That Thing That Thin People Do

This piece is meant to be in conversation with How to love a fat person by Your Fat Friend.

It is not an argument against the piece, because I know that thing that thin people do. It’s been done to me. I’ve lost track of how many times.

There was a particularly bad couple of years in 6th and 7th grades where all the boys in my class decided it would be hilarious to take turns pretending to ask me to be their girlfriend and then laughing in my face.

It was so funny that they did it every single day for 2 entire school years.

That thing that thin people do is not just a game for middle school boys. It continued off and on throughout my entire life until I met my current partner.

So. This is a tender place.

This pretending to be attracted to a fat person “joke” is so common that it is just in a box in my head labeled Things Thin People Do.

Thin people do cruel things to fat people. These are the things thin people do.

But here is the thing that makes so angry that I could burn the world down in my rage- We ALL know about this “joke”. All fat people know.

We are more recently starting to talk about it, b/c the pain level around this is so high that the first couple of times I tried to speak on it, I could feel the hurt in my body. I still can.

Like some part of me is stuck in that time. All that rage and humiliation are still a part of me.

But all fat people know about That Thing Thin People Do.

Just like we ALL know what it’s like to pretend to want to browse earrings for endless humiliating hours while our thin friends try on clothes in a bonding ritual we can never participate in.

And we ALL know that Lane Bryant has spent the better part of a decade being garbage.

We know.

I have to tell you that it makes me furious when thin people act shocked that the “I’m attracted to a fat person HA HA!! NOT!! GROSS!!” atrocity exists.

Fuck.

You.

OH DOES THAT SURPRISE YOU????? DOES IT?

ARE YOU SAD NOW, THIN PEOPLE? ARE YOU??????

Does my story of being emotionally tormented make you uncomfortable?

Because I have something really mean to say to you, thin people —

I fucking hate y’all. I do.

You pretend like this doesn’t happen right in front of your faces. You refuse to see us while we crumble.

Maybe you can’t see us. Maybe you never did. And I still fucking hate you. And I am still furious. HOW DARE YOU LOOK AWAY?

What you choose not to see, you are allowing to happen. So fuck your shock.

Thin people do NOT get to act shocked at the ways fat people are abused when y’all won’t EVER shut your fucking mouths about how bad being fat is and how scared you are that you’re going gain weight and become one of us.

And this? Right here? Is why we can’t be one big happy body posi collective.

B/c there are experiences that fat people and ESPECIALLY fat women & femmes have that thin women don’t know shit about. And act SO SHOCKED when they hear about.

Yeah shocked for like 2 minutes, and then you fucking forget about it again.And it’s like omg my new cleanse is the BEST, and I just have to lose 10 pounds.

But you want body posi because you STAY stealing from us. Taking our labor and pushing us out.

The default state of a fat girl to y’all is emotionally devastated. So you choose not see it when people are deliberately cruel to us IN FRONT OF YOU.

But DEAR GOD- Don’t let a fat girl be happy. Don’t let her be proud. Cause y’all can see that FROM SPACE.

And THEN suddenly you are concerned. Where the fuck is that concern when I am verbally and physically assaulted FOR MY ENTIRE LIFE?

NOWHERE.

Because I am SUPPOSED to be in pain to you. My pain makes you warm and secure in your superiority. My pain makes your life worthwhile.

You can keep your fake shock, thin women. I don’t need your fake sympathy.

You never helped me when I needed help. So you can fuck off pretending like you give a shit.

(Originally published on Medium.com)

Radical evangelical Christians and politics, an insider’s viewpoint

Hi, so here is a thing you might not know about me — I grew up in a very strict, evangelical fundamentalist Southern Baptist church.

It was very similar to the types of people currently taking over the United States government, with Mike Pence at their head.

Did you know 9 out of the 15 Trump cabinet picks are evangelical Christians?

I ran away from these people when I was still a child, and I am filled with terror at what I know they are capable of. And I am especially afraid that people do not seem to understand what we are facing.

I feel like y’all think that these radical evangelicals are like super strict Catholics or Lutherans, only meaner.

They are not like that at all. AT ALL.

For instance- they don’t believe there is such a thing as non-religious space. To attempt to make a space non-religious is to worship secular humanism.

A church state separation in this world view is not only not desirable, but actually impossible.

They do not believe church state separation is a core American value, or one that goes back to the founding.

Saying church state separation to these people is meaningless.

Any viewpoint that does not accept the Bible as the literal Word and law of god is substituting your own judgement for god’s, which is secular humanism.

Using your own judgment to decide what is right and wrong is worshipping secular humanism. Only god’s judgment can be trusted. And they are positive they know exactly what that means.

An atheist or a Catholic or a mainline Lutheran are the same to them.

The Bible is considered to be literally true and inerrant (no mistakes) Yes, even the super weird 5 headed animal bits.

You must always take them at their word. They are always speaking literally.

They don’t do metaphors. Their religion basically forbids metaphors.

When they say they want to take over the government and rule via Old Testament law- that is EXACTLY what they mean.

This is not some vague “oh they’re gonna bring the hammer down”.
No. They mean the death penalty for adultery or being queer. Literally.

