I Am Roarser, Hear Me Meow

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Kate Harding tagged me about a week ago with the Roar for Powerful Words meme, which I just found wildly flattering beyond belief, especially coming from her. Her request:

No one in the Fatosphere makes me think, “That’s exactly what I would have said — only SO MUCH FUNNIER!” as frequently as you do. Tell us how you do it, woman.

Oh, um, ah…ahem…(feeling a bit like Anne Elk here)…DO WHAT? Read the rest of this entry »

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It Creeps Into Everything…Absolutely Everything

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One of the things C. and I like to do together on Sundays is the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle in the Oregonian. Between the two of us, we can usually figure most of it out over the course of a day, even if it seems impossibly hard in the beginning. But sometimes there are a few leftover clues. And let’s just say that today there was one I really didn’t get. In more ways than one.

The clue was, “Way overdue to take off?” Five letters. I had an “O” for the first letter and an “E” for the last. I kept thinking it had to be “ONICE,” but it didn’t fit. Finally I gave up.

Oh, you can probably guess what it was. “OBESE.”

Get it? Way overdue to take off? Like, take off weight? HAHAHAHAHAHA, so funny.

Except it’s not. It’s getting less funny every minute, actually. Can’t I take pleasure in frigging anything without worrying about it coming back to bite me? Anything at all?

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Cute or Horrifying?

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A music teacher leads her elementary school kids in singing the charming children’s Christmas song “Santa Claus, Santa Claus You Are Much too Fat.”

The audio isn’t the greatest, so here are the lyrics:

I heard a reindeer hoof, then Santa dressed in red,
came crashing thro’ the roof and landed on my bed.
I thought it was a dream, but quickly did I wake,
as soon as I heard Santa scream, “I want a piece of cake!”

CHORUS
Oh, Santa Claus, Santa Claus, you are much too fat;
I was sleeping peacefully but not my bed is flat. Oh!
Santa Claus, Santa Claus, how much do you weigh?
I’m glad I’m not a reindeer that has to pull your sleigh!

He got up off the floor and said, “How do you do?”
I said, “My back is sore, my head is black and blue.”
“So sorry!” he replied, and then he asked my name.
He offered me a ride, I said, “No, thank you just the same!”

CHORUS

I heard a “ho, ho, ho,” the sleigh was in the sky.
but it was moving slow and wasn’t very high.
It wobbled in the air, I hoped it wouldn’t fall;
Said Santa, chewing cookies, “Merry Christmas, one and all!”

CHORUS

I’d never heard of this song, maybe everyone else knows it, but it was news to me. (On the other hand, I live in a bubble under a rock in a cave, so there’s not much that isn’t news to me.)

But apparently, this isn’t the only music teacher this year to figure it’s a perfect Christmas song for elementary school kids. One parent (from another school) recently blogged about having to have her kids exempted from singing the song because she objected to the values it was teaching. (Score one for family values).

But it’s a stumper isn’t it? I mean don’t you have to be terminally priggish to be offended by it and not see it as silly meaningless fluff for kids? It’s all in fun, and it’s about Santa, for God’s sake. On the humorlessness scale, there not enough distance to see daylight between the obesity crusaders launching a war on Santa’s waistline and my taking offense at a fat Santa song.

I’ll have to live with that comparison, I guess. Because if you’re tempted to see children teasing about weight, or a music teacher implicitly encouraging it as adorable and funny, the web site I Was a Fat Kid…This is my Story should be a cold splash of water on the face. (continued…..)

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Yeah, I’m a Junkie, and a Liar Too

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OK.  So now my Fats and Crats story is getting ripped to shreds on Majikthise. Apparently the owner of this site finds it deeply offensive that I would have used the phrase “disappear me” to describe what Obama, et al, want to do to fat people. And after posting what I thought was a rather classy, on-topic, non-accusatory reply, stating that I had, in fact, come to eat better, eat less, and exercise more than I used to and still had a BMI of over 35, someone predictably accused me of lying about what I ate. Her exact phrase? “You can’t reason with a junkie.”

A junkie. A JUNKIE. Someone who does not know me, has never seen me, and knows only my BMI has determined that I am not just a liar, I am an addict, a person who breaks the law, steals other people’s property to get her fix, someone who just needs…yeah, disappearing. I have to be secretly pounding donuts! I just HAVE to be! They don’t have to actually witness it with their own eyes. Apparently I am capable of telling the truth to strangers about what I weigh, but not about what I eat.

