Monday, January 25, 2021

Where's the acceptance in FAT acceptance?

January 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Fat Acceptance

When WATRD received an email from Bianca and Sylvia, aka “The Zaftig Chicks,” I was more than ready to listen to their story of “unacceptance” from the FA movement, since many of you know we have sparked a few riots around here. 

 But here is the cool part – The Zaftig Chicks felt so strongly about how they were being treated for simply expressing their REAL feelings that they decided to BAIL. Yep, striped their blog off of the oh-so-popular “Notes From The Fatosphere” feed, and went merrily on their way (after dealing with one hell of a lot of harassment for making that move.)

Got your attention? Here’s their story.



Hi, my name is Sylvia, and I’m fat.  I’ve been fat since I was 9 years old.  I’m not really sure how I got to be fat, but no amount of speculation will change the fact that I was and am still fat.

And you know what?  I’m ok with that.  I know that the ridicule and teasing and insecurities I was subjected to because of my fat only made me a better person, as clichéd as that sounds.  Yet so true.  So sure, sometimes I look in the mirror and I’m not always happy with what is looking back at me.  Does that have to do with being fat?  Perhaps.  But it could also do with me just not fully comfortable with myself – yet.  Inside or out.

So about a year ago, I was exposed to “Fat Acceptance”.  I read the practically requisite piece by Kate Harding called “The Fantasy of Being Thin” and it spoke to me.  You mean I can be fat and happy?  It was a new awakening for me.

 Bianca and I started the Zaftig Chicks as a way to explore our own struggles with being comfortable with ourselves, and to show the world (or anyone who would read it) that fat people are just people who can be fun, funny, insightful, sexy and intelligent, just like normal people.

 I guess I didn’t know what we were getting into.

 We asked to join the “Notes from the Fatosphere” feed because yes, we wanted readers.  But if we wanted just readers, we could have found them anywhere.  Fat Acceptance is where we thought our voices could be heard and appreciated, and where we could find an audience.

 And we did! Well, for the most part.  But we also gained a lot of haters.  See, we never set out to be a “Fat Acceptance” blog, because we were just trying to figure it all out.  And we stated as much, several times on our blog.  But we got called out several times for being childish, douchebags, self-serving, bitches – you name it – because we dared (*gasp!*) to go against the grain that is the FA Activist Extreme.

 When all that died down, it was obvious that there were lines drawn in the sand, and people sided with us.  It was a great feeling to have people stand up for you (indirectly, mostly), but it was like fighting a war that wasn’t ours.

 We weren’t trailblazers, we were newbies and didn’t have any credibility in the FA community, but I guess people liked us because we were fun and took pictures of our bellies every day for a month and posted them.

 But ultimately, we found that we were censoring ourselves around every turn because no matter what we would say, someone would get offended.  Or it wasn’t PC enough.  Or someone’s feelings might get hurt.

 And though we didn’t set out to intentionally do any of those things, we became a product of that environment and lost ourselves in the process.

 What I’ve learned about me is that my intro into Fat Acceptance meant that I could just eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted – because that should empower me, right?

But instead, I gained 40 lbs and am suffering from serious back pain that may or may not be related to weight gain.  I’m 35 years old and struggle getting out of bed in the morning.  I want to have a baby, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to carry it without immense pain, much less take care of it because of the shape I’m in right now.

I don’t want to be skinny, I like being “pleasantly plump” and having meat on my bones.  I don’t have unrealistic ideals for what my body should look like or what size I should wear.  I just don’t think that my body was made to hold this much weight. 


Did I say clearly enough? 

These are MY FEELINGS about MY BODY.

Bianca has similar feelings, and this coupled with the militant and narrow-minded tone that seems to be the majority of the FA movement (aka, the loudest voice), we decided to get away from it, and get back to what we wanted to do in the first place.  Our “exit” post is here:

We knew we would lose some readers.  What we didn’t know was that people would be downright hurt by our decision to “leave”, assuming we were starting a dieting blog.

Blog post after blog post was written about our departure.  Some directly calling us out, some alluding to it.  People who once supported us coming out of the woodwork to comment on how disappointed they are in us.  People we have never heard from telling us that they will never read our blog again.  Comments about what a bad fit we were for Fat Acceptance.

All because we still want to be fat, but we also just want to empower ourselves and be healthy.

It seems to me they are doing more damage to the movement than we would ever have.  I guess only time will tell.


By Bianca
My first foray into fat acceptance was Kate Harding’s site, Shapely Prose. I remember reading passionate posts about how fat was not a moral failing, diets didn’t work for 95% of the population, and fat people deserved the same basic rights as everyone else. I thought it was awesome, and I still believe a lot of that today.

 When Sylvia and I decided to start our own blog, we chose to join the Notes From the Fatosphere, a Fat Acceptance feed. Not only did it come with a built in audience, we were hoping to really start living Fat Acceptance for ourselves. But we were soon left with a bad taste in our mouths. We found that in actuality, a lot of Fat Acceptance followers are anything but accepting. If you don’t think X, write about Y, and preach Z, then you are not welcome. If you dare to mention weight loss, or question any of the tenants of FA (not that anyone will actually tell you what they are, you are expected to know before you to dare to open your mouth – but I can tell you, don’t you dare mention privilege unless you are apologizing for having it), you are mocked and called names.

 This attitude is one of the reasons we decide to leave the Fatosphere feed. We don’t pretend to be perfect, but we are open to other people’s thoughts and ideas, and realize that we do not know everything there is to know about being fat.

 Not all FA followers are like this. There are some wonderful, thoughtful, funny, and just plain awesome FA blogs. But the militant majority had ruined it for many people looking to love and accept their bodies. They feel just plain unwelcome in those circles. And it’s really sucks, because fat acceptance could be such a wonderful community, instead it comes across as exclusionary and elite.

 Another reason we decided to leave was because we have decided to lose some weight. We both have some health issues, that may or may not be caused by being fat, but are certainly being aggravated by it. Now both of us have been fat long enough to know that we will never be thin.  And we have no interest in trying to get thin. That does not mean we cannot be healthy. Some will argue that there is no way fat can be healthy, but I think you are wrong. We are focusing on eating better and exercising more.

We knew that even mentioning the possibility of losing weight would be a huge NO on the Fatosphere feed, so we started a new site, and posted it would not be on the feed. We knew we would lose some readers, but we were ok with that. What we didn’t expect was being accused of betraying people, playing with people’s emotions,  faking the whole thing for publicity and media attention, and trying to get in with FA to purposely hurt people. Saying that we want to lose weight for our health made us Judas in some people’s eyes.

 That’s not the kind of acceptance I want to associate myself with.

 I want to be able to do whatever I want with my body. I want to be able to choose health without judgment. I want to be able to question things without militant harpies getting all bent out of shape.

 I was worried I may regret leaving the biggest fat acceptance feed. But I know now it was the best choice we could have made.

 Visit us at!

Check out the 31 Days to Better Body Acceptance Project here!


144 Responses to “Where's the acceptance in FAT acceptance?”
  1. ronisweigh says:

    It’s YOUR blog. It’s YOUR life. I will never understand anyone NOT supporting you for wanting to be healthy. It seriously blows my mind.

    As someone who blogged their weight loss and examines her own body image issues on her blog ALL the time I totally understand where you are coming from.

    Just remember your blog is your house. If you don’t let people come into your living room and talk smack then don’t let them do it on your blog. Call them out and tell them to shove it where the sun don’t shine.

    Welcome to the SELF acceptance movement. 🙂

    • cggirl says:

      Ronisweigh, I think some people believe really strongly that it’s not healthy to try to lose weight, but rather that focusing on healthy behaviors and ignoring the scale is most helpful. Now, of course, it’s not anybody else’s place to tell these lovely bloggers what’s right for THEM, I’m just saying it’s possible that some people really think they are being helpful when they try to talk someone out of dieting, not trying to keep them unhealthy.

      • ronisweigh says:

        I hear you and I totally get that. Happens ALL the time. But not once did Sylvia or Bianca mention “diet”. They specifically said they…

        “still want to be fat, but we also just want to empower ourselves and be healthy.”

        • cggirl says:

          Ya. But theybare talking about trying to lose weight. So some people think that is not a good approach and want to “help” them by talking then out of it, even
          if it’s just 40 pounds and not 140… But I think you and I are in agreement that it’s not helpful to them because they are the ones who know what’s right for them, not their commenters. Plus, they clearly got a lot of mean comments and THAT doesn’t even have the illusion of being helpful! So they are right to be upset about it.

        • cggirl says:

          And, this may go without saying but – while I do understand and support a lot of FA (not that it’s
          clearly defined but I mean the HAES ideas and the “size” acceptance notion) – I also think that the zaftig chicks have every right to even * gasp * NOT want to be fat. I know they aren’t saying that but I am taking the opportunity to point out that everyone is different, doh, and someone else wanting to be thin or trying something that isn’t my cup of tea does NOT mean they wouldn’t support my own
          effortsmto be happy with my
          body in my own way. I’m sure the bloggers here agree, I’m just stating it for the record.

      • atchka says:

        What is wrong with posting a trigger warning so that people who don’t want to read about dieting can just skip it? Aren’t we all able to create our own safe spaces given adequate information?


        • cggirl says:

          Well Shannon I don’t really care one way or another but I think the zaftig chicks did the smartest thing by just removing themselves from the feed. Cuz the fatosohere seems to be against attempting to lose weight, so why insist on staying there? I’m sure they will still get lots of readers.

    • Gorda says:

      “Just remember your blog is your house. If you don’t let people come into your living room and talk smack then don’t let them do it on your blog. Call them out and tell them to shove it where the sun don’t shine.”


      Now substitute “feed” for “blog”, and you get: “your feed is your house. If you don’t let people come into your living room and talk smack then don’t let them do it on your feed. Call them out etc. etc.”

      You are welcome to come into my living room, but this is a non-smoking household, so the rule is that you cannot smoke here. Similarly, you are welcome to apply to join the Notes from the Fatosphere feed, but there are a few rules you must follow, and one of them is that you cannot “promote the idea of fat as unhealthy or negative, or promote weight loss as ‘the answer’, or refer to intended personal weightloss.” There are other FA feeds, and anybody can start their own “FA-Dieters Welcome” feed – why throw a tantrum about feeling excluded from a community whose rules you blatantly refuse to follow?