With literal rocks.

There’s a bunch of jargony words/phrases like pre and pro Tribulationist and the 7 Mountains and theonomy- but the basics are this-

At the end times- the Book of Revelation stuff- Jesus will rule on earth for 1000 years. The saved dead will come back to life. The Rapture happens, and the rest of the heathens will have a period of time to repent their sins and turn to Jesus.

The order of these events is up for debate and not important, but remember — these are all Totally Literal Things That Will Happen.

Keep that in mind.

So there are a group of radical evangelicals that believe in order for Jesus to come back to form his Kingdom on Earth they have to prepare the way by taking over all secular institutions (especially the government) and ruling thru God’s Old Testament law.

Which will trigger the events of the end times.

(This is an extremely simplified version of theology that is hotly debated and can get very complicated.)

So basically what we have in this country right NOW is a group of radical Christians who have been planning since the 1970s how they were going to take over the US government in order to bring about the end of days.

Let me repeat that —

They have been planning for DECADES on how to take over the US government in order to bring about THE END OF DAYS.

And they are now in charge.

This is also why you can’t make any arguments to these people about climate change- they are preparing for the end of the world already.

They welcome it.

Are you scared of them being in power? Because you really should be.

(For the purposes of this discussion, I am using the term radical evangelical to mean Dominionists and Reconstructionists b/c even tho there are differences, I don’t think they matter in the context of what you can expect them to do in the public political sphere.)

(Originally published on Medium.com)

Feelings are important

Let’s talk for a minute about the framing of “hurt feelings”. B/c that is the #1 attack from right winger d-bags against fat activism and other social justice causes.

And our usual response is, “This is not about hurt feelings- people are being harmed & killed.”

Which is true.

But I would like to complicate the discussion by taking a swing at the concept of “hurt feelings” and the ways that concept is used to devalue a rhetorical position.

First we have to start with the super obvious misogyny because feels are for girls, amirite??

We’re stuck in this soup of toxic masculinity where to have any “feels” is diminishing and weak and immediately suspect. Except anger. Anger is coded as masculine and is therefore the only allowable emotion.

Reason and logical thought have their place but so do emotions.

There is not a way to operate as a human person without emotions. All these Spock wannabes are just time bombs of suppressed feelings waiting to explode as anger.

Yes, thinking with logic is a way we learn about the world. So is having feelings about it. Emotions are another way of knowing stuff about the world around us.

Learning to use your emotions in concert with your ability to reason makes you a balanced person. (Thank you, years of therapy.)

The second point I would like to make involves re-framing the “just hurt feelings” part of this accusation as “years of emotional abuse in a culture that devalues me”.

We are living in a culture that constantly punishes us with near constant low level cruelty AT BEST and DEATH at worst- just for the crime of existing.

People are dealing with the trauma of emotional abuse, which is being diminished as “hurt feelings”.

Because we’re all wrapped up in hating anything coded as feminine, we’ve decided that feelings don’t matter. And the trauma of being emotionally abused is never acknowledged, never dealt with.

Acknowledging that people have been traumatized is important.

I resolve to not accept this framing any more. I am going to disrupt this feedback loop w/ the assertion that feelings are important.

FEELINGS ARE IMPORTANT.

YOUR feelings are important.

YOU are important and so are your feelings.

Originally published on Medium.com

“Preventing diabetes” is a fatphobic dog whistle

When people say “prevent diabetes” what do they think they mean? The more I see this phrase, the more I think it is a fatphobic dog whistle about eliminating fat people.

Because they aren’t talking about type 1 diabetes. My understanding is there’s no way to prevent type 1.

We don’t even know why people get type 1. Not for sure.

So when we’re talking about the “morally bad” diabetes, it’s definitely type 2 that people are referring to.

And what causes type 2? They don’t really know either. Not completely. Diabetes is a complicated disease. And if you think you know it’s probably because you’ve consumed a lot of fatphobic propaganda.

But news flash- diabetes is not caused by “being fat”. Or eating whatever foods are the bad ones this year. In fact, historically, diabetes has been correlated to show up more in groups that are marginalized and discriminated against.

Like how people thought that being Jewish was correlated with diabetes. Which is a real thing people thought. Which no one thinks anymore, but I guess everyone forgot about.

There is no separation between vicious judgment/stigmatization and discussions of regular people (who aren’t research scientists) of the causes of type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is used to implement harmful, fatphobic government and corporate interventions against fat people, all carried out in the Most Holy Name of diabetes prevention.

Literally no one gives a flying fuck about thin people with diabetes…

Or how misdiagnosis of type 1 as type 2 can kill — so do the damn actual medical testing and don’t just look at people to diagnose them, terrible fatphobic medical staff!

WHY DO WE EVEN HAVE MEDICAL TESTS IF DOCTORS JUST DECIDE WHAT’S WRONG WITH PEOPLE BY LOOKING AT THEM?

Almost no one who says they care about diabetes actually gives a fuck.

So-called “diabetes prevention” is just a more acceptable way to hate fatties.

Diabetes is horrible. It would be awesome if people would actually care about curing it and not about how to get rid of all the fat people.

