Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

January 30, 2008

Kudos to our Fat Blogging Sisters!

So much superfantastic activity in the Fatosphere! The New York Times article garnered much attention. Here, via the Fat-Blogger par excellence, Kate Harding, is the fascinating TV spot featuring 2 of our Blogging Sisters! See how beautiful and articulate they are!

The F-Word

Big Fat Deal

And here is the Kate Harding post where you can join in a discussion. Francesca bows down on her knees to the Kate Harding!

And here is the supplemental video, which was not aired on TV. You must watch this supplement!

And now for Francesca’s commentary:

1. Here you have two Fat Bloggers vs. The Wicked Witch of the West, Meme Roth of the National Action Against Obesity. (Francesca feels the doctor was pretty neutral.)
The Fat Bloggers did a great job of staying “on message,” their 2 messages being:

a) You cannot assume that because someone is fat they are necessarily unhealthy and

b) Being fat does not mean that a person isn’t worthy of respect, equal pay, etc.

Notice that at no time during the on-air segment did Meme Roth or the doctor acknowledge that fat people are human beings worthy of respect. Francesca understands the reasons they think the country would be healthier if everyone stopped gaining weight, but she is PO’ed that they couldn’t even bring themselves to say ” . . . that having been said, it is inappropriate and rude to make fun of fat people. Fat people are, indeed, human beings – we just think they have a problem to work on.” Were they, too, just trying to stay on-message? Or do they think that being fat is a legitimate reason to throw garbage at someone (literally)? See the supplemental video to find out!

2. Francesca feels that Roth does have one point, about which Rachel and Monique were not quite intellectually honest: the fact that, for example, Rachel does not currently have diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol does not mean that being fat is perfectly healthy for her. Type-2 diabetes often does not set in until a person is in her 40’s or 50’s, and so it could be that Rachel will, indeed, someday get diabetes — and that her risk is higher because she is fat. The anti-fat folks are correct that we aren’t just talking about people’s current health but their long-term chances for remaining healthy as long as possible.

That having been said, in her introduction Rachel explained that for her, staying at a “healthy” weight involved starving herself, and that the dieting, for her, led to malnutrition, cessation of her menses, and severe depression with suicidal thoughts.

Frankly, Francesca believes, for all the dangers associated with diabetes, that malnutrition and suicidal thoughts are much, much worse. If Francesca had to choose between the two, she would choose the diabetes.

3. All that having been said, Francesca wonders how long a pole someone must have up their you-know-what to decide to devote her life to running an anti-obesity organization. I mean, seriously. To crusade against something like, say, smoking I do understand, because making smoking less socially acceptable has indeed led to a decrease in smoking in this country. I also could understand if the organization were called National Action for Nutrition and Fitness or National Action for Weight Education, because who could argue with either of those? But being “against obesity” does not make anyone lose weight. Telling Americans that being fat is bad, and that all those increasingly-fat people are expensive and are ruining America, does not help anything. Because, guess what? People get fat for a whole lot of reasons much more complicated than, say, the decision to start smoking. No one becomes fat because their friends say it’s cool. No one becomes fat in order to fit in. And no one stays fat because they are “addicted” to it. You can’t stop eating cold turkey. (I mean, you can stop eating turkey if you want, hot or cold, but you can’t stop eating everything altogether. Hah! Francesca jokes!)

You have to be a very angry, un-compassionate person to spend hours every day being anti-obesity. And, guess what? Being angry and lacking compassion do not help America.

Francesca hath spoken!

4. Gotta love that line “we’ll hear what these men think about their wives.” As if feeling anything but love and pride in your wife is surprising and news-worthy if she’s fat. Give Francesca a break. So much about our society is warped and depressing.

But, things can change. Once again, congratulations to our now-famous blogging superstars!


  1. Yes, dear Francesca, *so many things about our society are warped and depressing*. And yet, the attitude that you project about it all is so very refreshing, and one of the big reasons why I feel love and comfort from this blog. Thanks :)

    Comment by rosarita — January 30, 2008 @ 10:28 pm

  2. Off the topic of the f-word, I (heart) Mike and Juliet. I’ve never been a morning show or a talk show person, but I really like theirs. Seeing them give fair coverage to an issue like this just makes me (heart) them more. (And I would consider the coverage fair, since the doctor was neutral and Meme did present herself as kind of crazy.)

