And It Would Be Okay on any Other Day

Welcome, visitors who arrived via the BMI project ’cause you saw it on Metafilter or Jezebel or wherev.

Please read the comments policy and the Don’t You Realize Fat Is Unhealthy? link before you comment here.

Regular readers, please pay special attention to Rule 2 in the comments policy, in case I’m not moving fast enough. I’ve actually got shit to do today, natch.

Also, everybody have a preemptive puppy:

Oh, and one more thing… I closed comments on the Flickr stream, because A) this is not The Would You Fuck This Chick? Project, and B) as I said earlier, I will fucking cut anyone who says something negative about any of our brave contributors’ bodies in a space I have some control over. But I want you to know that the comments up there right now are the only ones that have come in. Even Fillyjonk assumed I must have been “deleting judiciously” because all the existing comments are positive and affirming. Nope! Everybody who commented while comments were open had something nice to say. How awesome is that?

(Also, if anyone’s curious, despite my despotic comments policy, I’ve deleted maybe 15 comments since April, and banned 3 people, total.)

77 thoughts on “And It Would Be Okay on any Other Day

  1. 15 comments since April? Kate, you tyrant!

    Better watch out, or Bill O’Reilly is going to cite some of the ones still standing as evidence that this blog is populated by sexist fat-haters.

    (And the above is why I blog pseudonymously.)

  2. It’s funny how one Metafilter thread can totally undo three months worth of work towards not hating myself because I couldn’t maintain any decent quality of life on 18 WW points a day.

  3. OTM, you and I both need to go on a restriction diet for internet comments. Sanity Watchers, we can call it.

  4. Oh, OTM, I know. Seriously, you guys, for your own sanity, IGNORE THE COMMENTS ELSEWHERE. It’s nothing but Fat Hate Bingo, all the shit we’ve heard a billion times — from a bunch of people who, naturally, think we’ve never heard it before and must be educated. Reading those comments will not do anyone any good.

  5. OTM, you and I both need to go on a restriction diet for internet comments. Sanity Watchers, we can call it.

    Metafilter comments are 30 billion points, but you can have all the Shapely Prose comments you want. Your call.

  6. Yeah, for anyone (like, say, me) who feels the perverse desire to push their blood pressure closer to what everyone assumes it is by reading tired stale arguments about fat, here’s the digested version: Fat Hate Bingo and Fat Hate Bingo 2.

    Brian also has annotations: Part 1, Part 2.

    Hopefully the people on other blogs who are making reasonable comments or who feel particularly moved by the project will come over here and join the conversation. But the people who are spouting off? They’re probably covered above, so take the shortcut and just read the bingo cards.

  7. You know, I have been a loooong time reader/contributor of MeFi and finally had to quit reading it because I couldn’t stand to read about one more woman judged not for her art, intellect, politics, or actions but instead of her looks. Not to mention the rape apologists and eyeball deep male entitlement. So it’s not like I didn’t know what I was in for…

    *sigh* Fool me once, won’t get fooled again.

  8. Hopefully the people on other blogs who are making reasonable comments or who feel particularly moved by the project will come over here and join the conversation.

    There have definitely been awesome new commenters in the last few days, and I’m getting loads of positive e-mails. I hope those people will speak up more!

  9. Fillyjonk, that’s totally my new diet plan! No more reading comments that I know will just make me angry/depressed/frustrated as hell/close to tears at work.

  10. Speaking of comments, I took an interesting step today. While I have read for a while, and commented some, and e-mailed Kate and talked with Boyfriend.. and and… I have not really consolidated my thoughts on the subject and said to my friends and family… I am fat and it is OK.

    Today I did: http://blog.kkorner.net/2007/10/i-am-obese.html

    and I feel pretty good about it. Thank y’all for everything.

  11. The more times I run through the photoset, the more I see faces and clothes and expressions and character and not just sizes -it does take more than one run-through. Initially I admit I was just looking for “ok so what does a BMI like mine look like on someone else?” I found it and hey whattyaknow, my BMI on her looks different. No freakin duh, I say to myself, and get on with it.