Originally published on Twitter and Medium.com

Soda/Sugar taxes are fatphobic

We just got a “sugar” tax in Philly, which is to pay for free pre-K.

Yay! Pre-K! Yay, free! So glad we could get something so progressive passed in Philly!

I really do wish they had gone about it in a different way, however.

Basically my issue is with the fatphobic way these taxes are justified. First of all, they aren’t actually a tax on sugar, even though that’s how they are advertised. The tax applies to diet/sugar free soda but not to candy. But we call it a sugar tax because people are way into a The Demon Sugar kick.

Sugar = diabetes (in the rhetoric) & basically all calls to “prevent” diabetes are fatphobic dog whistles. (More on that later.)

The argument in Philly was- we can prevent 250,000 case of diabetes A YEAR (a number we hear all the time as utterly fake statistics on death by fat). A statement that is backed up by basically nothing and is a patently ridiculous thing to claim.

Then add to that- while claiming these fantastical reductions in diabetes cases (not how any of this works), the mayor also claimed that the tax would be low enough that people wouldn’t even notice it.

Which… it can’t be both.

It can’t prevent all the fatness and diabetes and all shame disease by forcing those bad fatties to stop drinking soda and be so small no one will actually notice it. Not at the same time.

Why do taxes on cigarettes actually show results? Because a 1–2 dollar hike a pack is enough to be felt. And I believe the studies back that up.

Additionally- taxes on cigarettes actually target smokers pretty well, since they are the ones who buy cigarettes. People who smoke are basically the only people who buy cigarettes regularly, so they’re easy to target with a tax intervention.

A soda tax is a very inefficient way to target fat people- not all fat people drink soda. Sometimes THIN people drink soda too! (Shocking!)

So, the whole internal logic of the thing is fucked from the start, and that’s even setting aside that all sales taxes are regressive, meaning they target poorer people more harshly as a percentage of their income.

My personal experience of the soda tax in Philly is that it really isn’t noticeable. And since we really do need free pre-K, I’m not mad to pay it.

But I wish the city government had been like, “Look- Soda is a luxury. This is a small luxury tax.”

Rather than participate in political fatphobia. Which is what they actually did.

At this point in our political life, all sensible forms of taxing the people who should be taxed (rich people) are now politically cut off.

So politicians are stuck trying to raise money off of people that are considered “icky”.

And that’s no way to run a society.

Originally published on Twitter and then on Medium.com

Fat people, hygiene and stigma

One thing about running a moderately popular fat activist webpage- you see a LOT. The same things repeat, over and over in the pushback & I want to talk about one of them.

Because I’m not one to hide from stuff we’re supposed to consider shameful- we have to drag it out into the light, take it apart, and see it for the small, grubby bigotry it is.

So- let’s talk about hygiene stuff. This stuff is really hateful & fatphobic and bathroom and toilet stuff is too much for some people- so this is your content notice on that.

— —

Ok so the fat hate goes as follows- “You think it’s ok for people to be so fat that they can’t wipe their asses”.

I see this constantly. And the answer to that is- Yes. Yes I do. I don’t put a size limit on anyone’s humanity.

But let’s break that down a little more-

First- the obvious- this is a purely bigotry against disabled people. There is so much ableism mixed into fatphobia.

But it’s also an expression of the disgust reflex that is inherent in fatphobia- the same disgust reflex we find in homophobia & transphobia.

Because you KNOW you’re in a marginalized group when random people are obsessed with where & how you use the bathroom.

What is the utility of constantly invoking how people use the bathroom?

It’s to invoke that disgust reflex. It’s to dehumanize people.

Everyone shits. It’s literally no one’s business how that happens, with rare exceptions- caretakers or doctors. And this rhetoric also serves to try to shame ALL fat people- to make us afraid of being THAT fat person.

Well. I’m not scared.

We HAVE to face our fears of the bad kind of fat person we are scared to be. B/c those “bad” fat people aren’t just theoretical.

They are real people who exist- who need the fat activism community to support them and center them.

This is why respectability has to be fought- b/c when we give into the good fat person trope, we are excluding people.

It’s the same shit that thin people do to us. We know it feels like shit. And I don’t want to make people feel like shit.

I don’t care if you’re fat for a “bad” reason. If you fit some stereotype that hateful people use to try to condemn us. I reject it all.

I will fight for you, bad fatties. You are so important to me.

(Originally published on Twitter and then on Medium.com)

Choosing to diet

Here is the thing about discussions of “choice” re: dieting-

We live in a world that violently punishes non-conforming bodies.

So what choices do people actually have? We can’t even construct a politic that criticizes dieting without forceful and relentless pushback.

You can’t make a choice around dieting that is not impacted by the violence of fatphobia.

It is not possible.

Can you choose to opt out of capitalism in this culture? Not really- your options are severely limited by the choices available.

Diet culture is similar. In a culture that is deliberately designed to make fat people suffer- people will choose to diet.

Is that a free choice? I don’t think so. It can’t be.

So yeah- I get why people “choose” to diet. But to me- that’s a forced choice. The illusion of a choice.

