I Feel Pity, Mostly

Thanks to a twitter post, I found this article about MeMe Roth discussed on Life on Fats.  Bree discusses how MeMe has gone so offensive as to compaire eating with rape.  There are more offensive things to say, but ths is pretty offensive.

What I want to discuss though is towards the end of the article. 

When I ask her if she’s ever been anorexic, she gasps: “No! I’ve never even been on a diet!” So I ask her what she eats in an average day. On this, Roth is reticent. She now runs a private nutrition counselling business, she says, and because of that, “I don’t spend a ton of time telling people what I do personally. What works for me may not work for other people.”That’s fine, I say, but just as an example?

“I eat beans like nobody’s business,” she says hurriedly. “I eat more black beans than anyone else I know.”

I try to pin her down to something more specific. Let’s just do a sample day, I say. What about breakfast? Roth grimaces. “I hate to say this, because I think it’s counter to what most people should do, but I never in my whole life have enjoyed breakfast. For me, it doesn’t work as well as other things.”

Right, I say. So how about lunch?

She squirms visibly. “You’re taking me where I don’t want to go … What works for me doesn’t work for a lot of people.”

Well, you’ve said that, I insist, so taking that into account: lunch? Roth hesitates. “I discovered when I was in college that I work best when I get a workout in and eat after that. Sometimes I’ll delay when I eat until I get a workout in. But I don’t let a whole day go by without running four miles.”

OK, I go on, but supposing you couldn’t work out until four o’clock in the afternoon – would you not eat until after that?

“I might.”

I look at my watch. It’s 3.30pm. Alarm bells start to ring in my head. How about today, I ask. Have you eaten at all today?

Roth is a little quiet.

“No,” she says.

There is a pause.

“But I feel great!”

She’s never been on a diet, but when pressed about what an average day of eating looks like, she starts feeling uncomfortable and doesn’t want to answer the questions.  Earlier in the interview, it’s stated that her whole family is fat, and she tells a story about how embarressed she was as a child when her fat mother was bringing cupcakes to her class for her birthday.  She was embarrassed because everybody would see she had a fat mother.  And while she’s never even been on a diet, she uses techniques to keep her away from food that would grace lists on a pro-ana board.

I can’t hate her when I see how screwed up she is.  I feel pity for her.  I want to see her get into counseling and learn how to love herself.  And I want to see her retract all the insulting and offensive stuff she’s ever said (natch). 

Hate her?  How can I when she appears to hate herself so much more than everybody who is already hating her combined could.


Oh, and this is just my opinion, but people sending death threats and hate mail saying they hope MeMe’s children get cancer?  If it’s true, if she really is getting death threats and people targeting her children and wishing horrible life threatening diseases on them?  It’s not going to help.  Hate can only lead to more hate.  Sending things like that to her is just feeding the hate fire she already has going.  The only way to combat hate is love.  Whether it’s internally (combat self-hate with self-love) or externally (every time you want to send something nasty, send something telling her how she’s okay just as she is), repaying hate with love is the only way to maybe help somebody stop hating.


19 Responses

  1. I totally don’t agree with the death threats against her and her children. But her tactics are so outlandish and dangerous to not just fat people, but everyone. I can’t even begin to imagine how her children are faring when their mother is so messed up towards food.

    The human thing to do would be to pity her and hope she gets help, because anyone who refuses to eat for half the day and then work out for several hours isn’t thinking rationally. But after so many times of shaming people and admitting they deserve shame, pity is replaced with anger and frustration.

    The best thing would be for the media to quit seeing her as an obesity expert, put her alongside other quacks, and ignore her.

    • The best thing would be for the media to quit seeing her as an obesity expert, put her alongside other quacks, and ignore her.


  2. Roth did an interview in the January 09 Elle magazine where she relates an anecdote where she is thrown out of a YMCA for trying to destroy their (oh, horrors!) full-fat ice cream and toppings that they were planning to give to the children.

  3. “What works for me doesn’t work for a lot of people.”

