Fatosphere in the RedEye

There’s a new article on the fatosphere in a local paper, RedEye. (And apparently I’m on the cover of the print version. Yikers.)

(Update: It’s true! Double yikers!)

Paul from Big Fat Blog was also interviewed for the article, and Colleen of the Pretty Pear got a whole sidebar about plus-size fashion, which I didn’t even see online before, hence not linking to it when I first posted!

On the downside, MeMe Roth is quoted. On the upside, Leonor Vivanco understands that mental health is a part of health, so she also got this from a brain doctor type person:

However, it’s possible to be fat and healthy, according to… Sarah Catanese, instructor of psychiatry and behavior sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“You can be overweight and healthy as long as you’re exercising, eating a nutritious diet,” Catanese said.

A negative body image, on which some weight-loss programs try to capitalize, can be a barrier to engaging in healthy behavior, she said. “I think people who are more comfortable in their own skin are more likely to exercise, to take care of their bodies,” Catanese said.

Gee, ya think?

Seriously, though, it’s terrific to see that in an article about fat. I try to make that point every time I’m interviewed, but it rarely makes it into print. As far as I’m concerned, it’s common sense: are you more likely to take good care of someone you love or someone you hate? Reason number 84 kabillion why I do not fucking get the people who think more shame is the answer to the OBESITY CRISIS BOOGABOOGABOOGA.

Thanks to Leonor and welcome to RedEye readers who drop by!

 

112 thoughts on “Fatosphere in the RedEye

  1. I know, right? And it was nice to see the Red Eye take a break from cover stories about how to deal with coworkers who steal your lunch from the fridge or how Chicagoans should wash their hands more. Or about how we’re all fatsos on the fast track to obesity related death.

    Seriously, I felt all warm inside this morning, which given that it’s 8 degrees outside was no mean feat.

  2. I was on the el this morning on the way to work and saw some people with Red Eyes in hand, and I’m looking at the picture on the front…and I’m thinking, “why do I recognize–HOLY SHIT!!!!”

    Then I get to my stop at Chicago/Milwaukee to wait for the shuttle bus and the damn Red Eye box was EMPTY. Thankfully, the Trib guys showed up not too soon after. Otherwise, I would have been quite ragefultastic. I love that Chicago (or the greater Chicagoland area) is home to so many fantastic FA bloggers like yourself and Paul.

  3. I also think the positive comments outweighed (err…) the negative ones. Even one of their “Now look here, you can love yourself but fat is unhealthy!” doctors agreed with the statement you quoted in your post, Kate. By contrast, Meme Roth just sounds shrill and insane.

  4. AWESOME KATE!….is the cover pic online anywhere?? Perhaps I will tell me Chicago buddies to grab every red eye they see so that on that momentous day that I meet you (when you’re like running for president or something), you can sign ALL of them. Don’t you love being famous?!

  5. Now if we could just find a way to capitalize on positive body image in the way that so many people capitalize on negative body image today…

  6. So, I got on the El, sat down next to a tiny woman in one of my FatAss seats (it has extra space for my bum.) And this woman immediately gets up huffily and sits across from me. The woman she sat next to was reading the Red Eye.

    I can’t tell you how happy it made me to see your face on the cover Kate! It totally made up for that woman’s bitchiness.

    I took one off of the trash can and read it in the elevator on my way to the office. YAY!!!!!!!!

  7. I couldn’t believe my eyes! Kate! RedEye! Whoo-hoo! Great job! I thought the article went really well, though I don’t understand why they didn’t allow the ostensible subjects of the article–the fatosphere bloggers–respond to the MeMe Roth comments. She just made the same old points about exercise and eating right, and it would have been nice to see the article go beyond that. What’s her answer when fat folks respond, “Yes, that’s exactly what we do, so what do you have to say when you’re faced with the living evidence that it doesn’t necessarily result in being thin? HMMMMM?” ;-)

  8. I seriously want to make a documentary on the fat acceptance movement and the negative impact our current view of fat is having. Seriously. It could be so good.

    Because I think with the current boom and all the people starting to pay attention, now would be the perfect time.

    So…if anyone knows any producers willing to give me money to travel the world and film people and fact-hunt and whatever, have them give me a call.

  9. As far as mental health being part of health and positive self-image making it more likely for people to take care of themselves is concerned:
    There is even a more direct link between mental health and physical health. People who are depressed have a higher risk for some diseases, for example, cardiovascular disease. And yes, in this case there is reason to believe that this is somewhat causal – i.e., depression causes stress and stress has a direct negative impact on cardiovascular health. Moreover, people with sufficient high quality relationships are less likely to get infectious diseases – and again this link is not mediated by health related behaviors. These effects are actually quite large – for example, a lack of sufficient human relationships in one’s life increases one’s risk for disease about as much as smoking does according to some accounts, yet this stuff is usually ignored in the whole health debate.

