Lora asked what do we when we run out of choices. Because things ARE getting scarier and people are getting more overt when it comes to fat hatred.

But what we do doesn’t change. We keep on being visible and vocal. And we stop them from taking our choices away.

The Mississippi bill? Even though it was never going to pass, there was enough outrage that it was killed outright.


All the people who read and write in the fatosphere and everyone y’all talked to and everyone else who passed on the information about this outrageously STUPID bill. All of us.

That is why the fatosphere is important. That is why speaking up in your community, to your doctors and to that asshole at the gym who always has a snide remark, that’s why all of that is important. Because when you are vocal, you have more power.

When we are visible, people can’t pretend we don’t exist. That’s why tv appearances and magazine interviews (Rock on, Kate!) are so important.

If medicine in the US moves to a more socialized system, I don’t actually think it will be any better or worse than it is for fat people right here and now. We’re already being denied treatments based on our weight.

But the more we speak up and fight against that, the less likely it is to happen.

There is so much weighing on all of us – pun fully intended – with this crap. The entire pressure of a social structure that would rather ANYONE who is different cave in and just conform, dammit.

And in the face of that, it is easy to get worn out, to have moments where the fear of how society treats anyone different gets to be a bit much to handle on your own. That is when I go read and reread entries from the Fat Feed and talk to some of my friends and dress in bold defiance of stores who won’t sell me clothes that fit. I take my dignity and I hold on to it.

That’s what I do. I don’t know if it’s the right strategy for everyone but it might be a place to start.

And you know what else I do? I get angry.

Right now, after reading the Red Eye piece re: Kate, I am mad enough to spit at MeMe Roth. Because she is BULLSHIT and people keep going to her for her opinion.

Seriously, she’s the “War on Obesity”‘s very own pathetic replica of Ann Coulter. But you know what? Fuck MeMe Roth.

Fuck MeMe Roth.

She is not worth the time or energy it takes for me to take her seriously as anything other than a whining gadfly.

What do YOU do?

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  1. Posted February 21, 2008 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I dance. I make dances for other fatties and fatlets (thin-to-average-sized allies), dances that don’t hide anything, that expose bellies and rub down thundering thighs, that put fat and thin bodies alike in beadazzled flesh-toned bodysuits or fishnets or tough-guy muscle shirts, that put fatties off the ground, suspended by a sling or standing triumphantly on other bodies. I try to put these dances in front of many different audiences, some “fat”, some mainstream, in the hopes that I don’t know who will see my vision and take it in.

    I also eat. I like good food, and I enjoy it publicly. I invite other people to join me in it, and I don’t tolerate diet talk in any group that I’m in.

  2. Carol Gwenn
    Posted February 21, 2008 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    What do we DO? Keep at it! All these wonderful blogs eliciting comment from hundreds of us out here supporting the principle that size – like color – doesn’t matter. We are one of – as best I can tell – only 2 remaining groups that it’s tacitly OK to hate: fat people & smart people. American culture celebrates “normal”: people who are slender in size & small-to-middling in brain power. Whenever I see a really fatophobic piece in print I wonder: what reaction would it generate if you substituted the word “black” or “Catholic” or “Jewish” for the word “fat”? We have to keep on slugging away until people truly wake up and realize that others are not to be judged on anything but character, abilities and their treatment of their fellow humans: it’s not the size of my hips that counts, it’s the intent of my heart.

  3. Posted February 21, 2008 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I agree about M*m*. What makes that woman any kind of an expert about anything? I mean, does she actually have scientific knowledge that the rest of the world does not possess that proves we are wrong and absolutely anyone can get and stay thin forever and still have a life and not be constantly hungry? Why does nobody ask her that? Nobody at all? Are they all so bamboozled by long blond hair and long skinny legs and an officious manner that they will believe absolutely anything coming out of the mouth of someone with that “look”?

  4. kira
    Posted February 21, 2008 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    I’m with Carol – we just have to keep on slugging. As others have pointed out today (red3, worthyourweight, others), other forms of discrimination didn’t end overnight. Racism, sexism, homophobia all took decades to reach the point where they’re considered unacceptable (in most circles – unfortunately they’re still all too common within some social circles and regions). We just have to keep on dancing, talking, blogging, walking tall and proud, putting ourselves and our message out there. Already M*m* is looking sillier and more toolish by the day, and even she’s backing down – she’ll be marginalized for the fool she is soon enough.

    And yeah, Meowser – I’m afraid the answer to your last question is ‘yes’. Looking good on TV trumps intelligence and knowledge in this day and age where, as Carol pointed out, small-to-middling intelligence is the “norm”. Just watch cable “news”, if you can stomach it – it’s all soundbites from attractive talking heads.

  5. TR
    Posted February 21, 2008 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    You know what? I am leary of saying Roth looks good on television and that THAT is why people listen to her. Because Rachel and Month looked awesome on television, too!

