Nothing About Us, Without Us

It has been 30 years since the first anthology of fat women's writings was published. Shadow on a Tightrope began a tradition of fat people telling their side of the story. The best cure for social stigmas is social empathy. The voices of the stigmatized must be heard. Our stories count. Telling them is the stuff of human dignity.

What Do You Call a Fat Woman with a Ph.D.?

Fat people are a group that look alike. As such they have been marked by our social system with certain symbolic value. Being fat is the only common denomenator. Reducing fat people down to a false dichotomy of either “weak” or "sick" “is stigmatizing. Either way they are not afforded the dignity of being human.

Fat is a Libertarian Issue

Fat is an issue that neither liberals or conservatives really address well. Fat is a primary example of why we need more than two choices in political rhetoric. In fact, fat is a primary example of why we need more than political rhetoric to learn how to live freely. We need to get big government (and big business) out of our kitchens and off our backs.

The Power of the Negative Case

Human beings are diverse in how we look, what we believe, how we speak and what we know (and probably 7 billion other ways), but the mechanisms of bigotry are the same: stereotype, stigmatize and discriminate. Bigotry is boring, like a song with one note. Respecting diversity, including body size variations, brings harmony to that one note and makes it sing!

Fat by Choice?

Health at Every Size ® begins with accepting size as a natural human variation. One does not choose to be fat or thin. Rather one chooses behaviors that result in better health. Size is never the issue. Commenting on another person’s size is never helpful and may in fact be harmful. Remember the old adage regarding health: first, do no harm.

Adding Two Taboos Together Makes One Good Book

"Fat Sex: The Naked Truth" is a collective memoir about two words we usually whisper: “fat” and “sex.” Through these stories, Rebecca Jane Weinstein helps to humanize a group of people who are often regarded as “less than human.” Fat people have sex and fat people struggle with sex, just like anyone else, busting stereotypes that suggest otherwise.

Dear APA: Fat Is Not a Symptom or a Disease

There is no evidence that fatness is a disease, a disorder or a symptom. Making fat a disorder or a symptom of a psychological disorder will do more harm than good because it will fail. If the APA really wants to ethically address questions of fatness and psychology with helpful guidelines for its members, I would offer a simple suggestion. Listen to fat people.

Risks of Obesity: Financial Cost/Benefit Analysis

Cost/benefit analyses are estimates, not scientific studies. “Studies have shown" are magic words conferring truth on any words that end the sentence. Objections to cost risks of obesity can be raised both on data quality grounds and on ethical grounds. At the heart of most moral panics lies profit-motives and prejudice, but not much science.

Health at Every Size Is Anti-Dieting

Poretsky explains: “If you love your body, you don't need diets or lap bands or botox or weight loss drugs. If you love your body, you're less likely to accept ill treatment, discrimination, bad medical care, etc. We have huge industries like the diet, pharmaceutical, beauty, marketing industries that literally bank on our self-hatred to sell products.”

“Weight” Is a Social Identity According to New Research

Dr. Asbury states: “…the irony of this whole situation is that by making these ads, Georgia may actually encourage some people to gain weight—the exact opposite of what they desire. … If Georgia wants people to enact healthy behaviors, the answer does not lie in shaming people, for it will only make people rebel against the idea.”

The Protestant Health Ethic – Clinical Calvinism?

Fat people have become the canary in the mine of American public health. No matter what size body you have, you should be paying attention to the economic, political and cultural realities of fatness in America. It will tell you a lot about what is wrong with our medical systems, including our lack of compassion for the sick.

Why Loving Our Bodies Is Dangerous!

Even in light of the Autumn Occupation, Love Your Body Day is important. It is directly opposed to consumerism. If I love who I am, I will not believe you when you tell me I must be new & improved, I must not age, I cannot be sexy, I cannot be disabled. Loving one’s body demands joy instead of satiation, achievement instead of improvement, intimacy instead of thrills.

Human Empathy: An Essential Component for Human Society

Ever contemplated how many people hate other people in our world, and the ways they express that hate? Ever contemplated the source of your own hatred and the ways in which you fear or hate other people? Feeling that hatred is a treacherous and painful journey, but at the end of it, a deep-felt empathy can emerge, empathy that can repair the world.

No Child Left Behind: Safe Schools Improvement Act of 2011

Why would Congress omit protection of height/weight in SSIA? To support both an anti-obesity effort and an anti-bullying of fat kids effort at the same time would be difficult to pull off. Maybe Congress is aware of this conflict and the omission is intentional. Perhaps, they believe that it isn’t bullying if the fat kid needs to hear it in order to change their behavior.

A Lesson in Cause and Effect

Much of what is reported in the War on Obesity uses the language of "cause and effect." Understanding exactly how causation is established in scientific research can help sift through the sensationalism. If we want to improve health, lively debate must be a part of the process.

A Culture of Schadenfreude: Delighting in the Deaths of Fat People

Schadenfreude is a symptom of a social illness in American society. It comes from our war mongering, especially our use of war rhetoric to address social problems. It is not surprising that it is on the rise surrounding fat people. This war isn't working. It is wasteful. It is impractical. It is harmful. It must stop. End the War! Peace!

International No Diet Day--May 6, 2011

In 1991 Mary Evans Young asked a group of women, "What do you think would happen if you spent as much time and energy on your careers as you do on diets?" May 6 is International No Diet Day -- Take the pledge and learn how free you can be without worrying about your weight.

Stigma is BIG Business

Recent events that relied upon understanding that diets don't work demonstrate the difference between profiting from those words and helping people with those words. By following the money, we can see profit motives have led to bad science, not to mention ineffective, harmful and costly health care. Stigmatizing fat is profitable; the FDA just upped the ante.

Jump for Joy or Solicit for Stigma?

All kids need exercise, so why emphasize size instead of behavior? Does emphasizing size create permanent weight loss? Does ignoring size prevent health benefits of exercise? Stigmatization has known health consequences. Health at Every Size principles focus on improving health, without emphasizing size and, therefore, without stigmatizing its adherents.

New Year's Resolutions: Who is Failing Whom?

The current rhetoric in the "War on Obesity" in which the fattening of America is blamed for everything from rising health costs, over consumption of fuel, to undermining the war on terrorism, has all the earmarks of a moral panic. Resolutions based upon moral panics are doomed in both personal practice and public policy.