      (Yes, I understand a feed is not the same as a blog, in that it is a community and not an individual project. Still, if blog = living room, think about feed = coffee shop/rec center/any other place where members of a club might meet. The principle that you need to follow some rules in order to be allowed into that space still applies.)

      • Gorda says:

        I’d like to add that I respect The Zaftig Chicks’ decision to embark on a weight-loss program (it’s THEIR bodies we’re talking about, and THEIR health), and I’m sorry they became the target of personal attacks for trying to take care of themselves as best they can. Also, kudos to them for leaving Notes from the Fatosphere when they felt that the new direction they were taking in their lives and blog did not conform to the feed rules. My previous comment was not directed at Sylvia and Bianca, but at the bloggers and commenters who try to shoehorn their weight-loss talk into a community where it does not belong.

        • atchka says:

          I assume I’m one of those bloggers who tried to shoehorn WL talk into the community. Except that I didn’t.

          I was accused of that, but as I challenged Bri to do (and she never did), I ask you the same: go to the post where I spoke about dieting and tell me where I said that fat=unhealthy or that WL was the answer.

          I said it crystal clear: “I don’t think my weight is a factor for heart disease, but I think that my lifestyle is a factor for my weight.”

          I said that *if* was going to change my lifestyle (diet and exercise), then it would be for my heart health since heart disease runs strongly in my family. I then said that I believed that if I changed my lifestyle, I would probably lose weight.

          I never said I wanted to lose weight or that my weight was something I was concerned about. I said I was concerned about my heart.

          Here’s my problem with what you’re saying. I come to your coffeehouse, where there is a strict no smoking policy. So, I ask, “Okay, can I smoke outside?” and the owner says, “Sure.” I do that, go outside, smoke my cigarette and talk about how if I had a coffeeshop, I’d let people smoke all the time because it’s their prerogative. I talk about my experience with smoking and how much I love smoking. But I don’t violate the rule (no smoking inside the coffeehouse). And when I come back in, I’m told that I have to leave. When I ask why, I get no answer. People just say, “Rules are rules” but won’t tell me which rule I broke.

          The fact that I was talking about my HEART and my family history of HEART DISEASE, completely separate from weight, should have been absolutely clear. But people chose to misinterpret what I wrote (whether on purpose or because they needed to justify booting me) and I have still not gotten a clear answer as to what I did that was so offensive.

          To have a community where you can’t talk about dieting (not weight loss dieting, but dieting for a specific health concern, such as heart disease, diabetes, PCOS, whatever) for your health is not only ridiculous, but dangerous and reckless as well.

          I was not promoting weight loss. If I was promoting anything, it was heart health, regardless of weight. But for some reason, my presence threatened people and they decided that I was anti-fat, anti-FA. Well, that’s crap, and anyone who read my blog knows it. So, if you want to use convoluted metaphors to justify an FA litmus test, be my guest. But I reacted the way I did and defended myself the way I did because I was treated unfairly and dishonestly.


          • Gorda says:

            Just to be perfectly clear, let me say that I didn’t have your blog in mind when I wrote my comment, or any other specific blog for that matter. I was responding to this general vibe on WATRD and other sites where people seem to feel that the fat acceptance movement is not really accepting of diversity or open to new ideas, that it excludes people who try to get healthier, etc. I’m not familiar with your blog or with the specific post that got you kicked off the feed, so I will not get into whether Bri’s decision was fair or unfair.

            You believe that “To have a community where you can’t talk about dieting . . . for your health is not only ridiculous, but dangerous and reckless as well.” That is your opinion, you are entitled to it, and I know you’re not the only one who thinks this way, but there are lots and lots of Notes from the Fatosphere readers who think otherwise, who appreciate that diet-free space because it feels safe for them and because of the discussions it promotes and the ideas it nourishes. Those who do not like it are free to move on or look away. There are lots of internet communities whose rules and tenets I consider ridiculous, dangerous and reckless, but there’s not much I can do about that except create my own community or join one I like better.

            I think it’s great that people are coming together and creating alternative feeds and different ways of doing FA – the movement will only grow stronger. I just believe it’s bad online etiquette to smoke in the non-smoking section, and to talk diets in an explicitly diet-free space.

          • atchka says:

            But if you’re responding to vibe you get that FA is not accepting of diversity of ideas (including people who try to get healthier) , then turn around and say “no diet talk period” regardless of WHY a person is dieting (for health reasons versus reasons of physical beauty), then do you see the disconnect?

            The Fatosphere Notes *is* intolerant of diversity. But it seems like the members and moderators have decided that intolerance is acceptable to maintain the safe space.

            Personally, I think that trigger warnings provide enough breathing room for that safe space to coexist with diversity.


          • meerkat says:

            Because pro-diet talk on a fat acceptance feed is DIvERSITY! Just like rape jokes on a feminist feed are DIVERSITY!

            Both are fine so long as you have trigger warnings!

            I mean, if we don’t have pro-diet talk on the fatosphere feed, where will people HEAR it?

          • heart says:

            Did you just compare talking about dieting to joking about rape?

            Wow, nice bubble you have there. I really do hope you never have to learn how way-galactic-distance-far off base you are.

          • meerkat says:

            Inasmuch as it is something feminists object to, where pro-diet talk is something that fat-acceptance people object to, yes.

          • meerkat says:

            I probably should have said “jokes about how women suck at math” or something less emotion-stirring, but I was angry and didn’t give it enough thought.

          • atchka says:

            And what if a member of the Fatosphere HAS to start a diabetic diet for his/her health? Are they no longer worthy of being included in the conversation?

            Pro-diet talk for vanity reasons and pro-diet talk for health reasons (unrelated to weight, because I understand why “fat is unhealthy” is frowned upon) are two completely separate issues.

            It’s like the difference between rape jokes and a feminist talking about her experience with rape. Both use rape as their subject, but their approach and intentions are completely different.


          • Sylvia says:

            impossible. Don’t you know there are studies that show that fat doesn’t cause health problems?

          • atchka says:

            Shhhhhhh… get back in your box. You’re going to make some heads explode with your “scientism.”


  2. cggirl says:


    Well I just wanted to comment because I, too, have always enjoyed Kate Harding’s blog and that Fantasy of Being Thin post. And I have to say, I guess I didn’t know that much about the “fatosphere” but on Kate’s blog, I’ve never gotten the feeling that I can’t think differently. I just got the sense that on her particular blog, people don’t want to hear more about dieting because there are plenty of other blogs where they can read that. I thought this was fine because I can always go elsewhere to talk about weightloss if I want to.

    What I hadn’t thought about was what it means to be part of the fatosphere feed… There is no clear definition of what its “rules” are, but if you feel like you’re getting readers from it who are not supportive or appreciative of your current situation, then you are definitely right to leave it!

    (Side note: Shapely Prose has also left the fatosphere feed, but not for the same reasons. But I’m just pointing out that that blog is not some official representative of the fat acceptance movement.)

    Just know that not all of us who read Shapely Prose have any sort of objection to you doing what’s right for YOUR body. 🙂 We’re probably just less loud about it, it’s usually the more extreme commenters who are the most loud.

    I also have to say, in defense of some notions that are common on the fatosphere – it is reasonable for people to believe that it’s not weight loss per se that will make you healthier, but rather the exercise and healthy eating habits in and of themselves, and therefore try to encourage you to focus less on the scales and more on the behaviors. You don’t have to agree with that of course, maybe the weight itself IS relevant, but I’m just saying people believing THAT is not the same as people thinking you are wrong or stupid for trying something else. I, for one, am not sure what I think but I AM sure that I wouldn’t judge you for your choices and I wish you all the best!!

    Oh, and another interesting thing – a movement, be it FA or Feminism or what have you – usually has lots of different people with lots of conflicting definitions of what that movement is. I’m sure lots of similar things happen on Feminist blog feeds or what have you.

    And one more little note – don’t worry too much about losing readers. I mean, I read this blog, even though some things here really bother me a lot (e.g. Sensa – no offense to the blogger who wrote about that, but it’s a scam that’s being recycled by a new name… it seems a bit beneath the level of your usual writing here.)
    Anyway, in spite of that, I still enjoy the blog because there’s lots of different things here. And I’m sure many women who don’t wish to tout weight loss as a goal will still enjoy reading your blog and really wish you all the best.

    Ok, sorry for the loooong post… I’m just very sleepy, lol, and am too tired to edit myself. * falls asleep on keyboard *

  3. melponeme_k says:

    I’m sorry to see this happen. But it isn’t surprising.

    I’ve seen what passes for discourse at Shapely Prose now. Debate isn’t allowed there because it hurts so many feelings and offends so many delicate sensibilities.

    FA is and could be a great movement. But it isn’t inclusive, its authoritarian. And that isn’t going to go over well when fighting the real culture war. The people debating on FA sites aren’t the enemies. They are there because they do support the cause 9 times out of 10. Passionate debates are not the same kind of discourse as the twisted souls who just hang around to post abusive insults.

    I will gladly add Zaftig Chicks to my blog list.

    • atchka says:

      You hit the nail on the head. I understand creating a safe space, but not at the expense of the greater movement. We can (and will) create a safe space that respects the diversity of views within the fat community. Only then will we increase our numbers and the volume of our voices.


  4. Carmel says:

    Good for you. Nobody should make you feel bad for doing what you both need to do for your own body and mind. Not that you actually seem too upset about anything!

    However, diet/weight loss talk goes against everything the FA movement believes in. I know you’ve stated you never intended to be a FA blog, but the title of this post seems a bit odd. Why should the FA movement accept something it is 100% against?

    Every movement needs its militants. Yes, it pisses many people off, but they’re here to make change, not friends.

    Best of luck with everything!

    • cggirl says:

      Ya, excellent points Carmel.

    • vitty10 says:


      I wish the Zaftig Chicks the best of luck in what they are trying to accomplish. But the reason that I love the Fatosphere so much is that I know I can go there and not hear diet/ weight loss talk. There are so many other places on the web one can go to for that.

    • atchka says:

      Diet/weight loss talk should NOT go against the FA movement. Losing weight because you think you’d be sexier/more successful/more whatever, is against the FA movement.

      Losing weight (or attempting to do so) because you develop diabetes or heart disease or some other chronic illness which YOU believe (regardless of what FA overall preaches) your weight has something to do with, SHOULD NOT be against FA.

      There is a big difference between studying the science of dieting, weight loss, and the effect of fat on health, and actually deciding to gamble your life on those beliefs.

