Tag Archives: discrimination

Fat Shaming Is A Thing, But It’s Not A Helpful Thing

Fat shaming has never made anyone healthy…ever. I doubt that it has ever made anyone skinny either, and before I go any further, I want to highlight the fact that these adjectives are not synonymous with each other.

Being skinny doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy, and being fat doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re unhealthy. My blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, resting heart rate, etc. is all excellent now. There are a lot of risk factors associated with someone my  size, but you can’t judge a person’s health based on how they look.

You can’t look at me and know that I significantly reduced my chances of having a heart attack or stroke by dropping a significant amount of weight or that I exercised today, nor can you know that I’ve struggled to keep a lot of it off because of thoughts that swirl around in my mind. You can’t know the reasons why.

One of a few significant reasons is that I allowed an airline’s perception of me to take up space in my mind. I allowed one seemingly disgruntled gate agent’s blanket prejudice to define me long after his hurtful comments were an old headline in the news, and it didn’t cause me to lose weight. I didn’t thrive off of the negative attention that followed his comments either; I caved.

I take responsibility for that. I am the only one who can make a decision to change or to let others define me, and I accept that. It’s all on me to change what I need to change for myself, but if fat shaming worked I’d be skinny by now.

On of the reasons that I stopped blogging as much is that I no longer wished to put myself on a chopping block for trolls who think I shouldn’t exist or that I don’t have a right to share my story because I’m obese. That’s nonsense, of course, but eradicating that negativity has been good for me.

I’ve been quiet here for quite some time. I’ve shared opinions, pissed people off and taken a break, but that break is over because it’s time to stand with other voices and to say, Hey, it’s none of your beeswax if I’m fat or not. Your opinion of me doesn’t define me; it defines you.”

kenlie

I’m not skinny…not even close, but I love myself.

I’m lucky to have a supportive group of people in my life who love me and accept me. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to undo the damage that I allowed to take root in my heart and mind when I allowed society’s opinions to define who I was.

I gained a significant amount of weight that I had lost, and I’ve felt a lot of shame as a result. Never has that led to a lower number on the scale. It doesn’t work that way, nor should it.

The last few weeks have been healthier and more successful for me because I’m enjoying my life. I’m reclaiming a lot of the confidence I lost thanks to my friends and family, a significant other who loves to remind me that I’m brilliant and sexy, and I’m making healthier decisions because it makes me feel good (not because people think I should feel bad.)

I don’t hate myself, so that will never be a driving force in my fight for better health. I exercised today because I value my life. I shopped for groceries and prepared for a healthy week of meals because I want to be around for a long time to love people, and I can only hope (and assume) that these small positive steps will lead to other positive steps.

If you truly care about my health go for a walk in the park with me, or take me to lunch and order something healthy and delicious. There are people in my life who do that. There are people who want me around for a long time, and they offer support, not criticism.

I’m not going to link to that newest fat shaming video that’s making its way around the internet  because plenty of others are doing that. I don’t know when it became acceptable to spew hatred on social media, but I do know that there’s no end in sight.

I do know that the responsibility for my life falls on me, not on a skinny girl who could benefit from some acting classes or a gate agent who was probably having a really crappy day. I get to decide what I’m worth. I’m just sorry that I didn’t always know that.

At our core, we’re all the same. We desire to be loved and accepted (even the jerks who spew hatred…especially the jerks who spew hatred.) One important lesson I’ve learned is that I’m lovable, and I don’t have to care if others agree with that or not.

 

 

 

 

Enough with the Black Lives Matter and Gender Equality Stuff, Or Why It’s Not Going To Work That Way

Before I share my thoughts I’d like to note that I’m half (yes, 50%) American Indian, and I’m obese. I face harsh and unfiltered discrimination on a regular basis, and I’m actively working on changing the tide (starting with myself.)

I mentioned my chat with Senator Bernie Sanders a few weeks ago, and while I don’t agree with a lot of his political views, I’m pissed about what happened in Seattle on Saturday.

The senator and presidential hopeful was there for a rally that was disrupted and ultimately shut down by Black Lives Matter “activists” who stormed the stage, showing a complete lack of respect for the senator and for the thousands of people who waited all day to hear him speak. 

Of course black lives matter; I have zero tolerance for those who disagree. The fact is all lives matter, and it’s ridiculous and sad that there are people in this nation who disagree.

There’s a serious race issue in this nation that needs to be addressed, but it’s no longer one-sided. Misdirecting anger toward one elected official who actively fights for civil rights seems like a dumb move to me.