    Another thing: The scientist in me refuses to judge mass and volume as any more or less relevant/valued than any other physical property. Granted, we ARE our bodies and we ought not engage in psychosomatic splitting, but the body’s observable properties (like mass, volume, temperature, albedo, etc.) are things we HAVE – like any other 3D object. For example: That star has far greater volume than this star, though the mass is the same. Dude, that one star is FAT. ABSURD, no?

  12. Wait, it’s not the WOULD YOU FUCK THIS CHICK project? Because that’s what I signed up for, Kate.

    Well, how else was I gonna get you to give me a photo?

  13. I stupidly DID read the metafilter comments and I feel so naive, in a way–I guess I didn’t realize how much they hate us sometimes. I have been living in a bubble of fat acceptance blogs and awesome real-life friends, and when I come across that type of bile the smackdown has usually been taken care of. Ugh.

  14. Chiara, sometimes it makes me feel naive and sheltered to. But I can’t really feel that bad for choosing my communities to exclude people with poisonous ideas. I mean, I also don’t deliberately expose myself to racists and rape apologists, y’know? Being aware that they’re there is enough to keep me working for good. I don’t have to read their rhetoric.

    Also, the internet brings out the worst in some people, I think. It allows everyone to abstract to a dangerous degree.

  15. Seriously, avoid the comments on this site: http://fitsugar.com/672835
    they are just toxic and damning of both the BMI project and Shapely Prose itself.

    Also the majority of commentators seem to be completely unable to get a grasp of the fact that HAES works. One says that no-one can be overweight and healthy. I’m sort of assuming that this person moves in size 4 body-fascist circles as obviously real life is not like this!

  16. I was reading the comments at Mefi (yes, I am a glutton for punishment) and realized that they were assuming that everyone in the photos was young. Hmmmm… I am 33 with a teenager and a schoolaged child, go to school full time and work. I am sure there is an range of ages and lifestyles in the photos.

    I wonder if that answers this :

    Looking over these again it’s hard not to feel some skepticism over the obvious way the flickr poster is trying to undermine the BMI. Every person in these shots, with the exception of the triathlete, is clearly able to offset the effects of their weight by the simple fact that they are young and active. The second anything develops in their lives that limits their freedom to dictate their activity levels (read: kids/job issues, etc.) their weight will not only escalate but so will the health problems.

  17. The second anything develops in their lives that limits their freedom to dictate their activity levels (read: kids/job issues, etc.) their weight will not only escalate but so will the health problems.

    I guess this person thinks that somehow DOESN’T apply to thin people?

  18. Yeah, Krista, there are definitely people older than you in that stream, and plenty with kids and “job issues” and whatnot. But of course, the SECOND all these people stop being young, privileged, and carefree — which clearly, every one of them is — the sprint toward obesity-related death will start. Oy.

    I also love that I’m trying to “undermine the BMI.” Uh, no. The BMI undermines itself. I’m just trying to point that out in the simplest possible terms.

  19. What gets me is that these commentators are so unforgiving about it as well as so wrong.

    I bet that most of them have people in their lives (mother/sibling/friend) who are in the overweight and obese BMI categories and they will say “ah, but they are an exception because of x” about them, but every other “not normal” person is the other and is therefore to be belittled, run down, and to be honest feared, because “there but for the grace of god go I” as far as they are concerned.

  20. But of course, the SECOND all these people stop being young, privileged, and carefree — which clearly, every one of them is — the sprint toward obesity-related death will start.

    BUT ONLY THE FAT ONES THOUGH

    Thin parents all have healthy, active lifestyles and anyway being sedentary and eating junk is okay for thin people because they are thin.

    I bet that most of them have people in their lives (mother/sibling/friend) who are in the overweight and obese BMI categories and they will say “ah, but they are an exception because of x” about them

    Bagfish, this is the mindset I take when I try to console myself that the internet brings out the worst in people.

  21. The second anything develops in their lives that limits their freedom to dictate their activity levels (read: kids/job issues, etc.) their weight will not only escalate but so will the health problems.

    And of course, those kinds of life-altering events happening to thin people never impacts their health for the worse. They get to live forever in perfect health, ’cause God thinks they rooooool. So what’s this douchenozzle’s point, that we should starve ourselves in case we get knocked up one day or have to work some overtime? Yeah, that’ll make me feel strong enough to handle life’s vicissitudes, all right.

