16 January 2009

Media: Fat Panic journalism bingo

Wow, have a look at this amazing tragic fat feature in The Guardian. Grooo! It's rotten!

Anyway, it's inspired me to make a bingo card for use whenever any of us come across bad "obesity epidemic" journalism. Print and enjoy.


La di Da said...

I'm fatter than that first woman and yet I have sucessfully managed to travel abroad. I did not die of shame when handed the bright orange seatbelt extender (I asked for it matter-of-factly, as if requesting a glass of water) and I figured out that if you put the complimentary pillow on the tray table it makes your meal tray level instead of angled from resting on your belly. If anyone stared I just gave them the bitchy evil eye. I am entitled to travel and will do what I need to do to make it a little more comfortable. Also, travel is uncomfortable for *everyone* who can't afford first class.

My point is not that I am some kind of Super Fatty who is sooooo much better than these people, it is that YOU CAN BE FAT AND NOT HAVE A MISERABLE LIFE. Yes it is hard to overcome everything you are told about how fat is ugly and will kill you and you should be ashamed of your disgusting diabeetus-riddled body. But articles like this DO NOT HELP FAT PEOPLE in any way and god, I just wish I could show these people that being fat is not in fact the worst thing in the world, but I'm not sure many woudl want to listen: the fantasy of being thin is strong. Sometimes it is annoying or uncomfortable to have to fit into a world built for thin people, yes. Sometimes you have to get stroppy in order to receive proper health care, and somtimes you can only find ugly clothes. But you can learn the self-respect through a sense of indignation and the good kind of righteousness and entitlement. You know, that one about how you're entitled to be treated like a human being.

And people who are binge eaters need help not to lose weight, but to not have an eating disorder. Huge difference.

Fuck you Emine Saner and the Guardian and your patronising rubbish. I don't need pity and I don't need help to be not-fat.

Charlotte Cooper said...

@ La_di_Da

I sent Emine Saner (say her name quickly enough and it sounds like "I'm insane") a link to this entry. I hope she sees your excellent comment. Thanks for sharing your stuff here.

Charlotte Cooper said...

I forgot to mention that I get a seatbelt extender too when I'm on a plane, which is quite often at the moment. The cabin staff are always very respectful about it, it's no big deal at all and they hand them out to people with kids and other folks too. I'd prefer that all seatbelts were big enough for everyone, but getting an extender is not the end of the world.

vesta44 said...

It kills me that people think they're going to die if they don't lose weight. For those people, I have this message: Guess what? Even if you lose the weight, you're still going to die. And chances are, the life you will live between the time you started losing weight and trying to maintain that weight loss and the time you die is going to be a lot more miserable than if you had stayed the weight you are and made up your mind to tell the rest of the world that it's none of their business what size you are and went about finding ways to enjoy and celebrate your life instead of buying into the Fantasy of Being Thin and drinking the "weight loss will magically cure all my ills" Kool-Aid. If you aren't happy with your health (not your size, your health, the two are not interchangeable), then find out ways to improve your health that don't make you miserable. I'd much rather be fat and happy than thin and miserable.

SharonC said...

I agree that these articles don't help fat people at all. Such articles are a mix of pityfest, foodgawp and blamegame.

But let's approach it from a different angle. Here we have some people who have certain restrictions/unhappinesses with how they live their lives.
How are such things portrayed when it's not the "obesity" issue being covered?

You normally get some sympathetic portrayal of someone with some kind of chronic disease, and there is a fair bit of gawp at the side-effects of this disease there but there is no blame game, no rush to inspect the sufferer's lifestyle for chinks of unhealth, and reporters usually at least have an attempt to invoke dignity/respect in the reader's mind rather than pity/disgust.

I challenge any journalist writing about the experience of fat people to do a "Replace All" in the story with something like ME or fibromyalgia or Parkinson's, and ask yourself AM I TREATING THIS PERSON WITH RESPECT??????????

Emine: your article fails.

goodbyemyboy said...

I love how she follows up with the bariatric surgery patient a couple of weeks after the surgery to see if he regrets it. Well of course not--that's not nearly long enough to see the side effects of something, to live with the limited diet and additional problems, and to probably gain most of the weight back.