Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Fatties are Coming, the Fatties are Coming!

To quote from a press release just issued by NAAFA, the international, premier fat rights organization: "Living Large: Obesity in America is a collaboration between NPR and the Public Insight Network from American Public Media. They have featured a number of articles about being fat in America. They have made available a public survey for you to share your story 'if obesity has touched your life.'"


An opportunity to tell media about fatties? Sign me up! I eagerly clicked on the NAAFA-provided link to the Public Insight Network and shared with them my, ahem, concerns about the (unscientific and irrational) "obesity"-inspired, moral panic tsunami currently crashing down on us Westerners. I am only too happy to share my responses to their questionnaire and urge all three peeps who read this blog to follow my example.  


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What conversations do you have - or avoid having - about weight?


As a sociologist who studies bodies and is a member of size-rights organizations, I have conversations every day about weight. Depending on who I'm with, the conversations can take one of two forms: 1. Introducing people to the idea that (gasp!) fat is just another diverse body type and that fat does not necessarily equal unhealthy, and 2. Celebrating body diversity with other fat acceptance activists and exploring with them an understanding of our common marginalized statuses as larger persons.


How, if at all, has our country's collective weight gain affected what you buy, how you travel or how you work and play?

A common torture device for
all peeps over 200 pounds
I imagine our country's collective weight gain has more to do with ever-changing measures of fatness and our increasing life expectancy than with people's expanding waistbands. That said, as a fat person who really enjoys little things like, you know, having clothing, traveling, and being able to fit into the world around me, I appreciate the gradual awakening of businesses and governments to the reality of multiple body sizes.


What, if any, other changes to your daily life have you noticed that you didn't mention above?

Having more clothing options is pretty cool. I wish businesses everywhere would stop wringing their hands over those (media-hyped!) oh-so-scary fatties and supply us with even more of those larger-sized items and services we need, desire, and deserve.

Also, not so incidentally, I wish we had more legal rights for persons of various heights and weights. I would love to know it's illegal for my employer to approach me and say, "Hey, Elle, you're too fat. Hit the bricks, sister." However, this kind of discrimination sadly isn't illegal in California (well, except for a couple of cities).


A fat monster that, at this very
moment, is coming to eat your
children and force-feed you lard
Anything else you'd like to tell us about this topic?

Why is everyone so terrified of fat folks? Kinda silly, isn't it, when we're facing 12% unemployment in California, 23% of American kids are impoverished, and Latina women still earn about 50 cents on every White man's earned dollar?

Bad science completely aside, I will perhaps start taking this whole "obesity scare" (booga, booga!) more seriously once we stop singling out the very visible fatties and start having conversations about the serious health threats of stress, for example, or the astronomical rates of physical violence -- primarily perpetrated by males! -- in the U.S.. (Perhaps we should have some kind of surgery -- a testicle band, maybe, or perhaps another kind of testosterone-loss surgery -- to help alleviate the problem?!)






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