That video everyone's posting...

So, everyone has posted this, so I might as well join in. Joy Nash's "Fat Rant".

Okay, my bad response first. I'm not completely enamored with the video. There is a lot of good stuff, but the "Yes, there is an epidemic" bit is a concession I'm sick and tired of seeing fat activists making. Its a way of drawing lines about when its okay to be fat and when its not. Especially from smaller women, this is often a way of saying that "I'm okay, but you might not be". Still, she doesn't go down that road so I'm not going to freak out about it. I'll just say that fatness is not an "epidemic". If rates of fatness are going up (and not simply the definitions of fatness going down and reporting on the "epidemic" going up), I think its far more likely that fat hatred is fueling it and not rampent overeating and laziness. The fat person stuffing their face on the couch watching TV is a strawman. Its a way of guilting fat people for behavior that everyone does by magnifying the blame when the person is fat. Do I sometimes eat while watching TV? Sure. Doesn't mean that's all I am, but the strawman is designed to make fat people self-critical when they do things we're told we shouldn't do, but which really everyone does. It can become a self-fufilling prophecy when they make all the efforts to lose weight and don't, so they conclude that eating well and being active isn't working because it doesn't make them thin. I don't see any good reason to think there is an epidemic independant of the freaking out over the epidemic. A lot of relatively fat positive people think they need to agree that fatness is a problem to be taken seriously as the comment on the issue, but I don't think they grasp the concession they are making. They may think, "Okay, so there is a problem, but I'm not part of it" but the fact is that the problem they are agreeing exists DOES seem them as the proof of it. Sure, they love bringing up the 500lb strawman, but their true target is the person who is 200lbs. Making that concession isn't meeting them half-way. Its meeting them at their front door and we have to stop allowing the discussion of fatness to be only made on the terms of those who hate fatness. Diets don't magically work if you're the person who "needs" to lose weight. There are no lines that can be reliably drawn.

So, I've said my peace. The image of a fatty stuffing themself is a button pusher for me and I couldn't let it go without comment. All that aside, though, Joy Nash makes some great points and makes them well. She's engaging and makes some very keen observations. I loved the presentation on dieting's failure rates as concluding that 95-98% really means everyone. Really, for all my talk, I took issue with about 2% of the video. So that means I liked 98% of it. Which means I liked it. Check it out.