Quote of the day

Self-loathing is not a fucking character-builder. It doesn’t make you stronger. It doesn’t make you better. It’s just an ever-deepening, creepy-ass trap; a trap that is a huge moneymaker for corporations that do not have and never will have good intentions. You’re not disgusting. You’re not freakish. You’re not ugly. And you’re never going to be perfect. And holy shit, that is so okay.  —Jane from Casual Blasphemies, in an awesome post about Kirstie Alley

I had been planning to do a “Kirstie Alley flagellates herself” post after seeing her on the cover of People, but Jane beat me to it and also I am quite lazy.

190 thoughts on “Quote of the day

  1. This is kind of random, also I think this is my first time posting here, though I’ve been reading for about 6 months now. But I had a moment last night on chat with a sorta-girlfriend of mine that made me go, “Holy shit! FA has finally started to appear in my own behavior!” And it’s kind of along these lines.

    We were talking about old photos of ourselves. We’re both in our mid-twenties and I’m a in-between size at a generously proportioned 14, and she’s shorter but bigger and wears a size 18. But we both graduated high school wearing a 12 and have put on weight over the years.

    Anyway, we were exchanging old photos and talking about how we wished we were still so skinny, and we kind of started to get into a “I’m fatter than you!” “No, I’m squishier than you!” self-hatred contest. But about three lines in, I suddenly stopped and said to myself, “Why the hell am I doing this? What good is it going to do? It’s just going to make us both feel worse about ourselves, and how is that healthy for either of us?”

    So the next thing I said was, “Hey, there is no winning this, so how about we declare a moratorium on self-body-hating? Clearly, we enjoy each other’s bodies. Let’s let that be enough for now.”

    She said ok and we moved on to other topics, but it was still a holy-shit-eureka moment for me. And it made me think of SP and how without this place and the articles I’ve read here, I wouldn’t have known how (or had the courage to) stop us before we really dove into that self-hating spiral. So I wanted to say, thank you a thousand times over for what you do here. :-)

  2. I loved the post, and I know how Kirstie feels. But self-loathing is a hard habit to break, especially since it originates from your parents. Mom had me on the grapefruit diet every summer starting in about 4th grade, and those school pictures don’t show a fat kid! Trouble is, when I was skinny and they actually were nicer to me because they liked who I was when I was skinny, it only pissed me off because I was always the same person, fat or skinny.
    Now I’m just shooting for healthy!

  3. I love that quote.

    But I had to read it three times before it stopped registering as a “creepy ass-trap” instead of “creep-ass trap.”

    My brain is weird sometimes.

  4. We need to print this up and put it in the hallways of public schools across the nation. People will get angry over the language* but it would be so so worth it. Best public school lesson ever.

    *I have long since come to the conclusion that it’s not the words you use, but what those words are saying that deems whether something is harmful or no. Freaking out over swears is just a convenient trick to avoid listening to good points.**

    ** This rant was unnecessary and preaching to the choir, but something I felt a need to say after a stupid conversation earlier this week.

  5. Emgee—I totally relate to what you wrote. My mom had me on every known wacky and toxic diet on the planet in elementary school. I wasn’t even a fattie then. I was on the stewardess diet and on Atkins before it was Atkins. Mom just wanted me in the “slim” pants instead of the “regular. ” How sick is that. She used to tell me not to wear shorts because my legs were too fat.

    I just spent a few days with my parents, and I am utterly exhausted. I had to fight to stay strong and keep telling myself that my body is my own and not my mom’s. I kept checking this site on my iPhone to help keep my sanity. I made it, but barely. Hopfully it will get easier.

  6. I just spent a few days with my parents, and I am utterly exhausted. I had to fight to stay strong and keep telling myself that my body is my own and not my mom’s.

    Marianne, FWIW, one of the questions we got at both readings over the weekend was, “But how do I deal with my mother?!?” We do talk about that in the book, but there’s really no good answer (beyond “set and enforce boundaries,” which is still hard as hell). As I said to the crowd in Philly, there’s a reason why I didn’t start this blog until after my mother was dead. :) I totally empathize.

  7. Can I replace the billboard across the street with Avril Lavigne hucking “Rebel” cameras with this quote, plz?

    Emgee and Marianne: My mom first put me on diet pills when I was 14. I was between a size 6 and 8. In fact, she took me to the “Health Food” store and told me in the car beforehand to lie to the clerk and say they were for my aunt. She knew it was fucking wrong. She also helped me duct tape my “back rolls” before an awards banquet so they wouldn’t show in my nice dress.
    We have a good relationship now, and I helped her get rid of Diet Think when I was recovering from bulimia. (Which, ahem, shows how well the diet pill and duct tape thing ended up working out for me.)

  8. Kate—Thank you for your words. Your reply post brought tears to my eyes. This blog is really helping me. Your book is coming in the mail soon, along with Rethinking Thin. Haven’t been able to track down The Obesity Myth yet.

    —ok, I am going to go blubber some more while holding my dog . . .good night, ladies

  9. Also, Kate, I’m halfway through the book, and it’s awesome, but…I spilled steak sauce on it today, and now I kinda wanna eat it.
    I got it at a Chapter’s in Toronto, and there was a woman in the diet & well-being section reading awful diet books. There were 2 copies of Fat-o-sphere left, so I grabbed one, and I was a little drunk from wine with dinner, so I handed her the other one and said, “This one’s the best.” She looked BEWILDERED. I don’t know if she got it, but I tried. :)

  10. Carleigh, your post came up when I was writing mine. It sounds like your mom and my mom are related. Why do women do this to women/girls? Makes me sick.

    Back to blubbering . . .

  11. Marianne from Cali, on May 12th, 2009 at 4:18 am Said:

    —ok, I am going to go blubber some more while holding my dog . . .good night, ladies

    Critter cuddles really do a lot to erase hurt. Feel better, Marianne.

  12. Jadelyn and Carleigh — awesome!
    I’m trying to work up the courage to bring the book into work.
    It’s gotten as far as the car.
    But this quote in the post is awesome. Excellent medicine.
    I read the People article, and I love how Kirstie can’t understand how it happened to her. Because she’s not like everyone else?

    Also, I really liked the Newsweek blog interview with Marianne and Kate.

  13. That quote needs to be on a tshirt, both front AND back…with fucking exclamation points and key words in RED and BOLD! In fact, I’d like to request every middle and high school order big-ass plaques of it installed at every entrance with a damn everburning torch! It should be “required reading” in every English lit class…to hell with The Catcher and the Rye (see http://kateharding.net/2009/05/08/friday-fluff-is-overrated/ ). THIS IS MY NEW MANTRA~

  14. Oh geez…I did NOT just write “Catcher AND the Rye”?!?!?!? For fuck’s sake….IN! IN!

  15. Emgee, Marianne, Carleigh — join the club. I wrote a blog post last week about my parents and the diets they put me on growing up (http://nutrimetry.com/?p=44). And, just like you, I wasn’t even that fat — in 12th grade I was a size 12. She would drive me to the gym and stay there to make sure I worked out. And when my weight got worse after the dieting, my mom would say, “Remember when you used to be a size 12?” And I’d go nuts, because when I was, she used to harass me about my weight and put me on diets. A few weeks ago she gave me a picture of me at a size 12 for inspiration and I was like, “If you’re oblivious to the irony of this, God help you.”

    Parents.

  16. “Critter cuddles really do a lot to erase hurt.”

    Especially cuddles from a big fat cat. If you don’t have a big fat cat, I highly recommend adopting one. I cuddle mine and tell him how handsome and fat and awesome he is, and I get nose-kisses in return. :-)

  17. my mom-strategy: “My weight is not a topic” and “Don’t we get along better when we don’t argue?” worked, plus some larger combination of behaviors that pretty much add up to her being afraid I’ll stop talking to her if she’s too mean to me. The trouble with that kind of limit though is, you have to be ready to back it up.

    I will work with her to maintain that limit, b/c I don’t actually WANT to stop talking to her, but, we’ve done OK so far. I also do let “You’ve gained weight”-type comments slide: statements of fact are OK, outright abusive comments (about anything) aren’t. I have to play fair too though and not say nasty stuff to her (and/or apologize if I slip up), and stand up for her when other members of the family get nastyish with her.

  18. my mom has had me on many diets. she went on them too. and almost forced me to get gastric bypass (you know, without a psych consult. i was borderline binge eating at the time so that would’ve been bad.) a week before the surgery i cracked and enforced that i would not be doing that. she still takes the credit for convincing me not to because apparently sheee thought it was a bad idea.

  19. Hi all, I just finished the book and it is truly life altering. I have a million good things to say about what I have learned, but I feel the book really can change your life. Thank you so much for writing it.

  20. I just don’t get it. Looking at dieting in a logical manner, wouldn’t people get by now that hey, if diets actually worked, the entire diet industry would be out of business? No, instead we blame ourselves and call ourselves failures and other horrible things.

    My mom has been dieting since I can remember, and it saddens me so much that she’s in her 60s and can’t see how wonderful she is, because she’s not a size 6 and therefore, to her mind, not worthy.

  21. Wicked, we’re women. We’re not allowed to use logic. Society says so. Therefore when we look at dieting logically and see that it doesn’t work, we’re WRONG and in denial being probably being hysterical too.

    It’s just one more way of stopping us thinking for ourselves – feed us full of junk that is in no way true, and then tell US we’re getting it all wrong when we try and make some sense of it. In the end we just give up and accept we’re wrong about everything.

  22. Looking at the original article, I like the phrase, “There are no fat grandmas.” (in the comments, mocking the idea that if you’re fat, you should diet so you can see your grandchildren.) It makes me think, well, if one of my grandmothers were fat, I’d still love them tons. Neither one is/was fat, but if being “fat grandma” when I’m old means being me *and* being the kind of grandma my grandmothers were, bring it on!

    Of course, adjust for other adored older relatives or friends or awesome people if you were not so close to your grandparents.

  23. Looking at dieting in a logical manner.

    The thing is, calories in/out, is logical, that’s part of it’s power and appeal to us, and why it’s been so difficult to see through.

    The irony is, this belief has come to transcend reality and achieve a ‘supernatural’ quality, that is illogical and cultish.

  24. This is not really so related…BUT I just have to write and say:

    I not-so-intelligently went and read comments at the Newsweek Q&A re: Marianne and Kate’s new book (yay about the book not the comments).

    I now have such a deficit of sanity watchers points I may never recover…but whatev…I got to report some abusive comments to the web guru and that always feels good.

    The real point that came to me while reading the hateful spew in most of the comments is WHY DO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO HATE TEH FATS CARE SO MUCH IF WE DIE???

    I just don’t understand…if we are such a plague on this earth — according to their calculations we should all die off soon anyways — leaving the superior-sized (thin) folks (survival of the ‘fittest’) to rule the earth.

    SO why do they waste all their energy worrying about OUR tragic fate? It doesn’t make sense to me.

    gah!
    thank, I feel better getting that off my chest. :)

  25. It’s not our health, it’s our fuckability. Fatties are unfuckable, and that is fundamentally WRONG. However, politeness dictates that it can’t be phrased like that, so ‘health’ is the context used instead.

  26. Also, uh, apologies if I’m coming off as bitter and aggressive here. I have the chest infection from hell and it’s kept me awake all night. Sorry!

  27. Marianne from Cali:

    If you’re still looking for The Obesity Myth, it was re-titled The Diet Myth. Definitely worth tracking down.

  28. Everyone’s bringing up their mom, so I thought I should pitch in: ever since I’ve been getting into FA, I’ve been preaching it to my mom and slowly but surely she is definitely changing her mind about it. Which is awesome.

    She is awesome, but as the original post here states, thinks self-loathing is a good way to present herself to the world. Especially physically. When I want to make a photo of her it’s all I’m too ugly, too fat, too old, my smile is horrible… and for years that behaviour copied itself onto me as I never wanted to be in photos because I felt fat and my smile was horrible and my nose was too big, etc etc.

    And I’ve never seen her as anything but awesome and beautiful because she’s my mom. And I think she deserves to feel good about herself, so bit by bit I’ve been trying to convince her that being fat isn’t horrible and that diets are worse for your health than jiggly thighs. I thought I wasn’t getting through to her, until one day she tells me, that her co-workers were whining about their diets again and she had told them off, stating that “diets are worse for you than your fat, ladies”.

    That’s when I knew I’d gotten through to her, and that was pretty awesome, too. :D

    Nowadays I’m reading The Book (er.. Lessons.., not the Bible) and keep quoting stuff from it aloud. See how that works. ;)

  29. lilpeadot, in the UK the mantra is often that TEH FATTIES OMIGOD EAT OUR TAXES by being a drain on the NHS. Unlike, for instance, rugby players, ballet dancers, motorcyclists and all those other groups who you could possibly squint really hard and then claim had ‘self-inflicted’ illness/injury.

