cassidyrose: (all that jazz--butt)
So, as many of you have certainly read, some assclown (Mississippi Representative W.T. Mayhall, Jr.) has proposed legislation to ban restaurants and other "food establishments" from selling food to "obese people".. Yes, this is real. More information including links to the full text of the bill can be found here.

Now, I am not going to comment much on this proposed legislation except to say that it obviously disgusts and frightens me. It doesn't frighten me in that I think it will pass, it frightens me in that anyone thinks it is OK to propose such freakishly discriminatory legislation and thinks it is all good and fair, because, you know, we are in the middle of an "epidemic". I am sure I don't need to explain my stance on such asshatary.

What I am more concerned about is some of the knee-jerk responses I have seen to this and other fat-discrimination stuff in fat space. One commenter on a fat community immediately posted about how this is unfair because some people, like herself, are fat through no "fault" of their own. You see, it would be so unfair to discriminate against her because it is not her "fault" she is fat.

Um, excuse me.

How is this relevant to the discussion at hand? Why does it matter why anyone is fat or not in terms of basic human rights and discrimination? Is it OK to discriminate against people if being fat is their "fault"?

What about the people who are happy being fat and do nothing to change it? Are they OK to discriminate against?

Not to mention how distasteful I find it when people come into fat space and explain at every opportunity they they are medically-induced fatties, not lazy-at-fault-fatties like the rest of us. I find this distasteful because a.) it only further plays into in the "good fattie" vs. "bad fattie" mentality, b.) the inverse of their argument is that those non-medically-induced fatties are less than them and c.) this argument implies that there is something inherently bad and wrong about being fat and one's fatness is excusable if one has a good enough excuse.

Here is part of a reply I made to a comment talking about how unfair such a law would be because the commenter is a no-fault-medically-induced-fattie:
    When you start dragging out examples about how you, or a friend, or a family member, etc. aren't at "fault" for being fat you are automatically implying that any number of people are at "fault" for their fatness. What exactly are you saying about those of us who don't have a medical "excuse" for our fatness? That we should be discriminated against? That we deserve less protection under the law than you or others with medically-induced fattie-hood? Not to mention, shouting out that some people "can't help being fat" when discussing discrimination against fat people, says to me that your reasons for being anti-fat discrimination are that there are fat people who can't help it. The inverse of this is that there are fat people who can "help it" and it is OK to discriminate against those people.

    Sized-based discrimination is not wrong because some people have medical conditions that have caused them to gain weight. It is wrong because it is wrong to discriminate against individuals based on size. Period. End of Story. It is not about "fault". It is about demanding equal protection under the law for all people, regardless of size.

The more I think about it, the more I get annoyed with the whole "don't hate us because it's not our fault" line. The point is, it doesn't matter why someone is fat or not. Fat or not, we all deserve basic rights and the freedom to live in a world where we are not discriminated against, legally or otherwise, because of some trait of ours. Likewise, I have always found it counterproductive when individuals or organizations lobby for queer-rights on the basis that being queer is innate, and again, not "our fault". Again, this argument feeds the belief that there is something wrong with being queer and the only reason us queers should be afforded basic human rights is because we cannot help but to be this way. I call bullshit on that. There is nothing inherently wrong with being queer, just like there is nothing inherently wrong with being fat. Trying to absolve oneself of the responsibility or "fault" of being either one sends the message that there is something wrong or bad about being either.

I am not arguing that acknowledging the biological aspects of being fat or queer is without value. It absolutely has value, particularly in terms of medicine and in terms of understanding just how damned diverse the human race is. It is also incredibly valuable in debunking the myths around how mutable either one is (I am not equating the two, btw.) However, the biological basis for being fat is not relevant in terms why fat individuals deserve equal protection under the law. Fat people are subject to many layers of discrimination from the casual (being treated shoddily by waitstaff) to the very serious (having unexplained weight-loss be blown off by doctors only to discover it was caused by cancer), but stomping our feet and saying "But it's not our fault so you have to be nice to us" is not only not helpful, it is counterproductive. To get where we need to be, as many fatties as possible need to embrace their bad-ass fat selves and stop making apologies, excuses, explanations, etc. for their fattie-hood. We have nothing to apologize for, nothing to excuse and certainly nothing to explain.

Asshats like Mississippi Rep. Mayhall don't need our explanations about how or why we are fat. They need to see some serious bad-ass fat rage.

