Posted by: Tina M | 19 March , 2010

A quick revolutionary note about fat.

While working on my Needle Exchange homework, I ran across a random article about what to do “When Your Child is Fat”

There was nothing too outrageous or hateful, but it’s these seemingly well meaning sites that often do a lot of damage, mostly because of the implied severity of being “overweight or obese.”

I decided to leave a comment, trying to be polite but still plea for a change of perspectives on the subject of health and fat (which I’m posting here in case it doesn’t make it through moderation. . .

Hi Aunt B,
I’m a new reader that just happened to find my way to your site. I’m also a fat activist that was drawn to your title “when your child is fat.” I appreciate the healthy suggestions that you’ve left, but I would go so far as to say EVERYONE should be practicing those eating habits. Heart disease, Diabetes, and High Blood Pressure have all been wrongly directly connected to being fat. I understand that some people have both, they eat larger amounts of unhealthy food and their body grows along with their bad health. But what about folks that are naturally fatter and eat well and exercise? What about children that are skinny due to their metabolism and yet eat junk food and are sedentary. The world’s hatred against fat is more unhealthy than all the fat people combined. It’s again, an oversimplification of the great complex beings that we are. Love your children and support them, it’s not easy being a fat child (or adult) but if you begin at an early age, they can learn to love their selves and their bodies and make their health choices based off of those good feelings instead of shame and embarrassment about their weight.

Thanks for your information and for caring about the health and well being of today’s young people. Keep up the good work.


Responses

  1. stop whining

    • I hope that my writings aren’t too much “whining” but more critical thought. I would say that discussions about oppression are never whining. Whining would be saying “it’s so hard being fat, I hate it” . . . Discussion is looking at the ways in which real actions and beliefs in our society affect the rights and privileges of groups of people. I appreciate the feedback, but would say you should “stop whining” about my posts and stop reading if you don’t enjoy them!

      Thanks for reading! and for commenting!

  2. The headline stood out to me, thats the only reason I read it. I understand your views, its just that I don’t really feel fat is something people are really discriminant about, especially in the cases of those who are heavy naturally. I don’t see too many people being discriminated against simply for being fat. Its the people who fit the stereotype and are constantly stuffing their faces that get the negative attention. I’m sorry if my “whining” statement was offensive. I just feel there are so many other problems that need attention, but whatever floats your boat. sorry but its hardly oppression.. Most of the time when people are called fat its simply an observation, like “the fat guy in the corner”, but this works the same for very skinny people. Its just a way to describe people like hair color or skin color. There is a difference between observation and hateful descrimination, because I mean its hard not to notice when someone is very large, and it happens to be the truth. If anything people should just avoid using the word fat to be curtious and say things like heavy or hefty, but then again is that really any less offensive to you?

  3. Thanks for replying. I really appreciate this conversation because many people feel exactly as you do. I would argue that just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not a real oppression. Fat people can’t find health insurance (they’re deemed high risk), fat people can’t go to the doctor without being hassled about their weight, even if it’s totally unrelated, fat people can’t fly without buying two seats, fat people can’t fit into many seats in different theaters/public transportation/the world, and this is just the beginning. I have nothing against the word fat. I describe myself as fat. I don’t take offense to you calling me fat, because you’re right, it is a pretty obvious observation. I do have an issue with the negativity that is assigned to the word fat. I am against the “war on childhood obesity” that makes children either a victim of bad parenting or a bad kid that has something wrong with them. I think it’s a continuation of focusing on the wrong issues and wasting time supporting a billion dollar diet industry that doesn’t work. I think that fat phobia detracts a lot from the other health issues affecting our society and world.

    And as for oppression, they’re all connected. How does economic status contribute to fatness? (if you’re in a poor neighborhood you may not have access to grocery stores or afford it), How does race play into fatness (cultural versions of beauty, communities of color being told to eat foods that aren’t good for them like milk and bleached flour, etc). How does heterosexism contribute to fatness (standards of the ideal man and woman in media, desexualization of fat folks, etc.) So you see, you may not agree with me, but there is a movement of fat people and fat allies that do consider it an oppression and feel that it’s necessary to address along with the other social injustice that we face.

    Thanks again-

  4. well i cannot argue with your passion..

