The Duh Truck Rides Again

Okay, every Shapeling and their grandma has sent me a version of this news, so I’d better get on it. (Thanks, everybody, and sorry I’m slow!) 

A new study suggests that a surprising number of overweight people — about half — have normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels, while an equally startling number of trim people suffer from some of the ills associated with obesity.

The first national estimate of its kind bolsters the argument that you can be hefty but still healthy, or at least healthier than has been believed.

The results also show that stereotypes about body size can be misleading, and that even “less voluptuous” people can have risk factors commonly associated with obesity, said study author MaryFran Sowers, a University of Michigan obesity researcher.

GEE, YOU DON’T SAY.

Of course, as others have noted, it’s only fucking “surprising” if you’ve ignored all the previous research saying the same thing, and continued to buy into those misleading stereotypes. Also, I left out the first line of the AP article there, which is: “You can look great in a swimsuit and still be a heart attack waiting to happen. And you can also be overweight and otherwise healthy.” Hey, thanks for leading with a reminder that even if fat people can be healthy, we still can’t look great in swimsuits*, Lindsay Tanner! 

The L.A. Times is even better. Not only does Shari Roan focus on the “visceral fat is what will kill you” angle instead of the “Fat does not equal unhealthy” one, she phrases it thusly: “You can be normal weight** and be just as bad off as old tubby next door.”

Charming. Do they seriously not teach journalists today that phrases like “old tubby” (see also “ballooning,” “packing on the pounds,” “X pounds of blubber/lard,” etc.) and commentary on folks’ bikini-readiness have no fucking place in science reporting? Or that “colorful” language like that might just suggest you have a deeply ingrained bias against fat people, and therefore are probably not the person to report objectively on studies about our health?  

Anyway. Roan’s phrasing also leaves out the pertinent point that “old tubby next door” has a greater than 50% chance of not being badly off at all, according to this research. What it actually shows is that you can be normal weight and far less healthy than old tubby. You can be normal weight and just as badly off as your normal weight neighbor. You can be old tubby herself and be better — or worse — off than another old tubby across the street. You can be any weight and healthy, or any weight and sick. You can’t tell how healthy someone is just by looking. That’s the fucking point.

Here are the actual studies being discussed, and here’s a rundown of the findings that contains somewhat less editorialization. 

From the latter link, in one study, 

Dr. Wildman and colleagues looked at a cross-sectional sample of 5,440 participants in NHANES, and stratified them according to BMI and cardiometabolic abnormalities, including elevated blood pressure; triglycerides, fasting plasma glucose, C-reactive protein, and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance value, as well as low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

“Metabolically normal” = one or none of the things on that list, and “metabolically abnormal” equals anything above that. Here’s who was metabolically abnormal: 23.5% of normal weight adults, just under 50% of overweight adults, and just under 70% of obese adults.

The other study looked at “the pathophysiological mechanisms of type 2 diabetes” and found that 24% of obese patients were not insulin resistant and — contrary to researchers’ expectations — “the insulin sensitivity and the intima-media thickness [of the common carotid artery] of the insulin-sensitive obese group were similar [to] those of the normal BMI participants”. Or, as study leader Dr. Nobert Stefan says, “a metabolically benign obesity that is not accompanied by insulin resistance and early atherosclerosis exists in humans.” 

GEE, YOU DON’T SAY.

So yes, there is still a correlation between higher weights and metabolic abnormality. But as we’ve been saying all along, this does not apply to all fat people or let thin people off the hook — which is why there’s so much pants-shitting going on in the media over this. 

Also — brace yourself — you’re more likely to be “metabolically abnormal” if you’re older and sedentary. NO WAY!

They also did find a correlation, yet again, between waist circumference and metabolic iffiness — presumably because a higher waist circumference can be an indication of higher levels of visceral fat, which appears to be the baddie. (Thin people can have high levels of visceral fat, too.)

Now, every time I talk about waist circumference/visceral fat, I hear from apple-shaped folks who are quite understandably pissed off that the OBESITY CRISIS BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA heat is just shifting over to them. So let me make two points I’ve made many times before, because they’re well worth repeating.

1) My favorite fun fact ever: Sumo wrestlers tend to have low levels of visceral fat. And it’s usually sedentary thin people who have high levels of it. The evidence suggests that exercise is protective against visceral fat, even if it doesn’t make you thin — so if you’re able to exercise, there is something you “can do about it,” which doesn’t involve starving yourself or getting a tummy tuck. 

2) Risk factors are just that — risk factors, not death sentences — and we’re all stuck with risk factors for diseases that we can’t do anything about. Family history is the most obvious example — you have no control over whether your parents and grandparents had diabetes, cancer, heart disease, whatever, which is why nobody suggests you have an obligation to “do something” about those risk factors. If you’re lucky enough to get old, you’ll be at increased risk for practically everything — but nobody suggests killing yourself on your fiftieth birthday to avoid that risk factor. Likewise, if you are predisposed to be fat and/or carry weight around your middle, that’s just another risk factor you’re stuck with. For many of us, making a substantial, permanent change to our weights is just as impossible as going back in time and choosing different parents. 

And for many of us, as this research shows, being fat will not lead to poor health anyway. And as always, you can’t tell who’s most at risk by looking. Hell, I’m more hourglass-shaped than apple-shaped (though I am officially obese and my waist circumference exceeds the recommendation for women), but given my pesky family history of diabetes, I’m still probably more likely to end up in the insulin-resistant category than the “metabolically benign” one someday. It sucks, but it is what it is. 

Fat does not equal unhealthy. Thin does not equal healthy. Exercise is beneficial if you can do it and are so inclined, regardless of whether you lose weight. Getting old makes you more likely to get sick, but it’s better than the alternative. Risk factors are not death sentences. Being sick is not a personal failure.

That’s the big fucking news here. But we already knew all that, didn’t we?

*For those who missed it, that’s Fillyjonk rockin’ the swimsuit.

**I have not put “normal weight” in irony quotes throughout, because it would seriously clutter up this post, but please imagine they’re there.

116 thoughts on “The Duh Truck Rides Again

  1. You know, I think this post (and in particular, the last paragraph) does a good job crystallizing almost everything I’ve been gathering from reading this blog for the last few months. And it makes some very salient points that really hit home for this apple-shaped-but-otherwise-genetically-blessed reader. In particular:

    Being sick is not a personal failure.

    I need to remember that.

    Just a general noise of appreciation from a first-time commenter and serial blog-lurker.

  2. Gee, I guess I’m not the unique snowflake anomaly I thought I was, what with my LOWER blood pressure AND cholesterol than when I was 40 lbs lighter (and exercise free as I didn’t have the energy). Heh.

  3. I was interested to note that one of the factors used in that study is, according to my doctor here in Germany, not that important –he says that worrying about elevated triglycerides as opposed to the other cholesterol measures is a fad in the US, and they’re not as bad for the heart as having the other measures out of whack are. Since he told me this when he took me off Lipitor because my other stuff was all fine, I believe him :D

    What was also interesting for me was that removing that from the list of factors, I become “metabolically normal” even though I’m insulin resistant. Go figure. (And a big raspberry to the endocrinologists and other doctors I had in the US who used the insulin resistance as a you’re-going-to-go-blind-get-both-legs-amputated-and-die-by-age-50 bludgeon to get me to lose weight.)

  4. Lol, I thought of Shapely Prose the instant I saw this article this morning. What I find entertaining is that even as we’ve made this awesome, outrageous, unbelievable discovery that fat CAN be healthy (omgz), there’s still an ad to lose weight with Oprah’s trainer on the left margin of the page.

  5. What I find entertaining is that even as we’ve made this awesome, outrageous, unbelievable discovery that fat CAN be healthy (omgz), there’s still an ad to lose weight with Oprah’s trainer on the left margin of the page.

    Which is exactly why you will never see keyword-based advertising on this site. :)

  6. What really makes me angry about this news is that I apparently dieted my way to high blood pressure and high levels of C-reactive protein, in a never-ending effort to “get healthy.” And those things are irreversible–there’s nothing I can do about them now. I had a nurse practitioner express great surprise that my cholesterol levels are not just normal, but optimal for a woman my age. The same nurse practitioner’s only suggestion when I asked her what I could do about the high CRP levels was to flatly state, “You need to get more exercise”, without ever once asking me in the four years I saw her what kind of exercise I was already doing.

    Discovering FA has been a real eye-opener for me, and I wish I had known this stuff twenty years ago, before I started starving myself. But right now, I’m just angry. I hope I’m not the only one who has gone through this stage after discovering FA, and I do hope it passes, because gee, maybe this constant anger is not good for my blood pressure.

  7. I hope I’m not the only one who has gone through this stage after discovering FA, and I do hope it passes, because gee, maybe this constant anger is not good for my blood pressure.

    You are definitely not the only one. Some of us start blogs to deal with the anger. :)

    Seriously, it is really common, and you have every right to be angry. And yeah, at some point, being angry about shit you didn’t know at the time and can’t change now probably does more harm to you than good; one way or another, you have to make peace with where your body is now. But especially when you’ve just recently realized all this, there is nothing wrong with being angry about it. I’d probably be more worried about you if you weren’t angry.

  8. Family history is the most obvious example — you have no control over whether your parents and grandparents had diabetes, cancer, heart disease, whatever, which is why nobody suggests you have an obligation to “do something” about those risk factors.

    Kate, Kate, Kate. This is America–of course it’s your fault if you didn’t have the foresight to select healthy, wealthy, and white ancestors! Why should the rest of us subsidize your poor choice of a progenitor?

  9. Re: being angry, Damn right I am.

    Because of certain (life-saving and necessary) medications I’ve been on, which have side-effects of weight gain and a soft “cushionoid” appearance, I started dieting when I was ten.

    I think of being eleven years old (eleven!), scraping my microwaved Lean Cuisine dinners onto a plate so they would appear more like a meal, pouring my Diet Coke into a glass, and sitting at the dining table eating alone–spacing out every bite by minutes so as to make the meal longer. Notes in my diary talking about a bite of ice cream as “cheating on my diet”. Eleven years old. Getting up at five every morning to go walk for three miles (this I at least truly did enjoy). Obsessively stepping on the scale several times a day, internalizing either celebration or judgement depending on what incremental changes in ounces I saw. At eleven. Going to school and being outcast, shamed, mocked, for doing nothing but being me. I think of how many people must have also looked at my mother in judgement, thinking that she must allow me a spoiled rotten life of nothing but junk food and video games. Cruel comments from my stepfather regarding me looking like a dog, me being worthless, me being unworthy.

