Guest Blogger Tasha Fierce: Jillian Michaels Be Illin’!

Tasha Fierce is THE shit! Her work been featured on Racialicious and Jezebel. She’s the creative director and the real boss of IFMiB, which is to say she handles all the administrative duties while I dish Milos Forman!

Shapelings, show your love for Miss Fierce.

So screeching, overly pushy Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels refuses to “ruin her body with pregnancy“, in other words, fatten up. Think of the stretch marks! The post-baby pooch! Apparently Ms. Michaels was fat as a teen and just can’t handle having a baby mess up her weigh ins again. I don’t want to judge her choice to not bear children, it’s her body – but I don’t appreciate the implicit fatphobia implied in saying pregnancy would ruin her body.

This celebrity aversion to gaining weight during pregnancy is nothing new, of course. It’s unfortunate that it’s the case, however, because it just ends up fat shaming women, who don’t have access to trainers or 5 hours of time to spend every day working out, and tend to gain much more weight while pregnant. And again, it just goes back to the general fatphobia constantly pervading our collective consciousness, to the point that the natural and needed weight gain associated with pregnancy is something to be reviled and avoided at all costs.

The whole celebrity “lose the baby weight in 10 days” drama plays out on the pages of tabloids every day. Because female celebrities are unfortunately seen as role models for everyday women, losing the weight fast after pregnancy is seen as a primary goal to be reached, even to the detriment of a woman’s self-image and esteem – or even health. Women are made to feel bad if they gain too much weight during pregnancy or take too long to lose it.

You see the effects in makeover shows featuring women trying desperately to lose the baby weight and devaluing their own bodies for the changes it went through during pregnancy. If we can’t be fat at the one time in our lives that weight gain is supposed to be healthy, that obviously doesn’t bode well for those of us that are just plain fat. So please, Ms. Michaels, adopt as many kids as you want and never bear a child, but refrain from saying that a fat body is “ruined”. Of course, when your whole job consists of fat shaming, this may be too much to ask.

151 thoughts on “Guest Blogger Tasha Fierce: Jillian Michaels Be Illin’!

  1. surely there’s something deeper going on with Jillian other than the usual “OMGFAT” hysteria. She seems abnormally afraid of gaining weight, and pro-overexercising (re:the biggest loser. 5 hours a day of working out is overexercising. 5 hours a day of movement, not the same thing.) I haven’t heard her perspective on food but it just seems that the poor girl is locked in a prison not unlike bulimia and anorexia nervosa. I don’t like that she perpetuates fat phobia and now even pregnant women can’t get off the hook.

    It seems that it used to be pregnant women were kind of let off the hook- allowed to eat how their bodies wanted them to eat, using the baby as an excuse. Now, it’s ‘not really. you only get 300 extra calories a day’. The whole thing is just sickening.

  2. I agree about Jillian. That’s fine that she has her issues, but she projects them on to her “trainees” way too much. People have vomited after her workouts and she’s basically like, “suck it up”.

  3. I don’t intend to buy Women’s Weight Loss Health Magazine to see what they actually printed, but I did find this:

    “Michaels tells TVGuide.com: “I never said anything about pregnancy ruining a body … [if you] read the article the words ‘won’t’ and ‘ruin’ are not even in it.” (That’s true: They’re not.)”

    She DID allegedly say:

    “I can’t handle doing that to my body.”

    It wouldn’t surprise me if she did have major issues with fat in conjunction with pregnancy, but she didn’t actually say that. Not as far as I could tell, using my mad Google skillz. The Huffington Post headline is sleazy.

  4. You’re misquoting her. She never said pregnancy would RUIN her body…she said she can’t do that to her body. Jillian has admitted in the past that she suffers from BED and disordered thinking. Can’t we cut her some slack for not wanting to trigger herself? And, frankly, the world would be a better place if more people chose adoption over pregnancy.

  5. I had trouble gauging the reaction to that comment. I got the sense that a lot of it was “Awful woman! Won’t make sacrifices for children! Should remain childless then– that’s what she deserves! Bad!” or kind of a “How dare she call my body ruined?” sort of anger.

    Will this comment cue people into the fact that her whole career is based on promoting fat hatred? Why the outrage to this particular comment and not the ENTIRE Biggest Loser franchise? I suspect because people will only extend anough sympathy to those who are temporarily fat or fat for a “valid” and excusable reason. The rest clearly should be dialing the phone daily trying to get on TBL.

  6. Yeah, I don’t know how I feel about this post being right next to the Yes Means Yes post. We don’t want to give her the benefit of the doubt, even a touch?

    There are all sorts of reasons that pregnancy is terrifying for one’s body. Childbirth is a dangerous medical condition, period. It can also be a beautiful, wonderful thing–but that doesn’t mean that all women are automatically or SHOULD automatically be comfortable with the idea of their bodies changing that drastically. It isn’t just about weight gain and “a few stretch marks” by a long shot, for pete’s sake!

    I find the underlying idea here that women should somehow embrace pregnancy as this deeply natural state more than a little disturbing. I mean, I would like to get pregnant myself, but the idea of a person living INSIDE MY BODY? Scares this living shit out of me. And it has nothing to do with weight gain. Might it for Jillian Michals? Yes. Did she explicitly say that? No.

  7. Eh, I’m not a huge Jillian Michaels fan, and, based on her persona, I wouldn’t be surprised if she was referencing getting fat as one of those things she couldn’t handle doing to her body. But she could also mean the general uckiness that is being pregnant. Like, morning sickness, whatever whatever. Which, y’know, if a woman decides that she doesn’t want to deal with being pregnant, she should be able to decide that. And not be called shallow for it.

    Also, what the eff does her bisexuality have to do with anything?

  8. @Julie, thanks for providing the actual quotes.

    If that’s actually what she said, I think I can understand from a non-fat phobic point of view. I don’t want to have kids because the actual act of being pregnant could complicate medical issues I already have (not in a major, life threatening way, but just in a way that may cause me some discomfort.) I also can’t handle the idea of actually giving birth. I don’t want to do that to my body, even if it’s a perfectly natural thing to do. So I get not wanting to go through the pregnancy thing for those reasons.

    That said, I don’t know that she means it in that way. I get really up tight when people talk about “ruining” their bodies having children–as if fat bodies are just damaged goods? No. That really chaps my ass.

  9. Jillian Michaels being afraid of how her body will change during pregnancy tells me a couple of things.
    A) She depends on her body looking exactly like it does today for her livelihood. If she gets fat, even if it’s due to a pregnancy, she will lose credibility in the “fitness” world and possibly the ability to support herself the way she wants to. She knows she will be scrutinized during the whole pregnancy, as well as the 10 days after delivery to see if she really is the fitness goddess she proclaims to be.

    B) She’s not at peace with her body. She seems to view her body as the enemy and seems to be a long long way from true self-acceptance. She seems terrified of losing the control she has over the fitness ability of her body and allowing it to change the way nature demands that it does during pregnancy will most likely take that control away from her. She doesn’t seem psychologically ready for that.

    C) I suspect it has even more to do with the very real and very genetic chance that she will have a child who will be fat like she was as a teen. Her backstory claims that she was an overweight teen, though I have just heard her state this recently and have not seen pictures. But it doesn’t matter really. So maybe if she is, at the very least, semi-aware of the role genetics plays in weight, then she may be afraid that a child of hers may possibly be naturally overweight themselves, and that would not look good for her. Plus, it may even bring up all kinds of unresolved issues she has regarding those teen years. We all know how cruel the world can be to bodies that fall outside of the so-called “normal” weight ranges, and maybe she doesn’t want her kid to endure that. Additionally, if this is the case, she will have to have really precise medical histories from the birth parents so that she can choose the “right” ones to contribute genetically.

    Regardless of the reason, if she wants to adopt, more power to her. As a former social worker, I can attest to the plethora of adoptable kids out there waiting for parents. I only hope that as a parent, she will truly learn how to love that child unconditionally and not project any of her own angst on him or her.

  10. I just saw this a little while ago, and I think the really off-kilter note for me is the implication that she can “just adopt” instead. The popular narrative about adoption, that lots of kids need good homes and that giving them one is no different than adopting a puppy from an animal shelter, is incredibly unrealistic. If the only reason that Michaels wants to adopt is that she isn’t willing to accept the physical changes of pregnancy, how in the world could she be prepared to take on a parenting situation which is more complex than usual? What kind of message does that send to her child, that she turned to adoption as a second-best to avoid stretch marks and extra pounds? And, of course, there are major race and class issues surrounding all varieties of adoption. It’s certainly possible for adoptive parents to navigate that with sensitivity and grace, but making flippant comments about adoption for the sake of avoiding physical changes doesn’t exactly show much awareness that the issues even exist.

    I’m bearing in mind the possibility that Michaels may have more serious reasons for not wishing to go through childbirth, which she didn’t necessarily want to share. We don’t know if she is an abuse survivor, or has already been diagnosed with infertility, or has had past miscarriages, or has genetic concerns. Maybe she currently has a female partner and isn’t willing to go through the process of assisted reproduction. Maybe she has put a whole lot of thought into it all, and it didn’t come across to the interviewer or got lost in the editing. I don’t know if any of those things is or is not the case, so I’m not going to criticize her or her choices. However, the whole narrative is chock-full of fail, of several different kinds.

  11. Is it wrong that I’m not inclined to look for a non-fatphobic interpretation of Jillian Michaels’ statement?* The woman has built her entire career on fatphobia, and not run-of-the-mill “Everyone should be healthy and lose a few pounds!!!” fatphobia, but she’s part of a show that basically endorses its contestants to do anything, including indisputably eating disordered behavior, to lose weight as part of a competitive process. Without specific evidence to the conrary, I’m disinclined to believe that someone that enmeshed in fatphobia professionally was unaware of the fatphobic implications of her statement or that she didn’t intend them.

    Of course, I’m kind of disgusted at the Biggest Loser specifically right now since my roommate was just all excitedly telling me about some episode where the person who ate the most calories at a buffet got to choose who got eliminated this week. (“You see,” my roommate said, “You have to make sure you eat the most, because if you’re in second place you won’t have immunity and will have gained weight at the weigh-in!”) WHAT? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, SHOW?

    * And I really might be; I might be looking at this the wrong way.

  12. I have a friend in her second year of medical school who, after finishing the reproduction unit, is terrified of pregnancy now that she knows all the things that can go wrong. I totally get that pregnancy can screw with a woman’s body in all kinds of ways besides stretch marks, and some women reasonably consider that as a factor in whether they wish to be pregnant.

    However, I can’t say I’m all that inclined to give Jillian Michaels the benefit of the doubt on this. While I haven’t watched the Biggest Loser, it seems like her job is to make people feel bad about their bodies. She has also endorsed weight-loss pills. She’s not exactly preaching HAES.

    I appreciate Julie tracking down the actual quote, but I have a feeling she sees baby weight as something she “can’t handle doing.”

  13. lemonadeandlemoncake…you might already know this, and if not, you may be interested…one of my psych profs (W. Frank Epling) specialized in research on “activity anorexia”, which is a subtype of anorexia nervosa where individuals value exercise more than they value food. I’m not saying that Jillian has this or any other eating disorder (cause I know nothing about her), but it is a recognized condition. According to my prof, there is a higher incidence of activity anorexia in athletes, especially elite athletes, than in the general population.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing a transcript/hearing a tape of the interview though, since I just read the previous post about CNN and Jaclyn Friedman, and I’m back to being all paranoid and conspiracy-theory-minded when it comes to the media.

  14. Oops; I cross-posted with LilahMorgan, who said the same thing, but with actual details!

    Oh, and I totally agree with Shoshie that she is obviously entitled to do whatever she wishes with her uterus and for whatever reasons she wishes. However, if she made a statement in an interview, I think we should feel free to analyze that statement as we wish. As Tasha Fierce points out, totally normal body changes due to pregnancy have been stigmatized in our society, and it’s worth fighting that where we see it.

  15. Is it wrong that I’m not inclined to look for a non-fatphobic interpretation of Jillian Michaels’ statement?*

    Not in my book. Frankly, I’m surprised the fat hating apologists have come out swinging so early in the game!

  16. Also “ruins the body” vs. “ruins her body”. Can someone clarify why noting this distinction – other than to clarify her statements – somehow lessens the impact of fat hatred?

  17. I wouldn’t mind seeing a transcript/hearing a tape of the interview though, since I just read the previous post about CNN and Jaclyn Friedman, and I’m back to being all paranoid and conspiracy-theory-minded when it comes to the media.

    Not analogous situations. Jillian Michaels has long been in control of her platform, which has FAT = BAD as its central premise.

  18. I’m not terribly comfortable with this idea of “diagnosing” public figures based on their media-reported activity. Didn’t we already have a similar conversation re: Brittany Murphy?

