Kate Harding plug

Kate Harding, one face of the “obesity crisis”.

I haven’t done any Kate Harding plugs for a while, and that’s been a bit remiss of me. Kate has a delightful commentariat, no doubt through her excellently executed comments policy, and has been recently joined by fillyjonk and sweet machine.

So here one is: go read the “Douchehound Of The Day” thread, here. Kate pulls out and mercilessly mocks a comment from a woman who stamped her foot and whinged loudly about how her HARD WORK AND DISCIPLINE in Dieting just wasn’t ADMIRED enough by the fat acceptance community, and about how she was being CENSORED for not being allowed to WHINE about her hawt skinny well-controlled bod on Kate’s blog, and how disappointed she was that Kate just wasn’t BROAD-MINDED enough to host and congratulate her YUNEEK BELIEFS.

A couple of comment highlights:


I must have missed the memo that says feminism means supporting anything a woman does, thinks, or says, no matter how retrogressive, self-centered, wrongheaded, and antifeminist it is.
Oh wait, I didn’t miss the memo. I just ignored it. Because it’s stupid.


If every one of us lost that much weight and kept it off, we’d never get sick again, or at least not until we were 92 and society was good and ready to phase us out. And then it would be a nice, peaceful, cheap kind of sick, like a massive stroke that attacked us while we slept and ensured that we wouldn’t wake up. No fuss. No muss. Not even any unsightly jiggling.

Check out also the posts working on debunking the media’s “headless fatty” phenomenon. The gist of this: when current affairs programmes jump onto the “Obesity Crisis!!1!” bandwagon, they illustrate the stories with unflattering video footage of the largest, most ill-dressed people they could find in the nearest mall. By eye, these people typically have BMIs of 45 to 50 or more, yet their images are being entrenched in the public imagination as representing the bulk of “obese” and “overweight” people – who, on the whole, have BMIs in the 25 to 40 range. Our collective mental images of “obesity” and of typical weight ranges are very far from the reality of most “overweight” people.

Some of the posts working to bring weight numbers and BMI categories out in the open, and strip them of their shaming potential, are:
Illustrated BMI Categories
Stop, Drop, and Roll
Go Guess The Rotund’s Weight and Height

Note that there’s a line to be walked here. Some people may see this attempt to show that the vast majority of “overweight” and “obese” people don’t look like the “headless fatties” on the news as buying in to common definitions of the people fitting these common images of obesity as freakish, gluttonish, immoral. It’s not. Another strong stream of Kate’s writing is to reinforce over and over again that NO body size is unacceptable, no body is a signal of its inhabitant’s moral worth or value, no matter what. She hybridises the HAES (Health At Any Size) approach and radical fat acceptance approach as deftly as possible, though there are definitely potential conflicts and problems there to be discussed. To sum up: The correct answer to “But all fat people are unhealthy!” is “(a) You’re wrong, and (b) What’s it to you?” Both answers, not one or the other.

Please note that Kate’s comments policy applies in the comments to this thread. Note especially rule six. Cheers.

Categories: social justice

Tags: , , ,

3 replies

  1. Thanks!
    Also, I absolutely agree with your assessment of my commentariat, but I can’t take much credit. So far (knock wood), I’ve really had very few trolls, and tons of smart, terrific people. I think I’ve deleted less than a dozen comments since I started.
    Of course, I’ve had a bit of an influx of nasties over the last week, to go along with a traffic spike, but the ratio of awesome to obnoxious is still pretty mindboggling.

  2. Smart, funny, kind: you don’t have to pick any two at kateharding.
    OK, the slogan needs work, but the bare bones are there.


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