PostBourgie: The Podcast #9: The Notorious B.M.I.

PostBourgie: The Podcast #9: The Notorious B.M.I.

This week, Shani, Jamelle, Monica and Nicole discuss Monica’s controversial post on the body mass index at Feministe, Jamelle’s much-discussed review of Markos Moulitsas‘s book, American Taliban, and then they try to figure out why POTUS’s casual gear is so sorry.

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78 comments to PostBourgie: The Podcast #9: The Notorious B.M.I.

  • McDevite

    Hey, something’s gone wrong with your iTunes podcast feed.

  • Thank goodness that you didn’t have a single person who disagrees with Monica about fat issues on this podcast! That way you can all agree with each other that you’re all absolutely correct about everything, and everyone who disagrees with you is a contemptible idiot.

    This podcast really felt like I was listening to Foxnews.

  • I, for one, appreciated Monica’s clarification. Not that I agreed with the Feministe commentators or anything…it was just a mature move to clarify the position with spoken words.

  • There were some particulars I disagreed with — for example, Jamelle’s blanket statement that slender is healthy, fat is unhealthy. In fact, on average Americans who are “overweight” have lower mortality than those with below-normal weights; people who are thin are just as likely to die as people who are very obese. (Reference.)

    Another example: I also think that one of the female speakers — Monica — made dubious arguments when she was discussing race, mortality and fat. It’s true that women of color in the US are more likely to be fat — but the statistical link between fat in women and mortality, such as it is, exists for white women, not for black women. On average, black women who are “overweight” have a lower mortality risk than black women who are “normal” weight, and have a MUCH lower mortality risk than black women who are below “normal” weight.

    That said, there really were very few “particulars” to disagree with; most of what I heard was too generalized and nonspecific to be argued with effectively. What I mainly take issue with is the tone of smug contempt the podcasters had when discussing fat activists. It made me feel as if there’s no hope of trying to have a dialog with anyone here, since you consider everyone who disagrees with you to be intellectually worthless.

    • russ

      The paper you cited was interesting to me so I decided to read it, and then I did a quick medicinal literature search. It seems that this underweight death toll is actually just an artifact from smokers dieing from lung cancer.

      http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/156/9/958
      “Total mortality was increased in obese and underweight men but not in women. The increased mortality in overweight men was mainly attributable to CHD and, in underweight men, to early mortality and especially lung cancer mortality among smokers.”

      The following study which separated both smokers and non-smokers found being underweight has no effect if you aren’t smoking. It also noted increased risk of death correlated with obesity regardless of skin-color, (which is a terrible proxy for genetic background.) I find this paper more convincing because of its large sample size, and longitudinal nature which I prefer papers based on statistical estimates.

      http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa055643
      “Results
      During a maximum follow-up of 10 years through 2005, 61,317 participants (42,173
      men and 19,144 women) died. Initial analyses showed an increased risk of death for
      the highest and lowest categories of BMI among both men and women, in all racial
      or ethnic groups, and at all ages. When the analysis was restricted to healthy people
      who had never smoked, the risk of death was associated with both overweight and
      obesity among men and women. In analyses of BMI during midlife (age of 50 years)
      among those who had never smoked, the associations became stronger, with the risk
      of death increasing by 20 to 40 percent among overweight persons and by two to at
      least three times among obese persons; the risk of death among underweight persons
      was attenuated.
      Conclusions
      Excess body weight during midlife, including overweight, is associated with an increased
      risk of death.”

      • Russ –

        With all due respect, you obviously didn’t read the paper I cited. It found a significant increased relative risk of being underweight after controlling for the effects of smoking.

        The study you describe as “more convincing’ had a large sample size, but the data is self-reported rather than measured directly, and their response rate was only 18%. NHAMES, which the CDC study I linked to relied on, has been seen for decades as the single best source of health statistics in the USA; it is only because NHAMES’ data doesn’t support the preferred conclusion that people are suddenly claiming that NHAMES is not a reliable source of data.

        More importantly, the data of the study you cited actually supported the CDC study I cited, showing that the risk of death is lowest for “overweight” people. To come to the conclusion that being overweight is associated with a higher risk of death — contrary to their data — they had to rely on a number of dubious cherry-picking procedures, such as picking only the healthiest (i.e., heaviest) group of “normal” weight people for comparison, rather than comparing the “normal” weight group as a whole. The most dubious cherry-picking is that their strongest findings weren’t based on what subjects weighed when surveyed; rather, they were based on people’s recollections of what they weighed when they were fifty years old. (Since subjects were drawn from an association of retired people, nearly all were significantly older than fifty at the time of being surveyed).

        In general, when a study has to work that hard to find a desired conclusion, it should be viewed skeptically.

        • Russ

          I didn’t see much respect in your post but that is ok. I’m sorry if you don’t like the papers I’ve posted but we can have our differences in research standards. I read a lot of papers in my life and I may just have gotten a bit picky. In my work I always try to avoid attribution of causes in statistical work, which is why I’m not a fan of studies which attempt to do so. Mostly because the interaction of factors tends to be non-linear but that is my personal preference. (Disclamer, I work in cancer drug research so it could just be that this is standard practice in the public health field.) I am particularly bothered by how in your paper they can control for smoking (which I would expect has non-linear interactions with BMI, yet they use a straight up multiplicative risk), and come out with a number completely attributive to BMI. If they had a value added study or something akin I think I would grant it a bit more validity. I’m sorry I didn’t outright state this when I first responded but when I say control for smoking, I mean actually separate the data based upon smokers, and non-smokers not attempt to attribute expected cause of death based upon smoking status.

          • Russ

            When I wrote value-added I mistyped, I meant to say cause of death as reported. Sorry scatter brained today. And yes I know that the nejm paper is also Attributive, but I find that in connection with cause of death information in the other paper I posted significant. Although by itself I would find it quite circumspect.

          • I’m sorry if you don’t like the papers I’ve posted but we can have our differences in research standards.

            Russ, imagine there are two studies that measure weight and health.

            One study measures weight by saying “ten to twenty years ago, when you were fifty, how much did you weigh?”

            The other study measures weight by saying “please step on this scale so that the technician may take your weight.”

            If you didn’t know anything else about each study, would you honestly say that the first study has a method of measuring weight that was anywhere near as good as the second study’s?

  • Just to be clear, “smug contempt” is a character I play on the podcast.

    • Sorry, dude. I love your writing, but on fat issues, in this podcast, you and your co-podders didn’t sound either knowledgeable or open to respectfully disagreeing.

      • R.A.B.

