Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Musings On Our Third Blogiversary

It was three years ago today that this blog was born. I guess the main thing that's changed since then is the coining of the term "fatosphere" referring collectively to Fat Acceptance blogs. What that means for this blog is a lot more traffic, since this is the first page that comes up when you Google "fatosphere" (which a lot of people do).

There is also now a popular RSS feed called "Notes from the Fatosphere". At first I put off trying to register this blog on the feed for no particular reason, and then kind of gradually decided I didn't want to. I'm still torn about it and there are lots of great blogs featured there, but I feel like adding my blog to the feed would give me a responsibility that I don't want (not to mention probably bringing a lot more trolls my way). Once a blog is on the Fatosphere feed, it gets traffic not only from Fat Acceptance blogs but also from forums devoted to eating disorders. So when a blog on the Fatosphere feed features, for example, a pro-dieting post, people go apeshit. I can't say I blame them -- we hear enough pro-dieting rhetoric already, and none of us need to hear more of it, especially those for whom diet talk may serve as a trigger for disordered eating. You are never going to find pro-diet talk on this blog, but I still don't want to have to worry about people having any particular expectations based on the blog being on the Fatosphere feed. Those of you who don't really read other FA blogs might not think this is such a big deal, but you can check out this post (and the comments) to see just how ugly things get when a putative FA blog posts unexpected stuff and readers dare to complain about being blindsided by it. I guess the silver lining here is that people are really passionate about FA and about trying to define it and defend it. This kind of conversation wasn't even happening a few years ago, so I think it's a good development. The discussion just gets uncomfortable at times.

Elsewhere, unfortunately I have to say I think things have gotten worse for fat people everywhere in the last three years. Maybe I just think this because I'm paying more attention, but I think fatphobia has reached a new level. In Japan, for example, companies and local governments are now forced to measure their citizens' and employees' waistlines, and they will be fined for not reaching the state-mandated "targets". Any person (regardless of height or build) whose waistline measures more than 33.5 inches (male) or 35.4 inches (female) will be made to lose weight, and if they don't, they will be "re-educated". How long before fat (or, really, non-thin) people are fired or kicked out so that their employers and local governments don't have to pay the fines? How long before we get similar policies in the US? Oh, wait, looks like we've already started. This and all the other anti-fat policy and rhetoric out there seems to be exacerbated by the failing economy and degraded environment -- after all, back before everyone "believed in" global warming and before they started rationing rice at CostCo, nobody would have thought to blame all the world's problems on the fatties.

I guess in general, I feel pretty cynical about the whole state of affairs, but I also have some reasons to hope that things will improve. Regardless, I'm just going to keep on blogging.


Anonymous said...

and what drugs are they on? part of this whole thing is related to genetics that have been passed on by our parents and we as children did not choose what was given to us but we do have control on what we do with it.

Mary said...

Hi anonymous, I think I agree with you, but I'm not sure what you mean about controlling what we do with our genes. Maybe you have in mind the idea that people can be healthy regardless of their size? That's what the "Health At Every Size" concept is all about, and I wholeheartedly agree. Some people unfortunately have the idea that there's no use exercising or eating healthy unless those things make you thin.

Anonymous said...

the thing about our genes is that we were given them by our parents, we have no choice in the matter because our parents concieved us in love. but we can choose to be healthy or not, that is compleately up to us as a person.

Betsy said...

I heard a radio commentator suggest this week that plane ticket prices be based on the combined weight of the ticketholder and his/her bags. How much worse can flying get for a large person?

Mary said...

Fortunately the weight-based airfare idea was a hoax -- here's an article about it. But given how cheap the airline industry has become, and how mean America is getting, sadly I don't think the whole idea is outside the realm of possibility.