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tuesday wrote (edited )

Comment 1:

I've been in fat lib for a while so I'll happily go through this with you. I want to say thanks to everyone first for being cool. I saw this post while I was getting ready for my day and I spent a lot of time today thinking about how I might have to peace out from yet another anarchist community because of fatphobia. There's a handful of well intentioned, but not great comments but the general sentiment is appreciated and I'm glad that I didn't come back to this thread only to see folks letting me know that I'm not welcome.

I do not see it as a personal moral failure to have an above average body weight

Great but what is average? Average for whom? Average for bodies that are roughly the same size and musculature? What about for bodies that come from the same socio-economic background, the same race, the same gender, a gender that isn't the one they were assigned at birth? The same familial health histories? When you describe a fat body as something other than normal you are othering that body, and the person attached to it. Fat cells don't suffer due to weight stimga, fat people do.

The first comments that I took issue with were ones about the link between body weight/body fat% and health.

Mostly /u/lettuceLeafer got it but I wanted to mention that the there are studies linked in that Fat Liberation Syllabus that was mentioned in the podcast (I listened to it again today).

It is common knowledge that being extremely overweight, as well as being extremely underweight, are dangerous to our physical health. I think that this apparent denial hurts the overall message of anti-fatphobia.

It's common knowledge that being fat is dangerous? Common knowledge comes from who? Autumn said there are scientific studies that back this and you brushed that off. On what basis? Autumn literally studies this for a living and you just waved it off like w/e, studies. C'mon.

I'm not saying that you have to bow to her authority, but you didn't even consider that your common knowledge might be wrong and that your common knowledge might be linked to the 78 BILLION dollar weight loss industry she mentioned that is built on perpetuating the idea that fat people are lazy and personally at fault for the shapes of their bodies by not being good enough. An incredibly puritan ideology.

Is this "anarchist" really arguing that in order to support fat liberation we shouldn't be critical of an industry designed to get us addicted to poor quality, unhealthy food that relies on the exploitation of underpaid workers (often immigrants and minors) as well as the abuse and slaughter of non-human animals?

So this is regarding two things. One is in the assumption that fat people are fat because they go to fast food places. This was something that Autumn left unsaid but that's a weird stigma since everyone eats at fast food places, but somehow it's only fat people that are called out about it.

And two, I'd like to ask what you would do if you had $3 and change to your name, you're driving between your full time school and your full time job, and you haven't eaten since this morning. When that was my life I would swing through a drive-thru. At McDonald's I would be able to get two McChix and a large diet soda for the caffeine to get me through my shift.

So no, Autumn isn't saying that we shouldn't be critical of the industry. Critique the industry! Don't critique the consumers. Fast food restaurants are endemic because they are cheap and reliable source of quick nutrient dense food. Capitalism steals so much of our time that we're all resorting to eating meals behind the wheels of our cars. Why would you shame a person for the things that capitalism makes them resort to? And for all of this thinking of fast food is moralizing food. There is no such thing as a bad food or a good food. Your body isn't going to say "hmmm these calories are from a fast food place so we need to dump it all into fat stores." Food is food. 1/3


tuesday wrote

Comment 2

I agree somewhat that these ideas can border on toxic but overall I think exercise, physical health, and self defense are important and linking them with politics is not inherently a bad idea. The podcast was already pretty on-the-nose, bordering on self-parody when the speaker drops the line claiming they can still kill fascists from a mobility scooter. Bruh.

Ok. This is sort of a mess and unintentionally gross, I believe that you have good intentions but... oh boy. The only reason that you think this is a joke is because you heard it and understood it while holding onto a belief that a fat person who uses a mobility scooter must be too disabled to hurt anyone.

Because when I heard that my thought was "fuck yeah!" and marveled instead at acknowledgment of the raw strength that a fat body can have. Have you taken any time to consider why you would think that a fat person on a scooter couldn’t kill someone?

Why would you think that someone engaging with antifascists in a physical way would do so without having the ability to defend themselves? This is fatphobia. My guy, my thighs move 275 pounds every time I take a step. I've crushed watermelons between my thighs. I'm not weak. But I use a scooter. And even if a fat person is weak? So what? Not every anarchist is going to be able to or even want to engage physically.

The speaker in the podcast neglected to address any of this, instead it seems they are more concerned with presenting fatness and obesity as a benign non-issue, no different from disabilities and should be accommodated and treated as such.