        I mean, I thought that Monica’s critique of fat activists was largely to underscore that, for as many people in that comments section accused her concern-trolling on behalf of the overweight and obese generally, some fat activists are to some great degree concern-trolls on behalf of people who are overweight and obese because they don’t have access to health care resources or because they’ve never had good health education rather than because they’ve consciously adopted fat as a lifestyle in spite of those things.

  • I appreciated the discussion of race and class when it comes to health, BMI, and critique of the fat acceptance movement. If research on increasing BMI, especially in poor communities and with people of color, leads to better access to healthy foods (eradicating food deserts), healthier options for free lunch programs and calls for increased exercise and activity (as well as options for this in poor communities), how can that be bad?

    I checked out the article ampersand linked to. I think his takeaway is misleading. The authors did not say being obese was not a health risk, but that mortality at higher BMI rates might be lower than expected due to better health care, especially for heart disease, nowadays. Second, the authors didn’t discuss “thinness” (which is rather subjective), but a more objective measure of underweight by BMI standards. To be underweight is also unhealthy, there are problems with both extremes.

    I’m not one to fat shame. I’ve been told by doctors that I should exercise more and lose weight. It never made me feel good, and I didn’t do anything to seriously lose weight until much later. I met my goal and feel much healthier now than I did two years ago at my heaviest weight. Diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease are prevalent in my family. I didn’t want to add to my risk factors.

  • I’m impressed with how clear Monica is about the various dynamics at play in the uproar over her original post, given how over the top it got. Conversely, I am uncomfortable with a blanket dismissal of her points about race and class and their relation to fat. If fat activists comment here I’d be interested to hear them respond to the fact that poor, minority communities are disproportionately marketed low-quality, high-calorie food and drink. I don’t have to look further than my own (once-poor, immigrant) family whose diabetics outnumber fingers I have to count them to see the deadly consequences of that dynamic.

    I’d never argue for humiliating anyone over their body mass,and many of the stories re-told in the context of the fat acceptance movement are heartrending. But it is not unreasonable to restate Jamelle’s point that it’s a cultural construction to assert that there is *no* relationship between fat and health. Of course there is. And yeah, I have struggled with my weight in my life. It took me years of experimenting to improve my nutrition –but for my cousins and I it was a powerful move to break with the way our parents generation ate and take control of our health. Part of that involved losing weight.

    • If fat activists comment here I’d be interested to hear them respond to the fact that poor, minority communities are disproportionately marketed low-quality, high-calorie food and drink.

      I agree. And I’m entirely in favor of activism intended to give more people access to fresh, good-quality food and (even more important, imo) opportunities for exercise.

      I’m a little skeptical — well, very skeptical — when people claim that if only we had access to healthy food and exercise in poor minority communities, then obesity rates would just melt away. It’s not that simple.

      What happens if we do significantly improve people’s diets and exercise levels, but obesity rates go down only marginally? If our primary measure of health is obesity, any program that genuinely improves health, but fails to reduce obesity by much, will be considered a failure.

      I’m all for making healthy food and exercise more accessible, especially to poor communities of color. But framing these programs as anti-obesity programs both sets the programs up for failure when obesity rates fail to go down, and further stigmatizes fat people. I’d rather have the exact same programs, but call them “healthy America” initiatives instead.

      • @Ampersand
        I appreciate that you addressed my question but your response speaks to what I see as the essential logic problem at the center of the Fat Acceptance movement. FA activists argue–and you have reiterated several times here–that there is *no correlation whatsoever* between being fat and overall health and that one may get plenty of exercise and eat in a healthy way and still be very fat. In your response you imagine a scenario in which poor, minority communities get plenty of exercise and eat healthy food and yet still have rising rates of obesity. Outside of a small, particular set of health concerns which might cause that to occur there is only one reason why that might happen: over eating. It is as possible to over eat healthy foods as it is junk food. And while (barring disease) better nutrition always results in better health, if you take in more calories than you burn excess fat is the inevitable result. Bodies do not generate fat out of the ether. Even if we control for different body types–which we absolutely should–the math doesn’t lie. But none of the rhetoric around Monica’s post at Feministe addressed the basic issue of portion size, which is completely, ridiculously out of control in the US. And that is as dangerous for poor, minority communities as the easy availability of low quality food.

        Now I have absolutely no interest in challenging your belief system about any of this. And I have no investment in food policing anyone, ever. Eat whatever you want in whatever quantity you can afford. Knock yourself out. I only have two issues here:

        1) In my view the blanket dismissal of Monica’s perspective at Feminsiste has a racial component that is wholly unacknowledged. Unless I am mistaken the entire point of having guest bloggers there is to open that community up to perspectives that aren’t generally part of the discourse. The gleeful malice of the comments (which I re-read last night) were characterized by white fat activists screeching that a black woman who’d articulated a perspective based on her experience was a “bigot”. I never fail to be surprised by the enthusiasm of certain white people for the language of race activism–as long as they can point it at a person of color. Never have I heard the word “privilege” wielded with such gusto…

        I am sure that there are FA activists of color–but we didn’t here from any over at Feministe, did we? That is not accidental. The aggrieved tone of those responses have the unique texture of White People Feeling Victimized. Not a good look.

        2) I am disturbed by the ironic disparity between the enthusiasm of FA activists in the Feministe community for the rhetoric of racial exclusion and the outrage prompted by a different perspective articulated by an actual woman of color. It was perfectly clear to me–and even more so after listening to the podcast–where Monica was coming from based on her concerns about the intersections of race, health and access in relation to FA rhetoric. I am reminded here of the (overwhelmingly white) drug legalization movement, which makes some good points but never, ever addresses the way that drugs have decimated communities of color. I think intersectional understandings are always best, which accounts for my growing distaste for over-deteremined identity politics. But the zealotry on display in the FA comments at Feminsiste completely prevented any attempt at intersectionality.

        And that is not accidental either.

        • quadmoniker

          I am not black. (I know this is confusing because I blog at PB, but I try every so often to make that clear without being annoying and, in every comment, saying “as a white person. . .” ) But you are right about one thing: it’s a long-standing criticism that the voice of a lot of feminists blogs, and feminism in general, is the voice of white middle class women. I think that we see that manifested in a lot of the FA/HAES movement. I did grow up in a rural, poor community, and the issues facing men and women there are not the result of a fat shaming society. there is, weirdly, more pressure there to eat poorly and not exercise than there is pressure to conform to mainstream standards of beauty, if that makes sense: men and women generally accept that it’s no big deal if you become obese, and that those things are generally beyond your control. (i often run and walk when i go home and people go crazy because they think it’s so weird. people stop their cars and ask if i need a ride. The response is often, too, “you weren’t athletic in high school!” in other words, active is something you are or aren’t, and it’s not something you can urge yourself to be.) that community suffers the opposite problem of upper-middle class America, and I think the FA/HAES community doesn’t see themselves as coming from a privileged place in this regard.

