firecat: statue of two fat people kissing (fat people kissing)
[personal profile] firecat
National Public Radio (NPR) has a web page asking for comments on the topic "What does it mean to live in a nation where one out of every three people is obese." (The nation in question is the United States.)

http://www.publicinsightnetwork.org/form/apm/0d2dd143dca7/what-does-it-mean-to-live-in-a-nation-where-one-out-of-every-three-people-is-obese

The lead-in to the comment section says:
Americans are getting bigger. And it's not just changing our health, but our nation's infrastructure, spending habits, economy and state of mind. What changes have you noticed to the way we live? 

Tell us here. Your response will help shape a national reporting project on obesity.
Here are the comments I left them.

What conversations do you have - or avoid having - about weight?

As a fat activist, I regularly have conversations about how fat hatred is a major weapon in keeping women, people of color, and people in poverty from gaining power; about how fat hatred in medical professionals and in society in general harms people; about how fat is not the health risk most people think it is; and about the beauty of people of all size. I encourage people to investigate Health at Every Size http://haescommunity.org/ and I encourage people affected by fat hatred to group together, because having other people around who share the view that fatness is no big deal helps a person resist the hateful messages. I maintain a web site of fat friendly health professionals and a web site of clothing resources for fat people.

How, if at all, has our country's collective weight gain affected what you buy, how you travel or how you work and play?

A few providers of goods and services have recognized that fat people are a significant economic force and have changed their offerings to accommodate fat people. It's still difficult for fat people to find clothing and travel accommodations but it's easier than it used to be a couple of decades ago.

But mostly, people's gaining weight does not affect me at all. What affects me are the messages of hatred about weight gain. I avoid buying or otherwise exposing myself to products and services that promote fat hatred. I've given up watching TV partly because of all the fat hating messages I see on TV.

What, if any, other changes to your daily life have you noticed that you didn't mention above?

The moral panic called the "obesity epidemic" has gone hand in hand with increased popularity of the notion that a person's health status determines their worth, that their weight determines their health status, and that their weight is 100% controllable—therefore, that you can tell someone's moral worth by looking at them (thin=good, worthy; fat=bad, unworthy). I encounter messages like this every day and I feel sad and frustrated about them, because I believe they are harming people and their relationships with others, and because they are distracting people from seeing and working on solutions to social problems that might really benefit the world.

Anything else you'd like to tell us about this topic?

I'm disappointed in NPR for promoting fat-phobia with its spin on this topic. "What does it mean to live in a nation where one out of every three people is obese?" It means that the government and people of this nation have created an arbitrary and meaningless label that has nothing to do with health, worth, or anything else of value, and have burdened the whole citizenry with it: Not just the one out of every three people that get stuck with the label, but also all the people who worry about gaining weight (and possibly develop eating disorders) and who worry about their friends and relatives who are stuck with the label.

Date: 24 Oct 2011 07:13 pm (UTC)
sonia: Quilted wall-hanging (Default)
From: [personal profile] sonia
*cheers!* Thank you for spreading the fat-positive message.

Date: 24 Oct 2011 07:19 pm (UTC)
meloukhia: A carousel, lit up at night (Carousel)
From: [personal profile] meloukhia
The 'obesity in America' series has been almost uniformly awful. I'm hoping that getting feedback like this changes the tone—like, say, by encouraging NPR to interview actual fat activists, cover HAES, talk about the obligation to be healthy and fat-shaming, maybe explore bullying around the topic...

But I don't have high hopes. *sighs*

Date: 24 Oct 2011 07:34 pm (UTC)
snippy: Lego me holding book (Default)
From: [personal profile] snippy
I like your comments. I commented, but I didn't think to copy the text before hitting the submit button. I said stuff about agency,of course :) and how we finally kicked the government's prying nose out of our bedrooms only to be surprised to find it in our kitchens and dining rooms, and that it seemed like regression to me to judge people based on appearance rather than character. And that the hatred, contempt, and disgust toward "unattractive" people were poisoning the tone of the public conversation.

Date: 24 Oct 2011 07:42 pm (UTC)
serene: mailbox (Default)
From: [personal profile] serene
That's wonderful!

Date: 24 Oct 2011 07:42 pm (UTC)
serene: mailbox (Default)
From: [personal profile] serene
I love this, and you, so much.

Date: 24 Oct 2011 08:21 pm (UTC)
amadi: A bouquet of dark purple roses (Default)
From: [personal profile] amadi
May I link to this to my Twitter audience? Because this is freakin' phenomenal.

Date: 24 Oct 2011 08:54 pm (UTC)
submarine_bells: jellyfish from "Aquaria" game (Default)
From: [personal profile] submarine_bells
You rock, as always. :-) Excellent replies. Now, if only more people would read your comments and think about them seriously... *sigh*

Date: 24 Oct 2011 09:08 pm (UTC)
jae: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jae
You are awesome. AWESOME.

-J

Date: 24 Oct 2011 09:20 pm (UTC)
cereta: (Batcave)
From: [personal profile] cereta
Go, you!

Date: 24 Oct 2011 11:47 pm (UTC)
evilawyer: young black-tailed prairie dog at SF Zoo (Default)
From: [personal profile] evilawyer
Excellent response! Frankly, I'm disappointed in NPR.