    That said, Michaels is clearly coming from an even more fatphobic subsection of an already-fatphobic culture, so, if her concerns about her body are about the genuinely medically scary things that can happen during pregnancy, she really ought to be more clear about that. And if the article is misrepresenting her, well, I suppose that’s really nothing new. I’d like to give her the benefit of the doubt, but her connection with The Biggest Loser is not really helping me do that.

  19. I’m not terribly comfortable with this idea of “diagnosing” public figures based on their media-reported activity. Didn’t we already have a similar conversation re: Brittany Murphy?

    Who are you speaking to here?

    Also, are you seriously suggesting we give a Nice White Lady the benefit of the doubt in terms of fatphobia when the NWL in question has a HISTORY of promoting a fatphobic agenda.

    Seriously? On this site?

    Also: Michaels DIAGNOSED herself in regards to having an ED.

    Y’all she has “LOSE WEIGHT FAST with DIET and Exercise” as her freaking website tagline. So tell me again why we’re to give this Nice White Lady – who thinks you’re unhealthy solely because you’re FAT – the benefit of the doubt.

    *headdesk*

  20. Although a conspiracy to take quotes out of context and make a woman who, as LilahMorgan pointed out, has built her entire career on fatphobia, yet may not have said anything fatphobic, appear fatphobic based on her remarks about pregnancy would be pretty pointless. Paranoia subsiding to normal levels after that drawn-out analysis.

  21. Emma B., I’m with you here. Adoption is seen as such a quick fix in Hollywood that most people have no idea how involved, costly, and heartrending a process it really is. What disturbed me the most about her comment was actually her referring to adopting as “rescu[ing] something.” Adoptive parents are told repeatedly by well-meaning folks that their child is so lucky to have been adopted by them. I think most adoptive parents would agree that they themselves are the lucky ones to have experienced the love and shared the lives of their children.

    I’ll try to give her the benefit of the doubt as far as body issues go, but after actually watching a season of The Biggest Loser, it’s gonna be tough.

  22. Ooh, a guest post! Thank you Tasha Fierce! :) I <3 IFMiB.

    I have to confess I didn't know who Jillian Michaels was until this post. (I then googled.) :)

    My perspective, which is of course just one among many, comes from my having been pregnant twice and indeed gained weight which squidged me from having a not thin/inbetweenie body to a body that (if we're drawing from the dysfunctional set of stock characters assigned to Nice White Ladies like me based on body type) reads more "Sloppy Mommy." I gained weight but my belly became much slacker and my defined waist sort of went away. And then there's general aging stuff, too, in the last few years.

    I don't feel ashamed about this at all — I think some of the physical aspects are kinda cool — but I do see and acknowledge the way it changes people's perceptions of me. In both good and bad, but always complicated, ways. I am not as successful, for example, in playing the ingenue — which had previously been one strategy I could use while navigating a patriarchal environment. Now it not only doesn't work well, but it tends to backfire. I just look silly. In certain kinds of interactions — like in stores, especially — looking like a Nice White Lady Sloppy Mommy means that different sorts of boundaries get trespassed in different ways than they did when I was a Nice White Not-Thin Somewhat-Plain-Looking Single Girl. (People still feel entitled to be intrusive about my tits, for example, just in different ways than they did before.) Women bonding socially over cutting themselves down… that happens too, but differently than in college. Professionally I might be seen as having a bit more competence and authority, though, because I look dowdier and more middle aged than I did before.

    Sorry, I ramble. Anyway: That's the lens through which I tend to view this. So, honestly, I'm inclined to agree with Tasha. Maybe there's a meaningful distinction between "couldn't handle doing that to my body" and "don't want to ruin my body" but… well, hm. I guess I don't see the one as a non-judgmental "I" statement, and the other as judging other women's bodies. And I sure don't see only the latter as reflecting and furthering a fat-phobic culture.

    Because the post-baby body is a fate to be avoided in each case, right? (Genuinely asking, not snarking.) Whatever she meant, the effect of her comment is to ask pregnant/post-pregnant women's bodies to play the role of "that kind of body that's too disturbing for me to contemplate having, not that I'm judging YOU for having a body like that." And that furthers body shame. You know, it's similar to the rationale for why, in the comments policy for this site, we're not allowed to just spew our own very genuine insecurities about "ZOMG I'M SO FAT FAT FATTY FAT AND I'M EMBIGGENING AND THEREFORE I AM GETTING SOOOO UGLY!!" Because there's almost certainly someone here who's fatter than you, and when you locate your fear *in* the kind of body you fear becoming… well, you're not just talking about your own feelings anymore, you're judging someone else's body.

    So that's what I heard in the "that" of the comment. I couldn't handle doing *that* to my body. What's the "that"? And does "that" really mean "things that might make me have the sort of body that, actually, quite a lot of people – who breathe the same air I do and may hear my comment and in any case have to live in the universe where I'm quoted as saying these things – do in fact have?"

    I suppose I could imagine a way of saying it where it didn't contain an implicit judgment of other women's bodies. If she had said something about her own struggles with body image — struggles which may or may not exist, and in any case are not struggles she's obligated to disclose to the public — then there might have been a way to frame it non-judgmentally. "I have these issues. I know they're my issues. I can't yet see my own body compassionately, and that makes pregnancy a bad idea for me. I try to hold this lightly." That would have been non-judgmental. As well as none of our business, unless she wanted to make it ours.

    Now I'm going to hit "submit comment" and find that while I was writing twenty comments have been posted and it's a whole new conversation. Or that people have said what I've just said, only more articulately. Oh well.

  23. ENOUGH WITH THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT, please.

    Reread:

    “Y’all she has “LOSE WEIGHT FAST with DIET and Exercise” as her freaking website tagline. So tell me again why we’re to give this Nice White Lady – who thinks you’re unhealthy solely because you’re FAT – the benefit of the doubt.”

  24. Ack, sorry Snarky’s Machine, I was refering to lemonadeandlemoncake, not to Tasha. My bad. I definitely do not think we should give her the benefit of the doubt. I think her association with the show makes what she said even more problematic, and I certainly agree with the post. I should have been more clear.

  25. Oh yes, this indeed. All I could think of, when I read her statements was “wait… what? her body was made to make babies, but she doesn’t want to do that to her body? that doesn’t make sense. How can everyone not see how far this fatphobia has gone, to make it seem like getting pregnant is something to avoid for reasons of FAT and THIN?”

    I strongly believe in the rights of choice, for everyone. I chose to have a child 3 years ago. I chose not to have a child 9 years ago. I have friends who are now and will always be without child, friends who only want to adopt, friends who have several children… all these are valid choices that we get to make for ourselves. It’s her (seeming) underlying reason that just blows me away.

  26. Um, three things:
    1) My comment just now was longer than I ever dreamed. Yikes.
    2) Indeed, Snarky’s got to the heart of the matter while I was gazing lovingly at my post-pregnancy navel.
    3) I was using Nice White Lady as shorthand for “all the petty annoyances I describe here take place within a matrix of lots and lots of white privilege,” but on reading my comment I realized I was asking a lot of one little catch phrase. Hence this gloss.

  27. Snarky, I would hate to be facing you at high noon in the OK Corral. You post my second thoughts before they’ve even sprung fully-formed from my head. I was just starting to hunt down the Sandra Bullock post to refresh my memory on some of the comments related to the media and the Nice White Lady syndrome.

  28. Thank you, Tasha. You are hitting these articles out of the park.

    And also: what A Sarah said.

    The “childbirth IS dangerous and Terrifying and stuff goes wrong all the time” comments here are sad to read. I think it’s a bit of a derail from what Jillian Michaels really IS saying – and our fat-phobic and female-body shaming that we all know is happening here. It’s also counter to the hard work so many reproductive rights feminists are trying to do re: America’s crappy birth culture. Sure, some childbirth and pregnancy have scary events. Mostly, not to offend any delicate sensibilities, it’s like taking a dump: leave things alone and they generally go really well. Or as Ina May Gaskin would put it, “Remember you are as well made as any monkey.”

    And yeah, benefit of the doubt? As Snarky would say, “don’t get it twisted”. This isn’t just a random person saying she personally doesn’t want to have a baby – there is a context that many here have elucidated well so I don’t have to.

  29. A Sarah, your post does everything I couldn’t. I haven’t had any kids, thus I can’t speak to that experience. The closest I’ve been to birth – besides my own – is watching my friend Barbie birthing her twin girls.

    yeah, if you’re thinking about birthing babies, you might want to bypass front row seats to that particular Vagina Monologue.

    It was amazing, but a whole lot of, “I DID NOT KNOW THAT!” moments. Thank god for Doula and the NP and OBie, who fed me some ativan to pry me off the ceiling.

  30. Hmm, I was totally about to write something about how I don’t like shaming women for not wanting kids, but then I went back and re-read the post. And realized this was already said. Clearly I need to eat some lunch, because I was totally putting my non-fatphobic-but-terrified-of-pregnancy-perspective of totally fatphobic Jillian Michaels. My apologies. Time for some pizza.

  31. The Huffington Post is often sleazy, but I still don’t think Jillian Michaels was referring to anything other than gaining weight when she said what she said. Her whole life/career is based on staying thin and shaming others/baiting them into buying her books and DIET PILLS. So I’m not inclined to believe that she was just talking about stretch marks or some other semi-benign side effect of pregnancy.

  32. Yeah, I personally am on the fence about bearing children for many reasons, so I’m not harping on women who choose not to get pregnant. But I think the reason for not getting pregnant shouldn’t be because you’re afraid of getting fat. And for god’s sake, if that really is your reason, keep it to your damn self. I don’t need to hear it.

  33. For some reason my posts keep getting eaten. Weird. Anyway, to paraphrase two comments, I’m not inclined to give Jillian the benefit of the doubt for all the reasons listed here. And I personally am on the fence about wanting children, so I’m not even trying to criticize someone for that.

  34. For some reason my posts keep getting eaten. Weird. Anyway, to paraphrase two comments, I’m not inclined to give Jillian the benefit of the doubt for all the reasons listed here. And I personally am on the fence about wanting children, so I’m not even trying to criticize someone for not wanting to get pregnant, period. But if it’s because you don’t want to get fat, that’s a different story.

  35. ‘ “I’m going to adopt. I can’t handle doing that to my body,” she told the magazine. “Also, when you rescue something, it’s like rescuing a part of yourself.” ‘

    There is a lot of bad shit in those three sentences.

    If she can’t handle doing “that” to her body, which, given her public persona and chosen profession, just can not reasonably be understood as anything other than getting ickyfattypreggers, yes, that is a sad sad commentary on how she feels about herself. And if she ever asked me for help with that, I know some GREAT clinicians who work with those kinds of issues. I’d be happy to direct her towards them.

    But it doesn’t make me feel any better about the FAT HATE she’s spewing onto us while she is busy with whatever internal shit she’s got going on.

    Since adoption has come up – what Harriet J over at Fugitivus has up about it is absolutely a must read! http://www.fugitivus.net/2010/04/20/adoption-sometimes-gets-all-fucked-up-101/.

  36. psychlops:

    i don’t intend to ediagnose, but the behavior she endorses and promotes and pushes others to do is, let’s be clear: DISORDERED BEHAVIOR.
    there is no way around that. TBL fucks up people’s relationship with food. If it was already bad, it just tips them over into danger zone for a disorder.
    i don’t yet know the details of her self-diagnosis, i will look it up after i make this post.
    I have no doubt that some TBL contestants have gotten eating disorders while on the show. No doubt. That isn’t healthy, okay, or fun.

    I remember watching Oprah once with an interview with one of the contestants, who had since gotten married and had twins. She was berating herself for not being able to lose the baby weight. But, she admitted, ‘I finally got to EAT!’

    Still, i wasn’t trying to say ‘look guys, she (Jillian) has an eating disorder!’ I was, however, pointing out the prison this poor girl has with her body.

    By that I’m not trying to give her the benefit of the doubt. I’m still not okay with fat-shaming and fat-phobia. But she’s not happy. She’s not okay with her body. And I’m uber-willing to bet that she feels like her body is against her and she’s in a prison. I know what that feels like. So on that? I feel for her a little bit.

    Au Contraire,
    yes but I didn’t know it was categorized in Anorexia yet. I know there’s a subset of Bulimia categorized by over-exercising (I struggle with it on and off, mostly off these days, thankfully). This is basically replacing purging with exercising. And yes, it’s sad how common it is among athletes.

  37. I’m torn, because on one hand I agree with Chava’s comment 100%. Women are pushed to regard childbirth as this natural, fulfilling, wholesome process with no downsides other than a touch of morning sickness and maybe a stretch mark or two. It’s bullshit and if someone doesn’t want to put her body through that it’s no business of mine, nor is it a reflection on my choices.

