Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch
Hello, from picturesque Lake Klamath in southern Oregon. I’m on vacation, and I’m sure you all noticed a dearth of posts in the weeks leading up to this. Let’s just call it “late summer” fatigue and go from there. Part of why I’m writing now is that I’ve just had my yearly blow up at my weight-obsessed Mother in Law.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my Mother in Law. She is a wonderful human being. She and my Father in Law accepted my broken ass unquestioningly into their family when Ogre asked me to marry him. I get along with her far better than my own mother most of the time. Except on one topic:
My Mother in Law has been on a diet since the 1950s.
I’m not going to go into the particulars, because that is not my tale to tell. And also, because the details would be depressingly familiar and boring to any woman raised in American society in the last sixty years. To say that my MIL spends far more energy worrying about food, calories, and her weight than anything else in her life is not, I think, an unfair statement. And I’m not pillory-ing her for that. She is a woman of her culture and times, and having also been raised in this culture, I get it. I’m still not good with the whole intuitive eating and body acceptance thing. Hell, I’ve spent the last week rowing around a lake for a MINIMUM of an hour a day, most days closer to two, and I woke up this morning hating my body as badly as ever I have.
I get it. I understand the pressure to be gazelle or whippet thin, particularly when you’re actually a draft horse or a Mastiff. We’re surrounded by a culture that tells us we’ll never be good enough, never deserve love, or affection unless we strive towards this ever declining number on a scale. I totally get it.
But gods damn it, I do not need to listen to that shit on my vacation.
So, last night was the final straw, because my MIL was talking about someone who had lost a lot of weight, but “could stand to lose 50 more pounds” and I lost my shit. I declared a fucking moratorium on the diet talk because it was making me crazy, that policing other people’s bodies was not her job, and I needed that shit to stop right fucking now.
So, because I spent my morning shower stewing over this, here is Polimicks’s handy dandy hints for “Doing Something About Obesity.”
1. Shut up.
Seriously, shut the fuck up about it. Shaming fat people has never in the history of ever made fat people thin. Yes, I know 5% of all people who lose weight manage to keep it off, either because they had been doing something that made them fatter than their body wanted, and when they quit doing that they lost it again. OR because they are subsisting on an ever decreasing calorie load and ever increasing exercise regimen in order to keep it off. I don’t know about you, but I do not have the time to take up exercise as a part time fucking job again. Nor do I wish to spend the rest of my life obsessed with food. Is it your body? Then it isn’t your fucking business. End of story.
2. Make good, nutritious food readily available and affordable.
Food deserts exist. There are big chunks of this country, in both urban and rural areas, where access to fresh fruits and vegetables is limited. And, when you can find them, they are prohibitively expensive. Yeah, if you shop at Costco you can save on bulk stuff, but try taking your Costco loot home on the bus, asshole. Plus, buying produce at Costco sucks unless you’re shopping for a huge amount of people. You can’t use it all up before it goes bad, even cooking for five people like we do (housemates).
3. More Green Spaces and Affordable, Accessible Places for Exercise.
No one is denying that exercise is good for you. No One. What we deny is that it will automatically make you thinner. It doesn’t. Trust me. So, concerning this matter I refer you to point 1. Carrying on, there are a lot of urban areas with high crime and even if the crime weren’t an issue, there’s no place to play except in the street. No one has yards, there are no parks. Bring back green space and playgrounds, and quit shaming people for not going outside, when they really don’t have an outside to go to. Also, gyms are expensive. And while there are some affordable gyms cropping up, like Planet Fitness, sometimes you can’t afford the $10 a month because that’s $10 you need to gas up your car to get to work, or for bus fare, or to feed your kid for the last two days of the month.
3A. Part of what I mean by accessible is that we need to stop body policing and fat shaming in all of these places. An awful lot of fat people cite the behavior of other people as the main reason they don’t exercise. Listen to the first podcast. I’ve been called a whale while working out. Tammy had things thrown at her while she biked. My sister had this one guy who stalked her at the gym for weeks, following her around and calling her a fat, ugly bitch who had no right to be there. She finally took me in with her, and I waited for this mother fucker to make a move. He took one look at me and decided he wanted no part of that fight, and fled. But the next time she went in without me, he was back at it. She finally cancelled her membership and gave up on the gym, because she expected them all to be like that. The fact that we get harassed while exercising, the thing you assholes ostensibly want us to be doing, is proof fucking positive that you really don’t give a shit about our “health.” You just don’t want us being “visually unpleasant” in your field of vision. Get a fucking blindfold then, asshole.
This goes double for patronizing, “Good for you!” comments. Seriously, I can bench press you.
3B. Another part of making exercise more accessible is that people have to have the TIME to work out. If someone is working 60 or 70 hour weeks, when do they have time to exercise? Hell, they don’t even have time to spend with their families. This goes double for people working more than one job, because you have to add commute time into there. So, start paying people a living fucking wage and respecting the 40 hour work week and weekends.
4. Build people up, don’t tear them down.
Seriously, when you spend all this time and press on an epidemic that isn’t happening, that is another form of fat shaming, and it needs to fucking stop. The largest increase in obesity occurred when the US Government lowered the levels at which people are considered obese. Instantly, thousands of people who had been fine, were now overweight, and thousands who had been “merely overweight” were obese. Obesity is not a real thing, and treating it as such is hurting people. If you want people to be healthier then quit fat-shaming, make healthy foods and exercise more accessible, pay people enough to survive on, and make doctors quit being assholes to fat people.
Look, I feel a little bad about losing my shit at my MIL, because I really do love her and I know it’s not her fault. But seriously, I’ve spent a week listening to a woman the size of one of my thighs going on about how fat and disgusting she is. And when I call her on it, she says, “Well, I’m talking about me, not you.” Well, not in front of me, you aren’t. I’m under no illusions that the topic of my weight doesn’t come up when I’m not present. And that makes me incredibly sad, because I really do love her, and it hurts me to hear her denigrating herself like that. But she’s spent her whole life soaking in it, and she just can’t see how fucked it all really is.