  10. d00d you are famous!!!!!!!!!!

    no, seriously. It made my cold-@ss morning to see your face all over Sheridan station. And it’s great that they couldn’t come up with anyone besides MeMe Roth as a counterpoint…

  11. Yes, MeMe is quoted, but the article begins and ends with people talking about loving and accepting their bodies as they are. In the end, the MeMe rant comes off not only as quick lip service, but as shrill and silly, too.

    The message is beginning to trickle through.

    I say we celebrate with a great big box of baby-flavored donuts!

  12. And it’s great that they couldn’t come up with anyone besides MeMe Roth as a counterpoint…

    I just wish people who quote her would properly identify her as “President, Founder, and ONLY FUCKING MEMBER of the National Action against Obesity.”

  13. And it’s great that they couldn’t come up with anyone besides MeMe Roth as a counterpoint…

    This was exactly my take. If the only opposition you can track down is CRAZY…..well, shucks, just might mean that this whole not-hating-ourselves thing isn’t totally cracked.

    Well done, guys.

  14. It’s nice to know that Meme’s taken on the duty of supplying any and all articles about fat with an appropriately scienterrific warning about the dangers of neglecting to hate ourselves and think of health only in terms of dress size.

    I bet Papa Willett has a lot more free time now that he doesn’t have to man the fatty phone 24-7.

    Congrats on the article! I swear Chicago is going to be ground zero for the fatty revolution. :)

  15. I love that the article quotes Paul and you all “this isn’t about everyone getting fat, it’s about fat people being human deserving of respect” and now Backin’ Down MeMe TM (she’s really taking a less hard-line stance lately, it’s weird) is all “well if it was about fat people being humans deserving of respect, that would be one thing, but OMG THEY JUST WANT EVERYBODY TO BE FAT!”

    Anyway, this is great.

  16. I have to say, I love that the acronym is NAAO. It helps me think of MeMe as a cat macro.

    THIN NAO! IZ 4 UR HELTH!!!!!

  17. I just wish people who quote her would properly identify her as “President, Founder, and ONLY FUCKING MEMBER of the National Action against Obesity.”

    I’m the president of the International Coalition of People for Being Awesome, but that never credited in any of my works. I should complain.

    I’m also the researcher and creator for the Watch Boys Kissing diet and exercise plan. And I don’t see anyone calling to interview me for Red Eye.

    Hmmph!

    Speaking of which, there’s a new episode of Torchwood airing today. Wheee! Make sure you do your warm ups beforehand!

  18. Time-Machine, I’d be delighted to join both of your groups. People should absolutely be awesome at all times, and watching boys kissing…I don’t know if it’s going to affect my weight or health very much, but I would certainly be entertained. That’s plenty for me.

    (settles in with popcorn and waits for pretty mankissing to begin)

  19. We should have a deep dish Chicago-style fatosphere party with pickles, tomatoes, and sport peppers, what with all these Chicagoans.

  20. We should have a deep dish Chicago-style fatosphere party with pickles, tomatoes, and sport peppers, what with all these Chicagoans.

    Seriously, it’s like Chicago is the FA capital of America *lol* Makes me want to move there.

  21. We should have a deep dish Chicago-style fatosphere party with pickles, tomatoes, and sport peppers, what with all these Chicagoans.

    You know, it’s not really a Chicago dog if you put baby-flavored donuts on it. I hear Giordano’s is rolling them out as a topping, though.

  22. Time-Machine, I’d be delighted to join both of your groups.

    HA! I haz moar qualficashunz than Meme Roth! I iz srs contributor to society!

    Oh, and LJ?

    *hopes this works*

  23. I have to say, I love that the acronym is NAAO. It helps me think of MeMe as a cat macro.

    THIN NAO! IZ 4 UR HELTH!!!!!

    U CANT HAS CHEEZBURGER!

  24. I second that emotion.

    I am going to have that song stuck in my head all day now. Thanks.

    Time Machine wins.

    I Iz L0zer

    Yeah. I’m just hot like that.

    BUT YOU IZ NOT L0ZER!!! YOU WINS 2!!! WE BOTH WINS!!!