    Then… why are we supposed to listen to you as an expert? You’re admitting RIGHT THERE that you don’t have any useful answers for the majority of people!

    • She actually did more than that. She admitted that she’s lying to people, herself included, with the whole “I have never diet” schtick and then trying to get out of telling what she eats in a typical day.

    • Considering that the bulk of her “expertise” is from a program in which she is expected to pretty much promote what does work for her makes this statement seem awfully dodgy.

  4. When I don’t eat until 3:30 p.m. (which happens every so often due to poor planning and a hectic schedule) I feel dizzy and sick and all I can think about is food.

    Some people have a higher tolerance for skipping meals, but there is no way she feels “great” after not eating all day. It’s certainly not healthy, and it’s absurd that she gives anyone nutrition advice. It sounds like she has an eating disorder. Her whole life is basically thinking about fat and food, and starving herself out of fear of gaining weight. It’s very sad.

  5. I just kind of breaks my heart, that she is so entrenched in hate that all this sounds rational to her. Also that she has followers and people who listen to her and believe what she says. Just totally breaks my heart… to the point I just have a hard time finding words.

  6. I’m the fat daughter of a food-obsessed mother – and I had cancer. It’s a shitty thing to wish on anyone. The cancer, or the food-obsessed mother who then won’t believe that you’re ill.

  7. I find it hard to believe it’s anyone from the Fatosphere issuing death threats and cancer voodoo vibes for her kids. (Her kids? They didn’t ask to be born, and they didn’t get to pick their mother, either.) I will admit that the thought of M*M*’s head spontaneously combusting doesn’t bring me to tears, but you know, that’s…spontaneous combustion. As in, nobody has to actually do anything to make it happen. (And in case I have to say it, no, DON’T do anything to make it happen, please.)

    • Probably not the Fatoshere, but I have people who read me from other places, so I wanted to say that.

      And spontaneous combustion huh? Interesting thought.

  8. […] sheer ridiculousness and callousness of the comparison, and other bloggers have also addressed the issue.  Roth’s mental instabilities and fatphobia are readily apparent and have been covered well […]

  9. I think the death threats were mostly from Jordin Sparks and American Idol fans after she attacked Jordin’s appearance and said when she looks at her, she sees heart disease and that she was not a good role model because she was fat. That’s when I first heard about her. Prior to that, I never knew she existed.

  10. I feel sorry for her.
    I also feel sorry for the children who end up joining the Taliban and the kids in the Westboro Baptist Church.

    Even though I feel sorry for them, they do a lot of damage, and need to be dealt with.

    • Absolutely. I did say I want to see her retract all the offensive and hateful stuff she’s said. I just don’t think hatred, anger and rage is the answer to hatred, anger and rage.

      All it does is feed more energy into it and escalate the feelings.

      There are ways to deal with the damage she is doing, without threatening her or wishing ill on her or her family.

      One way would be for lots of people to write the editors of the newspaper discussing her tactics, her lack of solid evidence, her lack of real credentials, etc. Not in the online feedback system, but a real letter.

      If the editors get enough letters, they might stop using her as an “expert” opinion.

  11. Unfortunately, she’s painted herself into a corner. Not just her self-esteem but her livelihood is tied to her maintaining her weight.

    Even if she were able to get help and love herself, she’d have to be pretty darned tough to admit to the whole world that she was wrong.

  12. I have to say… this post had me at a loss for words… and the reason for that is that it seems like a conversation with Me Me is just like talking to most of the women in my family… and nearly all the women I used to work with. It’s so sad.
    I skimmed through the comments… and this woman said something about the way Jordin Sparks looks???!!! Wow. Jordin is gorgeous. And it’s no one’s business what Jordin weighs anyway. Grrr.
    But yeah… I whole heartedly agree that death threats are not okay. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind and all that.

  13. Sad article,,, But I did notice the comment about black beans…I eat black beans a lot too!! I Looooovvve them =D They are amazingly good for you, and really good mixed with tuna salad. Sorry for this little tangent comment =)

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