      Fat Acceptance is a journey, and not everyone is at that point where they’re willing to say, “Well, my doctor says if I don’t lose weight I’ll die, but I read X, which says my weight doesn’t matter, so I’m not going to listen.”

      Punishing people who chose to diet for their health (whether misguided or not) will ultimately harm the movement by making people chose between being deemed a “good activist” who practices what they preach (or what FA preaches) and a “bad activist” who has doubts or questions about some aspects of FA.

      I understand not wanting to read diet/weight loss talk, but it IS POSSIBLE to have a community where people can avoid reading those things without needing a censor to protect you. I can protect myself just fine, thank you.


      • Marlie says:

        I agree with this, but what do you consider punishment? Being termed a “good activist” or “bad activist”? That happens in every movement. It doesn’t make it right, but it makes it commonplace.

        • atchka says:

          Punishing, in this case, is both restricting access to the conversation (kicking people off the feed) and being insulted or degraded in comments (as opposed to disagreeing respectfully). I think being labeled a good or bad activist is just self-defeating nonsense. It creates this group think environment where only the purists are able to engage the issues “officially.”

          Now much of these problems stem from the fact that the Fatosphere Notes feed was THE go-to place for FA blogs. If you wanted to read or write FA opinions, they were the gate-keepers. Bri repeatedly said that the Fatosphere is not reflective of FA, but if you’re the only game in town, then you are, in essence, responsible for a great portion of FA dialogue.

          I just think this whole situation could have been handled better by all parties (myself included), but it is giving us an opportunity to create a new space that allows freedom of ideas and expression to take place without jeopardizing the “safe space” that so many people need.


          • Marlie says:

            Actually, there is an alternative feed, the Fat Liberation Feed. I think it was started after a similar situation to the one you went through. I don’t know what the vibe is there, but you might want to check it out.

          • Atchka! says:

            What use is a feed that nobody subscribes to? I’m on it and get handful of readers from it. I don’t really get what the difference is, except that it’s NOT the Fatosphere feed and that it’s much, much smaller. I just don’t see that as a real alternative.


          • meerkat says:

            Maybe more people want to read the feed with the no-diet-talk restrictions.

      • meerkat says:

        Actually, you probably would be more “successful” in many cases! Because a lot of success involves making a good impression on people who assume that fat people are lazy and stupid! There is totally a book about how “conventionally attractive” people are more successful, happier, and higher paid.

        (Personally, I don’t want to get on the yo-yo diet roller coaster and sacrifice my health in order to make a good impression on powerful jerks.)

  5. julie says:

    I find the FA movement as a whole doesn’t really appreciate thinking that doesn’t toe the line. It seems a lot of their truth comes from cherry picking, wishful thinking, and misinterpretation of data. And I don’t like to be told that I’m semi-anorexic or whatever the term is for folks who are losing weight, no matter how slowly or quickly. Hell, I tried dozens of diets and had no luck, that doesn’t mean it never works for anyone. I just hadn’t found my way, now I have, and life is 500% better than it was 60 pounds ago. And I don’t diet, starve myself, only eat celery.

    I do like zaftig chicks blog, have absolutely read it from time to time. I like people who think independently.

    • Forestroad says:

      And that’s why you come here where it’s ok for you to post about how your lifestyle change worked for you instead of to an FA blog where those comments wouldn’t be welcome. I like FA blogs and I have some issues with them as well. I haven’t felt like they’re telling me what to do with MY BODY, just that if my choice is to lose weight, not to talk about it in FA space. I don’t find that unreasonable, so I still read FA blogs. If I need to talk about my struggles with losing weight, I got to 3fc. To each her own, is my point I guess.

      • cggirl says:

        Yes!! Exactly wha forestroad said.

      • julie says:

        I see your point, and I don’t mention my weight loss, but I don’t see the attitude as being “lose weight if you want, just don’t talk about it here.” I see a lot of drivel about how nobody except a few freaks really lose weight, and anyone who tries is vain, and there’s no middle ground between eating everything and anything whenever the urge (whatever that urge is) hits, and starving oneself, and even if you starve yourself and exercise 3 hours a day you’ll still gain it back. And the best and latest- it’s healthier to be overweight than not. Yeah, maybe 5 or 10 pounds, not 50, or 200.

        • Meems says:

          there’s no middle ground between eating everything and anything whenever the urge (whatever that urge is) hits, and starving oneself

          That middle ground is called HAES.

        • meerkat says:

          200 pounds overweight probably wouldn’t fall into the “overweight” BMI (the one the study said had the lowest mortality) unless you were really really really tall.

  6. happybodies says:

    I’m going to say first, that I read Shapely Prose, Watrd, Fat lot of Good, Notes from the Fatosphere, etc, and I like them all. But it really worries me the strict lines in the sand that are being drawn here.

    I think with the notes feed, it is healthiest to not talk about dieting. I totally respect anyone’s decision to lose weight because it’s healthiest for them. But in a culture where we are constantly bombarded with the necessity of dieting and weight loss as an inherent virtue, it’s really nice to have a space where we can just celebrate our bodies as is and not think about it. I’ve definitely had the experience with both my friends and my mother, where people who are a lot thinner than me get obsessed with weight loss for their health, and although I’ll support them, it does make me feel uncomfortable and hyper conscious of my own weight. And if you are opening your site up to a wider audience, particularly a FA audience, I think your weight loss talk will affect them negatively, and making a separate site seems like the right decision.

    The other division line seems to be about privilege. I will put it out there that I think its really important and needs to be addressed in FA. Some of the disconnect seems to be that blogs like Shapely Prose are disinterested in pursuing the “101” of privilege and simply censor rather than explain why they disagree with a comment. But I think the fact that many seem to disagree with the approach means we should lose the topic! While I am working to empower myself, I do try to recognize the privileges my body has – like the fact that my sexual orientation is accepted, and my abilities that help me to navigate the world easier.

    In the end, blogs are public, and though our own, I think we should try to make them welcoming for others who support our cause. We need to consider how people of different abilities, sexual orientation, race, etc. might read our words and whether they would feel safe reading our blog. If you don’t want to consider others’ needs – don’t make the blog public.

    I really hope their is a way that this rift can be reconciled. We need to work together to change this shitty fat-shaming culture and empower ourselves!

  7. Shelly says:

    I like this post.

    We have a right to do whatever we want, be it lose weight, gain weight, whatever….

    That is my prob with the fat acceptence. At first, I was very gung ho about FA, but the more I read about blogs about it, the less acceptance I see, but they have the right to do whatever they want as well. If some of the tenets are not what I agree with, that is fine, but I accept that there are there and that is what some people want to suscribe to.

    I am glad you two made a decision, stuck with it, and brushed off the backlash you have recieved because of it. It is your decision and no one can take that away from you.

  8. lissa10279 says:

    Great post, and thank you for sharing and welcome to this side of the blogosphere where–though we have arguments and discussions–we are trying to bring people together instead of alienating them.

    As for the FA movement,I still don’t understand it, even after blogging here for months now. It just doesn’t make sense to me and, as you’ve shown, doesn’t seem very accepting when someone wants to take control of their health. I agree no one should be discriminated against for their weight, but I think inspiring/encouraging healthy changes is win-win for everyone. We’re not all destined to be thin, but we can be empowered by taking control of our bodies.

    • Forestroad says:

      My experience with FA has been different. I have found that FA encourges me to take control of MY health and MY body, just not in the way (weight loss) that the daily messages we receive from ads and the weight-loss-industrial complex want us to. Rather, I’m encouraged to change my behaviors to loving myself, exercising for the pleasure of it, and associating eating with nourishment rather than punishment or guilt–even if the scale doesn’t move (HAES). But that’s just my experience.

    • vitty10 says:

      Me too Forestroad. I take care of my health better than I ever have since I’ve been exposed to Fat Acceptance and Health At Every Size. I find their message empowering, that it’s ok to like yourself as you are, and when you like yourself you’ll take better care of yourself.

  9. jackie soso says:

    I went to the Zaftig Chicks blog but I don’t have the best vision, and it is hard to read. Anyway. Am I supposed to feel sorry for them when they joined a feed just to get readers without knowing what they were doing or what the feed was about? Then they get called out for not having the values of the community they joined. Where’s the mystery here? Are they new to the interwebs or something? Cuz this is so old. It’s true the squeaky wheel gets the grease but man is it annoying. Just make a blog and say what you got to say. But lets face it, there’s nomething revolutionary about chubby chicks painting their fingernails, trying to lose weight and wanting attention.

  10. In my opinion, being anti-diet builds community through a common consensus but it doesn’t fight discrimination. This is the point where I diverge from most people in the Fat Acceptance movement.

    I am pro-liberty. You should be able to do what you want with your body. But I think that also means I should be able to do what I want with my body and not get crap for it.

    I self-identify as a fat activist. My primary concern is fighting against the discriminatory practices that fat people experience.

    Like, being denied health insurance. Or being charged double for health insurance. Or doctors dismissing all health problems as caused by fat. Or not getting a job or a promotion because of being fat. And the list goes on.

    The Fatospehre feed has been a leader in fat acceptance for quote a while now. At least online, it’s lead the tone of the movement.

    But there are some people, like myself, trying to do something about the confusion and lack of acceptance within the Fat Acceptance Movement.

    I have written a FAQ which is up on my website. I’m also working on a webseries that gives FA basics.

    And, I have repeatedly submitted essays to WATRD despite being a minority perspective on this site.

    I’d like to believe that Fat Acceptance is a work in progress, not a failed experiment.

    • atchka says:

      Definitely a work in progress. But some people within FA think they’ve laid out all the key pieces of the puzzle and anyone who wants to revisit those pieces is treated as a heretic.

      Personally, I want to understand fat issues (especially fat health issues) inside, outside, upside-down. I want to know what people like MeMe Roth are going to say before she says it because they’re treading the same, worn arguments day after day. I want to know the nuance, not just the talking points. I want to KNOW.

      The Fatosphere is not a place for people who want to learn from various viewpoints. In short, it has become a sort of ED-recovery community with an FA message. Any questioning of their message is considered a threat to the safe space for those recovering from EDs, and so is unwelcome.

      I would not have signed up for the Fatosphere if I had known this undercurrent was there. But it’s supposed to be a Fat Acceptance feed, so that’s what I wanted to join.


    • CandiceBP says:

      I like the idea that FA is a work in progress since aren’t we all?

