Friday, November 12, 2010
"Would putting up the price of junk food, high in sugar and fat, cut obesity rates in the same way as a tax on cigarettes has helped reduce smoking?"
This represents the over-riding popular view that all fat people are fat because they eat nothing but junk. This just isn't the case. The causes of obesity are far more complicated than the calories in vs. Calories out model - weight gain can be caused by medication side-effects, medical problems such as diabetes and PCOS, sedentary lifestyles (office working etc), stress and depression to name but a few. Increasing taxation on food, therefore will not eradicate obesity. Comparing tax on cigarettes to reduce smoking to a tax on food to reduce obesity doesn't work.
This approach also implies that any health problems caused by poor diet affect only fat people, which is simply not the case. By labelling a tax on percieved 'unhealthy' foods a "fax tax" it's unnecessary adding to the stigma of being fat - and stigma itself contibutes to stress and depression.
The fear-mongering of the media as to how much obesity-related diseases is causing harm in itself. We find ourselves in a society where fat people are increasingly viewed as of less value to thin or normal people and where health is determined not by medical tests but by BMI by which measure professional athletes are often classified as obese. Fat people need advice on how to improve their health that rests on more than "lay off the burgers, fatty" - we can reduce our risk of diabetes and heart disease without weight-loss and should be encouraged to try these rather than starvation diets or invasive surgery.
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Monday, September 27, 2010
I'm not playing that game any more. Not because I don't want to strut my stuff on the catwalk, dive off sailboats or beat the sit out of another crappy diet book - none of these things are conditional on being thin (especially not the last one, in fact if you've not burned all your dieting books on a ceremonial pyre, I'd recommend it). I won't play because it's not worth it.
Being thin is not worth spending hours, weeks, days, years of your finite existence counting calories. Being thin is not worth rationing chocolate to once-monthly binges. Being thin is not worth having nothing to talk about but tricks to avoid food. Being thin is not worth being constantly hungry. It's not worth feeling tired, miserable, cold and irritable for the rest of your life. A life of constant hunger will never be a life fulfilled.
Being thin wont make you all those things they tell you it will. You'll still be you, but smaller. Whatever it is that you really want be it a dazzling career, a loving relationship or a happy family - it's not going to magically appear if you lose a few pounds. Don't you think your time and energy would be better spent working towards your goals rather than a smaller waist size? I do.
Years of my life have been spent in self-inflicted hunger. I've made myself literally sick of it, and I've grown tired of it. I hope never to have to spend another day hungry. And if I ever have to it won't be through choice. My health and my happiness are too important to me, my life is too important to me to put myself through this.
I raise my middle finger to the diet industry and their cronies. You want me to go hungry because of your arbitrary standard? The answer is NO.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
The strange thing about all of this is, while I have strived for and achieved that UK size 2 (US 00) frame where knickers only stay up because they can be hung on protruding hipbones, this never made me happy. I openly admit that I did feel achieved when I could no longer buy clothes, with adult clothes being too big and children’s being too short and yes, I did feel achieved as I lost more and more weight. For years, losing weight has been my goal but at many times during these seven years, it has been my life.
However, I am now a UK size 6 (US 2) and, while the days of endless dieting and obsessive exercise do not seem as though they are a thing of the distant past, I am a healthy weight and shape. One would assume from this that I am a much healthier person, but this assumption couldn’t be much further from the truth. While my healthy 9st body and my 28F chest give me a curvy, womanly shape, and while I eat regularly and I am more confident, this does not mean I am healthy. I smoke 20 roll-ups a day. I don’t run unless I’m going to miss the metro and, if I do that, I practically need resuscitating upon entrance to the train. At the same time, my boyfriend’s weight is exactly double my own, making him technically obese but, while the BMI charts all do battle with him trying to make him eat less and get more exercise, I spend time doing battle with him myself, simply to get him away from his weight bench! Of the two of us, he is far healthier and sets a fine example of how healthy one can be at a higher weight. I, however, work more as a terrible warning of the opposite issue!