          • @quadmoniker
            Eep. Sorry… I didn’t make the “Monica”/Quadmoniker connection. My bad. Nevertheless, I think my point about the rhetoric employed by Outraged White Ladies (see also: PETA) is problematic. And your particular ethnic affiliation aside, I stand by my reading of this dynamic at Feministe.

            On a more personal note, it seems that the way you grew up and the way my family did are similar–and I’m not black either. I think class is as important as anything in determining access to education re: nutrition. And I can absolutely identify with the weird pressure to conform to community standards–even the unhealthy ones. When I became a vegetarian–then a vegan–years ago my Arab family was completely scandalized. My brother actually said to me, “WE don’t eat like this!” And I said “We? Eat however you want…” Part of my disinterest in playing food police stems from years of having people confess their food “sins” to me when I was the only vegan at the table. Contrary to the judgmental vegan stereotype I often found myself fleeing from people who were a little too eager to talk with me about the way THEY ate.

            @Ampersand
            As a movement “Fat Acceptance” makes about as much sense to me as “Sunburn Acceptance” but, as amusing as it is to be considered a “Diet Advocate”, I have no wish to argue with you about it. I suppose the difference between us is that I think that fat is something you HAVE and you seem to think that fat is something you ARE. People have a right to identify however they like but when a variable bodily state is compared (by a group of white people) to a racial, ethnic or sexual identity I can’t help but side-eye that, sorry.

        • Joseph, most of what I’d say in response to your post is either covered by my response to R.A.B. (below), or by Monica’s response to you.

          I did, however, want to point out that I never said “no correlation whatsoever,” the quote you mistakenly attributed to me. Nor did anyone on the Feministe thread say “no correlation whatsoever.” As far as I can tell, the only people to say that were the folks on the PostBourgie podcast — and none of them are fat activists.

          So I think you and the podcasters are beating up a straw-fatactivist. Rather than dealing with the actual, nuanced arguments made by fat activists, you’re attacking a simplistic caricature of what we say.

          I do think there is a correlation between weight and health; on average, I think being extremely fat or being extremely thin is associated with health problems. (Note, however, that “on average” doesn’t mean “in all cases”).

          I also think that the strength of the link has been much exaggerated, for various reasons we could discuss if you want.

          I do, however, agree that “that one may get plenty of exercise and eat in a healthy way and still be very fat.” There are plenty of fat people who live far healthier lives than the average American does, but who are assumed to be unhealthy because they’re fat.

          That said, there are also people (of all weights, including fat people) who don’t eat “healthy” food and don’t exercise much, and if that’s a real choice (rather than a choice made for them by scarcity) then there’s nothing wrong with that. No one is obliged to be as physically healthy as they can possibly be.

          • quadmoniker

            In fairness to Jamelle, I just want to point out that that’s exactly what he said during the podcast — that generally these things are true — and took pains to avoid making blanket generalizations. Yet you accused him of that in a previous comment, when you took exception to “Jamelle’s blanket statement that slender is healthy, fat is unhealthy.”

            • I’m sorry, but I think what I wrote must not have been clear. I don’t think Jamelle and I are saying exactly the same thing.

              If I understood the podcast correctly, the consensus among the four podcasters seemed to be that fat is usually always a sign of poor health, and that healthy fat people are exceptions. One podcaster used the word “outliers” multiple times to describe both healthy fat people, and unhealthy thin people (!), and the other podcasters seemed to agree.

              In contrast, I’d say that usually a person’s weight alone tells you nothing about their health. On average, I think being extremely fat or extremely thin is associated with health problems; however, most fat people aren’t “extremely” fat — what fat activists sarcastically call DEATHFAT, and what you might call “morbidly obese” — and most thin people aren’t “extremely” thin.

              So although I do agree that there’s a correlation between weight and health, I think the correlation is vastly exaggerated, and for the vast majority of people you don’t know anything about someone’s health just because you know their weight and height.

              Is that any clearer?

              That said, you’re right that Jamelle did hedge his statement with an “on average,” and I was wrong to suggest otherwise. Jamelle, I apologize for that.

              • So although I do agree that there’s a correlation between weight and health, I think the correlation is vastly exaggerated, and for the vast majority of people you don’t know anything about someone’s health just because you know their weight and height.

                On rereading, I’m not comfortable with this paragraph I wrote, because there are some extremely thin and extremely fat people who are apparently healthy in every other way and live long lives.

                What I should have written is this:

                So although I do agree that there’s a correlation between weight and health, I think the correlation is vastly exaggerated, and is mainly significant at the tail ends of the distribution. And even for people who weigh a lot more or less than average, it’s necessary to know more about than weight and height to be able to say anything about their health.

      • R.A.B.

        I think I don’t understand this response; it seems to me like you’re asking, what happens if people start burning significantly more calories and start consuming significantly less calories and yet only lose marginal amounts of weight overall. I’m not sure that I understand the logic you’re coming from with that. Weight gain/loss is, at least largely, a matter of math.

        • Weight gain/loss is, at least largely, a matter of math.

          Too many diet advocates still believe in the myth and that weight is a simple matter of input and output. But real human bodies are far more complex systems.

          If you and I eat the identical calories, and then do the identical exercise routine, it doesn’t follow that we’re going to retain exactly identical calories at the end of the process. It’s possible that my body will store some of the calories your body will decide to excrete (or vice versa), for example.

          From an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine (emphasis added):

          Many people cannot lose much weight no matter how hard they try, and promptly regain whatever they do lose…

          Why is it that people cannot seem to lose weight, despite the social pressures, the urging of their doctors, and the investment of staggering amounts of time, energy, and money? The old view that body weight is a function of only two variables – the intake of calories and the expenditure of energy – has given way to a much more complex formulation involving a fairly stable set point for a person’s weight that is resistant over short periods to either gain or loss, but that may move with age. …Of course, the set point can be overridden and large losses can be induced by severe caloric restriction in conjunction with vigorous, sustained exercise, but when these extreme measures are discontinued, body weight generally returns to its preexisting level.

          So I think either you have to conclude that the doctor editing the weight issue of one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world is an idiot who has no clue about how bodies regulate weight (and ditto for the many medical researchers who’d agree with his statement); or you have to admit that your view of how weight loss works is not, in fact, the only view that a reasonable, educated person could hold.