Additonally? Every damn time I talk about the poison that is diet culture- at least one person pops up to be like “It’s not a diet, it’s a LIFESTYLE CHANGE”.

Yeah, and Weight Watchers is steady talking about “lifestyle changes” too.

You can call it doodle fucking do if you want- it changes nothing.

This is some Orwell shit right here. I mean- stay drinking poison if you want. But don’t tell me it’s peach pie & try to feed me a slice.

(Originally published on Twitter and then on Medium.com)

The Recent History of Fat Stigma

In the early 1990s, the diet industry was under pressure.

Representative Ron Wyden began convening hearings in March 1990 titled “Deceptions and Fraud in the Diet Industry.”

Weight Watchers went from a profit of $45 million dollars in 1992 to a $50 million dollar loss in 1994. Jenny Craig’s earnings went down by 84 percent in 1993. NutriSystem declared bankruptcy in 1993. The FTC filed deceptive advertising claims against both Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers. (1)

This low point for the diet industry led to a sustained campaign of misinformation and stigmatization and led to a partnership between Weight Watchers style diet companies with pharmaceutical companies selling diet pills.

These partners used the same tactics oil companies would use to confuse the issue of climate change- lobbying members of Congress, funding fake “grassroots” campaigns, paying for scientists to write favorable papers to support them, placing members of their industry inside the regulatory and watchdog arms of the government.

The company selling diet pills was called Wyeth. And the diet pill was fen phen.

(Wyeth has many other names through different mergers and sales of the company, but to keep it simple, I’m going to just refer to them as Wyeth.)

We will be taking a deep dive into fen phen, because it is Wyeth’s campaign to have a version of fen phen called Redux approved by the FDA that set in motion an institutionalization of fat stigma as government policy, which we continue to see today.

Wyeth wanted to get into the business of selling diet drugs, specifically something they could combine with a drug they already had on the market called Pondimin, fenfluramine, the fen in fen phen. Pondimin worked partly by releasing serotonin into the bloodstream, the way SSRIs can work to treat depression. It’s major side effect was intense drowsiness. People couldn’t stay on the drug for very long because it caused them to sleep for 18 hours at a time.

Wyeth also had another drug that was very similar to Pondimin that they believed solved the drowsiness issue. It was called Redux, but it had not yet been approved by the FDA. (2)

The Food and Drug Administration was very hesitant at this time to approve drugs for weight loss. Many people were prescribed Dexedrine for weight loss in the 1930s — 1960s, which resulted in what came to be known as America’s first amphetamine epidemic.

Wyeth needed to overcome the FDA’s hesitance around diet drugs. They did this with a three pronged attack- pressure on the FDA by lobbying Congress, skewing the data on fen phen’s risks and side effects by hiding data and paying for bogus studies and papers, and by convincing the government and the public that being fat is a deadly disease killing hundreds of thousands of people every year.

Pressure on the FDA

When the Republicans took over the House in 1994, they were out for the FDA’s blood. With Newt Gingrich as Speaker, many of the FDA’s activities were privatized. Gingrich would even personally intervene in FDA decisions, pushing for the approval of the drugs for companies who had contributed to his foundation. (3)

In 1991, the FDA had drawn up a list of 111 ingredients used in non-prescription diet ads and declared them ineffective or unsafe. But in 1994, the Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act from Senator Orrin Hatch (R Utah), made it almost impossible for the FDA to continue regulating these products.

Instead of the manufacturers having to prove that their supplements are safe, now the FDA has to bear the burden of paying for an investigation to prove that these products are unsafe. (4)

“Officals now spoke of the pharmaceutical industry, not the American public, as ‘our clients’. Pharmaceuticals were playing hardball like doctors at the FDA had never seen before, backed by Congress. The FDA had to accede to the new culture, or its budget would be decimated.” (5)

Republicans even attempted to get rid of the FDA completely in 1994. While they were not successful in that attempt, the FDA’s budget has been cut again and again, while the balance is made up by “user fees” which are paid by the drug companies to the FDA for drug approval.

Add in the revolving door of officials at the FDA who leave the agency for lucrative jobs with the drug companies they are supposed to be regulating, and you can see that the agency is ripe for exploitation by the very industry it is supposed to be regulating.

What are the risks of fen phen and how did Wyeth hide those risks?

The biggest risk of fen phen is primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH). It is a heart and lung disorder that thickens the blood vessels that send oxygen to the lungs. It causes a slow and agonizing death from suffocation. PPH is a death sentence. Most patients only survive 2 years after the disease is diagnosed. The drug combo also caused damage to heart valves.

A study called the International Primary Pulmonary Hypertension Study (IPPHS) showed that while PPH affects only 1 or 2 people per million in a general population, with the use of fen phen, the number of patients increased by 10 times. (6)

This is for a drug where patients immediately regain any weight lost as soon as the drug is discontinued. And in a clinical trial, patients who took fen phen only lost 3 percent more weight than patients using a sugar pill. In a 200 pound person, 3 percent is 6 pounds. (7)

When attorneys for the massive fen phen civil lawsuit got access to Wyeth’s files during discovery, they found that the company had a list of 101 cases of PPH from the early 1990s to mid 1997. They had kept this information internal and had not provided it to either the FDA or doctors prescribing the drugs. (8)

Additionally, Wyeth was required to pass along any reports of negative reactions or problems occurring to fen phen patients. But when they filed their reports with the FDA, they re-labeled the heart valve damage and PPH as less serious issues, further misleading the regulators. (9)

How did Wyeth get these drugs approved?