While this has, so far, been a message of how unhealthy one can be when slim, I do not mean to suggest that one must be curvy to be healthy. For me, it is a question of balance - a balanced diet in which one nourishes one’s body, and a daily routine that keeps the body active but not exhausted. This balance is something I have not yet struck, but I intend to once I have come to be more comfortable with the sudden arrival of my bust and my bottom. If I led a healthier lifestyle, however, I would lose weight and that in turn would lead me back to the same situation of people passing me in the street and feeling that they have a right to comment on my shape. For me, then, and for many others, this situation becomes catch 22. I lose weight because I am leading a healthy lifestyle; I gain weight to please others by fulfilling a certain ideal of appearance. There is no point at which I am acceptable. Why?
The issue that few seem to consider is this: commenting on the appearances of others in a negative way is NOT polite, acceptable or necessary - rather, it is rude and it is damaging. By telling someone thin to go and eat something fattening, one will not inspire them to gain weight, just the same as telling someone fat to put down their pasty will not encourage them to lose weight. No one should be made to feel ashamed of their appearance but, furthermore, are the people who wish to comment in this fashion not being rather shallow? I am no more or less happy, successful or loved at this weight than I was at any other. Those who care about the person inside don’t care about the person outside but, those who do care about the outer “beauty” are often the ones with the power to make the individual miserable and lonely.
The prevalence of anti-thin hate is just as damaging as anti-fat hate and the fat-acceptance movement needs to be just as against it as any other form of body shaming. If we support this kind of behaviour then we are perpetuating the myth that some body types are just plain unacceptable, and whilst some may see poetic justice in reversing the status-quo, the reality is that we will just leave another generation of women struggling to be something that they simply are not. I wouldn't wish the looks, the comments and above all the self-hatred that I have felt on anyone else. The ridiculous panic of 'but if we accept fat people then people will be encouraged to live unhealthily' could become terrifyingly real if we were to reject thin-ness and replace the ideal with one equally unobtainable for many women.
Of course, most 'real women have curves' rubbish isn't suggesting that we replace thin with fat or anything so simple. What it actually suggests we replace the 'aspirational' skinny body with is one not too dis-similar from a Barbie doll - big boobs, tiny waist (because it's beautiful to have curves but not to have fat). It is not helpful to replace an ideal that is (for a large proportion of women) neigh-on impossible to achieve (ie. starve yourself to be acceptable) with an ideal that is (again for a large proportion of the population) only possible to achieve with surgery (or, according to the Daily Fail, breastfeeding ). I used to work with a beautiful young lady who had neigh-on starved herself skinny and still felt so uncomfortable with her body that she had breast implants (which left her in near-constant pain) - no woman should have to go through this. We need to promote the beauty of curves without negating the beauty of other body types. We need to stop promoting unhealthy behaviours in the service of being acceptable. We need to stop equating body size with health.
Which brings me to my final issue with thin-hating pro-curves propaganda. The misuse of the term 'anorexic' is becoming increasingly prevalent Anorexic does not mean skinny - anorexia is not a choice - anorexia is not something to be mocked. Anorexia is a serious fucking illness and sufferers do not need your judgement to make them better. In the same way as telling me that I should stop eating cake (for my own good) it is NOT FUCKING ACCEPTABLE to tell an anorexia sufferer to get some pies down her. No matter how socially acceptable it might seem. The increasing social acceptability of the idea that anorexics should be persecuted is ill-informed, discriminatory and unhelpful in every way.
The inspiration for this post came from the deplorable 'Hips and Curves, not Skin and Bones' Facebook group. Yet another hate-filled board full of trash (I've reported it and suggest you do too) - 297,607 people 'like' this page.
Thursday, June 03, 2010
This is my new maxi dress from Simply Be, it's my first maxi dress above a size 14.
I've always considered maxi dresses as for thin people, so the only times I've worn them has been when I was thin, or before I fist began dieting (under age14).
Of course, now I have permission from myself to eat and wear whatever hell I want; what I want to wear is the things I had forbidden myself to wear when fat. I needed a maxi dress.
