And I pass the happy on to you…

Fatshionista-er caramel_deluxe posted this yesterday, and I keep going back to it… because it just makes me smile.  I don’t even LIKE rap all that much, but I can’t help but grin every time I watch this.

SO… I figure if I’m getting so much enjoyment out of this, I may as well pass the happy on to y’all.  🙂

Misconceptions about Fat Acceptance

Why oh why is it that some people see the words “Fat Acceptance” and automatically assume that what we’re promoting is sitting on the couch all day, eating baby-flavored donuts and Mickey Dee’s, and very little else?

The most recent post over at Eat a Cheeseburger got me thinking about this again, but it’s come up before.

I’ve read some of our most common trolls talk about us using the words “nuts” “crazy” and “insane.”  You know the ones – the ones that seem to pick one of us at random, blast us with as many troll comments as they possibly can, and then (seemingly) get bored and move on.  Almost like they have some sort of awful rotation they use or something.

They honestly seem to think that’s what we’re all about: gorging ourselves on any and every UNhealthy food available and never – under any circumstances – getting any sort of exercise.

Really?  I mean, come on… REALLY???

These are the same people that went to great lengths to find a blog that I started nearly 5 years ago, find out my children’s and husband’s names, and tried to scare me with comments mentioning something that I know I’ve never blogged about here at The Long & Winding Road.  You would think that if they’re going to go through all that trouble, not to mention time, that they’d be able to find a little more about what we’re really all about.

They’d see that most of us espouse Health At Every Size – healthy eating and exercise for HEALTH’S sake, not weight loss.  They’d see that the vast majority of us are actually quite healthy and active.  I mean REALLY, how many of us blog about keeping ourselves healthy EVEN THOUGH we happen to be fat?  Most of us, if not all of us.

It makes you wonder: just WHO are the crazy ones here?  The ones who say “eat right and exercise and if you still happen to be fat, that’s okay”?  Or the ones who read the words “Fat Acceptance” and automatically get visions of supersized people sitting on a couch in their sweats with a baby-flavored donut in one hand and a Big Mac in the other?

Heh.  Like that question actually requires any thought at all.

How did I become a feminist without knowing it?

Answer: I was raised by my grandmother.

I started thinking about this after reading a post that The Rotund has up on her LiveJournal*, dealing with a blatantly sexist comment.

Here’s the part of my comment that really got me thinking:

But then, I was raised to believe that I was just as good as any man. I didn’t learn about feminism, as such, but a lot of the standards by which my grandmother raised me were, in fact, feminist. We just didn’t call it that.

See, my grandmother came of age in the 50’s.  You know the stereotypical image of a 50’s housewife?  That was her.  She would bake cookies and was on the PTA and all that shit.

But she had another side to her.  Once her children were old enough to be left on their own (or to be left in charge of their older siblings), she went to work.  Not on a permanent, full-time basis, but when they needed the extra money, she would work.  (My grandfather was a carpenter, which meant money would get extremely tight in the winters, or when the housing market was slow.)  And when she went to work?  The family helped.  She didn’t go to work all day and then come home and do all the housework.  My father and aunts and uncles had jobs, and they did them.  She did every job you could think of – including working in a bomb factory during the Korean War.  Seriously.  If you ever piss this woman off, she could literally blow your ass up.

And she raised her children, even then, to believe that they could do or be anything they wanted, regardless of their gender.  In fact, when my aunt B became pregnant at 16, the biggest problem my grandmother had with the whole situation was that it would prevent aunt B from getting an education (meaning beyond high school) and being able to “make something” of her life.  She had the same problem with me when I became pregnant with Number One Daughter at 18.

She taught all of us girls – my 2 aunts and me – that we didn’t need a man for anything.  Despite the fact that she was married, she was a very independent person, always.  (Of course, the fact that my grandfather seemed to think that his role in the family was simply to go to work and then come home and sit in a chair might have something to do with that; my grandmother had to learn to do a lot of things herself, simply because my grandfather refused to do them.)  But she didn’t teach us to hate men.  While she seemed to give up on men after the one and only relationship she had after divorcing my grandfather, I don’t remember her speaking hatefully about men in general.  Specific men, maybe – but if that was the case, then believe me, they deserved it.

My grandparents divorced in the early 80’s.  Shortly after that is when I went to live with her full-time.  And I think, being raising me (in a single-parent setting; by that time all my aunts and uncles had left home so it was just her and I) after having gone through all of that may have had an effect on the WAY she raised me.