    Comment by Nemtynakht — January 30, 2008 @ 10:37 pm

  3. “Gotta love that line ‘we’ll hear what these men think about their wives.’ As if feeling anything but love and pride in your wife is surprising and news-worthy if she’s fat. Give Francesca a break. So much about our society is warped and depressing.”

    I think you may have been reading a bit too much into that line. I dunno, I remember hearing Oprah introduce the wives and husbands of beautiful (and slender) celebrities this sort of way. “And next up, we’ll hear what Julia Robert’s husband has to say about his wife.”

    I see your point, though.

    Comment by Arlene — January 31, 2008 @ 4:51 am

  4. About point 3 and smoking, I guess you don’t know that MeMe Roth’s “organization” actually took out a trademark for the term “Secondhand Obesity.” She apparently believes that if fat people walk around in fashionable clothes, or allow themselves to be seen eating anything other than salad, that this transmits fat-causing behaviors to everybody around them.

    I wish I were making that up. There’s a lot of things I wish I were making up about her. I almost feel bad for her because I believe she is deeply unhappy and can’t figure out why since she works so hard to stay thin and that’s supposed to be awesome.

    I would feel bad for her, if she didn’t express so much contempt for the idea that fat can be beautiful.

    Comment by Alexandra Erin — January 31, 2008 @ 5:44 am

  5. I agree with everything everyone else has said.

    I have an issue with the doctor who said “no white food” and included potatoes. If you are eating potatoes with the skins, it’s an extremely healthy food – full of fiber, vitamin C and loaded with potassium. As the old ads in the 70s said “don’t blame the potato.”

    Comment by dowdydiva — January 31, 2008 @ 9:02 am

  6. This woman really pisses me off. I can understand someone getting involved in the obesity fight but not the way she does it. She really stops at the appearance and doesn’t want to see more than that. It’s sad. I prefer someone like Jamie Oliver for instance who teachers kids about food and is trying to change people’s habits in a positive way without diminishing them.

    I also read about fat people and fashionable clothes. It floored me. Just crush our self-esteem a little more by giving us nothing to wear. *rolls eyes*

    Comment by Valerie — January 31, 2008 @ 10:30 am

  7. Valerie – of course they don’t want us to have anything to wear. Then we could not leave the house. And they’d never see us or have to deal with us. They want us to hide. And unfortunately, a lot of us do just that, which is not a good thing. More Keely Shay-Smith, please!!!

    Comment by Toby Wollin — January 31, 2008 @ 10:49 am

  8. Toby – You know I might be a bit dramatic but her ideas are almost extremists. It’s like she only wants the women to be pretty thin blondes. I am so glad she isn’t known in Europe (yet).

    Comment by Valerie — January 31, 2008 @ 11:14 am

  9. You know, there is not much that will convince me to believe that fat necessarily equals “unhealthy”. And the doctor’s remark that the woman who protests that, despite her size, she’s 100% physically healthy “now” but probably won’t be later, when she’s in her 40’s or 50’s applies equally to everyone, whether thy are slender or massive.

    The more I read about this, and the more I study nutrition research that isn’t paid for by huge pharmaceutical companies, conglomerate food producers, or people like Meme, the more I think this whole effort to pathologize fat is a means to justify a long standing hatred and prejudice that needs to die.

    Comment by ChaChaHeels — January 31, 2008 @ 12:17 pm

  10. “No white food”???
    What on earth is unhealthy about cauliflower, tilapia, water chestnuts, scallops, and button mushrooms?

    These people are fanatics, and like all fanatics, when dealing with the subject of their fanaticism, they have disengaged their brains.

    Comment by Rabrab — January 31, 2008 @ 2:01 pm

  11. I don’t know that Francesca is reading too much into that line. It’s quite obviously a point of social status in the US to be thin, and it’s also commonly considered necessary for a man’s status that his wife be a particular shape, trophy-wife-ness, you know. But speaking as a fat woman who has never been anything less than respected and worshiped by her thin husband, I tend not to sweat over the silly fixations and conventions of culture that doesn’t treat me the way it should.

