Disappointed

I have a facebook account, like many people do these days.  Most of the people I follow are personal friends, people who play the same games I play, and a hand full of celebrities (mostly authors).

One celebrity I follow is George Takei, Sulu from the original Star Trek series and films.  He’s funny.  He’s usually inclusive.  He’s usually against bullying.  He’s usually against discrimination.

So you can imagine my disappointment today when I saw a picture he’d posted that involved fat bullying and ridicule.  The picture was a mock facebook status, where Santa’s Reindeer were talking about how hard it was to pull a “700 pound” person, and making fun of how fat Santa is.  The responses (the ones I saw anyway, I didn’t look at all 165 of them) were the typical “he’s so fat” variety.

Seriously?  Seriously, Mr. Takei?  You who are usually so against bullying didn’t recognize this for what it is?  You who are an activist for the GLBT community can allow a picture like this to be on your wall, even for a minute?  You can allow fat hate and fat bashing to be on your wall?  Even for a minute?

I am disappointed.

So far as I’ve seen, I’m the only person who has called him out on the picture spreading fat hate and fat discrimination.  While I don’t usually call to action, I think Mr. Takei needs to learn that what he posted is actually counter to what his life seems to be about; activism to breaking down bullying and discrimination, where ever they raise their ugly heads.  If you have a minute, and have a facebook account, and feel you can help to constructively educate Mr. Takei, please do so.

Under the cut is the picture he posted.   Continue reading

Definition of Irony

Rush Limbaugh, on his radio show today, said:

We’re going to have this talking plate.  If you’re a fat pig (emphasis his) and you eat too fast, the plate’s going to tell you to slow down.

Rush Limbaugh.  Rush Limbaugh.  You remember, the guy who took drugs illegally and that was the only way he could lose weight.  The guy who, the whole time he was thin due to using drugs, was being contemptuous of fat people.  The guy who regained all of the weight back once he was forced to be clean.

Yeah.  Him.

Inarticulate rage

Trigger Warning:  Talk about abuse, diets, and the so-called “Fat Epidemic”.

As I was reading my facebook news feed tonight, I clicked on a link from a friend.  This shows what harm can come from pushing “obesity is horrible” stories all over the place.

An Outagamie County child protective services intake investigator was contacted Sept. 9 when the girl, who had been born at 8 pounds, 2.8 ounces, on July 9, 2010, had gained less than 3 pounds at age 14 months when she weighed 10 pounds, 14 ounces.

On Aug. 24, 2011, he told staff at Children’s Hospital of the Fox Valley, Neenah, that doctors were forcing his daughter to drink more milk and eat more food “just trying to stretch her stomach.” She had gained 10 ounces during a 20-hour stay in the hospital where she was fed about 1,000 calories as recommended by a dietician for her age.

Dr. Mary Bartel told police that she believes the child was not gaining weight because she was not getting enough calories at home. She said both parents kept insisting that the child was going to “get fat” while she was in the hospital and Christopher Sultze was upset over what he considered overfeeding of his daughter.

Bartel described the child as being cachetic, which she said means her muscle mass was being consumed by her body. The doctor added that the child was “essentially starving” and had “no subcutaneous fat on her.”

In over a year, a baby born at a healthy weight gained less than 3 pounds.  3 POUNDS!  Not because the baby was naturally small (although, the standards for healthy weight gain for an infant are to triple birth weight in the first year, so I think most parents would be asking the doctors if 3 pounds was “normal”), but because the parents didn’t “want to have obese children.”

They resisted all requests to feed the baby more.  They became upset with the doctors when the doctors told them to feed the child more.  Because they didn’t want their baby to be fat.

So, instead of fat, the child’s body is eating itself to try and stay alive.

This is what we, as a fat-phobic culture, has done.  This is what we agree is the correct thing to do every. damn. time we engage in “diet talk.”  This is what we are doing to our children every time we tell them “do you really need to eat that?”  Maybe not to this extreme, but we are doing it.

There is a reason there are so many people who have eating disorders, and it’s not because they don’t know how to eat on their own.  We live in a world where the “obesity epidemic” is pushed at us every day, on every TV station, in almost every magazine, in newspapers.  There’s no getting away from the “concerns” that we (as a country) are “too fat”.  We hear often about the “rising cost of obesity.”

Well, here is your “rising cost of obesity.”

Only, in my world, it’s called child abuse.

Internet memes for the fail

Internet, and especially Facebook, memes are an interesting thing.  They go from cute LOLCats, to politics (or politics ) and everything in between.  Every so often, weight comes up as a meme.