    P.S. I submitted a picture for the Flickr stream. I’m 44. So douchenozzle can go get hosed.

  22. I bet that most of them have people in their lives (mother/sibling/friend) who are in the overweight and obese BMI categories and they will say “ah, but they are an exception because of x” about them

    “Really, some of my best friends are fat! But I think we can all agree that MOST fat people…”

    So what’s this douchenozzle’s point, that we should starve ourselves in case we get knocked up one day or have to work some overtime?

    You know, a (thin) friend of mine was telling me about a conversation with her husband, who pretty much thinks I’m batshit crazy when it comes to fat. (He has magnanimously declared me “not really fat,” though, so of course he’s NOT TALKING ABOUT ME when he says these things. Sigh.)

    He argued that if fat is genetic, then we just have to treat it like a “disability.” People with disabilities often have to do things that “normal” people don’t to compensate, he says. For fat people, that means, of course, that we must eat less and work out more than thin people, because that’s just the bad luck we got. MUCH less food and MUCH more exercise, if that’s what it takes.

    Apparently, even if this means we have to spend our lives on starvation diets and quit our jobs to spend all day in the gym, that’s just what people with our “disability” are gonna have to do to compensate for it.

    And of course, there would be no fat people who remained fat even if they did starve themselves and overexercise. There are, after all, no fat people with eating disorders in his world.

    I kinda think he’s not alone in believing that’s the logical answer. And this is a smart, decent guy. He just really, really, really Doesn’t Get It.

  23. For fat people, that means, of course, that we must eat less and work out more than thin people, because that’s just the bad luck we got.

    I’ve heard this one a lot too. People who can see that obviously some people have fast metabolisms and others have slower ones, but who still believe fat is unhealthy usually pull the: “Well, people with slow metabolisms should just eat less. Because otherwise they will get FAT and DROP DEAD of heart attacks.”

  24. He argued that if fat is genetic, then we just have to treat it like a “disability.”

    Uh, right. Because everything that’s genetic is a disability.

    Like tallness and shortness and paleness and darkness and blue eyes and green eyes and brown eyes and big noses and small noses and hair color and double-jointedness.

    Also, I might have missed something, but people who do have disabilities (not all of which are genetic, I might add) are under no obligation to “pass” as “normal” people. In fact, those with invisible disabilities have an added difficulty. If you’re deaf or blind or mobility-impaired, you don’t do WHATEVER IT TAKES for you to be hearing or sighted or able-bodied.

    Er sorry, I know he’s not reading this and you know this already. Just soapboxin’. I’m paying too much attention to the blog today. :)

  25. Fillyjonk, soapbox away! All great points — though I should clarify that I don’t think it was about “passing” so much as “functioning as well as they can.” He actually used learning disabilities as an analogy. A person with dyslexia has to work a lot harder than I do to read, and a fat person has to…

    Yeah, it still completely fucking falls apart there. But I’m pretty sure he wasn’t being quite that douchey.

  26. Every person in these shots, with the exception of the triathlete, is clearly able to offset the effects of their weight by the simple fact that they are young and active.

    We can’t win, hey? If we’re fat and unhealthy, it’s because we’re lazy slobs who need to get off the couch. If we’re fat and healthy, it’s just because our activitiy levels are temporarily masking the negative health effects of the fat.

  27. I also loved how all the commenters on those other threads knew we were all young and privileged and carefree from our pictures…much like they know our activity patterns and our health and YEA OUR VERY SOULS. The best part–wait, I mean the worst part–was when some cazzo on the MeFi thread was all IT’S NOT SCIENTIFIC THEY GOTZ THEM MYSPACE ANGLEZ and then someone else was all “Yeah, you know what would be awesome? If they all lined up naked and then we could REALLY SEE how fat they are, that would be vastly superior.”

    I love how your friend’s husband is equating fat with a disability, Kate…I have a lot of friends and former clients with disabilities who would love to have a go at him for his assumptions about “normal,” for a start. Memo to him: those of us who are fat or who have just the one leg or who get around in a chair or who don’t use their eyes to see? We’re people too, and we don’t have to compensate for who we are, either to justify our existence or to make you more comfortable with said existence.