    I was a shy, sensitive, loving little girl. Now I am a shy, sensitive, bitter and cynical adult with severe clinical depression, complex body issues, and a shattered self esteem that I have, over the years, been painstakingly trying to glue back together again.

    And it was all for nothing. Nothing was gained out of that. I didn’t get “healthier”. I didn’t lose weight until they decreased my dosage of medication, and I’m still not thin, nor will I ever be. And losing the weight certainly didn’t change my genetics, or remove my family history of breast cancer and diabetes. News flash: I am still going to die of something, someday.

    I went through hell for nothing. And now we get studies like this, which are not nearly enough, and are definitely too late, saying basically, “Well, maybe fat people aren’t really that bad, although they still kinda are.”

    You’re damned right I’m effing angry. And I will continue to be angry, even if tomorrow it was revealed, for real and truly, that diets do work and fat people are all going to keel over dead at fifty-five if they don’t do! something! now! Even then, I would still fight the destructive, pervasive hate that fills this society like a sickness. There is no reason any little girl, any person at all, should have to go through what I did, and continue to go through to this day. Not even for their “health.” Especially not for nothing.

  10. Fantine, elevated c-reactive protein is a sign of inflammation, not a disease in itself. It’s considered a flag for possible cardiovascular disease because it’s a fairly sensitive test, and cardiovascular disease all too often runs under the radar until it becomes critical. But elevated CRP levels could just as easily be due to, say, gum disease. Or inflammatory arthritis, as in my case. Or IBD. Or … well, any of thousands of inflammatory illnesses, alone or in combination. It’s not at all specific.

  11. I’m still in the angry stage, too. I don’t really expect to get over it, but I do anticipate that it will become a response (like my feminist rage) rather than a constant, low-level burn. Each study like this just makes it flare up, though. As Kate said, the point should be that you can’t tell a person’s health just by looking at them (and sickness isn’t a personal failing that people should be shamed for, anyways), but it somehow always gets framed as, “even if your BMI is normal, you could still be FAT!!1!!!eleventy-one!!1!” It’s like, holy fear-mongering, Batman.

  12. You tell ‘em, EntoAggie.

    One small quibble: It’s actually cushingoid appearance, as in Cushing syndrome, a metabolic condition that results in a particular pattern of weight gain. If that’s actually what you had, it’s even more outrageous that people would tell you to diet your way out of it. At eleven. GAAAAAHHH.

    And yeah, what’s with the “blubber/old tubby” talk? If they can’t get on the FA train entirely could they at least stop dehumanizing us already? (Since we know they don’t mean those terms in the ironic way used by FA bloggers.)

  13. Family history is the most obvious example — you have no control over whether your parents and grandparents had diabetes, cancer, heart disease, whatever, which is why nobody suggests you have an obligation to “do something” about those risk factors.

    Problem being, people assume that if you have any of the obviously uncontrollable ones, you have an even greater obligation to ‘do something’ about the ones assumed to be controllable. Diabetic relatives mean you just get more flak about weight loss, even if you have numerous fat non-diabetic relatives.

    This is exactly what I dislike about the advent of genetic testing; more people who have absolutely nothing wrong with them will end up forced to make ‘lifestyle changes’ or lose their insurance. And after all that, people will still get sick.

    It’s been the case with weight for decades, but we seem to be moving generally back to moralizing about people’s health – implying that for doing certain things you ‘deserve’ certain diseases, and ‘deserve’ not to be treated for them. We’re fast losing compassion in healthcare, even as an ideal. Worrying.

  14. Meowser, right on. That is exactly what I am talking about–I always tend to lapse into calling it “cushionoid” because when I was a child, that’s what I heard the doctor saying, and it made sense to me because I thought my face looked like a cushion. But cushingoid is the technical term.

    And yes, it’s ridiculous that dieting was even on the radar. I guess I could “blame” my mother, as much as I can blame anyone who was scared shitless and trying her best to juggle a child with severe medical problems, an infant, and a husband in Iraq at the time. She is a person who has always been so enveloped in the Diet Marketing Machine that I think it was just a natural response to teach her behaviors to me when I started gaining weight, almost as a sort of fun bonding activity. She was definitely very encouraging of my dieting, which looking back is very disappointing to me. If anything, she should have given me more ice cream to, you know, make up for the fact that I was going through shit that no kid should ever have to go through. :)

    Seriously, though, I still look back on that period and boggle that such a smart woman, who researched every aspect of my condition, who could converse with my doctors about it on a highly technical level, would still think it good and proper that I could Diet My Way To Healthiness. Still, like I said, she did the best she could with the culture she was raised in.

    I’ve had many conversations with her since discovering FA, and although “in theory” I think she gets that people can be fat and still healthy, etc., she cannot just instinctively, intuitively grasp the true shittiness of the situation. In other words, she still talks about denying dessert because she’s “saving her calories”, even though I’ve made it quite clear that I do not appreciate that sort of talk. It’s brainwashing, pure and simple. It makes me sad.

  15. But elevated CRP levels could just as easily be due to, say, gum disease. Or inflammatory arthritis, as in my case. Or IBD. Or … well, any of thousands of inflammatory illnesses, alone or in combination. It’s not at all specific.

    … unless your doctor doesn’t believe you… One month after shoulder surgery, I had a physical, and my CRP levels were sky high. Of course it was because of my weight and not because of the inflammation from the recently repaired rotator cuff, trying its damndest to heal

    Needless to say, I have a new doctor.

  16. Just want to say thanks for the slight tip into OT territory from the people talking about being angry.

    I’ve been dealing with this a lot lately. Getting to that point where I am again starting to consider just plain giving up on feminism, or even just activism at large or hell, just plain CARING about stuff, because it’s having effects on my mental health. I’ve been super-pissy lately. Everything seems to fill me with righteous rage. Someone started yet another “hey guys they’re suggesting Breed Specific Legislation in Town X!” thread on Dogster and I let loose with a ruthless condemnation, exactly, just exactly what I thought of people who think that because there are dangerous dogs in Breed X, that means all of Breed X is dangerous… they think this is NEW?! When it’s not pits it’s shepherds, rotts, fucking COLLIES in the 20′s!!!!! For crap’s sake does the brainrot ever END?! I just hit the roof. AND I’M STILL MAD AT THE WORLD.

    Hate for skin colors, hate for women, hate for men, hate for any sexuality other than hetero, hate for self-expression, hate for religious beliefs, hate for a freaking breed of DOG, fucking PETA (don’t even get me started on those assnuggets, this is just their latest escapade) using a young man’s murder as a platform for their goddamn “all humans on the planet should die, except us” message… hate hate hate hate HATE! It’s EVERYWHERE. I can’t ESCAPE IT, not even for a second!!!! It’s enough to make me want to curl up in a ball and die sometimes.

    And on top of it all, today if I leave my house someone might decide to hate me just because I don’t look like Kate Moss or Halle Berry. WAH DEE FUCKING WAH, I’M NOT EITHER OF THOSE PEOPLE.

    *sigh* See what I mean? I’m not sure what to do. I mean, if I want to make a difference I really need to learn to deal with the feelings, but on a more personal level I better figure out at least some kind of de-stress strategy if I want to, you know, get through the DAY.

    Is there a such thing as an Early Anger Stage of social awareness? Or… is this frustrated, hopeless rage doomed to never end?

  17. I read and my waist circumference exceeds the recommendation for women, and immediately thought “who decides what the recommendation for women is, and what did they base it on?”, suspecting that it might be based on the notion that women should be teeny-delicate, or similar nonsense.

    I’m sure this represents some kind of landmark in my quest to SEE WOT U DID THAR in terms of sexist and/or sizeist bias. Congrats, Kate – the blog has trained me well. ;)

  18. Problem being, people assume that if you have any of the obviously uncontrollable ones, you have an even greater obligation to ‘do something’ about the ones assumed to be controllable.

    Oh, absolutely. I just think that for those of us who have the “risk factor” of fatness (or waist circumference, whatev), reminding ourselves that there are lots of other “risk factors” we can’t control can be a helpful way of reframing the, “How do I fix myself?!?” panic.

  19. Congrats, Kate – the blog has trained me well. ;)

    Ha! Actually, I believe the waist-size recommendation is higher for women than men, but it’s still ultimately arbitrary, so nice work.

  20. i saw this on my local news, and while I was surprised to see they even ran it, I was also not surprised to hear the reporters talk about it like it was some hilarious joke. It was on the commercials all evening during the prime time shows (I was watching the Mole, which by the way was awesome. I hoped Craig was the Mole, a genuinely fat guy who everyone underestimated so much that was screwing them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars because he’s amazing). Then when it came around (45 minutes into the news of course) it was a tiny blurb with headless fatties and a tone of hilarity. Bleh.

  21. Sugarleigh:

    I’ve been super-pissy lately. Everything seems to fill me with righteous rage.

    Girl, it’s like you’re living in my brain. I sense that, for me, this is worsened because of some stress at work, and a lapse in my antidepressent usage (long story), but GODDAMN do I seem pissed about everything lately. My boyfriend has learned to change the channel when certain shows or commercials come on because he knows I will start getting irritated. Although, fortunately, he doesn’t take this as an opportunity to lecture me on how I’m oversensitive like certain people *cough*myex*cough* might have done.

    I think the discovery of this inner cauldron of boiling rage magma is really tied to my recently getting more involved with FA and feminist theory. It’s like, I’ve watched my inner feelings in reaction to our culture evolve from “This makes me vaguely upset, but I’m probably just imagining it, and anyways this is just the way things are, what can I possibly do about it?” to “This is fucked up, and there is NO REASON things have to be this way other than we allow it to continue. I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

    Yes, it does effect my mental health, and I don’t necessarily like going around being angry all the time. I certainly wish I had reason to just be all sunshiney and flowers and puppies and “the world is great.” But you know, seeing as how certain things about the world are definitely NOT great, how certain things about the world are decidedly fucked, I think I’m better of stoking the flames.

  22. SugarLeigh, you just said what I was about to type, except 100 times better. Maybe 200 times.

    It’s why I’ve been taking a break from all this. Maybe for good.