Note to the “activists” who showed no remorse for their blatant disregard of everyone else: If you really want to affect change, try showing some respect, as opposed to acting like tempermental lunatics on a stage that isn’t yours. 

And while I’m fired up I’m going to share my feelings on Target’s decision to “move away from gender-based signs.” In my opinion the concept is stupid and mildly offensive.

I’m a woman, and I’m proud to be a woman. I don’t believe that everyone should be forced to be a woman, but I don’t see the problem in being on either.

I have friends who are transgender, and I understand and empathize with their struggle to find contentment because I am keenly aware of the difficulty associated in feeling different than everyone around you. Moving away from gender-based signs is a separate issue.

When I was growing up I didn’t play with baby dolls; I played with my dad’s sermon notes and highlighters. I wanted to be a consultant or an analyst before I was old enough to label myself as such. It didn’t matter to me if my blocks were pink and purple or if they were primary colors. I liked Lincoln Logs and Barbies, though my versatility never led to gender identity issues.

Society (myself included) has become so incredibly weak and overly sensitive that I fear we’ve forgotten that our differences make the world go around.

Men and women are different. We just are. When did that become such a deplorable and unacceptable thing?

 

 

The Law Suit

Whether you’re new to my blog or not, here are some facts about what’s going on in my life right now.  I’m suing Southwest Airlines.  I’m seeking an injunction because their policy needs to be less open to interpretation by their employees at the ticket counter and at the gate.   Now… before you make assumptions and/or draw conclusions, I’m asking you to listen to what I have to say.

I am not advocating obesity.  This blog only exists because I am taking steps to change my health and my life.  I’ve lost over 100 pounds, and I’m not saying that obese people should receive special treatment.  I’m simply saying that they deserve equal treatment and the opportunity to clearly understand the rules.

It's a long road, but I'm moving in the right direction...

It’s not about money.  I didn’t seek damages in the law suit that I filed Pro Se (on my own.)   But when this is over Southwest will (hopefully) owe overweight and obese Americans a clear definition of their rules at the point of purchase.  Eyeballing people at the gate won’t cut it as I’ve said on a few different occasions (here and here.)

After the initial Southwest incident last year, I blogged about it, and a representative contacted me to apologize.  I accepted the apology and agreed to fly on Southwest again.  I flew from Baltimore to New Orleans and had no problems, then I flew from New Orleans to Los Angeles, and I had no problems.  A few months later I took another flight, and  I was once again told that I was “too fat to fly.”

Actually, her words were “Well, look at you.  Obviously you need two seats.”   It’s interesting though…As soon as the agents saw the letter of apology that I received from Southwest’s HQ regarding the last incident, their tune changed.  I was allowed to board without issue, but at that point I knew I had to do something about it.

Once again, Southwest reached out to me via e-mail before I even reached my destination.  Here’s an excerpt from the e-mail:

“Moving forward, when flying with Southwest Airlines and falling under our Customer of Size policy, we will require the purchase of a second seat for travel.”

What I need Southwest to tell me is when exactly do I “fall under” that policy?  Why does it apply one day and not on another day?  I certainly didn’t fall under it according to gate agents on the two prior flights.

The problem I have with Southwest is not that they may want me to purchase two seats.  It’s that sometimes they want that, and other times they don’t.  I don’t know about you, but I fly a lot.  And paying double because a gate agent may or may not have something against overweight people is not realistic…nor should it be necessary.  

Perhaps the solution isn’t simple, but it is definitely an issue that needs attention.   The fact that the agents in my experiences were unaware of the policy is unacceptable.  And humiliating people at the gate (or in private for that matter) simply should not be an option.

As a lay person I recognize that there are engineers and rocket scientists working for this company that figure out how to make these giant machines fly around in the air everyday without crashing into each other.  Surely, they can work to create a finite policy that takes away the gate agent’s right to discriminate against overweight people.

Again, I’m not advocating obesity.  I’m working to change my body, but it is not my right to judge someone else’s circumstances.  And that’s not the point anyway.

Clearly, Southwest wants us to be a certain size, but no one (including Southwest) seems to know what that size is.  While we may not be born with an innate privilege of flying on a plane, as paying consumers we do have the right to fly if we’re willing to follow the rules.  And in order to do that, we need to know the rules.  