  11. heart says:

    I just want to second Roni about welcoming Sylvia and Bianca to SELF-acceptance circles.

    I loved this quote from the very special message:

    “We seriously just wanted to write a ‘Sylvia and Bianca are super awesome chicks, who love shopping, glitter, anything pink, lots of wine, showing cleavage, reality TV, and talking about themselves. And oh yeah, we’re fat.’ That was it.”


    It’s unfortunate (altho yes, probably inevitable) that the “Fatosphere” has polarized itself to the point where its dogma’s run over its karma. As the less extreme people are driven away, the feed’s extremism will continue to increase.

    I’m all about people thinking for themselves, so Brava! to Sylvia and Bianca for remembering and standing up for who the are and not allowing a feed to dictate it to them.

  12. I love this discussion! I have not read these blogs but I feel it is self-acceptance not FA. My post today is about that. Just love me for who I am. That is a lot of what I believe is under all of this. We must learn to accept who we are underneath it all and accept others choices. they may not have they same beliefs as ours but to look at WHY we choose what we choose is important.

  13. atchka says:

    Ah, can you smell the sweet, sweet freedom? It’s like we can speak for ourselves, like ADULTS!!!

    Great post, Sylvia and Bianca. You guys know I adore you. I just wish you were joining us in the new endeavor.

    If anyone else wants to join the new FA, big tent feed, feel free to email me at


  14. Kel says:

    FA has no need for anyone who disagrees. They are dismissive of any reports that discuss the implications of obesity but fail to use that same critical eye when viewing research that helps to “prove” their argument. It is always important to question the validity, motive and funding of any type of research- unless, of course, the research can somehow be construed to mean that obesity is healthy. It’s almost become a matter of choosing which science you want to believe.

    Good for Sylvia and Bianca for questioning what many have accepted as absolute. It’s not easy to go against anecdotal evidence and long winded writers. Best of luck!

  15. Marlie says:

    I get so confused by posts like this, or comments like Shannon’s(atchka) above. I am not discounting them, I just don’t understand.

    I read the fatosphere periodically, and I don’t get the upset. What are the others doing to you? Is it something I can’t see just from reading? Is it in the comments of your posts? If you post something and someone disagrees, are they not allowed to say so? Is it just that they are disrespectful when they disagree? Did they threaten to kick you off the feed? How can someone stop you from speaking for yourself? By speaking for themselves?

    I understand your leaving the feed. From what I’ve read, it’s not the best place for newbies, and there’s not a lot of patience there.

    Also, it doesn’t seem quite right to blame weight gain on fat acceptance. I’ve never seen anything that says to eat everything you want, and I have seen some posts that say specifically not to eat everything you want, to learn your body’s cues and eat what you need. I don’t personally see anything wrong with healthy, balanced diets(for weight loss) and I wish you the best. One of the things I’ve learned from FA is that food is just food. It’s not empowering, it doesn’t warrant punishment, it’s just food. It provides hopefully, pleasurable sustenance, and we have to try to separate it from emotional ties that make us forget that as much as we can. Sometimes that’s difficult or even impossible. I have a few restaurants that I love, but can’t afford to go to very often. Because it is a financial treat to go, the food I have there will never just be food. But for me instances like this are rare. And seeing food for what it is, has helped me to realize that while it won’t help when I’m sad or bored, the world won’t end if I have a piece of cake. It has helped me a lot to realize this.

    • atchka says:

      Thanks for asking. I got kicked off the feed for saying that even though I don’t believe my weight contributes to heart disease, I have a family history of it and that if I were to diet, it would be for that reason. And I said that if I were to change my lifestyle to a heart healthy one, I would probably lose weight also.

      That was my horrible, heretical statement that got me kicked off. And yes, if you post something that people disagree with, you can get flamed by a LOT of people. I got it in the beginning, but didn’t allow disrespectful dialogue (heated disagreement, sure, but don’t be an asshole) and it kind of leveled off. ZC got flamed frequently when they ventured outside the “boob glitter” territory that certain people on the feed felt like they should stick to.

      Nobody has stopped us for speaking for ourselves. But if you want to have a conversation about FA, the Fatosphere was the place to do it. By getting kicked off, you’re essentially kicked out of the conversation.

      As far as weight gain and fat acceptance… I think that if you’re a newbie, the message of freedom from self-hatred (especially when it comes to being liberated from food issues) can be a double-edged sword.

      If you’ve spent your whole life restricting your eating because it was “normal” and you suddenly read all about how diets are BS and it’s okay to be fat, then I could see how you might gain some weight just because you may allow yourself to actually enjoy food.

      Do I think FA causes weight gain? No. But I can see how some the message of FA could cause someone to gain weight, just as some people who practice HAES gain weight, as their bodies learn to adjust to this “new way of living.”

      I think it would be a mistake to equate FA with weight gain, as this is not the experience of everyone. Sylvia thinks it contributed to her recent weight gain and she knows her body best, so I’m inclined to believe that whatever messages she was reading made her more relaxed about her body and possibly put on some weight.


      • Gina says:

        I got kicked off the feed for saying that even though I don’t believe my weight contributes to heart disease, I have a family history of it and that if I were to diet, it would be for that reason. And I said that if I were to change my lifestyle to a heart healthy one, I would probably lose weight also.

        It was interesting to check up on this discussion, and see this comment juxtaposed with the one below from Tom Brokaw saying that FA is a bunch of english and women’s studies majors arguing with 90% of medical professionals about the human body.

        Just sayin’.

        • Atchka! says:

          Tom Brokaw is a secret Fat Admirer who hangs out on all the FA sites and tries to act all badass, when in reality he gets his kicks from insulting fat women. He’s one of FA’s more consistent trolls and everything he says is 90% crap. Seems like an okay guy, sometimes, though.

          But he’s right about how so many people in FA seem hellbent on defying EVERYTHING the medical profession says about fat. That’s what frustrated me. I wasn’t allowed to examine the information and post my opinions on it. If scientific research said ANYTHING negative about fat, it was considered suspect immediately, whereas any study which was fat positive was immediately accepted and disseminated as widely as possible.

          I, personally, believe the obesity situation in this country is not as bad as they painted it the past decade (just look at the fact that obesity numbers haven’t budged a bit in the last decade, despite warnings of a 90% fat population in X number of years). But I also think that the extreme ends of the weight bell curve can negatively impact your health. Some people in FA won’t acknowledge this, some know it’s true but don’t want to talk about it.

          I prefer to sort through it, figure out where the kernel of truth is and leave the rest.


          • tom brokaw says:

            lol. My gf is a size 0. And I have no problem insulting men on the fatosphere, you should know that by now. Most fatosphere sites are run by women, that is all.

            I don’t need you to psychoanalyze me because I’m perfectly capable of it myself. I used to be fat until I took charge of the ridiculous direction of my life and rectified it.

            What FA preaches is anathema to me, because I was once there. The defeatist message is offensive and a disservice to everyone in its audience or at least potential audience (because basically nobody reads the fatosphere).

            I never adhered to FA principles, I always knew I should lose weight and wanted to lose weight but for various reasons did not get around to it. My life is 1000x better now that I have and I wish I could invent a time machine to go back and punch the fat me in the face for not getting a move on.

            No, most people will not sustain long term weight loss. But the FA message of just quitting and accepting fat angers me. Most people who try won’t get into MIT either. But we don’t tell our children to stop striving for the pinnacle of higher education.

            At the end of the day everything I see on the fatosphere amounts to an excuse. It’s harder for some to lose than others, true. But results are possible for everyone given enough correctly placed effort. You want to quit because you didn’t have it in you or you decided that fat is beautiful or whatever? Fine.

            But telling others to quit angers me. There are people like me out there who might lose weight and improve their lives. FA is free to speak its message but I’m going to rebut it in my small way. The rest of the rebuttal will come from medical science and society.

          • atchka says:

            See, this is why I think you’re a liar. Your girlfriend is a size 0. Even if it were true (and I’m certain it’s not), then it says something about you that you are SO anti-fat that you seem to have taken on a trophy waif to flaunt your anti-fat creds.

            And telling people to quit is not an excuse. You do damage to your heart during weight cycling. So you got thin and stayed that way. Congratulations. But others are going to try and fail, try and fail, try and fail, and all along they way get fatter each time, and damage their heart a little more each time. But that’s not worth discussing. It’s much easier to dismiss those people as being weak-willed and not having your brand of outstanding character (feel free to go back and paint in the sarcastic tone).

            We don’t promote giving up. We promote HAES, which encourages people to eat healthy, get active in a way you enjoy, and be happy with who you are. If those things are anathema to you, then I suggest you find a new community to taunt and torment because your superficial hypocrisy is not needed here. Nor will your petty rebuttals add up to anything more than a gnat’s turd worth of truth.


          • Gina says:

            You do damage to your heart during weight cycling. So you got thin and stayed that way. Congratulations. But others are going to try and fail, try and fail, try and fail, and all along they way get fatter each time, and damage their heart a little more each time.

            I understand that weight cycling does damage a person’s heart – but doesn’t cause as much damage as being 50, 75, 100, 150 or more pounds overweight. Do you have links to any recent studies which indicate that weight cycling causes *more* damage than long-term obesity?

          • atchka says:

            The current studies about the dangers of being overweight do not indicate whether that is due to lifestyle factors (poor diet and exercise) or strictly to the weight. There are several interesting studies where they tried to remove the excess weight (such as through extreme (20 pounds) liposuction) and have not been able to prove that it is the weight, and not some compounding factor (such as lifestyle) that is the culprit. Also, none of the health factors are said to be *caused* by obesity, but are correlated. And considering the incredible statistics of fat people who have dieted (and then regained, typically more than they weighed prior to dieting), there is no way to know whether the heart disease and various weight loss methods are contributing to those health outcomes or not.

            Personally, I think lifestyle is more important than weight. If you are 150 pounds overweight, but practicing HAES (eating well, exercising frequently), then studies show that you are healthier than someone who has lost a bunch of weight.

            It seems that the key to health is not weight, or even diet, but exercise. So, the message I promote is: exercise, but stop trying to get thin because it’s not making you healthier.


          • Gina says:

            In other words, you can’t back up your assertions, but are just spouting the same old FA/HAES mantra.

          • atchka says:

            No, that’s not what I said. There are no studies that compare weight cycling with obesity non–intervention (or HAES), although the HAES study showed that weomen who practice HAES had better metabolic outcomes than women who dieted. As for the damage of weight cycling, allow me to link you up. There are plenty of studies on the dangers of weight cycling:

            These are just a few, but the implication is that weight cycling can cause a person to gain more than they weighed before, which complicates obesity. This is in addition to the indications of cardiovascular issues. and psychological issues as well.


          • atchka says:

            I posted a bunch of links, but the response is gone. Basically, weight cycling has been shown to increase a person’s weight in the long-term. This is backed up by Dr. Bacon’s study which showed that women who practiced HAES had better metabolic outcomes than women who dieted (most of whom wound up regaining the weight anyway).

            There is evidence suggesting that weight cycling is correlated with heart disease. There are no studies that compare a person who is 150 pounds overweight (and has never dieted) to a person who has weight cycled frequently. Plus, due to the funding mechanisms there are much MUCH more studies on the health affects of obesity than weight cycling.


          • tombrokaw says:


            My gf is a size zero, and no I didn’t get a waif trophy.

            I was dating her before I lost weight. I can show you her profile on a social networking site if you are that skeptical.

            And you apparently aren’t reading the fatosphere if you dn’t realize that “giving up” is strongly promoted.

            lol, weren’t you just kicked off of it for merely discussing dieting? How is that not promoting giving up on dieting?

          • atchka says:

            Read Dr. Sharma’s site. He’s a bariatric specialist and highly respected. He is telling doctor’s to stop encouraging their client’s to lose weight. That’s not “giving up.” He’s urging them to promote HAES. HAES is not “giving up.”

            Yes, some people on the Fatosphere have promoted a message of futility and seem reluctant to promote HAES instead. Or they feel that promoting HAES is impinging on people’s right to be fat and unhealthy. But you are taking a few extreme views and conflating it with FA as a whole, which is intellectually dishonest.

            Personally, I think it is up to you whether you want to be healthy or not. But I also think we should provide the best information on fat and health so people can make informed decisions.

            The reason they gave for kicking me off was that I was “promoting dieting.” But I was on Bri’s (and many, many others’) shit list long before that for a myriad reasons.


          • julia says:

            @tom – I must say, I’d occasionally find myself agreeing with some of your less nasty comments… and then I read what you did to lose weight.

            I lost whatever respect I had left for you then – anyone who would go about weight loss in such an unhealthy and dangerous fashion doesn’t have anything to teach me about healthy behaviors.

          • tombrokaw says:

            I never suggested everyone go about weight loss exactly as I did. There was a very specific reason I had to lose weight in that time frame.

          • Because there was a bomb in your belly that would go off if you weren’t thin by June 5th? Or what?


  16. CandiceBP says:

    Thank you Sylvia and Bianca for contributing this piece to WATRD. I, too, have felt excluded from the FA movement and have struggled to understand exactly what its goals are and its perceived purpose. From the comments here, I gather that we all have to find our own area or niche of it and that there doesn’t have to be a blanket FA do/don’t list (although I’ve seen that exclusion in action).

    I think that at the heart of FA is the idea that everyone should be accepted for who they are. Period. We may disagree on lifestyle choices, but we should be tolerant of all (barring those that harm others). And I do see how certain groups need advocates/activists. So I like that there’s an FA movement because I think the idea need to be out there. It’s just not in my nature to be belligerent about much, so when that tone creeps up, it turns me off.

    In the end, Notes is a collection of people’s personal blogs and they’re free to say on there what they wish. I do read Notes, even though I don’t like a portion of what I see on there. I also read Shapely Prose and, obviously, I contribute here. I think we all benefit from taking in a variety of viewpoints (as much as we can while remaining sane) and I think we also need to stand up when our voice is being shouted down.

    I look forward to following the new Zaftig site and I hope you gals continue to stick around here as well!

    • atchka says:

      I agree with you, except where you said “Notes is a collection of people’s personal blogs and they’re free to say on there what they wish.” The problem is, you’re not free to say what you wish if you’re on Notes. If what you say runs contrary to their message, then they give you the boot. Just clarifying.

      Anyway, if you are interested, I’m starting a new feed that does allow you to say what you wish. Email me:


      • CandiceBP says:

        Good point of clarity. I meant more that I can’t be all, “Ew, I hate what they said” anymore than they could be about what I write on my blog b/c we’re all free to write what they want. I guess what I meant was they’re free to subscribe to that particular line of thinking if they choose to/like to. You are right that they impose their own limits (I saw it in motion once with a pro-WLS post, eesh). But, again, I’m all for to each their own.

    • Sylvia says:

      CandiceBP – we do plan on sticking around! This discussion thread has been great and interesting in it’s openness. Like a breath of fresh air!

      And thank you all for your welcoming words. Well, except the “chubby chicks painting their fingernails”…we prefer “zaftig chicks applying boob glitter”


  17. Matilda Tuesday says:

    I don’t have the time for the Fat Acceptance Movement

    I work a full time job in a factory. I have a forty five minute commute each way to get there and back home. I have a semi-useless husband and a house to take care of. I have five cats, and every day I have to remind them that they love me and don’t want to wander off and become feral. I have meals to cook, things to clean, shopping to do, and bills to pay.

    There is also the issue that I also would like to have some time to do things that I enjoy. I like to relax a bit when I get home from working a full shift. I like to browse the intertubes. I enjoy watching shows that I have Tivo’ed. I like to play the MMORPG “City of Heroes. (yeah, I like to fight crime with my superpowers in my off time. Don’t tell anyone!) Oh, and I have a blog thingey that I’d sorta like to spend more time on. Given that I am a responsible adult who does take care of the responsibilities of my life, I don’t think that I’m being unreasonable in wanting an hour or so of “me” time once in a while.

    So do I have the time to exercise for 40 minutes to an hour every work day? Do I have the time to cook healthy lower calorie meals? It would be so easy to say “No.” I would love to have that time to do the things I like to do, that I need to do. It would be easy. It would be a flat out lie, too. I make the time to do these things, every day, because I need to do so. It is as important to me as making my mortgage payment or keeping the cats from starving. If I didn’t make the time to do the things that help me manage my weight, I would not weigh less than 200 pounds. Heck, I wouldn’t weigh less than 250.

    When I didn’t take the time to do these things, I weighed around 260-270. I felt awful. It was uncomfortable to live in my body. My left knee was in constant pain from my excess poundage. It was hard to squeeze into restaurant booths and movie theater seats. I didn’t sleep nearly as well as I do now. And, it was much, much worse mentally. I was deeply angry that my body looked and felt like that. I was deeply ashamed that I had let myself look that like. I was supersensitive about my weight, and if something would happen that would force me to confront the truth of it I would be in a foul mood for hours, if not days.

    So do I have the time to do what I need to do to maintain my weight loss? Do I have the time to spend forty minutes on my elliptical when I get home from work? Do I have the time to cook my own food rather than hitting the drive thru on the way home? Is it worth an hour a day, more or less, to feel fantastic for the other 23 hours rather than feeling horrible?

    I’ve heard from people who think that the answer to these question is “no”. They’ve made that choice for themselves, and they think that this is a reasonable, even unavoidable. But for my part, I haven’t noticed that worlds falls apart during the hour I take a day to make my life a joy to live, instead of painful burden.

    I am sorry that I don’t have the time to write comments in this blog more often. But not that sorry.

    • cggirl says:

      That is wonderful for you!
      And, since we are sharing, for me – when I take the ine to work out every day and make the effort to eat in a way that’s healthy for me, I think it’s good for my health. But u don’t seem to lose any weight 🙁 so for me, some of the blogs on the fatosphere and the books or studies they referred me to helped me appreciate that I am still helping myself by doing that stuff even if I don’t lose weight from it, or even if I still sometimes feel unhappy with my body. Of course everyone is different, I’m just saying FA blogs that I read never told me not to do these healthy things. They encouraged me to do them whether it made me skinny or not, because there are studies that show these behaviors improve ur health even when ur weight stays the same. (which u may disagree with, or u may agree but still want to lose weight too…)

      so hey, hooray for us both for taking the time to do things that are good for us! And even tho I haven’t lost weight like that, I’m happy for u that u have if that makes u happy and healthy!

      • cggirl says:

        Oops where I said “u don’t seem to lose weight” I meant of course “I don’t seem to lose weigt”. Stupid u and I keys so close together.

        Btw part me wonders if it’s a matter of how overweight someone is – Like maybe because I’m not THAT overweight then my body would need more puhing to lose weight. But then again I do hear from people who are extremely overweight and do all te “right” things and still can’t lose. So maybe there really are some serious genetic factors and some effects of a lifetime of dieting and things like that, so that we shouldn’t compare…
        Sorry if that’s a bit off topic, was just kinda thinking about that.

  18. tombrokaw says:

    FA is an intellectually weak movement and thus must insulate itself from dissent.

    Basically imagine a bunch of english and women’s studies majors arguing with 90% of medical professionals about the human body. Oh wait you don’t have to imagine it, that’s exactly what it is.

    Not exactly a downhill battle.

    Luckily this insulation will keep the movement small and irrelevant.

    • Atchka! says:

      You can wish in one hand and crap in the other…

      A movement is more than an online community. On many, many, MANY points, FA has the truth on their side. But it also has a century of persecution that keeps many of those same members distrusting of established science because that same established science has been used to distort the truth for so long (just look at the CDC’s obesity stat hatchet job in 2004).

      The movement may be small, but it is hardly irrelevant when 2/3 of the country are affected by the policies and behaviors that we are fighting against. I think it would be more accurate to describe it as small and developing.


  19. silentbeep says:

    There area always schisms in any movement, and also different factions. They may all be working towards the same goal, but may have different views on how to get to that goal (this case being size acceptance or more narrowly fat acceptance). I don’t think the divisions are necessarily a bad thing, as sometimes both sides can produce a “checks and balances’ affect on the movement as a whole. Some of the “hardliners” may bring up issues where it’s wise not to compromise on. And some of the more “middle of the road” may be able to tell the hardliners to chill out at certain points too, and to be more welcoming depending on the issue. This “balancing act” changes depending on the situation and the circumstance. But no this “balancing” act is not always nice, and sometimes the Notes admin stance its righteously forthright to one person, and to another its’ just plain nasty. And of course, we are talking about a lot of bloggers here who all have slightly different takes on how “hardline” or “middle of the road” they wanna be.

    I for one, know my personality and my stance fits really well into the “hardliner” mode. I don’t have a lot of conclusions at the end of this but yeah..

  20. Bianca says:

    Ok, what the hell is with all this civility? This is a very controversial topic people, I expect more bickering!! 🙂

    We appreciate everyone’s comments, and definitely plan on hanging out here all the time now.

    And yes, that is a threat.

    • mamaV says:

      Ok you just jinxed yourself — they are going to eat you alive!!!

    • cggirl says:

      Haha, well maybe this helps prove that most of us ate not nutty enough to think there is any sense in being mean spirited about these things?

      Except for that tombrokaw character… I am never sure what his deal is but whatevs.

      I really want to second what forestroad and some others said upthread – for a lot of us, FA blogs have helped balance out what the rest of the media tells us, and given us hope that we CAN be
      both mentally and physcally healthy if we want to.
      I know for me, personally, trying to lose weight often leads to some really unhealthy stuff, and then to top it all off I gain the weight back and then some. Of course that’s not the case for everyone, and it’s not even a constant thing – it may change over time for the same person.
      Btw I also agree that very “movement” suffers from these problems. Which is why I avoid the labels for the most part.

      Oh and I also wanted to mention rachel’s blog – the f word – she seems to be very health conscious yet also really understands why for many people focusing on weight loss is a problem rather than a solution, and I’ve never seen her make harsh comments to anyone. You should check her out!!

    • Atchka! says:

      You’re a turd sammich.


  21. attrice says:

    I have mixed feelings about all of these issues. I don’t care if any movement or a particular section of a movement wants to enforce strict boundaries. Frankly, how strict/not strictly those boundaries are enforced will have e-drama and repercussions (people leaving, lots of meta posts about the movement, bad feelings all around) regardless. Can’t please everyone and that is never more true than on the internet. Of course I think the level of hurt outrage over the actions of the ZC’s is more than a bit over the top.

    I have my differences with FA. A lot of them are grounded in science and are nitpicky (though important.) Even more important for me personally though was that, even though FA offered a lot in terms of my mental health, they had very little to offer in terms of my physical health. When I read this:

    “What I’ve learned about me is that my intro into Fat Acceptance meant that I could just eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted – because that should empower me, right?”

    I fully expected to read a dozen comments about how that *wasn’t* FA and did you ever try intuitive eating and HAES? IME, that’s often the response to those kind of statements. But the problem I experienced was that intuitive eating and HAES were often so vague as to be nearly meaningless. And as someone who wasn’t as healthy and definitely not as mobile as I wanted to be even though I was exercising regularly and listening to my inner eater, I found basically nothing in the movement to help me.

    But that doesn’t mean that the message that one can exercise without it being punishment or that health is more than a number on a scale isn’t important or revolutionary. And I’m sure a lot of people are happier and healthier in FA. But a lot of bloggers I’ve read act like there are two options: love yourself and don’t diet or hate yourself, become obsessed with dieting, be starving and miserable. Needless to say, I think that’s crap.

    However, (and this is my last point, I swear) I also see people on the other side acting as if FA is this huge bullying force. FA is a pretty small movement. I took a highly scientific poll while getting my drink on with some friends last night. These are people who know every single internet meme, who use words like cisgender privilege in everyday conversation and out of the twelve of them, not a single one knew about fat acceptance. Most had heard of size discrimination (and were not for it) but none had heard of these ideas that dieting was bad or about set points etc… FA does not have the power to censor anyone or to keep anyone from being heard. If the majority of those who speak up in FA, don’t want to talk about the complex relationship between fat and health or want to say that weight loss is an act of self-hate or that it means you want anyone who is as fat as you to lose weight (and honestly, what the fuck kind of sense does that make?) then so what?

    Ok, posting this despite probably being too muddled and hungover to make sense.

  22. supernaut says:

    This drama mongering. It hurts.

  23. mai says:

    From _Taking Up Space_ by Pattie Thomas:

    Your wanting to lose weight leads to my oppression.

    Every single one of the above activities [plastic surgery, gastric bypass, weight loss dieting, over-exercise, diet pills] is dependent upon a portrayal of my body or a body similar to mine as unacceptable.

    As much as those decisions are personal, they are based on an understanding of fatness that asserts that someone who looks like me is stupid, lazy, over-indulgent, and greedy. I don’t object to the activities. I object to the demonization.

    • mamaV says:

      Hi Mai: Can you explain further why an individual wanting to lose weight or achieving weight loss success oppresses you?

      The problem I have with this statement is it discounts completely the “health” aspect of weight (which I know can be debated until we are blue in the face and some believe fat has nothing to do with health). So lets say a woman has health issues which have been solved by losing weight — how is she demonizing you?

      If a woman is naturally thin, has no issue with others weight, is she a problem in some way, just by way of existing oppressing you?

      This kind of talk is what really gets us all heated because it is so one sided. Do you see that or no?
      Thank you!

      • hsofia says:

        I can’t speak for mai, but the first example that came to mind in reading your question was skin lightening creams. No, I wouldn’t stop or prevent someone with brown skin using them, but I do think it contributes to the overall culture of prejudice towards people dark skinned people. It might be a coping mechanism but it’s still a capitulation. It’s not a perfect analogy, but speaking in terms just of emotional response, I can have a legitimate negative emotional response and say, “Hey, I don’t want to hear about how you’re trying to lighten your skin because it will make life easier for you.” I can have boundaries without dismissing another person’s reality.

    • cggirl says:

      In addition to what mamaV is saying (which some people might debate but not really completely prove or disprove) – I would also go one step further:
      It is oppressive to ME if you, in some roundabout way, want to limit my freedom because my seeking to look different from you hurts your feelings. If you are brunette, and I am brunette, and I dye my hair blond, am I oppressing you? If I shave my legs and you don’t, am I oppressing you? And why is that, because shaving our legs is not a natural state? Or because it’s the norm?
      If it’s because it’s not our natural state, well, what about when I get a tattoo? Does that oppress everyone who doesnt have one? (Or maybe even wants one but can’t justify the expense? Or lives in a place where it’s not socially acceptable and therefore can’t?)
      And if it’s a matter of what’s considered the “norm”, then what about the reverse – if I were to alter my appearance in a way that’s considered UNattractive by most, would that then be ok?
      So where do we draw the line between what’s oppressive and what’s not?
      I say, we do it with common sense. If I actively discriminate against you due to your appearance, that’s oppression. If I choose to alter my own appearance in a way that goes against yours, sorry, but that’s just more of a “bummer” for you, not oppression, in my humble opinion.

      • mai says:

        The oppression Thomas speaks of in her book includes the facts that fat people can be fired for being fat (only San Francisco, Michigan, and one other city have passed laws against discrimination based on weight, IIRC), being forced to buy two seats on an airplane, being denied adoption, being refused medical treatment until weight is lost, losing custody of children for being too fat — either the child or the parent, being denied infertility treatment, not allowed to emigrate to New Zealand, having serious illnesses but being misdiagnosed as “just too fat/lose weight and all illnesses will go away,” being bullied at school and committing suicide to escape it, being denied/overcharged health insurance, being prescribed fen-phen and amphetamines to lose weight, being prescribed stomach mutilation surgery to lose weight…

        It goes on and on. And no, it has nothing to do with whether you shave your legs or get tattoos. It has to do with the demonization of fat and the desire to eradicate fat people.

        And I firmly believe, after an enormous amount of research, that fat does not equal unhealthy.

        • cggirl says:

          I agree with everything you just said, and that IS oppressive stuff.

          But the initial quote you wrote here wasn’t talking about that. The initial quote was that me wanting to lose weight, or have plastic surgery, or whatever, leads to your oppression. I don’t think that’s any more relevant than saying the very existence of thin people who are just naturally that way leads to you oppression. Maybe if thin people did not exist, (or fat people who somehow did make themselves thin,) this oppression would not be possible, but that doesn’t mean they should not exist simply to remove the oppression. The way to get rid of the oppression is, well, to get rid of it! Not to get rid of the non-oppressed people or any activity in pursuit of becoming one of the non-oppressed people. If that makes any sense…

        • cggirl says:

          Oh but now that I re-read it I realize it does conclude with:
          “I don’t object to the activities. I object to the demonization.”

          Which I do agree with.

          But I don’t agree that these activities mean that a certain body is “unacceptable”. These things aren’t binary, like yes or no, acceptable or unacceptable. I might think a certain appearance is acceptable, but that for myself it’s not as attractive or desirable as another appearance. Like CandiceBP was saying – it’s not an either or where on one end you hate yourself and on the other you pursue weightloss.

          I also agree with you that fat does not necessarily equal unhealthy. But maybe for SOME people in SOME situations their health could be improved by losing some weight? That doesn’t mean they MUST, and it doesn’t mean it’s realistically achievable for them – maybe yes maybe no. I’m just saying that a person can believe that fat does not equal unhealthy, and not assume that about people, but still have reason to believe that they themselves could benefit from losing some weight. (Or gaining some of they are “underweight”! without it meaning they assume all “underweight” people are unhealthy!)

          Anyway, that’s just my 2 cents… I’m just figuring it out like everybody else… I guess I just have a pet peeve about people pointing at other people’s personal decisions as somehow oppressive to themselves, but maybe that’s not what you were saying at all.

          • cggirl says:

            oy, when i said “on one end you hate yourself and on the other you pursue weightloss.” i mean “on one end you hate yourself and pursue weightloss and on the other you love yourself and never pursue weightloss”. sorry. tired.

  24. FatNSassy says:

    This seems very disingenuous to me. I came to this blog with an open mind, but I think it is really an attempt to discredit fat acceptance and get people back to dieting and wasting their money on weight loss products. This type of chicanery is rampant on the internet in many areas and I would bet money this is a set up.

    If mainstream fat acceptance is not your cup of tea, start your own blog and get over it. The fat acceptance movement has a philosophy just like any other movement. They are no more protective of it than any other organization. Try going on a vegan board and advocating meat! Try defending President Obama with the young Republicans. It is the constant need to bring up what SA is doing wrong that makes me suspicious. BARFMA (Big Diet/Pharma) is obviously threatened.

    • Gina says:

      Disingenuous? Chicanery? Set up?

      How can you not have compassion for someone who writes:

      I’m 80 years old. Well, no I’m not, but most days I feel like it. Though one could argue that some 80 year olds are in great shape. I’m not one of those 80 year olds. And I can only assume what it feels like to be 80.

      But I’m only 35. And I creak. And I ache. And I cringe thinking about doing anything active. And I’m in pain. And out of breath. And sleepy. All the time.