  28. and then someone else was all “Yeah, you know what would be awesome? If they all lined up naked and then we could REALLY SEE how fat they are, that would be vastly superior.”

    “And I could totally download it and whack off to it whenever I want! Er, I mean, TEH FATTIES ARE GROSS!!!ELEVEN!”

  29. Kate, please. Whack off to a picture of a fat girl? He’s just concerned for our health. Couple of times a night, he’s just concerned for our health.

    And…because I can’t stop thinking about this…Becky, you are so right. If you’re fat and lazy, you’re going to DIE. And if you’re fat and non-lazy? You’re obviously…cheating somehow. They seem really angry that fat people are active (and young and carefree) because that’s not part of the script somehow.

    Were these people wanting a slideshow of miserable fatties covered in the proverbial Cheeto dust, slumped in front of the TV with single tears dripping down their distended cheeks? I wonder what they think that would prove. Also, I wonder why it matters so much to some folks that the BMI not be a crock, you know? Why are people defending it so staunchly?

  30. OK, so these people actually think I have a moral obligation to live on 400 calories a day forever and work out three or four hours a day like a maniac forever, if that’s what it takes for them not to flinch when they look at me? They have my express permission to get stuffed. Really and truly. Attention douchenozzles: NOBODY CAN SUSTAIN THAT KIND OF ROUTINE FOR ANYTHING EVEN SLIGHTLY APPROXIMATING A NORMAL LIFE SPAN. NOT EVEN A FATASS. AND IF YOU THINK I’M WRONG — YOU FIRST.

  31. Couple of times a night, he’s just concerned for our health.

    BWAH!

    Also, excellent points, Chiara — I was going to respond to Becky before, too, then got distracted by your earlier comment.

    It kills me that people are so invested in shooting down the zany notion that fat people could possibly be healthy and happy AS FAT PEOPLE, they can’t even see how idiotic they sound. Fat people are fat because they never exercise! But those fat people exercising? Well, they’re just staving off REAL fatness! They’re not really fat yet, because they exercise, and people who exercise can’t be fat, even if, you know, they ARE fat, but, but… JUST YOU WAIT.

    I would also really like to know why anyone other than Walter Willett cares so much about defending the BMI’s honor these days.

  32. Also, I wonder why it matters so much to some folks that the BMI not be a crock, you know?

    Because if BMI were a crock, they would have no reason to believe themselves morally superiour to 60% of the population.

  33. Because if BMI were a crock, they would have no reason to believe themselves morally superiour to 60% of the population.

    And see, I think that means they’re just not trying hard enough. I’m fat and I believe myself morally superior to, like, 80% of the population. You just gotta think outside the box, people.

  34. You know, the really hilarious thing about the “fat is a disability” argument is that the honest version of that would be FOR fat acceptance. Able-ism aside (for the moment), we don’t demand that people with disabilities cure themselves; rather, we make social spaces and rituals more accommodating to them. Because we do NOT insist that people with mobility issues walk no matter how hard it is — we build ramps instead. It *is* harder for dyslexic people to read — which is why colleges legally mandate that people with learning disabilities get extra time or nondisruptive environments for tests. This guy’s profoundly ignorant about the analogy he’s using.

  35. Someone on the mefi thread, (yep I scanned it briefly but I’m not signed up so I didn’t pitch in), came out with words to the effect of, “I’m sorry but if you are 5′ 3″ and 185lbs you are fat”. Well, duhhhh. I mean please, just how stupid would you have to be to think I don’t know I’m fat, given, a) the social climate in which I unfortunately reside, b) what I see in my bathroom mirror of a morning and c) the size 22 label in my Monsoon wrap dress??? Plus, the fact I’m taking part in a project to show the world what the obesity crisis actually looks like might be a giveaway I’m probably not in denial about my amplitude.

    The hate pisses me off but the stupidity is sooooo depressing…

    But hey, at 48 I’m young!

  36. SweetMachine – you beat me to it! i work for the disability services office at a community college and you are 100% correct.