          If you think that reasonable amount of exercise and a healthy diet can turn most fat people into non-fat people, then please: cite a single peer-reviewed scientific study demonstrating that over the long term (let’s say, five years or more). After literally thousands of attempts, afaik there is still not one weight-loss plan that has ever been shown to accomplish that in a legitimate study. Why do you think that is?

          • R.A.B.

            I understand this, but my point is that you’re making the abstract an enemy of the practical. The idea that weight-loss, in a broadly encompassing sense, isn’t easy or possible to sustain for many people isn’t a compelling argument against the idea that individuals should at least try to establish/maintain healthy weight levels for themselves.

          • R.A.B.

            …or that a society should generally encourage people to avoid incurring excessive health risks for themselves if they can help it just because some people very well can’t help it.

            • piny

              Fat activists don’t argue that people shouldn’t eat healthy food and get as much exercise as will allow them to maintain good cardiovascular and general health.

              They do argue–correctly–that the current focus on weight loss is not only distracting from these more crucial metrics but dangerous to most people who try to lose weight. Weight loss isn’t just impossible for most people–it’s untenable. The reason diets don’t work is that they don’t work: our bodies haven’t evolved to suffer the simple arithmetic of caloric restriction.

              Emphasizing weight loss over healthy eating and activity makes people less likely to engage in healthy diet/exercise practices. It makes them more likely to take weight-loss stimulants and skip meals. It makes them more likely to starve themselves. It makes them more likely to do things that damage their bodies in the long term. Doctors don’t inspect weight loss too closely, especially when the patient is fat.

    • If fat activists comment here I’d be interested to hear them respond to the fact that poor, minority communities are disproportionately marketed low-quality, high-calorie food and drink. I don’t have to look further than my own (once-poor, immigrant) family whose diabetics outnumber fingers I have to count them to see the deadly consequences of that dynamic.

      I too am concerned with issues of race and class, I have to declare that I do not live in the US, I live in the UK, so I cannot comment on America.

      However I’d like people like you who keep making this kind of point to acknowlege that all that you’ve said, whether I agree with interpretation or not, has happened whilst fat people are hated into the ground. OK?

      Funding for the obesity industry has exploded and it hasn’t produced anything that can make fat people thin without destroying their health. Why are you arguing with FA rather than them and the government, if you think effective treatments are necessary?

      In order to do that of course, you have to acknowledge the fact that calorie restriction is a failure and you don’t seem to.

      If this was say HIV/AIDS, which also disproportionately affect POC, would you advocate solely for campaigns for sexual abstinence? If funding wasn’t available to even diseminate that message to those communities, would you advocate stigmatization that hurts the health of PWA as something to do with lessening the spread of it?

      Or would you say, why the hell is all the focus of research on how ‘harmful’ HIV/AIDS, then a little on how to make abstinence work better and virtually none on how to find something that works that anyone regardless of race or class can use, if they want/need it?

      What I’m trying to understand is that whilst you keep talking about poor POC, you are behaving in a bourgeois patrician manner yourself with regard to weight and are not thinking through what would actually be practical solutions. I’m sure those people in your family with diabetes rely on things that actually work to treat their conditions.

      You are right that the FA movement has a big problem with class and race, but the answer is to either join in or form an alternative and advocate for effective treatments, if you feel they are needed, and notice and acknowledge there are none, anyone who cannot do the latter, doesn’t care or believe what they are saying.

      • @Wriggles
        I pretty much said what I needed to say already but I just have to be clear… did you just compare being fat to having AIDS?

        Seriously?

        Um, wow.

        • piny

          Look, I had an eating disorder for years and years. My massive health problem, my all-consuming need to hate and hurt my body, was ignored because I was thin and athletic. My recovery has been prolonged and sabotaged over and over again by fatphobic care providers and civilians. I’m not an outlier. Fatphobia is lethal. It prevents fat people and thin people from getting conscientious treatment from physicians, and it makes all of us less likely to treat our bodies with care and respect. I don’t find this comparison histrionic at all. I wish more people were talking about a big variable in studies of health risk and fat: doctors fuck fat people up. They neglect them, shame them, lie to them, and make them less likely to trust medical professionals. I don’t have the figures at my fingertips, but I’m pretty sure lack of access to medical care is a pretty big health risk.

          I think it’s wrong to compare being fat to living with HIV or AIDS–for all the reasons you seem to imply–but I think there are a lot of really good comparisons to make between our attitude towards sex and our attitude towards food. Current beliefs about eating seem to pretty closely parallel current beliefs about fucking: obsession with purity, stigmatization of certain groups and behaviors, ignorance as protection, mechanical knowledge as distraction, self-knowledge as contamination, self-love as weakness. (And, while we’re at it, demonizing activists who demand healthcare with agency.)

          Fatphobic nutrition is pretty similar to abstinence-only sexual education, and it causes a lot of similar problems. Briefly, both models force people to mistreat themselves, and put themselves in danger.

          • I think it’s wrong to compare being fat to living with HIV or AIDS–for all the reasons you seem to imply–but I think there are a lot of really good comparisons to make between our attitude towards sex and our attitude towards food.

            I am not comparing being fat to living with HIV/AIDS. I’m taking on the idea of fatness as a death sentence-as put by those who claim to believe it-and then applying the conclusions they insist follow from their own rationale and applying it to an actual life threatening condition, to show how much sense it makes.

            As you can see, the person putting this argument cannot respond, showing that his fat hating rhetoric is no different to anyone of any other race or creed. It is a belief system that is irrational and illogical, whoever adopts it.

        • I pretty much said what I needed to say already

          As I suspected, full of fat hating hot air, and not much else. I gave you the chance to prove otherwise and you’ve confirmed your no different to fat haters of all creed, class and race.

          did you just compare being fat to having AIDS? Seriously?

          I used HIV/AIDS as an illustrative example. I would ask you a couple of questions, but as I no know that you are not serious, I won’t bother myself.

  • Regarding the dynamic at Feministe:

    I think what happened to Monica on Feministe is similar to what would have happened if a hypothetical guest blogger named Gregory Examplelad had come in arguing that patriarchy hurts men, too, by pointing out that statistically workplace deaths are disproportionately suffered by men, while simultaneously making it clear in his tone that he doesn’t actually have much respect for feminism as a movement.