    And as for anger, it scares me. Because for years and years I wasn’t ALLOWED to be angry that people treated me like shit because I DESERVED it. It’s something I can deal with only a little bit at a time because I’m terrified that the well of anger will never run dry.

  23. Sorry, I’m in a hurry, and have not read the post through or any of the comments–but after reading this in the post I have to chime in:
    [Kate]: So yes, there is still a correlation between higher weights and metabolic abnormality.

    Please, everybody, especially those journalists, and those scientists too who damn well should know this already, repeat after me:
    Correlation does not equal causation!
    Say it enough times, it might even start to sink in. That is rule ZERO of data analysis, the one you have to keep in mind before you even start to apply the other rules.

  24. SugarLeigh: I go through cycles of it (and also cycles of burn-out, which don’t necessarily match up as you might expect).

    I sometimes think that the “excessive rage” thing is like the perception of eating normally as overeating after years and years of dieting… Like TropicalChrome said, years and years of not being supposed to or allowed to be angry about this stuff… And I include the feminist things, too, because if I had a nickel for every time I was told that feminism and feminist activism was outdated and unnecessary…well, I might never have to work for a living again. :)

    Having lived with the well of righteous anger inside of me for this long, I’m not sure what I would do if it suddenly dried up.

  25. Please, everybody, especially those journalists, and those scientists too who damn well should know this already, repeat after me:
    Correlation does not equal causation!

    Which is exactly why I put “correlation” in italics and spent the rest of the post talking about why that means jack shit.

    It’s a very important point to make, liveparadox, but seriously, when you’re already admitting you haven’t read the post or the comments, busting that out like it’s some great revelation is pretty condescending.

  26. RE: The anger also…

    I started out overjoyed and relieved to finally read something other than I’m a horrible, awful, disgusting beast that’s going to die…

    But I’ve been feeling the rage lately, too, and as a result, some pretty severe isolation. I no longer feel compelled or even able to just sit back and let people fat bash me or anyone else and in standing up, I’m having a hard time with people in general. It’s heartening to have FA exist and fucking depressing, frustrating, and enraging that pretty much no one outside of these blogs that I know (friends, family, douches with their “no fat girls” stickers, husband) get it. And won’t.

  27. Thank the FSM I’m not the only one who’s angry. And Kate, Sweet Machine, Fillyjonk, and everyone on the other FA blogs I’ve been reading lately, thank you, thank you, thank you for putting this information out there and giving us a safe place to talk about it.

    (I’m crying now. I hate crying. But I suppose it’s better than internalizing everything, as I now know most of us have done forever.)

  28. I wish I could find a way to get past the anger and the sadness and all the other things I think when I see what I’ve done to my body in 47 years in the name of being acceptable. Someday.

  29. Yes, it does effect my mental health, and I don’t necessarily like going around being angry all the time. I certainly wish I had reason to just be all sunshiney and flowers and puppies and “the world is great.” But you know, seeing as how certain things about the world are definitely NOT great, how certain things about the world are decidedly fucked, I think I’m better of stoking the flames.

    I come and go on this. Sometimes, my anger and frustration get so intense that they lead me to make things worse (hello, flamewar addiction), and sometimes they lead me to take concrete action to make things better.

    When it gets really bad, though, is when they just sit there and I can’t do anything with them because the thing making me angry is something I have no control over. Sometimes the teaspoons (tm Shakesville) just aren’t enough to make me feel satisfied that I’ve done something. And sometimes the teaspoons aren’t even there.

    I’m a very practical person in many ways, and when I can’t find a solution for something that I can immediately take steps to implement, I start panicking, and fearing the worst. And that’s just not healthy for me, especially because it makes me start trying to find stopgap measures, many of which are counterproductive.

    There are times I wish I was religious, so I could just recite the Serenity prayer and thereby talk myself down from some of the whirling dervish frothies.

    As it is, all I have available is just knowing that I’m not the only one who cares, and not the only one fighting, and therefore if I take some downtime to just enjoy life and refill the tank for another day’s work, it doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned the cause.

    Women are taught to sacrifice even our own basic needs for others, and so sometimes we even do this when we’re fighting for a good cause, because we fear letting up on the Constant Vigilance! lest we be swept up in the tide of that which we are fighting.

    But as they say on airplanes, secure your own mask before assisting others. And if that means that I go take a bath for an hour instead of spending that time explaining the basics of reality to some willfully ignorant douche, then that’s what I do.

  30. I wish I had the anger thing. With me, it’s more of a deep despair mixed with intense dislike toward the people who insist on being giant assholes. If I could move on to anger, then I could act more on my feelings instead of feeling crushed by them

    On the positive side, yesterday I called out some summer students at my work for their hideously offensive racism, and today I wrote a nice letter to their managers. OTOH, it all made me feel horrible inside. I just wish shit like that never had to happen in the first place…

    As far as the article goes, I read it in the Toronto Star (don’t know if that’s the same version as the Yahoo one), and appalled by the attitude of one of the researchers quoted, who basically said that losing weight is important, even if it has nothing to do with your health. WTF? The entire second half of the article was all about making sure that despite all of the actual evidence, the framing of fat=bad still stands, goddammit.

    Publishing articles on studies like this can be great, if they’re not written by fanatical thin-nuts. Still, I can’t help thinking that since the fat=unhealthy myth is on its way to being debunked, we’re going to see ever more fat=immoral framing.

  31. Unfortunately, so many of us are angry, and we’re told in so many ways that WE’RE NOT ALLOWED TO BE.

    It’s hard to fight against that. Especially when the people who wish we were less angry mostly wish that because they see us being unhappy when we’re angry. I love ya, darlings, but if you want me less angry, please change society.

  32. The anger thing? I can say that it actually does get better. I say this as a fairly long-standing feminist and FA person.

    The anger that feels like it’s impacting your mental health can be a good thing if you find an outlet for it that feels productive. That’s what Kate’s done in having a blog, and what a fair number of us do with writing or some other form of activism.

    The anger’s the spur, but it has to lead to doing something, or we all start feeling we’re nothing but anger–impotent anger.

    So, get involved. Find some way to turn that anger (which is a form of energy) into something that goes, even a little bit, toward changing the world (or even some small corner of it).

    The other thing to say about anger is that yes, to many of us, especially to many women, it feels scary and inappropriate and like something we’re not supposed to feel. Women are told we don’t have a right to anger, much less to express it. And that’s just another way of keeping us from changing the world. We’re directed to be angry only at ourselves, at our bodies, and to focus on changing only ourselves and our bodies.

    Anger can be a potent potential form of power, and it can take awhile to get comfortable with that.

    But it’s totally worth it.

  33. Women are told we don’t have a right to anger, much less to express it.

    Even worse is that it is often portrayed as humorous when a woman gets angry. Especially a short woman. Especially a short, fat woman.

    Talk about anger and rage. Almost nothing is worse than showing genuine, human emotion, and having it devalued not only as worthless, but as funny. It is one of the most vile mental things you can do to a person.

    Yeah, because that’s what I’m here for, to amuse the overlords.

  34. Which is exactly why I put “correlation” in italics and spent the rest of the post talking about why that means jack shit.

    It’s a very important point to make, liveparadox, but seriously, when you’re already admitting you haven’t read the post or the comments, busting that out like it’s some great revelation is pretty condescending.

    I just now got home and re-read that, and I apologise, Kate, you’re right. That was my exasperation talking–the confusion of correlation with causation is one of the biggest problems in science reporting, and it drives me nuts. Being a science student, I get really angry at the misrepresentation of science in the press… None of which is any excuse for the drive-by, and I’m sorry. Please feel free to delete the post.

  35. Hmm. I will probably need to look at this again, and think hard about what you are all saying.

    I wonder if part of my anger is my fear of speaking up? The thought that it’s no use to do so, because surely I’ll be dismissed and get nothing but a negative reaction, and the resulting frustration?

    Example. I tentatively brought up the Fat Princess subject with my bf and a mutual (MALE) friend, since they are also gamers and I figured they’d be good for a discussion on it because it’s a gaming issue… heck, when we hang out together the three of us pretty much end up talking games.

    These are guys I’ve come to love and count on, and boy oh boy did they ever let me down. They immediately assumed it was an attack on men and completely dismissed what I had to say, didn’t even fucking let me finish my sentences before jumping into defense of the poor poor menz.

    Later in private (he always sides with this guy!), I managed to have something of a better discussion about it with my boyfriend, who didn’t realize A) the game was actually CALLED Fat Princess, to which he said, “what the fuck, that’s just ASKING for trouble, yeah, that’s offensive,” and B) all I was saying was that the game’s premise was offensive, not that guys are horrible and all people who play the game have inflation fetishes and fancy that women are helpless damsels (oh for fuck’s sake, butthurt much honey? I mean I know he gets trolled in school by a vocal feminist in one of his classes, who actually accused him of sexism for drawing a male character and a female character together and the male was taller… but sheesh this is ME, not HER, so get over yourself!).

    I’m on the verge of blowing up at that particular friend, and I feel guilty about it, but… he’s made frequent little incidental comments in various conversations that just… well, shit, he’s fucking SEXIST. I won’t sugar coat it. He actually compared breastfeeding in public to Tourette’s. He’s great in a million other ways and I’m hesitant to throw him out the proverbial window because he’s my bf’s buddy, but I’m ready to knock him upside the head for shutting out any hint that perhaps men don’t actually have birthright to run the damn universe, and perhaps women are here for their own good as much as for his and other men like him! He doesn’t do it out of willful malice (at least, I am pretty sure he doesn’t), he’s just, well, he’s not very bright, and he figures if he thinks a certain way, and it works for him, the rest of the world must (or should) feel that way as well. He likes what’s convenient and doesn’t care to think too hard. Doesn’t make it any less frustrating. Hell, maybe in some ways more so. I bet there aren’t that many men who have real brains who would CHOOSE to be misogynist if they honestly SAW the other side of the coin. But omg seeing is scaaaaary. Hole in the ground is cozy and safe lol!

    This is not, mind you, the same guy who thinks abortion should be outlawed solely because his mother CHOSE to have him despite being warned he’d either die or have lifelong physical problems, or she might die, if she went through the pregnancy. And also fancies that his reason is irrefutable and morally superior to people with a religious motivation for their abortion-hate. Oh, indeed… because the fact that your mom CHOSE you has NOTHING to do with the success of your birth! You selfish prick. Yeah, I dumped that bastard as a “friend.”