I have never, ever understood how these Internet Dickwads think. Could someone explain this to me? If I was really a liar, wouldn’t I lie about my weight, too? After all, you can’t see me. I am pseudonymous. For all you know, I am Miley Cyrus and am just posing as a fortysomething fatass as a hilarious social experiment. In blogland, I can “be” anything my imagination allows. But actually, I choose pseudonymity so I can be more honest about who I really am and what’s going on in my life, not less. Besides, anyone who knows me knows I absolutely suck at lying and hiding things. I couldn’t even lie to my own parents as a teenager. Never did it once. I’m really not kidding about that. (Aspie stuff, y’know.)

I mean, I probably should find it funny that someone can win Fat Hate Bingo 1 and 2 in a single paragraph. Like Zuzu says, can’t these people come up with any new material? “You’re just a food addict,” check. “You’re in denial,” check. “Donuts donuts Twinkies Twinkies McDonald’s,” check check check. Over and over and over and over and over again, the same shit. After all, only someone who’s really got iss-yews really gives a flying rat’s ass about the voluntary eating habits of a complete and total stranger who s/he can’t even see, let alone waste precious time and energy convincing him/herself that I can’t possibly be eating what I say I’m eating. I should be laughing myself silly about their iss-yews. Haw haw haw.

But somehow, the laughs get stuck in my throat. Why? Because people who believe this stuff have all the power in this world, and I have none. Because they assume these things about me, my career choices are limited, my ability to get health insurance or emigrate to another country or adopt a child is limited, my very freedom of movement is limited. Because this kind of shit is happening on a feminist blog, from non-trolls on a feminist blog, who actually believe that if you look like you eat donuts you must be eating them and therefore you are a bad feminist. Therefore, it’s not so frigging hilarious to me. When, I ask, will this mythos finally lose its power? When will self-identified feminists stop making it their business to rip other women to shreds simply for not being healthy looking “right”?

Can I get an AAAAAAAAAAAAAA! from the congregation?

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Fats and ‘Crats

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“If we could go back to the obesity rates of 1980 we could save the Medicare system a trillion dollars.” – Barack Obama during Democratic Presidential Debate, 12/13/07

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not a fan of George Bush.  I am, in fact, one of those people who basically thinks a sock monkey could do a better job than our current president.  But I have to admit, I am personally happy that, aside from certain snarkbound comments made by various Surgeon Generals, he does not seem to have made eradication of fat people a high priority in his administration.  Who has time, when you have entire other countries to eradicate, and poor people to screw, and air and water and food to poison for the sake of sustaining oligarchy?

But we have an election coming up next year, and strictly from a fat perspective, I worry about who is going to replace him.  When I found out Barack Obama (much like Hillary Clinton, who has made similar remarks in the past) wanted to disappear me solely because of my weight in order to save the government money, I had to ask:  Just how far are they willing to go to make that a reality?

No, really, I want to know.  I’m willing to sacrifice a lot in order to make life better for poor people, gays, Muslims, waterboarding victims, and a whole lot of other folks who have been personally boned in the rear a lot more heavily than I have by the current administration.  I’m willing to sacrifice a lot for a cleaner environment, safer food, no war, no wiretapping or torturing just because you don’t like someone’s mustache, and more affordable housing for all.  Which is why I’m a Democrat. They may not be perfect, but at least they make a pass at giving a damn about those issues.

But I still think I have a right to know just how much agency they are willing to remove from people — and especially fatasses like myself — in the name of “health care cost containment.” You’d think the Democrats would be all about personal agency and individual freedom. They damn well ought to be. But I’m afraid that when it comes to nosing around in people’s body autonomy, they’re just as guilty as the people they want to replace; they just want to nose around in a different part of our bodies, that’s all.

Here are some questions I’d love to see asked during Presidential debates (and not just of Democrats):

“Do you believe in reducing the number of fat people by any means necessary? What if people really make an effort to exercise and ‘eat right’ but are still ‘obese’? Do you favor requiring them to have bariatric surgery, or putting them in weight-reduction prisons, or having a police state in which people get their homes broken into and their pantries cleaned out and forced at gunpoint to work out until they drop, or being barred from all restaurants and grocery stores and all public places until they slim down? How far are you willing to go?”

And bonus question:

“If certain medications have been demonstrated to foster weight gain, do you favor taking them off the market, even if they make it possible for a person to live something approaching a ‘normal’ life in every respect except weight? There are, after all, many more of these drugs on the market than in 1980, and many have attained very high levels of usage. Do you really want to take them away from people to make them thin?”