We don't deserve mere tolerance or acceptance. We deserve liberation.
cassidyrose: (all that jazz--butt)
[livejournal.com profile] vito_excalibur posted an interesting, if infuriating, excerpt of an interview Erica Jong did with Judith Thurman about Thurman's "Secrets Of The Flesh: A Life of Colette." (thanks Vito!) In the excerpt, Jong focuses on Colette's weight (180lbs) and calls her obese, and continues to seem mystified by a sexy fat woman. Several other people here on LJ have pointed to vito's post and there have been a number of comments on the original post and on the referring ones. I have read many of them and am now halfway to crankypants land.

Why?

Because the point is not whether or not Colette was obese/fat/overweight, etc., damnit! The point is that it is infuriating that a woman's weight is considered so damned important, regardless of her size. The point is that a woman like Jong cannot get past the subject's weight.

I have seen several comments (not all to Vito's post) essentially saying "180lbs--that's not obese!" (actually, if you are a woman of average height, 180lbs is considered obese) and getting into discussions of what is obese and what is not, which is not very body-positive at all and is, quite frankly, bordering on the type of fat-phobia seen in Jong's initial comments.

Others have stated that Colette looked "healthy" not "obese". Really. Why the dichotomy? What exactly do people think "obese" is, other than an arbitrary label used for people above a certain weight for their height? I've got news for you folks--the label of "obese" has nothing to do with health or anything else except height to weight ratio. Arguing about what is considered obese is a losing battle, and in the end just continues to engender fat-phobia and facilitate the use of meaningless medical language in our everyday lives.

I am suprised more people couldn't get past the numbers and be horrified at what Jong was actually saying, rather than focusing on Jong's perception of Colette as "obese." And it makes me wonder if Colette had been, say, 380 lbs, and Jong had said the same things, what would the reaction be? Would Jong's comments have been more widely accepted in the extended circles here on LJ?

Arguing about whether or not someone is fat/obese/overweight does us all a disservice when we are talking about fat-phobia, body acceptance and weight diversity. Who is "fat" or "obese" or what constitutes those things is so not the point. The point is that it is so sad, frustrating and downright infuriating that it still matters far too much to far too many people, and Jong is just one of the culprits.

hate

May. 4th, 2006 05:36 pm
cassidyrose: (Harlie claw)
My hate for E-Trade, Wells Fargo, fuckwit stock plan administrators at companies that shall remain nameless, the DMV and dry-drunk "CEOs" (do you still get to call yourself a CEO if your company goes under?) knows no bounds.

No, not all one incident. It has just been a day.
cassidyrose: (glasses/high contrast)
A story released today once again has attempted to shower us fat people with gloom and doom by telling us that even if we have low blood pressure and cholesterol we will most certainly die of heart diseased. . I am annoyed and cranky and will crunch the numbers myself once I can ahold of the complete study (it is not avaialble in full from JAMA yet). However, let me break down what I pulled from the AP article:
  • This study only tracked BP and cholesterol in middle age and did not track whether or not the people who later died of heart disease had developed high BP and cholesterol (thirty years later). According to the article, "Yan (one of the researchers) said it is possible that some overweight participants developed high blood pressure and cholesterol problems during the study, which could have contributed to their deaths." Um, yeah. Not tracking for such indicators at time of death or disease is as bad of science as I ever have seen. People's health profiles will change over thirty years. Duh!

  • 17,643 people participated in the study

  • Of the participants, 1,187 had normal BP and cholesterol in their forties, 6.7% of the total. Of these, 494 were considered overweight or obese (41.6%).

  • Over the course of the stduy 1,594 heart disease deaths occurred (roughly 9%) Of these. only 31 started the study with normal blood pressure and cholesterol (2% of the deaths).. Now, the article doesn't state how many of these 31 were considered "obsese", but the numbers are so small at this point I seriously doubt there is any real statistical signifance going on, unless it was manufactured by crappy and "creative" statistical analysis. So, from these 31 deaths they are claiming fat people are doomed to heart disease??? All 31 weren't even fat people (let's recall, there were 494 fat people who started the study with normal BP and cholesterol) AND we don't know if the people that died had high BP or high cholesterol at the time the heart disease developed.

I admit is is possible the numbers were mis-represented in the AP article. I plan to get ahold of the actual article and if they print all sample sizes as they should, I will run the numbers myself. However, given the researchers' statements and what I have before me, it seems nothing more than fear mongering combined with bad science.

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