    However, comments like “ruin my body with pregnancy” whether those words were said or implied aren’t exactly uncommon. They go along with the destructive comments and invasive questions pregnant women endure. Jokes cracked about stretched vaginas and leaking bladders. Strangers demanding to know if you’re drinking decaf, avoiding soft-serve and are you exercising enough? The hands grabbing your belly and giving it a good jiggle with a tossed off, “you don’t mind, right?” I’ve never felt so intruded on in my life. For too many people, mothers’ bodies are somehow fair game — after all it’s no longer a pristine temple, so you can’t mind, right? When a woman refuses to participate by invoking preservation of her body, I think it reinforces the idea that others’ behavior isn’t the problem, it’s choosing to become pregnant that is. That irks.

    I think a lot of the emphasis some women place on “getting their bodies back” is just that — a desire to return to normal and avoid the misogyny that comes flying out of the woodwork when you fit the body type “maternal”. The goal seems not just one of fat hatred but the goal to have your body recognized as your own.

  38. Bah… I’m so anxious about commenting. But here goes.

    I have to admit to being a bit torn about this thing…I realize that may have a lot to do with my own stuff I’m still trying to figure out.

    According to what Jillian has been saying on FB, she was misquoted and it wasn’t what she meant at all. Why do I care? Probably because I think this is more about punishing a woman for not performing the usual femininities and less about whether or not she wants kids. Why does it matter if she wants kids? She’s rich, tough, powerful, and hasn’t come out. She looks right to play the part of patriarchal fantasy, but she’s not being completely compliant about fitting in the appropriate boxes. Yes, she’s a white woman, but she is not nice. And I think there are many people who want to see her punished for her success without niceness or apology attached to it.

    On the other hand, she’s the poster woman for fat phobia promotion. This one is hard for me. Probably because I’m so new to FA and HAES. In fact, I had never really heard about it before stumbling over here from Pharyngula… and I was preparing to sit for my Personal Trainer certification while reading all these new-to-me ideas. Well, y’all messed that up but good! I was working with several “practice” clients as FA hit me… with my whole goal being to specialize in pregnant and post-partum women because personal trainers don’t understand what it’s like to have your body go through those huge changes and don’t get how much the socially-enforced FOBT hurts women who need to be gentle with themselves so they can enjoy life and their babies in a healthy way. So, yay, get me a cookie, right? Except that I was still ultimately, despite all my nice intentions, thinking in hard-body mode. And now I can’t. I realized that I could never again tell someone to diet (which I used to be SO good at doing). Then I realized that I couldn’t even support people in looking for weight loss. All I could do is try to get people to stop doing those things and try to look for activities that bring them joy. Well, I’m not a damn therapist, and no one’s looking for a personal trainer who won’t help them hate themselves a little prettier. Yeah, so no personal trainer job for me… back to school I go.

    OK, so I know this isn’t about me. What I’m trying to get at is that I can’t condemn her. I just can’t. It’s like the feminist notion of condemning the system, not the woman who does her best to make a life for herself according to its rules. Maybe that’s naive? Or maybe I’m just over-personalizing. But I don’t give two shits whether or not she wants to have kids and having been through two pregnancies where my pubic symphysis separated and I was in huge pain for four months a pop… well… I’m a little scared of what pregnancies do to bodies, too. And as for the mental/emotional aspect (which, from what she’s said on FB, is actually what she was talking about), well I think it’s smart to consider that carefully, as well. Plus there’s that whole thing about her body being her meal ticket.

    So, does she promote body hatred? Yeah. Is this particular instance an actual representation of that? I don’t think so. If she’s called out for contributing to the damage caused by BL and all the associated stuff she promotes, OK. I don’t defend that. I’d love to see her scoop up her money and become a champion for HAES, but I’m not holding my breath. I’m just not going to freak out because she doesn’t want kids

    And yeah, I’m totally ready to be schooled.

  39. anomic entropy, i really really really wouldn’t mind finding a personal trainer who is familiar with FA- who isn’t concerned with making me LOSE WEIGHT but helps me find an exercise routine i am comfortable yet challenged with. But you’re right about people not wanting to find personal trainers who don’t want them to lose weight. FA is not a popular idea. But still. I’d hire you!

  40. I would like to preface this comment by saying I am NOT a fan of Jillian Michaels.

    That being said, I think there is a huge difference between the connotations of the Huffington Post’s headline phrase “won’t ruin my body,” and her actual statement that she “can’t handle doing that to her body.” Even if she does mean that she can’t handle the changes in the shape of her body post-baby, she appears to be giving an honest answer an interview question she was asked, and I can’t blame her for that. Is she fat-phobic to a dysfunctional degree? Maybe.

    However, judging anyone’s reason for getting pregnant or not pregnant makes me deeply uncomfortable, even if that reason is, well, unreasonable . Of course, I’ve got some deeply conflicted feelings about whether I want to have biological children myself, so I’m sure that affects my viewpoint.

    I guess I just don’t see it as a benefit of the doubt issue. Any woman should be able to make
    the decision to reproduce or not reproduce for any reason she likes, and she shouldn’t NEED the benefit of the doubt.

  41. Oh, and I also agree with not hating her, but I’m not okay with what she promotes. It’s her choice whehter she wants kids, but if her reasoning is ‘it’ll make me feel bad to be so fat!’ it’s something that’s worth berating. at least so we can get the message out there to women who struggle with body shame. there is NOTHING WRONG with not wanting to have kids. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have kids. But the attitude IS wrong that says ‘I’m gonna get fat if I have kids. So pregnancy=bad.’

  42. I’m torn, because on one hand I agree with Chava’s comment 100%. Women are pushed to regard childbirth as this natural, fulfilling, wholesome process with no downsides other than a touch of morning sickness and maybe a stretch mark or two. It’s bullshit and if someone doesn’t want to put her body through that it’s no business of mine, nor is it a reflection on my choices.

    Valid, but not the focus of THIS particular discussion, so in some ways it scans a derail. The focus of this particularly discussion is Jillian Michaels’ latest fatphobic chow chow, dressed up as reproductive and adoption discourse.

  43. So, does she promote body hatred? Yeah. Is this particular instance an actual representation of that? I don’t think so. If she’s called out for contributing to the damage caused by BL and all the associated stuff she promotes, OK. I don’t defend that. I’d love to see her scoop up her money and become a champion for HAES, but I’m not holding my breath. I’m just not going to freak out because she doesn’t want kids.

    As far as I’m concerned any time her lips are flapping about body, weight and the likes she’s engaged in fat shame. Since she rarely talks about anything else, well… you get my point.

  44. Blah, blah, bodily autonomy, blah, don’t have babies, fine. HAVING SAID THAT:

    While possibly not explicitly fat shaming, she is certainly body shaming and it would take an atomic-edge scalpel to separate the two. Though Michaels is clearly petrified of the fatz, she probably believes she could lose any “baby weight”. But, what about all those other markers of having a human/mom/less-than-“perfect” body (whether currently or formerly fat as well)??? Poochy belly? Yech. Stretch marks? Bleh. Saggy breasts? Ew. Stress incontinent? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? Barf shoulder? (well, I suppose that one can be fixed, and isn’t avoidable through adoption).

    Don’t we know that if she just exerts complete control over her body she’ll never be fat/become disabled/age normally/appear less than “perfect”?? She’s going to hate aging.

    Ageist, ableist, fat-phobic. Peas, carrots, and onions in the same nasty stew. Or maybe, different colored sprinkles on the same toxic cupcake? With patriarchy the cake and racism the frosting?

    I need a snack.

  45. @Snarky’s Machine

    As far as I’m concerned any time her lips are flapping about body, weight and the likes she’s engaged in fat shame. Since she rarely talks about anything else, well… you get my point.

    Oh. I knew I had some cognitive dissonance rattling around in my thinking somewhere. And this, yeah. I don’t know why that didn’t click, before. Thanks.

  46. lemonadeandlemoncake: Thanks for parsing that more; I see the distinction better now. I think my brain went too quickly to the hey-someone-tried-to-do-that-diagnosing-thing-to-ME place before it got to the this-is-behaviour-representative-of-a-REALLY-PROBLEMATIC-worldview place.

    And I agree that any depictions of messing with people’s bodies and mental health and attitudes toward food in the name of OMGHEALTH are not okay, to be encouraged, or to be given the benefit of the doubt.

    Sorry again generally for being unclear and for misinterpreting.

  47. Look, here it is, for the handwringers:

    Tasha Fierce is NOT part of the hordes who probably ARE trying to shame Jillian Michaels for not wanting to be a bio-mom.
    Tasha Fierce DID call out Jillian Michaels for being a person who contributes to fat and body shaming, and for phrasing her apparent aversion to bio-mom-hood in a way that can justly be described as fat-hating.
    If Jillian Michaels has a FB, twitter, or other media statement out there that goes “I’m sorry I was quoted that way, I see how that hurt people, and I’m going to take steps to get a correction/never do it again” well, that’s the right thing to do, but it doesn’t let her off the hook for the entire rest of her professional life!!!!!!

    If YOU, gentle reader, identify with not wanting to be a bio-parent, no feminist here is agin you. But if YOU, gentle reader, express that not-want in a way that shames some other person, well, perhaps you’ll meet Snarky at High Noon.

  48. lemonadeandlemoncake: Thanks for parsing that more; I see the distinction better now. I think my brain went too quickly to the hey-someone-tried-to-do-that-diagnosing-thing-to-ME place before it got to the this-is-behaviour-representative-of-a-REALLY-PROBLEMATIC-worldview place.

    And I agree that any depictions of messing with people’s bodies and mental health and attitudes toward food in the name of OMGHEALTH are not okay, to be encouraged, or to be given the benefit of the doubt.

    Sorry again generally for being unclear and for misinterpreting.

    psychlops: no problem.
    yeah i don’t have a lisence (cant even spell it) and even if i did i have had no sessions with her so…
    diagnosis? no.
    and if i had diagnosed her i would lose that liscence after posting it on this forum.

    still, though. it’s probable. i’m not trying to point fingers. just saying. Like Meme Roth probably having an eating disorder, it doesn’t make their behavior okay. i just feel kind of sorry for them.

  49. IrishUp: Thanks for posting the quote. The line that actually grabbed me was “Also, when you rescue something, it’s like rescuing a part of yourself.” What an incredibly fucked-up mental narrative about adoption.

    1. Pregnancy does things to your body that you can’t control! OMGBADSCARY!
    2. But adopting allows you to rescue something! Like getting a kitten from the shelter, or a root-bound plant from the bargain section of a nursery! And in rescuing that “thing” you’re also being self-nurturing and healing and stuff! It’s not like you’re committing to the care of a human being, possibly one with problems!

    Women’s Health: you’re doing it wrong.

  50. thank you Tasha Fierce, Snarky’s Machine, and A Sarah.

    I don’t give her the benefit of the doubt. I don’t know what’s going on in her head or why she said it but whatever the reason it’s crap. As a skinny chick with medical problems, I can honestly say I’ve benefitted from HAES. Not only because it’s a good way to look at nutrition, but because I have a lot of reasons to be pissed at my body, and the psychology behind HAES also helps me see the other side of the coin, that I have reasons to love it as well. HAES has helped me not slip into self-hate. So her fatphobia actually harms people with these same medical conditions that you are talking about, whatever size they are, because all in all, fatphobic thinking teaches EVERYONE to hate their bodies. And so she’s not off the hook. Someone mentioned her being afraid of the loss of control of pregnancy, and I have to say that fits right in to what I’m saying, and all you have to do is know her TV show to know that she thinks that way because in her TV show she tells you.

    Thank you to the people who are reminding us that adoption is not just an easy, flippant decision to make. I have known I was infertile since I was 8 years old. Everybody makes their own reproductive decisions, and every single story and situation is complex. For those that don’t get it, I like to say screw you!, just like what I would say to those that would judge someone’s eating and exercise habits. Someone may not know all the reasons someone adopts. However, since we are having the type of discussion we are having know, I would hope people would have the sensitivity to know that it’s not usually an easy decision taken lightly. Many adoptive parents want kids badly and try very hard to become adoptive parents, especially if they don’t have a lot of money. To say it’s a last resort diminishes how much the adopted kids ARE wanted in so many situations and how hard it is for so many people to go that route – both to admit that they can’t have biological kids if that WAS their first wish and then to wait and wait and try so hard to finally become parents.

  51. If YOU, gentle reader, identify with not wanting to be a bio-parent, no feminist here is agin you. But if YOU, gentle reader, express that not-want in a way that shames some other person, well, perhaps you’ll meet Snarky at High Noon.

    When it comes to fat hatred you cannot bring a shovel to a gun fight. Unless, of course, you’ve got advanced training.

    To quote my personal fat hero Walter Sobchak, “You think I’d roll naked?” (brandishes an uzi). He might have been mean, loud and generally inappropriate, but more often than not, he was RIGHT.