Not that I expect real, informed answers from any of ’em. They’ll probably mumble something about how, of course they don’t want to round us all up and amputate our stomachs, of course they don’t want to impinge upon our personal freedoms, of course of course of course. All they want is for us fatasses to eat our vegetables and exercise, and most all of us will magically get and stay thin and never have costly health problems again! And if they’re Democrats they’ll probably also mumble something about how they’ll give the veggies away, if they have to, along with the pots, pans, stoves, cooking classes and electricity required to prepare all those nummy orange-and-greens. Oh, and of course, we must think of the children, and take all the skin off their chicken before they are doomed to a life of FAAAAT! Ha. Ha ha ha. Ha. Rich people really don’t get it, do they? And who the hell else can run for president and win?

The whole issue of removing personal agency to make people “healthier” should be a serious concern for everyone, regardless of weight. In this country, we allow adults to refuse to take medications or have surgeries or submit to other medical treatment at their own discretion, even if it goes against the recommendation of doctors. The one exception is putting someone on temporary psychiatric hold if they are deemed to be a direct and immediate threat to themselves or someone else, but even there, a fairly stringent standard of evidence applies — unless the person actually says, “I plan to commit suicide or homicide,” or someone sees them actually physically carrying it out, you can’t just “put someone away.” And even then you can only do so as long as the immediate threat continues to exist. I don’t know what the laws are in other countries that have government-sponsored health care in terms of patients being allowed to refuse doctor-recommended treatment modalities, but I would imagine that in most cases they are similar — if you are an adult, ultimately you are the one who gets to decide what gets put into your body (or your child’s) and what doesn’t. (If you have information to the contrary, feel free to correct me.)

As someone who has transcribed and edited thousands of medical reports, I can tell you that people refuse treatment all the time, and not simply at the end stages of their illnesses. I myself have refused to take statins against my doctor’s recommendation, because frankly, I don’t trust the damn things and haven’t seen any evidence they prevent heart disease in women, and thus aren’t worth the risk to me. My doctor may not agree with my decision, but he is not going to refuse to treat me unless I take statins. Might people refusing treatment at certain times in their lives “drive up health care costs”? Sure. If you wait, oftentimes the condition becomes more grave and expensive to treat in the long run. It’s a risk. But it’s a risk we allow people to take without forfeiting future care, and they do so routinely.

Don’t people have the same agency when it comes to refusal to diet (or even “eat right and exercise” HAES-style)? Even if they are fat? Even if they are really, really, really, no-kidding-around fatfatfat? I don’t happen to binge on soda and fries, but if I wanted to, isn’t that my right, and who’s to say that’s necessarily the “self-destructive” choice? Wouldn’t you rather I consumed comfort food when upset than, say, killed myself or someone else, or even drove like a maniac or got into a fistfight or screamed at someone at work or at home who didn’t deserve to get screamed at? Is “eating badly and not exercising” really the worst thing I can possibly do? Is there really that much of a difference between, “I hate salad, exercise bores me to death, and I’d rather watch television, I’ve already given society my pound of flesh so leave me the hell alone,” and “I refuse drug X/treatment X/surgery X, just because I don’t want it or I’m not ready for that now”? Just how much agency do we want to remove from people to make them “healthy”?

Because, you know, mental health counts too. And having someone holding the highest office in the land who would rather kill me than treat me like a human being is not going to do wonders for mine.

Cross-posted to Shakesville.

Is Twinkie-Snatching Really Happening?

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There’s a post on Pandagon today by Amanda Marcotte about how it’s not so bad that schools are banning the sale of “junk food,” because after all, kids can simply bring their own from home if they want to have Twinkies so badly and their parents agree. 

In response, I linked to Harriet Brown’s post from last week about “Syrupgate,” in which a fourth grader had a tiny amount of maple syrup he she brought from home to put on his her school-sanctioned French Toast Stix (!) confiscated in the name of Halting Obesity Once and For All.  What response I got to this amounted to, “Well, that was an isolated incident.”

Is it?  Not being a parent I have never experienced it personally.  And I know, thanks to Junkfood Science, that this is beginning to happen in countries like Scotland, children having their lunches brought from home examined and “offending” items confiscated, and that birthday cupcakes and other goodies brought for classmates are now widely banned in the name of Getting and Keeping the Children Slim, which is now evidently more important for schools to concern themselves with than, oh, reading ‘n’ math.

But are children’s own personal lunches brought to school really being raided by school officials in America on a regular basis?  Do you have a personal story about this?  If you do, please share, either here or over at Pandagon.

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