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December 26, 2007

I’ve just come back from visiting my old hometown of Atlanta, GA. I had a great time. Saw some friends, ate a lot of good food, went to Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe and stocked up on vegan marshmallows and vegan cheese. Yum.I’ll have post soon about eating on vacation and guilt and fat math, but first I want to talk about an article in Bitch magazine.

Now Lesley at Fatshionista has already covered most of what I wanted to say, but I still wanted to add my 2 cents.For those of you who haven’t read the article, allow me to sum it up: The author feels that the Fat Acceptance movement has failed fat people with eating disorders. Mainly, she seems to think that they have failed people with binge eating disorder. A few other anonymous folks agree with her and NAAFA’s website doesn’t have enough resources for ED so she concludes that it is a problem endemic to the movement.

 Really, I’m being kind. This article was so self-involved, so whiny and so obviously full of the kind of cherry-picked anectdata that’s the hallmark of someone coming to a conclusion and *then* researching an article about it that I was surprised it was published in Bitch.

 I’ve never submitted an article to Bitch, but I’ve known people who have. People who, for the most part, are good writers and great thinkers. People whose articles were well-researched and filled with facts and didn’t come off as verbal tantrums aimed at a few people in the Fat Acceptance movement. Only one of the articles submitted by someone I know was accepted so I assumed Bitch had pretty exacting standards which makes me wonder about this article. I don’t want to automatically assume some kind of fat bias, but I’m forced to wonder what would happen if someone wrote an article criticizing the feminist movement for its lack of support for certain women, provided only a single example from a (somewhat outdated) feminist website and two anonymous people who totally agreed with the author. Oh and the ‘about the author’ included the fact that she no longer considered herself part of the feminist movement due to the ‘backlash’ from the article? I would guess that such an article would never appear in the magazine.

But let’s face it, Fat Acceptance is still far from an assumed stance in the progressive and feminist communities. Even though lots of feminist blogs get the problem with fat jokes and discrimination, there is still a lot of support for viewing fat as a disease, as an immediate threat to health and for viewing obese people especially as a problem. Maybe one to be treated kindly, but one to be addressed. It’s something I’ve noticed a few times that FA has been brought up in feminist spaces: a lot more attention is paid to fat people who say they’ve made themselves fat through overeating than it is to fat people who point out that fat people aren’t, as a class, eating more than everyone else. It happens because people still want to lay blame for fat because they still believe that fat is bad and they need to justify this belief. Fat Acceptance tells them that this belief is insuportable so the next logical step is to find those fat people who allow them (through personal stories usually and *not* actual data) to question and dismiss the FA movement. So people who stand up to say that they do overeat or they never exercise or that their fatness is caused by an ED that the FA movement won’t acknowledge, they’re given bigger and better platforms b/c it’s the message that a lot of people *want* to hear.

Maybe I’ve been missing all the other articles in Bitch magazine condemning entire movements with very little evidence, but I’m guessing they don’t really exist. 

One Comment
  1. December 31, 2007 10:04 pm

    Hi there! I just found you via Kate Harding and wanted to say I really like your writing style. I’ll be back! 🙂

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