And so I have spent months trying to find a maxi dress, and it proved much harder than I thought. Maxi dresses tend to come in extrodinarily garish fabrics, the kind of fabric that's ordinarily only used in Fat Person Clothing.
Fat Person Clothing is he kind of clothing that you're supposed to wear when you're fat: perhaps the theory is migraine-inducing colours will distract from the hideous fat fatty fatness of our bodies.
I would not dream of wearing Fat Person Clothing, it's just so intensly not me. I sometimes wish I was someone who could pull it off (and some wonderful Fatshonistas totally do), because it'd make finding clothing on the high street so much easier (Evans I'm looking at you).
So I love this dress, the mock-lace pattern is classic enough for me to pull off - that it's a white dress patterned in black means it's summery enough too. The dress is from Simply Be and is a size 18 (I range between roughly 18 and 24 depending on the garment), the fit's on the larger size so it fits pretty much perfectly (I have a cocktail dress from Simply B in a size 20 and it's a tiny bit on the large size).
Dilemma well and truly solved.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
I also don't think the degree of whimsy in the name really reflects the actual content of my blog. I've been thinking about how it's developing and the kind of thinking I'm wanting to undertake in the future and The Philosophy of Fat is spot on. Philosophy is my field, and following a trail of critical thinking, with a well founded theory to develop is really the point of this blog. This blog will therefore be largely academic in nature, with a dash of fashion theory to spice things up.
I hope to learn a great deal on the way.
Friday, May 14, 2010
The argument that fat shouldn't be demonised because it is not a choice seems like a valid one at first glance, but really it translates to "being fat is only acceptable because it is not a choice". Even if fatness were a choice it would still not be acceptable to discriminate against those who have "chosen" to be fat.
Unlike obesity, there is strong scientific evidence to suggest that smoking is linked to disease. The fact that I smoke (as does more than 25% of the UK population according to Cancer Research), does not give anyone on the street the right to lecture me on The Importance Of Giving Up Smoking.
Of course, being a fat smoker makes me even more of a target. Smoking fatties are increasingly portrayed as being Everything That's Wrong With The World, if being fat wasn't enough of a flashing signpost of my shocking lack of respect for my health, I also have the audacity to smoke.
I'm not going to suggest that science has it all wrong about smoking, we've all had it drilled into us that If You Smoke You Will Die - I'm aware of the risks and for now, I choose to continue to smoke.
I could bullshit you at this point with a diatribe on how Smoking is Addictive and I smoke because I can't give up. I could list the myriad times I've attempted to quit smoking, and the amount of times I've failed. I could draw a parallel between my failed dieting attempts and my failed attempts at quitting smoking, tell you the tale of my friend who was able to quit heroin but not tobacco. I could point out that tobacco should, from a scientific viewpoint, be an illegal drug, but that this can't happen due to the money smokers pour into the economy in the form of taxes.
I'm not going to do that though, because at this point in time, smoking feels like a choice to me. I don't want to quit smoking, so I don't attempt it. This does not make me a bad person.
I can't help but remember that I'm going to die regardless of whether I smoke, drink, eat McDonalds, run 10 miles a day or get my 5 a day. It's my life and my choice and no-one else gets to choose for me.
I shouldn't have to remind myself that I'm deserving of respect regardless of my lifestyle choices. I shouldn't have to agonise over whether to reveal that I smoke on my own god-damn blog.
I don't give a damn if you think I'm a bad person because I'm fat or because I smoke or because I enjoy bacon sandwiches, or because I drink. I am me, and I will continue to be me whether you like it or not.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
T-Shirt by Asos Curve
Skirt by Evie for Peacocks
Tights by Primark
Boots (slightly out of shot) by Dr Marten
Duffle Coat (on chair) by Simply Be
This is what I wore to work today. As you can see I've had a bit of a change in the hair department. This is in fact, relevant to this blog.
You see, for the last 6 years I've been growing my hair. I've had my hair every colour of the rainbow at some point, I've had it long, short, and inbetween. But over the last 6 years, I've not been cutting it, and I've not been changing the colour QUITE as often (ok quite often, but in more subtle ways than the greens and reds and blacks and purples of before).
