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.

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