In the hearings to get the Redux portion of fen phen approved, Wyeth cited the figure that 300,000 deaths per year were caused by “obesity”. They used this figure 7 times in the FDA hearings about the drug. (10)

“Using the risk-benefit analysis that Wyeth… had pushed at the FDA, the increased risks of PPH had been accepted only because the alleged benefits were even higher — saving many of the ubiquitous ‘300,000 deaths from obesity’.” (11)

Where did Wyeth get this figure from? No one seems to really know.

An internal Wyeth memo discovered during the civil trial referred to the number as having “never been substantiated”. (12)

The original source for the figure appears to be a study from 1993 by McGinnis and Foege, who stated in their research that the 300,000 deaths number was “due to poor diet and physical inactivity”, without mentioning body size. (13)

Even though this number morphed into an indictment of fat people, it is not clear how these figures were obtained, or how they determine that deaths were being caused by fatness, rather than simply that a fat person has died.

In critiquing a study from 1999 using the same 300,000 number, Glenn Gaesser has pointed out that because studies have repeatedly shown that there is no link between a higher BMI and death in people over 65, those people should be excluded from any claims about death due to fatness.

78 percent of the 2.3 million annual deaths in America are people over the age of 65. So that leaves about 500,000 deaths in people under 65 that might be related to fatness. So leaving out all other forms of death- car accidents, alcohol and cigarettes, drug abuse, homicide and suicide, toxic agents- 60% of all deaths in people under 65 would have to be caused by fatness. This is a flatly ridiculous and unbelievable claim. (14)

The 1999 study claiming 300,000 deaths from fatness states this clearly.

“Our calculations assume that all (controlling for age, sex, and smoking) excess mortality in obese people is due to their adiposity.”

“The authors of the study did not try to determine the extent to which… dieting, diet drugs, poverty, discrimination in healthcare, and social discrimination in general… accounted for some, most, or indeed quite possibly all of the excess mortality they observed among some groups of heavier people.” (15)

“They ‘discovered’ that all excess mortality among the heavier than average was caused by ‘excess’ weight simply by assuming this was the case!” (15)

Remember the discredited 400,000 deaths from fatness number put forward by the CDC in 2004? (16)

They keep trying this same trick.

Faking the Grassroots

Because of the risks of fen phen and doctors’ reluctance to prescribe medication for weight loss,Wyeth engaged in a campaign to convince the public that being fat was a deadly disease.

They were extremely successful and the consequences of this marketing effort remain with us to this day.

A number of public health focused “grassroots” organizations appeared in the early 1990s, funded by weight loss companies like Weight Watchers and by pharmaceutical companies, including Wyeth. (17)

One of those organizations was called Shape Up America!, a group founded by Surgeon General C. Everett Coop, which received $700,000 from Wyeth and appeared on The Brian Williams News Hour on MSNBC to tout fen phen as a solution for fatness. (18)

Shape Up America! also received funding from Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, and NutriSystem, as well as the American Obesity Association, which is made up of bariatric (weight loss) surgeons. (19)

The executive director of Shape Up America! (who had formerly worked at Weight Watchers) apparently told the Surgeon General that the 300,000 deaths number was incorrect, but he kept using every time he spoke about the horrors of fatness, which was as often as he could. (20)

Wyeth also gave the American Obesity Association (AOA) $100,000 to publish “Guideline for Treatment of Adult Obesity”, which recommended fen phen to treat fatness. The AOA was also at the FDA hearings were the Redux portion of fen phen was approved and gave testimony advocating for it’s approval.

Wyeth also planned to lure writers for women’s magazines to conferences that they would sponsor, such as “Women and Obesity: An Epidemic of Denial.” The company’s PR experts wanted Wyeth to “motivate women to go to their doctor and ask about Redux.” They budgeted more than $21 million dollars for media in 1996, including $1.5 million for ads in medical journals and $179,000 for “Dear Doctor” announcements. (21)

The American Obesity Association’s “lobbying and advocacy efforts were primarily aimed at convincing the government to officially recognize obesity as a disease, getting more federal funding for obesity research, getting government programs like Medicare and Medicaid to pay for weight loss surgeries, changing tax laws to make the costs of weight loss programs like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers tax deductible, and lobbying the insurance industry to cover weight loss treatments and drugs. In all of these areas, they have been successful.” (22)

These two groups, which should be understood as industry lobbying groups, were instead given non profit status and treated as neutral actors, which they were clearly not in any way.

Since being fat is now recognized as a disease by the American Medical Association and weight loss was written into the Affordable Care Act as “workplace wellness”, the American Obesity Association has ceased to exist.

It has managed to make being fat into a pathological disease, and helped enshrine stigma against fat people into government policy, so it’s ultimate purpose has been fulfilled.