I've been thinking about why I've not changed my hair before now. Partially it's because I wanted long hair, to grow it in and give it a chance and see how long I could get it. And wanting to have long hair is a good enough reason to have long hair.
There are a couple of factors to me, at least, keeping my hair long for so many years that are NOT good enough reason though. One was that I thought I 'looked fatter' with short hair. I am fat, looking fat is something that I can expect to be the case. And yet, I was there thinking "I'd love short hair, it would be easier to dry, wouldn't tangle and wouldn't be so god-damn hot all the time" and then countering that with "but I don't want to look EVEN FATTER", and I the latter argument as actually WINNING. So I think that finally accepting that I am FAT has freed me from that thinking, and allowed me to try something new and daring.
The same is happening with my clothes (hence the outfit posts), when I was Thin I was obsessed with clothes, I loved playing with them, mixing them up, and shopping for new fabulous pieces to add into the mix. As I got better (/fatter) I would buy bigger clothes, but they were mainly chosen for practicality, and cheapness. My weight was all over the place to the point where I'd yo-yo between as size 12 and a size 20 within a year and I'd buy nice clothes when I was thin and cheap, practical "Temporary Clothes" when I was fat. I spent approximately 1/4 of the last 8 years in "Temporary Clothes", crappy shapeless long-sleeved Matalan tops (on their own, with cheap shapeless jeans - not even as a base for something more funky). I longed to be able to find my style and struggled to do so, even when I was thin (/ill) - I didn't understand my body, and I have no great love for it. I didn't think my body deserved nice clothes, didn't trust myself to be a size long enough to make paying anything significant for them worth-it. Hell, I changed size so often I couldn't afford to dress nice.
Over the last few months, since discovering FA and embracing my fat body, my love of clothes, makeup and hair has simply bloomed. I've managed to build up a nice wardrobe of great clothes that fit, and stayed within budget by using existing clothes as bases for new pieces and in different ways. And also by prioritising myself more. I don't feel the need to spend my money on crap I don't need as much, because I'm pretty sane (and I think I have FA to thank for the continuance of that because dieting has caused many an Attack-of-the-Crazies).
And as fatshion blogs have filled in the hole for magazines (I still sometimes buy them, but only occasionally as I find their often warped images of women, frankly insulting - this is not the kind of advertising I respond to and the lies are maddening) - my thanks go particularly to the wonderful Fat Nurse :) It's great to see great clothes on women who's bodies actually resemble my own, and the feedback on sizing is invaluable too.
I don't intend to turn my blog into something fatshion only, I still have alot of things to say about what I THINK for that, but expect more photos and more outfits, because sharing works best both ways.
Pencil skirt my M&S
Silver shrug by Simply Be
Star Fishnets by Primark
E-Fit slouch boots by New Look
Scarf and jewellery by who the hell knows!
Glasses by FCUK
1st fatshion post (eeks)
This photo is from a couple of weeks ago (before I had my hair cut as you'll see in the next one!), I wanted to put together a grey outfit that didn't look dull. It's difficult to see in this photo, but the shrug is metallic silver thread and the scarf has silver threads in too. I'm also wearing a set of 3 strings of beads ranging from black to shiny, shiny silver. The key to doing metallic in the day is in the accessories as it has to be smartened up or dressed down (or maybe both with this outfit ;) ) I got this stretchy pencil skirt in the M&S sale last summer and it's wonderfully versatile and can be worn as casual or smart depending on what it's paired with (I like to mix my clothes up so they HAVE to be versatile in some way!)
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I specify that it's personal because each individual's mind is as complex and different as everyone's bodies (because, you know, your mind is part of your body, people). Also because my particular version of crazy does impact fairly dramatically on my treatment of my body and my acceptance of my fat.
Fat acceptance, to me, is part of the road to recovery from mental ill-health (by which I mean not that my crazy has magically disappeared, but that I am finally in a position where my crazy doesn't affect every single moment of my life). Only in accepting myself for the person I truly am (fat, prone to bouts of serious depression and periods of elation, subject to migraine and gum disease) am I able to treat myself in such a way that my crazy doesn't rule my life.