    If Gregory had done that, he would have faced a similar explosion of anger in the comments, even though his narrow statistical point — men suffer many, many more workplace deaths — is absolutely true and defensible. But Feministe readers wouldn’t have read his statistics narrowly; they would have have recognized it as part of a larger, very common anti-feminist analysis that they’ve faced time and time again, and that they don’t expect to have to face on a feminist blog.

    That doesn’t mean that you can’t talk about male workplace deaths on a feminist blog — I’ve talked about it on my own blog, for example. It does mean that in order to be able to address that issue successfully on a feminist blog, you need to be someone who other feminists find credible.

    I think that a blogger with a known history of pro-fat writing, and lacking Monica’s not-very-well-covered disdain for fat activists, could have made Monica’s narrow point — the BMI, in a hypothetical world in which it is used only for measuring changes in body composition among large populations — without setting off a storm of anger. I think I could have done that, for instance. (Of course, I wouldn’t have in a million years have made Monica’s donut comment.)

    But it would have to come from someone who has credibility among the community to discuss fat issues. To expect to come into a fat-accepting community with an argument like that, and (again) a not-very-hidden disdain for the views of the people there, and not get an angry response, is unreasonable.

    I really don’t think the dynamic is different in any activist community. Credibility matters. And it’s extremely difficult to make an argument like “patriarchy hurts men too” or “it’s time to defend the BMI” — arguments that people have learned, through bitter experience, to associate with attacks — if you’re not part of the community, don’t respect the community, and have never built up any goodwill or credibility in the community.

    • Scipio Africanus

      Bad example. “Patriarchy Hurts Men Too” is a common throwaway remark used *by* many feminists as a silencing technique against those same “concern trolls” you’re referencing.

      • A fair point. Where I wrote the words “patriarchy hurts men too,” please substitute the words “men suffer many, many more workplace deaths,” and then perhaps the comment will work for you.

    • Jeremy

      But Monica was posting at a FEMINIST blog, not a FAT ACCEPTANCE blog. Your hypothetical example isn’t fair to the situation.

      • I think framing it as one or the other isn’t accurate. A community can be both feminist and fat-acceptance; they’re not mutually exclusive traits. (In the feminist blogosphere, they’re very often complimentary traits).

        As this episode has rather conclusively demonstrated, the community at Feministe is predominately pro-fat-acceptance. Also, glancing at Feministe’s “fat” category shows that virtually all their blogging in the last two years touching on fat issues has been pretty aligned with fat-acceptance views. So I think you’re mistaken; Feministe is feminist, but it’s also fat-acceptance.

        (Really, is there a single feminist blog that bothers to have a “fat” category for posts, that isn’t pro-fat-acceptance?)

    • Bad example, Barry. The mistake is the commentariat thinking that every post on Feministe is by an expert on their topic of expertise. There’s no room just to throw shit out there and see what sticks with the expectation that there is good faith operating throughout the OP and the following discussion.

      Moreover, I think it’s a mistake to characterize Feministe as a pro-Fat Acceptance blog. Certainly the bloggers are sensitive to some of the movement’s tenets, but it’s disingenuous to characterize Feministe by its archives considering that the majority of the fat-related archives were posted by guest bloggers.

      • Not that I want to speak for my co-bloggers, I must add. But I do resent having ten years of my work being co-opted to prove a political point that doesn’t necessarily fit the bill.

        • Lauren, I sympathize, I really do. (It’s possible that I can relate more to your position than most people can). I hope you don’t read either my comments here, or my post on “Alas,” as blaming you or Feministe. (I don’t blame anyone, not you, not Monica, not your commenters; its just one of those things that happens.)

          I’m also sorry if you feel I or your commenters are “co-opting” ten years of your work. But Feministe’s not your work, any more than “Alas” is just my work. Opening up comments creates the space for a community to grow, and if it does, then the community represents the contributions of lots of people, not just the blog-owner. And reading the response to Monica’s post, it’s obvious that the community at Feministe includes a substantial fat-positive contingent, and they reacted the way I described.

          I wasn’t being “disingenuous,” by the way; I was sincere, and I honestly didn’t consider the guest-blogging angle. However, if you say that I’m mistaken to think of Feministe as fat-positive space, then fair enough. (And I’m kind of disappointed to hear that.)

          There’s no room just to throw shit out there and see what sticks with the expectation that there is good faith operating throughout the OP and the following discussion.

          I know what you mean; I often feel the same way, and my blog is way the hell smaller than yours!

          I thought that’s part of the reason you created Faux Real (and I created The Alas Debate Annex) — to have a space like that.

          That said, I don’t think most people think that Monica’s post was made in bad faith (by which I mean, trolling or with less than full sincerity). Speaking for myself, I’m sure it was made in good faith. I just really, really disagree with it. And more, I disagree with the attitude that I’m a reality-denying idiot because I’m a fat acceptance advocate. But whatever.

          • I wrote “But Feministe’s not your work…”

            I should have said “But Feministe’s not just your work.” It is your work, of course, but not yours alone. (Ditto for me and Alas.)

          • With all due respect, Barry, there is a lot of alarming science denialism going on in the whole discussion at Feministe, to the point where I’m disoriented with my own community. And the level of bile and snark in comments is incongruous to what Monica posted in the first place. Your measured defense of it is slimy. Clearly she hit a nerve, but the commentariat is demanding that I open up another space so they can vent their anger (on Monica personally) and that’s not going to happen (suddenly people don’t understand how blogs work). She’s been name-called and personally compared to people like, I’m not kidding, Fred Phelps. I’m surprised you’re on board with all of this.

            If I could, I’d advise against the word “donut.” But seriously, take it the fuck out, look at what Monica wrote, and see a rather mainstream, even progressive defense against BMI as an individual health measure.

            • Lauren, I never raked Monica across the coals. I criticized what she wrote, but I never attacked her personally.

              I wouldn’t defend comparing Monica to Phelps — that’s ridiculous and disgusting, of course — but as far as I can tell, that comparison wasn’t made on Monica’s thread at Feministe, nor was it made on “Alas.” (In fact, I have no idea where it was made — I haven’t read it.) All I did was explain why people were made angry by Monica’s post; it’s not fair to construe that as a generalized defense of anything anyone ever says about Monica, including stuff I haven’t read.

              I don’t think there’s any reasonable way that Monica’s post can be construed as being a progressive stand “against BMI as an individual health measure,” unless you pretend that there’s a substantive difference between using BMI as an individual health measure, and using “weight” as an individual health measure, which Monica endorses. Statements like “But here’s what that doesn’t mean: that using your weight as one of the things that assesses your health isn’t useful at all…” and “I hope a doctor would tell me if I’ve put on too much weight” are clear, and listening to the podcast clarifies that Monica (and her co-podcasters) think that any other view is ridiculous and “insane.”