The first time I remember hearing the word “feminist” was in high school.  I studied Sociology and Current Affairs and the word kept coming up.  Thankfully for me, my sociology teacher was a great woman that did a whole section on Feminism.  At the time, I was more concerned with learning and getting good grades than really thinking about what I was learning, but now that I look back on it, I realize why I agreed with everything she taught us.

Because that’s how my grandmother raised me.

I don’t think – even now – that my grandmother would have ever called herself a feminist.  But that’s exactly what she was and is.  She has never let the fact that she is a woman stop her from anything.  And I’ve always admired her for that.

And I would never stoop to call myself an expert on feminism, nor a perfect feminist, but it’s struck me repeatedly the surprise I’ve felt when I learn more and realize that the beliefs I’ve always had were right in line with feminism.

Why the hell should I be surprised?  I was raised by a strong, independent woman.

* – The Rotund has mentioned her LiveJournal before, but as she has it friends-locked, I didn’t think it would be appropriate to link to it.  Normally I would have, but I don’t think that would be right in this case.

What *I* want for Fat Acceptance.

Quite a few blog posts have had me thinking about this.  One of which I have to admit, I sparked And because we’re not a monolithic group, because we’re made up of many different people from many different walks of life who have many different personal goals regarding FA, I decided I needed to be completely clear about my wishes for FA.  These are my opinions only and do no reflect on FA as a whole.  Please do not read this as me speaking for the whole group.  This is just me, one person in that group, saying what I want to happen.

I want Fat Persons to be given the basic human rights they deserve. No one should have to worry about discrimination or harassment.  No one should have to be fed fatphobia in such quantities that it makes their lives miserable.  The bullying, emotional torture, and harassment needs to stop.

I want this for every fat person alive. Able-bodied and not.  Black, white, and every color and shade of color in between.  Neurologically normal or not.  Whether you exercise every day or prefer to spend your days reading (as an example).  Whether you eat a “good, balanced” diet or you eat junk food.  Whether or not you have an ED of any kind.  There is no reason on earth that you should be subjected to having your basic human rights taken away from you just because you happen to be fat.

I want to dispel the misconceptions and unfair stereotypes of fat people. That doesn’t mean that if you are lazy and do over eat that you don’t have a place in “my” movement.  Not at all.  But just because _______ fat person overeats and doesn’t exercise doesn’t mean it’s true for all fat people.  But those of you that do overeat? Don’t exercise? Are lazy?  You all deserve respect, too.

I want the world to wake up to the realization that thin =/= healthy and fat =/= unhealthy. Being fat in and of itself does not make one unhealthy.  There is a wide spectrum of fat and health, just as there is with thin and health.  But being healthy is not a moral obligation.  Whether you are fat and healthy or fat and unhealthy, it is no reason for you not to be treated like a human being.  It simply does not matter.

I also want the world to wake up to the realization that diets do not work. Even when you don’t call them “diets.”  Telling me to call Jenny Craig is not going to magically make me thin.  Assuming I eat like a glutton all day and telling me “just try eating less, fatty” isn’t going to work either.  There is absolutely nothing on this earth that is guaranteed to work in making a fat person permanently thin.  The key word here is permanently.  Sure, some diets work in the short-term.  I personally have known quite a few people that went from VERY fat to thin on a diet – I’ll use my Aunt D’s best friend K as an example.  Guess where her body size is now?  Yep, you guessed it – even fatter than before.  I honestly believe, had this woman never dieted in the first place, she’d probably be fat, but she’d probably be around the size I am now (which I admit is on the smaller end of the fat scale).  As it is now, the last time I saw her she was somewhere near the vicinity of 500 lbs.  I truly believe all the dieting she’s done is what has brought her to this point.  I’ve known her all of my life and have seen her go up and down and up and down.  Diets don’t work.  And she’s a great example of that.

Saying that I want all fat people to be accepted as human beings is not the same thing as saying I want the rest of the world to find us all attractive. You don’t have to be attracted to me, or any other fat person.  A person’s level of attractiveness should not factor in to whether or not you treat them with basic dignity and respect.  You don’t have to like me to be respectful to me.  Shit, I can’t stand my mother-in-law, and yet I still treat her with respect and courtesy.  Why?  Because she’s a person.  I don’t have to like her to be polite to her.

However, beauty and attractiveness are two different things. You can find the beauty in a person without wanting to jump their bones.  It might not even be physical beauty.  And you know what?  That’s okay!  It’s okay to say that you can find a person beautiful for one reason or another and not find them attractive.  It’s a good thing, even.