The revolving door

In 1974, the Senate held hearings into allegations that high level FDA officials had retaliated against scientists who blocked the approval of certain drugs. Pondimin (the fen in fen phen) was one of those drugs.

Dr. Robert O Knox had tried to prevent the approval of the drug in the 1970s. The hearings, which were called the Dorsen Commission, suggested that Dr. Knox was the victim of collusion between some of his supervisors at the FDA and the drug company making Pondimin (Wyeth) to remove him from the review process. The drug was signed off on by an FDA division director, Marion Finkle, who went on to become an “expert witness” for drug companies, including Wyeth. (23)

Michael Weintraub was the inventor of fen phen. It was his idea to combine Pondimin with a stimulant to counteract the drowsiness side effect. He received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)through their research arm, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in 1983.

The study ended in 1987, but was not published until 1992. The plaintiff’s lawyers in the fen phen civil suit wondered if the study was published with Wyeth’s help. The study was published as a special supplement to the journal, and supplements are not published for free.

Weintraub said that the NIH paid to have the study published, but the NIH said his funding had run out in 1986. “Later, through his attorney, he said he believed he received funds from “industry” to publish it — but he couldn’t remember how much or from whom.”

Weintraub’s study being published in a major journal was perfect for Wyeth. It is the subject of an article in 1995 in Allure magazine and it reprinted in Reader’s Digest.

“Interestingly, when Weintraub has his NIH grant in the mid 1980s, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute was being run by a young star in drug research, Robert Levy. By the date of Weintraub’s publication in 1992, Wyeth owned the A.H. Robins company, which had supported Weintraub’s work. And Bob Levy was coming on board at Wyeth’s corporate parent, AHP, as director of research.” (23)

In the Allure article, Weintraub stated, in error, that the side effect of pulmonary hypertension went away when fen phen was discontinued. This is a massive mistake or error, as PPH is a fatal disease with no cure.

Weintraub has also started working for the FDA, where he sat in on internal meetings regarding the approval of Redux, even though he was not considered an “obesity” drug expert within the agency. (24)

Weintraub was also accused of promoting fen phen diet clinics while he was still working at the FDA. (25)

Weintraub was included on the panel of experts in 1998 who changed the BMI guidelines. (26).

“At least 7 of the 9 members on the NIH’s Obesity Task force were directors of weight loss clinics and most had multiple financial relationships with private industry.”

While the NIH insisted that they were only bringing national standards in line with the World Health Organization (WHO), in reality, the cutoffs were drafted by the International Obesity Task Force, which receives much of it’s funding from Hoffman-La Roche (makers of the diet drug Xenical) and Abbott Laboratories (makers of the diet drug Meridia).

“Their primary platform is to lobby governments and advance an agenda that is consistent with the platform of the pharmaceutical industry.”

An examination of the boards of the so-called grassroots advocates, like the American Obesity Association, finds that every single board member has some kind of financial tie to the weight loss or pharmaceutical industries. (27)

And this is where we arrive to where we stand today, at the mercy of weight loss and drug companies. The truth is for sale, and the relentless stigmatization of fat people is nothing more than money in corporate pockets.

This was all done deliberately, to sell a drug that maimed and killed people, mostly women. The entire structure of health care was changed to make this parasitic, evil industry more money.

Turning “obesity” into a disease made the government money flow freely, increasing deadly weight loss surgeries. Weight Watchers is now subsidized by the government, thru tax cuts for “workplace wellness”. And all the major weight loss companies are now owned by hedge funds.

It’s pure corruption, all the way down. And not a single person outside of fat activism cares.

(Originally published on ok2befat.com, then on Medium.com)


1. Public Health Profiteering by James T. Bennett & Thomas J. DiLorenzo. Pgs 49–55

2.Dispensing with the Truth by Alicia Mundy. Pgs 37–38

3. https://books.google.com/books?id=0jUA65oCqrIC&pg=PA9&lpg=PA9&dq=newt+gingrich+fda+1994&source=bl&ots=Moxroo4qLK&sig=_mZL5fBNGtktzhBBE2wUeCDXThc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiD3OiBxfPOAhWDJCYKHQrNC18Q6AEIKDAC#v=onepage&q&f=false

4. Losing It- America’s Obsession with Weight and the Industry that Feeds on It by Laura Fraser, pgs 82–835.

5. Dispensing with the Truth, pg 536.

6. Dispensing with the Truth, pg 627.

7. Dispensing with the Truth, pg 1558.

8. Dispensing with the Truth, pg 1329.

9. Dispensing with the Truth, pg 137–138

10. Public Health Profiteering, pg 112

11. Dispensing with the Truth, pg 155

12. Dispensing with the Truth, pg 165–166

13. http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/160/4/331.long#ref-5

14. The Obesity Myth by Paul Campos, pg 17

15. The Obesity Myth, pg 27

16. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB110117970881981681

17. Dispensing with the Truth, pg 42

18. Dispensing with the Truth, pg 79

19. Public Health Profiteering, pg 74

20. Public Health Profiteering, pg 67

21. Dispensing with the Truth, pg 79

22. Killer Fat by Natalie Boero, pg 31

23. Dispensing with the Truth, pg 59

24. Dispensing with the Truth, pg 43–50

25. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB938287452755516198

26. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/guidelines/ob_gdlns.pdf

27. Health at Every Size, by Linda Bacon, pg 152–155


The Corpse Cannon

I was trying to think of a short and amusing (to me) name for that thing that people do when they want to argue with (at) fat activists, so they fling the pain and death of their fat friends and relatives at us.