      Why? I have some ideas.

      I’ve been to the doctor for all of these ailments. I’ve had my knee operated on and fixed. Other than that, there isn’t anything “wrong” with me.

      My ass is just severely out of shape and I lead a very sedentary life. Things need to change… I’m not a big fan of housework, but it needs to be done. But when I do it, I can’t walk for the rest of the day, and am in incredible pain. I also love to shop, but guess what? It hurts. Literally,

      You know what? I’m fat. I’m not going to say that being fat is the cause of all my health problems, but it sure as hell isn’t helping.

      But I’m ok with being fat. I’m not ok with being unhealthy and sedentary.

      “If mainstream fat acceptance is not your cup of tea, start your own blog and get over it”

      Huh? Bianca and Sylvia have never been “mainstream fat acceptance”. They did start their own blog. About them. And their bodies. It’s still about them and their bodies.

      I don’t understand why you have a problem with that.

      • cggirl says:

        Gina, I will say the zaftig chicks may not have been “mainstream fat acceptance” but they did join the fatosphere feed. The more cynical readers may think they just did that to get a lot of readers, by piggybacking on a movement they don’t even belong to. Though I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and in any case, on a personal note, I really do wish them well on their journey.

        • I suppose the reason I’m cynical about ZF’s reasons for joining the fatosphere is because of some of the stuff they said on their last entry on their blog:

          “We started posting last May, but it wasn’t until June, when we passive aggressively joined the Fatosphere Feed, that we actually started getting readers.”

          “We never, ever intended for this to be a Fat Acceptance blog.”

          “We decided to join the Fatosphere feed to get instant readers.”

          That stuff bugged me, a lot.

          • Sylvia says:

            and it is this type of attitude, the “you’re not good enough for us” type of mentality that makes us even happier with our decision to leave “the fatosphere”.

            I’ve had enough of alienation and name-calling in my life, I don’t need to subject myself to more of it from people I thought were “like-minded” and accepting.

            From one prejudiced frying pan into another

          • Bianca says:

            Yes we KNOW, because despite your claim that you don’t want to start anything with us, you cannot seem to not tell everyone on the internet about it.

            Now you have very right to say whatever the hell you want about us, but don’t act like your motives are so pure.

          • I don’t want to start anything with you personally, because I don’t know you personally.

            Do I want to openly criticize actions that I believe are wrong?

            You betcha.

          • Bianca says:

            You can criticize all you want, but what I take offense to is people like you who have declared that we contributed nothing to FA.

            There are a lot of people who like our blog. We have gotten a lot of positive emails and comments about our 31 day belly project, and many other entries. People have told us that we made them feel better about their bodies.

            It may not be your cup of tea, but the elitist attitude of “I don’t like their writing and approach to FA, so I am going to dismiss everything they as rubbish” is one of the reasons we don’t want to apart of your fat acceptance.

            We did join the feed for readers, but we also genuinely wanted to write about fat acceptance. What we learned about ourselves in the process was that it wasn’t for us.

          • If you “never, ever intended for this to be a fact acceptance blog,” then it’s kind of strange for you to claim you wanted to write about fat acceptance.

            I have no beef with the writing you did while you were on the feed, or your decision to leave. What bothered me was the parting blow on the way out.

          • I probably would have enjoyed your contributions had I not felt that you undermined your credibility in the end.

          • cggirl says:

            Ah I wasn’t aware of that, I hadn’t read it. Maybe I should shuddup and research these things before commenting 🙂

          • Sylvia says:

            And it is this type of attitude, the “you’re not good enough for us” type of mentality that makes us even happier with our decision to leave “the fatosphere”.

            I’ve had enough of alienation and name-calling in my life, I don’t need to subject myself to more of it from people I thought were “like-minded” and accepting.

            From one prejudiced frying pan into another

          • Sylvia says:

            this above comment was meant as a response to the fat nutritionist’s comment, if that wasn’t clear

          • You did something I think was wrong. That has nothing to do with elitism of me think you’re not good enough.

          • (And sorry for all the typos…it’s getting difficult to type this close to the margin.)

          • Bianca says:

            Except for the time you said that we piggy backed onto the movement and contributed nothing to it. Basically dismissing anything that we did.

            If all you take from our entire blog is a few sentences from one entry, then clearly you never really read it at all.

            And I am done with you.

          • Whatever good things you may have done with your blog, you also were actively divisive within the feed.

            The parting words admit that you weren’t in good faith, and therefore I can’t take anything else you may have said at face value.

          • Other people may feel differently. But this is how I feel, and I wanted to state my objections publicly since you have been so public about your problems with the feed.

    • Gina says:

      Forgot to add this bit:

      It is the constant need to bring up what SA is doing wrong that makes me suspicious. BARFMA (Big Diet/Pharma) is obviously threatened.

      Do you really think someone over at Glaxo-Smith-Kline/Jenny Craig is threatened because two zaftig chicks decide to lose weight? Really?

  25. elizabeth says:

    I am sorry you had such a negative experience.
    I personally believe size acceptance should always follow the path of healing. Its expression may take many forms, from vocal activism to humor to art, but the truth is that ALL OF US, from little girls to grown women, have been affected by our culture’s obsessive fixation on very thin body size, and all of us react to it in different ways.

    From recovering anorexics (like myself) to lifelong fatties, we all seek support and guidance from others. True body acceptance should show compassion for everyone, no matter where they are on the path ( and no matter what size, shape, or amount of privilege they have) If we can honor the different beliefs, backgrounds and approaches that lead us to make positive changes in our own lives, rather than attack each other, we grow one step closer to making changes in the culture at large.

  26. Carmel says:

    FA has two prongs – the political and the personal. The political is fighting for the end of discrimination in all its forms, and the complete acceptance of people of all sizes in society. I can’t see anyone here, or anyone I know, who would disagree with that aim. So how can they tell us we’re not ‘doing it right’?

    Where it gets messy is when a political movement – which FA is – is believed to intrude into the life of an inidividual. I am 100% behind the fight for the end of discrimination. However, I personally do not want to put on weight because I like feeling fit, and I don’t feel fit when my body is bigger.

    Am I betraying the movement? Probably. That’s a tag I’ll just have to wear. This does not fit with the FA philosophy, so I would not try to talk about it in the FA world. This does not bother me in the least.

    The FA movement is absolutely vital. I think we all need to take a breath and ACCEPT its bad points too.

    • CandiceBP says:

      “The FA movement is absolutely vital. I think we all need to take a breath and ACCEPT its bad points too.”

      I agree.

    • mamaV says:

      Well said Carmel….except I would instead say that we don’t need to accept its bad points, how about trying to improve them, understand them in a deeper way so the points can actually resonate with people instead of putting them off?

  27. Gry says:

    FA is a sub-division of Size Acceptance and The Notes is a sub-division of FA. You don’t have to belong on The Notes to belong within FA or SA. There is room for different strokes within FA, just not on The Notes and why that creates so much drama I’ll never understand.

    • hsofia says:

      Exactly. Not being accepted on any particular feed is not being “kicked out” of the FA movement.

    • atchka says:

      If there is only one community with a vital, robust dialogue taking place on the subject of Fat Acceptance, and you are excluded from that community, then you are being kicked out of a central part of the FA movement.

      Out of FA altogether? No.

      But out of the forum where the most interesting and active conversations are taking place? Yes.

      To me, there is no practical difference between the two. If I’m still in Fat Acceptance, but my voice is squelched from the discussion of Fat Acceptance, then I feel unwelcome and ostracized.

      Notes is not “any particular feed.” It is the *only* feed. Fat Liberty told me herself that nobody reads the Fat Liberation feed. Notes was the only game in town.

      Until now.


  28. lurrz says:

    Still not sure why you guys feel the need to decry any movement — you’re fat, you wanted readers, you joined a feed with the intent of getting those readers but not with the intent of having an FA blog? Whoa crazy!

  29. Tempe Wick says:

    Carmel, thank you for breaking it down so cleanly. What attracted me to the FA movement was the idea that everyone, including fat people, should be treated with dignity and respect. Period.

    What put me off was some of the…anti-science attitudes. Hell must have frozen over, because I’m agreeing with what a troll said about this.” FA is English and Women’s Studies majors arguing with 90% of medical opinion.” Let’s be honest here-the most visible website and face of FA is Shapely Prose. There’s no way around it. While their focus on the rights of everyone is good, what drove me wild is their insistence on discounting anything that conflicted with their beliefs.
    Time and again, they would write about some medical study that showed “fat can protect you from cancer”, “fat poeple live longer” etc. The problem is, MOST of the evidence suggests that being seriously overweight/obese has a negative impact on a person’s health. They just ignore that evidence, or say that it is flawed because some of it is sponsored by groups who are invested in a certain outcome. But isn’t that also true of the studies they like to cite as well?

    None of this would be a problem except for one thing. People (not many, but some) take them seriously. I’ve read blogs that cite Shapely Prose/Kate Harding as what influenced them to get into FA.
    One blog in particular was one of the saddest things I’ve read. It was written by a man who is morbidly obese. He wrote about how over the past year he was learning about the FA movement and HAES. He went on to say that this had helped his self confidence, made him feel supported and learned that dieting was unelpful. He specifically mentioned “the ladies over at Shapely Prose” who had helped him see things clearly.
    BUT. This fellow was at the point that he had to take a cab even a few blocks. He had sleep apnea. He had to use a cane or motorized cart to get around. He was often short of breath when he tried to walk. Now, most rational people would agree that hey, his weight is really causing him some trouble. It might be to his benefit to lose weight. But he’s been convinced by the more radical FA ideology (diets don’t work, being obese does not increase risk of diabetes, heart disease, etc.) that this isn’t so. The people who promote these pernicious lies, who downplay the risks of obesity should hang their heads in shame. They may not be actively killing anyone, but they are encouraging and supporting what will kill some of the people who believe their harmful half truths.

    • silentbeep says:


      You must’ve missed the post over at SP where they had a guest talk about her experience which was extremely similar to the man you talked about above. Her name was Heidi. Look it up. That was controversial, but by no means were people in “lock-step” about the “denial” that a 500 lb. woman could have some severe health issues. Kate and some other people were quite supportive of her. Others empathized quite openly with her decision to have WLS. Other people did not.