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  26. Hee hee, I LUV the Mememe cat macros ;)

    That was a great article – as others have said above Meme just came across as shrill, while you and the other doctor came across as logical and common-sensical (is that a word?). I’m glad to see you, and the FA movement overall, getting so much attention. And what is it with Chicago? lol

  27. @ time machine and shinobi – too too funny, I had to save it with my other lolcatz for my screensaver (I save the pics from Icanhazcheeseburger and run them as a slideshow for it). That made my day.

  28. Did they just quote what Roth said from our M & J Show piece? Because it sounds like exactly the same drivel she shilled on the show.

    Why the fuck do otherwise credible news outlets continue to consult her on stories? She has no academic background or medical qualifications on the subject. In fact, I have more of an academic (graduate school) and medical background (I’m an EMT and I went through a semester of paramedic school) than she does, yet they’re not beating down my door asking for my opinion.

    Kate, you looked fab on the cover and all of you sounded very smart.

  29. *Cheers for Kate, Paul, and Colleen*
    We’re celebrating! Let’s CONGA! ^_^

    And lol at the Meme Roth photo. ZOMG T3H OBESITY EPIDEMIC LOLOLOLOLOLZZZZ!! ONE!ELEVEN!1111!!!!

  30. Congratulations! But I had to share something with you:

    From this BMI calculator:

    http://www.cholesterolcholestrol.com/bmicalculator.htm

    Its words on “obese”:

    Obese, becoming unattractive with health and life being compromised. Diabetes,gallstones,hypertension,heart disease,colon cancer,metabolic syndrome,insulin resistance and stroke,amongst others,are likely scenarios if you don’t do something to correct the obesity.

    And morbidly obese:

    Very obese,considered unattractive by most,body is so loaded with fat that your cardiovascular system,insulin system etc are likely to be breaking down. Your life is being shortened by years,if not decades. Medical attention required ASAP

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  31. Yeah, but it has the “22 BEST TIPS FOR QUICK AND EASY WEIGHT LOSS I AM SUCCESS STORY!!!!1!!!1!”, so I wouldn’t be surprised that attractiveness would be top priority.

    Speaking of attractiveness, if you don’t take this the wrong way, but Kate you look HOT on that cover!

  32. Speaking of attractiveness, if you don’t take this the wrong way, but Kate you look HOT on that cover!

    Thank you! And quite frankly, feminist though I may be, I rarely have a problem with being called hot. :)

  33. Rock on!!!!! I knew there was a reason we wanted to move up here. I’m just glad I’ve found you guys to pass along to my stepdaughter the next time she’s here (no internet at her mom’s). All the loving and validation that even the most accepting family couldn’t provide when I was her age. You guys rock!

  34. Congratulations! You look fabulous– love your blog. I blog about it on my own blog!

    Is anyone particularly disturbed by the information that says, “it’s an uphill battle given the national fight against obesity: Just last month, a Mississippi state lawmaker proposed a bill to stop restaurants from serving obese people.”

    Are people going to have to start carrying around BMI ID cards like driver’s licenses? Scary stuff.

  35. I was trying to read the article from the PDF, and I spent entirely too long analyzing why on earth they’d include a photo of a radiator on the page. Was it a commentary about the lonely apartments these people must inhabit? A pun on how the Fatosphere warms our hearts? A subtle statement reminding readers that fat people probably pay less in heating bills and are thus superior?

    Then I realized it was the other half of the photo of Jeff in his apartment.

    But it threw me for a while.

  36. Then I realized it was the other half of the photo of Jeff in his apartment.

    I think you mean Paul. Too many bald, goateed, feminist-leaning bloggy men around these parts. :)

    And hee hee to the rest of it.

  37. OK, I was totally about to jinx your jinx. Does that mean you owe me a Coke, or is there a subsequent round of jinxing?

  38. occhiblu, I had the exact same experience! And, embarrassingly, that was AFTER I’d seen Paul talking about how he’s always photographed with radiators. I was like “well I see the radiator… does he mean his photo always appears NEAR a photo of a radiator? And where IS he?”

  39. Congratulations! I looked at the picture first and thought “wow, that’s a great picture, she’s pretty, wonder who she is” and then realized what it was all about. I don’t always finish my morning coffee before dropping by.

  40. On the cover…and looking awesome! (seriously, you look so intelligent and gorgeous).

    Great article, it’s one of the more positive ones I’ve read and I couldn’t even remember what Meme Roth had said when I got to the end (alternatively maybe my brain is now tuning her out for the good of my health).

  41. I am actually hiding in the radiator on page 6. Page 7 is a separate photograph of our sparse-looking apartment. (It really isn’t sparse.)