I want the world’s governments to stop trying to “regulate” our bodies. People are designed to come in all shapes and sizes.  And if you bureaucratic anal-retentives would get your collective cranium removed from your collective colon, you’d realize that what you’re being spoon-fed by the mainstream media is being dispelled left and right.  It’s just not being advertised as much as the bullshit you’re swallowing.  Obesity is not a disease, and there is no epidemic.  You can’t catch it, and you can’t “cure” it.  It doesn’t need to be cured.  All the regulations you could come up with are not going to get you the results you want.  It’s just not going to happen.

I want BMI thrown out with the bath water. BMI is an antiquated, arbitrary, ridiculous standard to which no one should be accountable.  It simply doesn’t measure anything except for height and weight.  Human bodies are much more complicated than that.

That’s all I can think of right now.  This is, by no means, a complete list.  This is just what I’ve come up with in one sitting.  I may decide to edit this later on, I don’t know.

WTF ever happened to “ooh, your baby looks so fat & HEALTHY”????

Yeah, apparently now the quacks that brought us the (nonexistent) Obesity Epidemic are now finding “obesity” in infants.

As a mother of 4, this totally pisses me off.  For one thing, for thousands of years it’s been known that a fat baby usually equals a healthy baby.  Obviously not all of the time, but a good majority of the time.  It’s one of those things that we didn’t have proof of, it was just something we knew.  Like we knew the sky was blue before somebody went to the trouble of finding out the scientific reasons why.

But it gets worse.

The findings are based on two studies. The first involved 2139 infants not older than age 2 who were admitted for any reason to the Bnai Zion Medical Center in 2004 and 2005. The second study was community-based and used parental interviews to assess the problems seen in 79 overweight infants and 144 normal-weight infants.

The infants were considered overweight if they had a body mass index (BMI) above the 85th weight-for-height percentile on 2 or more measurements taken at least 3 months part. This means that 85 percent of children their age and gender have a lower BMI, which is a measure of weight in relation to height.

In the first study, the researchers found that infants between the 85th and 94th weight-for-height percentiles actually had fewer hospital admissions and repeat admissions than normal-weight infants. However, higher than expected admission rates were seen in the most overweight infants (95th or higher percentile).

In the second study, overweight infants were more likely than their normal-weight peers to have developmental delays and snoring. There was also evidence that asthma and other breathing problems were more common in overweight infants.

When surveyed, only about 32 percent of mothers with an overweight child believed that their child was overweight.

Parents need to be aware that even infants are at risk for problems related to excess body weight and, therefore, should strive to achieve a normal weight in their young children, Shaoul and colleagues conclude.

Emphasis mine.

So because the infants in one particular area had a higher than “normal”rate of developmental delays and breathing problems, the rest of the world faces the same fate??

What, babies should now start looking like those Ethiopian children the media liked to plaster all over our televisions in the 80s and 90s??  And since when did starving our babies putting our babies on a diet sound like a good thing?  There used to be a word for that.  Neglect.  You got your children taken away from you for that.

Where is this “community” used for the second study?  Why do I get the feeling it’s probably either a low-income area or one based near some sort of industrial site?  One where either the residents don’t have access to the kind of medical care that could catch and prevent these sorts of problems (and probably don’t have access to proper nutrition, either), or one where there’s something in the air or water that’s causing these problems.

Obviously I have no way of knowing that, but it just seems odd to me that one study showed that fat babies ARE healthy babies – the one study that probably had a broader range of subjects from all walks of life.  And then they do another study, in an isolated area, and the results are dramatically different.

Something smells fishy to me.

*Credit should go to Sarah at Big Fat Dynamo.  She found the story first.  🙂

The calm before the storm?

Tuesday, Lindsay wrote about the lack of oomph in the Fatosphere lately:

Whatever the case… things have been slow lately. The fatosphere isn’t nearly as busy as it used to be. Or maybe it’s just that i’m not seeing it – it’s happening somewhere where i’m not.

I’d noticed the same thing.  That’s partly why I’ve been so quiet myself lately: nothing has come up that has spoken to me enough to write about it.  Or, in some cases, I’d want to write about it if I were the first one to come up with it, but because somebody else already said everything I’d want to say, I didn’t see the point of simply echoing someone else’s post.

I got to thinking about what Linsday said at the end of her post, about wondering if it’s “time to move on.”  I’d had fleeting thoughts along a similar vein lately.  But the more I thought about it, the more I think it’s a bad idea.

People have been fighting for acceptance and rights for fat people for longer than I’ve been alive.  Undoubtedly, in that time, there has had to have been calm periods, periods when you’ve ranted and raved about every topic imaginable, and you’ve done everything there is for you to do, and you’re kind of stuck.  It’s a logistical impossiblility to think that’s never happened before.

