I have written previously about "Let's Move," First Lady Michelle Obama's fat-hating and disablist and otherwise problematic "anti-childhood obesity" campaign, which is ostensibly about "being healthy," but has absolutely no interest in a Health at Every Size paradigm. It is explicitly anti-fat. (See also: Paul Campos.) Lest anyone mistake I'm imagining fat hatred where none exists, I submit this paragraph from an op-ed penned by Michelle Obama for the Wall Street Journal:
[Promoting healthy products doesn't] just matter for businesses that produce and sell food. They matter for every business in America. We spend $190 billion a year treating obesity-related health conditions like diabetes and heart disease, and a significant portion of those costs are borne by America's businesses. That's on top of other health-related costs like higher absenteeism and lower worker productivity, costs that will continue to rise and threaten the vitality of American businesses until this problem is solved once and for all.Fat people are a "problem to be solved once and for all." I am a problem to be solved.
Of course I'm meant to understand that obesity is the problem that needs solving. But my fat does not exist separate from my humanity. I am a fat person. Targeting fatness targets the bodies of fat people, as if those bodies are somehow separate from the consciousnesses that inhabit them.
As I have noted before, this insistence on casually insisting that fat bodies are problems to be solved, while eliding the vast and varied reasons why some people will always be fat, makes anti-fat crusades inherently eliminationist:
When there are people for whom...obesity is not preventable, for myriad reasons, to bray about how their bodies (our bodies; ourselves) are "preventable" is to engage in eliminationist rhetoric.Further, demonizing fat people as a unique threat to US business is not only flatly inaccurate, but totally fucking unconscionable. Note the careful wording that "obesity-related health conditions like diabetes and heart disease" are responsible for "higher absenteeism and lower worker productivity," which is some real bullshit sleight-of-hand which implicitly argues that fat people are the only people with diabetes and heart disease, and people with diabetes and heart disease have "higher absenteeism and lower worker productivity," which essentially is a dressed-up version of the tired stereotype that fat people are sick and lazy.
I will never be not fat.
To get rid of my fat body, you have got to get rid of me.
...Fat people are not only tasked with finding individual solutions to systemic problems; they are, in many cases, asked to somehow overcome their very physiologies and make their bodies do things that they are simply unable to do.
We are literally asked to be people we are not and cannot be.
That is eliminationist. Plain and simple.
Fat people are sick and lazy and threaten the vitality of American business until we eliminate them.
That's what that paragraph actually says. That is an official statement of the First Lady of the United States. Which should terrify fat people, and anyone else who's got a body that the government might deem inconvenient or undesirable at any point.