              (By the way, in what world is it reasonable to expect fat people to read her post but pretend she didn’t conclude it all with anti-fat snark? Are fat people are supposed to read the post as if the insult wasn’t there?)

              I do think that there’s some science denialism — or just simple ignorance or mistakes — going on by some (but NOT all) commenters — but it’s going on in both sides, not just one side. If you can’t see that, then you’re not as objective as you apparently imagine.

              • “Lauren, I never raked Monica across the coals. I criticized what she wrote”

                I see. Tone arguments apply to others, but not ourselves.

                • Lauren, you didn’t make an argument about my tone, you made a totally unsupported accusation about my motivation.

                  I honestly believe you’ve misread my tone. I have nothing against Monica personally. (In general I’m a fan of Monica’s writing — a few days ago I approvingly quoted her on another topic.)

            • piny

              Lauren, it was a lighthearted defense of the idea that weight is a good indicator of un/health, and that fat people are the exception to the rule. You can argue–all day, apparently–about whether that’s correct or not, but you can’t argue that the post was about how fat people can be healthy, too. It wasn’t. Here:

              “Can you judge health with a naked eye? It’s true, you can’t. But let’s be honest, there’s not an epidemic of fat runners out there. Those people are outliers, and not everyone is an outlier.”

              “But, by and large, (pardon the expression) weightier people suffer health problems that are well documented. It’s not that thin people are necessarily fit. It’s that America as a whole is unhealthy, and one of the ways we can document our decades-long decrease in activity is by documenting our expanding waistlines.”

          • To be clearer, what is disingenuous is labeling Feministe fat-acceptance when it does not and has never claimed to be so, so you can better drag one of its guests over the coals.

            • evil_fizz

              I guess I’m confused as to where that’s coming from. I think that Feministe has long been a space which has constructively talking about body policing and fat-related issues. It might not be a regular topic nor would I characterize the blog as FA or part of the proverbial fatosphere, but it’s certainly appeared sympathetic to such aims. Similarly, I would not characterize Feministe as an anti-racist site*, but I would say it’s devoted plenty of space to the topic (often from guest-bloggers) and tries to be sensitive to discussions about race. If another guest blogger came in wrote something that was problematic with respect to such issues, I’d expect the commentariat to be vocal and annoyed, particularly when it looked like 101 missteps.

              *No, it’s not a perfect analogy, but it’s the best I’ve got.

              • I think this is a more than fair assessment.

                Again, I’m speaking as myself, and not as a representative of Feministe: My resistance is not meant to distance Feministe from FA goals, which it has aligned with since its inception, but to distance the blog from Amp categorizing Feministe as “an FA blog” (he also says “pro-FA”, but these connotate different things). I think a distinction needs to be made between being pro-movement X’s goals and being a part of a brick-and-mortar movement. The difference is one wherein Monica felt free to express mainstream views on BMI in relation to public policy on a feminist blog and one wherein Monica showed up on a fat-acceptance blog and shat on the readership and should have known better.

                The reason I make this distinction is complex, but the simple answer is that I’m seeking to allow room for the anger of the community to be justified and to have a space for venting (within reason) while simultaneously protecting Monica as an invited guest whose work was not vetting before publishing, who was explicitly told she could write about whatever she wanted. The readership wants Feministe to make an official statement that throws Monica under the bus, and I think that’s an incredibly unfair proposition to a lot of individuals. There has to be room for solutions that don’t require drawing lines in the sand and writing off personal relationships. One of these attempts is trying to create spaces on the blog for the expression of pro-FA views and experiences as we have this week. We will accept more, and anyone who reads this can send them to me by email, but Monica as a person is off-topic.

                • Also, I should mention that I’m the only member of Feministe that’s even near the internet right now, hence the radio silence from the blog. We make decisions by committee, and I’m not a committee.

                • Lauren, I apologize for getting it wrong — although keep in mind that for me, saying I thought Feministe was a FA space was a compliment. Evil Fizz’s assessment seems more than fair to me, as well.

                  I don’t want to see Monica dragged over the coals (and those coals are no doubt located under a bus :-P ). What I’d really like to see is a respectful dialog between Monica — or some other smart, liberal person who is skeptical of FA — and someone like (to pick one of many examples) Kate. And that didn’t happen much in Monica’s thread on Feministe, on either side of the discussion.

                  In the feminist blogosphere in general, it’s long been accepted that people from marginalized groups shouldn’t be expected to restrain their anger in situations like these. So I think that maybe we — and by “we” I mean the feminist blogosphere collectively — have created an atmosphere where the kind of dialog I’m talking about is either not possible at all, or could only be possible with conscious preparation and discussion ahead of time.

                  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. It has good sides; it’s good when marginalized people are able to feel strong and empowered, obviously. And anger is often legitimate and should be treated as legitimate. But it has its down sides, too. When we empower one kind of discussion to happen, we make other discussions less able to happen, imo.

                  (I also really don’t want to see a situation where fat people are the only marginalized group whose anger is not considered legitimate to express. This is worth mentioning because — even though I’m sure this isn’t what you intend at all, Lauren — I think it’s the outcome that a lot of FA people are genuinely afraid will happen in this situation.)

                  • I am in agreement with you about the idea that it would be good for there to be a space for respectful dialogue from both sides. But I also am glad you pointed out that this is really reading like the tone argument being directed to fat folks/allies–the type of tone argument that wouldn’t be tolerated with other marginalized groups.

                    Monica came in and said some asinine joke about fat people and donuts, and fat people responded with, essentially, “fuck off, fatphobic person.” In a vacuum, fat people were being mean to someone just trying to make a joke. But we don’t live in a vaccuum. When you put this in a social context where the asinine donut joke represents real social and economic privilege, then it’s not the “fuck off” that sounds more cruel anymore.

                    But it’s really unfortunate we’re still having such a 101 conversation about tone. I thought that Feministe was beyond that–perhaps only so with the marginalized groups that it is “hip” to be allied with.

                    The fact that Monica made a podcast here all about how she was ultimately right shows she didn’t listen. Even if she approached the conversation in good faith from the beginning, she is no longer acting in good faith. And yet, it’s still the FA folks being criticized for both tone and arguments that by and large they ARE NOT MAKING (e.g. about health having NOTHING to do with weight).

                    I’d love to see a more respectful discussion happen. But it requires people on the anti-FA (or skeptical) side to come at it with respect and an open mind. So far, I haven’t seen that, from Monica or anyone else, in this little shitstorm.