    OKAY, WAIT, NEVERMIND. MY RAGE IS PROBABLY JUSTIFIED AFTER ALL.

    OH, FUCKIN’ A. NO WONDER SO MANY PEOPLE TAKE UP DRINKING. I WISH ALCOHOL DIDN’T TASTE SO RANCID.

    *SOB, LOUD AND HEARTBROKEN SOB*

  36. I’ve always been a fairly passionate person when it comes to certain issues, particularly feminism, but I have a problem when I feel like those I’m discussing it with don’t seem to “get” it. My point of view, that is. So when I now discuss FA with my boyfriend and roommate–like, because my roommate is going on Nutrisystem because she’s quitting smoking (and doesn’t want to gain weight from it), or when they make comments about offensive representations of fat people in movies which they don’t find offensive because they’re not fat–I have a hard time expressing myself because they don’t GET it. And my frustration comes partly from not being able to express myself due to a lack of knowledge and, therefore, conviction, but also due to a control issue I have where I just think everyone should believe what I say because it’s THE TRUTH.

    So it makes me angry and I frequently have to walk away because right now my biggest battle is the one I’m waging on my own self-hatred.

    The main point is: I feel you on the anger. I feel angry at women who get caught up in the dieting issue despite their intelligence and beauty and kindness and bad-assness, and at society for being so blind to the truth because, as a whole, it’s (society) is so superficial. And I’m angry at myself for still feeling inadequate because I am fat.

  37. “I wonder if part of my anger is my fear of speaking up? The thought that it’s no use to do so, because surely I’ll be dismissed and get nothing but a negative reaction, and the resulting frustration?”

    @Sugarleigh: Total Amen to that. That’s what I meant in my post, as well…The idea that no matter how I feel about it, it’s not going to change anyone’s mind about it, so it’s useless. Very frustrating.

  38. Gahhhhhhh I’m both sad and glad that other people have a hard time with this, too.

    I actually had someone (a “friend”?) tell me not too long ago when I mentioned some tenets of FA in the context of calling them out on ridiculing those who use automated carts in stores, that I am just making excuses for giving up on dieting. This is what I fucking deal with.

  39. OK, I am a first time commenter, but I’ve read your blog for several months now. I am SOOOOO over this thick waist/apple shape being the “real” killer. Even more so than “fat is a killer.”

    I look back on my grandmother, who surely would have qualified as obese, for as long as I knew her (and that was when she was in her 60′s). She had pretty thin legs and arms. The vast majority of her weight collected about her waist/breasts. She ate red meat several times a week. She did not do any “formal” exercise, but she always kept herself busy around the house. So between the obesity, the apple shape, the large waist, the eating of red meat and the lack of exercise (though I don’t if I should count that one, after all, she could hand wash clothing with a scrub board like nobody’s business) how did she live to be 97????!!!! And not an ill/poor health 97, mind you. She did not have any problems like high cholesterol/blood pressure/sugar and all but the last two years of her life were spent in good health. After which she was diagnosed with dementia.

    Yes, comments from the “experts” leave me fuming!

  40. I’m on the verge of blowing up at that particular friend….

    You know, I used to be a lot more accepting of my bf’s friend’s misogyny before I became more comfortable with feminism. I didn’t want to be “that girl” who made everyone uncomfortable by bringing up issues, I wanted to be the “cool girlfriend” who all the guy friends loved and secretly wanted to date. Yeah, I know…TONS of insecurity layers that I had to sort through on that one. Sheesh.

    I think it was somewhere around the time that my bf’s friend was telling his story about his date the night before, and how the petting got heavy, and he really wanted to have sex, but the girl started to feel uncomfortable and wasn’t ready, and of course he didn’t pressure her because he’s not that kind of guy, and won’t we all give him a cookie for that, and then spent the next twenty minutes bitching about the girl and his poor wittle blue balls and how he was so mad that she didn’t put out, that I started to think to myself, “Self, why do you even want these people to like you? I mean, seriously? Congratulations, you’re not a rapist, which automatically makes you a wonderful person deserving of sex with supermodels because you’re so ‘sensitive’? I mean, really? Come on.”

    Yeah, so I totally don’t have a problem being “that girl” anymore. I mean, I’m not outright rude to them, and I understand that they have good qualities outside of their jerkitude, but I don’t hold back from calling them on their asshole remarks anymore either. Not that it’s not scary, or doesn’t sometimes make me want to just curl up in a little ball and hide.

    And it does help a lot that my bf tends to take my sides in these situations, or at the very least doesn’t make things worse. It’s sometimes what saves my sanity at the end of the day.

  41. I chose to have lap-band surgery about 11 months ago and even the nurses and doctors at the WEIGHT CONTROL CLINIC acted surprised when they did my blood pressure check. Yeah, I’m low-normal! I’ve always been low-normal, except when I was on one med that made me low, and I passed out in the shower. My mom has low BP too. My blood work is beautiful. My cholesterol is perfect. My heart is strong. I can walk all day without keeling over dead (admittedly I walk slower than a lot of people). I don’t know if it’s that they usually deal with other people or maybe just that they work with a lot of diabetics, but I always want to laugh when they act so shocked. They have my medical history in front of them that shows at least several years of perfect BP and blood work, but because I look fat, I must have a co-morbidity! How come too thin people don’t have co-skeleties or something?

  42. And as for anger, it scares me. Because for years and years I wasn’t ALLOWED to be angry that people treated me like shit because I DESERVED it. It’s something I can deal with only a little bit at a time because I’m terrified that the well of anger will never run dry.

    I feel this way too. At least, with the sadness and the crying. I seem to have let go of the anger, since being angry wasn’t doing me any good. But the well of tears never seems to run dry. Commercials, movies, books, and recently, church. Tears seem to pop up at the least little thing and I really think it is from the days of not being allowed to be sad or angry.

    Sigh. I wish so many of us didn’t have such similar stories.

  43. @Simply Mac- Trust me, Nutrisystem is its own punishment. That friend may see your point of view in a hurry after a month of creepy chemical food product.

  44. Oh my, the anger. Oh yes.

    Knowing that everything I was made to believe and suffer for is a lie and hearing the same ignorant shit spewed out by people that I consider friends over and over and over and over again and there is no one I know in person who seems to actually feel the same way I do and NO ONE who cares enough about the situation (any shitty situation you care to name) to get involved with anything or even listen to what I have to say!

    So far, the only person I’ve had the courage to actually debate anything with is my OH. In many ways he is very good and understanding, but in a lot of instances he JUST. DOESN’T. GET IT.

    Like my trying to explain to him the whole issue with that fat princess game, or with that fucking advert Sony ran for their white playstation. He just doesn’t get it; he keeps on focusing on the individual event as a wholly individual thing, and gets tied up in “perhaps not every example of X is because of racism/sexism/ableism/ageism/homophobia”.

    He doesn’t understand that these things aren’t happening in a vacuum, and that one individual instance of something that makes me squick isn’t just a single instance… it’s YET ANOTHER half-brick in my face to add to the barrage of them currently headed my way, and headed towards everyone else who is in some way not one of the “default”.

    I don’t feel confident enough yet to try and argue out this shit with anyone else and I CAN’T ARGUE IT OUT WITH HIM because he always gets so defensive and just DOESN’T GET IT!

    /deep breaths/

    Anyway. Yeah, I’m dealing with some anger right now. Love rum for nerve-calming, but can’t afford it right now. Playing Sims helps. I make a load of effigies and MAKE THEM SUFFER. Cathartic, if disturbing for anyone that happens to walk in on me mid-cackle…

  45. Speaking of Nutrisystem, apparently it gives quite a few people serious heartburn and indigestion. On another message board I post at, one person decided to try and said it was horrible tasting and made her feel awful. She went to the Nutrisystem forums and other dieters complained of the same symptoms. So you lose 40 lbs, but you gain a prescription to Nexium. No thanks. I’d rather be fat and not having constant heartburn.

    When I was in my teens, I thought about doing the SlimFast diet. My grandmother forbid me to, because she knew a lady that did it and her dieting led her to a gall bladder operation. Which is ironic, since I had to have my gall bladder out over ten years later. But I never did the SlimFast.

  46. TropicalChrome,

    I hear your anger. For me it’s the way I felt when I realized I didn’t “deserve” the abuse that my parents dished out. My anger, especially when hearing about sexual abuse of a child, is extremely strong. It used to feel like I shouldn’t get angry because I’d be angry for the rest of my life if I ever “let go.” I think your idea of letting it out a little at a time is probably a good one. Please don’t just stuff it down because that will only hurt you in the long run. Get some help if you can afford to do so or talk to someone if there is someone you feel you can trust with your feelings about this. Sometimes dealing with the crap by yourself is too much. That said, when I let the anger out (not all at one time) and found I could stop being angry again and go on it made it less terrifying letting the anger out the next time. I feared all the anger that I carried would destroy me but it didn’t. I’m not explaining this as well as I’d like but I wanted you to know that someone else let their anger out and came through sane. My thoughts are with you.

  47. Sigh. I wish so many of us didn’t have such similar stories.

    At least we’re finding out that we do have similar stories, and that we’re not alone in feeling like this. That’s important, I think.

  48. I really wish I could afford to go back to the therapist that made life seem okay and sane for me. Damn the whole “too old to be on the folks’ insurance anymore” thing! Even though I’m once again technically their dependent.

    Above all I wish I had some guidance on the beau. I love this guy, but sheesh some of the yutzes he hangs with… I see more and more examples of these sexist leanings in the two friends of his I interact with most. Is that an indicator of him? I don’t know. It’s complex… his emotional and social life is complex, he has a pretty weird family so growing up he developed some funky (to me) ideas. While on the one hand, he’s more accepting of me, more willing to work with me, and more willing to actually admit when he’s wrong than any fellow I’ve ever dated or known… he also has a prevailing view that applies to most aspects of his life that “everyone should just mind their own business.” To him, social issues don’t really matter most of the time, because people who are mean to others “are just stupid and cruel, which is what humans in general are, and so you just ignore them because they’re stupid and cruel and therefore they don’t matter.” To him it’s enough to just know that HE knows better, say “how moronic!” and then ignore it and move on. It’s not as simple as that to me. He gets frustrated because I care too much, I get frustrated because he cares too little… it’s rough stuff. I can’t decide if we’re better off together, challenging and balancing one another, or if we’re just oil and water and kidding ourselves despite the strengths that are there.

