May. 22nd, 2013

minstrlmummr: Line from Wonder Woman movie:  "What I do is not up to you." (Default)
 TL;DR:    Someone else is WRONG on the Internet  8)

Several days ago, a size activist / HAES practitioner named Golda Poretsky had a TED talk posted on YouTube titled "Why It's Okay To Be Fat".     

Judging by the sustained, vitriolic attack of comments this YouTube post had to deal with starting yesterday, you would have thought she advocated kitten murder, or removal of all LOLCATS from teh Intarwebs,  or something.     Ragen Chastain of the blog Dances With Fat has called simply getting up in the morning and going about your daily life as you choose, in the body you have, without hating it, a revolutionary act.      She came to that conclusion after noticing the ubiquity of weight loss / thinness / fat-shaming messages we all receive on a daily basis.    

Poretsky's message was one of self-acceptance and self-love while pursuing healthy behaviors as one thinks best, letting the numbers on the scale fall wherever they may.    Most HAES practitioners would be concerned about weight gain only if it occurred rapidly over a short period of time, a worrying situation for humans of any size who are not pregnant  8)

Comments ranged from concern-trolling, as if submitting your habits for the approval of a hostile, critically-minded stranger were a natural occurrence (or every fat person's duty), to declarations calculated to inflame like "Everybody knows anyone can lose weight, all you have to do is REALLY STICK TO IT (and not lie to yourself AND US)", to name-calling and profanity-laden abuse.    

Elsewhere, I generically asked friends "who might have the time, and "spoons", to handle this sort of thing" to report and / or vote down (YouTube has this rating system, and mechanisms to report spam, fraud or abuse) the most egregious comments.     This went poorly.     One friend who dared comment back started getting flamed.     Chastain has reported that from time to time, bodybuilding or fat-hating groups on reddit or 4chan have organized "Fat Hate Days" and pointed trolls at (among other sites) her blog; it's possible something like that was organized to attack this video.      

Genuine size bigotry differs from other kinds of prejudice in several ways:

1)  Size is always assumed to be 100% controllable by force of will.
2)  Everyone is presumed to owe anybody else who happens to be looking,  a body size / shape which is arbitrarily designated "acceptable".     This designation is subject to change without notice.
3)  Because of  1) and 2), fat people are constantly told by bigots that the onus to stop the shaming and bigotry is on them:  "Just change yourself and this won't be an issue anymore."    (This gentlest expression of this pernicious idea was coined by "Health At Every Size author Linda Bacon, PhD.)   In what universe does giving the bullies your lunch money make them stop beating you up and go away?

I am setting aside some of the other "conventional wisdom" myths which were busted in "Health At Every Size"  like "state of size = state of health"     because I'm troubled by the idea that my size is only acceptable if I present as a "good fattie" (defined as metabolically healthy).      My friends would never turn abusive on me if I someday developed diabetes or something like that, but...

Someone commented on my request (presumably in answer to the talk title "It's Okay To Be Fat", beginning with the words "as long as your (fill in blank) numbers are good" and I deleted the comment because...

Metabolic health isn't promised either.      Eradicating body fat does not confer immunity from chronic disease in the way that cooking a chicken to 165 degrees or greater confers immunity from salmonella.     If it were that cut and dried, only fat people (or only sedentary people with poor diets) would have diabetes / hypertension / atherosclerosis and normal weight people (or people with healthy habits) would be immune.     Normal weight people are not immune from any of those diseases and neither are people who do everything they are "supposed" to do.    My father was an active man of normal to slightly over weight.     While he MAY have bought himself another year or two by quitting smoking,   a 90% coronary artery blockage / fatal coronary at the age of 37 is, I think, too freakish to completely avert with lifestyle change alone, and so are many, many other fatal illnesses.     Other people's certitude about habits will vary, but I was forced to this conclusion by circumstances beyond our control.

This is not a reason to give up the pursuit of healthy daily behaviors (which are proven to give people of all sizes our best shot at a higher quality of life regardless of lifespan), but I refuse to grant myself conditional acceptance and love "as long as my (insert lab value here) numbers are good."     Living with constant shame and stigma also correlates with chronic diseases like those above.

For my emotional health, I have to be able to tell myself, "It's okay for me to be fat."  



minstrlmummr: Line from Wonder Woman movie:  "What I do is not up to you." (Default)

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