    I’m not sure what the problem in the US would be?

  30. It’s not our health, it’s our fuckability. Fatties are unfuckable, and that is fundamentally WRONG. However, politeness dictates that it can’t be phrased like that, so ‘health’ is the context used instead.

    Unfortunately, so true, and fatphobes also can’t get it out of their heads that we are trying to force them to find us fuckable. Umm…no. First of all, why I would want to sleep with someone who doesn’t know me and automatically hates me just for being large? Makes no sense. You don’t have to desire me, just treat me like a human being. But to fatphobes, that’s about as difficult as doing advanced calculus.

  31. Seems desirability and being treated like a human are pretty much one and the same to a lot of people. Can see where it comes from though, given the very creepy way that we literally idolize some people to death for the way they look.

  32. That quote was really inspiring!

    OK-I clicked on the People link and I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it, Kirstie and her goal “numbers” talk (128, 148, etc etc) was subtly diet triggering and seductive to me. How my life would be SO much better if I were 128 or 148 again. Since my brain is really insisting thats true-I’m going to check out the FoBT thread again.

    Although, I can’t blame myself-my knee-jerk, self loathing response is exactly what the media and the weight loss industry intend to evoke. Hell, if Oprah’s still falling for it….

    I have a long way to go with this. Its hard.

  33. That quote is fucking amazing. I wish I could sky write it over Kirstie’s house.

    Being a chubby teenager was hell. I remember my mom would try to bribe me into losing weight. Of course, it didn’t happened so I never got those Calvin Klein Jeans or a car. Thank God, she never got focused enough to put me on actual diets. Instead, she would just make running comments about my weight. Yeah, THAT helped.

    I realize now though that it was all about her own self loathing, her own inability to lose weight. I remember watching her cry one day when an old dress no longer fit. We’ve talked about HAES and she’s very open to the idea, although she still diets somewhat. The other day she said “some people are just meant to be larger” to someone. !!!!

    By the way, both my grandmothers were fat. One just died last month at the age of 88, and I’m convinced that fat prolonged her life at the end when she couldn’t eat much. She was tiny when she died.

  34. It’s probably luck and random chance that my [very] fat grandmother has so far outlived my very thin grandmother by somewhere in the region of ten years.

    I thought that was the grandmother stereotype anyway. You know – the plump old lady that bakes pies all the time and gives you squishy cuddles when you’re sick? When did that change?

  35. @essen:
    lilpeadot, in the UK the mantra is often that TEH FATTIES OMIGOD EAT OUR TAXES by being a drain on the NHS. Unlike, for instance, rugby players, ballet dancers, motorcyclists and all those other groups who you could possibly squint really hard and then claim had ’self-inflicted’ illness/injury.

    In the US it’s FATTIES OMIGOD EAT OUR HEALTHCARE PREMIUMS because of course you’re only fat if you’re too poor to afford vegetables and diet programs and a trainer.

    You really want to see a fat-phobic doctor’s brain break? Show them a photo of you still in your tight spandex costume at 250lbs grinning fit to burst holding a first place trophy from a dance squad competition. HOSHIT, FATGIRL CAN DO THE SPLITS? What else can she do?

    (A hell of a lot, and enjoy every minute!)

  36. Oh, and my mom used to try and put my fat, working out 40+ hours a week for dance competition and martial arts on a diet. Which I flaked on. Because working out 40+ hours a week? YOU NEED FOOD OR YOU DON’T WIN COMPETITIONS, YOU PASS OUT.

    I still struggle with dealing with my mom, though. She’s on another diet right now, I think. I’m bigger than she is, and I know that bugs her.

  37. I’d just like to point out that I am (in-betweenie I guess) fat, and extremely fuckable. The line forms over there.

  38. Wonderful post, Jane! I skimmed the Kirstie Alley People story yesterday and it made sad enough that I couldn’t keep reading. She stopped working out every day and started having pasta tossed with butter sometimes? I mean, how do vast numbers of people with thinner bodies than hers not go, “Hey, I don’t work out every day and sometimes I too have buttered noodles. Maybe body size is not a reflection of behavior. And anyway, what in the hell is wrong with not working out every day and occasionally eating buttered motherfucking noodles?”

    This conversation about mothers is reminding me of the time my mom coached the high school mock trial team when I was in 5th grade or so and just beginning to be a chubby kid (though I’d long since been awkward). She took me along to their competition when they were district finalists, and afterwards everyone went to a fancy lunch buffet. Everyone got up to go through the line; I, being socially inept, didn’t get the “First you go for your salad, then you go back for your hot food” convention. So my first plate was some salad and some hot food. Then when everyone else went back for their hot food, I went up too, because I didn’t want to be sitting alone. And I got some seconds, partly because it was good food, but also because I didn’t want to be standing in the buffet area with nothing to do. After we left my mom expressed her embarrassment that I’d “eaten as much as a high school boy!” I can’t really remember that without the shame rising in my throat and starting to choke, KWIM?

    (Oddly, I think buttered noodles were in that buffet, come to think of it. Yeah, because they were serving beef stroganoff. Odd the details that stick out with such clarity.)

  39. I thought that was the grandmother stereotype anyway. You know – the plump old lady that bakes pies all the time and gives you squishy cuddles when you’re sick? When did that change?

    Yes, but someone who happily fit into that stereotype would also be embracing the idea of getting older, and heaven forfend anyone in this culture actually look old, or admit that they are old, or be anything close to old. We must be young — or, more importantly, look young — forever and ever and ever. That way, we won’t die, of course.

  40. Sigh. Italic fail. That first paragraph, where I was quoting Kaz, should have been italicized. The second paragraph was mine, and should not have been.

  41. I honestly don’t think the major issue is fuckability. The reason people hate gay people, or black people, or Asian people, or women, or Jews, or Musims, or whatever group they may hate, isn’t because they don’t find that group sexually attractive, but because finding and scapegoating “others” has been a long-standing human habit. To claim the issue is fuckability is to ignore the many ways in which hatred of fat is tied up with hatred of women, hatred of the poor, and hatred of racial minorities, or the ways in which anxiety about overconsumption is being projected by those with the most power and privilege in society onto the bodies of others. I mean, in some ways it makes sense. Most of us live lives that are quite comfortable, while 30,000 or so people starve to death today. If we don’t somehow deal with the cognitive dissonance about our level of comfort versus the dire poverty in which most of the world lives, I don’t know how we’d function. There are many ways to rationalize, but I think that for some people one way is to imagine that excessive consumption is obviously not their problem, since they’re thin, but the problem of those fat people over there.

    Plus, I think there are a lot of parallels between how religious conservatives see gay and lesbian people and how many people (including many secular liberals) see fat people. It’s not an issue primarily of sexual attraction (although sex plays a role), but of disgust at people who appear to be willfully transgressing a boundary that seems like it should be inviolable. Because, just like many religious conservatives believe that nobody is born gay, many people believe that nobody is just naturally fat. It’s all a matter of making sinful choices. And of course the most anger is leveled at those who not only transgress the boundary but who call the boundary out as the bullshit it is. Religious conservatives might be willing to tolerate the gay person who hates themselves for being gay, and swears they are trying to change, just like the fat person who hates themselves and blames themselves and diets is probably going to be given support and approval. But, the gay person who says “I’m gay and that’s fine” or even “I’m gay because God made me this way, and I’m no different from you except for the gender of the person I love” is going to be reviled, just like the fat person who says “I’m fat and that’s okay,” or “I’m fat and the only difference between us is our body size, not our eating or exercise habits” is going to be reviled.

    I’m not really sure where I’m going with this, and it’s too long as it is, but I think it’s too simple to say that it’s an issue of fuckability. Even if somebody thinks, on the surface level, that the issue is that fat people are unattractive or disgusting to them, I think the root of that disgust has less to do with sexual preferences than with other, more socially conditioned responses.

  42. Yeah, sorry for the tangent.

    Re: Kirstie Alley, personally I’m just damn tired of “celebrities” whose careers are over maintaining some level of fame for nothing more than their weight gains and losses.

  43. Mom put me on my first diet at 9. Still struggling with bulimia at 38.

    You’re right Jane. Self-loathing is not a character builder. It has sucked away more than half of my life.

  44. I don’t know what to say to my mom right now: she’s talking about giving WW another shot (geeeez). She hasn’t given *me* much flack, but still. That, and I’m really gonna let my co-parent have it! (I’ll copy/paste that conversation we’d had later.)

    Yes, Jane, you hit it out of several ballparks! I’m even more inspired by your post, and not just because I have better things to (over)think about.

    Fay: just LMAO. Same here. ;)

  45. Societally-sanctioned abuse. Self-abuse. Not just the diets, but the self-loathing and awful self-talk those diets invariably incur. We emotionally abuse ourselves. Then we turn around and do the same thing to our daughters.
    I have to wonder how Ms. Alley’s daughter is feeling about her own body these days? It can’t be good.

  46. I have to wonder how Ms. Alley’s daughter is feeling about her own body these days? It can’t be good.

    THIS. I struggle daily with trying not to hate, not so much my size anymore, but with the slack post-two-kids belly and the cellulite on my generous ass and thighs. From whom did I get those features? My mom’s side of the family. From whom did I learn to hate those particular proportions, that shape, that kind of skin texture? A hateful misogynist society, of course, but as filtered through the internalized self-hatred that my mom had for her body, which my body looks more and more like as I get older. So partly I wish she liked her body, just because then maybe I could like mine too.

    (But I also wish it for her own sake. And I think now that she’s reached “un certain age” she’s stopped caring quite as much about satisfying a certain standard and is just dressing well and comfortably, which is awesome.)

    It sounds horrible to say but some days I am just so thankful that I have sons and not daughters, because I feel like there’s less of a danger of passing those issues along even if my boys do end up with some of my features.

  47. Gah. I went and read some of the comments on the book at Powells.com again. There go my Sanity Watcher points for the week, and it’s only Tuesday!

    Am I the only one who, when feeling low, comes over here and compulsively hits refresh hoping for a new comment?

    Um. And I just noticed the “Notify Me of follow-up comments” checkbox. Clicky!

  48. Oh geez…I did NOT just write “Catcher AND the Rye”?!?!?!? For fuck’s sake….IN! IN!

    Because this is clearly the most important thing on the thread… I once wrote a brilliant and devastating fuck-you e-mail to a guy I’d recently broken up with (something I really don’t recommend doing, actually, but it felt good at the time), proofread it 100 times before hitting send, hit send, and THEN realized that I had typed “tongue and cheek” instead of “tongue in cheek” at one point. And because I am me, that meant I had to follow up the brilliant and devastating fuck-you e-mail with, “Um, I meant ‘tongue in cheek.’ Not sure what happened there. -K.”

  49. OMG, all the beautiful em-dashes! My pretties! ;-)

    I saw that first line, “Self-loathing is not a fucking character builder,” and I caught my breath. God. How wild that many of us have thought it could be true? It’s like, if the world is constantly telling us we don’t measure up, and we can’t meet its standards, the least we can do is hate ourselves, too, right? WRONG.

  50. Does anyone else wonder how their university/employer can sponsor both a ‘self-acceptance week’ and WW/Biggest Loser clubs?

  51. And because I am me, that meant I had to follow up the brilliant and devastating fuck-you e-mail with, “Um, I meant ‘tongue in cheek.’ Not sure what happened there. -K.”

    AH-ahahah! I totally understand that. It’s like the feeling of thinking you left the coffeepot or the oven on. Panic! Can’t let it go! Like when I realized I made a typo in one of my responses in the other thread (next post down). I switched out a word in editing it but left an extra letter in there. I restrained myself from writing a millionth comment there to correct it, but rest assured, I saw it.

  52. Re: Kirstie Alley, personally I’m just damn tired of “celebrities” whose careers are over maintaining some level of fame for nothing more than their weight gains and losses.

    Lori, that makes two (or more) of us. Your previous comment made me aware that I may not be thinking hard enough. *making note to study ‘cognitive dissonance’*

  53. The reason people hate gay people, or black people, or Asian people, or women, or Jews, or Musims, or whatever group they may hate, isn’t because they don’t find that group sexually attractive, but because finding and scapegoating “others” has been a long-standing human habit.

    Jumping in here, and I don’t mean to speak for Kaz, but I think there’s a sense of “fuckability” that has everything to do with racism and sexism and heterosexism.