    I need to find the place in me that knows what I need, knows what the answers are to questions like this… but I’m so blocked up with anger lately that I can’t even bring myself to try and meditate, though I’m sure I’d feel better if I did. BLARGH.

  49. @ the Bald Soprano– amen! I love this whole “not the only person in the whole wide world who has experienced this” thing. It’s… well it’s just immensely helpful.

    Also, to the world in general: If doing whatever I feel I can do to make the world better for everybody ISN’T my business, than dammit WHOSE job is it to make things better? BECAUSE THEY ARE SLACKING.

    lulz.

  50. Oh, anger.

    I’m openly gay. A guy in my department has decided that “lesbian = man.” A lot of men make this assumption, it turns out. The things they divulge make me want to push the fucking button. I mean go fucking Heart of Darkness on the world’s ass and exterminate us all.

    I sent the link to the New York Times slideshow about the incredible variety in body shape and size to everyon in my department. No commentary, except something like “wow. look at what these athletes look like!”

    This guy send me a link of what he calls: better olympic bodies. It lands in my inbox, no one else’s. You guessed it. All photos and a poll concerning the fuckability of white, young and thin olympic athletes. This guy has been in asshole mode for a while now.

    I replied and said: Never send me anything like this again. I wasn’t sexualizing the athletes, and I find it demeaning that this columnist did.” I added a jab about the pedophilic taint involved in gaping over the gymnasts.

    He’s not speaking to me at all. Because I turned out to be a person who loves women, rather than a man? Perhaps.

    Sometimes, I’m convinced that the One True Energy Alternative in this world is the white hot flame of my anger.

  51. I am so with you all on the angry, and the tired, and the sad. I am so sick of being the only person I know who thinks refusing to diet is anything other than giving up. I am so sick of being that person who calls out a sexist or ableist or sizeist or racist or homophobic remark/tv show/film as such and then gets the uncomfortable silence where everyone else in the room is shifting in their seat and thinking “oh god, must we?” I feel like they get to have their sexist and sizeist and heternormative chat all day EVERY DAY, and the moment I mention anything FA/feminist/gay-related I’m intruding on their nice happy sameness.

    And these are people I love dearly, who are otherwise very good people, but they just do not get why I get so angry about some of the things that are important to me and it makes me angry/sad/tired in turns.

    I’m so…glad? that so many of you feel the same.

  52. “To him, social issues don’t really matter most of the time, because people who are mean to others “are just stupid and cruel, which is what humans in general are, and so you just ignore them because they’re stupid and cruel and therefore they don’t matter.”

    Wow. That’s a pretty serious case of privilege. He doesn’t think it’s an issue because it doesn’t clot his life like a big wad of… something gross. I mean, this guy is the portrait of privilege!

  53. I replied and said: Never send me anything like this again.

    Cindy, you might also consider forwarding that e-mail to your boss and/or HR. As people were just discussing over at Shakes, some companies do have policies against using work e-mail to send shit like that.

  54. Thank you for this, Kate. It has all the sciency details I love (and am too lazy, erm, tired due to pregnancy to look up and analyze myself. ^_^

    @EntoAggie
    And I will continue to be angry, even if tomorrow it was revealed, for real and truly, that diets do work and fat people are all going to keel over dead at fifty-five if they don’t do! something! now!

    I would truly rather live how I want to live and keel over at fifty-five than live in a world where self-deprivation were the actual functioning key to thinness, and therefore acceptance. If being ‘obese’ is so dangerous to me, I’ll take happiness with myself as I am for half a century over self-imposed misery for longer.

    I would love to read a blog, should you choose to write one, EntoAggie. That is a story that needs telling.

  55. Sugar Leigh, are you sure we don’t have the same OH? Mine thinks exactly the same thing! The whole “well duh, people are arseholes” thing… and then just goes on whistling with his day.

    I wish I knew how to make someone understand that, just because it doesn’t affect you personally, doesn’t mean that the people it DOES affect can respond in the same way you do (ie, casually just not letting it get to you).

  56. Tangenting slightly… What do you want to see fat characters doing in videogames, other than ‘not shoveling doughnuts down their throats’? (Which I am so very tired of. I even found a PORN game with one fat character… except she’s the ‘comic relief’ that no one has sex with, and her CHARACTER PROFILE image is carting around doughnuts…)

    Are there specific red flags to be avoided? If a fat woman is a strong-but-slow fighter in a beat-em-up, is that problematic?

  57. @Cindy– I’ve been thinking that more and more, and it makes me wonder if it’s worth it to try and get him to see outside of that bubble, or if I’m better off moving on… sigh. If I could get him to see it, I believe he would respond favorably. He tries hard to better himself as a person and realize when he’s wrong. It’s just… I don’t know, I’m not sure if I’m strong enough for the kind of work it would probably take to get his head out of his tush on this one.

    He so often feels that I’m just silly, and don’t live in “reality.” I feel that “reality” is more defined by individual perception than any one objective truth anyway… we get into endless arguments about it.

    @Caitlin– I FEEL YOU.

  58. “I feel like they get to have their sexist and sizeist and heternormative chat all day EVERY DAY, and the moment I mention anything FA/feminist/gay-related I’m intruding on their nice happy sameness.” –Caitlin

    That’s totally how I feel around the majority of my family…I’m still working on braving that uncomfortable silence anyways.

  59. @Bunny Mazonas– adding your blog to my list! I would like to thank each person here by name for being someone who understands, but that would just read like a list of pretty much everyone who has commented so far, so I’ll stick with you for now because you addressed me by name. ;)
    Also, um… would it be intrusive to ask, what decided you on staying with your OH despite such an oppressive lack of GET IT about that kind of stuff? It might help me decide on this… he hasn’t proposed yet and I think it’ll be a bit, but since he sounds like he’s planning on it eventually I better bloody well know the answer…

    @Emmy– I think strong-but-slow is fine, as long as they’re not portrayed as an obvious joke. Yes, fat people can be fast, but they can also be slow. I think the power thing makes sense, a fighter who is slow would likely train to make up for that with power, would they not? Though I’d be shocked to see a fat woman in a fighting game, so just having one would be a start!

    The other nice thing would be if guys and girls would be in similar levels of (un)dress. As I put it in another thread, if my characters have to be half-naked so guys can stare at my pixelated ass, that’s fine, as long as I get equal opportunity to stare at THEIR pixel-asses. If I’m in a fur thong bikini, he’d BETTER be in a barely-there loincloth, end of story. I’m so sick of the exact same piece of armor showing up as a full-body wrap on a guy and a string on a girl. Guys, come on, if this is a Sexualized Zone, give EVERYBODY something to look at! I also feel terrible for gay male gamers, because while games occasionally show lesbian action they NEVER show two dudes. NEVER. EVER. Utterly unfair.

  60. Caitlin, “I feel like they get to have their sexist and sizeist and heternormative chat all day EVERY DAY…”

    Seeing that written out like that was a slap in the face. Of COURSE I know that, but I have never worded it quite that way. It really hit me and now I won’t feel so bad when I call this shit out. Thank you for saying that!

  61. My husband lived in a CAULDRON of NEVER-ENDING RAGE starting with the day Bush was declared “President” (that was, yes, almost 8 years ago) that burned with a white-hot heat, that increased everytime grossly illegal things were reported on/done/forgotten…anyway, living in constant rage really is not good for your health or outlook. (I only offer this if anyone might find it useful, and if it is just not useful, please ignore!) BUT: one way he found of dealing with the RAGE is to focus, not on the thing that in infuriating you, but on it’s opposite, the thing that would negate it. For him, this would be things like, focus on justice, environmental action, getting someone better elected, etc. Things that can at least theoretically make you feel GOOD when you focus on them.

    For us, here, the focus could be on REALLY loving yourself NOW, letting others know they are lovable, and not accepting that their “rules” (you know, the frat boy rules) apply to US. Just plain NO LONGER ACCEPTING. It won’t stop anyone from BEING enrages, but once you are, flipping to the opposite can give you a channel to be in that doesn’t make you feel terrible.

    Feminism/FA and DUDEZ:
    The males in my life are without exception all “acting” Feminists. Most of them do the lion’s share of housework (yes I know it is odd but there you are) and are very egalitarian and don’t code acts to gender, etc. But when I open my mouth with the Feminist Framing of, well, ANYTHING, they ALL get superdefensive and will argue to make my point go away.

    It used to make me wonder, WTF?

    But then I noticed that I myself often did the same thing, of not BELIEVING that racism had anything to do with A, B, or C, that certain things were just coincidences, blah blah blah (I don’t mean about huge things like the Jena 5, I mean about things like, why are there no black people at my workplace, why are there no black people living on my street, why do white people put their kids in private school, is it wrong to be employed by a private school etc) Nobody wants to be a racist (well nobody HERE I think!) and the suggestion that one MIGHT be one is met with resistance and defensiveness. I think a lot of Dudes get super-defensive about Feminism in a similar way. They just want, on some level, to explain it away so they won’t have to, I don’t know, feel MORE imperfect than they already feel. I am not offering an excuse here for anyone, mind you, just pointing out how humans react to confrontation with the reality of their own privilege.

    In light of this, I have found that it is best to NOT try to argue rationally with dudes about Feminist Frames and Insights; (because the men can’t argue rationally, they are “too emotional” bwa ha ha) it is better (more effective) to say your piece, and, when met with dude-resistance, to just say “Do you really think that? How Naive.”

    It gets them thinking.

  62. @Dorothy: thanks for the kind words, I have been dealing with/letting my anger out for awhile. In small bursts, when I’m strong enough to deal with it. Because when I think I’ve gotten to the bottom of one layer, I keep discovering new ones underneath, and I wonder if there will ever be a bottom.

    I’ve figured out that this method works for me, where I can deal with that which needs dealing with without letting it suck up all my energy and take over my life. I need that energy for happiness.

    And just a general comment: I don’t ask that the people in my life be angry for me or with me, I just ask that they understand that I am even if it makes them uncomfortable.

  63. Hear hear on the equal nudity/semi-undress in games and such. I recently stumbled onto a terrible anime that, while it was offensive in its reinforcement of horrible social and gender norms, also featured some terrifically hot, often semi-nude, and very sexualized young men.