A person's weight is determined by a whole entire host of factors that cannot be narrowed down to any simple math. There is so much more going on with a body than calories in and calories out. Fatness is genetic. It's a sign of trauma. It's a sign of food insecurity. It's a sign of stress. It can be the result of medication, like birth control and most anti-depressants. It can be the result of PTSD. It can be hormonal.

By saying that you don't agree that fatness is a non-issue you are placing a moral judgment on fatness. You said that you didn't but it's clear that you do.

Being a person in a fat body is no more or less moral than being a person in a thin body. I deserve access to the same spaces that any other person deserves access to. I deserve the same consideration that you or anyone would give toward a person with a body that functions differently than their own. But then I wonder, if these spaces are actually accessible by anyone who isn't able bodied, and usually the answer is no.

or that a healthy body should be worked towards

I want to say first and foremost that no one owes anyone health. I don't owe myself health. I don't owe health to the random person who moo'd at me from the window of their truck today today while I was walking my dog. I don't owe health to my family or to anarchism.

There is no such thing as "health" there is only function. Health can be a measure of function, but health, itself, is meaningless.

Your body functions the way that it does through a series of factors that you largely have no control over. You said that Autumn didn't address the social issues and causes of fatphobia enough, but she did. You just didn't hear it when you were scoffing at the idea that fast food is sometimes a thing that is the only thing that someone has access to. You didn't hear it when she said that 75% of health outcomes are determined by environment, specifically calling out racialized capitalism. The host even commented that that was their experience with a doctor they knew as well, that a vast majority of illnesses that they see are caused by capitalism.

I think that we need to divorce ourselves from the idea of health as singular concept and rather focus on an individual's health potential.

I am as healthy as I can be, given the circumstances of both my life choices and my genetics and the things that I have access to, including a health diet, the ability to move my body in joyful ways that don't feel like punishment, my history of disordered eating, my trauma responses, my stress responses, how well controlled my chronic health conditions are...

You and I are entirely different humans with different bodies, different socio-economic lives, with different exposure to pollution, with different familial health histories, with different traumas, with different stress levels, with access to different diets and different food cultures, different enculturation to activity and the acceptableness of your movement, with different levels of acceptation by society broadly, by friends, by potential lovers. There is absolutely nothing about our bodies that can be compared because every part of us are influenced and impacted by entirely different things. The things that are healthy for you might not be for me.

And yet, here we are, with half a century's worth of studies that have all clearly shown that upwards of 90% of all weight loss attempts (so not just people trying to lose weight, attempts. I can't count how many times in my life I have tried to lose weight, and here I am, still fat, fatter actually.) fail after 5 years. Further it's well known that people who cycle through weight loss and weight gain have worse health outcomes than people who just stayed fat. It's also been shown that fat people are poorly treated by medical professionals and that fat people have been killed by doctors who've told them to lose weight rather than actually take a look at what could be causing a person's problems. And finally it's also been shown many times that the stigma of fatness causes worse health outcomes.


tuesday wrote (edited )

Comment 3.

Apparently I had a lot to say about this, but here are my final thoughts.

It doesn't matter why fat people exist. We do exist. And we expect people who say that they are working for liberation for all to also be working for fat liberation, not only from the society that hates us and wants us dead but also from the stigmas that they hold personally.

When fat activists said that all bodies are good bodies they weren't making a moral claim. They are saying that fat bodies are good bodies. Black bodies are good bodies. Disabled bodies are good bodies. Trans bodies are good bodies. Everyone already thinks that so-called "normal" and "healthy" bodies are good bodies, but it's only the folks in these marginalized bodies that endeavor to find worth in ourselves and our bodies.


metocin OP wrote

Okay I need to preface this by saying that I (think) my intentions are good and overall I agree with the need to end fatphobia, the stigmatization of fat people, and to recognize the systemic causes of health outcomes and body size instead of placing the blame on individuals. I hope that nothing I have already said contradicts this and I hope that our disagreement in another thread doesn't affect our conversation here.

If I didn't make it clear, I think my issue is that some of the rhetoric I see in conversations about fat liberation/fatphobia are incorrect or unhelpful and make the movement more prone to ridicule (although I understand this is not always a good reason not to say something).

Great but what is average?

I should have used quotations here. I understand the point you made and I agree it is wrong to try to generalize body size/weight.

