Okay, let’s talk about the New York Times piece. I wasn’t interviewed for the article, although I was told there might be a mention, and so I didn’t expect this blog to be featured so prominently, which was a delightful surprise when I saw the masthead in this morning’s paper. On the whole, I thought the article was a pretty fair representation of the world of fat blogging.
The bloggers’ main contention is that being fat is not a result of moral failure or a character flaw, or of gluttony, sloth or a lack of willpower. Diets often boomerang, they say; indeed, numerous long-term studies have found that even though dieters are often able to lose weight in the short term, they almost always regain the lost pounds over the next few years… “I’m not surprised there are so many of these blogs now,” Ms. [Rachel] Richardson said. “Anti-obesity hysteria has reached a boiling point. Blogging is a way for people to fight back.”
Here are some responses from the other featured blogs.
Rachel at The-F-Word:
The term fat acceptance is somewhat of a misnomer and many folks, such as I, describe themselves as body acceptance activists. Most fat acceptance sites, like mine, are staunchly anti-diet and many express grave concerns about the rising popularity of weight loss surgery, but we are not anti-thin nor do we dismiss the body insecurities people of all sizes are made to feel they have.
The New York Times article accurately summed up much of what people in the fat acceptance movement believe and promote. Sadly, the story did leave out one crucial and foundational part of the movement: The crux of fat acceptance is in fighting the stigmatization and social, political and economic marginalization distinctly and acutely experienced by fat people.
Red No. 3, with an interesting roundup of reactions to the article:
One diet blog is dismayed at the article. It takes what I think is meant to be the “moderate” total condemnation of fat acceptance by insisting that self-esteem is something they do believe in. We just shouldn’t have it. Fat acceptance is, instead, an act of “fear, loathing, and sacrifice”…
Did you know fat people like to eat? Some folks on the internet seem to. We seem to be second only to cats in our desire for cheeseburgers. But, I forget that this kind of taunting is accepted as reasonable discourse on the fatosphere, so I guess no reason to bring it up.
I had to roll my eyes at some of the comments on this blog (some of which I deleted). So many of them made comments that can be summed up as “put down the ice cream, you disgusting whore.” Do these people not have reading comprehension skills? I mean, seriously, the other post I wrote yesterday was about something that happened to me while I was at the gym. Do these people not realize that their assumptions about fat people are—well, obviously. I guess I just don’t understand, and will never understand, why people are so offended by fat that they feel the need to come here and declare their hate and vitriol. I guess there’s also racism and homophobia and sexism so… yeah, not a shock, I guess.
Anyway, moving on, The Rotund:
We need a Body Acceptance movement and a Fat Acceptance movement because total strangers feel it is their right to inform us, with as much vitriol as possible, that we’re going to die. We need a Body Acceptance movement and a Fat Acceptance movement because a lot of people, when they hear from these trolls online or in real life (because this sort of thing isn’t limited to online anonymity), believe the hate. We need a Body Acceptance movement and a Fat Acceptance movement because hating ourselves is a form of self-injury that doesn’t do anyone any good.
Kate (who was almost on the Today Show, way to go, Kate):
What we promote here is actually called Health at Every Size, not “health at any size,” if you were thinking of Googling for more information. Here’s my favorite article on it.
Please check out Big Fat Blog, which has been around since 2000 and without which none of the blogs featured in the article would be here.
(I also have to add that Big Fat Deal would not be here without Poundy, so… just gotta share the love in that direction, too.) I love that we’ve made a splash in the world; as a group, as a “fatosphere” (sorry) we’ve achieved some kind of critical mass. I hope the response goes beyond the haters. I hope people will think about how we can teach people—especially girls, who I think are most damaged this kind of thinking—to start off by loving themselves. It is the first step to being a healthy person. I’m not anti-thin, and unlike many other bloggers in this group, I’m not even anti-diet. I am anti-self-loathing, big time. And no commenter calling me a fat whore is going to make me feel one iota less good about myself and about this blog. I’m glad to be here. I hope you are too.
Posted by mo pie