    I don’t know how to put it, exactly… but it’s kind of… I guess, you know, whatever’s at work when the people at the top of a male-dominated white supremacist homophobic culture say, in so many words:

    - “Hey, when we go colonize that place over there and enslave its native people, let’s make extra sure we rape the women and find ways to sexually degrade and humiliate the men.” Or,

    - “Hubba hubba, lezzzzzbians; of course, I know that what that’s REALLY about is putting on a titillating show for me, the dude. Otherwise why would they bother?” Or,

    -”Boys fucking each other? OH NOES! We can’t have that or the whole meaning of maleness-as-exploitative-domination will go out the window!” Or,

    -”You owe it to me to present me with a world in which everyone is mine to fuck as I wish, bitch! How DARE you be bigger than I say you can; you probably EAT too, and maybe even have OTHER appetites. Who fucking said you could do that?!” Or,

    - “Hey, we dudes prove our dude-ishness through violent competition with other dudes, so let’s all go bully and humiliate the fat boy!”

    I don’t know if I’m expressing myself well… I expect I’ll hit “Submit Comment” and find that someone else has said it better. :)

  54. A Sarah, I think you have it right. I think it’s a morality thing; they are not like us therefore they are wrong therefore they are not fuckable.

    Damnit, I hate how much of this culture comes down to sex. Which is me being all moralizing. Heh.

    And I’ve said this before but I’m going to say it again: I’m fat and I’m single and I’m celibate and all three of those are ok things to be, no matter how much media and pop culture try to convince people otherwise.

    (I’m also queer and Hispanic, I just can’t win in this society. Except for dance competitions. :D )

  55. So partly I wish she liked her body, just because then maybe I could like mine too.

    Indeed. I remember growing up horrified of my mother’s body because she went on and on at length about how awful it was. I never imagined I’d start to look like her and when I did I was floored and sad. The whole thing gave me a very weird outlook on the female form and I’m still trying to get over it.

  56. OK-I clicked on the People link and I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it, Kirstie and her goal “numbers” talk (128, 148, etc etc) was subtly diet triggering and seductive to me. How my life would be SO much better if I were 128 or 148 again. Since my brain is really insisting thats true-I’m going to check out the FoBT thread again.

    Hearing Kirstie’s current weight of 228 was triggering for me. Oh how wonderful it would be if I didn’t have to shop in the grandma-clothing store…my FoBT has me thinking I’d automatically have money with which to buy fatshion. I remember the lower 200′s fondly, which is complete bull because I was broke then too. I was also in my 20′s, getting back down to the lower 200′s is no friggin fountain of youth.

  57. Lori:

    I like what you said – you took a lot of thoughts that have been vaguely bouncing around in my skull and turned them into something that make sense. I especially like your parallel between a conservative Christian embracing the self-loathing gay and society embracing the self-loathing fat person – it’s a wonderful analogy to use when I’m explaining HAES to my friends.

  58. Very good quote. I have also noted that gratuitous self-pity and gratuitous self-blame are the conjoined twins of dysfunctional thinking. If feeling sorry for yourself is fucked up, then so is hating yourself. And these two things often do work in tandem in people with serious unaddressed psychological problems.

  59. Ok. Slight tangent, perhaps, but what really sticks in my craw is the her and Oprah’s use of the phrase “falling off the wagon.” I work in rehab and recover, and really???

    A little riddle for you–
    Q: How is being kind of fat like relapsing into drug and alcohol addiction?
    A: IT’S NOT!

    It takes some real gall to compare your inability starve yourself into some ridiculous cultural beauty ideal to the hell that is addiction. Last time I checked, getting fat effected, uh, let’s see…there’s you. Then there’s you. Oh! And of course, you. I think that about covers it. Meanwhile, alcoholics and drug addicts can cause their families to become homeless, force their children into foster care, commit crimes to feed the addiction and wind up in prison. Granted, you’re both (unfairly) looked down upon by society, but *still.*

    When you relapse, you have to go to Macy’s and buy some new pants. You do not have to get lost and abused by the justice system, beg for the right to even visit your family, or lose everything you have. I want to drag those two into work with me, plop them down and *dare* them to compare their weight struggle with the struggle of the brave, strong women I work with who have kicked a crystal meth habit. Get over yourselves, celebrities.

  60. I was trying to write a comment about how my mom never told me I needed to diet, but rather the kids at school and every other relative would tell me those things. But it started sounding like a pity party. My mother did try to convince me that wearing clothes too small for me was a bad idea, I wouldn’t listen though since the clothes that fit right seemed so HUGE.

    Self loathing isn’t attractive, hearing someone talk about how much they hate their body or how they look or who they are just makes me sad. And comedians who use it as a way to tell jokes, it isn’t funny. I don’t want to hear people beat up on themselves as a form of entertainment. I’m trying so hard not to beat myself up every minute of the day, and it’s exhausting.

    So thank you Jane for saying it and thank you Sweet Machine for pointing out the awesome that is Jane to us.

  61. Am I the only one who was trained in the art of body-consciousness and self-loathing by her father? It’s taken several weeks of therapy just be able to have a phone conversation with my father wherein he does NOT ask about my weight and/or exercise habits. I remember a particularly interesting phone call when I was at the peak of my WW fanaticism and he called to give ME diet tips because he watches Biggest Loser and is suddenly the diet guru.

    The problem with adjusting his view on weight is that he buys into the hype in a pretty big way and it’s hard to get any info through to him if it wasn’t on TV.

    BTW, I have started using those “self talks” WW teaches us to further my FA. Helps stave off the guilt learned from years of self-loathing when I eat something not so good for me. Thanks WW!

  62. *sigh*

    I’ll join in the negative nostalgia about childhood food restriction and parents. (It feels SO GOOD to be able to talk about this stuff with people who understand it from their own experiences.)

    My mother put me on my first diet at age 5. The first “big diet” — you know, the Last One, the This Time It Will Really Work and Stick Forever Diet — at age 7. (That should tell you how well the first “little” diet went.) It’s hard for me to able to say accurately just how big I was, since from my very earliest memories I only remember feeling ENORMOUS. From pictures, I’d say I was slightly chubby. (It’s almost amusing that I was also about a head taller than everyone else in my classes, so that technically my height and weight percentiles matched: 99th for both.)

    The rest of my family, especially my mother and older sister, were naturally slender. I took after my dad physically; he was sort of solidly built. My mother would diet with me, though — we’d be doing it together, so I shouldn’t feel singled out! — but since she was also our sole cook, that meant that everyone in the family had to eat the diet food, and we couldn’t have many of our mutual favorite foods anymore. So, I wasn’t singled out…but I was the reason we all couldn’t eat what we wanted. Yeah, that made me feel better.

    Not to pick unduly on my mother, but as others upthread have pointed out, her co-dieting was pretty devastating to my self-image. She would diet with me for support, constantly talking about she needed to lose weight and couldn’t fit into her jeans anymore — but she was sizes and sizes smaller than me. Eventually, after I’d been dieting for about 10 years, she was over 100 pounds lighter (and 5 inches shorter, but never mind that!) than me and still talking about how she was gross. (Now, 20 years later, I weigh 200 pounds more than she does! And I’m finally OK with it! Hooray!) I figured that if she was beyond the pale at half my size, I must have been a fucking alien blob creature.

    Despite all the issues that led out of this stupid fucking childhood dieting (= disordered eating, depression, massive weight gain that I could have avoided if I’d stopped dieting earlier, rock-bottom self-esteem), I find it really hard to blame her completely. She quite honestly did (and does) think that I was endangering my health and my social and romantic prospects(!!), and as fucked up as that is she wanted to protect me from being sick and ostracized. And what was there to tell her 20 or 10 years ago that dieting was dangerous? The consensus was unanimous, and we even lived with a medical professional (my dad!) who agreed that being heavy was unhealthy.

    Which brings me, after a far-too-long comment (sorry!), right back to what I started with: *sigh*

  63. Am I the only one who was trained in the art of body-consciousness and self-loathing by her father?

    My mother never once told me I was anything but beautiful. All my family-sourced body shit came from my father, brother, and grandparents. I’m really grateful to my mom for that, which is kinda sad because it should be the default. But now that I am grownup and look a lot like her, I realize how lucky I am that she didn’t model self-loathing for me.

  64. My mom wasn’t totally innocent I suppose. She had her dieting issues and moments of self-loathing (but she was a 5’10″ goddess who gained weight after having two kids), but she never made me feel bad about my weight the way my father did. She’s always been supportive no matter what frame of mind I’m in. I’ve been sharing this sight and other things with her and she’s all for the HAES way of thinking.

    Thanks Sweet Machine. I’m glad I’m not the only one. =)

  65. A Sarah, you pretty much took my thoughts and made them coherent. I like you :)

    Really, the fuckability thing is a sore spot. You would not believe how hard straight white men work to invalidate my marriage and sexuality, all because my chosen partner is another woman. It seems like the driving force behind most acceptability is whether or not you’re available.

  66. For me it was my father’s family –although mostly I remember the things his mother said and did. Like refusing to let me drink milk in her house (first it was only skim allowed, and then nothing). Like giving me subscriptions to Teen and Seventeen (the magazines) when I was 9 “so you’ll have a role model of what to look like”.* Yes, her exact words. I believed her when she told me I was fat. Even though, as it turns out, I wasn’t. Why yes, I do think she was semi-responsible for my bout of obsessively not eating when I was in middle school.

    *OK, that was ALSO about my mother being a hippy and my father’s mother Not Approving. That grandmother also forced me into my first bras and took me clothes shopping where she bought me what she liked instead of what I liked. And was very fond of handing me makeup kits every time I visited my father’s family. Grr. Sorry. Still bothers me. The one compliment on my appearance I EVER remember getting from her was ‘you look very feminine, dear’ (and that was only once).

  67. I know a woman who is doing this exact thing to her own 9-yo daughter right now. Forced exercise, intense focus on good and bad foods, militant portion control. It is so sad to watch the self-loathing being created.

    Like the other day, her kid came home and confessed tearfully to eating buttered popcorn.

    I tried to share HAES with this friend a long time ago, and she told me I was in denial and compared my eating to being addicted to heroin. Then she told me Jesus says heal thyself. Yeah, we’re not really friends anymore.

  68. Am I the only one who was trained in the art of body-consciousness and self-loathing by her father?

    Nope nope nope – my dad was definitely a prime source of my own self-loathy tendencies. He can STILL put me over the edge with a comment – never quite directed *at* me, more like a drive-by kind of insinuation that there’s something very wrong with me because I’m fat and not doing everything under the sun to get rid of it. I think it drives him around the bend that he’s got three unmarried, ungrandchildren-giving daughters and pins much of that “failure” on our being fat (well, two of them aren’t so fat anymore since one had gastric bypass and the other is on yet another epic diet journey involving “doctor prescribed” appetite suppressants).

  69. The funny thing is that I got my shape and size from my DAD’s family. He told me once I looked just like his sister. Anyway, I have a delightful memory from my impressionable years where he told me I’d be so pretty if I just lost weight. I also had terrible acne when puberty hit so I was a double-shame.

    I know that his “concern” comes from a place of love. His idea of happiness for me is marriage and babies and since I have neither he thinks it’s TEH FAT! What he doesn’t understand is that years of mental abuse from him have made me incapable of maintaining a long-term relationthip! So, let this be a lesson to all the parents out there. Present company excluded. =)

  70. @Sticky: When people ask if I’ve found Jesuse I ask where they last saw him and did they check the lost and found?

  71. Also, I just realized how wonderful my dad is. He has never said a single word to me about my weight. Not one word. Someone’s getting a father’s day gift upgrade.

  72. Reading this has made me glad that my parents weren’t worse. For all my father is still 17 and irresponsible at heart and my mother is a neurotic mess, both of them went out of their way to tell me that whatever I did with my life, including with my body, was ok. Admittedly, my mother’s whole ‘trying isn’t good enough/sorry isn’t good enough’ mantra has screwed me up in other ways, but somehow I think I’d still pick them over parents who told me to diet.

  73. @Sticky: I really hate it when people IN MY CHURCH name-drop Jesus to back up their insanity. That’s when I get my purse and start hitting people.

    In Christian love, of course.

  74. Thanks Sweet Machine. I’m glad I’m not the only one. =)

    Me too! I should add that my father definitely made disparaging comments about my mother’s body, so I wasn’t totally free of the “mom is too fat and you will be too” mindset, but I’m glad it didn’t come from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. My dad, god bless him, *still* talks about how my mother “chunked up” after they married… and she had three kids, quit doing championship-level judo, and, you know, aged. Gah.

  75. I wonder how she would feel if she was suddenly surrounding by a crowd of “disgusting 228 pounders”… would she go into survival mode and say “I mean I’M DISGUSTING.. not everyone else who weighs this amount.”
    Personally I think cokeheads (remember, Kirstie) are WAY more disgusting than ample, beautiful, voluptuous women !
    So there.. !