Southwest cannot discriminate against people because of race or gender.  People fought for those human rights, and now I’m fighting for the rights of every American, even larger ones.  More than thirty percent of Americans are obese, and you don’t have to understand or advocate obesity to know that what’s fair for one American should be fair for all Americans.  

I hope you’ll join me in my desire to seek positive change, but even if you don’t, I’ll still be here.  I’ll be fighting for what I know is right because someone has to, and I’ve learned through my journey thus far that change is possible.  And it starts with me.

 

 

To hear more, check out what I said in my latest interview with Siemny Chhuon at WDSU  in New Orleans here.

 

 

Should I Wear Spanx When I Fly?

Southwest and their vague and discriminatory “Customer of Size” policy is old news around here, but I have some new things to say after a flight I took last week.

According  Southwest, the scale cannot tell me if I’m too fat to fly. That would be discriminatory.  Instead, they allow their ticketing agents to do it.  And it seems they prefer not to discriminate until you’ve paid for your seat and arrived at the gate!  At that point, they seem content to allow their gate agents to eyeball fat people and single them out in front of other passengers.  Somehow, this practice is widely acceptable at Southwest.  We see it in the news constantly!  And I’ve experienced it…again.

I realize that flying via Southwest after what happened earlier this year makes me foolish, but after being urged by a representative from Southwest’s HQ who contacted me after my original blog post, I agreed to give them another chance.  And I did.  After taking countless trips on JetBlue as well as flights on American Airlines and even utilizing two seats on a smaller US Airways commuter flight, I took a chance and flew with Southwest again. I flew from New Orleans to LA to workout with Richard Simmons, and I also flew from Baltimore to New Orleans without questions/harassment by Southwest employees.  Is it part of their policy to treat overweight passengers with respect only when cameras are rolling?  That’s certainly what it looks like to me.

Last week I decided to join my mom on a flight to my sister’s house using my free pass courtesy of Southwest. And while I felt some anxiety about doing it, I made the decision to fly with her, telling myself that this would be a different flight. I would not have to face public humiliation again. My bad….just call me naive.

When the woman at the check-in counter began explaining that I would not be able to fly today (in front of everyone at the gate) I firmly suggested that she move the conversation about my size to a private area.  She refused to move the conversation to a private area and proceeded to explain that from her view ( “Well, look at you.” Really? Okay…) I’d have to purchase an additional seat at full market value or not fly.

After a few moments that felt much longer to me as I revisited the hurt and anger already caused by SW, she called a supervisor who moved the conversation to a different kiosk – a different kiosk…still in front of everyone in the check-in line.  Clearly, the folks at Southwest Airlines do not understand the definition of the word “private.”  Of course, if you watch the news, that probably doesn’t surprise you.  When the conversation with the supervising agent commenced, she looked me up and down and said that I’d need to purchase an extra seat and that they’d refund the money at some point later if the flight was not overbooked. (Yeah, I know that’s part of their  “Customer of Size” policy. I’m quite familiar with it at this point.)

Standing there in front of hundreds of people, once again I was experiencing feelings of anger, embarrassment and resentment toward an airline that has already caused an incredible amount of anxiety and mental anguish for me personally.  Forgetting that their representative told me that it would not be necessary to purchase a second seat on future flights, and forgetting that he said he’d personally book me on another airline if I had additional problems flying with SW, all I wanted to do was fold and take an extra seat.  It was about 5am…and if you know me, you know that I’m not a fan of early mornings and/or confrontation. I prefer to deal with the folks that can actually make changes as opposed to the folks at the gate.

My biggest problem with Southwest now is not that I was humiliated once again, though I was….Being told to look at myself in front of everyone at the check-in desk only enhanced my feelings of failure and embarrassment while giving a lot of strangers the opportunity to agree that I don’t deserve even a modicum of respect, is unacceptable.

My biggest problems with Southwest now is their lack of respect, sensitivity and consistency.  Should I wear Spanx when I travel?  Seriously…As someone who fills my seat, but doesn’t spill into the seat next to me, I want to know what I have to do to see some consistency when I travel.  The short answer, I know, is to fly with another airline, and I will.  But that doesn’t help the 30% of Americans who are overweight – some of whom will find themselves in my situation at this airline.

Southwest’s “Customer of Size” policy needs to change.  Southwest’s employees need to go through sensitivity training just as the representative from their headquarters said they would.  Why do I feel like that was just lip service?  Read their broken policy then ask yourself… Why did they ignore my request to speak about this in private?  Why was I denied the opportunity to prove that I could fit into one seat with the arm rests down after offering to do so? What did I do to piss these people off? (That’s rhetorical, of course.)