Date: 25 Oct 2011 12:02 am (UTC)
libskrat: (chunkydip)
From: [personal profile] libskrat
I'm so glad I only heard about this through your ass-kicking name-taking response.

Date: 26 Oct 2011 12:41 am (UTC)
jesse_the_k: Words "Icon Love" with wings, acid rock 60s style (icon love)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
Yeah, that. Because if I'd heard that on the radio I might have kicked in a speaker.

This way, I get to channel some 1969 "Right on!" energy and raise both my fists and snarl!

Date: 25 Oct 2011 07:18 am (UTC)
mswyrr: (dw 9 - hope)
From: [personal profile] mswyrr
This is excellent. Thank you for writing it!

Date: 25 Oct 2011 02:08 pm (UTC)
laughingrat: A detail of leaping rats from an original movie poster for the first film of Nosferatu (Default)
From: [personal profile] laughingrat
Fantastic!
From: [personal profile] betonica
Thank you! We don't have anyone in my neck of the woods that's a fat activist, as near as I can tell, but at least we don't have *too* many people spouting fat hatred. Whenever I hear some I make a comment, though, and it wouldn't have occurred to me to do so if I hadn't had the opportunity to read great things like what you've written here.
From: [personal profile] betonica
Now that I think about it, I suspect I'm deaf to some of it, partially because I think of myself as quite thin (I'm not, but I was when I was young) and that mental space probably divorces me from some of the nastiness. I'll have to pay more attention.

Date: 29 Oct 2011 06:09 am (UTC)
deirdre: (Default)
From: [personal profile] deirdre
Amen. See my recent f-locked posts, particularly this one, about how doctors don't listen to symptoms when you're fat.

I'd like to be thinner, personally, but I really would simply like to be treated as a person and not as "Zomg! Obese!"

Date: 30 Oct 2011 01:27 am (UTC)
necturus: 2016-12-30 (Default)
From: [personal profile] necturus
I don't believe the so-called "obesity epidemic" is anything but an invention of the media. These are after all the same people who have parents in my town so afraid of child abductors and the like that no one will let their kids out to play.

I no longer believe in freedom of the press. Much more important is the right to see a true and accurate picture of the world around one. That world includes people of many sizes and shapes, none of which is contagious.

I say hang Rupert Murdoch on a sour apple tree.

Date: 2 Nov 2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
pipisafoat: a typewriter with a sheet of paper sticking out of it with a large heart on it (Default)
From: [personal profile] pipisafoat
I got an email just now and I wonder if you did too:


Hi,

You're receiving this email today because at some point you answered questions related to NPR's series on obesity. Thank you for sharing your experience and expertise.

Your insights have deeply influenced the stories NPR News has already produced, as well as stories we're currently working on. For example, based on what we heard from many of you, the editor of the project recently assigned a story on the Fat Acceptance movement.

Another story that comes in part from your feedback focuses on children, weight, health and body image. Reporter Tovia Smith (who also reported this story) would love to hear how, if at all, you've talked with children -- your own, or ones you work with or care for -- about these topics. Do you believe these conversations are at all necessary or helpful? Is the larger community offering similar or different messages from what you're saying?

We're also interested in what you remember about how adults talked to you about these issues when you were a child.

Click here to share your story or copy and paste this link: http://bit.ly/si7dJJ.

Please forward this to anyone else you think might have a story to tell and feel free to share the link on Facebook, Twitter or on blogs or chat rooms you frequent.

Tovia and I look forward to reading your responses.

Best wishes,

Alison Brody
Public Insight Journalist
American Public Media | Public Insight Network
abrody@americanpublicmedia.org

Date: 2 Nov 2011 08:41 pm (UTC)
pipisafoat: a typewriter with a sheet of paper sticking out of it with a large heart on it (Default)
From: [personal profile] pipisafoat
Ah. I did not. (i would say 'yet' but i am just not feeling it today, and if i don't read it today, i'll probably forget. which may be for the best.)

this is one of those areas-of-issues for which I mostly sit quietly in the backseat and let the adults do the driving but, but, idk, i am still in the car? and every now and then i do say things. but. (clearly words are not working out today sorry.) i try, when i am saying things, i feel like i have nothing to add except my voice. so i don't usually add anything. except places where i feel like an extra voice is helpful. which tends not to be dw? idk. i'll stop trying to talk now and take this damn needy dog for a walk.

Date: 24 Oct 2011 07:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] auntysocial.livejournal.com
Good for you!

Date: 24 Oct 2011 07:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sarahmichigan.livejournal.com
I also left a comment advocating skepticism about obesity epidemic hysteria and plugging HAES. Thanks for the heads-up on this.

Date: 24 Oct 2011 10:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ljgeoff.livejournal.com
Wow! So wonderfully articulate -- all I want to do is growl. Thank you for writing these. Yay!

Date: 27 Oct 2011 01:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bibliofile.livejournal.com
And yet, you did! Good on you.

Date: 25 Oct 2011 02:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] susanstinson.livejournal.com
Thanks so much for taking this on -- it's such nasty stuff.

Date: 25 Oct 2011 03:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tesseract26.livejournal.com
Activist high-five! Good for you!

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firecat (attention machine in need of calibration)

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