                    • quadmoniker

                      I said, repeatedly, in the podcast that my tone was wrong and I should have said it in a different way.

                    • Monica–because I can’t reply to your comment for some reason, I’m replying here.

                      It wasn’t just your tone that was wrong. You have not conceded that you said fatphobic, belittling, and outright incorrect things about the FA movement. You have not demonstrated that you are open-minded to the possibility that there might be more of value to the FA movement than that there is of no value. You might have said that your tone was off, but nowhere did you say that the substance of what you said was privileged and oppressive to the marginalized group of fat folks. And really, I’m not a big tone person. I don’t really care about the tone things are said in and get really tired when people always make things all about tone. You can say, “get off your ass and put down the doughnuts, fatty!” or “I am really concerned about your health because you are fat” and either way, it’s privileged, bigoted, and oppressive.

                • piny

                  I can understand that. I don’t agree with your position on the comments–we may not share a position on FA–but I can see why you want to make sure that your guests, all of them, are provided for.

                  I think maybe it would help to separate the “science denialism” with the complaints about the commenters’ rudeness. It is fair to expect people to be respectful. But they shouldn’t be restrained from their own political views, even if they are relatively extreme. Nor should they have to accept a view just because it’s in the mainstream. I mean, if Feministe’s posts were all in keeping with that standard, it’d be nothing but odes to Trader Joe’s wine rack and gutted True Blood roundtables.

      • evil_fizz

        For what it’s worth, I took it as more of an insistence on familiarity with a topic rather than an expectation of expertise. And I get that the guest bloggers are known to the Feministe crew in a way that they’re not to some/many/most of the readers and so expectations with respect to good faith will vary. But claiming that one is always “lightly assholish” irrespective of topic is…unhelpful.

        • Unhelpful, maybe. More likely Monica was attempting light-hearted and apologetic during a pile-on.

        • piny

          I don’t know if it was even unfamiliarity per se. The OP was a yer doin it rong. You can’t write one of those unless you’re very well-versed in your subject, or you sound pompous and clueless.

          If someone had written a post about, say, the flaws in safer-sex education (there are some!) and the importance of reaching young people before they get killed (definitely!) but also included a couple light offhand remarks about the slutty gays or the silly sparklepony feminists, and maybe a line about how it’s not monogamous couples out there getting STDs, after all, and a paragraph about how the author hadn’t ever been slut-shamed by their doctor, so what’s the big deal, it would turn into a thousand-comment donnybrook. Nobody would be interested in a calm discussion about STD transmission in that space afterward, because that theme comes with a huge amount of history attached, political and personal. So does this one.

          I was one of those people embarrassed by the way the post was written–and by its failure to deal seriously either with the issue of fat activism or the issue of massive health disparity. Now I’m one of the people disappointed to learn that Feministe will lose its FA certification.

  • hey – is this available on itunes, kids? i’ve tried to download and no updates. your itunes subscribers need love too.

  • geo

    I read your post over at Feministe, and I agree with you. What I think people are missing is that an elevated BMI increases the likelihood for developing chronic illnesses. Even more, the same results are seen using other weight measurements like waist-to-hip, waist-to-height, and waist circumference. Also, some people are too focused on the “now”, which is a big contributor to health problems in our society. Some people who are overweight or obese assume that just because they are healthy *now* that they will always be this way. Yet, study after study done Americans shows that an increase or elevation on any of the weight measures I mentioned increases and predicts the development of chronic illnesses like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney problems and other health issues. It really bothers me that people want to deny the effect weight has on health. I’m all for people having self-confidence and loving themselves at any size. However, losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight should be more about health and less about aesthetics.

  • aisha

    I think the donut comment was annoying in Monica’s original post. It totally sidetracked the point she was making. If she wanted to talk about BMI as a public health measure then examples of personal behavior don’t mesh well with that discussion.

    That said, I don’t understand the FA movement’s problem with weight as one measure of health. There didn’t seem to be room for a both/and discussion. It can be apart of a a “score model” with weight just being one part of the equation.

    Now for what’s not being said. Weight is an emotional subject. It’s not fair that people who are appear overweight have to have their donut eating behavior analyzed. But the same behavior on a thin person is overlooked. That’s where people get upset because people/media aren’t consistent in their criticism of the same unhealthy behaviors. Then people get emotional and call you everything but a Feminist!

  • The furor over Monica’s Feministe post is pretty amazing. I read through most of the comments and it’s clear that many of the commenters were not responding to what Monica actually wrote which made it hard for me to take their criticisms seriously. The tone of the post was wrong, I’ll admit that, but I don’t see how anyone could think that the main point was fat shaming.

    What confuses me the most is how the feminist and fat acceptance movements became intertwined. I’m an occasional commenter over at Jezebel and I generally enjoy their content, but I completely avoid the posts about weight because I do not agree with HAES & I don’t want to deal with a bunch of commenters proclaiming that I’m not a feminist b/c I don’t agree on this one thing. I think we can all agree that fat shaming is bad, but does that mean that we can’t have a serious discussion about the negative health affects of American’s expanding waist line?

    • evil_fizz

      I think that HAES and similar topics frequently get brought up in feminist spaces because of their obvious connection to body policing and the disproportionate affect that weight discrimination has on women.

      Regardless, it’s certainly possible to have a serious discussion about weight and health, but it’s got to be more measured, nuanced, and free of donut jokes than the original post which started this whole mess. A serious discussion suggests a level of expertise and familiarity with research and schools of thought on the subject that seemed genuinely lacking in the OP.

      • I get the connection to body policing & if Fat Acceptance stopped there, I could understand. What I don’t get is the science denialism that seems to go hand in hand with the FA movement. You seem to be of the belief that the main problem with Monica’s post was the tone (correct me if I’m wrong about this), but I don’t think the conversation would have been much better even if she’d left out the donut and fat runners parts. Many commentors were hostile to the idea that the increasing weight of Americans is a problem and that health professionals should be addressing this.

        Obese people face discrimination, I believe this, however I also think that obesity has become a serious public health issue. I don’t think these two thoughts are mutually exclusive, and I resent having my feminism called into question because I believe both of these things.

        • Jadey

          As another of the original commenters, I respectfully disagree that the conversation would have gone badly if Monica hadn’t been insulting in what she wrote. I won’t guarantee because none of us can know for sure at this point, but I know I at least would have been able to respond very differently. Personally, I found her post impossible to engage with because of how hurtful it was – what discussion there could have been was rendered impossible for me. It was a slap in the face.

