Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hold the Fat

The key to starting a new blog is to have time to write in it, which I haven't in the last week. Sorry, Survival of the Feminist not a false promise. I promise....

Being a successful blogger kind of depends on your regularity (heh heh) of blogging. So because I haven't had any time to formulate my own thoughts in the last 6 days, I am going to point you in the direction of some smarties who won't let you down.

First and foremost, there is a smackdown going on at two of my favorite blogs Almost Diamonds and Greg Laden's Blog ( read: Responding to blatant aggressive sexism on the intertubes) that has to do with trollish, misogynist blogger/commentators. I am actually behind in my reading too because I had no idea any of this was going down until this morning. Greg's got lots of interesting posts on science and gender. And, AD is new(ish) to the blogging world, but I appreciate her smack downs whole-heartedly because they are smart, and on point.

Shakesville has some interesting things to say on Sanjay Gupta's appointment as the Surgeon General.

Gupta, as a medical doctor cum health reporter is on the obesity drum-beating band wagon. Obesity and lack of exercise and poor food choices are a problem in this country and around the world, yes, but the kind of sensationalist journalism Gupta reports on might engender more fear and prejudice against anyone who doesn't have a typical and accepted body weight and size than it does an understanding weight, genetics, sedentary lifestyles, etc. This kind of reporting on obesity isn't actually helpful to anyone who might want to know how to eat better or how to live healthier. These are the kind of shows where they show the fat stomachs of anonymous, headless people, about to shove ice cream into their off-camera faces. The histrionics over obesity starts there, I am convinced.

What better way to marginalize your fellow humans is there than to show pictures of their stomachs and forbidden food in their hand? Despite what people may think, fat people need to eat too. And, these segments are literally and figuratively feeding shame and guilt into our psyches about eating lunch cannot be useful to anyone who wants to make a change. It makes all food fat people eat a joke, forbidden, and problematic.

Fat people, ironically, are extra-visible in our culture, but not respected. The reverse is true, in fact. It is socially acceptable to criticize an obese person, especially women. If a woman is fat she is no longer considered relevant. Obese folks are constantly degraded and turned into circus-sideshow freaks by main stream media and conventional culture. How many images do we need to see of fat bodies barely churning along a city sidewalk with a huge slice of pizza in their hand? Headless creatures ruled not by the same drives as other people, but by their overly large stomachs. Fat people are the national health crisis. The mob is forming. Fat people are costing the health care system millions. Their weight is literally squashing everyone else, so why not make them the object of derision on the television and in the living room? The living room where you're watching TV, probably seated, probably eating.

If our government wants to intervene in obseity, maybe Sanjay Gupta and his ilk should stop blaming working mothers! and look to corn and industrialized farming and the almighty bottom line of the dollar. What I would ask Gupta and the rest of the Obama team is to focus on the subsidies of major ag companies who are producing CORN and CORN-RELATED products.

Let's, instead look at subsidizing family and organic farms, and keeping food fresh and minimally processed at local levels. Let's make the Farm to Lunch Room programs available to ALL inner city schools in all states. Let's not blame working mothers, Sanjay Gupta, before we look at all of the above.

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