As Jessica at Feministing notes, the Wall Street Journal, that bastion of…something, has launched a new “women’s” section online. Three guesses what kind of topic is considered Suitable for the Ladies. Okay, to be fair, there are some career and politics-oriented articles, but there are also the obligatory articles on shopping, exercising, and dieting. The dieting article is almost HAES in drag: it’s about mindful eating and its potential to help chronic dieters or those with eating disorders. Sounds good, right? Well, it would be if it didn’t emphasize the weight loss of one participant, and if it didn’t include this delightful quote from a psychotherapist:
“I’ve worked with lots of obese people — you’d think they’d enjoy food. But a lot of them say they haven’t really tasted what they’ve been shoveling down for years.”
Use of “obese”? Check. Stereotypes about fat people? Double check! Fatties both loooove food AND can’t enjoy it because they’re shoveling it down too fast to have normal human experiences like “taste.” Mind you, the article does discuss binge-eating disorders in a reasonable way, but that’s not what our friend the psychotherapist is talking about — she just means any old “obese people” out there. You just can’t stop tear them away from the baby-flavored donuts!
But what really burns my cookies is the picture used to illustrate it. I was expecting a Headless Fatty, natch, but oh no, they’ve gone one better:
Hillary Clinton is not mentioned once in this article. Is she a binge eater? A chronic dieter? Does she practice mindful eating? Who knows? Who cares! It doesn’t matter. She’s a Lady, you see. And the WSJ is all about The Ladies. I’m sure running an unflattering picture of the first major female presidential candidate next to a headline about being “mindless,” for an article that reminds us that sometimes women eat cake! and then they get fat!, is just a random pairing that has nothing to do with WSJ’s notoriously stodgy editorial stance.
This article, which actually delivers what could be a fat-positive or at least fat-neutral stance, is framed as a way to keep all those silly fatties and mindless women from devouring the world. No woman is immune from public scrutiny of her diet: not even if you are rich, white, able-bodied, post-menopausal, and a US Senator can you avoid being used as a cautionary tale of The Dangers of Women Eating.