    Of course, I had to watch all of the horrible episodes so that I could gaze upon their hot hot manly half-naked bodies. Then I realized something. For me, seeing hot young men put on display for an audience of young women was something so novel, so different. But for straight males, that is their EVERYDAY experience. Almost every time they turn on the tv, watch a movie, or play a game, there are women put on display for them sexually, so much so that they take it completely for granted! Trust me when I say that *I* appreciated.

    I wonder what it would be like to be catered to that way ALL THE TIME? No wonder guys think they’re owed female sexual attention (by unrealistically hawt and thin women). If men were portrayed similarly, then maybe these douchebags would fucking get that a) it’s completely unrealistic to think that all women should obligingly pretty themselves up and make themselves sexually available, and b) they need to raise their standards for their own grooming and behaviour.

    Yeah, so this shit intrigues me and pisses me off at the same time.

  64. But then I noticed that I myself often did the same thing, of not BELIEVING that racism had anything to do with A, B, or C, that certain things were just coincidences, blah blah blah

    KMTBERRY, I’ve written and erased several comments about this because I’m unable to fully articulate how this relates to recent discussions about privilege and the fatosphere. You make a good point, and what you describe is very common. The discussion this thread about who is “allowed” to get angry and the shitty way fat people are treated by the media is very similar to discussions of race, gender, class, ableism…

    I don’t have a huge insightful point here, except to say that if one gets furious about being subjected to fat-hate every damned time (and I do), then what is the ?expected reaction to, let’s say, crap like this?

    http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2008/08/wow.html

  65. Late to the party as usual, but…

    definitely went through a super angry stage as I came to feminism, and it has settled into a more productive, less destructive kind of anger — I’m angry about the problems, but I don’t wake up every morning pissed off at the world about the oppression of women/queers/blacks/etc. A bit of a media break (ok, lessening of media exposure) helped with this.

    Right now, I’m still feeling new to FA (a year later… I’m kind of slow to incorporate stuff into my life), and as such, feel that same kind of constant fury. I trust that, as time goes on, it, too, will settle into a more productive kind of anger, and in the meantime, I’m trying not to let it get to me, mental-health-wise. Because, otherwise, FA has been nothing but a blessing to my mental health.

    Also, I love how every article I read about this study was like “fat is not a good predictor of heart health….. but you still need to not be fat!!!! Oh, god, don’t be fat!!!!” It was predictable, but still, just breathtaking, how frightened people are of people thinking it’s ok to be fat.

    One article mentioned that those at highest risk were smokers, sedentary folks, and the elderly…. and I’m just going, ok, I don’t smoke, I move regularly…. what is it you think we’re going to do about aging? It’s just this incredible fear of death, and if we can do everything JUST RIGHT, maybe we’ll never die. It’s absurd.

  66. …what is it you think we’re going to do about aging?

    Damn those old people! If only they’d died young, they wouldn’t be messing up our mortality rates now!

  67. I feel like they get to have their sexist and sizeist and heternormative chat all day EVERY DAY

    Just about how we feel about the blog and our draconian rules about who gets to join the conversation. You want to hate on women and fat people? There’s a place for you, and it’s called everywhere else on the internet except here.

    There’s not nearly enough hostility towards hate out there — we’re not overreacting, we’re just making headway. If they’ve gone soft and can’t deal with a little challenging, maybe they should learn.

  68. The extreme sarcasm at scientific results that say things we “already know” is rather grating. Doing the same things a whole bunch of times is an essential part of the scientific process. The first oil-drop experiment, for instance, got most of the press, but they were verifying that thing for many years afterwards, which ended up revealing small errors in the first one. The next 100 papers worth of research is just as important as the first few, as they’re what really drives in the confidence levels, and occasionally dredge up interesting new information even when they don’t contradict previous work.

    After all, if people stopped looking at the effects of fat on health when we “already knew” that is is the most horrible thing for you ever, where would we be now?

    But that’s just me. I might be misreading your intentions, but it sounds to me like you’re making fun of Dr. Stefan for having performed a study on something so “obvious.”

  69. Anger has been my word of the day.

    I’m feeling crappy right now because I went swimming while angry, and decided to beat the crap out of the water. I’m in pain. And I can’t take ibuprofin.

    This is in part what made me angry, but also, who the f*ck gets to tell me whether or not I’m healthy. That is not for anyone else to decide. I have diabetes, and for now it’s well managed (and compared to many other people I’ve observed, easy to manage). I’m lucky, not hard working, or compliant (oh I hate that word).

    Note to self: swimming your absolute hardest to try to get the anger out results in only temporary relief, but longer-term pain.

  70. Sugar Leigh, I’m dealing with a very, very similar significant other. So similar that my world seemed to stop a little bit when I read your comment. And I don’t know what to do, either. If you see this, maybe we can get in touch?

  71. Count me in on the anger train, ladies. I’ve actually been thinking about this hard recently. So, down here at the end of these comments (which I actually know *tons* of you read), please allow me to let you in on the one thing that is sending me over the edge.

    I’m frickin’ angry that my mom, nearing 70 years old, is now considering going *back* on a liquid fast or getting a lap band because she can no longer face living a life at her weight. A weight, may I remind you, that she achieved partially through genetics, but also from all the goddamned yo-yo dieting that she did throughout her entire goddamned life. She went through her first liquid fast when I was 15. I learned the calorie counts in all her study guides…I ate myself down to 800 calories a day with her.

    She says now “it was the only diet that worked for me.” I want to say, “Mom, IN NO WAY did that diet work for you. I didn’t work for me either. I spend every day supporting the oppressive weight of the knowledge that your diet gave to me. The knowledge that I can never be too thin. The knowledge that my appetites are TOO MUCH for this world. The knowledge that you, the most beautiful woman in the world, did not think you were good enough either.” What chance do I have?

    But, she *is* getting old now. Our relationship is what it is. Instead of saying all of that, it was all I could do to squeak out, “You know, Mom, maybe 800 calories a day isn’t enough food to live on. You deserve more food than that.” We had this conversation one week after I found this blog. Day after day I read here what I want my mother to know. What I want her to learn. What I want her to believe.

    But the anger for her (and, let’s be frank, AT HER), it just seethes. Sometimes, I wonder if I’m not angry at all of you people for knowing what my mother will never know. Sorry…

    I have a daughter of my own now. She’s still just a toddler. When I look at her……I want my anger to make a better world for her. A world where an Oreo is the same thing as a salad. Where she can be light…not thin, but not submerged beneath this relentless oppression of judgment, of strategizing, of struggling to break free from something that so many people actually encourage you to take onto yourself.

    It isn’t encouragement that I need. It is resolve. And I fear the anger will subsume me first.

    It isn’t encouragement that I need. It is resol

  72. …I’m not one for correcting my posts, but that unfinished sentence at the end was not intentional. Looking at it hanging there, it looks a little ominous.

  73. But that’s just me. I might be misreading your intentions, but it sounds to me like you’re making fun of Dr. Stefan for having performed a study on something so “obvious.”

    Not at all. I’m thrilled that people like Dr. Stefan are putting more research like this out there. I’m making fun of the reporting on this stuff, if I’m making fun of anything.

  74. kateharding: Not at all. I’m thrilled that people like Dr. Stefan are putting more research like this out there. I’m making fun of the reporting on this stuff, if I’m making fun of anything.

    Ok, so then I did just misinterpret. The reason I thought you were, though, was because your second “GEE, YOU DON’T SAY.” was directed at quotes from the study itself and from Dr. Stefan.

    “Congratulations, you’ve discovered something simple and obvious.”
    “I know! This must be what Archimedes felt like when he understood buoyancy!”

  75. I just wanted to say a warm hello and send mega hugs to everyone, especially to those who are experiencing and dealing with anger.

    FUCKING HELL I AM FURIOUS TOO!!!

    Thanks for articulating what I’ve been struggling to put into a post for quite a while now. I actually feel better just reading your posts :-)

    I’m currently also reading The Beauty Myth (having only really flicked through it when it first came out, because quite frankly it scared me …. LOL.. what a wimp I was!)

    AND OH MY GOD AM I SOOOOOOOOOO FUCKING ANNOYED!!

    My irritation and anger are so overwhelming, I can no longer read it before bedtime, ‘cos I’m so fucking pissed off I can’t get to sleep! haha :-D

  76. Hi again, Sugar Leigh! Hee, :)

    Well, honestly there are a whole wealth of reasons why I’m sticking with him.

    Number one on my list with specific regards to the not getting it is that I don’t want to spend my life with someone who just agrees with me, or feels the same way about me on everything. Regardless of the reasons why he doesn’t get it, a lot of the time he is still able to listen, and our debates can get very heated but also very exciting. Having opposing views on some things, whilst having a similar mindset overall, helps us both to evaluate our own ideals and develop them. It’s extremely frustrating when he doesn’t get it, but that’s only when we debate feminism and the like.

    We have a lot of other similar interests; science, gaming, politics, art, our cats, which gives us LOADS to bicker about that doesn’t involve me getting frustrated or him confused and defensive.

    We also just sort of… fit. We work together, if that makes any sense. We play off of each other in conversation with friends, and when on our own, and it all just… fits.

    That and he also happens to be kind, loving, gentle, sexy, intelligent, passionate, funny, daft, romantic, thoughtful and does believe in equal rights, feminist ideals, etc, he just doesn’t understand how that trickles down to the everyday.

    Gah. I’ll stop gushing like a big gushy soppy beast, now.

  77. Yet they still use a headless fatty picture for the article.

    Do they seriously not teach journalists today that phrases like “old tubby” (see also “ballooning,” “packing on the pounds,” “X pounds of blubber/lard,” etc.) and commentary on folks’ bikini-readiness have no fucking place in science reporting?

    No.

  78. First of all, the term “metabolically abnormal” sends me up the roof already. “Metabolically abnormal” DOES NOT equal “unhealthy”, first and foremost it equals “money generating machine for pharma industry”. Your lab results are NOT an illness to be treated! They are just numbers on paper! So many stupid, misinformed doctors just act as puppets for the pharma industry, without even a personal gain, because they just don’t know any better.

    Let me share some other wild and insane ideas here.

    Something that correlates with being “metabolically abnormal”, gaining weight, being sedentary, being unhealthy, and dying? You’ll never guess. AGING. You could, in many of these studies, replace “obesity” with “white hair” and find similar results.

    Oh, and another thing. Something that correlates with BOTH gaining weight and being sick/dying early? BEING UNHAPPY.