  52. Snarky- I apologize that my first comment scanned as derailing. Because Micharls’ (alleged?) statement read to me as not just fat-hating, but specifically hating on women’s bodies, and more specifically on pregnant/maternal bodies I wanted to be clear that I didn’t have any issue with someone not wanting to go through pregnancy. True, it should be taken as given here, but I hate to miss an opportunity to clarify my support for choice. (Especially since here I know if I use problematic reasoning I’m likely to be called on it.)

    I also wish I’d emphasized that Michaels’ statement seemed to be a mishmash of so many isms that it’s hard for me to say if she was using body shame to vocalize misogyny or the other way around. I guess it depends on what scares her most — being thought of as one of “those” women or one of “those” fat people. There’s a strong whiff of “don’t let it be me” (who gets fat, whose boobs sag, who is judged for not being young or thin or athletic enough or determined to be too feminine and too soft) and all too often leads to “let it be other people”. Which is where I find a problem with it.

  53. Also, are you seriously suggesting we give a Nice White Lady the benefit of the doubt in terms of fatphobia when the NWL in question has a HISTORY of promoting a fatphobic agenda.

    After thinking about this a little more and googling Jillian Michaels a little bit, I actually do want to say something along these lines, and here’s why:

    Infertility is a disability. This is true whether you cannot have a child because your/your partner’s physical plumbing isn’t functioning properly, or because you are chromosomally incompatible with your partner. It can be treated in either case, but it is an expensive, difficult, often-unsuccessful, and emotionally draining procedure. Jillian Michaels is, by her own admission, GLBT. Ergo, there is a high likelihood that she and her partner (theoretical or actual) are infertile. She may be a NWL in general, but she is (probably) not coming at this specific issue from a place of privilege.

    Having gone through infertility myself, I can tell you from experience that one of the ways you deal with it is by sour grapes. You tell yourself that you really like sleeping late on the weekends anyway, and that you’ll be able to travel all you want, and that you won’t have to spend money on diapers or save for college. You tell yourself that you will never have to go through labor or have a C-section, and that the words “fourth degree tear” will never apply to you. You tell yourself that you will never have to experience a small human gnawing your nipples until they bleed. You will never spend three months throwing up, or have to deal with backaches and twenty bathroom trips a day. And yes, you probably also tell yourself that you’ll never have a C-section scar, or stretch marks, or extra weight. I know I did (at least before I gained a lot of weight during the process of infertility treatment).

    Was it fat-phobic for me to look at weight gain and body changes as an entry on the list of upsides of my disability? Maybe you think so, but I’m not sure it’s so cut-and-dried. I was eventually able to get pregnant (with twins), and yes, my body now shows the evidence of it. I love my kids more than anything, and would have traded much more than some stretch marks to get them. I think that my less-than-“perfect” body holds just as much worth and dignity as anyone else’s, and I find it beautiful. But does it make me fat-hating, that I wish I’d been able to have the children I wanted, without having physical consequences as well? Do I have to not just *accept* the extra weight and the twin skin, but love it and celebrate it? Because I don’t. I don’t hate it and am not especially interested in losing it, but I’d be delighted if it magically went away, or had never happened in the first place. I would be equally delighted if the internal scarring and the missing tube from the postpartum infection magically went away or had never happened. I’m OK with both of them, but I wish, in a non-enthusiastic sort of way, that I’d been able to skip those parts.

    If I’d given a magazine interview during the time of my infertility, I would not have *told* you that I wanted to avoid ruining my body, and I stand by what I said above about the implications of her statement about adoption. And sure, Jillian-Michaels-as-public-figure is massively, massively problematic from a general fat acceptance standpoint. However, I have worn the infertility shoes, and had the same thoughts as Michaels expressed in that interview. So yes, I am willing to cut her a limited degree of slack over this one specific comment, based on the assumption that *in this area* she is not just a generically-privileged NWL, but also a GLBT person dealing with a disability.

  54. RE: Jillian Michals as a brand/fatphobe/etc:

    I agree 100% and do not want to give her the benefit of the doubt IN ANY WAY there. What she does to people’s minds and bodies on TBL is horrible, end of story. So–if you want to talk about that, I’m there. If you want to talk about the culture of zipping off the baby weight, and how Jillian M. promotes that culture, I’m there. So much awful shit to talk about, there!

    What scans as a little off to me is having the entire post turn on a word (“ruined”) that was not even said in those two sentences.

    So, basically, we are parsing out two sentences (without that word) to try and determine how this woman feels about pregnancy. Which yeah, I do think opens it up to narratives about naturalization, etc. However, I do take the point that given her VERY public fatphobic record, it is not unreasonable to think that one of her major pregnancy fear is loss of control via weight gain.

    (I’m not entirely sure fear of that loss of control is invalid, btw, but the fatphobia stands as shitty)

  55. Jillian Michaels is, by her own admission, GLBT. Ergo, there is a high likelihood that she and her partner (theoretical or actual) are infertile

    What? I have no idea if her current partner is a man or a woman, or even if she has one — but even if it’s a woman, there’s no reason to assume she’d be incapable of conceiving via artificial insemination if she wanted a biological child. The whole point here is that she said she does not want to have a biological child. Presuming that a specific statement about never wanting to be pregnant is a cover for infertility is presuming an AWFUL lot.

    ETA: And while you’re coming at it from the perspective of someone who struggled with infertility — which I do deeply sympathize with, and I’m glad you were able to have kids — other people on this thread, sorta-kinda including me*, are coming at it from the perspective of actually not wanting children, and constantly being told that that lack of desire is unnatural, that we must be confused or that we’ll change our minds. So I prefer to take people at their word regarding whether they want kids. (Including whether they want bio kids; I have friends who have always wanted adopt just like some people always wanted to give birth.)

    *I’m ambivalent, but the shit heaped on women who choose to be childfree will always annoy me either way.

  56. “The “childbirth IS dangerous and Terrifying and stuff goes wrong all the time” comments here are sad to read. I think it’s a bit of a derail from what Jillian Michaels really IS saying – and our fat-phobic and female-body shaming that we all know is happening here. It’s also counter to the hard work so many reproductive rights feminists are trying to do re: America’s crappy birth culture. Sure, some childbirth and pregnancy have scary events. Mostly, not to offend any delicate sensibilities, it’s like taking a dump: leave things alone and they generally go really well. Or as Ina May Gaskin would put it, “Remember you are as well made as any monkey.”

    So. full. of. privilege. Sure, America has a crappy birth culture & history. Sure, if you happen to have a perfect uterus and perfect baby, and LIVE IN A RICH COUNTRY, and are white, and aren’t poor, and aren’t disabled, it goes generally well. Also: monkies have much smaller craniums at birth. It helps with that whole not dying in childbirth thing.

    Now, this is largely irrelevant for JM, as she is white, and does live in a rich country, and does have access to excellent medical care. But the point still irritates the hell out of me. Sorry for the derail.

    As far as infertility: I think Emma B’s comment addresses that I do here re: JM.

  57. Infertility is a disability. This is true whether you cannot have a child because your/your partner’s physical plumbing isn’t functioning properly, or because you are chromosomally incompatible with your partner.

    Which is an example of why I don’t wish to see Michaels’ publicly steering the discourse. What you’ve written in your entire comment is nuanced, poignant and more importantly, thoughtful – a sentiment completely lacking in Ms. Michaels’ comments regarding reproduction. Moreover, ableist framing of pregnancy gets into some very sketchy waters and it is framing, which makes me uncomfortable with having that important conversation at this point in time, not the the conversation itself, which, of course, is a vastly erased aspect of reproduction.

    What scans as a little off to me is having the entire post turn on a word (“ruined”) that was not even said in those two sentences.

    So, basically, we are parsing out two sentences (without that word) to try and determine how this woman feels about pregnancy.

    Parsing out TWO sentences – which definitely could stand to be unpacked, but NOT to the degree which folks opted to here – when there is so much fatphobia to hash out scans to me as problematic.

    Here’s why:

    Marginalized folks have a long shitty history with having their contributions to discourse “parsed” to the point of irrelevancy in a way that privileged folks do not. So forgive me if I’m not interested in giving anyone a pass when engage in what I believe is text book derailing for dummies.

    Let me get this straight, Jillian Michaels (NWL) who we KNOW to be fucked up is MORE entitled to “the benefit of the doubt” than Tashie Fierce (fat black chick) whose use of language makes a few folks uncomfortable? That makes sense to you?

    Excuse me while I just go ahead and superglue my head to the desk. While y’all dig your way out of that one.

  58. Gahhhh:

    I am an idiot who cannot proofread and shall suffer the shame of a thousand firey suns (or, SM’s shovel):

    Should have read:

    “I think Emma B’s point about infertility was expressed much better than I ever could have done.”

  59. I think this Jezebel article made a good point that gets away from the parse-a-thon:

    http://jezebel.com/5521964/jillian-michaels-on-pregnancy-i-cant-handle-doing-that-to-my-body

    “As psychologist Dr. Haleh Stahl points out, she may feel these anxieties even more acutely because, “She is in a profession where she’s looked up to for her body and she’s an inspiration to others for losing weight and getting in shape and staying in shape.” This profession, however, also means she’s perfectly placed to tell women that overall health isn’t about instantaneously dropping the baby weight, and that the physical changes of pregnancy aren’t something to revile.”

    So, statement itself: has Issues. More issue-having: lack of followup statement or overall position about how Baby Weight Is Not End of World or Body Ruining.

  60. There is this weird cultural hatred for pregnant and post-pregnancy bodies specifically in addition to/intersecting with fatphobia. It is, I mean, weirdly pervasive in certain segments of the childfree community. For instance I dropped out of the childfree group on Ravelry after an afternoon because of all the comments about how disgusting women’s pregnant bodies were. I have no trouble believing that’s the place Michaels’ comment came from.

  61. Oh my fucking god guys. What the fuck is up with this, “Oh, NWL said something and now people are holding her accountable, stop doing that,” fucking finger wagging bullshit?

    Look, you can get pregnant or not get pregnant. Your reasons can even be as stupid as “Oh no not the fats!” or it can be “I could potentially die” or “I fucking hate babies.” Seriously, you can make your choices based on that all you want, and if you want to get together with friends that share that viewpoint and discuss, that’s your own fucked up deal or perfectly rational deal depending on your reasons.

    How-fucking-ever, if you decide that you want to go to the papers (and they’ll actually listen to you) and blather about how you don’t want to fuck up your body or whatever other fucking reason that may be problematic? We get to analyze it, we get to pick it apart, we get to say it’s wrong, we get to say it’s right. We do not have to give the benefit of the doubt if we don’t think you deserve it. Once you decide to tell a major media source that you don’t want to “do that” to your body you started affecting other people. We can react to that in any legal way we want.

    What she said was some Mommy/Fat shaming, privileged bullshit, it has the potential to hurt other people. It’s perfectly reasonable to call her out on that shit. She has money and power that was given to her by us, the consumers, if she wants to keep that money and power she needs to be aware of her privilege and not say hateful things. If she wants to sit in a corner and mumble hateful things to herself, she can have at it, but if she wants to get paid and be famous the hateful things need to stop.

    She picked this career, with it comes scrutiny, do you really think she should be held to a different standard than the other people in industry for some bizarre reason? Half the time people aren’t willing to give women dealing with ill behaved children in the supermarket a third of the BOTD that some of you are bending over backwards to give this woman.

  62. Emma B – Are you equating queerness with infertility? And so, since infertility is a disability, all people who are queer are disabled? That really seems to smack of privilege. Being queer does not automatically mean that a person is infertile, although it may mean that the person chooses not to become pregnant. Or the person may be truly infertile, which would be a true disability, but don’t be assigning disabilities to those who may not have them. The DSM took out the diagnosis that queerness is a disability I believe in the 1970s and I am really offended if that was what you meant.

  63. Ms. Michaels: Get pregnant or don’t, adopt or don’t, BUT, and here’s the kicker: don’t shame the women who DO get pregnant and DO gain weight in the course of pregnancy. Mmkay?

    Oh, wait. I don’t think that’s going to get by this woman’s processing center. I watched one half of one episode of that show. I wish I’d had the good sense to run screaming in the first minute, but I had not been reading SP at that time.

  64. I think a lot of this is women shaming. How dare a woman have a baby, and not immediately get on the fastrack to being attractive again?! It’s not even about the miracle of birth anymore, men are so socialized to believe fat on a woman = unattractive, they can’t even appreciate their wives giving them a child unless she becomes thin right after. It’s really tragic.

  65. Ack, hit tab instead of enter and keyboard-hit submit. The next line was going to be:

    “I thought it was obvious she was talking about how pregnancy gives you racing stripes and flame decals.”