          I also don’t really understand where the accusations of science denialism are coming into the picture here – I personally tried to bring up the myriad scientific responses relevant to FA in the original thread. Amp has discussed a portion of the research in this very thread, in fact. I feel like “science denialism” actually means “the science I agree with denialism”. To the extent that science is an adequate framework for addressing these issues (I think it is, I’m a science person myself, but because of that I must acknowledge that the scientific perspective is not the be-all-and-end-all of the human condition), I think that the body and fat positive among us have made a not insignificant effort to bring it into the conversation. But that has to include grounded critiques of the science as well – we should all be familiar with the kyriarchical agenda of scientific research. Simply disagreeing with or critiquing a body of research is not evidence of denialism. It’s legitimate skepticism.

  • Gentleman Cambrioleur

    I was also one of the original commenters on the original post, and I would like to apologize to Monica for joining the pile-on. I still think the post was wildly wrong and inappropriate but it was unfair to come down so hardly on someone who was writing outside of her own turf and I’m sorry for that. The thing is, a lot of commenters (including myself) live and work in small conservative towns or hostile workplaces and blogs like Feministe are a kind of haven for us, so posts and comments that remind us of our normal environment get more anger in response than they would in another context.

    I happen to be skinny and have been pretty judgmental in the past myself, and it took many people who took me to task and a chronic illness that affected my relationship to food drastically to change my mind. So I would like to say, please give the fat acceptance movement another chance. It is possible to be a science geek and pro-fat acceptance, even though it may mean looking up niche writers. Personally, I have found the Fat Nutritionist to be very interesting from the more scientific and medical point of view. North American culture has a lot of hang-ups about food, though, and we probably need to dress a thorough inventory of those before we can come to objective conclusions about the correlation between weight and health.

  • I am fat, and its from EATING. A LOT. More than most people. Whole pizzas in one sitting. I am CERTAIN I could be in one of those eating contests on TV, if I went without for about 36 hrs… could seriously give those dudes a run for their money.

    I am very very very sick of a hyper-PC internet environment wherein I am lambasted and blacklisted for writing about MY OWN LIFE AND HEALTH and MY OWN REALITY. (Ampersand, thanks for delinking, I DID notice!) I have lost 30 lbs since Februrary, and daring to write about this has made me persona non grata among people like Ampersand (and Meowser, who openly trashed me on my blog). This state of affairs is reprehensible and reminds of the EX (for a reason) Soviet Union.

    And, what Lauren said.

    • Oy vey.

      Daisy, for the record, I completely wiped out my blogroll (which had hundreds of blogs on it and was impossible to keep up to date) when I recently redesigned “Alas.” So far I’ve added only a handful of blogs to the new blogroll, because I want it small and easily manageable.

      I didn’t delink you because you had lost weight. I had no idea you had lost weight. I hope that works out for you.

  • evil fizz: but it’s got to be more measured, nuanced, and free of donut jokes than the original post which started this whole mess

    OKAY, WHY?

    Donuts made me the size I am today, doesn’t bother me to admit it; it is simply true. (I would never DREAM of considering myself a BAD PERSON because of this, I am simply another person exploited by the current addictive food we are *all* being plied with.) I HAVE joked about it, why shouldn’t I?

    And I am not censoring myself because you have decided I should.

    Even though everyone else has decided to censor ME.

    Going on record to make that point. The dogma has reached ridiculous proportions.

    • evil_fizz

      Daisy, were you reading the same stuff I was? About people who’d been belittled by doctors for not laying off the donuts? Whose health had actively suffered because of it?

      No, I suppose you don’t have to write a post that’s respectful of other people who’ve been harmed by such attitudes, but you can’t really expect much in the way of constructive follow on conversation if you do.

  • C’mon Daisy, don’t be disingenuous. I didn’t “trash” you for dieting; you know that. I was critical of the fact that you were bashing other people for being so fat. Congratulations on your weight loss. I mean it. I know it means a lot to you.

    I don’t know of anyone in FA who has said there’s no correlation whatsoever between fat and ill health, or that no one ever gained serious weight bingeing. I have seen, and agree with, the opinions that it is overstated as a risk factor for most people, that correlation and causation are not synonymous, and that bingeing isn’t nearly as common among fat people as most people assume. It’s hard to believe these are such fringey, out-there, woo-woo, science-free ideas, but apparently they are, even among feminists. Sigh.

    And does anyone really have to ask why “donuts” would be a sore spot for us?

  • Pony

    Monica-Im glad Feministe directed me to this site, I really appreciated your clarification and this discussion of the FA explosion on Feministe was valuable and touched on a lot of things I had been thinking while reading the comments on that thread. I was horrified by how you were treated, and was pissed they had closed the comment thread so I couldnt be one of the four people to offer you some support and some rational feedback. I have never really seen a civil discussion among feminists about the Fat Acceptance issue unless its between people who already agree. I think this is an indicator of how important this issue is, but we are just not getting it right yet. We are polarizing and scaring off any woman who doesnt completely toe the FA line (which there apparently is, judging from the Feministe comments), we are ignoring components like class and race, and using personal experience and emotion in place of fact. There has to be a place for our negative experiences to be shared while also admitting realities. This is such a huge topic I don’t really know how to say all I want without rambling, but most of all I just want to say thanks for some rational, reality-based thoughts, and it sucks that you were treated that way on a forum for women.

  • Evil Fizz, you mean me? (I wrote about confronting the dumbass doctors on my blog.)

    I fully understand the point, I simply handle it differently. Feminism used to mean raising hell BY DEFINITION (Note: this includes raising hell with the doc, if need be), and now… well, I am having a hard time figuring out what it is supposed to be. Being well mannered, taking shit, being a victim? (I thought that is what feminism was a REACTION to?)

    I am genuinely confused, actually.

    Meowser, I didn’t “bash” anyone, I questioned our general American culture: HFCS, lack of exercise, fast food, tendencies to hoarding, the usual. And you decided to take it PERSONALLY.

    As everyone else is also, it seems.

  • April

    Sorry, but this whole situation makes me take the “fat acceptance” movement a whole lot less seriously. Since someone up-thread decided it would be smart to compare obesity to AIDS, let me say this: arguing that there is not a significant correlation between weight and health is like denying that HIV causes AIDS. There are people who do the latter, and they are just as nutty as the extremists in the fat acceptance movement.

  • [...] comments if you can stomach them (eh, sorry again), and she and her crew at her home blog had a great response to this situation. In the meantime, I’m going to try to make a few points about why I was so [...]

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