Once I arrived in Colorado, I received a message from Southwest.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Moving forward, when flying with Southwest Airlines and falling under our Customer of Size policy, we will require the purchase of a second seat for travel.  If a second seat has not been purchased prior to day of travel, you will likely be asked to do so at the ticket counter or gate.”

Who decided that I fall under their Customer of Size policy now?  And why did they decide now as opposed to May when I weighed a bit more than I did at this time?  And why didn’t they decide that the man next to me (who was a few inches taller and noticeably rounder) needed an additional seat?  How is it that I could fly from New Orleans to LA on Southwest without embarrassing issues and from Baltimore to New Orleans as well?  Why is it only an issue sometimes?

I should also note that on my return flight, Southwest booked an additional seat for me.  And at check-in, they could’t figure out how to combine the seats to create one boarding pass so after 20 minutes or so, they gave me two boarding passes.  The SW agent at the ticket counter told me “not to confuse TSA by showing them two boarding passes,” but I did because I didn’t want any issues to arise at the gate.  The TSA agent said “Which seat will you be using?”  And my response was “I don’t know. Southwest just requires that I have two on this flight.”  The agent said “Why?”  I said “because I’m so fat.”  She looked me up and down and said “that’s weird…ridiculous. hang in there.”  She thought it was ridiculous that Southwest required me to have a second seat which made me feel good because she sees as many passengers as they do.

The bottom line is that I’m tired of showing up at the airport and being humiliated. All I want to do is fly. All I want is some consistency. I do not want to pay full market value for a ticket two days before Thanksgiving because one agent thinks I need to while another does not.

This is how I sit on every flight...

I will not fly with Southwest again. I gave them another chance (a few chances actually) and they have proven that they don’t want my business. They do not want the business of overweight passengers (unless, of course, you’re willing to pay for an extra seat or two – or you’re a minority.)  I am not going to pay for an extra seat every time I fly because Southwest sometimes hires fat-phobic employees.

I fill my seat, but I do not spill over into the next seat. I don't use the armrest either since there's only room for one arm.

And one more thing…I took a lot of flack for making a similar point last time, but I have to do it again because it bears evidence of their discriminatory policy.  The man checking in at the kiosk next to me was taller and clearly more robust than I. He was also a minority. Is that why his gate agent didn’t tell him that he couldn’t fly today? Or is it because, in the eyes of that particular agent, someone his size (someone taller and proportionately larger than I – in the hips and shoulder and stomach) wouldn’t require an extra seat?  Am I being targeted because I’m a woman?  Or because I was willing to stand up to Southwest after being discriminated against?

The reasons why don’t matter as much as the need for change.  Southwest may never grant equal rights to equal access. They may never create a finite policy that defines their terms for those of us who may not need two seats any longer. But I’m going to do my best to see to it that they do because I deserve it…and there are thousands of other consumers and would-be consumers who deserve it too.

This isn’t over Southwest…in fact, it’s just beginning.

Guest Blog – The Invisible (Horrible, Lazy, Unattractive) Fat Person

Hello everyone! I am Alexa (I blog about weight, fitness & fat in the media at  The Curvy Nerd), and I am thrilled to be doing a guest post on All The Weigh!

When Kenlie asked me to write a guest post on one of my favorite topics — fat hate in society and the strong influence of media — I was honored and excited. Then I tried to write. Needless to say, this enormous, weighty (ha!) issue ballooned into a post of monstrous proportions. So, I shall preface the following by saying: I edited it down. A lot. I hope to expand on many of the topics I’ve merely touched on in future posts, and through discussion.

For many of you, especially if you’ve lived any portion of your life overweight, that society hates and discriminates against fat people may be horribly obvious and my statements redundant. However, I find that sometimes stating what seems blatantly obvious can set off light-bulbs for others, and yourself. It’s especially important to second-guess the media and how it portrays reality — is something so because the media reflects reality, or because it SHAPES how we perceive and create the world around us?

People like to associate a variety of negative words with "fat people." Most are not true. All of them are hurtful and cruel.

No one likes to talk about discrimination against fat people

We’re a progressive society, constantly making strides against disgusting and demoralizing practices such as racism and homophobia. Minority and underrepresented groups, including but certainly not limited to blacks, Hispanics, Asians and LGBTQ, are becoming increasingly (and rightfully) visible on TV, in film, in music, media and advertising.