  66. I’m happy to say that I’ve never watched TBL, since just the commercials make me scream at my TV, and I’m glad to hear I’m not alone. Except I don’t think TBL is just fat-shaming, I think it’s fat-sadistic-torturing voyeurism. Adoption is great, but I always wonder who does the adoption home study approving these celebrity adoptions–with all their issues and baggage–yikes! Oh and one more thing: Pregnancy is a state of health, not a state of illness. And a matter of choice.

  67. Emma B how in the hell is it a given that, since she’s GLBT, she’s infertile or her partner is? Her partner could be a guy?
    and while no one’s telling you to just ‘get over’ those parts of your body that changed, a loving relationship with the body IS one of the aims of HAES and FA.

    because all in all, fatphobic thinking teaches EVERYONE to hate their bodies. – M.A.
    THIS. That’s why I can’t stand dieting culture. Because people think ‘oh but it only applies to me, the fat person. thin people don’t think about it.’ but they *do* think about it. everyone thinks about it. dieting is the opiate of the masses. everyone wants to be thinner. i haven’t met many people who don’t want to lose a few pounds. they think ‘oh but that only applies to me, see. there’s no harm in it.’ but it DOES harm people. messages of self-hate on a public forum harm people. they just do.

    because…

    How-fucking-ever, if you decide that you want to go to the papers (and they’ll actually listen to you) and blather about how you don’t want to fuck up your body or whatever other fucking reason that may be problematic? We get to analyze it, we get to pick it apart, we get to say it’s wrong, we get to say it’s right. We do not have to give the benefit of the doubt if we don’t think you deserve it. Once you decide to tell a major media source that you don’t want to “do that” to your body you started affecting other people. We can react to that in any legal way we want.- Alibelle.

    And we can.

    Ms. Michaels: Get pregnant or don’t, adopt or don’t, BUT, and here’s the kicker: don’t shame the women who DO get pregnant and DO gain weight in the course of pregnancy. Mmkay?
    Mmarie

    THIS. I am growing tired of body insecurity/shame crossing over into pregnancy now. a woman’s body has no safe territory.

  68. Except I don’t think TBL is just fat-shaming, I think it’s fat-sadistic-torturing voyeurism –
    Haha. yes. it is. i’ve watched it a few times and just been like…wow.

  69. *do want to lose a few pounds instead of don’t . and credit for that last one goes to emgee.

  70. @Snarky
    Moreover, ableist framing of pregnancy gets into some very sketchy waters and it is framing, which makes me uncomfortable with having that important conversation at this point in time, not the the conversation itself, which, of course, is a vastly erased aspect of reproduction.

    Yes. Very good point. I’m sorry to have even dipped wiggled my toe toward that water. Total mistake on my part.

    @Lisa
    I liked the article. This subject itself is so wearying to me today… today’s Google Reader dumped America’s soaring c-section rates and then an article from a blogger bragging about post-baby having a “youthful” vagina.

  71. Yeah, me and my rugged 37 year old vagina had to stop receiving “woman’s health” alerts from google reader and alerts. It was just too much shouting at my poor innocent computer monitor.

  72. Alibelle: Once again, you rock. I can’t wait for the day you’ll join the ranks of those of us molding/warping young minds.

    Alexandra Erin: Racing stripes? Cool! Maybe I do want kids…

    Snarky’s Machine: Before you get out the superglue, try using one of those massage-cradle-type face pillows. That way you can remain in a comfy state of headdesk and not damage the surface of the table. (Just out of curiosity, is it the desk or the table you’re gluing your head to? Because if it’s the table, I’m imagining telling people that someone I internet-know superglued herself to Mandy Patinkin…)

    Kelly: Youthful vagina? WTF is that about?!

    Oh, and regarding the queer/infertile thing: in reproductive-technology-speak, infertility is a condition of couples; sterility is a condition of individuals. Which means that, if both partners are same-sex and cis, that couple is technically infertile. I suspect that’s what Emma B meant, although I’ve never liked that language because it leads to way too many misunderstandings.

  73. other becky, even if they can technically reproduce through other means, like insemination and stuff? i always thought infertile meant not able to produce. but i guess it makes sense that infertile=couple, sterile=individual.

  74. piquantmolly – I also disliked the “rescue” remark in relation to adopting a child as well, and that was what really pricked up my ears in relation to Jillian Michaels’ interview. I was expecting her to promote her fat-phobic agenda, because that is, basically, all she ever does, but “rescue”? Really? When I think of “rescue,” I think a kitten up a tree, not a new member of a family. I couldn’t agree with you more, the expectation that adoptive children need to be especially grateful to their adoptive parents emphasizes their difference, and does not seem to encourage the total integration into the familial structure that is what ought to happen, where everybody has feelings, relationships are multi-leveled and complex, and everyone belongs.

    Snarky’s Machine – I am acquainted with that can-o-worms. “Just adopt” indeed. You are made of a million awesome molecules, each of which are made of awesome atoms.

    A thought keeps running through my head: OK, Jillian Michaels doesn’t want to take the health risks and experience the weight gain/body changes of pregnancy for whatever reason. So, she decides to adopt a child. Where, pray tell, did that child come from? Was it grown in a cabbage patch? I think that another woman underwent the health risks and body changes to give birth to that child. SO, why is it OK for this other (probably not as economically powerful) woman to go through what Jillian Michaels scorns? I wonder if she has ever thought of this.

  75. oh! and i just wrote my take of this over on my own blog too.
    in regards to the adoption, the whole ‘rescue something’ wordage bothered me. an adopted child is not a thing or an accessory. and what if that child were to be fat? would she want that or would she consider herself a failure of a mother? i would feel sorry for the kid.
    ok i think i’ll give this blog a break now, sorry i’ve basically been spamming you guys :P

  76. @OtherBecky – Ha! It is in fact Mandy Patinkin! The other day when I was doing my cleaning I decided to move Mandy outside so I could vacuum (sunny day and its usual home is right next to the sliding glass door) and my friend was like, “Can I move Mandy Patinkin back inside?” paused and then added, “Did I just say that out loud?”

    /derail.

  77. even if it’s a woman, there’s no reason to assume she’d be incapable of conceiving via artificial insemination if she wanted a biological child.

    @Kate,when you require the use of donor gametes, alternative insemination (“artificial” is a very loaded term), the services of a reproductive endocrinologist, and (usually) hormone therapy to manage your cycle, that’s infertility. It’s no different than the situation of a woman who is healthy herself but whose male partner is sterile. Would you say “there’s no reason to assume she’d be incapable of conceiving via ART”, or consider that couple to be anything other than infertile?

    I’m assuming she does want children rather than being childfree-by-choice ONLY because that’s what she appears to be saying in the interview — that she specifically and actively wants to be a parent, but wants to acquire her children through some means other than pregnancy. If she’d said “I’m not interested in having kids anyway, plus they ruin your body”, I would have a very different take on her comments.

    I’d like to clarify my previous statement about high likelihood due to GLBT status, which I phrased poorly. What I meant to express is that she’s self-identified in interviews as bisexual, so it is as likely as not that she would be unable to conceive with a current or future partner, aside from physical health issues. A cis/hetero couple is generally assumed to be able to have kids if they want them, and infertility is viewed as the exception (or really, not thought of at all). That is not a valid assumption to make about Michaels, and if we’re going to talk about her reproductive decisions, we should do so with the awareness that cis/hetero people have some reproductive privilege that may very well not apply here.

    Also, to be clear, I wholeheartedly support being childfree, and apologize for any implication to the contrary.

  78. “SO, why is it OK for this other (probably not as economically powerful) woman to go through what Jillian Michaels scorns?”

    Yeah, I’m going to guess that the thought that went into that was that she was just a tramp who gave up her baby so who cares. Same shit that you hear people say about single moms, “You should give it up for adoption, it would be better off.” I imagine there’s some awesome race fail mixed in there too.

    “Alibelle: Once again, you rock. I can’t wait for the day you’ll join the ranks of those of us molding/warping young minds.”

    That totally made my night. I can’t wait either! I suspect some of my use of the word “fuck” will have to go away when that day comes, though. :/

  79. Snarky: I don’t mean to derail (and this is all I’ll say I promise!) but I think it would be awesome to see a post about adoption and racism/classism.

  80. @kcjones, @Alexandra Erin: no, I don’t think queerness == infertility == disability at all! What I’m saying is that, if you are in a relationship with a person who has the same chromosomes as you do (regardless of gender identity) AND you want to have children with that person, you are unable to do so without assistance, and that makes you infertile. I’m defining infertility as the state of wanting biological children and being unable to have them with your current partner (including a nonexistent current partner). It doesn’t matter if that arises from a physical problem, a chromosome incompatibility, or even a religious prohibition (i.e. halachic infertility in Orthodox Judaism).

    If you are a queer/trans person, are biologically incapable of having children with your partner, and are happy with that, that’s great, and I would not consider that to be infertility or disability. However, if you and your partner WANT to have children, you can’t do so spontaneously, and then you are infertile together. It’s no different than if you are in a relationship with a genetically-opposite partner, because you are infertile as a couple even if only one of you has a physical problem. I sometimes refer to myself as an infertile woman because I was the one with the issues (and I have Issues about the issues, but that’s another story), but my husband was just as infertile as I was, because he wasn’t getting to be a parent either.

  81. What chava said. Pregnancy isn’t a dangerous medical condition. It’s a normal thing that women’s bodies generally do quite well given the chance. What sucks is that this particular woman has internalized such an awful view of it from our culture, and that she has to explain her reproductive choices at all.

  82. While i don’t doubt OMG THE FATZ is a part of what she is implying by not wanting to do ‘that’ to her body, i think it’s about more than the jelly belly that she is afraid of.

    I think it’s an issue of control. To be pregnant is to accept the fleshiness of ourselves; no amount of willpower or ‘pushing through’ is going to change some aspects of pregnancy, and i think for Jillian, as someone who has built a career out of the premise that we can do anything if we want it bad enough, the idea that you are no longer ‘in charge’ of your own body is terrifying.

    Of course, at other times in life the flesh will make its own demands felt, but pregnancy takes it to a whole ‘nother level – there is another entity in there, with it’s own schedule and needs, and it will make itself known whether it’s convenient or not.

    Even further, she makes it seem as if she is still in control – she would be DOING ‘that’ to her body, instead of her body doing ‘that’ whether she wants it to or not. Obvs, the initial choice to carry a baby may be a choice, but beyond that your mind don’t get much say anymore; that baby will ‘stick’ or not no matter what you ‘want’ or choose, be healthy or not according to forces outside of your control (for the most part) – overall, she doesn’t get as much of a say anymore.

    it’s sad when viewed like that – reworded, she may as well be saying ‘i could never let go and give my flesh that much autonomy’. she just doesn’t trust it to behave.

    *this may be slightly biased as i am doing just ‘that’ to my body right now and while some parts aren’t exactly first class tickets on the Funtimes Express, it gets on my tits to hear someone so horrified at the concept of doing what i’m doing themselves.

  83. Pregnancy isn’t a dangerous medical condition. It’s a normal thing that women’s bodies generally do quite well given the chance.

    Except for those of us whose bodies don’t do it quite well given the chance, and for whom pregnancy really IS a dangerous medical condition. I know that you’re commenting about the overall state of modern childbirth culture, and I get that, but please remember that some of us really would have died, or never been able to have babies in the first place. The birth community’s constant drumbeat of “normal” and “natural” is really marginalizing to those of us who don’t fit those criteria, and who required the full array of modern medical resources to get, stay, and survive being pregnant. We exist, we have real problems, and we resent it when you implicitly call our pregnancies “abnormal” or imply that it’s all our OBs’ fault, or our fault for not Doing It Right like you did.

    There are some fine lines that can be walked here, but this comment is tripping all over them. Can we not do the ableist stuff here, please?

  84. Okay First: BOO! To Jillian Michaels.

    Second: I rarely comment so I apologize if this is a derail but I must stand in support if stretch marks. I do not consider my post-pregnancy stretch marks to be a concession I made for the birth of my son so much as being analagous to a cool tattoo you might get to commemorate an important event in your life. I like to see or feel them sometimes and remember when I was that close to my baby.

    So in summary Yay stretch marks! Boo to a culture where people like Jillian Michaels even have a platform to essentially turn something as important and complex as adoption into part of a diet plan!

  85. I think it’s an issue of control. To be pregnant is to accept the fleshiness of ourselves; no amount of willpower or ‘pushing through’ is going to change some aspects of pregnancy, and i think for Jillian, as someone who has built a career out of the premise that we can do anything if we want it bad enough, the idea that you are no longer ‘in charge’ of your own body is terrifying.

    Yes, this is my perspective, as well. I had a terrible pregnancy, spending the last 5 months hobbling, in a wheelchair, in pain, and otherwise sidelined. Most women do have healthy pregnancies, but complications can arise that simply can’t be anticipated. Anyone who has serious control issues about their body is going to have an especially hard time dealing with a difficult pregnancy.

