Michelle Obama: Let’s Harm Fat Kids

If you haven’t read Kim Brittingham‘s piece on Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” anti-obesity campaign, you really should.

When we frame our battle for healthier children as a battle against fatness itself, we’re merely proclaiming open season on fat people. We’re encouraging an already fat-prejudiced society to further demonize those who bear the fat – worst of all, the children who bear it.

And:

Look at it this way. Let’s say you have a choice between:

a) standing up before a room full of children and encouraging them to exercise more, or

b) standing up before a room full of children and encouraging them to exercise more, and then throwing a handful of knives into the audience.

Why would you select b), unless you wanted to hurt someone?

You can read the rest here.

9 thoughts on “Michelle Obama: Let’s Harm Fat Kids

  1. Was with her right until the end, where she revealed herself to be just another person who views fat people not as people but as a problem which needs solving.

    The only difference is instead of blaming us directly, she blames “big food”… which is even more insulting in a way, because it presumes that all fat people are either poor (and can’t get better food) or stupid (for choosing not to buy better food).

    • Good point. I didn’t quite get the big food stuff either. As far as showing how government isn’t treating anti-obesity the same as anti-tobacco, it makes sense (the “Let’s Move” campaign is sponsored by big food) but big food does enable a lot of people to eat who otherwise couldn’t afford to.

      I prefer how Linda Bacon addresses this in her book Health At Every Size, pointing out (for example) that studies have shown increased milk consumption doesn’t necessarily lead to less osteoporosis, and other ways that the USDA food pyramid is based on agribusiness needs not nutritional studies.

    • Well, it is a post at WATRD. A site that is full of promise and good intentions, but that tends towards narrowness in just who ‘gets’ to be The Real Deal and A Good Person who deserves self-esteem. Casual, well-meaning but ill-sounding fat hate is just part of the atmosphere.

      I’m thinking the author had a (semi-legit) axe to grind about the Food Industrial Complex and some of the crappier things that it does, but got muddled up halfway through making her point. Yes, we’d all be able to eat healthier in an ideal world, and eating healthy is worth striving for if you can afford it. The “OMG you’re MAKING PEOPLE FAT” thing is vastly oversimplified and just plays into the idea that something is inherently wrong with fatness.

  2. Like the Checkers ads say, you gotta eat…and if big food is what is helping some people survive, why criticize?

  3. I don’t really know how to feel about MO’s campaign. I like the slogan, to be honest….”Let’s Move!”. I believe it’s a good thing to get kids more active because a lot of schools have very little physical activity available to kids because of budget constraints. The problem with that in this campaign, though, is the total disregard for reality. The govt is not offering more funding for these activities and neither is this campaign. Kids spend a good portion of their day in school, and eliminating recess and limiting gym classes doesn’t exactly get kids moving. Nevermind the entire lack of understanding in regards to neighborhood safety, youth clubs, and parks that are staffed, policed and clean enough to play in. “Let’s Move!” needs to check its privilege……

    ….as does the pairing of better food choices. The existence of food deserts is not a rare thing. And it isn’t a coincidence that there are more fast food restaurants in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods than higher ones. School lunches EVERYWHERE need to be better funded so that the choice is there for ALL kids. And Farmer’s Markets need to be more accessible and realistic for everyone….including those who use food stamps.

    It just seems that this bandaid campaign falls short of addressing the very real barriers people have in staying active and having access to more nutritional food choices. Things like solid and reliable community transportation, reducing crime to increase safety, and encouraging local farmers to sell their goods close to home. These are real problems no one in govt seems to be willing to address…..let alone Michele Obama. That slogan would be more realistic if there were more words attached to it, like: Let’s Move…..towards creating safe environments for kids to play in…..or Let’s Move some money into local farmer subsidies…..or Let’s Move off our asses and look beyond our own privilege.

    • I don’t disagree with any of the points you’ve made. The main problem I have with the campaign is that its stated goal is to “end child obesity”. If the goal was to increase activity or improve nutrition, I would like it a lot better.

      And yes, the campaign is totally aimed at families who HAVE safe places for their kids to play, access to supermarkets, and so forth. Never mind that carrying groceries home without a car can be a challenge or that there may not BE a safe place to walk/run around.

      • “I don’t disagree with any of the points you’ve made. The main problem I have with the campaign is that its stated goal is to “end child obesity”. If the goal was to increase activity or improve nutrition, I would like it a lot better.”

        I am totally with you on this, LV4. Delving deeper into the implications of this campaign stirs up all kinds of fat hate, fear mongering, and shame. On the surface…giving kids access to places they can “move” and encouraging that are good things. You even talk about it on this blog…moving is good for everybody :)—for a whole host of reasons. I guess I was just trying to react to this campaign in a detached way. Because in reality, obesity and being labeled as obese…as a CHILD….does a whole host of bad things to a child’s forming mind and sense of self. And that’s just painful to endure for anyone who actually sees the person and not just the fat.

        Remember those Presidential school fitness programs? I do….and I’ll never forget the hell I went through in jr. high and high school trying to pass those physical fitness tests. I weighed 130 lbs in 6th grade and 185 when I graduated high school. I towered over my classmates at my height, yet was still mocked for not being 90 lbs at the age of 12/13 or 150 as a senior. I felt nothing BUT shame for most of my school years. Now, with this “new” campaign, I’m sure more of the same will be perpetuated in schools across the country…..and that just kills me.

  4. Pingback: August at Living 400lbs… | Living ~400lbs

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