    Not kidding, all the larger epidemiological studies that cared to check, found personal quality of life as the single most constant predictor of good health and a long life. Your personal stress level has a very tangible and easily measurable effect on your hormones, which have a very tangible effect on a) your immune system (which btw is not only responsible for not catching a cold, but in complicated ways which we are FAR from completely understanding, regulates everything from the aging of your skin to getting cancer or not) and b) your weight. WOW.

    This one, often overlooked factor seems to explain away all of the “paradoxes” and “surprises” of modern epidemiology. Why do some French or Italian farmers in small, sunny villages live longer and healthier than their urban counterparts? With all the EVIL SATURATED FATS in their diets?! Errr….must be the green olives! No, the red wine in moderation!
    Why are poor people on average fatter AND unhealthier than rich people? It’s a mystery! Must be not getting enough fucking organic lettuce!

    Unfortunately, you can’t SELL happiness, so no one gives a fuck about this factor. Supporting data has been out there for decades, if you care to check.

    Um, yeah. So let’s all have a few green olives, a glass of red wine and try to control that white-hot rage of ours, because I guess we’ve just collectively dangerously lowered our IgA levels just reading this thread. ;-)

  79. I would also like to point out that it has been found in MANY studies that fully 87% of fat people are NOT diabetic, so I have no idea where these clowns got such low numbers. Also, in many tens of thousands of autopsies over several decades, it has been shown that there is NO correlation between body fat & artherosclerosis.

    And, as someone who has overall good ‘health’ habits, a family history of very long life, but also an extremely highly-strung, tightly-wound nature (a combination of nature, abuse history, & cerebral palsy), stress, pain, anxiety, fear, & general unhappiness have a HUGE effect on our physical as well as emotional well-being. In my case, the effect is usually felt in my digestive system. And I also do have a long history of FAT, long-lived relatives who have survived better & longer than most of the thin ones.

  80. One of the immensely gratifying things about the study Kate’s talking about and my burgeoning involvement with FA is that both my mother and my husband called me when they read this article to tell me about it. This is good, in my view, because my mother is going to be 69, and it’s mostly from her side of the family that I got my tendency toward obesity. She is also diabetic and struggles constantly with the idea that she has to lose weight to better control that. I’m slowly talking her around to the realization that it’s not when she’s thinner so much as when she’s active… but that’s another story!

    My husband has been dealing a lot with MY anger of late. (This is an interesting theme, really.) At first he seemed uncomfortable with it, then he told me he was sorry that I seemed angry all the time and he worried how that would affect me, and now I’ve made him angry at the world, too. ::chuckle:: A healthy progression for us both, I’m sure.

    But in reading this thread, and seeing all the posts about anger, I wonder if it’s related to our efforts not to be blamed in a society that seems to be ready to throw us under the bus for every social ill. Global warming? It’s the fatties. Higher gas prices? It’s the fatties. Soaring health costs? It’s the fatties! I don’t know about the rest of you, but this not only upsets me a lot, it makes me nervous as hell… I start wondering when the villagers are going to show up at my door with torches and pitchforks. And I think the anger may be my way of trying to fight against that.

  81. shoutz: My husband went through some of the same progression, I think. Yesterday, he told me that he would be “very confused” if I suddenly lost my well of righteous anger (yes, I asked him. *grin*). I don’t think he’s quite gotten to the point where he’s angry at the world, too, though.

  82. BS, I expect my husband cottoned to it a little sooner because he’s a fat fellow himself. Once I started articulating my anger a little better, and he understood at least a portion of it was related to the vilification of fat folks these days, it wasn’t long before he saw how it related to him.

    Still, *someone* has to be full of righteous indignation and anger! :)

  83. I’m actually glad that we are all angry with the status quo. It means we give a damn. Also, I can tell you from personal experience that holding in and stuffing down anger instead of expressing it is hellish stressful. I spent a lot of time turning my anger inward (it’s not “ladylike” to be angry) and hating myself instead of hating the things that made me angry. I think anger is pretty healthy in the long run and I loved the earlier commenter who talked about channeling that anger into something useful. Which, honestly, is what we’re doing here in the fatosphere.

  84. @Dorothy: I definitely agree that anger is healthy, because I was taught from an early age to suppress my anger, which created in me a need to stifle my feelings with something – food. As I’ve grown, I’ve learned to express those things, and it has reappropriated my need to do so. It’s recreated my relationship with food.

  85. I don’t know who said it first, but I credit, (with a laugh of glee) the rap-metal group Rage Against The Machine:

    Anger
    Is
    A
    Gift

  86. @atiton – wow, your post about you and your mother is eerily personal for me, because my well of anger, touching on FA issues, mainly relates to my mother, who spent all of the years I can remember on the weight cycling roller coaster – she is now 72. I remember her fat and unhappy at herself for her “failure,” thin (or less fat) and unhappy + cranky because she was starving, and also fat and starving, which was the worst of all, because her suffering knew no bounds. I remember her fattest picture stuck to our fridge for years, supposedly to remind her why she should deny herself. I am the oldest of 4 girls and it is interesting how differently this affected each of us. I decided at 16 (32 years ago) to simply stop “watching” my weight and let it do its own thing. I knew I took after my mother, so I expected to be comfortably well-upholstered in middle age, and so it has turned out to be, but it has happened gradually, and since I have refused to weigh myself (or to look when having my ante-natal weights recorded) I don’t know my BMI. But I do know that I am larger than sister no. 2, who diets steadily and religiously (but that is another story) and hates her tiny pot belly, and smaller than sister no. 3, who also diets but in a more rollercoaster way. Sister no 4 shames us all, because she was born with a rare condition called arthrogryposis, which means she’s had to learn to use her hands and feet in different ways to the rest of us in order to accomplish her goals – and she has this LOOK. If myself and sisters get out of hand with a discussion on how our bodies compare/differ/who’s lucky to have got what, she’ll fire off the LOOK, and we can all read the code – she’s saying, “what the heck (she’s a well-brought up Christian girl), your legs take you where you want to go, and your fingers pick up things when you want them to, so get over yourselves!” and we do…but overall, I would love to help my mother learn to love herself better, and to trust her own appetites, and years after I made my first instinctive refusenik decision never to weigh, I am still angry. And often, yes, it is AT HER. Nevertheless, the biggest battleground of my life has been and continues to be my lifelong self-extraction from the fundamentalist evangelical brand of Christianity I was reared in. And, while I was a wee ball of anger in my 20′s, I only get angrier when I encounter its breath and shadow now – only it happens less often, partly because I have chosen to live 3,000 miles away from my family. Nevertheless, with age I think there have been some changes – 1) I tend to pick my battles more carefully, and ask myself first – do I have the energy to take this all the way? and 2) I realise that while I used to be angry at the world my parents’ generation left to me, now I am angry at the world my own generation is leaving to my children – and I haven’t succeeded in “unfucking” it up! Oh dear!

  87. 1) I HEART FILLYJONK:

    You want to hate on women and fat people? There’s a place for you, and it’s called everywhere else on the internet except here.

    I’m printing that out and hanging it on my desk.

    2) Anger: I had some issues at work during the year, and was talking to a communications coach who told me that the problem probably wasn’t me, it was my crappy office, and that I needed another job, you sound ANGRY.

    My therapist went nuts. “Of course you’re ANGRY. Why wouldn’t you be angry?” Women can’t just be ANGRY. We can’t just HAVE AN EMOTION and own it without apologizing for it.

    3) S.O.’s: I am not gloating when I post this, because I have had my share of abusive and fuckhead partners. I was talking with my boyfriend about the NY Times Magazine article about trolls, and how I have used the “Fat Princess” threads at Shakesville as examples of how a busy site handles trolling using Disqus at work. Here is the conversation:
    “So there’s this video game, called ‘Fat Princess’ [explains basic tenet of game]”
    S.O.: “Well, that’s just fucking moronic. Just great. People are stupid. I can’t believe they made a game like that.”

    4) I saw this article on the Captivate Network. those who don’t work in large office towers, the captivate network is a little video monitor that’s in the ELEVATORS that delivers tiny miniscule snippets of news. I would have danced in mine when i read about it, except for the cameras

  88. “I wonder if part of my anger is my fear of speaking up? The thought that it’s no use to do so, because surely I’ll be dismissed and get nothing but a negative reaction, and the resulting frustration? ”

    I can tell you from personal experience, yes, there will be negative reactions, but there will also be people who will start to see things differently.

    When I first started on a FA path, I thought I’d never change anybody’s mind. But I was so angry at what happened to me (being diagnosed fat and condemned by the first doctor to living a life in a wheelchair due to the pain) I couldn’t stop. I talked in my private blog (a live journal blog that is friends only) about it. About how I felt. About what I was learning.

    And I’ve changed some people’s minds about things (the correlation does not equal causation thing, that fat does not cause diabetes etc.). And, today, when I logged onto LJ to read my friends pages, I was pinged by two people about the article.

    It DOES work. It takes a lot of time though. We just have to be patient, and use the anger constructively.

  89. shoutz — my therapist called me (okay, so he was calling back) to tell me about the article. That’s my contribution, one psychologist is now slightly more aware of FA than he would otherwise have been had I not been his client.

  90. coyote, I heart your therapist. I might consider actually trying therapy if I could have your therapist. :D

    (I know that therapy can be helpful for lots and lots of people, and probably could be helpful for me, but my experiences with it growing up were strictly on the blame-the-victim side of things.)

  91. @bald soprano – it often seems to me that “blame the victim” has become the main underlying theme of all health care – and here I definitely include CAM (complementary and alternative) health care (of which, as an acupuncturist, I am a practitioner) and also state sponsored “public” healthcare – which is available (just about) here in Ireland. In my experience “blame the victime” is an INEVITABLE consequence, if you think about it, of lifestyle medicine. Many people who enjoy good health sincerely believe that this is BECAUSE they take good care of themselves (they may be in for a shock). And many people who are ill (based on my observations within my practice) immediately seek to blame something in their own actions, their lifestyle, their history. Possibly, we all seek this illusion of control of our health, because we cannot bear the alternative – which is that – shit happens, and often to good people and for no good reason… but it is an “illusion of control” that suits the powers-that- be to foster and enlarge because a) people who spend their energies trying to change something about themselves spend less time looking outwards to the general society to see what needs to be changed and b) they can withhold healthcare or get away with providing shoddy healthcare to the “undeserving” – which would certainly include the fat and the poor. And c) the “deserving” – ie, those with disposable income, can be persuaded to spend ever more money on “lifestyle” medicine, to keep on proving that they are “deserving”. This is my experience – and I know it is very difficult (and not very enriching) to try to work outside of this mindset in any kind of clinic. (For one, because you’re trying to help your patients to NOT need you as quickly as possible!)