  42. Woooh! FA Pinup! You rule!

    And, yep, Memememe comes off looking like she’s talking drilge for a change. Definitely overall the best article we’ve seen in the mainstream media about FA. You done good, guys.

  43. my college has a stack of these at the security desk every day. while I do live under a rock I’ve taken to grabbing one as I pass by. Totally had a “I know who that is!” moment. yay! but the computers at school won’t let me comment and sometimes they won’t let me see this site at all. I suspect their blocker thing searches for swearing or something.

    I have known of MeMe Roth in the media a total of two times. Yet she officially reminds me of a robot. what was in the paper seemed really similar to what I saw on tv/youtube. It was a small blip of ??? in an otherwise really cool article. hooray for mental as well as physical health :D

  44. For once, I wished I worked in an office…in Chicago. So I could dance around with this in my hand and go, “I KNOW HER! SHE IS TOTALLY MY FRIEND! I KNOW HER!”

    But then of course, I am Kate Harding. So there’s no need. :-P

  45. For once, I wished I worked in an office…in Chicago.

    I wish you did, too!

    Well, actually, I wish you worked in the location of your choice, doing something fulfilling… in Chicago. (Speaking of which, I haven’t forgotten I owe you a long e-mail.)

  46. Am I. . . -Yes. I do believe I’m starting to see cracks forming on the big, slimey, ball or derision we like to call Fat Hate. And, if I’m not mistaken, it seems to me that some light may be shining through.

    ‘Course, it don’t hurt to have really talented folk like Kate and Paul hammering away at said Ickyball like Titans. Me thinks the Gods begin to tremble, somewhat. [Yeah, ok. Sappy. But that's how I roll when the admiration gushes so just deal. And hand me the mop while'st your at it.]

    Meme? Well, she is rather unfortunate. I’ll admit that I sometimes waffle back and forth between despising and feeling sorry for her. I mean, how can you not feel sorry for someone so, obviously, twisted up inside? How badly does she REALLY hate herself during those quiet moments when the camera’s aren’t rolling or when some media entity isn’t asking her questions like she knows. . . Well, ANYTIHNG? Then she opens her mouth and the waffle flips.

    Paul, Kate, excellent job as always. Good to have you spreading the message. Good to see the message is being taken up and spread by others. And, while we’re at it, just plain ‘Good’.

  47. Are people going to have to start carrying around BMI ID cards like driver’s licenses? Scary stuff.

    And will I have to get mine updated now that my new meds put four pounds on me? (According to the scale. I can’t find them.) Or worse – will my Socially Acceptable BMI License be revoked if I announce that I don’t give a shit about those four pounds? OHNOEZ…..

  48. Well, actually, I wish you worked in the location of your choice, doing something fulfilling… in Chicago.

    From your fingers, to Ceiling Cat’s pointed little ears.

    (Speaking of which, I haven’t forgotten I owe you a long e-mail.)

    Which I eagerly await, when your staff is done peeling the baby grapes for you.

    (snerk)

  49. OT asshattery on my part, but I haven’t yet bought any tasty Shapelings clothing because I’m hoping for an “Exercise: Not just for weight loss anymore” T-shirt.
    If it is forthcoming in the mid to long term, I will shut up and eat my baby donuts until such a day as that happens, without further annoying y’all. Otherwise, I’ll order other stuff in the shorter term and go make my own t-shirt if I want it so bad, what do I think you are, custom T-shirt makers? Jeezus. Some people.

  50. I would just like to say that it was SO WEIRD reading the paper with you on the cover in a cafe today. I felt like saying HEY EVERYBODY THIS IS MY AWESOME FRIEND, and then I simultaneously felt like everyone in the cafe would somehow know who I was and go, Oh look, there’s Sweet Machine showing off how her friend is all famous. Both of which were, you know, not what happened, but it was comical nonetheless.

    Nice choice of shirt for your glamor shot — that color is great on you.

  51. Both of which were, you know, not what happened, but it was comical nonetheless.

    Okay, so I just went downtown to meet Harriet Brown for tea. (Hi, Harriet!) And on the way there, I was fucking starving, so I grabbed a Snickers bar at the corner store, because it was the only portable thing that sounded interesting to me. On the way to the bus, I pass 3 or 4 RedEye boxes and see myself staring out of them, which is SO FUCKING WEIRD to begin with. Then I stand at the bus stop, right next to a RedEye box, shoving the Snickers into my face at lightning speed, because I wanted to finish it and chuck the wrapper before the bus came.

    And then it occurred to me that people could actually look at my face and “WELCOME TO THE FAT-OSPHERE,” then look over at me snarfing a Snickers bar like I haven’t eaten in a week, and make the connection and have all their stereotypical thoughts about fat chicks confirmed. AWESOME.