    The range of accommodations we offer and disabilities we accommodate is mind-boggling, gods forbid that ALL people be treated thusly. You know, as individuals with differing needs and abilities?

    Legally we only have to make a “reasonable” effort to accommodate disabled students, but my gods, that’s a lot more than i get for being fat.

  37. BuffPuff, you silly young, active fat chick, you!

    As someone who’s an inch shorter than you and the same weight and, you know, writes a fat acceptance blog, YEAH, I KNOW I’M FAT, TOO.

    I actually commented along those lines at one of the first hostile sites to link to this the other day. The point is not that I don’t think I’m fat, you fucking dimwits — the point is that the faces of the “obesity crisis” don’t all have octuple chins. I don’t get why this is hard to understand, except that idiots really seem to cherish the belief that fat people have no idea they’re fat.

  38. the point is that the faces of the “obesity crisis” don’t all have octuple chins.

    Not only that… but we actually have faces! We’re real human beings, not headless blobs of fat as the media so lovingly portrays us. I got so annoyed at the commentators complaining that the shots were of people… you know, doing things, because I really think that’s a big positive of the project. It shows that overweight and obese people are real people who have friends and families and interests and lives.

  39. Wow! Even though I’m 47 (and a half), I’m “young and active,” too! That’s almost as good as that time a couple years back when somebody (in a nice way) called me a “floosy”.

    (Kate, if you want to put ages on the pics, too, fine by me!)

  40. No, Kate, fat people who exercise are seriously damaging their joints right now! All of them.

    Also, thanks for including me in the BMI photo project! :D I wish I had some prom photos, but all the good prom photos of me were taken on someone else’s camera. :( I look all fancy shmancy and less “I spend too much time on myspace or something.” But that’s all right. XD

  41. Meowser, I love you. And I love “douchenozzle.” It’s totally my new favorite epithet.

    And put me in the SanityWatchers jail, because I totally read some of the FitSugar comments, and Oh! Mah! Gawd! I don’t think I will /ever/ stop being amazed that there are people out there claiming our culture is “too nice” to fat people. What the poop?!

  42. Naw, you meant “never.” There’s a “don’t” before it. :)

    BTW, I once sent an e-mail to a group of friends in which I used the word “wantonly.” Then I reread the e-mail, and somehow, that just did not look like a word to me, and I convinced myself I must have accidentally deleted part of a sentence with the words “want” and “only” in it. So I e-mailed the group about that. They all went, “Buh?” Then I looked again, and suddenly, “wantonly” was a word again.

    I R SMRT.

  43. Holy crap! I love EVERYONE here!! I had only read like, half of comments. Now I read the rest and I’m all, “Sing it, sister!” and “Whoo!” and “Right on!”

    Don’t mind me. Clearly my inner diva is coming out to play. :)

  44. SM, that was what I was meaning to say about disabled people not having to do whatever it takes to turn themselves into abled people. It worked a lot better when you said it because you are smart.

  45. I got as far as a comment way up there somewhere:

    “Thin parents all have healthy, active lifestyles and anyway being sedentary and eating junk is okay for thin people because they are thin.”

    From personal experience, I can tell you that as a person gets older, the thin disappears when the person gets sedentary and eats junk. Years ago, I was a competitive runner doing 80 – 90 miles a week. Every week. For months, even years.

    I ate plenty. Then I got tired of it. The running, not the eating. Guess what happened? That’s right… I found myself some mouthy kids who now call me “Fat Daddy.”

    Most everyone grows some fat sooner or later. I figure the only people who do not are the truly psychotic. So glad I escaped that fate.

  46. MeFi is notoriously infested with concern trolls. Stay away (or heavily medicated, as you prefer) if you value your sanity.

    Speaking of the thread title and singing …

    The Police ARE coming to New York.

    Haha.

  47. The Police ARE coming to New York.

    I was supposed to go to NY to see them in August, but then I couldn’t. Naturally, they’re not coming to Chicago on this round. Grrr.

  48. I couldn’t resist – I went and read over the NY Times comments, but it’s more of the same old tripe, just padded out with extra syllables and ‘Fun Facts About Teh Fat!!’

