Lets call Meme Roth what she really is...

No, not a crazy person. Far from it. Not an anorexic, though I would suggest her commandments about eating represent the casual disorder that our society expects of women. No, the truth about Roth is far simplier and is indeed the truth about most self-annoited crusaders against fat people.

She's a craven opportunist and self-promoter. She is a manipulator of the media. No, seriously. That was her profession. She was a publicist. This is what she's trained to do. She's doing what virtually all anti-fat talking heads do. None are ever qualified in any functional way. They know that the media doesn't really care about that. They just want the talking head to say the extreme nonsense. Oh, I don't doubt that Roth hates fat people. The best illusions are grounded in the truth. But this persona is a creation for the benefit of marketing herself. She's building a profile to then monitize in book deals, speaking engagements, etc. She's no lunatic. She knows quite precisely what she's doing and is getting away with it very neatly.

She's helped by the real forces behind fat stigmatization. What she accomplishes is an old political trick. Stake out an extreme position so you can appear to settle for what you wanted all along. Roth becomes an effective tool for oppressing fat people precisely by her outrageousness. Its pushing the debate into such a place that ordinary fat stigmatization seems moderate in the face her viciousness, in turn making the extremely mild requests of that fat activists seem more extreme. See, we tend to compromise for ourselves. We tone down the message in the hopes of reaching more people. But fat stigmatization just doubles down with people like Meme Roth saying even more extreme things. While we move to the center, they move further out so the extreme position they've had all along now seems like the center. Roth and the talking heads like her work to make ordinary fat hatred seem like a sensible proposition. They work to comfort and soothe people who believe in fat stigmatization but don't like thinking about the consequences of it. They can always soothe their sense of morality by reminding themselves that they aren't like Roth and her ilk. They don't respect fat people, but its not like they point at them and heckle. They just quietly judge or self-righteously lecture. Why, its the moderate thing to do. Some even delude themselves into thinking because they oppose people like Roth, that they are fat accepting. Just not like the nutcase fat activists. They all have eating disorders.

Roth, and virtually all of the talking heads on this matter, are ultimately just stalking horses of a kind. Setting out to advance fat stigmatization, but doing so in a fashion which allow the true powers-that-be ample cover. Because the difference is ultimately in demeanor more than purpose, it essentially allows fat stigmatiation to consolidate influence over one extreme and the center of the argument. The next step is getting a fat-stigmatizing brand of "moderate fat acceptance" to represent the other extreme and you'll get just what they want. An argument where everyone agrees that its not okay to be a fat person and they just quibble on how to enforce the one acceptable belief and true change is shunted even further to the outskirts. Don't let the outlandishness of Roth, fool you. Its not doing more harm than good to her position. Its doing exactly what its supposed to.


"Moderately" Fat

I want to show how "moderate" I am about fat issues. Because the in-between position is always best and shows how even-handed I am for finding balance between the extremes of fad dieting and those stupid-heads in fat acceptance.

Moderate views about means agreeing with the substance of everything fat haters say, but trying to phrase it more nicely. See, that's balanced because you have the illusion of the respect that fat acceptance asks for, but you don't actually need to listen to anything they have to say and can dismiss them out of hand.

Having moderate views about fat means never really challenging fat hatred. Maybe a word of lip service against its most crass promoters, but you need to realize their heart is in the right place. They mean will. They are only thinking of your well being. Instead, you'll spend all of your time talking about fat attacking and belittling fat acceptance for being so stupid and disagreeing with what everyone has decided is right. And, of course, repeatedly reminding them that you're calling for a kinder gentler fat acceptance. You only need to insist that you disagree with the MeMe's and Fumento's. You only need to speak out against fat activists.

Moderate views about fat means always come up with a straw man attack of "fad diets" to prove that you stand up to both sides. Fad diets, of course, are defined by the diets other people go on. Probably stupid fat people who don't know how to lose weight and spend all of their time stuffing their faces and sitting around. Which you'll point out in the most polite fashion. Fad diets are always something someone else is doing. They are always ineffective and wrong. But you've got a whole new way of eating that is totally different. The diet company told you so. You'll also criticize starvation diets, but fail to ever define that. Again, its just what other, stupider people do. You'll pretend to agree with fat acceptance's attacks against dieting as long as the definition is limited to an undefined set of diets that won't impact any of the weight loss diets you care to advocate.

Being a fat issues moderate means being against fat discrimination, but not being for doing anything about it. Giving lip service to its badness while concurring with all of the motivations for fat discrimination is just moderate thinking. You'll only need to mention it when trying to shut up some fat activist by proving your balanced views. It won't require any more effort than that, though.

Having moderate views on fat means only blaming fat people secondarily and acting like this is a great service to them. You'll make a point of find some other force or entity to blame primarily, whether it be culture, corporations or a combination of the two. See, this is being polite. As long as everyone agrees fat is bad, of course. Its just polite to pretend to blame something else while doing little to ameliorate the social consequences for actual fat people. Its not their fault they are fat. Its just their fault they are still fat. See, that's moderation. Fat's always a bad thing, but you'll briefly assign blame away from the fatty.

Having moderate views about fat acceptance is like having your cake and eating it to. (Except that's something fat people would do. Aren't they gross! Shhh, don't tell them to their faces.) You get to enjoy the righteous unquestioning certainty of fat hatred with the righteous moral superiority of thinking you've found some actual balance. Of course, be sure to preserve that sense of the moral high ground by ripping any person asking for anything outside your approved views of fat to be a radical and extremist while also claiming how they are oppressing your balanced views. After all, fat haters will never really take issue with you since you aren't disagreeing with them in any substantive way. I mean, if there is no difference between the moderate view and one extreme, there just must really be something wrong with people on the other side of you.

If you're willing to part with the moderate label, considering positioning your attitudes as the "other side" of the debate to further emphasize the extremeness of fat acceptance. You represent the acceptable face of fat acceptance. The one that agrees with fat stigmatization.

I mean, its only moderate.


Won't someone think of the fat children?!?

I feel like I've used this post title before but I don't care to check.

I'm feeling pretty worked up about Michele Obama's anti-fat children proposals. Or more specifically the self-righteous support its garnering from people who otherwise present them as fat acceptance allies. Its not new, mind you, but its still frustrating to see their support as being so disingenuous. I'm sorry, but you don't get to preserve fat stigmatization just for fat children. Fat isn't sex, (though the conflation of the two could be a whole 'nother post) so you don't get to say "Oh, but not the children" without also smacking the adults in the face. Fat acceptance isn't really gaining support when the ally's underlying attitude is "Well, you're old enough to be stupid about this".

The theme seems to be that kinder, gentler fat stigmatization makes this proposal utterly fantastic. And sure, the basics are sound enough. It seems to avoid some of the dumber ways of stigmatizing fat children by singling them out for "intervention" and instead focuses on healthy eating and moderate activity. Which is fine, except that's not what the plan is about. Its about ridding us of the plague of fat children. Purpose can undermine actions. In a vacuum, the actions proposed may be fine. Good, even. But, we can't separate the action with the intent. The intent is to "solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation". If that's the measure of success of the actions, if that is what is framing this all, then this will just further stigmatize fat people. Specifically fat children. I don't think its okay to shame and stigmatize fat children.

Kate Harding has already done a very good job laying this all out, so I'll just leave you with that. This is very much fear-mongering, and the simple fact is that this is an approach which has never made fat people healthier, happier, or even weigh less. Its not suddenly magic. At its heart, its just more of the same.

Oh, and do yourself a favor and skip the comments on the article. Really mind-numbingly frustrating nonsense that is so cliché, I can assure you that you've heard it all about 100 times before.