  76. Am I the only one who was trained in the art of body-consciousness and self-loathing by her father?

    Jumpin’ on the dad train… between my father (who was a fucking child psychologist lakslksad) buying me diet books and the general assholerly of other kids, I was MISERABLE when I got chubby at age nine because I internalized the shit out of all those messages. My mom, reacting to my misery and being very slim herself and so not really understanding the logistics of being fat, “supported” me by helping me diet, starting with the Seven Day Diet and then a nutritionist (who advised me to stop wearing pleated skirts, since they make me look fat) and on and on.

    I also think there was a certain element of shame in it for my mom, too. She was a single mom and we were pretty poor and we lived in an area that did not look kindly on single moms or poor folks and I think she saw my fatness as a bad reflection on her. And you know? I think it really WAS a bad reflection on her, in that the other nitwits in our town piled “Also, her daughter is FAT” on the stack of judgy things they thought about us.

    So but I guess what I’m saying is that mom didn’t help, but I think she was doing what she, in her ignorance, thought was best. She’s really supportive of FA now, although she’s harder on herself now than she ever was on me, and that makes me sad because I love her more than anything.

    My dad, on the other hand, I haven’t spoken to since 1998.

  77. Also… no fat grandmothers??? What the hell? I grew up assuming that being a grandmother was synonymous with being fat, to the point that I even once vehemently denied the possibility of a friend’s slim grandmother being her actual grandmother because grandmothers are FAT. (Aside: I also used to assume that all fat people had short hair (all of my fat grandmas had short hair) and I always get a little chuckle when people on Fatshionista worry that they can’t pull off a short hair cut because of their weight.)

  78. I just got back from a first-time visit to a new gynecologist for the usual pap/pelvic/breast exam. I had put this visit off for quite a while, because I had a wonderful doctor when I lived in another state, and have been fearful about how a new one would treat me. Well, my fears were damned justified, and I’m still practically shaking with tears, anger, and shame.

    She started the visit by coming in to talk; this quickly turned into a 30 minute harangue about my weight, and how I need to change my ways before I get all the usual diseases that apparently, only we fat people get. (Of course, my 25 years as an RN tells me differently.) My depression? Well, that’s just because I’m fat. All I have to do, she says, is get a good pair of walking shoes and a set of 5 lb weights, and the weight will have to come off. Eat celery during the day to “boost” my metabolism. Riiiiiight.

    What gets me is that I sat there and took it. I started crying not long into her “talk”, and felt incapable of saying one word in my defense. I felt ashamed of myself. All my years of reading size acceptance literature and thinking I was growing in self-acceptance flew out the window. Apparently, I’ve still got some work to do, because the self-loathing is alive and well.

    I know I’ll never go to this doctor again, but now I have to start all over, which I find daunting. (And I’m a health care provider who knows the system! How much more difficult must some others feel!)

    Now I’ll go cry a bit more. Thank God for this site…You guys keep me sane.

  79. OTM: I had a fat grandma and I have a skinny grandma. Oddly I inherited my shape and size from fat grandma’s side of the family! Go fig. Genetics is a funny thing. Fat grandma lived to be 82 and died of an aneuryism. Not at all fat-related.

  80. MamaD: I’m so sorry! That sounds terrible. Aren’t doctor’s taught bedside manners?

    I personally have mostly male doctors and I rarely get talked to about my weight except for that one time that self-loathing got the better of me and I went looking for diet pills (which my doctor was kind enough NOT to prescribe for me). I wonder if male doctors know just enough not to mention weight or I just get lucky.

    Also, I get my lady parts checked at the local planned parenthood. They don’t give a rat’s ass how much I weigh.

  81. “What he doesn’t understand is that years of mental abuse from him have made me incapable of maintaining a long-term relationthip!”

    Yeah, Sarah B., they will sometimes have trouble wrapping the mind around that. Don’t let the denial get to you too much — the sky is not green, the sea is not boiling, you have not taken leave of your rational faculties.

    Now I will say that if you start to do better with the relationship thing, the sabotage WILL start to get crazy, so you may want to get your support group, and expensive skincare, and expensive books, or extra library privileges, or whatever you need to cope, together ahead of time.

    But you can delight in the fact that you can take credit for making twice as much progress, having started from a place of pathology.

    (At least that’s what I tell myself a lot.)

  82. @littlem: Thanks! This site has done wonders for my confidence and my relationship with food. Oddly, I think at this point in my life, my dad’s expectations for me are so low that he would accept any man I was with. As long as I’m happy. Which is good, but sad at the same time.

    It’s weird to see typos when other people quote you. I’m working on that relationthip thing. =)

  83. Oh, MamaD, I am so sorry you had an awful experience. Have you thought about filing a complaint about the doctor? Making your patient cry right before you ask her to get naked and spread seems like a TERRIBLE idea in general, and worth complaining about.

    Have you read Kate and Marianne’s book yet? I ask because there is a really good section about treating yourself with as much compassion as you would treat your friend. Please don’t add to your current misery by shaming yourself for getting upset.

  84. MamaD, that is so lame. I’m sending you a big hug.

    My doctor retired recently, and I had to find a new doctor. It is so daunting! I finally decided on one after tons of research, only to find she was not taking new patients. So I threw caution to the wind and decided to give her colleague try.

    When I met with the new doctor for the first time, I immediately launched into a speech about how I don’t need diet advice, need her to treat me beyond weight, blah blah. I ended it with asking if she felt she could treat me without focusing on my weight. She said yes, and that was that. I was very nervous and teary about it though. I even wrote a few things down to say.

    Keep your chin up. You will find a better doctor – they exist. I wonder if one reason more fat people die sooner is that they are treated so badly by doctors and the medical establishment and/or are too ashamed to get proper medical care when they need it.

  85. Thanks, Sarah B. You know, I can honestly say that I’ve never treated a patient that way. I try to include some HAES principles when they’re worried about weight; and really try to convey to them my own belief that they are valuable, regardless of their illness, just because they’re human.

    What’s funny is that I have no problem whatsoever standing up to MDs when it comes to my patients. But apparently I’ve internalized some sense of unworthiness that makes me almost incapable of self defense.

  86. SweetMachine–I just placed my order for the book! I can’t wait. I think I very well might place a complaint.

    Sticky–Thanks for the virtual hug! And I think you’re right about how ill treatment by health care providers towards fat people can lead to detrimental, sometimes deadly health consequences.

  87. What’s funny is that I have no problem whatsoever standing up to MDs when it comes to my patients. But apparently I’ve internalized some sense of unworthiness that makes me almost incapable of self defense.

    I think this is a really common thing for all of us—we are willing to stick up for other people but not ourselves. Remember, when you go to the doctor, *you* are the patient. Treat yourself that way!

    Sticky, “lame” is ableist, so we don’t use that word around here.

  88. MamaD, big hugs! The doctor had no right to treat you that way. I hope you don’t beat yourself up for the challenge you felt in standing up to that abuse. So much of our modern medical system is built around the power imbalance between “Doctor/expert” and “Patient/specimen”…

    I’d wager it’s that imbalance that creates situations which demand that you be such a staunch advocate for your patients. But when you’re wearing the patient hat (backless paper gown?) yourself, it’s no wonder if you fall into some extra feeling of disempowerment.

  89. All the male doctors I’ve had really didn’t consider my weight when treating me. Because I was pretty healthy with no real underlying issues, they either weren’t concerned, or told me to increase my physical activity.

    This March, I went to my first female PCP, and whammo! She forgot about the real reason I made an appointment (viral infection that made me feel like crap) and spent the entire visit discussing my weight. I told her point blank, no dieting. And unlike my last doctor who retired (one who refused to put me on Meridia when I asked him about it, thank God) she would not prescribe me diruetics to help with my swelling in my ankles and feet. She scheduled a doppler scan of my legs and feet but instead left it to the scheduling office to call me out of the blue and told me I had to get this done. I ended up not being able to have the scan because she never sent the order for it to the hospital or gave me a copy of the order I had to bring to the registration office! Needless to say, I called the doctor’s office and asked for my records. I will not be back.

    My gyno, OTOH, who is a female, never mentioned weight and prescribed me BC pills to help with my menstrual cramps and clotting without a lecture. So there are decent medical professionals out there who will treat you and not just your waist size.

  90. A Sarah, you hit it right on the head. But I imagine that Kirstie’s daughter may be really in for it publically, because her mom is famous, is denigrating herself on TV and in magazines, and now people will be looking at her (the daughter) and wondering *when* she’s gonna (gasp!) GET FAT.
    (Which doesn’t, AT ALL, take away from your pain. Not even a little bit.)

    Sarah B., my dad also helped give me my complex. He had his own issues about weight, and then, when I hit puberty, he really freaked out! My developing hips and breasts were, in his mind, getting fat. And a way to avoid the fact that I was looking more like a woman than a little girl.

  91. Um, “publicly,” not “pubically”, which, because I’m really 12, looks like “pubic-ly.”

  92. Alyssa, that’s an excellent point. I wonder how many fathers have sabotaged their daughters for this very reason? I know it sure did backfire in my case.

  93. I just found this site and have read THE BOOK, which I shall now always use capitals when talking about THE BOOK (Lessons from the Fat-O-Sphere). The book and coming to this site has changed my life in a profound way. I am getting close to 50. I’m strong, healthy and fat. My 50th birthday is in August, so of course what does a brainwashed woman do but make the months leading up to her birthday a hellish nightmare. And I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t go on another fucked up diet. I tired, beat up and burned out on hating myself. I have been doing successfully for about 35 years and I am done. You will never know (ok you probably do know) what it is like to say NO FUCKING MORE and be happy I am alive and healthy. Last night I went on Face book and announced to all my friends that I was so done with the old way of living. It was amazing, absolutely amazing. Now this week I am going to talk to my personal trainer about how I want to continue to work out with her but no more weighing me, no more measuring no more of any of that. My success will be measured on how much weight I can lift, how much better I feel and my cardio. So this brings up an interesting question, how would a personal trainer work with a client who believes in HAES? There needs to be training with trainers to teach then new ways to work with clients. I’m on a rantable (which is a ramble and a rant combined).

    Thank you for giving me the place to begin to take back my life.

    Claudia

  94. Oh, MamaD! I am sorry that doctor was so stupid, rude, and unprofessional! That sucks.

    Shapesters, if (Zod forbid) any of the rest of us are ever in that situation, maybe it will help to remember that we always have the option of saying “This appointment is over. I need to leave now.”

    Because, please, we fats need our health care just as much as the thins, and maybe if we remember that we have the option to tell the rude, unprofessional doctors to shut up and leave us alone it might be easier for us be prepared, going in, to exercise that option.

  95. Alyssa– You just hit on the story I was trying to decide whether to tell or not in this thread.

    I swear I went through 2 puberties, in life the high school “official” (i.e. menstruation) one where I was still flat-chested and boy-skinny, and then another one in college when I suddenly grew bodacious ta-tas* and hips. Lo and behold, I went home for Thanksgiving and he was calling me — a newly-curvy but-still-size-8 me — “fat.”

    And the thing is, I couldn’t really admit it to myself, but part of me KNEW even back then that the new fat-talk was a response to my new womanliness. I can still feel a bit of the shame around that.

    * Hence my blog-name.

  96. I think the Dad’s reacting badly to womanliness thing will always exist, because of the Father/Daughter relationship and the whole psychology behind that, but I think having Mom’s who understand that and know when and how will to intervene help the next generation immensely.

  97. MamaD, I am so sorry that happened. I just… GRRRRR. I seriously want to go accost that doctor right now and say something like, “Hey, I hear you’re totally cool with giving insulting and unfounded and wrongheaded advice to people before they’ve even asked for advice. Awesome! Great, ready? I’ll start. ‘kay, number one, you’re rude, and if you don’t get yourself into some anti-rudeness regimen, you’re going to OMG DIE FRIENDLESS. Number two, you actually have no idea what you’re talking about w/r/t obesity. Five pound weights, walking, and celery? Seriously? Aw, that is SO CUTE that you really believe that! But being as you’re getting paid to give medical advice, could you please, in the future, try to get your medical information from sources other than daytime television? Like, get it from Google instead; that’s much more reliable. Thanks much. Number three….”

    Of course that’s my vicarious rage as vented through the safety of the internet. But in the moment? I’d totally falter and cry too. (I did, sort of, actually. It was a little different situation… As an awkward preteen I went in for an annual physical, and the doctor came in and started giving me acne advice. Without my having mentioned being concerned about my skin, because I’d not previously realized that my complexion was so awful that it was an Official Medical Problem. I cried for hours.)