    Fortunately, I was wearing a hat and sunglasses (because it was cold and bright, not because I’m so glam), so I don’t think anyone put it together. But that was one of the top 10 weirdest moments of my life, to be sure.

  52. And then it occurred to me that people could actually look at my face and “WELCOME TO THE FAT-OSPHERE,” then look over at me snarfing a Snickers bar like I haven’t eaten in a week, and make the connection and have all their stereotypical thoughts about fat chicks confirmed. AWESOME.

    That? Is the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time.

    Too awesome.

  53. A fat positive article in the media? Arrrr, shiver me timbers and surprise me cunt!

    (Okay, I don’t actually possess a vulva, but our dear friend Rick, who coined the new pirate-talk expression “Surprise me cunt!” didn’t either, so I sure won’t let that stop me! ;-D)

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  55. Wow Kate! You look absolutely gorgeous on that cover. By the way, how come Sweet Machine and Fillyjonk don’t show their faces? It’s been really fun seeing what the various FA bloggers look like lately – such a uniformly handsome bunch!

  56. Denise, you clearly missed this totally unedited photo of me and Fillyjonk!

    I would be happy to share my photo if I weren’t trying to maintain (the illusion of) pseudonymity. FJ and I of course stand by our words, but we have to remain pseudonymous because of our jobs (a journalist and a many-years-from-tenure academic, respectively).

    You can see our fabulous clothing in the BMI slideshow, though!

  57. But that was one of the top 10 weirdest moments of my life, to be sure.

    Dude, you know that now paparazzi are gonna stalk you trying to catch you in sweats on the couch with your donut-pulley system, too.

  58. I agree completely with Bilt4Cmfrt. You guys are really impacting the message and that is awesome. That is one of the better articles on FA I have read. In fact it seems like the articles are going from inane to decent before our very eyes. Awesome work, Kate and Paul! Thank you so much for everything you do… slogging away for years with very little thanks while I just go “Gee, I wish people would quit hating fat people so much! Huh, too hard, I guess.”

  59. Okay, did this Meme Roth legally have her first name changed to that to reflect her narcissism? Because I have a hard time imagining any parents anywhere actually naming their kid “Meme”!

  60. Time Machine, I laughed so hard I started coughing (and then took another hit of NyQuil because I has teh plague). Meme Roth DOES know because of her learnings. SO PERFECT.

  61. Denise, I’ll “come out” just as soon as I’m no longer writing about politics. Fat is political enough that prudence dictates anonymity… and the place I write for gets some strong commentary, strong enough that it’s not remotely implausible for people to look up writers on the internet for something to use against them. It happened to a coworker (albeit the one who tends to take on the really controversial stuff) only a couple weeks after I started there, so I got a little object lesson in circumspection.

  62. (To be sure, it’s not like faces are googleable, but prudence doesn’t come naturally for me, so I don’t want to relax it lest I just go completely all in. So, another year or so of facelessness for me.)

  63. FJ and SM – Well, those are excellent reasons! While I think of FA as “radical”, because it has the power to totally change society, I also think it’s sad that you guys would have to hide your faces for any reason. But, that’s the world we live in. I for one am sometimes glad for the anonymity of the internet, especially those times that I have heatedly shot off my mouth without thinking it through. Not that you awesome ladies would ever do that!

    I want to say that I really enjoy the high quality of the writing at SP. It’s actually changed my perception of the web as a vast wasteland of poor grammar and banal opining. I will look forward to your future unveiling!

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  65. Let me just add my voice to all the congratulations. Well done, I’m so happy to see this article! You guys are doing a fantastic job representing this important movement. :)

  66. I’m so thrilled. I live in Chicago(ish) and I’ve gotten used to all the cool kids being in SanFran or Oregon or some other way-far-away place.

    I just cannot tell you how happy I am you’re here Kate. I know a bunch of people have already said it, but let me just chime in with some more of the oodles of praise and happiness you’re already being drenched with.

    Cause I’m in Chicago, I’m fat, I’m healthy, and I’m sick of being targeted as being a dead man walking just because I’m fat! I am not going to die any second, and I’m so much healthier than my thin friends it’s almost sad. But they say, because it’s what keeps them going, things like, “At least I’m not fat, I don’t know what I’d do.” When…oh my gosh…I wouldn’t trade with them for anything.

    Better fat and healthy than thin and…well..I like my boobs so I wouldn’t want to be thin anyway.

    Thanks again for being a great representative!

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