It's common knowledge that being fat is dangerous? Common knowledge comes from who?

By extremely overweight I meant like hundreds of pounds. If you're going to argue that someone who is 4, 5, 600 pounds isn't at any health risk due to their weight/ body fat% then I'm not sure we can continue to have a productive conversation. If being in the low single digits of body fat% or being "extremely overweight" is dangerous to ones health (it is) then isn't it wrong to say that body weight/size/fat% isn't linked to one's physical health? I get that this link is largely overemphasized and that one can be considered overweight and still be perfectly healthy but I think it is incorrect and dangerous to flat out say there is no connection.

By saying that you don't agree that fatness is a non-issue

I should have been more clear here. I don't think it is an issue of moral judgement, I think it is a societal concern. I think there is reason to be concerned about raising obesity rates when it is clear that they are a result of systemic issues. It is clear that it is not a result of natural factors but of causes that are inherent in our society. We should be concerned about fixing these systemic issues that appear to be worsening the health outcomes and quality of life for people instead of bodyshaming and creating an unhelpful and unhealthy stigma on fat people. Our modern civilization allows us to be sedentary, to overeat processed, sugary, starchy, fatty foods and if you compare the diets and physical health of modern city dwelling humans and hunter gatherers it is clear that we are in a worse condition due to the life that our civilization imposes on us.

I want to say first and foremost that no one owes anyone health. I don't owe myself health

Well I can't really argue with you or convince you otherwise but I disagree. I think I owe it to myself to do what I can in order to improve my physical (and mental) health as much as possible. It isn't always easy to do and I realize that the people who appear to be in great health could drop dead at any moment. However I refuse to completely abandon any hope of remaining in good health and allow poor habits to shorten my life. Not to mention that the affect that a good diet and exercise has on one's mental health.

You just didn't hear it when you were scoffing at the idea that fast food is sometimes a thing that is the only thing that someone has access to.

I think that's it's possible to recognize that some people are unfortunately dependent on it while also criticizing the existence of the industry itself.

There is no such thing as a bad food or a good food.

This is just flat out wrong. This is what I mean. Fast food is bad food. It's over processed, fatty, sugary, starchy garbage that is only possible because of the exploitation and abuse of animals as well as low income humans. There is absolutely good and bad food. It is extremely unfortunate that our civilization forces some people into situations where they are dependent on bad food. This is not their fault and they shouldn't be shame for it. But that doesn't mean than bad food doesn't exist. It is hard to take someone (or a movement) seriously when there are flat out incorrect statements such as this.

People put so much emphasis on exercise as this like thing, but exercise is terrible. No one wants to do it. So don't. But you should still find ways to move that feel good and make you happy. You won't continue to do something you hate, so it's a better idea to start finding things you will enjoy and focus not on the size of your body but your ability.

You mention moralizing but it appears that you are moralizing the encouragement of exercise, even though you still said exercise is good. Moving is exercise. Moving and exercising are good and it's not wrong to encourage people to move their bodies (exercise). There is obviously a line there that gets crossed often when people are shamed about not exercising. But that doesn't mean you have to say "exercise bad".

This is what I am getting at. There is no reason why you have to deny that certain foods, certain diets, and not exercising are bad. People of all sizes and shapes should do what they can within their means in order to feel good about themselves. Just because we are saying "don't shame" doesn't mean we should altogether deny that good food exists and exercising is good for your body and mind. I think it really muddies the overall message.

Again, I hope this comes across the right way. I think I more clearly articulated what I wanted to say versus my OP being more of an angry rant. I realize that I probably still have some internalized fatphobia. But I hope you see that I am on your side and not attacking your conclusions or the overall message you are trying to convey. I get myself into a lot of these discussions (sometimes arguments) on raddle where I'm just being pedantic about a specific premise, claim or wording rather than arguing against the conclusions.


tuesday wrote

I can't actually engage in this conversation anymore.

I'm just going to say that there's no ill will. I get where you're coming from, but it's not an educated place. The things you say in this post are harmful and if I were having a better day I would probably be fine, but today I am not and some of the things that you drill down here are really harmful. I know you didn't do it on purpose so there's no need to apologize.

I encourage you to read that Syllabus though. Like if you're really someone who cares about fat liberation that's the least you could do.

I would also encourage you to read these short pieces on why what you said was especially harmful on a day where I'm not able to better distance myself from your judgment: