The ‘It Gets Fatter Project’ and Misguided Body Positivity
Have you heard of the ‘it gets fatter’ project? No, I’m not shitting you right now.
This group, born of the minds of ‘social justice warriors’, actually believes that health and weight are matters of opinion and perspective, and they want to change the discourse on it. No, there aren’t any real doctors or nutritionists behind them.
I want to nip this in the bud, not that it’s profoundly dangerous. My friend Lorcs put it best when he said, ‘Luckily, these people (SJWs) can’t exist in real life. They can operate only on the internet and in shadowy, anemic and impotent corners of American academia. They fear the light of day as rational, daily discourses ignore their fumbling grasps at imposing pointless definitions and there are too many dangers (no trigger warnings).’ Beautiful, and I’ll take it from here.
First, let’s get our facts straight and allow me to be very clear about what I think ‘body positivity’ should mean.
Calling people fat, attacking bodies for the sake of shaming and ridicule, and conflating standards of beauty with health are all serious and real problems. It is true that a woman who is stick-thin or a man bulging with muscles, is not necessarily by virtue of body shape alone, healthier than someone who is rather plain and rectangular looking or even a little plump. But unfortunately, these people have again misinterpreted and quote-mined the science in order to re-frame their fallacious argument into one that sounds both reasonable and academic. It is all rather feminist, being about how one feels, instead of how one is.
The danger that is presented here is the notion we’ve all been lied to, that doctors and nutritionists have all colluded in this conspiracy against fat people, but especially queer, fat people of color, and that if you’re ballooning with weight then you don’t need to listen to the experts (you know those people with them fancy college degrees) and you can just keep throwing those beers and crispy cremes back. But let’s examine these assertions and how these tumblr SJWs have again totally blinded themselves to the facts to avoid research, reality, but most of all, responsibility.
Blackgirldangerous (a particularly misinformed, misguided, and racist blog managed and contributed to by what appear to be a cadre of largely middle class, college educated, liberal arts students who think street theatre and blogging equal hardcore activism) is where the founders of this circus reside and I’m going to focus mostly on the article there and their tumblr.
First off, they make it very clear that this is not just a project for fat people, but more specifically, for fat queer people of color, because apparently there is a ‘thriving’ community of fat white people already out there. What these people mean by ‘community’ I have no idea. But then again language is a game to them so I can’t be too surprised. They’re fond of constructing new terms which they never care to explain with anything resembling a definition.
This is also a great example of how contemporary feminism is ultimately defeatist as it fissiparously crumbles into increasingly balkanized identities, all of which scramble for individual attention at the cost of others. For all their talk about ‘building coalitions’, social justice warriors are so obsessed with differentiation and anecdote they make it impossible to find any shared ground.
In both the main menu and FAQ section of the group’s tumblr we can see that POCs (people of color) are the only ones welcome, unless you’re a white person willing to just ‘listen’ and not violate this very delicate space. We are then informed by both the tumblr and blog article that one’s experience as a fat person of color is unique and disparate from that of fat white people, but not so unique that you can’t group all tan, brown, and black skinned people into one monolith for the sake of feminist race mapping.
FAQ number 4 brazenly rejects the health advice of doctors and nurses, claiming that they are either vapid and simply want you to conform to their ‘capitalist?’ sense of beauty or that their health concerns are unwarranted. They also suggest memorizing ‘discussion points’ instead of actually learning something about biology and nutrition; presumably so you can use sophistry to avoid uncomfortable truths about obesity.
It is particularly interesting to note the tone and dialogue policing that takes place in FAQ 3, where, when referencing the negative impacts of obesity, they make it clear that this is no place for that ‘type of discussion’. What type of discussion is that by the way? You mean any discussion at all? It isn’t a discussion if opposing points of view, especially those backed by science, are absent. In this case it is nothing more than a circle jerk in which you all pat yourselves on the back for once again supporting feminism’s (and all her branches) long history of censorship. Your ideas either hold water under scrutiny or they don’t, which is it?
Again, for a people that describe themselves as ‘truth seekers’ and freedom fighters, they exhibit very strange and counterintuitive behavior.
Thus far we’ve learned quite a bit about the personalities we are dealing with. They are people that reject science outright, clearly believing it to be little more than a tool of white hetero-patriarchy and utterly value-less as a metric of health. (Note, however, that no alternative or explanation has been offered.) Presumably they still take doctors and western medicine seriously when in need of another diagnosis. If told they had cancer, impetigo, a rash, herpes, whooping cough, or diabetes, would they take it seriously then? Or would it still be a ‘social construct’ built around ‘intersectionalities’? In fact, since I am sure these people have already indulged the use of antibiotics, cough syrup, and vaccines, I think it is safe to say they’re glaringly hypocritical on this point.
They reject open discourse and free thinking, preferring to bully the opposition into silence or fortifying themselves behind the protective and inscrutable walls of ‘membership only’.
If you’re white (whatever that means), your opinion is automatically unnecessary and if your skin color is tan, brown, or black, then you are the exact same as everyone else who is tan, brown, or black; regardless of differences in language, culture, ideology, or background.
Health is little more than a social construct and a word, the meaning of which is mutable, and can become whatever you want or feel it to be. If a morbidly obese person keels over from weight related heart disease, diabetes, or asthma, it is really just because of all the evil thin doctors poisoning them with their bad vibes.
So what is the solution to the issue of ‘fatphobia’ as they see it? It includes, among other nebulous things, ‘deconstructing’ the intersectionalities of various identities and weight. It also involves separating fatness and health, because apparently they have nothing to do with one another. As well as letting fat people in general know how radically they are undermining the power structure. Did you find the concrete solution there? Neither did I. But hey, maybe this is something logic, reason, and intellect simply can’t touch, who knows?
Now let’s go ahead and talk about the facts.
Harvard’s School of Public Health states that weight, waist size, and how much weight you’ve gained since your twenties, can drastically contribute to a battery of conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, cataracts, sleep apnea, asthma, infertility, and stroke.
They also state unequivocally that watching what you eat and exercising, as usual, is important for long term health as oppose to stuffing your face with doughnuts and blogging about it.
Further, “…men who gained 11 to 22 pounds after age 20 were up to three times more likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and gallstones than those who gained five pounds or fewer.” And women could decrease their chances of post-menopausal breast cancer by losing weight after menopause and keeping it off, in other words it can save your fucking life. Note how small that margin of 11 to 22 pounds is, so imagine now if you gained 50 pounds and what risks that might pose. Now imagine what you could be led to believe by a group of charismatic twits who managed to convince you that doctors are all liars and members of a conspiracy to needlessly shame fat people?
Pay close attention to the part where they debunk an erroneous study which claimed overweight people had reduced mortality compared to their thinner counterparts. Junk science like that is probably the best friend of anyone wishing to manipulate the facts. Indeed, strange how these people are always suspicious of the science that disagrees with them but unquestioningly embrace the science that doesn’t – no matter how outlandish.
Harvard’s School of Public Health goes on to say the obvious, that exercise has a host of health benefits and that genetics, while sometimes a trammel to weight loss, can still be managed with an understanding of nutrition and effective physical activity. In other words, essentially everyone can benefit from the positive effects of a balanced diet and exercise.
Note that nowhere do they suggest that eating whenever and whatever is good for you. And note that nowhere do they body shame. They simply note the medical impacts of weight and attempt, with expert advice and citations, to give good counsel on the matter.
Our friends, however, offer only their suspect opinions and the links to various blogs of more overweight people who agree with them. Interesting. Who should we believe? Non-medical school feminist SJWs or Harvard? That’s a tough one.
I want to make it clear again that body shaming and the conflation of Hollywood’s standards of beauty with wellness are serious problems that give rise to unnecessary social pressures. It is also without a doubt, true that many different body shapes exist that are healthy, whether they are bodacious or lissome, but this does not mean celebrating morbid obesity or pretending that anorexia is the answer. These are extreme consequences to problems with reasonable and known solutions and we should stick to what the science has to say on the matter, not the opinions and misguided feelings of people who, frankly, are too lazy or stupid to accept the reality of their choices.
Obesity and general heaviness can result for a number of reasons. Maybe your parents raised you in a culture of fast food and so good options weren’t there for you, as happened to a friend of mine. Or maybe things got a little out of control in college. Or maybe, genetically speaking, you gain weight easier than other people or never shook it off after that second kid. Whatever the case, feeling bad about yourself is not the answer, neither is allowing others to make you feel less-than for not looking like Phelps. But equally destructive is lying to yourself about the consequences of long term or severe obesity by pretending it isn’t an issue.
The risks associated with obesity are public, ubiquitous, and also entirely avoidable. There’s no conspiracy. Any reputable doctor, hospital, or nutritionist will tell you the same.