brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)
[personal profile] brigid

Mirrored from brigidkeely.com/wordpress.

Someone on a feminist website recently posted a bit about the BMI and ended it with the admonition that fat people should just put down the donuts, a line that was cliche years ago and thinking that is, frankly, dangerous and hateful. I mean, seriously, if it was that easy to lose weight there wouldn’t be so many fat people and the dieting industry wouldn’t be raking in the money hand over fist the way it is. But it’s easy (lazy) thinking that fat people are just weak and immoral and more in love with shoving food into their gaping maws than being slender, and it paints thin people as morally superior since they can just step away from the food and not indulge. Why yes, there is a reason that it’s bad to be fat, it’s bad to be female, and it’s fucking awful to be fat and female. This ties into the whole puritanical don’t-have-pleasure-ever women shouldn’t lust after or enjoy ANYTHING (sex, alcohol, food in general, “decadent” food in specific, chocolate in specific, shopping in general, shoes, money, power, respect) mindset so very prevalent.

I digress a bit.

One of the arguments against fat people being healthy or active is that every single fat person it’s mentioned who is fat and vegetarian, is fat and exercises, is fat and jogs, is fat and participates in triathlons, is fat and hikes, is fat and mountain climbs, is fat and swims, is fat and rows boats, etc is that that particular fat person is a statistical outlier. Sure, THAT fat person acts in ways that are healthy and active and is still fat, but that’s the exception to the rule! Fat people in general are ticking time bombs of obese ill-health, and it is ALL. THEIR. FAULT. If only they’d just PUT DOWN THE DAMN DONUTS and BACK AWAY FROM THE TABLE. On the flip side of that, however, nobody ever says that thin people who are completely sedentary and/or eat nothing but junk food are statistical outliers. They are given an automatic pass for having an acceptable body shape, just as the fat people are automatically damned for having an unacceptable body shape. And yes, “overly” or “excessively” thin people are damned and told to eat a sandwich.

Meanwhile, the USA is a country with a great deal of poverty and many many people– many of them fat– who go to bed hungry each night. It’s a country where many children cannot count on having enough food to eat, where it can be difficult to find fruits and vegetables or anything that doesn’t come in a box or can and loaded with preservatives and additives. It’s a country where a person can be both overweight and malnourished at the same time. But with all the focus on OH MY GOD FAT PEOPLE ARE EVERYWHERE there’s very little attention paid to the fact that these fat people are often starving/malnourished or came from a childhood of food scarcity, and that the body’s natural reaction to starvation/malnourishment is to cling to fat– cling to iiiiiiiit!!!– and that it’s not an issue of overindulgence at all.

Because it’s easier to shame people than it is to address a serious social injustice. And it’s easier to point fingers at people who are lesser than it is to examine critical fallacies in the medical system. And it’s really easy to forget that the BMI was rewritten so that literally overnight a bunch of people were suddenly classified as overweight who before hadn’t been, and that likewise the critical numbers for cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar have been rewritten so that more people now have medical conditions they wouldn’t have been labeled with a few years ago. Explosive epidemic? Not really. Just a re-writing of criteria.

But that doesn’t write headlines, sell diet products and plans, and make people into disgusting non-humans so, you know, it’s not talked about that much.

8/9/10 23:56 (UTC)
lassarina: I'm not coming out until the stupid people have gone away.  ....I can wait all day. (Default)
[personal profile] lassarina
That article. Judas Priest, that article. I could have spit acid with sheer rage, and I admit to having mentally launched some very uncomplimentary and highly unfeminist epithets at the author of that piece.

The sardonic, vicious part of me points out that those rewritings of BMI and critical numbers? Have undoubtedly massively benefited the one union no one remembers to talk about (the AMA*) and Big Pharma. See my surprised face. It is extra surprised. No, really, it is.

*Funny how people who work manual labour jobs are totally lazy shills who want to be paid for doing nothing, but a doctors' union is thoroughly unremarkable. Compare to the attitudes to the nurses' union. Then contemplate traditional gender roles in medicine. Anybody surprised? I'm not!

uh...hi, apparently my introduction to you is soapboxing! :D Hi.

But seriously, I mean, I admit that I possess and benefit from thin privilege, and I am one of those thin people with a sedentary lifestyle. (That happens, in IT.) I still have fits of panic when people start talking about BMI, and weight loss, and conventional notions of female beauty, because I am not in the perfect mold, and oh my gosh is my tummy showing, and did these pants always make my backside look like that, and so on and so on. And the thing is, I don't even get the worst of it. If this is what the social message does to me, what must it do to people who fit the expected conventional mold even less?

I don't understand this social construct that America has built around self-hatred and discontent. I really don't.

9/9/10 03:55 (UTC)
timeasmymeasure: from the gaga/beyonce "telephone" video (beyonce: stop calling)
[personal profile] timeasmymeasure
Oh don't even get me going. My rage quota has been more than filled for the entire week.

It's also a country where everything that can't be mass produced/packaged and preserved is FREAKING EXPENSIVE for a lot of people.

9/9/10 06:13 (UTC)
timeasmymeasure: kerry washington with a rose held right below her lips (Default)
[personal profile] timeasmymeasure
I suppose it does depend on perspective. The frozen veg is always expensive where I live, I suppose because the expectation is it's pre-cut/pre-washed/etc? Good fresh fruit and veg, by good I mean the kind that won't go bad tomorrow, has always been more expensive for me. I've also found that organic food, which would be best IMHO, is always far above my ability to buy it with any kind of regularity. Where I've lived, if it's not corn or corn product, it's going to cost.

Experiences vary.

10/9/10 11:07 (UTC)
amadi: A bouquet of dark purple roses (Default)
[personal profile] amadi
There was a time about 2-3 years ago when the one pound bags of the most common frozen veg (broccoli, corn, peas, peas and carrots mix) at WalMart were indeed 88ยข each. The less common veggies or the more labor intensive to harvest, like lima beans, green beans, cauliflower and spinach were $1.08. That price slowly started inching up by 3 and 4 cent increments; when I last shopped at Walmart (middle class privilege = I can boycott Walmart now) in December of last year, that one pound bag of broccoli was now $1.03.

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