"Oh yeah? You think it's okay to be fat and that fat people shouldn't be scolded and harangued and punished every day of their lives?? Well, my gramma was fat. AND SHE DIED. CHECKMATE FATTY!"

(ok, whatever, guy. *eye roll*)

I have stared too long into the abyss that is the simple fact that most people simply do not seem like they love their fat loved ones as much as they do their thin ones

That shit is fucking depressing but it's also TRUE.

I have decided to call this rhetorical weirdness The Corpse Cannon. I don't know why anyone thinks I would take this "tactic" seriously, except for feeling bad for your relatives b/c you're clearly shitty.

So I am refusing to take this seriously at all.

The Corpse Cannon is why I try to make the stories of when I have been treated badly b/c of my size have a clear villain. B/c otherwise, thin people just stuff fat pain into the Corpse Cannon and use it to target another fat. And I am legit sick of y'all getting off on our pain.

Feel free to steal this concept and use as necessary.

Shrill and the fat gaze

Here is the thing about Shrill (the show on Hulu). It has a fat gaze. Almost always, when fat girls, women and people perceived as women see ourselves in a visual medium, it is thru the lens of how thin people view us. Never how we see ourselves.

The headless fatty local news footage is the thin gaze. Fat suits are the thin gaze. We hear all the time, only what thin people think of us. Fat girls almost never get a say in any this.

We see Annie as she building her confidence, but Shrill never visually makes her the butt of a joke. She is dressed fashionably. Her entire body is frequently framed, full length.

When she has close ups, they are on her FACE, not used to display the physical attributes of fatness as objects of horror or as fetish objects. Her body is treated like a THIN WOMAN'S BODY would be treated.

Annie is allowed to eat on camera in a normal manner and in a weird manner and in other ways. The act of a fat woman eating is treated as a normal fact of life, not as something grotesque or as some kind of mean joke. She is allowed to eat like thin women do.

So while we do see Annie deal with the discrimination and heartache that is surviving fatphobia- We are not actually seeing her being shamed thru the thin gaze, where fat shaming is played for laughs or so some thin hero can show up to save her. Thin heroes never show up.

We are on her side b/c no matter what is said to Annie by a character, the story has visually framed HER as the protagonist, and therefore the person deserving of our sympathy. We want her to win.

We are allowed by the show to see Annie's reactions, her upset and disappointment, her sweetness, and her joy. Annie is allowed to feel an entire range of emotions. She is allowed to be a full person, which we never see under the thin gaze.

Annie gets to be funny! And not ALWAYS as self depreciation. She is a person in a way that fat girls are never allowed to be.

And the moment where she follows the woman in the red jumpsuit, was such a brilliant and totally visual way to show the liberation that fat activism offers. And how when we are proud and visible, we can change lives without even knowing it.

Wow. I'm gonna be thinking of that scene for so long It stole my breath away.

And all the little things that you know a thin person would never know about. Annie's face going tight and closed in the same way I can literally remember feeling on my own face, in the same moments in my life. How could a thin person know that. They don't.

I know everyone is raving over the sex scenes and I get it. But seriously when was the last time you saw a fat girl eating on TV And it wasn't like a joke or some gross out scene or a chance for the fat girl to give a tearful apology speech about weight loss.

No tearful apology speeches by the fat girl for not whittling herself down by carving off enough of her soul.

Someone needs to make that glitter rainbow dress too, like bitch MAKE THAT HAPPEN FOR ME.



Why I hate the phrase "granny panties"

Ok, I have work to do, but before I get started, I want to talk a bit about the phrase "granny panties" and why I loathe it. Boundaries and ground rules as follows--

1) I am not available for sexual comments or anything suggestive. Not to anyone & especially not to cis men. I don't mind a little light flirting from queer girls and nonbinary people, but I get uncomfortable really fast with this stuff, so unless you know me well... prob don't.

Queer girls and non binary people can tell me they think I'm cute or hot or whatever, cis men will be blocked or muted. 2) I do not need underwear suggestions. This is not about that, it's about my reading of the phrase "granny panties" and why it fucking irks me.

Ok, so here are my thoughts about the phrase "granny panties", in no particular order. Starting with-- I experience this phrase as a type of shaming, in the same tired old vein of that Madonna/Whore complex we can't ever seem to break free from.

I don't find it cute and see my prior threads about why I don't like teasing. For one thing-- older people have sex too, so associating underwear that is supposedly Hilariously Not Sexual with older women is pretty shit.

Second-- the cultural idea that feminine underwear _has_ to serve a sexual purpose for cis men to SEE, rather than to serve a functional purpose for the personal actually WEARING them. Is heteronormative and misogynist crap.

