I’m not talking arousal here, though who knows this might tickle that fancy for some. I’m talking about some really good and promising news on the FA front as well as some great rebuttals going around that bash some Fat Tropes with an Awesome-sized Science & Common-Sense Hammer. Let’s see what’s in our bag of goodies, shall we?
Obesity Timebomb notes that a new journal (Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society ) has been published! While not the first journal to approach these issues from the more radical side of current thoughts on fatness, it is a solid peer-reviewed academic journal its potential is seen in its ability to, as Charlotte so aptly puts it:
“shift critical and scholarly discussions of fatness out of health or ‘Obesity Epidemic’ and into a much broader arena where things like culture, community, rights, embodiment can be addressed. “
Kudos to the editor (Esther Rothblum) and also to Charlotte (whose article “A queer and transfat activist timeline” appears in the first issue!
Ragen over at Dances with Fat does a fabulous take-down of the recent furor over Paula Deen’s announcement that she has Type 2 Diabetes. Not surprising to me is the finding that people love to get themselves whipped into a good self-righteous rant over how obvious it is that a fatty would catch the fatness disease. However, Ragen touches nicely on the myth of diabetes (particularly Type 2); the rampant erroneous assumption that weight loss, should it even be achievable long-term, is desirable; the body as public property; and the meme of Public Health as Public Thinness. One of my favorite (of many) great quotes:
“Being for public health means that you are for people having access to the foods that they choose to eat, safe movement options that they enjoy, and affordable evidence-based medical care. If public health is important to you then you fight like hell for people to have access of these things, then you butt out and let people make their own choices.”
Really well done and worth reading in its entirety.
Big Fat Blog clued me into NPR’s recent acceptance of something we’ve known since at least 2003: Obesity rates have already “peaked”. Otherwise known as “all you proponents of fat-shaming who keep asserting that Obesity Rates Are Rising are not only wrong but HAVE BEEN WRONG for many years now”. Still, NPR’s admission is more cued as a “hmm, rates MAY have peaked! And it must be linked to all these awful behavior strategies in schools and such that studies have yet to show do anything other than increase the likelihood of persons feeling smug for hating on fatties”; especially given the lovely headless fatties gracing the article with a caption filled with scare figures of the “jump” in fatness since 1995. (You know, before they changed the BMI limits on what is considered “fat”?). A really interesting quote from the article:
“”Obesity prevalence can’t keep going up year after year indefinitely. Ultimately we’ll reach a state where those individuals who are susceptible to becoming obese for genetic reasons have already developed obesity,” Ludwig says.”
I love looking at quotes like the one above and replacing the word “Obesity” with “Fatness”. Just try it. Doesn’t it sound as ridiculous? However, while there is the usual fat-hand-wringing in the middle, the article ends with this rather awesome nod to body and size and perhaps even FAT acceptance:
“Others say the whole idea of an “obesity epidemic” has been overblown and that more emphasis should be put on getting more Americans to become fit rather than fixate on losing weight.
“Most people who lose weight will ultimately regain it. If you do this do over and over and over again you develop a nation of weight-cyclers, a yo-yo-dieting society and there are risks associated with yo-yo dieting that are every bit as hazardous as the risks associated with just being fat,” Glenn Gaesser of Arizona State University.
This is my favorite bit of activism in a while. Ragen over at Dances with Fat (thanks to Unapologetically Fat for redirecting me to this post I missed!) has initiated something called “Rolls, not Trolls” a self-proclaimed Ninja Commenting venture designed to spread a bit of FA love into comment threads usually filled with hatred and shaming. I love this not only because it has a Facebook group (which it now does) where folks can share ideas of things to post, not only because Ragen so nicely asserts that this is something to be used NOT for diet-centric spaces (because I wouldn’t want to see such messages in my Diet-Zone anymore than I want to hear their diet tips in my Diet-FREE-Zone), but because the passing of POSITIVE voices into what are usually negative threads online fills me with a fat, fluttery, hopeful feeling of warmth. THIS is one of the small moments of activism which will begin to creep in to tear down the walls of shaming and hatred. I love it!
As the Queen in Alice in Wonderland is known for saying, “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” I’ve got 4 here already; what else have you heard this week?
*ETA: This is, apparently, my 400th post! So; maybe that’s a 5th great thing!