I have to be quite vigilant about my own needs, and do the right thing by myself to reduce the risks of a major depressive episode. This includes ensuring that I eat enough, sleep enough, don't drink too much, that I listen to my body and trust it to tell me what it needs.
The biggest risk to my health has, and probably will always be, a major attack of the crazies. I have to prioritise my mental health over physical risk factors - even if being fat was the fast-train to an early grave we're constantly told it is, the risks would pale to insignificance next to the very real risk of death from a bad attack of the crazies.
I don't pretend to have the true full picture as to the origin of my fatness, but I do believe that spending half my life on various anti-depressant medications has been a major contributing factor. These medications have saved my life many time over. I have no desire to be a skinny corpse, I have no desire to risk my mental health to fulfil your pointless cultural ideal. I've been your fucking cultural ideal, it nearly killed me.
For me, personally, dieting and body hatred is a very real danger to my health. My fatness is not.
Sunday, April 04, 2010
Things are a little bit different this year. I now know that if I don't eat all my easter-related chocolate this weekend, I'll still be allowed it next week or next month, and I'm happy at the thought of our Creme Egg gift pack (thanks Mum and Dad!) sitting at home waiting for me/him to enjoy when the mood takes us. In times past I wouldn't have been able to live with it's presence, it would gnaw at me until I'd eradicated it.
Easter is a time to celebrate the coming of spring, rebirth of nature all around us. We celebrate the end of the hard, barren winter months and the start of the fresh, abundant springtime. This year I'm focusing on the end of years of deprivation and misery and my new life of acceptance, happiness and fulfilment.
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Friday, March 19, 2010
Of course, me being me, my favourite character in the series is Mercedes Jones, the token fat-girl (and token black-girl), played by the delightful Amber Riley - a character with so much self-confidence that she delcares in the very first episode "I'm Beyonce, I ain't no Kelly Rowland." The character of Mercedes provides a strong, beautiful role-model for plus-size girls, and I just love the fact that there hasn't (thus-far at least) been any sort of effort to make apologies for her size - Mercedes often takes the main singing parts and boy can she sing!
This week's episode was particularly good on the fat and fabulous front, due to the guest number from Jane Adams Correctional Facility's Glee club, who perform Destiny's Child's 'Bootylicious' - aside from the fact that the ep. focuses on how Adams' use of 'Hairography' is supposedly there to distract from poor performances (and let's face it, the maker's of Glee wouldn't show a dance routine where the dancer's weren't on form), the dancers in this routine take the showcasing of fat talent futher than the original cast - mixed in with the usual 'athletic' body type that people normally think of as a 'dancer's body' are a variety of body types, including, as one of the main singers/dancers Chatonja (sorry, but google failed to tell me the actress's name) - a young woman who can sing, dance and do the splits and is also far larger than anyone I've ever seen dancing in popular media in any way other than as an exercise of 'let's laugh at the fatty' - couple that with the costume choice actually affording us flashes of her stomach (*shock* - how is this even allowed on TV!) and the show found yet another way to leave me with a warm fuzzy feeling.
Glee does delight in stereotypes, but so far delights in throwing them to the four winds.
I love it!
Monday, February 22, 2010
Media is Fuelling Eating Disorders
The basic gist being that magazines should not be promoting an unhealthy (ie. emaciated) 'aspirational' body image, that there should be laws about using models who are blatently unwell and/or showing manipulated images showing an exaggerated, severely edited or just plain impossible body image with no indication that they have been altered.
In general, I'd have to say I agree with this, and think that the media has a responsibility not to encourage it's readers into desperate, damaging behaviours to fit into a tiny, perfect mould that not even the people in the photographs will fit into. With photoshop, I think that images manipulated should have some kind of label, preferably a line of small-print detailing exactly what has been done to the original image.
Particularly in adverts.
I'm particularly impressed with them wanting to extend this warning system to articles promoting diets.