Today, as I was reading my friends feed on Facebook, I saw one of my aquaintances had posted this:

I am *redacted* pounds. I’m curvy and beautiful. I will never have a flat tummy but I support true beauty. Re-post with your real weight if you support true beauty.

Nice sentiment, isn’t it?

Except, in a world where anything that is bigger than a size 2 is considered to be Fatty McFatterson and people think that they can tell everything about a person – their eating habits, their health, how much they exercise (or don’t exercise) – because they are obese.  Except in a world where people think they have the right to tell other people what to eat, or call them liars when they insist that they exercise.

Predictably, a response came in on that status that basically read everything fat people hear all the time.  You’re unhealthy.  I know you are unhealthy because you’re so fat!  You’re ugly!  And you are ugly because you are fat!  (This is very boiled down, and the person who responded did not call the original person fat or unhealthy.)

I’m not going to get into it on my acquaintance’s wall.  I’ve learned, there’s no reasoning with bigotry.

However, I would like to see a world where a different meme comes into play.

Or how about just living by the "golden rule"?

This person had such an opportunity to embrace the spirit of the message:  that one doesn’t have to be a size 2 in order to be beautiful.  That while fat people may not be their cup of tea, that doesn’t make them ugly.  Instead, that person showed their true ugliness by their words.  And in doing so, could inadvertently hurt somebody they don’t even know.

All because the world has such a skewed up sense of what “healthy” means, and that beauty (which is a personal assessment and not something that can be objectively measured) has nothing to do with health.  Because the world has confused “thin” with “health”.  Because even doctors contribute to the lie that one can just look at a person and tell how healthy they are.

No, I won’t be sharing this on my wall.  Not because I’m afraid to put out my weight.  I’ve done it before, I’ll do it again.  Heck, I’ll do right now, even.  I weigh about 245 (don’t know the actual weight because I don’t own a scale and it’s been a year since my last medical visit), I am 5’2″ tall.  So, that puts me in the “Deathfatz” category.  (And yet, I still manage to do all these things that should give me a heart attack immediately!)

The reason I won’t repost is that I refuse to perpetuate the hurt that will cause, may have already caused, in some person’s life.   I can only hope more people will NOT repost this meme.

I will be posting something a bit more substantial in a bit, but I wanted to show this picture:

What Barbie would look like if she were real.

Article and original picture here.

I can’t believe I have to say this again

For those of you who are new to reading my blog, here are some tips if you want to see your comments come out of moderation:

1) Do NOT assume I’m stupid.  If I write something (like my last post) where I extol eating whatever you damn well please, do not think that because I don’t put “in moderation” behind every other sentence, I’m saying that all people everywhere (especially fat people) should eat candy all day every day!

2) Do NOT be a concern troll.  It’s not about my, or anybody’s, health.  If it was, discussions of “health” wouldn’t ever become discussions of numbers.

3) Be polite.   I don’t mind disagreement, as long as the people disagreeing remember to be polite about it.

4) Do not try to bring in the same tired stereotypes that are blatantly not true.   Fat people are no more or less likely to be lazy slobs than normal-sized or skinny people.  We all, individually, have lazy days and productive days, and just as people don’t commonly say, “Look at that lazy skinny person just sitting around watching tv all day.  Typical!  Most skinny people just sit around and watch tv all day!” DON’T think that anything like that will be allowed out of moderation here.

5) This is my space.  No, you do not have any rights towards being able to say what you want, unless they are rights I give you.  You want to proclaim the evils of all the things I’m saying are good and right?  Do it on your own blog.  I will not willingly give you a platform here.

6) (or maybe 5b)  I do everything I can to make this a safe space.  To that end, I do not allow “diet for the sake of losing weight” talk here.  (Diet in the manner of whatever you eat is a diet, or in the manner of gluten-free or whatever, is not forbidden, however.)  I know that there are things I talk about that can be triggering for people who are recovering from Eating Disorders, and I try to remember to post Trigger Warnings for them.  If I forget, please let me know and I will rectify it.

7)  I come from a US-centric way of thinking.  Even though I have a few online acquaintances who are not USians, I am one, and my viewpoints do come from there.  As with the above, if I’m being particularly obtuse in my US-centricity, please let me know and I will evaluate my standpoint.  That doesn’t mean I will change my standpoint, but I will thoughtfully consider your viewpoint.