    @atiton – thanks. And the part I forgot to mention, because it was getting too lengthy, is that my mother has commanded and commands enormous respect in her professional life throughout all the years I remember. She still teaches and advises and is taken seriously by government departments in at least one small country, and when I am home I continually meet people who want to tell me how much she has helped them out (she is a labour coach and lactation counsellor and a consultant on breastfeeding policy implementation). So it goes to show – sometimes the real world currency of respect still cannot overturn deep-rooted body hatred. Why is that, I wonder?

  92. scotlyn, my mom too! She’s retired now, but has always been respected for her work and, even in retirement, is in high demand due to her ability to lead, perservere and engender cooperation.

    As for the reason that real-world respect doesn’t translate to self-respect, I dunno. For me, it’s tied in with an “impostor syndrome” in which no one can see the real me, but me. I just fool them all into thinking I’m worthy of respect…

    I’m working on that.

  93. Someone might have already said this, but I just don’t have the energy to wade through 100 comments.

    Just a reminder that a correlation is not a cause. A correlation between people with high amounts of visceral fat and insulin resistance doesn’t mean that the fat causes the resistance. It could be that the insulin resistant causes the fat. Or that something else causes both of them. I’ll once again bring up the article on insulin resistant in the February 2004 NEJM (sorry, I don’t have the link handy). It showed that people with insulin resistance produce less energy in their cells than those who are not insulin resistance. So, there’s a good chance that those sedentary folks who are more likely to be insulin resistant are sedentary because they’re tired. You know…because their cells produce less energy.

    What is important is to encourage movement, however little, to help the person boost their metabolism and produce more cellular energy. These folks (of which I’m one, although I have a couple of other whammies as well) just aren’t going to be able to suddenly start doing an extensive exercise program. But they don’t have to. Studies have shown that a slow walk for as little as 9 minutes a day can make a difference (again, I don’t have the link handy to that research, it’s been a while since I read it). So, encourage folks to be active, but to be active at their own pace. Don’t try to make it a contest or make them feel bad for what they can’t do.

    I know…I’m preaching to the choir here, but I figured it never hurts to repeat it.

  94. Yeah, atiton, I know that feeling “They’re just fooled, but they’ll soon discover the real me…” HA, HA, HA!!!! *mad laughter*

    Although, actually, I feel I HAVE been (gently) rumbled a couple of times on this blog – for racism (at least on a collective level as one of the “white-all-about-me-ism” commenters Julia has mentioned on the post linking her article), and on another thread for ablist “drive-by-advisor-ism”. And being rumbled can be refreshing, too, after the initial sting. Now that I know I’m not fooling anyone, I can settle down and enjoy the company, and maybe learn something.

  95. Jodith, I let your comment through because it has some useful info in it, but yeah: the correlation/causation thing has been said, multiple times in this thread. Just a general suggestion for all commenters who come in late to a thread: do a page find (usually control-F) on your key term if you don’t want to read all the comments. But also, in general, we encourage you to read most of the comments before you add your own.

  96. Does it make me selfish if this study makes me depressed? I just recently found out I’m a type two diabetic and feel like a complete failure and just another unhealthy fat statistic. Happy to see this study and the duh truck out and about, though.

  97. I always get “the look of surprise” whenever a nurse takes my blood pressure. Surprise because I’m always within normal range. Recently, after having to switch to another doctor within my group, this new doctor decided I needed a complete blood panel due to my weight. He was quite certain that I must have elevated cholesterol levels, abnormal blood sugar, or a thyroid problem.

    When I returned for my next appointment, the look on his face as he said that all of my test results returned as normal, was amusing! I’m 40 years old, fat, and I’m feeling good about my life, but check out this doctor who thinks he’s the authority on my body and my eating patterns.
    My thin cousin just found out she has a heart condition :( Alot of women on my maternal side are thin and small built, but the women on my paternal side are big women, big hips and big breasts and I take after them.
    And to be very honest here, my big great grandmother lived to be 92. The studies are very interesting.

  98. When I read about concerns about becoming uninsurable – I wonder how difficult it would be to create a new insurance company? I mean, these are just companies, like the neighborhood cafe that is still owned by that nice couple. There are regulatory barriers, of course. But, essentially an insurance plan is a bunch of people getting together to pool their risks. That group of people can decide who they let into their risks and who they don’t. You can be your own group of people. You can decide that BMI is stupid but something else isn’t. You can even decide, as long as you put it in writing, that you’re only going to insure people of a high-enough BMI who also have good factors of something else, I’m pretty sure.

  99. A. — my perspective is that just because your blood sugar levels have moved along the continuum from “normal” to levels that are labeled “diabetes” doesn’t mean you aren’t healthy.
    You can be healthy, or even more healthy, with diabetes than without it.
    Just because you (or I) fall into the “metabolically unhealthy” category in this study and others, it doesn’t mean you now have to think of yourself as unhealthy. Many people with diabetes live longer than people who don’t have diabetes.
    I’ve had diabetes for 14 years now, and I was diagnosed when I was 25. I see my doctor (who I have a good relationship with) regularly, and I eat all manner of things, and I exercise but not fanatically. I refuse to call myself “diabetic” — I’m so much more than that one condition.
    Sometimes, I get a little depressed when I think about how I’m categorized, but these studies really aren’t personal. It’s personal if I get labeled as “noncompliant” and get treated differently in a medical setting. It’s very annoying that I can’t get life insurance — and the repercusions of that for my family. But I refuse to let anyone tell me I’m not healthy because of this. At this point, I try to think that it mainly means I need to take better care of myself than I ordinarily would.

  100. Hey Kate, do you ever send your nastygrams to the actual journalists in question? They’re such, such AWESOME nastygrams that it seems like the writers in question would benefit more from the fruits of your ire than for your loyal readers, for whom you’re preaching to the choir… (oh, hey! that rhymed!)

  101. Was this the post where the discussion turned towards peopel venting their anger? I hope so because I NEED A PLACE FOR THIS ANGER!!!!

    Not enough fat women in the media? I present you two romantic comedies that air on German TV this month, starring fat women.

    Exhibit A: A fat (US size 16) woman, single, unhappy, emotional eater, you name your stereotype, job is in danger because of her massive overweight, seeks hypnosis therapy to make her thin, but it only makes her THINK she’s thin. So she starts dressing and behaving like only thin women are allowed to, and finally gets her dream guy’s attention even though she’s still fat. Awww. Would get a point for effort if she wasn’t played by a tiny actress in a fatsuit. Because OMG how in the WORLD are we going to find an actress who is really that HUGE?!

    Exhibit B: You are not going to fucking believe this shit. The title of the film is “Molly & Mops”, which is a very classy german play on words that basically translates to “Fat & Fatty”. You’re not going to GUESS what this film is about. A FAT woman who’s a confectioner, and after making the wedding cake for the man she secretly loves, decides to kill herself by HANGING, but she’s so HEAVY the rope rips, and her “mighty” (actual promo text) body BREAKS THROUGH the floor, into the wedding cake she made earlier. Fatty failing at suicide? HI-LARIOUS. She weighs herself shortly afterwards and is at 100 kg, or 220 lbs. “Love at 100 kg” is even the subtitle of this piece of shit.

    They are writing that they had to cast “more than 200″ actresses for the role because they couldn’t find one who was fat enough! And when they finally found the one, she had to yet gain 10 kg (22 lbs) for the role! Must be HUGE, right?I found interviews with this actress, where she says, that AFTER her weight gain, brace yourselves: she’s 164 cm (5’5″) and weighs 60 kg (132 lbs)!!!! BMI 22.3!
    They get a 130 lbs woman to play a 220 lbs woman who’s SO HUGE she HILARIOUSLY breaks through the floor when she tries to kill herself!!! Awesome!!! And I repeat, this is getting aired as light, fun, family entertainment.

    And you won’t be suprised that both of these films are marketed by their respective channels with the usual “we are against unhealthy ideals of thinness, and we are finally giving fat women some air time to give the *real* women out there some hope that they, too, can be *hideously fat* and still find love” lines.

    I AM SO FUCKING FURIOUS!!!

  102. Apparently my last comment was rejected, I don’t know why, maybe it was an accident? I hope I didn’t say anything wrong?

    I was trying to post a link to a photo of the aforementioned 132 lbs actress, and adding to my last comment in case it was misunderstood, that the 132 lbs actress did not wear a fat suit or was in any other way visually altered to resemble a 220 lbs woman.

    The producers saw this petite woman of 132 lbs and went, “Hello fatty! This what our 220 lbs character is going to look like”. And they are putting this film out there as encouragment for women who aren’t “slim like models” to “revolt against the imposed ideal of thinness.” It still boggles my mind.

  103. LCA, I hope you see this. I followed the link on your name and left you an LJ message.

    I am still coming back and reading this, almost every other day… the comments here are… wow. I wish I had all of you in a room and we could just spend a day just TALKING about all this. There were a couple days where it was almost all-consuming. But it’s really helping.

    It’s maybe not helping me get along with my SO so very much, since I’ve really been standing up to him a lot lately. Heck, I’ve been downright cranky, because instead of letting things slide I just keep coming back and demanding respect on things… granted, not always in the most mature of ways (“shut up and stop being a creep”).

    I even had a conversation with him the other day when he mentioned how I need to get pissed and stand up for myself, and I said “you’d hate that, I’d start standing up to YOU and stop taking your shit!” To which he said, “you’re right, I’d probably hate it. But I’d have to respect it.”

    Which is part of why it’s so hard to decide with him. I love him so much and hate him so much at the same time, and he’s such a child but he’s so great. He probably feels just the same about me.

    Part of me is excited by our differences, and the idea of the two of us learning from one another, working together, and the other part can’t imagine why on earth I need to force him to see it, can’t earn his respect without demanding it and then somehow proving it, because of course everything in his world revolves around a brand of logic that is all his own. Life should be on our terms, not his terms, but it’s always fun when I can get him to admit to being wrong while still playing by his “rules.”

    Life’s complicated lately.

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