This bit, however, we could do without "...Dr Ian Campbell, a Nottingham GP and spokesman for the charity Weight Concern, said the way the media glamorised thinness made it harder for obese patients to lose weight."
The media's obession with thinness does not make it "more difficult for [us fat fat fatty fatties] to lose weight" (words in brackets my artistic licence) - it's disorting almost every woman's (and an increasingly high proportion of men's) body image and relationship with food. It's increasingly difficult to find anyone without the millstone of disordered eating dragging their heads towards the ground, let's face it, Cosmo isn't exactly helping matters much.
"Article" 2 (quotations mine there, of course)
Obesity Rise on Death Certificates
In which the BBC confuse "obesity being blamed for more deaths" with "obesity to blame for more deaths", undoing in one, lazy-arsed attempt at serious journalism, all the respect for them the previous article had gleaned....
Proof if proof be needed to remind us all that we've got a hell of a long way to go before the media take notice of us, and that we still need to KEEP SHOUTING!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Think about this:
You don’t know this girl. You have no idea what may have caused her to become fat. It could be any number of reasons from emotional problems, to physical problems, to side-effects of medication, to yo-yo dieting. You don’t know anything about her, and yet you assume because you’ve witnessed her eating ONE ice cream that she’s fat because she’s stuffing her face with junk food 24/7.
Seeing one fat person having the balls to eat a foodstuff other than salad or raw vegetables in public does not provide proof that fat acceptance is flawed. Fat acceptance can actually help people recover from life-long struggles with eating disorders and prejudice and to lead them to live happier, healthier lives.
And it’s exactly the response that you’ve had to seeing one fat person eat just one ice-cream that makes it so vital to us to have the fat acceptance movement, to have allies against the prejudice that we experience every day. The fat acceptance movement gives us the support we need to break from the starve-binge cycle we’re trapped in, to get out into the world and live our lives, to take up healthy pursuits involving exercise (even when people are falling over themselves to shout “run fatty run” when you’re trying to enjoy a morning jog). It’s what makes us realise that we don’t have to eat everything in the fridge because tomorrow is a ‘no food day’.
And it’s this kind of prejudice which makes people equate thin with healthy. Which encourages the thin and averaged size to believe that important messages about healthy balanced diets and exercise don’t apply to them because they don’t need to lose weight. When a thin person sits on their arse all day eating cake then that’s just fine by society’s standards but in reality poor diet (lack of variety, lack of nutrients) and lack of exercise will cause you health problems whatever your size, just as a good diet (lots of variety, listening to what your body wants, plenty of nutrients) and increased exercise (even a small amount of gentle exercise will improve your health) will keep you healthy no whether you’re 7 stone or 17.
Fat people are not the enemy. Ice cream is also not the enemy – you shouldn’t live on it, but you shouldn’t live on peas either. Making snap judgments on other people without even speaking to them is a problem, but it’s not just your problem, it’s society’s problem. And quite contrary to popular belief, it’s not going to make any of us lose weight. If telling people they’re fat (as if they haven’t noticed) made people magically thin, trust me you’d have not one fat person in western society.
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
This year, with me having finally jumped off the dieting bandwagon and headed for the hills, I was able to enjoy the post Christmas period with more appropriate food for the bitter winter weather, and as such have found a lessening in the traditional January blues, a vast reduction in chocolate cravings and far less impact on the wallet from the January sales (although that might come from my increasing resistance to advertising and my newfound refusal to buy clothes that just don't fit).
I also nearly fainted on discovery that I can now fit comfortably into a pair of trousers that I couldn't get done up before Christmas, handily disproving any nagging demons in the back of my head urging me to run after that bandwagon, while I'm still nimble enough to manage it, because don't I know that this way leads to ugliness, not being able to fit through standard sized doorways and DEATH.
I'm sensibly holing up until the snow goes away and the days warm up nice; and when that happens I'm actually looking forward to emerging from my burrow and engaging in some nice, healthy swimming and walking to shake the sleep and aches out of my joints. Roll on springtime!