8 ) Douchebags will never be allowed out of moderation.  If you are abusive, if you engage in any kind of name calling, if you engage in any kind of threats, the only person who will ever see your words will be me.  And I will only see them for as long as it takes to hit the “delete” button.  I have dealt with many trolls this way, and have always, ALWAYS won the battle of wills with them.  I will always win this battle because I really don’t care that some random internet user calls me fat ass (or whatever).

I hope that you, new reader to my blog, will take to heart these few tips on what will keep your responses from being permanently deleted.  If you don’t, well, nobody but you and I will ever know what you said.

Oh, one more thing.  If you start out rational and get past moderation, and then you start doing any of the above, you WILL be put on immediate and permanent ban from responding to any of my posts.

Are we clear?  Good.

What Does “Guilt Free” Really Mean?

Disclaimer:  I am writing about the inherent morality, or lack thereof, in food choices.  I am not talking about food choices that are more nutritionally dense than others, or talking about medical reasons for eating or not eating certain foods.

Trigger Warning:  This post has to do with food and lists a few different foods, including candy.  Please do not read if that will cause issues with any recovery you may be in.

I have been slowly building a candy business.  I make the candy with the best ingredients I can:  local honey, good quality chocolates, whole milk, cream, butter.  I use no artificial ingredients.  If something is flavored, it either has that thing in it, or it has an oil or extract of that ingredient.  No “artificial flavorings” allowed.

One of the types of candies I make is caramel.  Besides the regular caramel, I’ve been making different flavors.  In season, I offer a strawberry made with strawberry syrup I make myself from fresh strawberries.  I perfected a maple caramel using maple syrup (and it took a while to figure the chemistry involved for the caramel to not crystalize).  Now, I’m working on a chocolate caramel.

(Stick with me, we’ll get to the Fat Activist part of this, honest!)

In developing my flavors, I don’t just rely upon my and my husband’s tastes.  I have a group of people who are willing to be testers, so I can have a well balanced idea of what may or may not need to be changed in my recipes.  Yesterday on Facebook, I was informing people that there will be two chocolate caramels to taste with subtle differences.  Of course, my tasters don’t taste for free, and while I can’t afford to pay money, I do give some of the established candy as payment.

A friend responded and said the candy was “guilt free” because my tasters were working for it.  I responded that none of my candy came with added guilt.

That started me thinking (ah, now we’re getting to it).  Just what does “guilt free” really mean?

Dictionary.com defines guilt as:

noun

1.  the fact or state of having committed an offense, crime,violation, or wrong, especially
against moral or penal law;culpability: He admitted his guilt.
2.  a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime,wrong, etc.,
 whether real or imagined.
3.  conduct involving the commission of such crimes, wrongs,etc.: to live a life of guilt.
verb (used with object) Informal .

4.  to cause to feel guilty  (often followed by out  or into ): She totally guilted me out, dude.

 He guilted me into picking upthe tab. See also guilt-trip.

If you listen to the diet industry, guilt free means fat free, sugar free, carb free, calorie free, and maybe even food (ie, nutrition) free.  The candy I make is not anything like that.

The idea that is being sold to us, and we are buying, is that the only way we are allowed to enjoy something is if it has nothing enjoyable in it.  If it is unrepentantly full of fat or sugar or carbs or whatever, then it is “naughty”, “evil”, or “bad”.   If a person is seen eating such a thing, they generally have to justify it.  “Oh, it’s only a small piece to celebrate!”  “I know, it’s bad for me, but it was just too tempting!”  “I’ll just work out extra hard at the gym to make up for it!”

So, what does “guilt free” mean?  With the dictionary definitions above, it would mean that there is nothing wrong, legally or morally, with it.

And that’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it?  We live in a world where food, especially certain kinds of food, are considered to be moral.  Anything with fat, sugar, eggs (for the cholesterol value) is judged to be morally inferior, and the people who presumably eat a lot of it are also judged to be morally inferior.

And, except in a legal sense, guilt (which walks hand in hand with shame) are used by people to control other people.  How dare you have that sandwich with full-fat mayonnaise on it?  How dare you go back for seconds?  Or have dessert?  Don’t you know how bad you are being for eating that?  If you really must have that treat, how are you going to work it off?

All of those questions are designed to make people feel guilty for enjoying whatever they were eating, and ashamed for the supposed outcome.  “Well!  No wonder you are so fat!”

“Guilt Free” means just that.  There is no moral deficiency for enjoying food, whether it’s freshly picked tomatoes, a loaded baked potato, a steak cooked to your desired doneness, chocolate cake, or any of the other wonderful foods that are out there.

Food is not immoral.  It never was.  And nobody is immoral for eating food.