    I won’t tell you what to do, because only you know whether this is one of the battles you want to fight. Whether you do or don’t, we’ve got your back!

  98. I must have the best parents in the world. I knew I had awfully wonderful parents, but I just cannot believe some of the things I’m hearing here about how people’s parents treated them regarding their weight. I honestly cannot remember a single time when either of my parents made the weight of me or my sister an issue, other than times when, with both of us, they were concerned that we were dieting too restrictively and/or losing weight too quickly. Beyond that, it was never anything they concerned themselves with (perhaps they would have been concerned with a rapid weight gain, as well, but neither of us ever had one), and I don’t ever remember feeling judged by parents for my appearance. Seriously, it’s bad enough that the rest of the world does it; people should at least be able to feel secure that their parents do not base their opinion of them on who they look.

    Really, the fuckability thing is a sore spot. You would not believe how hard straight white men work to invalidate my marriage and sexuality, all because my chosen partner is another woman. It seems like the driving force behind most acceptability is whether or not you’re available.

    But it seems like the issue there isn’t so much that they are angry that they don’t want to fuck you, but that they can’t. And I do wonder if that’s what’s really at work here. Because, honestly, I’m not sure most men really find fat women all that repulsive. Fat women don’t have less sex or fewer relationships then thinner women, from statistics I’ve seen. Men are supposed to find fat women repulsive, but in practice I’m not sure it happens. Society says that fat women are off-limits, and yet there they are, walking around and having partners and even having sex (and sometimes even providing evidence of it, by daring to be fat and pregnant or a fat parent). Just like part of the problem with homosexuality for religious conservatives seems to be that they do not want something they are not allowed to want or engage in be out there as a temptation, I do wonder if part of the problem with fat for some is that they do not want something they are not allowed, by society, to have or want (an intimate relationship with a fat woman) to even be a temptation. If every woman was thin, then they wouldn’t have to worry about possibly being attracted to and falling in love with a fat woman.

    So I wonder if it’s less that fat women are “unfuckable” in the sense of being so repulsive no one would have sex with them (which we know isn’t true) and more that fat women are “unfuckable” in the sense that society says that fat women are disgusting and that there’s something wrong with having sex with them. Fat women walking around and being happy and healthy and even attractive is tempting people to have thoughts and feelings that society deems unacceptable.

  99. (((MamaD))) I am so sorry. And, I totally understand your reaction. I’m normally, I think, a relatively competent and even assertive person. But, for some reason, you put me in front of a doctor, and I feel like a six-year-old. I’m really lucky that I’ve never gotten a weight lecture, but I’ve had doctors give me grief about other issues (particularly writing off any and every symptom I have as anxiety-related, since I have an anxiety disorder, and refusing to take me seriously because of it) and I respond exactly the same way.

    I’d write a letter, and in the past I have, because it’s much easier for me to respond calmly and rationally and assertively after the fact then when I’m sitting there in front of the doctor.

  100. I had a fat grandma who lived well into her 80s, having birthed and raised a whole bunch of fat uncles, including my dad, and one fat aunt, who was a lovely person and I still miss her. That’s the fat aunt my mother always used to compare me to, saying I’d need umpteen hip operations if I didn’t lose weight because I obviously took after her (well, duh, I was her brother’s daughter!). She would sigh and say that this aunt ‘was a beauty queen before she let herself go’ – as it happens, she was a beauty queen at the size I was then, a British 14/16. The 1940s was slightly more generous in its interpretation of beauty.

    My mother was always very thin, ate all she wanted and had a very sweet tooth. I think she assumed that if she ate as much as she did and was thin, I must really be gorging myself to be as fat as I was, or eating ‘all the wrong things’ , or not moving enough. So while I was never forced to diet, I got constantly nagged about everything I was doing ‘wrong’ and about how awful it was making me look. My dad really didn’t give two hoots, but even so, he chipped in when he got to the ‘You’re growing up and it scares me so I’ll just get mad at you instead’ stage – and realized that calling me fat was a great way to humiliate me. Even though he was fat himself. I don’t think my mother ever picked on him or my brother for it because hey, they were men, and men needed good food.

    I would love to believe she meant well, but from a lot of other things that went on back then (and on into my adulthood), I seriously believe she had real issues about me developing any kind of self-esteem. When a parent makes looks the only thing they will accept you for – and at the same time makes their standards of appearance so stringent that you can’t ever achieve them – you can only conclude that that’s the case. The irony is that all that nastiness made me not want to ever resemble her in any way, including being thin. (As well as the constant ‘be anything but who you are’ undercurrent doubtless being one of the factors in my depressive history.)

  101. As someone who’s recently been dealing with both mother and medical issues, my heart goes out to everyone on this thread dealing with both.

    And echoing SM – the old Gloria Stienem quip that for women the golden rule needs to be reversed
    (“treat yourself as you treat others”) needs to be tattoed anywhere things can be tattoed. Especially for those of us in helping professions trained to put the needs of others first.

    With the caveat, though, that if you treat yourself in a self-loathing way, the rule goes out the window. ;)

  102. Add me to the Dad Train. My father had this delightful habit, from the time I was about 12 years old onward, of wandering by anytime I dared eat something he thought I shouldn’t be – like, say, a peanut-butter sandwich after school cause I hadn’t eaten lunch that day, or a second helping of my favorite dish at dinner, or even just some damn grapes! – pinching whatever flesh he could at my waist, and saying sneeringly, “Do you really need that?” Not that this justifies it, but I was a size 12 and 5’7″, for the love of gods! A little soft cause I hadn’t developed muscles very well, but not fat at all. I tried to tell him how hurt I was when he did that, and he just made fun of me for being too sensitive. I think I was nearly 18 by the time I snapped. He did his usual thing, and I turned around and told him in no uncertain terms that the next time he did that, he was going to lose the hand that touched me. Thankfully, my father’s the kind of guy who respects people who stand up to his bullying (instead of responding with violence), so instead of getting me in trouble, it earned me a grudging respect, and he did in fact stop doing it.

    And MamaD, that doctor sounds fucking horrible! I don’t blame you for crying and not being able to tell her off; even being prepared for it, it still sucks when the health professionals you’re *supposed* to be able to trust turn on you and get all hating at you. Good luck in finding a non-fat-phobic doctor. *hugs*

  103. Y’all, the “there are no fat grandmas” comment on Jane’s blog was mine, and it was sarcasm. :-) Like, what, you HAVE to be skinny or else you don’t get to live to see your grandkids? Then where’d all the chubby huggy grandmas come from? Huh? Like, all grandmas are skinny? Not in my world!

    (Well, actually in my world grandmas act a lot like the diet-pushing mothers you’re all referring to, regardless of their own size. But that’s another issue.)

  104. That is the awesomest quote I’ve heard in quite some time, and I’ve been hearing good ones lately!

    What an uplift when I’ve been struggling with the body blues. :D

    Love to all.

  105. Jane’s post about Kirstie Alley post was really great. I got a subsciption to People as a Christmas gift and when I came home and saw Kirstie Alley beating herself up on the cover, I just tossed it in the garbage. I’m not going there. Imagine, she went on a diet, lost weight, and then gained it back and then some. Just like 95% of everyone who goes on a diet. Was that supposed to be shocking?

    All I will say about my parents, dieting, and my self-esteem is that they’re both dead and I am still struggling to forgive them for how lousy they made me feel.

    MamaD – I’m so sorry to hear about what happened to you at the doctor’s. One thing I’ve been doing is rehersing scenarios in my head before I go to the doctor – if they say X about my weight I’m going to say Y back to them. Luckily, it’s not often that I get grief about my weight bacause my regular doctor is fab. But there have been times it’s helped me stand up for myself when I needed to.

  106. I had one fat grandma and one thin one. The fat one (maternal grandmother) was awesome: a beauty in the Lillian Russell/Lillie Langtry vein and an all-but-single mom (rotten lazy husband) during the Depression who raised her kids on a garment worker’s pay. They always said it was that sedentary lifestyle of a pieceworker that made her stout, but, see: Four of her six granddaughters have her body type to varying degrees. I’m one of the four, but I’m maybe the smallest version. We are all shaped like her. The other two, who don’t resemble her, are sisters, slim and very slim respectively, and they had a thin mom (my mom’s sister) and a tall, thin dad. Just goes to show you.

    I feel like I just gave the verbal version of a Punnett square.

  107. I remember “puberty 2″. I just woke up one day and there were breasts. Naked ones. Staring at me in the mirror. It was like, being victim of a drive-by shooting, but with a boob gun. I was totally stunned, and I like to think that I’ve got this body thing figured out. Nope, even I was surprised that the flat chest I had when I was 16 went away when I was 20.

    Maybe it’s because we start to idolize most people and plaster them over the media the hardest when they’re in their late teens, but I think as a society with slightly disconnected with what an adult woman’s body actually looks like when she gets past 20 or so, let alone approaches 30 or older.

  108. O.C., my Grandma was a diet-pusher, too! I got put on the cottage-cheese diet every time we went to visit. She would also tell my skinny little sister how pretty she was, and how good she looked in everything, and tell me how pretty my face was, and how I really shouldn’t be eating that because I was chubby already.

    Needless to say, I didn’t look forward to visiting Grandma. The sad thing is, my mother has never been anything but supportive of me, but hates on herself because she was brought up on a series of diets, from age 5 on. Watching my mother hate herself has made me feel as if I’m fine as long as I’m not that fat, for years. Which is, of course, nonsense. My mother is a size 20/22, and has been for years. So WHAT if I end up being a size 20? The world will not end.

    Sad thing is, I’m only half-believing in this as I even type it now.

    So I guess, thank you to the fatosphere for helping me to begin my journey of self-acceptance. I’m working on my mom, too, but when I talk fat-positively, she gets embarrassed and changes the subject or tells me she has to go, like I’m talking about having an orgasm or something. Anyone have any tips on how to talk to your self-hating fat mom about how it’s ok to be fat? Should I just buy her Lessons from the Fatosphere and leave her be?

  109. I got most of my body image issues from other people, rather than my parents. I was lucky in that respect, really. I remember my mom saying once (about being somewhat overweight – she’s an in-betweenie), “I know people look in the mirror and talk about how fat they are, but I look in the mirror and I just don’t see anything wrong with myself.”

    She’s on a specific diet for medical reasons, but hasn’t lost (or gained) any weight. She’s at the weight she should be, and she’s ok with that. My dad has always focused on his health, rather than weight – eating veggies and fruits, etc.

    I haven’t absorbed their attitudes as much as I’d like to. I still remember one of my thin friends talk about how she doesn’t like her belly because it’s soft and has a little roll. I remember hugging myself and wondering what she thought of me and my big rolls and fat arms and fat thighs/butt…

  110. @xenu: Maybe the best way to help her is to show her how okay you are. My Mom read all the links and things I sent her and is very open-minded, but I know my dad would laugh in my face if I tried to share this stuff with him, so we have set boundaries and I will show him that I’m okay, happy even, without being skinny.

  111. Lori – Being “unfuckable” isn’t about being repulsive or not wanting to fuck someone – it’s about that person not being socially acceptable to fuck – yet another form of ‘not available’. Sex is about power and control, and if someone is therefore beyond “acceptible fucking range” you have no power over them. Therefore, the best course of action is to push them into fuckable range, either through dieting, or makeovers, or anything else which makes people more socially acceptable. I’m sure plenty of people can come up with ways in which women of colour are made more ‘fuckable’ for those in power.

    You wouldn’t believe how many men honestly don’t mind their wife’s size, but because they don’t want to be “the guy with the fat wife” will still urge her to lose weight. Because for all THEY like it, society, and likely their circle of friends really doesn’t.

  112. Claudia – I’ve found personal trainers easier to cope with than doctors, actually. I’ve said three different times some version of this speech — “I’m not into weight monitoring, because it makes me forget my goals – stronger, longer distances, better posture, more flexibility. I may get fatter, or I may get thinner, but I don’t care or want to know.”

    I even got push back once, but I told them that attitude would make it unlikely I came back. So was it my health, or their numbers they were concerned with?

    I’ve had some great trainers who are just fine with HAES.

  113. Another voice for the “how my parents affected my relationship with food” bit…I am extremely lucky (and being reminded of it more and more with every post about what people’s parents have done). My mom has never once said anything unkind about her body, my body, anyone’s body. She never dieted, and she made a wide variety of food available to everyone in our house, male or female. My dad would very occasionally “compliment” me on a body part (like telling me I was filling out my dresses better now that I had some boobs, which sounds awfully creepy in print, but it had more of a clueless-geek-who-doesn’t-know-how-to-compliment-women feel to it), but nothing malicious.

