I’m reasonably certain ( I haven’t checked, I will admit.) that this article from the New York Times is blowing up the fatosphere:
I have written at some length about the evils and delusions and cruelties of The Biggest Loser. And every time I’ve written about it, there’s been a tiny voice inside my head suggesting that maybe I should apply, just like I keep thinking about bariatric surgery in spite of all my serious objections to it, not to mention my utter disgust over the extent to which it’s become a racket between insurance companies and doctors who are making enormous amounts of money on it. But still, every time a new mode comes out, I research it and think about it. Because, no matter how much “body-positive” messaging gets out there, we live in a culture (and I come from a background) that encodes a list of negatives about fatness in our brains even before we’re old enough to be aware of it. “FAT IS BAD” is practically written on our brains at birth.
But, even at my most ruthlessly rational, on days when I like my life and am clear that my body has, in fact, carried me through an unusually rich and interesting life with relatively little pushback, the simple truth is that being fat sucks. Part of why it sucks is those cultural notions and norms that make everyone whose row I pass on an airplane sigh with relief–there may, indeed, be less hateful, judgmental discourse out there (by some teeny fraction), but not much. And, in a culture that still teaches females that we OWE it to the whole world to be conventionally pretty, being fat, no matter how bloody gorgeous you are, still lowers your currency. But the simpler reason being fat sucks is that it means I’m carrying around a hundred pounds every minute of every day. Who the hell needs that? No matter how much a human exercises–what kind of excellent athletic standard a fat human achieves (and many, many do), the fact is that our feet hit the ground harder than those of unfat people. That’s wearing. Feet are made up of a large number of itty-bitty bones and a bunch of pretty fragile tendons and muscles.
Every damn time I’ve dieted, I’ve gained it all back, plus some. Since I quit dieting, my weight has stabilized. Now, courtesy of one of the more repugnant reality shows to come down the pike, scientists are beginning to understand why. So, it turns out that, in the larger sense, TBL may actually have done humans some good, even as it has sold lies to its participants and then tortured them into conforming to those lies. Now, one could argue that the scientific community (not to mention medical insurers, who have the morals swamp rats anyway) has been catastrophically and stubbornly and sadistically deaf to the actual narratives of fat people for a VERY long time. And I have argued that, along with a host of other sharp-tongued, large-brained bloggers. Often. For decades.
And we’ve been right. About all of it. The New York Times says so. We’ll see if anything good actually comes of it. Probably not in my lifetime, but you never know.