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Quick Hit: Fat Acceptance in the Pitt News

December 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Trigger warning for nonsense, I guess. Nonsense of the body shame variety. But mostly just nonsense.

This is my column in the Pitt News from a couple weeks ago, which basically argues the radical point that being mean to fat people isn’t beneficial to their health.

This is the offended letter to the editor that I got today.

Best things about this letter:

1. The first paragraph: “We can choose our religion, political beliefs and, recently, we’ve even been allowed to change our sex.
Yikes.

2. “To suggest that weight and race are similar is an insult to the various minorities who have been mistreated for something that they cannot control, i.e. the color of their skin or the deity they worship,”
when juxtaposed with my statement:
“In 2006, the Guardian ran a feature with the headline, “Is weight the new race?” Now obviously, weight is not the new race — different forms of discrimination are unique and not interchangeable, and racism is alive and well and has not been replaced by anything.

3a. “the various minorities who have been mistreated for something that they cannot control, i.e. the color of their skin or the deity they worship.”
What? I can so choose the deity I worship!
I’m not saying that religious shifts are easy or that people usually make them lightly. I was nineteen when I stopped considering myself Catholic, despite the fact that I was like fifteen when I stopped believing in basically anything the Catholic Church stood for. Only a couple months ago I decided I couldn’t consider myself Christian anymore, and it was HARD! But it was not as hard as gaining 25 pounds would be, considering that I am naturally thin (“underweight,” in fact, though the people who demonize fat people based on their BMI always accept without question my claim that being underweight is beyond my control) and would have to overeat by probably 1000 calories every single day in order to gain that much weight and keep it on. For many people who are “overweight,” losing weight is just as hard.
I don’t agree with the underlying assumption that anything that’s not 100% beyond your control makes you a fair target for harassment and shame, but let’s at least not pretend that being one body size or another is more of a choice than which deity (if any) to worship.

3b. “We can choose our religion, political beliefs and, recently, we’ve even been allowed to change our sex.”
Oops.

4. “Getting a subtle tattoo, just like eating dessert in moderation, is fine. Covering yourself with tattoos, though, invites people to draw unpleasant conclusions about your character. Obesity does the same.”
Being fat invites people to assume that you suck, just like… having visible tattoos??!?
Oh dear. At least he’s consistent…

Jokes aside, I’m pretty excited because this is the second Letter to the Editor I’ve gotten this year, the first one being (predictably) about my column on abortion regulations. I wish I got a staff bio so it could say “I ❤ Abortion And Fat People.” And Rick Perry thinks his opinions are unpopular…

I expect the next time I get angry letters will be after winter break, when I run the column I’ve been researching for a while, entitled “Affirmative Action Doesn’t Hurt White Students.” I will have failed MISERABLY if nobody gets angry about that.

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