Fattitude the movie and me

If you’re on the fat-positive mailing lists or following blogs like this one, you probably already know there is a terrific new  movie that WILL come out called FATTITUDE. And no, it has nothing to do with me. (Or this blog.) Other than in the way it has something to do with all women of size and body-positive activists everywhere.

The filmmakers, Lindsey Averill and Viridiana Lieberman, currently have a kickstarter campaign. You have 29 days to get in on the fun.

Fun: a documentary filled with interviews with fat historians, activists and artists like Marilyn Wann and Substantia Jones.

Not fun:  death threats and stalking and harassment Averill and Lieberman received after challenging a hate-baiting troll over misuse of their movie trailer. You can read more about the harassment in an editorial Averill wrote for XOJane.com.

A complimentary article at Huffpo praised the film but couldn’t resist going for the slightly jokey headline:

‘Fattitude’ Will Stop You From Making Fat People The Butt Of Your Jokes

Troll-baiting? Or just Sir Mix-a-lot stuck in writer’s head? Oh My God, Becky.

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CDC wages war on BBW via WWW etc

Clearly there aren’t any real problems needing money in this country. As evidence: a government sponsored multimedia hatefest going by the name “Weight of the Nation”. If you want to read all about it there’s a complete and brilliant article by the magnificent Marilyn Wann.

http://fatattitude.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/marilynwanndishesback/

 

Here are the some great requoteables from the article.

 

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I attended the first, government-sponsored Weight of the Nation conference in 2009. I didn’t pay or anything self-defeating like that. I just walked in (with a brave friend or two) and delivered plastic-wrapped fortune cookies to the fancy luncheon tables where major stakeholders were about to chew on the alleged “obesity” problem. If the professional food scolds took a cookie, they got messages like these:

  • The war on “obesity” is a war on PEOPLE!
  • The No. 1 threat to fat people? Your unexamined prejudice.
  • What’s the word for science that serves bigotry? Hint: It starts with “you.”
  • If you can’t imagine fat people being healthy…that’s YOUR pathology!
  • Tell people to lose weight if you want to endanger public health AND civil rights!
  • How many fat people must you starve, poison, slice up? Celebrate weight diversity now!

And the Orwellian:

  • Weight ≠ Health. Diversity ≠ Disease. Hate ≠ Help.

…and more

When the initial frenzy of Weight of the Nation has calmed down — after everyone has enjoyed this round of hating fat people and there’s been a healthy boost to budgets, profits, viewership, and ad revenue — I predict we’ll hit the same wall that every dieter encounters: the return to reality.

I suggest that reality is not so bad. To keep a grip, ask yourself:

  1. Would you question the motives behind any other national PR campaign designed “for your own good” by major media, corporations, and the government?
  2. If it were any topic other than weight (where you might feel vulnerable), would you be so quick to believe the numbers they cite to justify a “War on [Whatever]“? (Most egregious exaggerations: “Fat people cost ‘us’ billions!” “Everyone’s going to be really fat!” “Our children won’t live as long!”)
  3. Would you rather trust your own judgment about what’s good for you or get swept along by the latest fruitless panic?
  4. Do you want to connect with other people who are saying, “WTF” about Weight of the Nation?

Here are some:

Debate the Weight is a suite of data-supported arguments from the Association for Size Diversity and Health that controvert what they call “one of the most misleading and misguided public health campaigns — ever.”

Nutrition professor Linda Bacon compares Weight of the Nation to bear-baiting in ancient Rome’s coliseum in HuffPo. She writes, “Proponents may think they mean well by deploring the size of roughly half our nation, but it’s easier to rail about fat than examine the commercial and class motives that create the real health and wellness divides we live (and die) with.”

Jezebel editor Lindy West says “being mean to fat people is pointless.” And elaborates: “The assumption that you have a right to legislate another person’s body ‘for their own good,’ or ‘for the children,’ or even ‘because they’re gross,’ is its own kind of crazy — but to inflate that assumption to apocalyptic proportions, railing against the nation-obliterating medical bills of nebulous future straw-fatties, is fucking bonkers.”

Michele Simon, public health lawyer, gives great reasons why she is not attending or watching Weight of the Nation Including this one: “Scientific evidence shows that fat people have enough problems dealing with discrimination, bullying, etc., and the last thing they need is more fearmongering brought to you by the federal government and cable television.”

Slink magazine calls out weight-shaming as wholly unhelpful to health. Its rallying cry: “Because obesity, BMI, and all the other fad words you throw at plus-size women don’t stick or mean anything, and the moment we manage to hold off ridiculing women and our bodies long enough and alter the way we talk about plus size, fat, and our bodies to talking about healthy diet and exercise, the better off we will be.”