  86. @Kate,when you require the use of donor gametes, alternative insemination (“artificial” is a very loaded term), the services of a reproductive endocrinologist, and (usually) hormone therapy to manage your cycle, that’s infertility.

    Fair enough. And thanks for the tip on the correct terminology — I didn’t know that.

    It’s no different than the situation of a woman who is healthy herself but whose male partner is sterile. Would you say “there’s no reason to assume she’d be incapable of conceiving via ART”, or consider that couple to be anything other than infertile?

    I would consider the couple to be infertile, yes, but (at least until you put it this way), I wouldn’t consider the woman to be. I get that the distinction is moot when what you want is a baby with this particular person — that’s an important point, and the way I was defining “infertility” in my head was too reductive. Nevertheless, my point stands that nothing Michaels has said indicates that she wants to have a biological child with or without any particular person. And since she’s a woman who at least sometimes dates and falls in love with men, there are numerous scenarios in which she could hypothetically become pregnant, if that was what she wanted. But the whole point here is that she said publicly that she doesn’t want to become pregnant. So I still think it’s a big leap from her explicit statement that she doesn’t want to have biological children to assuming she can’t for one reason or another.

    On topic: Jillian Michaels is horrendously fatphobic, and Tasha Fierce rules.

  87. Snarky: I don’t mean to derail (and this is all I’ll say I promise!) but I think it would be awesome to see a post about adoption and racism/classism.

    I think I might be up for this one day – probably not soon though. I grew up in a family that desperately wanted to adopt children and despite being wealthy, stable and intact, found that after ten years of seeking to do so, they were covertly being discriminated against due to race.

    So whenever I hear “there just aren’t enough loving homes” or “I’ll just adopt” it’s usually from a position of racial privilege and entitlement. Devoid of racial, gender identity, ability status, sexuality and class analysis (in family’s case meaning poor white folks had a better chance of adopting/fostering children than our family did) or what part intersectionality plays into all of this. For the most part, adoption in the US is a privileged person’s game.

    So folks get into the business of conflating choice with access. For example marginalized folks must not want to adopt, rather than the real story which is often that marginalized folks are denied access to adoption based on whatever their particular flavor of ism happens to be.

    So seeing Michaels toss off a statement such as that only makes me distrust her motives even more, thus getting crispy at those who sought to provide her with “the benefit of the doubt”.

  88. I find it funny (only not, you know, funny ha-ha) that so many people are willing to give Jillian Michaels (a person who has based her professional life and a great deal of her personal life around unapologetic and extremely public fat-hatred and body-shaming) the Nice White Woman benefit of the doubt, but won’t extend the same benefit to Tasha Fierce (a person who dedicates a heap of time to writing about feminist, race, and other rights issues). Because the person who is totally more likely to be buying into women- and person-hating tropes in this scenario is Tasha Fierce, right?

    Jillian Michaels’ comments do not exist in a vacuum – neither of her own history of fat-hating nor of society generally. So when she’s talking about not being able to “handle doing that” to her body, in order to seriously believe that she’s referring to medical problems she may or may not be likely to experience during pregnancy we need to view her comments in a vacuum: where she doesn’t automatically assume we know what she means by “doing that” because our culture so hates fat and women’s bodies, where she hasn’t talked extensively about how terribly horribly bad it was to be ‘overweight’ as a teen and how she’s afraid of ‘going back to that’*, where she actually issues a follow-up statement explaining and apologising for her comment, where she isn’t clearly obsessed with being thin and having total control over her body, where ‘getting fat’ isn’t socially considered to be one of those Gross Things that Happens to Pregnant Women, and where the bodies of women who have recently given birth aren’t considered worthy of scorn and disgust to be negatively compared to pre-pregnancy bodies.

    Only, you know, neither of those vacuums exists at all. And that’s not even touching on how fucked up her comment about ‘saving’ an adopted child and part of herself is, on oh so very many levels.

    *My husband used to subscribe to a couple of body building magazines. She would seriously not shut the hell up about how fatty fatty unworthy-cakes she used to be in her frequent interviews (a whole 150lb!!! Practically titanic!!!).

  89. First of all, although it is completely off-point, I adore the title’s exclamation that Jillian Michaels “be illin”. On this, I feel, most of us can agree :)

    I’m a bit torn about Jillian M’s comments, but I think that for me, it IS because I have long disagreed with her entire affiliation with and presence on Biggest Loser. I’ve read some information about what really goes on before weigh-ins and other behind-the-scenes moments on the show; it’s dangerous, unhealthy and arranged around the “goal” of shaming people into changing everything about themselves. With her training and admittedly great body, Ms. Michaels is in a high profile position where she could actually speak and act on behalf of health and wellness rather than fat-fear.

    So she chooses not to do that, and she chooses not to have babies, couldn’t do that to her body or whatever. I guess maybe she meant simply that her body is her money-maker, so she can’t go through all that comes with pregnancy. I admit that my problem with her is just that: the way she goes about making her money by shaming and degrading the so-called biggest losers. For me, and perhaps others of like mind, this flurry of controversy just adds fuel to the fire.

  90. …whoa! before anyone becomes really offended, let me clarify my previous comment. When I began by saying that “it” is completely off-point, I meant my focus on the title of the piece rather than the content. But I love the title and think Tasha Fierce is crazy cool.

  91. While I’m not going to go as far as to defend Michaels or anyone else who associates with the Biggest Loser conglomerate, she didn’t directly say that fat was the problem. She’s probably shallow enough that it plays a major part, but that’s an unfair judgement call on my part and I can’t back it up and therefore can’t hold it against her. My wife has never been pregnant and has always been fat; still, putting aside the whole having children part which neither of us wants, she also does not want to do that to her body. Pregnancy does more to the body than make it fat, and while for some the fatness may be one or the major issue, it’s not necessarily a given. In my wife’s case, it’s not a fat issue, and I don’t think expressing what Michaels did is immediately and certainly fat-phobic (although as I say, by my personal judgement, and by the way it’s going to be seen [like right here on this blog, for example]), it probably is. Either way Jillian Michaels is horrible, so we can probably all agree on that part.

  92. she’s self-identified in interviews as bisexual, so it is as likely as not that she would be unable to conceive with a current or future partner

    Right, because all bisexual people date men and women on exactly a 50/50 basis. I know I do! Oh, wait…

  93. @Emma B – I don’t know why you needed to take my name in vain on one of your comments, but if you’re going to pull me into this discussion I’m going to just say that it doesn’t even matter who put you in charge of second guessing what other women say about their reproductive choices on the basis of tabloid level knowledge of their sex lives. Because even assuming that is your job, and that you’re right that her stated reasons for not getting pregnant are a cover for something else, that doesn’t change WHAT she grabbed to hide behind, does it? It doesn’t mitigate in any way the fact that she’s climbing over pregnant women, fat women, and women who have been pregnant to get to where she wants to go.

    If I follow it, your argument is that maybe she gave it more thought in private and gave a thoughtless and unnuanced answer in public? Well so what. We’re not discussing Jillian Michaels’s inner life or her private behavior. Any time someone shows their ass in public it’s possible that they’re not thinking and in a more reflective setting they would have behaved differently. Or they might have behaved even more egregiously. The meat of the matter, though, is what they did.

  94. <3 your comment Alexandra Erin. What-ifs don't change what a person has done, no matter how many people want to excuse them.

    And I really have a problem with the idea that she's totes got to be hiding behind not wanting children, because she could be infertile and bitter about it. Some people do not want children, and that really is all there is to it. That really smacks of babies = natural, no babies = UNNATURAL and probably lying. I'm going to take someone's word when they say they don't want children, just as I don't assume a woman really doesn't want children when she says that she does. Because people have autonomy like that, ideally, and I really don't have the ability to judge someone's life better than they do.

  95. Jillian Michaels has a platform, a platform she uses to promote body hate. When Jillian Michaels makes public statements that express the idea of pregnancy as a bad thing, then Jillian Michael is telling a very large number of people that her body is “good” and a post-pregnancy body is “bad”. It’s that simple. Whatever her personal motivations, she didn’t keep her words personal, she put them in the public sphere, where she has influence.

    I’m not giving her any benefit of the doubt. Her platform and income have been based on a savage form of body and fat hate, and she has used her fame to brutally abuse people who have listened to her message of hate.

    She doesn’t get a pass. She promoted more fat hate, even if she did so obliquely, since very few people will parse what she did say as anything other than “pregnancy will do bad things to my body”, which, as her entire fame revolves around weight loss, naturally leads to “pregnancy will make me fat” in most people’s minds. This is the damage that she does, and all the apologists who are bending over backwards to explain what she meant cannot change the effect of that damage. Jillian Michaels[tm] = Fat Hate[tm].

    She is the embodiment of the fat-hating fitness movement, and everything she says will be tainted with that hate. In short, it doesn’t matter what she meant, it matters that she does it on a platform of hatred and fear of fat. The intent and the context cannot be untangled from each other, because the context informs the viewer’s interpretation of the intent.

    Angry Fat Hating White Lady does not get a free pass. Unfortunately, she’s collecting a lot more than $200 for passing “Go”.

  96. This is very timely for me. Last week, I got shamed for doing “that” (pregnancy and breastfeeding) to my body at a Lane fucking Bryant.

  97. my point stands that nothing Michaels has said indicates that she wants to have a biological child with or without any particular person.

    @Kate, @Octavia, she’s explicitly said she WANTS TO HAVE A CHILD. Whether she wants to have it biologically or via adoption isn’t germane to her desire to become a parent. And if she says in an interview that she wants to become a parent, by birth or adoption or surrogacy, I will take her at her word, and consider her NOT to be childfree-by-choice. If you are still classing her as voluntarily childfree, you either need to reread the words she is quoted as having said, or reexamine your assumptions about the validity of adoptive parenthood relative to biological.

    Once we’ve established that she is childless rather than childfree, yes, I do think it is entirely reasonable to discuss infertility as a potentially legitimate factor for her desire to adopt rather than conceive, rather than exclusively assuming fatphobia. I mean, infertility is a possibility you should take into account for any person of any gender/orientation/status *WHO SAYS THEY WANT CHILDREN* but doesn’t have them — to do otherwise is to be working from reproductive privilege. I ONLY, and I don’t know how to make this any clearer, bring it up in Michaels’ specific case because SHE expressly says she wants children, and because SHE expressly self-identifies in that very same interview as bisexual, which means the possibility of her facing non-physical infertility is larger than that of a cis person who is exclusively hetero. Infertility is not a certainty for her by any means, but it’s something that we should consider as a possible motivation for choosing an alternative family-building method.

  98. While I think it’s important not to rag on Jillian Michaels for her personal choices, the stuff she says in the media is totally up for analysis/debate/criticism/head-desking. Tasha totally drew that line and stayed firmly on the “criticize what she said” side of it:

    I don’t want to judge her choice to not bear children, it’s her body – but I don’t appreciate the implicit fatphobia implied in saying pregnancy would ruin her body.

    Jillian Michaels also has enough of a platform that she can correct misperceptions (like she did, with that whole “ruin” thing). I think if there was something more nuanced there, she’d have added that in the correction too, and we’d be hearing some of it.

    Giving people the benefit of the doubt is awesome and kind, but there has to actually be some doubt there. Otherwise, it’s just making stuff up.

    I also think you can absolutely sympathize with eating disorder or body image issues without accepting and okaying crappy things someone says or giving them a free pass because of them.

  99. @Leely: I’m sorry, that really sucks. I hope you were able to blow it off and not let stupid people mess with your head too much.

  100. @Emma B, I’m kind of confused. She explicitly describes her desire to adopt rather than give birth as based on her desire not to do that to her body and to rescue a kid. She might have any number of reasons other than what she stated, but we can really only discuss what she said (both because anything else is speculating and because anything she chooses not to share isn’t our business anyway). It sounds very much like she’s talking about conceiving as an option that she’s rejecting, not as something that she can’t do.

    Infertility is not a certainty for her by any means, but it’s something that we should consider as a possible motivation for choosing an alternative family-building method.

    But, do we have to consider her motivations at all? They’re her decisions–she can base her family-building choices on whatever she wants. We totally don’t have the right to judge those choices, so we don’t need to know what factors are constraining or influencing them. What we have the right to critique is the stuff she said, which is pretty fat-hatey.

  101. Oh, and @slythwolf, I was attempting to give equal weight to the plausibility of male and female partners, not to imply that her specific dating history or future follows an even distribution. Apologies for failing.

  102. Emma B – The fact is, it can be easy as that for celebrities to adopt most of the time. They have the money to shell out to do it, and as a wealthy, ‘healthy’, white female, she’s more likely to be chosen as an adoptive parent. Adoption IS hard and adoption DOES have its failings, but I still personally support it (having six adoptive siblings myself), particularly for those who WANT children but can’t have children, and I am also very aware of how much easier it was for my white, middle class parents to adopt in comparison to many others.

