Cook Food at Salon

Jaclyn Friedman offers an interesting interview with Lisa Jervis over at Salon. Jervis is the co-founder of Bitch Magazine and author of "Cook Food". Its a sort-of "how-to" guide for being a part of the local food movement. Its an interesting an article and especially worth a note to fat activists in that Jervis calls on the pro-food movement to show more skepticism for anti-fat claims from the medical industry.
"What really saddens me about the state of the pro-food discourse about obesity right now is that when Monsanto says genetically modified soybeans are not an environmental problem or a health problem, the pro-food movement is extremely skeptical, and they call that out as total bullshit. Whereas when the medical industry says "fat kills," they're not like: Actually, no, diabetes may kill, but the cause and effect relationship between the two is not as uncomplicated as you'd have us believe."
You will not be surprised that these couple of sentences in a long article are generating disproportionate push-back in the letters section, so feel free to push-back some yourselves.


Straw Fatties

The Philadelphia Daily News brings us the inspiring and unique story of a woman who is trying to lose weight because her husband told her she was too fat. Except, of course, that's not inspiring. Nor is it remotely unique. Men are pressuring their spouses to lose weight all across America right now. Its sad and wrong and something I hope fat acceptance can change.

In this story, though, fat acceptance is the villain because the woman meeting her husband's demands happens to be a celebrity who was fat accepting for pay. So the story makes a lot of fuss over how fat acceptance activists are all flustered.

Give me a break.

Sorry, but sometime around Camryn Manheim's diet I stopped thinking fat celebrities would ever be fat accepting role models. The pressures in our culture already makes fat acceptance an extraordinarily unlikely event. In the entertainment industry its just much worse. Its too easy for people to fall into bland fat stigmatization feelings. And most fat activists I know feel pretty much the same way. Where are these people "angrily abuzz" that the article mentions? I've tried to search for Fat-o-sphere articles that bring it up and I'm finding nothing.

The truth is, the author of the love letter to sexist fat stigmatization is just making this up because she wants to make a point of denying fat acceptance a right to exist. Kimberly Garrison is a professional fat stigmatizer, after all, as a trainer and "fitness journalist". Its all about the enforcement of thin privilege. Or in this case, the privilege of fat hatred. All this hand-wringing and bafflement that fat acceptance has something against fat stigmatization! Don't we know we're not supposed to be fat? Its all well and good that we're for fat acceptance, but surely we can't actually be suggesting that its acceptable to be fat.

Straw fatties are created to try to keep us in our place. To distort our positions so as to lay out the boundaries of acceptable beliefs so we're excluded. I am genuinely saddened at people trying to lose weight. I don't hate them. I just find myself deeply distraught when I hear of what any person is doing to themselves because they think fat is intolerable. I'd love for my first reaction to be anger. Not at the dieters, but at the system. Sometimes I even wish it was ambivalence, but its not. Its sadness. Because I'm not interesting in "knowing my place". I'm fat accepting, but not accepting of fat hatred, too. People like Kimberly Garrison don't expect us to mean what they say. To them, its inconceivable that we ACTUALLY are demanding respect for our bodies and for the bodies of our fellow fat men and women. When confronted with a reminder of that, they sputter and fume. We're not being realistic! We're not being honest! Don't we know the "tramau" we're putting our bodies through? They'll only tolerate the notion that we want fat acceptance for ourselves. They can write us off individually as lost causes. But when they are reminded that we actually want this for other people too, out comes the "but don't you know fat is bad". It shows they were never really listening or caring in the first place. Not that most of us were fooled.

I'm not angry at Mo'Nique for dieting at the behest of her husband. I'm sad about it, just as I am for everyone woman made to feel like this true lost cause is something they must spend their whole life chasing. I'll spare my anger for people like Kimberly Garrison who profit off the promotion of fat hatred.