    Despite such an accepting environment, I still developed an eating disorder (which is it’s own complicated story for another day, although part of it does intersect with the thread about the asshattedness of the medical profession about fat. When I lived at home, my nondrinking, nonsmoking, regularly-exercising but slightly plump dad had unexplained heart attacks at a very young age, and his cardiologist’s attitude was “food with salt/sugar/fat/color/taste is the enemy because it causes the EVUL FATZ, and the EVUL FATZ is my medical scapegoat because I can’t find anything else wrong with you.” My parents, understandably freaked out, took this man’s word as law, and my house temporarily became devoid of food sanity. Like I said, story for another day.), so my hat is off to those of you that have overcome the horrifying environments you’ve posted about.

  114. @Sarah B:
    I want to go and have a long talk with your dad.

    What if we could all exchange parents for a week or two for educational purposes?

  115. Oh wow, so I’m not the only one who had Puberty v.2? I always thought it was surpassingly strange to go through puberty (v.1) at age 11, but not get Boobs O’ Doom until age 22. Fortunately, this was not a series and I did not develop any new body parts at age 33 (although I did get married at that age…hmm, makes me look forward to 44…).

  116. @xenu01:

    I have spent many hours in therapy over that man, and I have come to realize that he has his own problems for which he will never seek help. He thinks he knows best and when I attempt to debate with him or educate him with research he brushes me off. If Rush Limbaugh or the talking heads at Fox News didn’t say it, he doesn’t believe it. So please feel free to set him straight, but just remember I warned you. =)

    I think it would be easier for parents to hear these things from other people than from their own kids. The parent swap sounds like a great idea!

  117. I love you all. You are more inspiring than you know.

    My mom’s family is full of athletes, and all of my siblings took after that side. I however, was always called my Dad’s girl – and the women in his family are wider and rounder. I remember a few distinct comments from my Dad about watching my weight and developing healthy habits because I was the one who needed to battle genetics more than my siblings.

    I remember my weight being used as a target by my brother, who rallied my cousins into taunting me. Sadly, looking back now I think I look great in old photos – sure, a little rounder than the athletes surrounding me, but not the freak I felt like at the time.

    I will never forget one cousin coming up and hugging me and laying on me (when I was teary at the taunting) and whispering “I like you this way. You’re just soft and fluffy, like a pillow.” That still makes me smile.

    In recent years I’ve been with someone who – for the first time ever – makes me feel downright sexy. He loves my body and takes every chance to tell me. He’s slim and muscular (and prone to occasional dieting) but always makes me feel hot. This has done wonders (WONDERS!) for my body image – not because it’s important what other people think, but because I’ve actually started to realize how subjective real attraction is, that the standards of beauty plastered all over the media are not necessarily what everyone truly finds attractive.

    It seems so simple. Baby steps.

  118. The real point that came to me while reading the hateful spew in most of the comments is WHY DO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO HATE TEH FATS CARE SO MUCH IF WE DIE???

    Yup, that’s a “no compute” for me, too. So let’s see: 1) fat is disgusting, and 2) fat people are all gonna die young. So that’s bad news for you, Hater, how exactly? If you’re right, then it’s a time-limited problem and all you have to do is wait around for my ass to blow up, which should occur at any…

    **boom**

  119. Oh, and sign on to the Jane-love, too. That is great stuff.

    As for Kirstie, let’s not forget she is also a Scientologist. Has been for decades. A HUGE tenet of Scientology is that if your mind is working perfectly, you should have total control of everything that happens to your body. So not only does she get to flunk Hollywood, she gets to flunk Scientology too. It’s easy to see how she would have an even harder time letting go of clobbering herself for being fat than most people.

  120. Yes, meowser, of course! I would’ve brought up the Scientology angle sooner if my mind weren’t so busy playing scenes from the movie “Madhouse” when her name comes up!

    As for the article itself, I couldn’t get past the intro (is that the blurb?) in the physical magazine. And the photo captions? Man, fuggetaboutit. Trying to conserve SW points here.

  121. Thanks for the support on the mom issues, guys.
    Sarah B–Yup, dad never hesitated to join in on the fat-bashing, even though I got his genetics and fat-tendency. After I gained the “freshman 15″ in college, he told me I looked like a “fattening hog”. And he continues to tell me that “all you need to do is eat less,” to which I annoyingly respond, “Now why didn’t I think of that!” The night before Mother’s Day I was up til 2 a.m. stressing about my impending visit home (to their preference of the all-you-can-eat-buffet, as usual), which went remarkably well after I barked back at my dad that I WOULDN’T hush and I DID know what I was talking about, and he backed down!
    As Estrella wisely said, babysteps…

  122. Emgee:

    Yeah, I usually get extremely stressed when there’s a pending visit to the parents. I have had many restaurant confrontations with dad, but he apparently has no long-term memory when it comes to that subject so I think our key is to avoid the topic. He has learned that if he keeps it up he will lose me and he’s adjusted his behavior accordingly. Good on you for standing up to your father.

  123. Wellroundedtype2 — I’ve gotten as far as taking my book to read in the car during lunch and telling my neighbor to eat cake if he wants cake and eat fruit if he wants fruit. LOL

  124. All this talk of dieting mom’s has me thinking of mine. She’s been dieting since I was a kid and of course always encouraged me to when I was younger, but is too passive to push the issue. She’s also been Kirstie Alley’d — done Jenny Craig and lost a bunch of weight, only to gain it all back (I now thank Kirstie Alley daily for showing the world that Jenny Craig doesn’t work).

    I’ve pretty much decided that I’m going to buy her the book when I have the dough and tell her to just read through the curse words (she’s a churchy type) and absorb the message, because at 54 years old, it’s time she stopped hating herself.

  125. A Sarah —
    buttered motherfucking noodles is the best thing I’ve heard in a long time.

    That story though, not a happy memory, and a reminder to me to keep my shame to myself. Just the way you talked about what happened shows how you had no idea there was a rule there you were violating. I feel for the kid you.

    This morning the superheroprincess and I had a showdown over changing her underwear (we compromised by washing and drying the loved pair she was wearing) — I was not going to let her go out of the house in the same pair of underpants as she wore the day before (if her dad had been the one to dress her it might have gone down differently) — but it’s hard to make sure she understands it’s not her desire to wear the same underwear that is the problem. I work hard to make sure that when I feel that welling up of “oh no, you are not going to embarrass me that way” — I try to check myself to make sure it’s not my ego that’s the problem, and figure out a way to convey the rules in a way that doesn’t crush self. Sometimes I can detach and let go, but sometimes I lay down the law. Parenting — Harder than it looks.

  126. Off–topic mini-rant. WHAT THE FUCK, PBS?! First Fetch with Ruff Ruffman teaches kids to shave calories off their pizza to be “healthy”. Then there’s a song about not eating sweets on Word World. And then TODAY on Curious George there was outright fat = unhealthy = bad crap. It went more or less just like this:

    ****

    (Curious George, the man in the yellow hat, and the doctor are all in the doctor’s office and Curious George steps on the scale.)

    Doctor: You’re going to have to lay off the desserts! It looks like you’ve gained some weight.

    MITYH: What? How can that be? I’ve weighed the same thing for years! I run marathons! I can’t have gained weight!

    Doctor: Well, the scale doesn’t lie.

    (They both look down and see that Curious George is standing on the scale. Everyone laughs.)

    ****

    BECAUSE FAT PEOPLE DON’T EVER RUN MARATHONS! I’m about to send some really majorly pissy invective to some children’s television writers. My language will not be G rated.

  127. wellroundedtype2, have I told you lately how much I love you? :) (We were writing at the same time, I think.) Thank you for your compassion; whew, that memory surprised me with the cloud of shame it sent me into. And I love how you differentiate between what the kid wants to do that may not be workable/possible/necessary/prudent… and the *desire* to do whatever-it-is. Just as you say, the *desire* isn’t bad or out-of-control or silly or embarrassing or shameful.

    I wish our kids could play together! Hey, anyone want to start a fat-positive pay-what-you-can private school? (I think it would have to either be a virtual school, or we’d all need to move to the same city. I’m up for either.) :)

  128. Oh, A Sarah, I can’t believe their messing with Curious George! And TMITYH! Them’s fighting words.

  129. When I was in middle school, my mom put me on an “eating plan”. She said “Diets don’t work, so you’re going to start an eating plan!” This eating plan involved counting calories, burning more calories than I was intaking, and smaller portions. If it walks like a duck…

    From reading the above comments, it’s become extremely apparent to me that self-loathing is a learned behavior. I’m positive that if my mom didn’t constantly harp on me about my size, and I wasn’t being bullied at school about my fat, my self esteem would be so much better that it is now.

  130. Awwww, A Sarah, the feeling is vastly mutual. I so wish we could have playdates. All but one of the moms on the block here are slender and while I like them, not ones I can really talk about this stuff with from the perspective we seem to share.

  131. Let me continue by giving virtual *bearhugs*—also, you can hug my e-fluffy goggie and kitteh—to all whose parent(s) gave (and/or are still giving them) them all types of fat-shaming hell.

    A Sarah: it’s like all hell broke loose since Cookie Monster’s livelihood was considered contraband. The irony*…it burns! *all this craziness you just described funded in part by Chuck and Ronald.

  132. Yeah, so here’s what I just sent to Curious George:


    I was unspeakably disappointed and angry today to see the “Curious George” program thoughtlessly promoting stereotypes and misconceptions that, among other thing, lead to eating disorders for some and disordered body image for a great many more.

    The episode in question was “Doctor Monkey.” In one scene, George, the Man in the Yellow Hat, and the doctor are in the doctor’s office, and the Man in the Yellow Hat steps on a scale.

    “Looks like you need to lay off the sweets,” says the doctor. “You’ve gained some weight.”

    “What?” asks the Man in the Yellow Hat, obviously distressed. “But I CAN’T have gained weight! I’ve weighed the same for years! I run marathons!”

    At which point everyone realizes George is standing on the scale, and they share a laugh.

    ****

    I just don’t even know where to begin; I have little hope that anyone who could write such dialog will ever understand how damaging it can be, but I’ll try.

    Well, first of all, fat people run marathons. Some fat people are healthy, and some fat people aren’t — just like THIN people. Despite what you’ve all been told and apparently accepted completely uncritically, body size is NOT a reliable indicator of health or behavior.

    Second of all, gaining weight as you age is normal, typical, and – in point of fact – HEALTHY, as it seems to have a protective effect in old age.

    Third, the Man in the Yellow Hat’s obvious distress at having gained weight is… I’m sorry, I’m too angry to finish that sentence in a calm manner. I mean, really? THIS is what you want to teach KIDS? The same message that they get abso-frigging-everywhere else — that fat is bad, that the goal of every adult should be to stay thin, and that bodies are supposed to be carefully and anxiously controlled? THEY GET THAT EVERYWHERE! It is a DAMAGING CULTURAL MESSAGE! You really need to help it along, PBS??! I’m under no illusions that most kids will be able to escape this body-as-locus-for-anxious-control cultural meme, but I should think that so-called “educational” television would try not to help it along. Have you read *any* studies about how disordered eating begins? On how bullying happens in elementary schools? Do you even care? Isn’t it reasonable to expect that you would? That you might, oh, I don’t know, have consultants that could keep you from screwing up so badly?

    Of course, maybe I should know to expect this from PBS by now. A recent episode of “Fetch!” had kids reducing calories in a pizza. A recent episode of “Word World” had a song about not eating sweets. I was annoyed, but willing to give PBS a pass because at least it was restricting its sanctimonious commentary to food. But now we’re talking about “gaining weight”? On a CHILDREN’S SHOW?!

    Gee, what’s next? Oscar the Grouch goes on a diet and starts obsessively working out? Abby Cadaby says she dislikes her body and wants to be thinner LIKE FORTY PERCENT OF THIRD-GRADE GIRLS ALREADY DO?

    I am just absolutely fed up and disgusted. “Thin” has become the new way for upper-middle-class white people — which just *happens* to be the stereotypical PBS demographic — to be acceptably classist, racist, and sexist while camouflaging their attitudes as concern for “health.” “Fat” is a cultural symbol of downward mobility, uncouth behavior, lack of education, unattractiveness, and lack of self-control. And you’ve apparently decided that you can’t be bothered to critique that construct and resist the oppression contained therein. You know, back in the old days PBS was really innovative in questioning societal prejudices. I’d love to welcome the old PBS into our home again, but since you’ve decided to join the rest of the cultural noise in its pathological policing of children’s – CHILDREN’S! – bodies, I think I’ll do what I should have done a long time ago. Hit the off button and donate to someone else’s dang pledge drive.