      The point is this: studies have shown that dieting and even WLS is more than most likely going to cause re-gain and then some, plus put strain on the heart. Unfortunately this is more than most likely to happen no matter what the motivations are for dieting, no matter how big someone is to start off with from the beginning, or any other factor. If whomever wanted to diet that is his choice, but what people in FA are mostly saying on the sphere is this: the odds are against long term succesful dieting and WLS, and if people want to take those odds in consideration and do it anyway, o.k. but don’t expect everyone else to take those odds as being a logical consclusion for dieting and or WLS for people en masse.

      Not to Tempe Wick: When ZC left the Notes feed, I was mainly like whatever. I read the blog once in awhile, commented rarely and that was about it. The farewell post felt a little off to me, but nothing that I thought was so bad that I had to jump in.

      However, this whole thing is really amazing to me, and not in a good way! If someone didn’t like the feed and felt it wasn’t a good fit, fine build your own “super-awesome, non-elitist, alternaive to the notes feed” which it looks like they are doing. Great. Fabulous.

      What I do resent is the continula dragging out of a disagreement and an unfortunate split with the feed, out into a forum that is hostile to the feed in the first place as being full of “hardline” “harmuful” people that are suppsedly beholden to Shapely Prose (I don’t know why we are still talking about SP they left the feed).

      I think there is a place for the hardline and the radical and a place for the middle of the road, and the people who aren’t into FA or whatever. But the Notes feed is a drastic alternative to what is mostly out there in Western culturs, which is: fat is so horrible you must lose it at all costs. So if it’s radical I say great! There needs to be something radical out there that will not take fat-hating shit anymore.

      And this from lurz: “Still not sure why you guys feel the need to decry any movement — you’re fat, you wanted readers, you joined a feed with the intent of getting those readers but not with the intent of having an FA blog? Whoa crazy!” Right. On.

    • meerkat says:

      “…say that it is flawed because some of it is sponsored by groups who are invested in a certain outcome. But isn’t that also true of the studies they like to cite as well?”

      I know, the um… weight gain industry is… totally funding those studies. And the plus-size clothing manufacturers, and, like, BBW dating sites.

    • While I would agree with you that we can’t cherry pick our data, I would suggest that the fact that you can find multiple studies to support the idea that fat is healthy, unhealthy, and neutral means something.

      Maybe you object to a skeptical viewpoint. If that’s so, then we disagree on a fundamental level.

      If you are interested in critical thinking, I would suggest you start with Type II diabetes. Of the three items you listed as a part of the “radical FA ideology” it’s easy enough to prove that the public understanding about about how it relates to fat is skewed.

      From the American Diabetes Association Website :

      Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.

      Fact: Being overweight is a risk factor for developing this disease, but other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role. Unfortunately, too many people disregard the other risk factors for diabetes and think that weight is the only risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.

      Furthermore, most people don’t understand what the term “risk factor” means.

      It’s a statistical measurement that shows one group is more likely than another group to have something.

      It can show correlation, it can’t show cause.

      Some statistics show that within the groups of people that have certain health problems, more of them are fat than thin.

      That’s all a risk factor can tell you. It doesn’t show that fat made them sick or that loosing fat will make them healthy.

      And the scientific research that should support these statistics instead leaves us with more contradictions. This phenomenon is widely known within the scientific community as the “obesity paradox.”

      I am a skeptical thinker and I care that the public is being lead to believe something that may or may not be true.

      • atchka says:

        You are all kinds of awesome.


      • Tempe Wick says:

        “While I would agree with you that we can’t cherry pick our data, I would suggest that the fact that you can find multiple studies to support the idea that fat is healthy, unhealthy, and neutral means something.”

        What it means that our knowledge is always changing and we are always adding to it. Of course you can find studies showing all of those things. But *most* of the evidence I’ve seen suggests that being obese greatly raises a persons’ risk of diabetes, heart disease etc. Most, not all. Nothing is absolute here.

        And this:
        “Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.”.

        I never believed that or stated it here and I’m pretty sure no one else here has either.

        • “raises a persons’ risk of diabetes, heart disease etc”

          Do you believe that someone can GIVE themselves diabetes or heart disease by being fat?

          Or do you mean something different by this statement?

          • Tempe Wick says:

            “raises a persons’ risk of diabetes, heart disease, etc.

            “Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.”.

            Do you see the difference between those two statements? I said that obesity raises a person’s risk of developing diabetes. The other statement suggests that if you are obese YOU WILL eventually develop type 2 diabetes. As if it were inevitable. That isn’t what I said.

          • What I understand is that you still haven’t given me your definition of the word “risk” in this context.

            You suggest that I’m “downplaying the risks of obesity” and that I “should hang my head in shame” for promoting “pernicious lies.”

            That’s a pretty big accusation.

            I would suggest that I’m informing people that 60% of the population is being told to GAMBLE on an EXPERIMENTAL TREATMENT.

            A treatment that hasn’t been proven to have the effects you seem to be ascribing to it.

            So, I want to understand.

            Are we disagreeing because you don’t understand what you’re talking about? Which is why I want clarification on your definition of the word risk.

            Or do we disagree because you really don’t think people should be informed? Regardless of how true or not true my statements are.

            Either way, I don’t think I’m going to be able to convince you to stop thinking the way you do.

          • atchka says:

            Tee hee hee.


          • Tempe Wick says:

            “You suggest that I’m “downplaying the risks of obesity” and that I “should hang my head in shame” for promoting “pernicious lies.”

            I should have been clearer about that–I was specifically talking about Shapely Prose, the people who write there and those who cite Kate Harding as some sort of authority. It’s been said that they aren’t the only game in town. True, but they are the biggest one.
            When I say promoting pernicious lies, I refer to Kate and her colleagues at that site.
            I’ve read other sites like the Rotund, Living ~400 lbs, etc. For some reason they don’t strike me in the same way. They they seem to concentrate more on the part of FA we can all agree on–that fat people have the right to equal treatment in the workplace, equal medical care, and so forth.

            I’ll have to take a look at your web page, Elizabeth,
            but at the moment I’m not familiar with you. All I know about you is what you’ve written here at this site.

          • Tempe Wick says:

            No, I don’t believe that someone can give themselves heart disease or diabetes by being fat. I think one is more likely to develop heart disease or diabetes if one is fat. In this context, by ‘risk’ I mean well, the exact meaning of the word–exposure to the chance of injury.

    • attrice says:

      FWIW, while I have a problem with the what the troll said because of the general theme of ‘silly ladies who study silly subjects’ that often gets thrown at women who talk about feminism and such, I also nodded just a little bit too.

      My journey away from FA was started when I decided to put together what I’d hoped would be an impressive collection of research which supported the mainstream FA viewpoint that I espoused at that time. Six months later, I’d shut down my blog and started a weight-loss diet. There are plenty of people who promote FA and HAES who know what they’re talking about – Linda Bacon’s book is a good example of this – but ime, a great many in the movement are repeating talking points that are demonstrably false and/or doing things like pointing to an article and treating it like a study.

      I don’t believe that fat people need any kind of science to agitate for their rights or to fight discrimination. And if FA just wanted to keep pointing out the high failure rate of dieting in the literature, that would be reason enough to encourage people to question the push for all fat people to diet. But the trend to blindly embrace any study that supports your point of view while dismissing scientific consensus is one of the big reasons I had to go my own way.

      • attrice says:

        I feel the need to point out though that weight loss and fitness blogs are very often filled with utter crap and basic misunderstandings of how science works. And likewise, many people who want to lose weight cover their ears and ‘lalalalalala’ when the high rate of weight regain among dieters is pointed out. It’s human nature to want to surround ourselves with support for our ideas.

  30. mamaV says:

    Once upon a time, WATRD enjoyed total freedom of speech. Until one day, a bunch of lunatics tried to take over the site with hateful retoric and a bunch of high brow bullshit that no one even cared to try to interpret.

    It was a sad day when mamaV had to start moderating, since she always hoped for a completely open forum here, however she has accepted this new reality. As a reminder of our style here; please visit the following pages before you start talking about thin privilege, oppression olympics, or decide to pound someone into the sand with personal attacks because in these cases we are quick to hit the delete button.

    Carry on!

    • Tempe Wick says:

      I was thinking about this a few nights ago. Different sites have different types of people who write for them. Some of the better known (and thus more influential) FA and feminist sites have writing mainly by academics or former academics. So you have the discussions of thin privilege, cisgender privilege and how they shouldn’t have to teach the readers “feminism 101.” More than once, I’ve seen it said that a commenter “needs to do more reading and educate yourself ” before they should join the conversation.

      The people who write on this site are by and large, not academics–we are a pretty random collection of women. The language we use and the way we see things is going to be different than people who majored in women’ studies and whose writing continues to be guided by that.

      We tend not to write about theory here. We simply write about our lives, our reactions to what we see in the popular press, our efforts to improve our self esteem etc. We have readers here who read both types of sites. Unfortunately, some expect the language, tone and beliefs found at the more “high brow” ones to be duplicated here. It can’t be that way, nor should it.

    • Marlie says:

      You could have linked to the policy without taking an insulting, one-sided dig.

  31. Carmel says:

    “I don’t believe that fat people need any kind of science to agitate for their rights or to fight discrimination. ”

    That is so important.

    How people got fat, how they stay fat, how they lose weight or do not lose weight, how their weight does or does not affect their health, is completely irrelevent – and, in my opinion, nobody else’s business. Western society has become freakishly puritanical, and people who don’t feel bad about their weight (when society says they should) are the new heretics.

  32. Erin says:

    Each person — man or woman — is unique. I think that as long as you are HEALTHY, that is the most important thing, not being fat or thin. Each person sees her body a different way and needs to find what she likes about herself, not what anyone else dictates is “good” or “right.”

    That said, I believe that health is of number one importance. Looks are absolutely secondary, fat or thin.

  33. I just cannot stand the amount of judgement and anger that goes on between blogs… My solution is to stay away from what I don’t like, and read what I do like… I don’t enjoy the blogs that spew out judgement and bitterness because in the end- everyone is brought down.

    The best examples are the ones who live it- NOT the people who talk about how everyone should be. I find the most empowerment from those who write about themselves and don’t waist time preaching about right/wrong. I want to know how to live better/healthier/happier, and I don’t get that information from soapboxes or pulpits of any kind.

  34. Jana says:

    This is exactly the third posting, of urs I personally read.
    And yet I actually love this particular 1, “Where’s the acceptance in FAT acceptance? | We Are the Real Deal” the very best. Cya -Valeria

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