There is literally an entire chapter in Backlash by Susan Faludi about the lingerie industry in the 1980s and how it was totally controlled by cis men who only gave a shit about what THEY wanted cis women to wear.

The CEO of Victoria's Secret gave an interview where he fantasized that career women wanted to wear garter belts to their corporate meetings to "get a little thrill", which... having experienced the shit show that is corporate dress codes, I very fucking much doubt it.

(Page 202 of the 15th Anniversary of Backlash, if you want to see for yourself.)

Third- Different cuts of underwear work differently on different butts and with different styles of clothing. There are some body shapes and some clothes that just work better with high waisted briefs. I don't understand why that is so goddamn hilarious.

Fucking Fourth- I have been sexualized against my will since fucking middle school, can I please JUST BUY SOME GODDAMN UNDERWEAR without it having to be a referendum on if I am ugly or weird or if anyone wants to have sex with me???

FIFTH-- (NO COMMENTARY NEEDED THANK YOU) I have never had anyone call a halt to sex b/c I am wearing high waisted panty briefs. And if they had-- I would have told them to get the fuck out b/c I don't fuck people who criticize my fucking clothes.

SIXTH A lot of the panty sets that are supposedly the "sexy" ones? Really don't work well on fat bodies, especially fat bellies and (christ i still hate this word, but fine) fupas. SHIT ROLLS DOWN. You know what I don't want? MY FUCKING UNDERWEAR MAKING A BREAK FOR THE FLOOR

Like, this feels like a jab that hits fat girls and any other fat people wearing feminine panties way way more than it does thin people wearing panties. And thin people panties COST SO MUCH LESS. Like YOU ALREADY HAVE THE ENTIRE UNDERPANTS WORLD, why are you fucking with ME.

I DON'T CARE IF YOU CAN SEE MY UNDERWEAR LINE, KAREN. STOP LOOKING IF IT BOTHERS YOU, YOU ENORMOUS WEIRDO, STOP COLLABORATING IN YOUR OWN OPPRESSION, YOU TRYHARD

know the phrase "granny panties" isn't going anywhere b/c there's nothing people like more than a mean rhyme, but I fucking hate it And probably don't say it to me b/c I am gonna be pissed. That's it.


Baby Driver

I wanted to talk a little bit about Baby Driver b/c I've been wearing headphones since elementary school to keep myself functional in an nuerotypical world. And the parts where people are just ON Baby about the headphones is very very familiar to me.

It's a little easier now, b/c a lot more people wear headphones everywhere, like the world had moved towards being a little more like me So more people understand now that someone who is wearing headphones is just minding their own business.

But I guess what I just don't understand and never have, is why people feel angry or slighted by someone wearing headphones. All the scenes where someone is being over the top assholey to Baby about the headphones-- Shit like that has definitely happened to me.

And I guess what I would ask the supposedly "normal" people of the world-- Why does it clearly bother you so much to see someone who isn't bother you, being what you consider "weird"?

I watched Baby Driver like slightly in tears, b/c besides being about awesome music and fucking excellent trick driving (LOVE)- It's really about ableism And how the people who do ableist things are the ones who are the assholes.

You really can have Me experience watching this movie. At one point, Josh was like-- CHRIST why can't they just leave him alone??? HE'S JUST SITTING THERE LISTENING TO MUSIC. And I felt that in my chest, like-- now you can see it.

There is something so powerful about watching a protagonist experience something I have experienced myself hundreds & hundreds of times And see someone else who hasn't-- feel just a little bit of the unfairness of it, thru watching a protagonist they have come to empathize with.

The other thing that reminds me of my own life is where Baby is able to wring a concession out of his boss for the accommodations he needs- the headphones- But only by being The Best at his job. I really relate to that too.

B/c in order to maintain the right to have my headphones, in the past, I have had to rely heavily on being the absolute best at my job.

This job is pretty easy with us, but I've had ones in the past where if I have a bad week- Then we have to have a "conversation" about the headphones. Like, I can only have the most minor concession from people for my neurodivergence if I "earn" it.

That's really a fucked up attitude for people to have. What if I wasn't the best person in the office at this job? I guess I can go fuck myself? NT people-- explain yourselves.

I've also had pretty constant ringing in my ears since an extremely bad ear infection in high school. Like... I can't always HEAR people and on top of that, auditory processing issues...

The frustration level of not hearing or not understanding about 30% of what is being said doesn't help the eternal project that is Don't Have a Meltdown Panic Attack Pls.

The frustration level of not hearing or not understanding about 30% of what is being said doesn't help the eternal project that is Don't Have a Meltdown Panic Attack Pls

Headphones aren't just because I don't want to talk to people. It's so I can THINK. It's so all that ADHD forgetting and remembering over and over doesn't overwhelm me completely. Prior to meds, the headphones have been THE most helpful thing for my ADHD.

And it is a real toss up as to which is doing more for me because they both help so much.

This is why I am probably gonna buy a bunch of refurbished iPods just to have, in case. B/c it's not ok for me if I can't listen to what I _need_ to listen to. It's not ok if the internet is out and the streaming music isn't working.

Originally published on Twitter on 4/2/19