    To her, the idea of adoption is that many celebrities have: SAVE a BABY from TERRIBLE DOOM in UNFORTUNATE COUNTRY. It’s awful and wrong, but that’s what they think, and adoption is SOLD as “rescuing” children. Yell at the adoption hawkers (both in-country and out!), too, for putting this out as the idea.

    DISCLAIMER: Even though I have an irrational dislike of Jillian Michaels due to her weird diet commercials, I have NEVER seen any show or read anything about her except the article the HuffPo was mentioning. I have never watched Biggest Loser because the entire concept repulses me.

    I read her comments as someone who chose a childfree lifestyle for specific health reasons (aside from just not wanting teh babies), not the weight gain, or stretch marks (got those in spades). There are a lot of dangers to pregnancy – vaginal tearing and crushed tailbones, not to forget more serious implications – that have nothing to do with appearance. They have to do with actual injuries. So, sensitive topic for me.

    tl;dr Adoption stuff is all fucked up, I hate TBL and don’t like Michaels, and totally interpreted the comments differently and not as fat-phobic, but now that it’s explained, I think I get it, just kind of wanted to share my perspective.

  103. @ Rachel in WY:

    Err, sorry, but that was actually the opposite of what I said. I had quoted someone agreeing with you at the top of my comment and was responding to their viewpoint.

    Re: the whole adoption failness of the great fail. SomeTHING? She wants to “rescue” someTHING? Like a lost kitten? Or a table that needs to be re-varnished? I feel as if we need to go no further in our discussion. I mean, I know everyone else in Hollywood is doing it, but Jesus Christ on a pogo stick.

    Again, I get making a stupid statement to the press and I do think re: her squooshy personal feelings, I prefer to not give a flip so much as to what she thinks/her personal psychology. But the woman is a media MACHINE. If she wanted to promote a more nuanced and helpful view to the public, she would have done so by now.

  104. Sure, but is there no balanced approach available here? Either every woman must be able to do childbirth naturally and uneventfully or it’s always in every case a terribly dangerous, diseased process from which we must be rescued by a (probably male, definitely very paternalistic) surgeon who will swoop in and cut us open to rescue the baby from our dangerous lady parts? The view that all pregnancies are dangerous and diseased is, um, patriarchal.

    @EmmaB I’m not sure that’s truly a response to me. I think we can acknowledge that medical interventions can be an essential part of childbirth in some cases while still resisting the current culture of chilbirth in which medical interventions are routinely expected to be a part of every birth, and more than one in three births will be a c-section. I think we should also stop ignoring the fact that this process needlessly ends up traumatizing many women. I tend to think there’s some middle ground here.

  105. @ Rachel:

    I feel it is pretty OT to respond to this topic any more than I already have… If you wanted to start a thread on Ning, we could talk about it there, or if the mods wanted to start a separate thread, but I’d rather not get into it any more here?

  106. OK. So I think I figured out where, precisely, I’m still hung up, because I’m getting the Jillian-as-Big-Public-Fat-Hater=Automatic Fail, Always.

    The remaining problem, for me, is in opening up the entry by describing her as “screeching” and “overly pushy.” It sets off my sexist language alarm. Nobody else has commented so I’m wondering if there’s something I’m missing. I admit I have no clue who Tasha Fierce is (although I promise I will by the end of the day) but obviously she’s amazingly awesome and knowledgeable about sexist language… which brings me back to wondering if there’s something I’m missing. I promise I’m not trying to be obtuse. Am I being overly sensitive in equating calling a woman screeching and overly pushy with saying an uppity bitch should be put in her place?

    (@Snarky – I’m so sorry if this makes your head hit your desk again… if it does I acknowledge totally owing you a new headdesk airbag protection system or something.)

  107. @Emma B:

    I’m sorry, it looks like you’re asking people to accept what Jillian Michaels explicitly said to disprove something else she explicitly said. That wouldn’t prove which statement is true, even if the two things contradicted each other (and they don’t). A more useful exercise might be to ask yourself why it’s so important that this hypothetically possible possibility be entertained when the end result—what she said and how it affects the culture we’re all immersed in—is the same.

  108. quite a bit off topic I’m sure but anomic entropy, i also really wouldn’t mind finding a personal trainer who is familiar with FA. I need to move my bod and I’m so tied up in exercise as punishment for eating I am having hell with it.

  109. @KellyK, @Alexandra Erin: this is where my personal history comes into play, and sure, it’s coloring my interpretation. But here is an experience I have had:

    I’m at a social event, maybe a party with a well-meaning friend, maybe a holiday dinner with relatives, and a clueless someone asks me, “So, do you guys have any plans for children?” I don’t really want to explain that I DID have those plans but the situation is very uncertain, so I mumble something to the effect of “We’ll see.” Clueless Someone will not drop it and goes on about how kids are great, and how we’d make great parents. At this point, I can either get assertive about telling them to drop the subject, or I can say some bullshit to help the conversation be over. Maybe I don’t feel like dealing with a butt-hurt Great Aunt Mildred, so I say whatever bullshit comes to mind to deflect the issue. That might be, “Well, kids are great, but right now we’re enjoying each other”. It might be “Well, we’re thinking we might like to adopt someday”, if we’re giving up on bio reproduction. It might also be a joke about how I’m not ready to deal with morning sickness or go through labor. The point is that I have just been kicked in a very tender spot, and I’m wibbling around trying to say whatever will just make the conversation be over before I do something like burst into tears.

    I have said all of things. I’ve said them to others and to myself. I’ve never SAID “I can’t handle what it does to my body”, but I have certainly THOUGHT to myself, “at least I won’t have to handle what it does to my body”, and I have meant it in ways which were and were not fat-related. It’s part of going through that particular disability — you grieve and you rationalize and you bargain. Sometimes, other people catch you in the middle of it and poke at you, and stupid shit falls out of your mouth because you’re too sore to come up with anything better. Michaels’ comment struck a chord with me, in a way that might not be obvious to someone who hasn’t actually had to think about this situation very much.

    I’m sure the childfree people here have probably all had some variation of the above experience too, and know how uncomfortable it can be. If that applies to you, consider that at least you are confident in your decision not to have children, rather than having that choice taken from you against your will. Ask yourself how well you’d handle it if you were really shattered about the whole thing, and some interviewer started pushing you on it, and you couldn’t just drop it or leave the conversation.

    If you HAVEN’T had to deal with infertility, and if maybe someone who HAS is telling you that this sounds very much like things that people with infertility say as part of the coping process, and if you know that infertility is more likely in Michaels’ particular situation than for a generic cis/hetero/abled couple, maybe you ought to consider that there MIGHT possibly be a more charitable interpretation than just fat-shaming. I mean, you should think that about anyone, and I know Michaels hasn’t done much to earn herself any doubt-benefits. But you asked above if someone made it my job to second-guess other women’s reproductive choices, and what I’m answering you is that my experience wearing these particular shoes may very well make me a little more qualified than you to say that her comment can legitimately be read in that light.

    A more useful exercise might be to ask yourself why it’s so important that this hypothetically possible possibility be entertained when the end result—what she said and how it affects the culture we’re all immersed in—is the same.

    Uh, maybe because reproductive privilege, and all the unpleasant assumptions people make about it AND ARE MAKING RIGHT HERE IN THIS VERY THREAD, is pretty goddamn important to me and the culture in which I have been immersed for the last several years. I’m not playing devil’s advocate or anything here — this is very, very personal for me. Right now, I’m feeling genuinely angry that it seems like some of you are deciding that it’s more important to pile on her for fat-hatred than to question where there is some other kind of disprivilege at work here. I’m also quite upset that you are dismissing said disprivilege as a “hypothetically possible possibility” when *I* am the one who knows a thing or two about it and have just finished explaining that it is a real and legimitate possibility.

  110. EmmaB, I’m sorry for everything you’ve gone through and I appreciate why you’d say or think exactly the statement that Jillian Michaels made and why that’s an understandable response given what you’ve been dealing with. At the same time, I’m comfortable criticizing Michaels for it, for two reasons.

    First, because she has made herself a public figure, she has put herself in positions where she’s willing to talk about these things in public, and she has based her image as a public figure on fat hatred. And a particularly virulent, active and nasty fat hatred at that. This is not someone who might accidentally stumble on something with fatphobic connotations without thinking about it and then be mortified later at the problematic nature of her statements even though she couldn’t help them at the time. This is someone whose entire professional and very public career is intertwined with the concept – she knows full well that most of what she speaks about is fat and weight loss and that her remarks are likely to be interpreted in that light, and she’s accountable for that. She also has ample opportunities to clarify if that’s what she meant.

    Second, regardless of the state of her soul or the internal pain she’s dealing with, her words have real effects on real women who can’t read her mind to know what she meant. The fact is, the only thing that goes out to the public is a fat hating statement. In that sense, it doesn’t matter what behind it – hell, it doesn’t even have to be infertility. If she is struggling with an eating disorder, for instance, and that is what is behind her words, I feel sorry for her and I hope she can find some peace. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve to be critiqued and criticized for the statements she puts out in public, without explanation, that effect real harm on people and perpetuate a harmful culture. We can’t accurately sit around assessing what her motives are; we can only assess what the objective results of her objective statements are, and we should do that.

  111. I’m confused. If (big IF) Michaels is dealing with infertility would that give her the right to act like an asshole about pregnant/fat women? Even if someone is pressing you (which is invasive and gross and wrong regardless of your fertility) would it make saying something like “at least I won’t get saggy tits” any less of a body shaming thing to say? It’s still reducing other women to the status of their bodies and comparing it to some ideal.

    If someone said it because they were hurting I would feel sorry for their pain, but I don’t think they need a pass on how they expressed it if they don’t acknowledge it was wrong.

  112. Well, I’m not a damn therapist, and no one’s looking for a personal trainer who won’t help them hate themselves a little prettier. Yeah, so no personal trainer job for me… back to school I go.

    @Anomic Entropy – No no no no no! Egad, no, don’t give up! I’m with lemonadeandlemoncake on this. If I had the cash for a personal trainer that wouldn’t give me shit about diet and instead wanted me to get all active-fit-awesome like? You bet your ass I’d want one! In the big wide world, it may look like no one would want such a thing, but the Fat-o-Sphere has definitely shown that there are folk that would love love LOVE a trainer like you.

    Back to topic – No, I’m not giving Jillian Michaels the eensy weensiest bit of benefit of the doubt. While she was misquoted, the intent behind what she actually said is still self-loathing and body-hating. She’s a Professional Skinny Person, and while even the Professionally Skinny get to make their own damn choices about what they wanna do with their Professionally Skinny selves…. well, we’re all swimmin’ in the same water. And she’s peeing in it, perpetuating crap about post-pregnancy bodies and whatnot. She’s in a position where lots of people listen to her and pay attention to her and trust in her. (And she got into that position because she tows the OMG FAT IZ BAD line very, very well. I doubt she’d have gotten such attention and position without such a hardline approach, come to think of it…)

  113. @em b

    Once we’ve established that she is childless rather than childfree, yes, I do think it is entirely reasonable to discuss infertility as a potentially legitimate factor for her desire to adopt rather than conceive, rather than exclusively assuming fatphobia.

    Here’s where you’re wrong. YOU don’t drive the discourse here. Tash wrote a perfectly meaty analysis, which is more than enough to sink teeth into. Moreover, if you wish to steer the discourse in some other direction, you’ll need to do that elsewhere.

    Whatever legitimate OT discussions that might be valid are inappropriate at this time. This is not to say they are NEVER appropriate, but it is to say, this is NOT a messageboard thus, there is no expectation that one has the right to have style of discussion. We do however, have a discussion board and you’re welcome to move your conversation there.

    Reread the comment policy if this is difficult for you to grasp.

    signed,
    Your Mod, Snarky’s Machine

  114. I actually think the “doing that” comment is worse than one about “ruining” her body. I can understand why somebody wouldn’t want to have a child and/or wouldn’t want to be pregnant. I hate being pregnant. It’s not fun. And, I just spent a month in excruciating pain because my baby broke my tailbone during delivery, and there’s nothing they can do for you when that happens except give you motrin and tell you to wait it out. So, yeah, pregnancy and childbirth can do painful, not-nice things to your body.

    But, the issue I take with JM’s statement is that she seems to be construing that “that” of pregnancy as this horrible, awful thing, whereas the “that” she makes her livelihood encouraging women to do–dieting and exercising to an extreme and punishing degree–is somehow a positive, healthy thing.

  115. Being disadvantaged in one way does not give you a right to use your privilige in other areas against those who don’t have it. It doesn’t. Just. No.