What did people do then?  Did they think to themselves, “okay, I’ve done my bit, everything’s going to be fine now?”  Somehow I doubt it.  We wouldn’t have organizations like NAAFA (imperfect as it is) if they did.

We aren’t going to change society’s view and treatment of us overnight.  It’s just not going to happen.  I understand that, and I can live with that knowing that I’m not alone in wanting to be treated with respect.  Knowing that there are others out there fighting the same fight I am, day after day, helps.  And having the Fatosphere – even in the “slow” times like now – so that I can get online and “feed off others’ energy” so to speak, helps immensely.

And I can’t help but think that this is just the calm before the storm.  I can’t help but think that if we get comfortable and complacent, that something is going to happen that’s going to knock us down on our collective asses.  I would much rather face it prepared, armed, and feeling like I’m one soldier in an entire army of people willing to fight.

Even if there isn’t all that much to talk about right now.

Fatphobia Scarily Close to Home

Angel of the North, GatesheadAs Sandy reported last night, Gateshead City Council is joining the Fatphobia Brigade and thinking up the most ridiculous measures they can think of to fight OMG TEH FATZ!!!11!!!ELEVENTY-ONE!!. I’ll get to what I think about that in a moment.

But what really scares me?  Gateshead is the next city over from me.  Yup – I can walk out the door right now, hop on a bus, and be there within 20 minutes.

I mean, granted – none of us is immune to The Fear of Teh Fatz.  We see it everywhere we go – in movies, on television, in the media, walking down the street… but a lot of the time, it seems like it’s something that happens over there – where “there” is an intangible place, that just isn’t “here.”  To know that the stupidity of fat fear is coming this close to home… it’s very disconcerting, to say the least.

But Oh. My. God.  Can these people really get any more stupid?  Forcing chip shop owners to change their SALT SHAKERS in an effort to “trick” customers into consuming less salt?  Can they not think of a better plan?

As Sandy pointed out, it’s a ridiculous idea anyway.

Another local chip shop owner, Carol Ackerman, who runs Carol’s Plaice in the suburb of Acklam, said: ‘People will just put on more salt if they want more.
‘In fact, we have had some people unscrewing the lids to do so.’

If people like my grandmother* – who like a little salt with their salt – want more, they’re going to FIND a way to get it.  Putting fewer holes in the damned shaker isn’t going to make one bit of difference one way or the other.

And I’m not alone in my indignation.  Just check out these comments from the Daily Mail article:

So the Health Gestapo have decided that a recommended amount has suddenly become an enforceable allowance. If these interfering busybodies have enough time to exercise their minds with such rubbish they obviously have too little to do and should be got rid of immediately to save the public money.
People such as them do far more to damage my blood pressure than any amount of salt.

When I buy fish and chips and find inadequate salt when I get them home I shake on some more. Are these imbeciles going to have people following customers home to make sure that they don’t do the same? After all, they have all sorts of other totalitarian rights under “anti-terrorism” measures that they can use. Still, it’s good to see that UK local governments are continuing to fulfill their major function, namely render a once-great nation the world’s laughing stock.

I’ll let these brain dead morons into a secret. If it ain’t salty enough, just shake for longer and add more. P.S. Where’s the firing squad?

Now, educating people on the over-consumption of salt?  Fine.  Seriously, folks, you’d be surprised the number of people out here that actually don’t know that too much sodium can contribute to high blood pressure and kidney disease.  (Hell, there are ADULTS out here that can’t name vegetables when they have them right in front of them.  No joke.)  But this is going beyond ridiculous.

And the worst part?  The fact that they spent loads of taxpayers’ money to do this.  I could give you a LIST of things better suited for that money… but we’d be here all day.  So I won’t do that.  But this? *headdesk*

If I didn’t know better, I’d swear these people got their brains sucked out by aliens.  It’s a better thought than the alternative.

* – I used to nag my grandmother to death about the amount of salt she used.  My other grandmother’s husband (not my actual grandfather, her 3rd husband, I think) died of a heart attack, and the one thing I always remembered was that he couldn’t have too much salt, because of what it would do to his heart.  So it made me a little paranoid.  I didn’t let up on her until she came home from the doctor and told me that her blood pressure was perfect – even with the amount of salt she eats (and yeah, it’s a lot – more than twice what I eat).  So again – there is no one-size-fits-all equation of good health.  My step-grandfather?  Too much salt = death.  My grandmother?  Too much salt = nothing.  Get it straight, all you fatphobic pricks… THERE IS NO “ANSWER” TO YOUR SO-CALLED “OBESITY EPIDEMIC.”  It’s all in your fucked up heads.