Archive for August, 2010

New to Fat Acceptance?

It has come to my attention that, thanks to my recent claim to outrageous fame, people may be coming here with little to no understanding of what fat acceptance actually is. (Including people from my real life – shout out to my MB 314 crew!) I write with a level of assumed knowledge, so it’s only fair that I provide some introductory information so you have an understanding of where I’m coming from.

Treat this like a class. You know how teachers act like you’re wasting their time when you ask a question that shows you haven’t done the reading? This applies here.

Welcome to Fat Acceptance 101.

Fat Acceptance 101 – Required Reading

Weight. An emotional issue. at Discourse
A balanced post, calling for both sides of the obesity debate to respect the experiences of others.

“Aren’t you worried about your health?” at Cosmopolitan Australia (written by me!)
Just So We’re Clear… Some Fat Facts
at Body Love Wellness
Don’t You Realize Fat is Unhealthy? at Shapely Prose
Some posts that bust the common myths surrounding obesity.

The HAES Manifesto by Dr Linda Bacon
Brief overview of why diets don’t work and what health at every size, or HAES, is.

Health at Every Size: choice or coercion? at Fat Nutritionist
By far the most comprehensive explanation I’ve read of what HAES really means.

Second Verse, Same as the First; Fat Acceptance is for Everyone at The Rotund
Exactly what the title says: Fat acceptance isn’t limited to fatties.

Choice and Hate at Catalytic Reactions
Breaking down the common argument ‘fat is a choice’.

Acceptance is not ‘giving up’ at Spilt Milk
A beautiful post that rebutts the assumptions made about fat acceptance and explains perfectly what I love about this movement.

Attention everyone: I am well famous now

(Not really.)

On Sunday 15 August, Jackie from Fatuosity, Dr Samantha Thomas from Discourse, Bri from Fat Lot of Good, Dr Rick Kausman from If Not Dieting and yours truly were featured in an article in News Ltd’s Sunday Magazine. It gave a great overview of fat acceptance and I was very lucky to be a part of it.

As Sam wrote in her post, even though the article is overwhelmingly female (possibly because Sunday Magazine’s readership is overwhelmingly female), fat acceptance is for men too. In fact, there are a few male bloggers out there in the Fatosphere, including Brian from Red No. 3, Nick from Nicholosophy and Axis of Fat, Ivan from Fat in NYC and Shannon from Atchka! and Fierce, Freethinking Fatties.

Many thanks to Jane Hutchinson and my fabulous Sunday Magazine photo team: James Demitri, Felicia Yong and Hannah Mathew (my photo demonstrates how much fun I had during the shoot).

Click the pictures to see the high resolution scans.

Sunday Magazine, page 1

Sunday Magazine, page 2

In case you were wondering about the details on my outfit, here they are -

Dress: David Lawrence
Necklace: Gift
Belt (worn backwards): Rokit
Bangle (purple): Dinosaur Designs
Bangle (orange): Dinosaur Designs
Jazz shoes: Bloch

OoTD No. 11 – Pink bits*

Last weekend, the Boyfriend and I celebrated our sixth anniversary. Happy anniversary, my love! It continues to astound me that we have not yet grown sick of each other. (You think my sweet nothings are romantic? This is what he said to me on the day: “It has been most enjoying spending these years with you.” “Don’t you mean enjoyable?” “No. Enjoying.” ENVY OUR PERFECT RELATIONSHIP.)

I wore this outfit for our anniversary date: dinner at Mille Vini and drinks at Toko.

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This dress is the best purchase I’ve made all season. On the surface it may seem like the same drab Australian winter fare I’ve ranted against on this blog but, with the right oversized and overcoloured accessories, this sensible grey dress becomes the base for a wonderful clownish mess. Also, and perhaps more importantly, my arse looks spectacular in it.

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I am desperately in love with these shoes. I’d be eyeing off the brogue/man-style/oxford trend warily for the last few months until I eventually caved and bought these sweet patent leather jazz shoes from Bloch. Not only are they great looking, but they are deadset the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. (This is a pretty big deal coming from me, given my respectable collection of sneakers.) They’re like slippers and I want to marry them.

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Dress: Witchery
Bow brooch: naKIMuli
Tights: We Love Colors – Don’t forget, antipodeans, that we get free shipping on all orders over $30 with the code WELOVENZAUS.  This offer expires on 31 August 2010.
Jazz shoes: Bloch

* Yes that is a vulva joke in the title. I’m puerile, what of it?

Fat v Obese

File this under ‘I’m So Involved In Fat Acceptance That I Forget How Daft The Rest Of The World Is’.

Anne Milton MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat British government, stated that health care workers should use the word ‘fat’ rather than ‘obese’ in order to encourage people to lose weight. Apparently, people distance themselves from the term ‘obese’ whereas labeling people as ‘fat’ would encourage “personal responsibility”. Professor Steve Field, of the Royal College of GPs agreed with the statement, saying “The term obese medicalises the state … It makes it a third person issue. We need to sometimes be more brutal and honest.”

The National Obesity Forum, however, criticised Ms Milton’s views. Spokesperson Tam Fry stated, “Being obese is an internationally accepted medical definition where one’s weight is so extreme that there is a risk of comorbidity of stroke, diabetes type two [and] heart disease. Obesity is a wake-up call to do something about weight. It’s not just being fat.”

There is so much facepalm in this story but I will distill it into five main points:

1. Fat Acceptance 101: Health is not determined by weight.

While fat is correlated with diseases such as Type II diabetes and heart disease, studies have not shown that fat actually causes these conditions. Not to mention it’s pointless to encourage weight loss in patients as diets don’t work. Of course doctors should be encouraging healthy lifestyles in their patients, but they should not be framing this discussion around weight.

2. Shame doesn’t help anyone.

If shame helped people lose weight, there wouldn’t be a single fat person in the Western world.

3. We don’t need to give health care professionals permission to act like arseholes

According to Ms Milton, too many National Health Service staff were reluctant to use the term ‘fat’ for fear of offending their patients. I doubt this, as research has shown anti-fat bias in health care professionals (see here and here), Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity explicitly states that “Weight Bias is common in health care settings” and First, Do No Harm is filled with horror stories of the poor treatment fat patients have experienced from health care professionals.

Though Ms Milton was speaking in a personal capacity, her position in the British government means that her words can be taken as institutional permission for doctors to disrespect their patients.

4. Fat people know they are fat

Seriously.

5. ‘Fat’ should be used instead of ‘obese’

I actually agree with Anne Milton on the topic of fat v obese, but not for the reasons she listed. I think ‘overweight’, ‘underweight’ and ‘obese’ are unnecessary terms that should be eradicated because the body mass index is a flawed concept.

‘Fat’ has become a pejorative term and now has so many negative attributes connected to it – lazy, gluttonous, smelly, inferior, unattractive – when it is just an adjective. I think we should be using it more often because only then can it become normalised. The word ‘fat’ need not be “brutal”. It certainly shouldn’t be a trigger for so-called “personal responsibility”. It’s just three little letters that tell you as much about me as my biracial blood, my short-sightedness and my curly hair.

Sources: The Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald, News.com.au


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