Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Fat hatred.]

"Why is First Lady Michelle Obama supporting the humiliation of fat people? Ms. Obama, who has made fighting childhood obesity her signature issue, recently appeared for the second time on the television show The Biggest Loser. ...My colleagues and I have conducted research that suggests that exposure to moralizing messages promoted on shows like The Biggest Loser worsen anti-fat prejudice. We found that people who read a news report discussing an alleged obesity health crisis were more likely to agree—compared to those who read an article on a topic not related to weight—with stereotypes of fat people as unlikable, untrustworthy, and less intelligent than thinner people. Other studies have shown that individuals who think people can control their weight are more likely to believe that weight-based discrimination is justified. By aligning herself with The Biggest Loser, Michelle Obama further legitimizes anti-fat attitudes, and the ills they spread."—Abigail C. Saguy, from a great piece "Humiliating Fat People Is Hazardous to Our Health."

Legitimizing those attitudes may be less a bug of appearing on The Biggest Loser than a feature, since the First Lady may, like lots of folks who are invested in the narrative that all fat people can lose weight if only we try hard enough, believe that shaming fat people is an effective way of "motivating" us to lose weight.

One of the primary reasons lots of people invested in these narratives like and support The Biggest Loser is explicitly because it engages in shaming. Shaming which is much more visible than, say, dangerous dehydration, thus giving the appearance that it is the shame masquerading as "motivation" and "perspective" and "inspiration" which is the most effective tool in weight loss.

But, ah, fat people are not experiencing insufficient amounts of shame in our lives.

And eleventy metric fucktons of shaming cannot make a fat body thin, if that body isn't designed to be thin.

I say once again:
I will never be not fat.

To get rid of my fat body, you have got to get rid of me.

This is where the fat-hating narrative of "calories in, calories out!" and the universal treatment of every human body like it's a Bunsen burner gets us: It's all just about personal choice and fatties' bad choices, without regard for natural variation among human bodies, including disease and disability, individual histories of fad dieting, disordered eating, and/or trauma, or systemic problems like poverty, racism, fat hatred, food deserts, lack of safe outdoor spaces, corn subsidies, meat subsidies, and an entire industry that makes lots and lots of money off of shaming fat people that wouldn't exist if some people weren't fat, just for starters.
Some number of fat people are always going to be fat. It is not a moral failing; it is merely a fact of human diversity. A fact to which fat haters, who ostensibly care about our health so profoundly they must shame us to save us, they must break us down emotionally to make us see what wretched specimens we really are, are intractably resistant. They are too keen to eliminate us to bother listening to us. Or caring about us. Or accepting us.

The horrible answer to the question of why the First Lady is supporting the humiliation of fat people is that she probably believes that humiliation is good for us.

See also: Michelle Obama's Guest Appearance on The Biggest Loser, Fatties Are Destroying America, Today in Fat-Hatin'.

[H/T to Marilynn Wann and Amanda Levitt.]

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