    And I swear, if you write back apologizing “if I was offended,” I’m going to blog about this and email everyone I know. [Oops! Guess I already did. Ha ha. -- A Sarah.] I am offended. I also have a point I’m making. Agree with it, disagree with it, but don’t pretend like it’s my feeeelings whoa-whoa-whoa feeeelings that are the problem. My feeeelings are just fine, thanks. The problem is *either* that you all screwed up and need to get some competent eating disorder counselors on your staff right away; *or* that I’ve got my facts wrong. Well I’ve checked my facts. How about you?

  133. Hey, that was longer than I thought when I pasted it here. Sorry, y’all. Also sorry for italics fail.

  134. A Sarah:

    Nice letter. I hope it does more than receive a form letter in return. Thank you for that.

  135. @Mary Sue – I live on this site while I’m at work and compulsively hit refresh all day, hoping for new comments! So you’re not the only one. I also compulsively hit the Send/Receive on my email. I’m just crazy like that!

    Big hugs to everyone who has parent related issues – and to anyone else who wants them!

    Reading some of your stories is heartbreaking – I feel so lucky to have had the wonderful parents I did. My mum is fat and my dad is thin, and weight/body size was never a topic in my house. It just wasn’t an issue and was never discussed. I never saw my mum go on a diet, she would go walking in the morning sometimes because she liked it, and we always ate healthily, but it was never about weight. I think its thanks to them that I have been able to come to FA as early as I have.

    For me the dieting/self-loathing was/is boyfriend (now husband) related, but my upbringing meant that I have never really thought that there was anything “bad” about my weight. That, plus a lucky fall into Shapely Prose (thanks WordPress random blog button!!) has meant that my path to FA has been almost paved with gold. Coming here and being part of this fantastic community gave me the courage to stand up and tell my husband that I will not be dieting from now on, and if I get fatter then I get fatter, and if he has a problem with that he is free to leave. (That? Was/is scary. But I realise now that its nothing compared to what some people have to deal with.)

    OK I seem to have failed miserably to connect this with the post, but oh well!

    Also, A Sarah, your letter rocks. I bet you still get an “if you were offended” default reply though LOL. Now I need you to write one to Cadbury for me to complain about how they reduced the size of their chocolate blocks from 250g to 200g, disguised as a change of packaging (and no price change), because this size is somehow “more convenient for sharing”. Whatever!

  136. ASarah…your letter rocked. Not that I expect the writers at PBS to feel one iota of remorse for what you poignantly called them out on, but the letter was a win! I especially loved the part about the apology for your “feelings”—that is just….so fucking true. If they really gave a shit about feelings they wouldn’t have made a joke about a whole fucking lot of living, breathing people!

    I had a similar cringeworthy experience at my daughter’s 3rd/4th grade spring concert. The theme was spring (duh) and baseball and included a montage of songs about those subjects. 3/4 of the way through, the song being sung is about NOT BEING A COUCH POTATO~! “Get off the couch, come out and play, you don’t want to stay inside all day….yada yada yada. There were these speaking parts….lines the kids had to say during the song. One kid would ask another kid to join them for a game of baseball, the other kid would respond with some excuse about wanting to get to another level on a video game, or complain about being tired. AAARRGGHHH! I rolled my eyes at my hubby and he gave me that all knowing look that says “I know, I know”. It just…sucks that kids are bombarded all damn day about staying active….ASSuming that they aren’t. Fearmongering just blows.

    On a side note…this concert had maybe 130 kids in it. There were enough speaking and solo singing parts for two thirds of the kids. My daughter had been trying and hoping for months to get a “solo” part, either speaking or singing. She told me weeks ago she didn’t get anything, so my hubby and I squashed some sour grapes during the concert as we watched many of the same kids step up to the microphone time and time and time again to say their little line. Same. Kids. Clearly enough parts for other kids to have just one line. Sour grapes, I know, but still….with that many parts, why not spread it around and give other kids a split second to feel special? I’m just saying…

  137. My mother was extremely good and made a pointed effort never to make negative comments on her kids’ bodies, and mostly avoided even self-loathing talk in front of us. Her mother is naturally tiny and also very fat-phobic and body-shaming, and on top of that she goes through phases of starving herself, not so much intentionally to lose weight but because she gets so she can’t deal with eating. So Mum swore she was never going to put us through what she experienced growing up.

    I was lucky not to have my self-esteem wrecked, but now whenever I visit she’s complaining about how disgusting and fat she is. I think it’s partly that she thinks her kids are grown up now so she doesn’t have to watch her mouth any more, we’re not going to be psychologically damaged (she also swears a lot more than when we were younger). And partly that now Granny is living with her, she is back to being bombarded with all the body criticism she dealt with as a teenager. And it’s true that I’m grown up enough not to be personally affected, but I do worry about my mother.

  138. Wow, A Sarah. Wow wow wow. That was fantastic.

    Okay, so here’s the sports book odds on words to be found in the future reply from Pearls Before Swine to A Sarah:

    Obesity: even money or 1-1
    Epidemic: 2-1
    Obesity AND epidemic together: 5-2
    Crisis: 3-1
    Concern: 4-1
    Awareness: 5-3
    Healthy: 5-4
    Any verb conjugation of “prevent”: 7-5
    Diabetes: 1-2

  139. A Sarah, that last paragraph was phenomenal — I suspect I will use it forever. I’m sure you’ve exceeded a lifetime quota of ass-kicking insightfulness at this point; I’m so glad I get to read what you have to say.

    Kaz and Lori, you are also bringing the awesome.

    Other than that, I got nothing. I think finals smooshled my brain.

  140. Aw, you guys. Thanks. I wanted to add, though, that I do realize people who aren’t white and middle class watch PBS. What I meant was just that it’s sort of funny PBS has such little apparent interest in countering the stereotype. Inasmuch as they’re so predictably enamored of the peculiar fetishization of “healthy lifestyles” that is such a race- and class-coded preoccupation at the moment.

    But I was too pissy, and my fingers were flying. Bad fingers. :)

  141. I’d like to suggest that when we put together a Shapely Prose Cookbook, we definitely need a recipe for Buttered Motherfucking Noodles alongside the one for Baby Flavored Donuts.

  142. A Sarah, that letter kicks ass. Not at all too pissy – just exactly the right level of pissy. And I strongly suspect that you are waaaaay smarter than whoever is going to read it at PBS. Also, that the people you’re writing to might want non-white-affluent viewers, but have not thought at all critically about what that actually means.

    Big hugs to everyone who has parent related issues – and to anyone else who wants them!

    LOL I totally misread this, and then I sat here for a little while trying to figure out why anyone would WANT parent related issues.

    You guys are making me want buttered noodles. For breakfast.

  143. I’ve been thinking more about Kirstie Alley, and I think part of what’s going on is that her self-loathing is still a diet ad, in its own way. I can’t think of any other product that could fail to work over 95% of the time, but still have people clamoring to buy it and believing that all of those failures are just due to user error. At a certain point, people will wise up. So, we need a constant chorus in the media not just of how fat is bad, but of how dieting failures are due to lack of willpower.

    Really, though, the more I think about it, the more insane it seems. I honestly cannot think of any other human endeavor that over 95% of people who attempt it fail at. Can you imagine if we had literacy programs in schools that ended up with over 95% of students coming out illiterate, and then claiming that the problem was that those students just didn’t try hard enough? If there was a birth control method that failed over 95% of the time, and we said the problem wasn’t the method, but that people were just too stupid and lazy to use it correctly? If there were a language that 95% of people who tried to learn it failed miserably at, and we were told that the language itself was totally logical and easy to learn, but people were just too stupid to pick it up? It’s just crazy that we see weight loss failure as a willpower issue, and we buy that women who have succeeded at pretty much everything they’ve ever attempted in their life, including some really freaking hard things, fail at weight loss because they are just too lazy and stupid to remember it’s as simple as calories in, calories out.

    So Kirstie Alley and Oprah and whatever other celebrity who gained weight has to get up there and talk about what a lazy, gluttonous slob she is, so that women everywhere will remember that their diet didn’t fail because there’s something wrong with diets, but because there’s something wrong with them. Because if obviously successful, driven, and ambitious women didn’t have enough willpower, then obviously the problem with the average woman is that she doesn’t have enough, either.

  144. A Sarah, that was a great, great letter. I’ve been pissed at PBS for a while, because of all of their annoying “get your fat kids off the damn couch!” PSAs, but I cannot believe they have anti-fat messages in Curious George now.

    It really saddens me to think about the kinds of beliefs about food and their bodies kids growing up today will have. We are raising an entire generation of children to believe that disordered eating habits are healthy and good.

  145. Charlotte Said:

    From reading the above comments, it’s become extremely apparent to me that self-loathing is a learned behavior.

    Definitely. Add me to the list of people whose mothers modeled body-shaming and diet mentality for them early on. I’m lucky in a lot of ways; my mom didn’t put me on a diet that I didn’t initiate myself, she never made hurtful comments about my body or my weight (although she didn’t discourage unfat 12-year-old me from trying to lose weight either), and she gave me plenty of compliments and encouragement for things that were unrelated to appearance so my entire self-worth wasn’t caught up in that. But she also hated on her own body and dieted constantly, and since I mostly inherited my body shape from her, as I got older I translated her self-loathing into my own self-loathing. Sadly, she’s only gotten worse about the body-/fat-hatred as she’s gotten older, and the few tentative attempts I’ve made to introduce FA to her have been met with a surprising amount of vitriol. She’s still never come out and directly criticized my weight, but she’s said things that make it clear she’s “concerned” about my health and just isn’t sure how to approach me about it. I plan on loaning her my copy of the HAES book when I finish with it and telling her, “I know you might not agree with all her conclusions, but I think this will help you understand where I’m coming from and why I’ve decided to quit dieting and embrace my body.” I’m hoping that’s nonconfrontational enough to get her to shut off her diet-defensiveness for a little while and actually look at the evidence instead of dismissing it as she’s done previously.

  146. “Being “unfuckable” isn’t about being repulsive or not wanting to fuck someone – it’s about that person not being socially acceptable to fuck – yet another form of ‘not available’. Sex is about power and control, and if someone is therefore beyond “acceptible fucking range” you have no power over them. Therefore, the best course of action is to push them into fuckable range, either through dieting, or makeovers, or anything else which makes people more socially acceptable. I’m sure plenty of people can come up with ways in which women of colour are made more ‘fuckable’ for those in power.”

    Brilliant Kaz. Brilliant.

  147. I have no doubt self-loathing is learned, but unfortunately I think we live in a society where you can have the most supportive and accepting parents in the world and still learn self-loathing. Sometimes I feel like the entire basis of our economy is self-loathing, because the pitch for so many products doesn’t seem to be “Buy this and your wonderful life will improve” but “You are an unattractive loser without our product.” If people didn’t walk around hating themselves, I’m pretty sure numerous very lucrative industries (including, obviously, the diet industry), would tank.

    If people didn’t hate themselves, too, then we’d be demanding higher wages and better working conditions and decent housing and universal health care and all sorts of things that people in power don’t feel like granting. So maybe self-loathing is a key factor in maintaining all of the hierarchies in our society that keep most people from demanding they be treated with basic human respect.

    At this point our schools are pretty much teaching self-loathing, with their obsessive emphasis on test scores and now the body size of students. So while I have no doubt that parents who add to the problem just makes it that much harder, I don’t think anybody in our society–no matter what their size–doesn’t learn to hate themselves.

  148. Not only is self loathing learned, but I think that it’s rewarded, particularly in girls.

    I got the message as a child that I shouldn’t brag! Shouldn’t think too highly of myself! I’m not that great so I’d better not think I am! When I started using self-deprecating humor which bordered on being mean to myself I received enough social reward to want to continue using it.

    Only when I was about 20 and found Natalie Shainess’ book “Sweet Suffering: Woman as Victim” did I come to see how pointless it was to cut myself down. Any rewards I got for it were imaginary and valueless.

    But there’s still so much cultural reward for not thinking “too” well of yourself, for joining in and piping up among the community of self loathers.

  149. O.C.: But there’s still so much cultural reward for not thinking “too” well of yourself, for joining in and piping up among the community of self loathers.

    Hell, yes. What’s the go-to conversation among many women at a social function or whatever? Their current diets and how “bad” they’ve been, how “bad” the food might be at the social event, how much penance they’ll have to do for having a sliver of cheesecake or anything that doesn’t quite fit into “the eating plan”, how “awful” they look in whatever outfit they might be wearing and how someone else looks SO much better…it frosts my ass beyond belief. I was out to dinner with my sister a couple of weeks ago and she was asking me what the “right” choice would be to make foodwise and I shot her the Eye and said, “You’re a grownup. EAT WHAT YOU WANT TO EAT.”