    I think her trappings of societally-defined beauty give her limited credibility but I don’t want to let it be implied she is the only kind of person who looks good on TV.

    Carol, I also think it is a mistake to compare fat hatred to other systemic oppressions – not that they don’t have anything in common but that those oppressive systems are still very much in place.

  6. Posted February 21, 2008 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Personally, I like to rant on ad nauseum about stereotypes and what crap they are, and marketing and how manipulative it is, and “normal” and what a myth that is, to just about anybody who will hold still long enough for me to engage them in lecture….er, conversation.

    I like to do unexpected things and go unexpected places, too, to break stereotypes. If it’s hot, I go sleeveless, fat arms and all. I take my fat body to public swimming pools and spas and massage parlors and shopping malls and airplanes and dance classes and whatever else I feel like doing, because, hello, I’m a person with a life who does things like that. And I don’t put my head down and get bashful when I’m bare-assed in the hot tub with non-fat people….’cause there’s no reason I should.

    Also, I try to be really matter-of-fact about my body and how it works (or doesn’t) as I move through the world. If my tits are on the dinner table because I’ve been seated in one of those stationary-table-booths (or those crazy plastic patio chairs everybody uses in the summer), I ask to be reseated because I don’t fit. If I need a seatbelt extender, I ask for one. I really try not to be apologetic about it, either – the problem is not me.

  7. Posted February 21, 2008 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I stand tall, smile, and don’t back down! I used to try to minimize the space I took up in say a grocery store so others could get by…but I realized that they weren’t doing that! Why should I?! So I stopped. And now when a little kid says, “You’re fat!” I reply, “And I have red hair!”
    I would love to be a part of a fat dance class/troupe. Anyone know of one near San Jose, CA?

  8. TR
    Posted February 21, 2008 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    I think that nonapologetic attitude is really important, right along with not trying to minimize yourself. I realized I had a tendency, even in an empty elevator, to squinch myself back into a corner – not to create room for other people but just to take up as little room as possible. Breaking that habit was a big deal.

    Bigmovesbabe, I wish there were Big Moves classes in every city.

  9. Posted February 21, 2008 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    You know what? I am leary of saying Roth looks good on television and that THAT is why people listen to her. Because Rachel and Mo looked awesome on television, too!

    Oh, absolutely. But TV producers seem to be seduced by a very specific physical type coupled with a certain officious attitude, and no actual knowledge of the subject matter being spewed about seems to be required if you possess this combination (and note that the officious attitude is just as important here as the long blonde hair and long legs, as I know women who have those physical attributes who’d never be accepted as self-styled “experts” because they’re not smug enough).

  10. kira
    Posted February 21, 2008 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    TR – I’m sorry, that didn’t come out right; thanks for calling me on it. I didn’t mean in any way to imply that she was the only one, nor the only body type, that looks good on television. What I attempted to get at was what Meowser stated better than I – her conforming to that physical type (tall, lean, blond) that is glorified today, along with the attitude.

  11. littlem
    Posted February 21, 2008 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    “American culture celebrates “normal”: people who are slender in size & small-to-middling in brain power. ”

    Nice. Nail, hammer, bang.

    Bigmovesbabe, when are y’all coming back to teach class in NYC? Did you get my email about lessons before group class?

  12. Posted February 21, 2008 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a truncated version of an answer I gave on bigfatblog when Paul posed a similar question about offline activisim a couple of years back:-

    “I do stuff offline and have, on and off, since the mid-80s. I have never been able to find a community like this in the UK, and knowing I’m not entirely alone any more makes me want to get out there and kick some serious butt again. As I’ve said elsewhere, clothes are my thing. (Some may find this a weird concept but, as a fat woman, I consider dressing with panache to be a form of activism in itself). And for anyone who doesn’t know this, the choice in the UK is absolutely parlous. So I write to shops and manufacturers with the intention of improving matters and, very occasionally, get listened to. One chain, (Monsoon), even used me as a consultant for a bit. (From only going up to a size 16, they now go up to a size 22 so that’s progress of a sort). I also write to magazines, newspapers and radio journalists challenging features I find patronising and/or offensive, (to date, I have only ever received two actual apologies, though I did make it into the Daily Mail as a leading letter challenging Giles Coren’s assertion fat people should pay higher tax). I will also report any obnoxiously anti-fat advertising campaigns to the relevant authorities. Like others, I have handed diet pamphlets thrust at me on the street straight back to the person in question; I’m very vocal about fat acceptance and won’t stand for fat people being insulted in my hearing. When dealing with the medical profession, I make my anti-dieting stance very clear and always ask to be treated as I am, rather than how the doctor would prefer me to be in an ideal world.
    In addition to the above, I write fiction and my heroines are always fat. And should I ever become a big, famous author who gets to sell film rights I will INSIST on fat actresses being chosen to play my fat characters – not big-box-office, dieted-to-a-crisp starlets putting on two ounces and a padded bra in the name of method acting.”

