t interpret this as a criticism of Whitney herself. Whitney in the show is still someone to admire, but in the editing of the show, there’s more emphasis on stay-at-home millenial vs. parent, dating travails, flirting with The One Who Was Right In Front of You, visits to the doctor, harebrained schemes (I’m thinking of a trip to Kitty Hawk for a non-paying gig), and other stuff that I’m not interested in.

So hats off to Whitney, and good luck on her show (which is getting a Season 2).