  150. Ugh. Yes on the self loathing. It’s frighteningly prevalent in female-dominated sectors. Sad as it sounds, at least with men around it seems to get dialed-down slightly to save boring the poor menfolk.

    It’s ruining an otherwise dream job for me. I just started working as a nursery nurse, and on my first day, the other women invited me to their Weight Watchers meeting. They all go, together.

    When did it become normal social interaction to invite the newcomer in a group of women to be publicly humiliated about her weight with them? I was pretty much stunned. Trust me, I said no, and told them that I liked my current mental state better.

    Makes me tempted to buy a crate of donuts and two dozen copies of The Book [and a few others from the genre worthy of said capitalization] and leave them conveniently in the staffroom.

    Worst for me is that these ten or so women are responsible for looking after young, impressionable children, and all I have actually heard them talk about off duty is dieting.

  151. RE: “no fat grandmas” – this was a favorite poem of mine when I was little, and I still love it.

    The Cupboard
    by Walter de la Mare

    I know a little cupboard,
    With a teeny tiny key,
    And there’s a jar of Lollypops
    For me, me, me.

    It has a little shelf, my dear,
    As dark, as dark can be,
    And there’s a dish of Banbury Cakes
    For me, me, me.

    I have a small fat grandmamma,
    With a very slippery knee,
    And she’s Keeper of the Cupboard,
    With the key, key, key.

    And when I’m very good, my dear,
    As good as good can be,
    There’s Banbury Cakes, and Lollypops
    For me, me, me.

    The small fat grandmamma is the keeper of the treats. What’s not to love?

  152. @ A Sarah: “majorly pissy invective”

    I am totally stealing this.

    I got it from my mother, her mother and my stepfather mostly, but also from my brother, cousins, peers at school, the media, pretty much everyone, I was constantly harassed about my weight and my eating. I love food, but I have never been a big eater, though no one ever seemed to notice that, so it was always about eating less, always less, always restricting. But then my stepfather would frequently say things like, “Eat slower; you’ll eat more.” Which made no fucking sense at all since they always wanted me to eat LESS. I eventually realized that the things coming out of their mouths were not reasoned or considered–they just parroted all the shit they absorbed from the culture. They still do.

    One of the best things I ever did was move 3,000 miles away from them.

  153. Help, guys, HELP! The Biggest Loser finale last night! THREE people have come to talk to me about it. HEEEELP! Save me from the illogic of “The guy who won looked sick, but I wish I could do that kind of workout and diet for six months!”

  154. Wha….

    Did you want some scrambled eggs? My brains, you see, they’re not resembling brains any more.

    Might make a GREAT setting for a research project around the total cognitive dissonance even educated people seem to suffer when it comes to the body ideal though.

  155. It would be fun to study, but I’m in supply management, not GOD YOU PEOPLE ARE STUPID DON’T THEY TEACH YOU ANYTHING ABOUT STATISTICS… I mean, uh, research and academic publishing.

  156. Kaz: “Can’t argue with science!”

    What’s really getting to me lately is that friends who would NEVER argue against science in any other context will argue against it when I talk about the failures of weight loss or HAES! Suddenly anectdote and their own personal experience lets them feel justified in rejecting, oh, ALL of medical research!

    “But I’ve lost weight, so of course it’s possible!” Yes, you lost five pounds from a 110 pound frame. And gained it back. And are dieting again. But that DEFINITELY contradicts all of the published studies. Thanks for straightening me out. GAH!

    Is it that they are so committed to the weight loss/self improvement cultural narrative that they can’t even consider the science? Can they not believe science about this topic because it’s being presented to them by me, a fat woman? Where does the chain of logic break down?

  157. If I knew where it all broke down, it would make my life that much easier.

    Then again, weight loss and dieting isn’t the only place you see this disconnect – every parent EVER knows better than science in one way or another. So do most of the bodybuilders I’ve run into that take steroids. So do the people who decry evolution, or the die-hard vegans that say humans can’t digest meat, and quite a few other groups. Most of them, I just stay very very quiet around, because I can’t take the anecdata.

  158. Where does the chain of logic break down?

    I think it breaks down at the point where it’s not as simple as calories in/calories out. And, I also think it’s difficult for people to understand that the issue isn’t weight loss, period, but significant sustained weight loss (or significant sustained weight gain). Yes, it’s not that hard to lose 10 pounds, or to gain 10 pounds. I do indeed gain weight if I’m eating a lot and not exercising, and I lose weight if I’m eating less and exercising a lot. But, we’re not talking about tons of weight, or a permanent change, just fluctuations around my set point. I think a lot of people assume, though, that because it’s relatively easy to lose 5 or 10 pounds, it must be relatively easy to lose 100 pounds, and that because they were able to keep 10 pounds off for six months, they should be able to keep 10 pounds off forever.

  159. Oh and:

    ^Lori: “It’s just crazy that we see weight loss failure as a willpower issue, and we buy that women who have succeeded at pretty much everything they’ve ever attempted in their life, including some really freaking hard things, fail at weight loss because they are just too lazy and stupid to remember it’s as simple as calories in, calories out.”

    This. That whole comment, in fact.

  160. There’s a saying: nobody is a fanatic about the things they are certain of. I think some people are resistant to the HAES message because, perversely, it makes sense. But if you accept HAES, then you have to confront all of the time you wasted doing exercises that you hated and eating meals that didn’t taste good (or not eating at all). It can be a hurdle for some people.

  161. The time thing makes sense, actually. The money thing too – it’s actually why a lot of people have a hard time leaving cults, even when they’ve seen what’s really going on – “I’ve put all this time and effort and money into this ideal thing that was supposed to work perfectly, I’m gonna make it WORK damnit!”

    Or at least, that was what I saw during my brief stint of anti-Scientology activism.

  162. Kaz: That link may have just changed my life. Thank you.

    I officially stopped dieting some weeks ago and have been eating junk food almost uncontrollably since, wondering what was wrong with me and why, if I knew what healthy eating was and I was finally becoming emotionally healthy, I couldn’t seem to stop eating Cheetos and ice cream. It’s not all I eat, but I’ve consumed more of it than I liked. I’ve been cutting back on it, buying it but having it less and less each day and now I understand and I can start normalizing my daily diet.

    This site has freaking changed my life. Seriously.

  163. Sarah B, I’m glad I could help. It changed mine too.

    Changing the way we think about something, especially something as deeply ingrained and cultish as the diet culture, isn’t easy. It’s all little steps. One of the things that helps is to challenge yourself. When you’re reaching for something sugary or fatty that your body is craving, and you might be thinking say “Can I get away with eating this?” challenge yourself. What is there to get away with? Is it a crime? Is it wrong to want something? Universally, the answer is no. Nourishing yourself is not a crime.

    If you challenge those negative thoughts in a positive way every time, slowly but surely you’ll see your mind start to change. Often, it sneaks up on you without you looking. For the first time in my life, my partner wore an orange top the other week. That’s three months of challenging the ‘can I get away with wearing green/orange/yellow/not black’ mentality. My part in that was changing my mind so as not to marginalize her choices and nudge her toward black – getting away from the ‘black is slimming/what fat people wear’ mindset.

    You can do it. *hugs*

  164. I would be willing to go so far as to say that people remain staunch in their beliefs about overeating = obesity for the same reason why most of us drive gas powered and hybrid cars. Because the oil companies would go under if electric cars were available. Dieting and fitness is a major industry. The sad thing is that gyms would not go under if there wasn’t a culture of self-loathing, there will always be people who like staying muscley and whatnot, there will always be people (myself included) who like to go to the gym and work up a sweat, but capitalism thrives on more, more, more and without new generations of self-loathing people coming through the doors and increasing their profits, the system appears to be failing.

    The Exercise industry, like all industries, simply can’t exist unchanging. And so we are encouraged to work out and lose that flab…

  165. I find it fantastically interesting that my own personal embracement of HAES came about at the same time I embraced a personal spending plan (a.k.a. budget) that has similar principles of HAES. In the past, if I saw something I wanted, I bought it, and I’d go on buying binges where I’d be scraping for rent money. Now, I have a seperate savings account for travel, clothes, and silly things. Now when I want to go on a trip, or buy shoes, or buy something absolutely ridiculous, I ask myself, “Do I have the money for this shiny bauble? Yes? Well then, do I really want this shiny bauble?”

    Much like me asking myself, “Do I really want a whole chocolate cake?” often times I don’t really want the shiny bauble. And when I do really want it, well, to paraphrase Faith from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Want, Pay, HAVE!

  166. De-lurking late in the thread to pimp a link many of you have likely already seen, JunkFoodScience just posted an article about a study that (shockingly!) found that the constant diet-talk and admonition to repress one’s appetites threatens the lives (to say nothing of the mental health) of children as young as five.

    http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2009/05/innocence-lost-health-messages-are-not.html

    Shorter version: Here’s some scary and infuriating stats to back up everyone’s anecdotes about being mindfucked as children about food.

  167. I think this comment thread is dying down, but still…

    I think I came up with another reason that people just don’t want to accept the breadth of scientific evidence on size, health, diet and exercise.

    I was thinking about the years I spent in a graduate program studying textiles and clothing. I had to explain what I was doing over and over to people, because they couldn’t imagine that there was a need to have an academic study of something that they were so familiar with. Everyone wears clothes! So everyone thinks they know all about clothes! Why would you need to study them? Because the topic was so intimately entwined in people’s everyday lives they couldn’t understand that they did NOT know everything there was to know about all of the different aspects of clothing manufacture, history, sociology, psychology…

    I think our bodies are a similar topic. Everyone lives in a body. Everyone has gained or lost a couple of pounds in their lives. We’ve all experienced the world while living in a body, every moment. So we think we KNOW bodies. We know how they behave and what they do. So the idea that maybe there’s something that I, as an individual, might not know about how bodies act and react is a huge cognitive leap.

  168. My mom had me on every known wacky and toxic diet on the planet in elementary school. I wasn’t even a fattie then.

    I was a skinny kid until I hit about 13 and the hormones kicked in. I started eating a lot more than I had before. (I’d hardly eaten anything before. I’d lived on carrots, hot dogs, and all the sweets and junk food I could sneak and never gained an ounce).

    My father told me I needed to watch my weight, because his sister was “obese”. He picked at me constantly under the guise of “worry”. My mother told me I’d be gorgeous if I lost 10 pounds. My grandmother encouraged me to eat half a sandwich instead of a whole one. She suggested I load up on more vegetables and fruit (which was about the only really valid suggestion for my health).

    I weighed 112 pounds then. At age 13. (I’m 5′ tall).

    I’m 42 now and weigh about 180.

    I’m working on accepting myself as I am. I don’t hate myself and the HAES concept makes sense to me. My weight’s stable. It’s never changed when I TRIED to change it; I’ve had low weights and high ones and my body damned well did it all by itself (usually rebounding after a period when I didn’t have money for food or lost a lot of weight during a crisis).

    Still, I wonder sometimes. If they’d left me alone would my weight have stabilized lower? If they’d left me alone would I have eaten breakfast and lunch in middle and high school instead of not bothering because I was “chubby”?

    It doesn’t matter, not for myself, anyway. I just wonder sometimes. I know I’ll never do that stuff to my son even if he starts to get “chubby”.

  169. @Cara

    YES! The what if’s, all the what if’s that constantly run through my head.

    What if my mom hadn’t made me go to weight watchers at the age of 7?

    What if my mom and sister wouldn’t constantly be watching what I took at the table and instilled in me a massively deep shame any time I eat or drink anything?

    What if I was allowed and taught to listen to my bodies cues instead of having it instilled that I can’t trust anything but a restrictive food plan?

    What if food wasn’t kept from me, what if I didn’t learn that I had to hide and store food because I might not get enough at a meal?

    What if I was encouraged in activities that I actually enjoyed and learned to enjoy movement and exercise instead of being yelled at, insulted, ridiculed and in general ended up hating to be active in front of people for fear of what would happen?

    What if I was told that I was pretty, good, successful, smart, and generally an ok person just the way I was instead of the always overshadowing “You would be so (insert nice comment here) if you would just lose weight?

    What I would give to go back and redo it all and see WHAT IF? I wish I could, but now I gotta just try to undo the damage and continue on lol.

  170. I know I’m a little late with this, but I wanted to link to a blog entry about Kirstie Alley that was written by a novelist I admire: http://docbrite.livejournal.com/681405.html

    She’s made fat-positive comments before, but never a whole entry along these lines. It’s so refreshing to hear a disinterested party (whose work I respect) say these things as if they were just common sense (which, of course, they are). Anyway, I’ve been feeling a little low the past few days, and re-reading this entry has helped me feel better, so I figured I share it.

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