    As an addendum I’d like to add that I’ve been seriously bogged down by a commissioned non-fiction, non-fat-related writing project for quite a few months and don’t expect to be shot of it until the start of next year. Once I am, it’s my intention to become more consistently active, especially in regard to the UK fashion industry.

  13. AnnieMcPhee
    Posted February 21, 2008 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Can’t answer the rest yet (gotta think) but as to looking good on TV, I seriously, honestly, truly – when they were sitting there on stage, did not find MeMe to be anything special to look at. Whereas on the other hand, both my husband and I saw Rachel when she first appeared (no offense to Mo – we hadn’t seen you yet!) said “Dam, she’s *adorable*.” When MeMe appeared with Kelly Bliss and Joy Nash and the asshat said, “Well if I had to say who was healthiest of the three of you, I’d have to say MeMe” I was like – is that guy blind? Joy just freaking *glows.* She radiates health and youth and vibrance. MeMe…doesn’t.

    Ok I don’t want to get all “look-ist” here, but those were my true reactions to those things. Television is bullshit.

  14. Posted February 23, 2008 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I think we have to answer every piece of bullshit that gets spewed out at us.

    This morning I heard “Dr.” Nancy Snyderman (??) on the Saturday edition of “Good Morning America” say that for women (!!!) obesity puts you at risk of “greater secretion of the stress hormone cortisol.”

    Uh, excuse me? I thought cortisol is what CAUSED the body to store belly fat, and I thought it was caused by STRESS — like the kind you get when so-called DOCTORS on TELEVISION tell unsuspecting women that if they would just stop stuffing themselves with donuts they wouldn’t have that damn cortisol problem.

    I’m writing GMA a letter with accompanying study links.

  15. Posted February 24, 2008 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    “If medicine in the US moves to a more socialized system, I don’t actually think it will be any better or worse than it is for fat people right here and now. We’re already being denied treatments based on our weight.

    But the more we speak up and fight against that, the less likely it is to happen.”

    By “fight against that” do you mean fight against being denied treatments, or fight against a move to socialised medicine? The first time I read it, I thought you meant fight against socialised medicine. Then I re-read and thought you meant speak up against being denied treatment. Then I was entirely confused.

  16. Posted February 24, 2008 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for asking Rebekka – I should have been more clear!

    I mean that we need to continue to speak up and demand adequate treatment. We need to stop allowing ourselves, generally out of shame, to be pushed around by the medical establishment. I freaked out this weekend because I read an entry in a thyroid issues community talking about how a doctor chalked brain fog up to the patient being fat. Apparently, according to this practicing medical professional, you can’t get enough oxygen to your brain if you are overweight.

    That sort of thing shouldn’t happen. And when it DOES happen, we should be raising an enormous and very loud stink.

    I am actually kind of okay with the idea of socialized medicine. I know it would have drawbacks (long waits for non-crucial treatments being one big concern) but at least treatment would be available for everyone. This hits me kind of personally at the moment – I got laid off at the beginning of February and my benefits run out in 5 days. I am unsure how I am going to afford the prescription medications that allow me to breath in something resembling a normal fashion. *worried grin* I am looking into ordering meds from Canada, even. And I have seen too many friends get way too sick because they don’t have insurance and can’t go to the doctor, you know?

  17. Feral
    Posted February 25, 2008 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    hehee. I found a pic of Meme Roth running while wearing a bikini. If you’re ever bored and/or feeling evil, please allow me to point out all of her figure flaws – there are many – she’s what the bodybuilding world calls a “skinny fat” and well… I think she looks freaking terrible. So there you go… even though she’s “thin” she still looks bad and well that isn’t taking personality into account…

  18. Posted February 25, 2008 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    littlem, sorry for the delay! I was with a Big Moves contingent in Montreal this weekend, where we made appearances at 2 fundraisers with good queer/fringe-type groups. We’re going to be back in NYC on Friday, March 7, with another intro/beginning jazz class. I didn’t get your note about lessons before group class; please send it to me again, because it’s definitely do-able, with enough notice.

    notblueatall: we do have a branch in the San Francisco Bay area, and they frequently have workshops there. Visit us at http://www.bigmoves.org to see our coverage, and event calendar, and our plans for global domination. You might have to travel a little from San Jose, but if you can do it, it’s worth the trip.

    I wanted to add that another thing I do is talk about this shit as much as possible with the dancers in Big Moves Boston. Some are radical fatties, others are baby fatties (new to the movement), others are not politicized at all and have varying amounts of self-loathing left, still others are fatlets (thin- to average-sized) and have varying amounts of privileged oblivion to issues of size acceptance. So I can’t make any assumptions about whoever I’m talking to. Next week we’re going to be holding the first of our in-house size acceptance training sessions: two hours of experiential training and discussion about body and size, both within Big Moves (because adding non-fatties to the mix can be a little challenging!) and in the larger world.

    Man, I love this work, but it can be a bitch!

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