    So even if she had some infertility issues (and there is nothing concrete to prove that assumption), being disadvantaged because of her limited reproductive options would not give her the right to body-shame people. I feel for GLBT people who want children that they don’t have, but if a GLBt woman told me that not having children was great because “pregnancy makes women icky-fat”? That would be a totally fucked up thing to say. Even if they had been pushed by someone about why they don’t have children. Because fat hatred is fucked up. Thin, white, conventionally pretty women being fat hating is fucked up, even if they are doing it for reasons that I sympathise with.

    And this women has built her entire career on fat-hatred. And now she made another statement that promotes fat hatred. No matter what her hidden reasons might be, no matter how many personal problems might have driven her, be they an eating disorder or frustration about possible difficulties at getting pregnant- it doesn’t matter.

    People can have the best of intentions, but if what they say- in this case, in an interview, with the privilege of a women who is listened to by a lot of people- is hatefull towards a group of marginalized people, than that harm is what matters. What matters is the effect, not the (possible, maybe existing) good intentions. Isn’t that sort of social-justice 101? That what matters is what people actually do, what changes they affect, not what their intentions were that got lost on the way somewhere?

  116. If (big IF) Michaels is dealing with infertility

    This, the “big IF”? IS FAIL. Please stop doing this, all of you. Please stop saying that infertility is such a remote theoretical possibility that we have to stand on tiptoe and make some giant leap of imagination to make it apply. Please stop othering and dismissing it. What if we referred to chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia or any other invisible disability as “if (big IF)”? What if someone who had dealt with depression said, hey, X said something that people with depression often say, so maybe we should examine that as a potential justification? Would you really feel OK saying “If (big IF) she might be depressed”? If you would, or if you feel OK saying that about infertility or any other condition, well, please go and have yourself a nice steaming hot cup of privilege-checking.

    I’m serious here. This is ableist as fuck, and I resent the living hell out of it. I especially resent that I have explained multiple times that this is a privilege fail of several different kinds, and y’all keep fucking doing it. If you do not have any personal experience with reproductive privilege and the lack thereof, please stop and think VERY HARD before continuing to imply that I am making irrational and unfounded assumptions and mental-pretzelings.

    @LilahMorgan, there is a good conversation to have here about the intersection of celebrities as public figures and as private individuals, along some of the lines of the recent discussion about Sandra Bullock. Unfortunately, I am too angry (in general, not at you specifically) to have that conversation just now, and am going to go put myself in time-out from this thread for a bit before replying.

  117. @Anomic Entropy – I *totally* want a personal trainer who would listen to *my* goals about fitness rather than bugging me about what I eat and talking weight loss at me.

    Whether you want to be an FA-minded person working in a really pro-FOBT environment may be another story. I doubt I’d have the patience for that.

  118. @buttercup, lemonadeandlemonacake and anyone else

    I’ve now included my blog address with my name if anyone’s interested in talking about FA-promoting personal training thoughts/ideas. (I hope that’s OK.)

  119. … Aaaand I’m going to listen to She Who Is In Fact the Boss of Me up there, and drop the whole subject.

  120. Snarky, sorry for contributing to the infertility-derail, I was typing as you were posting.

    This article was awesome.

    I think it is very important for feminists and reproductive rights activists to distinguish between womens reproductive freedom- which should never be up for debate- and the ways in which society pushes women in one direction or the other- which should be an essential part of the debate, because to actually have reproductive freedom is not possible unless we fight against the ways in which the kirarchy wants to determine what the “right” choices are for any given group.

    The narrative that “pregnancy ruins a body” is fucked up. Just like the “disabled people shouldn’t have children because then they might be disabled as well” doctrin. Or the idea that “embryos who would become disabled children should always be aborted”. These are no better “no abortion should ever be allowed”. Because they, also, are about taking away options.

    That doesn’t mean that we have any right to take aways the choices of women who chose to not have children, or claim that their choice was not ok, was made for the “wrong” reasons. It means that we have to do everything we can to create a society in which women have choices. Provide aid for parents with disabilities, for parents who are lower class, for single parents, for parents who want to both of careers and for those who dont. Create a world that is less ruled by ableism, that doesn’t devalue disabled children and that doesn’t blame their parents for some percieved “defect”. Critically examine the way pregnancy is over-medicinized, as well as the way women with health concerns are silenced by the “pregnancy is the most natural, never dangerous, always wonderfull thing in the world”- framing. Stop shaming women who don’t want children. Stop shaming those who do.

    And yes, stop looking at pregnant bodies as something that is ruined. Stop judging women by the shape of their bodies (actually, stop doing that to anybody).

  121. @Emma B: The topic is very much dropped, but I do want to say that I’m sorry you get stuck in a position of people pushing you about kids and putting you in those sorts of positions, and that I’m sorry if I poked at a sensitive spot for you.

    :: offers baby donuts::

  122. Yes, JM is free to choose her choice (as Tasha stated explicitly) BUT she used her public platform to body-snark pregnant / fat / post-pregnancy bodies, which is where the right to critique comes in.

    See, as a fairly fat person, her contribution to fat-shaming culture is making it harder on me in my own baby creation ordeal. Not just hurting my feelings, like hey I have a saggy belly and stretch marks, but making it easier for doctors to treat me as a stereotype.

    My asshole OB diagnosed me as fat the second I walked into her office, and she focused all her time and attention – including lots of expensive tests – on the problems that I must be having, since it had been a year and I’d failed to conceive. Come to find out, after she finally tracked down my husband’s sperm test, he has motility issues with his sperm. Which might mean, uh-oh, the problem is with the normal weight dude. Wait, that can’t be right!!

    So yeah, what people like JM say and do (on the show that shall not be named) matters. She’s sending out a message that fat bodies are disgusting and damaged goods. My body is already “ruined” before even being pregnant, so how can I be so deluded as to consider it a good home to raise a fetus? Her ableist and fat hating wankery contributes to a culture that punishes those of us that have “done that” in one way or another to our bodies.

  123. @Emma B – I’m a trans woman with trans partners – infertklity and non-privileged reproductive arrangements loom rather large in my future.

    If at any point I say something horrible and indefensie about someone else to avoid disclosing that I’m (for instance) trying to produce a biological offspring by doing something more often associated with men, it will be horrible and indefensible and if I’m doing it in public I hope someone checks me.

    When someone is a member of a marginalized group, they don’t owe the world any truth that can be used against them. (Heck, I don’t believe anyone owes the world any information about themselves by default.) But there’s a world of difference between deflecting attention from oneself and judo-throwing hate at someone else.

  124. Yeep, sorry… I’d been trying to get that comment to post from my phone from within the bowels of Union Station for a while and didn’t see the OT had been KO’d. Sorry.

  125. Womanist Musings has a really good article up about white women adopting children of color.

    I don’t really like Jillian Michaels. Her “doing ‘that’ to my body” comment didn’t shock the hell out of me. The rescuing a poor widdle behbee comment was full of fail. Babies aren’t there so they can help you “rescue yourself”. My advice to Jillian Michaels is if you want to rescue yourself, then please please please go see a therapist.

    I read that on TBL, people often exercise until they puke blood, because they lose weight faster than our bodies can handle.

  126. @Anomic Entropy: I literally cannot resist the urge to add my voice to the chorus of those who desperately wish they could have an FA personal trainer. I’m in a field involving cameras, which means I am literally going to be rewarded for thinness. I’m also ADHD, have no experience creating healthy physical habits for myself (since I don’t have dance classes paid for by parents anymore, yay growing up privileged), and really suck at the skills necessary to build and maintain routines, even for things I want for myself, like moving around regularly for the sake of my own health and happiness. If I had a chance to get wise, experienced guidance building up skills in that area, from someone who was also committed to reminding me that I’m doing it for me and not for any hypothetical camera/inches/scaryLAmindset reasons? It would be a godsend.

    Please forgive the derail, but it does seem appropriate since no, you’re right, JM should not get the benefit of the doubt, since she has clearly demonstrated that she is not in any way the gift from heaven I described above. And insofar as voices like hers contribute to a culture in which FA personal training wasn’t a viable option for Anomic Entropy and made me fail to realize how much I would value it until just now?Fail. So much fail.

    (Really on topic: thank you, Tasha Fierce, this was awesome, and thank you Snarky’s, I know you’re not here to educate me but I can’t help appreciating how damn much I learn about communication just from watching you mod, and from everyone here about privilege.)

  127. @Lisablue, and anyone else who’s made comments along these lines: “All I could think of, when I read her statements was “wait… what? her body was made to make babies, but she doesn’t want to do that to her body?”

    I would ask that we stay away from language about “meant to,” “natural,” etc. The implication here is one that we’re all head-bangingly familiar with, that women’s bodies are made for having children, that their bodies are MEANT TO go through pregnancy and childbirth. Here’s a short list of who’s left out of this equation (in other words, we women whose bodies aren’t gliding down the “natural” path of pregnancy and birth):

    1) Women who know, in their souls and hearts and brains and bodies and whatever other parts help them form the whole of who they are, that they are not “meant” to give birth.

    2) Cancer survivors/other medicalized people who’ve had parts removed.

    3) Folks who want very much to get pregnant and give birth, but can’t. (And who can’t even begin to look at fertility treatments, whether for financial/health care reasons or otherwise.)

    4) Women without uteruses. There are a lot of us, and we’re arranged that way for all sorts of different reasons (gender difference, bodily difference, medicine, etc).

    This is a short list, and my intent isn’t to enumerate every reason why a woman might not fit into the “made for pregnancy” category. There are plenty of other reasons. But my point is that I think it’s very important not to fall into the essentialism of what women’s bodies are “made for.” How should I know what anyone else’s body is made for? Whenever we start to assign purpose to other people’s bodies, I think we’re inevitably projecting our biases and fears onto them.

    All that derailing aside, I think Jillian Michaels is a super-loud voice of fat hatred in our culture, and I have absolutely no interest in digging around to find ways to give her the benefit of the doubt just to make myself a little more comfortable for whatever reason. Great post, Tasha Fierce!

  128. I think of the fertility issues are being parsed out on Kate’s newest post. See y’all there.

    No worries to folks (Emma B, etc) who were having passionate OT conversations. It’s a weird day for old snarky, with all this damn snow and very limited supplies of key lime pie.

  129. I knew that when I finally decided to post a comment that I would end up putting my foot in my mouth. The concepts being discussed on this blog are complex and nuanced, not at all easy to unpack. I’ve been reading for a fairly long time (2 years), but have rarely posted. I often don’t have anything to say that hasn’t already been said 1000 times better. If I say something problematic, I know I need to be called on it. My hope is that I’ll eventually build enough of a rapport with the S.P. community to be known as sincere and have something constructive to add to the conversation every once in a while.

    To borrow Anomic Entropy’s phrase, I am not being intentionally obtuse. I don’t want to miss the opportunity to understand where I go wrong. I do want to offer an apology to Tasha. My issue was with the media. I can see why it didn’t come across that way.

  130. Parsing out TWO sentences – which definitely could stand to be unpacked, but NOT to the degree which folks opted to here – when there is so much fatphobia to hash out scans to me as problematic.

    Here’s why:

    Marginalized folks have a long shitty history with having their contributions to discourse “parsed” to the point of irrelevancy in a way that privileged folks do not. So forgive me if I’m not interested in giving anyone a pass when engage in what I believe is text book derailing for dummies.

    Word. The threadjack also scanned to me as very much Derailing for Dummies “You’re interrogating from the wrong perspective.” Though I understand why people feel so passionate about this subject.

  131. emma b: if she is dealing with inferfility: it’s possible. i won’t discount it. i won’t other it. if these things are possible….okay. i feel sorry for her.
    and yes. on this blog? Mods are the boss of you. it’s their blog but we do have ning, where you can steer the discussion.

    but it’s still not okay to talk about fat hate. just isn’t. sorry that you don’t feel acknowledged here. the best place to talk about this would probably be on the forum on ning, as this thread isn’t about infetility.

    lilahmorgan: yes! i DO feel deeply sorry for her difficulty with her body/eating and stuff like that, however it just is NOT an excuse. Meme Roth has a bad relationship with food herself. Who knows if she ever eats. But it doesn’t make it okay for her to build a career on hating fat people.

  132. She posted about this on her facebook a week or so ago. She said

    “I appreciate all the support on here and while I know I don’t have to justify my position it is necessary to clarify it. I NEVER said I was anti pregnancy or that pregnancy ruins a body. I said that “I can’t put my body through it”. There are emotional issues and physical LIMITATIONS that have resulted in that conclusion – some I have discussed publicly and some I haven’t.”

    Celebrity or not, “nice white lady” or not, it makes little sense to pick apart a statement anyone made and put words in their mouth.

  133. Here’s an interview with JM where she explains that her comment was taken out of context. She has endometriosis and PCOS, and when she said “she can’t handle doing that to her body,” she was referring specifically to going through the process of infertility treatment.

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