    Comment by Chaser — January 31, 2008 @ 4:28 pm

  12. I think the doctor came off horribly in the aired segment, but a lot more reasonably in the supplemental video. Anyone who hasn’t watched that part should do so right away.

    No white foods? I hadn’t heard that horrible dieting tip since the seventies when everyone became convinced that ‘white’ equalled ‘no nutritional value’. It was really coined to discourage eating lots of processed sugar and encourage eating whole grains, but it led people to believe that there is nothing to be gained from eating the noble and delicious potato…and of course a lot of us noticed that it also discouraged some people from eating other healthy things like bananas, white fish, and parsnips.

    Why just the other night, I made a stew which included the aforementioned parsnips and barley, which is also pretty white. The stew, however, was tasty and nutritious, and very low in fat and cholesterol.

    I do get annoyed at the ‘but what does your spouse think of this’ because it’s almost invariably pulled out not over something that is culturally supposed to make one’s spouse proud (winning an award, being beautiful, winning the lottery) but when they’ve done something that is culturally shaming (weigh ‘too much’, have success in a field not usually associated with one’s gender, raise rabble over something societally uncomfortable). Nobody asks Brad Pitt how he feels about Angelina Jolie being a critically acclaimed actress. Nobody’s asking Johnny Depp’s wife how she feels about being seen in public with him or whether he’s healthy. Nobody is asking David Bowie how he feels about Iman being one of the top international models of all time. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, regularly gets asked how he feels about the fact that his wife is running for an office he’s held. Why? Because it’s something you’re Not Supposed To Do. This would be just as true if Laura Bush took it into her head to run for president, because it’s a cultural question rather than a political one.

    That said, I’m not going to spend a lot of time getting my panties in a bunch over that part. There are way too many other things to be upset about in this world. I just think it’s important to notice how phrases like that educate us about the norms of behavior for a society so we can think more clearly about when and how best to challenge the norms we find inappropriate.

    I loved the fact that both husbands seemed fairly amused that their opinions were even being asked. That’s absolutely the reaction Mr. Twistie would have. He’d ask why anyone was asking him when I was right there and perfectly capable of speaking for myself.

    Comment by Twistie — January 31, 2008 @ 6:10 pm

  13. Being healthy “now” IS important – what kind of life is it if we obsess about what our life/health will be like at ninety – you have to live and love NOW.

    I’m not saying to just live for the moment and not eat healthfully – I’m saying what good will it do to diet and obsess about weight and have no fun for another sixty years? I’d rather live another fifty HAPPY years than sixty stressed, fragile, unhappy ones!

    I’ll be they would have looked at me like I was a freak too – a happy fat girl with two husbands – that can’t be possible!

    Comment by Heather Bartlett — February 1, 2008 @ 11:38 pm

  14. The previous post from Heather is truly unreal. In fact, a website devoted to justifying and promoting obesity is a bit unreal to me. I agree that it is much healthier for people to live life in the present than it is for them to stress about the future. However, I also believe that being healthy helps people live their lives better, giving them more energy, making them happier, and being less of a burden to the rest of society. The last thing that unhealthy, overweight people need is for a support group of enablers.

    I’m sure some of you will respond and call me stupid. You may even point out typos or grammar errors in my comment. Feel free, but know that I am not taking the time to edit this so I expect numerous errors.

    I would like to post some links to websites that are truly inspirational and helpful. By that, I mean they teach people how to live healthy, truly healthy, lives.

    Heather, being happy and fat is a problem. Now, it may not be a problem for you, since you are happy, but it is a problem for those of us that are fit and healthy. You place a burden on our healthcare system. Do you have children? You will probably teach them that it is ok to be overweight thus jeopardizing their lives and setting them up for a life of unhealthy obesity.

    Glad that you are happy wallowing in your excesses.

    Comment by Reality — December 31, 2008 @ 7:52 pm

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