Yet hatred continues to be spewed against fat people, in the most extreme incarnation (see: Internet comments). And, more subversively, poking fun at fat people (see: token fat character); making assertions about their bodies, eating, health and fitness habits (fatsplaining, “fat as a lifestyle choice”); and, simply, not including them AT ALL in media, rage in society and culture. Fat people are simultaneously invisible and derided for possessing a number of negative characteristics, thrust upon them by virtue of how they look on the outside.

Fat hate — so bad, we even hate ourselves

The hate that is lobbied against fat people is staggering, pervasive and subversive. It’s so omni-present in media and society that most people don’t notice it, or if they do, they explain it away. Like misogyny which is also so entrenched in society that women themselves don’t realize it most of the time, people tend to have a laundry list of excuses and reasons for why it’s “not that bad” or “you’re just whining” or “you’re too sensitive” when you call them out on fat hate. Fat hate is so pervasive, fat people hate fat people.

No, really. If you are now or have ever been fat, overweight, obese — whatever you want to call it — have a nice, honest think about your past interactions with other fat people. Do you see another fat person — usually one who is bigger than you are — and smugly think to yourself “well, I’d never let myself get that bad!” or “Ugh, they clearly don’t exercise or try to eat right. Put down the cheeseburger.” Or, the slightly more innocuous but just as damning “how did *she* get such a hot guy — she’s fatter than I am!”

Many of these Schadenfreude-esque thoughts are somewhat natural — everyone does it, to almost everyone else — but many people take it beyond the “fleeting, dark thoughts” territory. If a fat person speaks out about discrimination, you certainly do see other large people call that person out for being a whiner, or making waves. Fat people are just as likely to guilt and fat shame as thin people — they do it on The Biggest Loser!

It’s often the fat person who reinforces the fat = bad; thin = good trope, because all our lives, this is what we are taught. One of the best places for this in popular culture? Shows like The Biggest Loser do a lot of good, but next time you watch a season, look at the adjectives the contestants use at the beginning vs. the end, and the clips editors choose to use. I’m not saying obese people can’t be miserable, but the subtle language of weight loss makeover programs is beginning/fat = bad, bad, bad, MISERABLE, unhappy, alone, bad, bad, bad which slowly transitions to thin = I AM SO PRETTY AND HAPPY AND NOTHING IN MY LIFE COULD EVER BE BAD AGAIN.

This just isn’t true! It’s not that you can’t want to be thinner and healthier. But equating being thin with happiness is dangerous. You will have good and happy moments in your life when you are fat, and you will have good and happy moments in your life when you’re thin. Same can be said for misery and feeling rotten.

Why do we think this about ourselves and our lives?

We are taught through relentless skinny images & media messaging that fat = bad... and thin is never thin enough

Blame the media! (no, really, let’s blame the media)

This is because we are taught, through every minutiae of our interaction with each other, through media — TV, film, music, advertisements, magazines, newscasts, etc. — that fat is Ugly. Fat is Bad. Fat is Stupid. Fat is Lazy. Thin (and sexy) = GOOD, LOVELY, AWESOME, BETTER. Most of the time, fat people are invisible. We don’t see people like us in magazines (Plus Size models = size ten. SIZE TEN), or on TV, or in movies. There aren’t fat newscasters (even the friendly, rotund weather man Al Roker is now a Skinny Thing), fat book heroines are few and far between (though better than TV) and, generally, TV and film are a barren wasteland of fat people. We are sent a message every day by the absence of larger people in these positive, informative, fantasy and “beautiful” roles.

Women, especially, rarely see representations of themselves. Teen comedies & dramas feature waif-thin beautiful people having Beautiful People Problems like juggling three boyfriends and finding the perfect dress for Prom. The intrepid, neurotic romantic heroines of rom coms are invariably a size 6 (whittled down the requisite size zero, nowadays), and even when they are meant to be “overweight,” they do it Bridget Jones style and have a size 2 actress “balloon up” to, what?, an eight? There being exceptions to every rule, I concede recent glimmers of hope: Drop Dead Diva & Huge (oh list, you are a short one. And also half cancelled).

In cases where we do see visible fat people, they only come in two “sizes”: trying to lose weight/makeover project and Negative Horrible Foil/Unloveable Sidekick. How many times have you seen the plump, dumpy sidekick crack jokes and end up alone? Invariably, either way, Token Fat Character eats. All the time. Whereas most characters on TV and in movies NEVER EAT (as in, actually chew food)… or use the bathroom (ever notice that?), we always see fat characters chowing down. On Glee, token fat girl Lauren DEMANDS A BRIBE of Cadbury Creme Eggs to join Glee Club. Fellow curvaceous character Mercedes was given an entire plot line about eating cafeteria tater tots. I mean… come on!

