Things To Read

From Dani Kelley’s “The body I have”:

I stopped eating in the eighth grade.

People complimented me on how much weight I was losing, how much prettier I looked, how much better I was.

They didn’t know something was wrong until I started passing out. And when my eating disorder finally came to light, it was largely seen as me going through a phase to be popular or noticed, much like with my cutting and suicide attempts.

Because, you know, depression and suicide and self-harm and eating disorders are only a phase.

From The Nearsighted Owl comes remakes of diet ads  with fat-accepting messages:

Courtesy of The Nearsighted Owl

Courtesy of The Nearsighted Owl

And Closetpuritan has a thoughtful discussion of whether fat acceptance is a “denialist” movement.

Fat Acceptance proponents range from those who think that the link between fat and “obesity-related” diseases is overhyped and not looked at critically enough, to those who flat-out say that fat does not cause any diseases. (One problem with the latter statement is that just as correlation does not prove causation, it doesn’t disprove causation either; saying we don’t know for sure that fat causes* something does not mean that we know for sure it doesn’t cause something.)

You may guess from her parenthetical, and my including the parenthetical here, that I happen to agree that the link between fat and health is overhyped and not looked at critically enough.  I also think that links between fat and health are questionable at lower sizes of fat (which are most fat people).

I do probably face greater health risks than someone of “normal weight”.  

However: I do not think those risks make weight loss any easier or any more likely to last.  There’s no proof that maintaining weight loss improves health in general (unlike quitting smoking or starting to exercise).  And, finally, the pursuit of health is not an obligation we owe to the world for existing.

Update: Closetpuritan has posted another post on this topic, exploring “denialism” and “skepticism” regarding Fat Acceptance/Fat Liberation and HAES. 

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5 thoughts on “Things To Read

  1. Forgive me for taking the discussion in a political direction, but I think “the pursuit of health is not an obligation we owe to the world for existing.” is a tough sell on both sides of the aisle in the US. Generally speaking the US liberals want universal health care but most support state-sponsored anti-obesity programs in order to cut the costs associated with caring for the obese. Generally speaking the US conservatives want less regulation of health care providers, including the option to raise prices or flat out refuse to provide coverage for perceived high risk patients like the obese.

    I think more people need to be persuaded of the points you make about fatness and health, and then we can make the argument that we don’t owe a pursuit of health to the world. Or at least, if we do owe it than so does everyone else, regardless of size, and we cannot be singled out.

    • I’m the daughter of an alcoholic smoker whose reaction to me being diagnosed with asthma *and* an allergy to tobacco as a child was to smoke more because of the stress.

      How’s that again?

      The problem is that our society regards weight as easily and permanently changeable. It isn’t.

  2. The biggest problem, in my opinion, is the equation of certain body types as being either “good” or “bad,” as if the person who lives within said body is a “good” or “bad” person because of his/her body. That’s the first thing that needs to be changed. The whole attitude that larger people need to be “punished” because we’ve been “bad.” I’ve spent most of my life feeling “bad,” and I’m tired of it.

  3. I just “love” how things like eating disorders and self injury are seen as “going through a phase” or “seeking attention.” I wasn’t doing either. The eating disorder was brought on by a morbid fear of becoming fat and thus more ostracized than I already was, and also by body dysmorphia causing me to believe that I was fat. (I wasn’t, I just had a chunky body type.)
    The self-injury is part and parcel with the borderline personality disorder, and the fact that I also have type II bipolar disorder (misdiagnosed until I was in my late thirties) certainly didn’t help. Also, I was bullied mercilessly at school. I was a very shy kid and kind of an oddball. This was what triggered the self-harm in the first place.
    Also, I love how even so called mental health professionals like to blame the victim rather than addressing the issue.

  4. I think it is a denialist movement.

    Sure there are fat and healthy people. Remember I never have denied this.

    One main theme of my blog is about this very issue.

    And yes, the liberals want their fat camps, and nanny state outlawing of huge sodas and the same answers that have failed.

    and the conservatives blame the “fatties” for overloading the welfare and disability rolls.

    Neither side is friendly to the fat. The corporations adulterating our food get off scott-free as the populace gets sicker and fatter.

    People know for a FACT past a certain weight the health crumbles.

    http://fivehundredpoundpeeps.blogspot.com/2012/06/is-haes-white-flag.html

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