    Just for the hell of it, I took the time to thow in my 2cents. I’m sure battling ‘fat facts’ with my own body comp data will be met with silence and uncomprehending stares, because as an overweight person I’m of course too lazy to care anything about my body or to bother spending money on something other than Cheetos and thickshakes.

    They must find it difficult…those that have taken authority as the truth, rather than the truth as authority ~ Gerald Massey, Egyptologist

  49. It’s funny the way we see it as, activity =thin(ner), stop activity= weight gain, because you aren’t ‘burning’ the calories. But, expending lots of energy in physical expenditure can also cause similar effects to cutting (food) calories, if you think about it it’s the same thing by other means.
    It used to be called ‘retired althlete’s syndrome.

  50. “…that was what I was meaning to say about disabled people not having to do whatever it takes to turn themselves into abled people…”

    Hmm, kinda. (If I don’t respond to this, I won’t get to play on the Disabled Advisory Committee at work any more.) Folks with disabilities are continually under all sorts of pressures to “get better or else”. For instance, I use a cane in the mornings because I tend to have vertigo and jerking/startle problems and falling on the sidewalk smudges my lipstick. I had one guy at work who would “congratulate” me when seeing me later in the day walking without the cane, and talk about “Getting rid of that thing.” We had a little chat. He leaves me alone now.

    More seriously, for instance, a hot issue in the Little People community is about operations being done on kids to make their “long” bones longer, i.e. so that they’re closer to average height as adults. It’s an incredibly painful process, and in most cases offers no health benefits. But, some parents are signing the releases. (Sound familiar?)

    And, there are issues with people missing limbs being pressured to use prostheses that allow them to pass for the enlimbed (flesh colored, etc.) instead of going without prostheses at all, or using prostheses that are lighter or more streamlined, or just better engineering (i.e. loop springs for running), but obviously not designed to look like “real” body parts.

    Etc. Whole lotta pressure going on. Don’t even get me started on people with ALS being pressured to die instead of having tracheotomies… ADAPT and Not Dead Yet are good resources on these issues.

  51. Kell, I definitely realize that my statement was oversimplified and didn’t take into account the very real social pressures on people with disabilities. I do not by any means want to minimize that or skate over it. For the purposes of the “fat = disability” argument, however, I wanted to point out the flawed logic: despite our many many societal failings toward people with disabilities, we at least have some understanding (and legal mandates) that what needs to change is the infrastructure, not the individuals. The person Kate mentioned as arguing that fat is a disability completely ignored that fact.

  52. Oh, ja, ’tis cool.

    About legal mandates. We get an interesting look with the ADA at what life might be like if/when fat people become a protected class*, where we have a fair amount of compliance, with some real nasty hold-outs (insurance companies, Clint Eastwood, Peter Singer…) This is gonna be a long fight, pals and gals, so we better learn how to party in foxholes.

    *Assuming the current system prevails — society seen as “normals plus all those other weirdos”. I’m hoping we see a paradigm shift toward “Universal Design” real soon.

  53. …some cazzo on the MeFi thread was all IT’S NOT SCIENTIFIC THEY GOTZ THEM MYSPACE ANGLEZ

    Uh, the Myspace camwhore shot is a face-only shot, camera held above and chin tilted down so as to hide any under-chin pudge. Usually with high contrast. That in no way describes all of these full-body and action shots. What a dumbass.

    (Hi everyone. I am in the BMI project as Naomi but I comment everywhere as Nomie. I’m the morbidly obese one standing on a pier and smirking.)

  54. Uh, the Myspace camwhore shot is a face-only shot, camera held above and chin tilted down so as to hide any under-chin pudge.

    More commonly known on Fatshionista as the “FGA” or “Fat Girl Angle.” :)

    Shit, I’m sorry, everybody. I think I just let the cat out of the bag about us already knowing we’re fat.

  55. As an autistic Swede with ADD that is overweight and totally in to FA I can see a lot of links between FA and for example neurodiversity. Kell Brigan is definitely in to something here. It’s all about accepting that people are different with different needs and that even if we are equal, we are totally different.

    Fat acceptance and neurodiversity is totally the same thing for me, with the same goals. And I love the fact that they tend to melt together on this very blog in the comments.

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