Probably the only positive plus size character I can think of from the last 27 years I’ve been on earth is Tracy Turnblad from Hairspray.

Fat girls = 1;Thin People: ELEVENTY-BILLION.

In the one arena where arguably Americans get to see overweight women in highly visible roles — daytime talk show hosts — we get a) Oprah (on a perpetual diet cycle) b) Ricki Lake (couldn’t get work post-Hairspray/fat; starved herself to get her show) c) Star Jones (evil wench who got gastric bypass) d) Rosie O’Donnell (ridiculed in pop-culture for being fat/unattractive when she came out as a lesbian). Yes, we all love Oprah (and her positive contributions to fat issues I think are notable), but she’s Oprah. Daytime TV’s Goddess can be any damn size she wants. Everyone else? Get skinny, then maybe you’ll get work.

I mean, REALLY?

In the end, the message that not only fat people, but thin people get is: fat people are invisible/bad, and only thin, beautiful people deserve happiness/love/positive attention. It trickles down and is pervasive (and equally tied to disturbing trends of misogyny in society), and leads to the real problem: the Othering of fat people, and the rise of flat-out hatred of them.

People are horrible; aka: the Internet kills the filter of basic human decency

You don’t have to go far to see this ugly, judgmental attitude in people — just read the comments on any mainstream article relating to weight loss topics. On my blog, The Curvy Nerd, rather than engage with asinine comments on blogs such as The Huffington Post, Gawker and The Daily Beast, I highlight and poke fun at the worst of the worst — feel free to browse through some of my finds, so far.

Generally, you see the same key phrases over and over again: “fat is a choice,” (aka: Fat As A Lifestyle Choice) “eat less, exercise more,” “I don’t want a fat person to infringe on MY space/life/whatever”.

It’s amazing how little empathy people have for overweight & obese people. They don’t hesitate to dehumanize, denigrate and attack fat people, usually with comments that draw the most outrageous conclusions about fat people in general as well as specific larger individuals (usually in response to commenters and/or public figures who appear to be or confess to be large). These things include, but are certainly not limited to: that you are unhealthy, lazy, ugly, miserable, stupid, entitled (no, really!), dirty, sexless, alone and undeserving of love. Many people will flat out say these things.

Then there are the “concern trolls.” These are people who Don’t Like Fat People, but they translate this into acceptable terms, ie: Fat Is Unhealthy. Then they fatsplain to you/fat people how being fat should make you feel, how it’s essential you Get Healthy and Stop Being Fat. Because they care about you, they do!

People we love can also communicate the message that fat = bad, though generally they do not hate fat people, or you, and will unconsciously say things that hurt you. My favorite is “you’re not fat, you’re beautiful!” Translation (on your end): you’re not fat! Fat is BAD, and you are NICE and I LIKE you… so let’s talk about how BEAUTIFUL you are (to me). I didn’t realize what an insidious phrase this was until recently. I do it too! We need to divorce the ideas that being fat = bad. But it’s a deeply ingrained thought within society (see; media).

Let’s get academic for a moment

Beyond the anecdotal evidence of people being hateful on the Internet, numerous studies have been done on the attitudes people hold towards the obese. One study found that children not only ascribed patently negative attributes to fat people (and positive ones to thin people), but that their views were reflective of their parents (who also participated in the study). An indicative pull-quote:

“Specifically, research shows that children are reluctant to play with overweight peers and are more likely to assign negative adjectives such as lonely, lazy, sad, stupid, ugly, and dirty to an overweight child than to an average weight or lean child.”

We pick up these attitudes young, and hold them for life.

More gems to illustrate a wide-spread trend of discrimination and hatred held against fat people:

Where does all this leave us? Well, the current trend is Let’s Beat Everyone Over The Head With Obesity As A Health Epidemic and OMGSHITTONS of fat reality shows. Instead of approaching the core issue of people hating fat people, the cycle of negativity, issues of food/eating portrayal in advertising, and Healthy At Any Size, we are trying to SHAME fat people into being less fat. Oi vey. But that’s another topic for another (LONG) post. 🙂

So thank you for having me, and sorry for the essay! I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts — what has your personal experience been, with the media and with other people’s attitudes and expectations?