  5. Dear Fat Activist,

    Your enthusiastic flag waving is misplaced. There was nothing in this post that suggested or implied anything “severe” about being overweight or obese. The emphasis was on health, and the perspective is from a Mom, looking for creative ways to model a moderate lifestyle for her daughter. And yes, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease does happen to people that are not overweight, however, excess weight does aggravate and increase the risk for these diseases. They are not “wrongly connected to being fat,” nor is it an “oversimplification.”

    I live in the land of silicone and honey (a large city on the west coast) where the pressure to be stick thin is everywhere. Gyms are as plentiful as artificial boobs. 10-year-olds worry about the size of their thighs. To infer that I condone the insanity of never-ending diets and the madness of trying to reach a photo shopped aesthetic is ludicrous.

    One hundred and ten pounds and eight years ago, I suffered from diabetes, high-blood pressure and PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). I took medication and injected insulin daily. I was still in my thirties. I wasn’t really living. I was eating and slowly dying. Was I exercising? Yes. Did my weight contribute to my health problems? Hell yes! I was using food as a drug.

    Even after the weight loss, at 150 lbs. I’m considered overweight by my doctor and have chosen not to lose any more weight. Instead I eat everything I want in moderation and try to exercise regularly. I’d choose my curvy 150lb body vs. my unhealthy 260lb. body any day of the week, with all the fat acceptance flags waving, fat characters on television and even our fat Oscar winner the adorable Gabourey Sidibe.

    I no longer take hypertension meds, inject insulin and I no longer have PCOS. And that’s because I lost the weight.

    There’s nothing “quick” or “revolutionary” about your take on fat in connection to this post, so take your well meaning fat flag and fly it elsewhere.

    – Aunt B (http://blog.MamasHealth.com)

  6. Wow. I feel sorry for you. And this anti-fat acceptance rant is coming from a fellow fatty.

    I have PCOS and have had it unknowingly all my Godforsaken life. I was subjected to every diet torture since age five- all to fail. I was also an emotional eater that developed a lovely carb addiction (in other words: bread = crack). After enjoying an ED that left me without a period and horrid psoriasis (amongst other things) I couldn’t take myself anymore. So I just gave up and ate. And ate. The uncontrollable eight day periods, binge eating for no reason (cereal boxes would just vanish in a number of hours), tremendous knee pain (especially on New York City rainy days), I had no equilibrium (the most embarrassing fall in front of a house where a girl that I hated lived), and the scum of the earth trying to screw me (ghetto, guido, white trash- you name it they tried and got beat up before they could make a move). My mother said she didn’t want to be seen with me because she couldn’t take the stares at my huge breasts and ass by all the crap men.

    Then I saw McLibel and Super Size Me. I became a vegetarian and haven’t looked back from my 1,200 calorie diet. My knee pain is virtually gone. While I still need a breast reduction my back pain in non-existent. I now fit in size 7 bikini underwear. My periods are 4 days long and are under control. I can walk and walk for hours feeling damn good (low-carb, sugar-free energy shots and drinks are a big contribution I admit). I’m not as bitchy or physically uncomfortable. Mom has been jumping at the bit to find out at how I lost the weight and is getting on the veggie bandwagon herself. My doctor has never called me out (I am technically obese at 5’9 and 200-odd lbs. according to the cute li’l chart on the wall) because I have low blood pressure, my blood sugar is fine, and my cholesterol is good. And without a belt my jeans will fall off my ass. But I’ll tell you why I can’t fit into size 14/16 because I don’t have insurance that will pay for the birth control, hormones, Vaniqua, etc. that comes with PCOS maintenance.

    But when I do get that card that will get me those things, I will be enjoying a size 10/12 which is my healthy ideal. I have emotional problems that will have to be dealt with as well, don’t think for one minute that those with food addictions don’t know that. I hate The Biggest Loser (Michaels was 175lbs. not even CLOSE to obese), How To Look Good Naked, and feel especially bad for Gabby Sibidhe. Why doesn’t she ask Monique how great it is to be diabetic? There are two sides to every extreme, there is no “a-ha moment”, it’s just you, your fridge, and your mind when it all comes down to it. Weight loss is a lifelong struggle, and that’s the damn truth. But saying how great it is to be fat is far from a positive thing.


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