Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Yoga, Sizeism, and Randy

Talking NonsenseA fat yoga instructor and blog reader asked that I blog about this, and it’s my pleasure to do so because it’s important that we discuss the ways and places that fatphobia rears its oppressive head, and that we remind ourselves that fat bodies aren’t the problem, fatphobia is.

The fat yoga instructor asked the 20,000+ members of a fat yoga teachers group on Facebook to please consider dealing with any weight-based biases they might have that are keeping them from being able to properly welcome and teach fat students:

Yoga one

A svadhyaya is an introspection or self-study. “I’d like to ask all y’all to do a little svadhyaya…” Sounds like a reasonable request to me, but apparently not to Randy Hodur who took it upon himself to speak for most of the group, insisting that the post offended a whopping 90% of its members.

Despite having to deal with someone proving that he is an asshole by pulling percentages out of it, the OP remained calm and collected:

Yoga 2

As if striving to prove the OP’s point for her, Randy immediately misplaced all of his shit (trigger warning for misogynist bullshit and language from here on out. Feel free to skip Randy’s messages if you don’t feel like dealing with it.)

Yoga 3

Remember – this isn’t some pathetic reddit fat hate group, this is a professional group for professional yoga professionals…

Yoga 4

It’s ending with “just a thought” that really puts the shit icing on this crap cake. I’m not 100% certain that anything he’s said here qualifies as a thought, but we’ll leave that analysis for another day. It turns out that Randy’s girlfriend owns a yoga studio and people in the group were wondering if maybe nobody should ever go there lest they run into Randy.  He decided to fix the situation by attempting to win gold in the Non-Apology Olympics:

yoga 5

We’ve replaced this actual apology with some bullshit…let’s see if they notice…

Yoga 6

And it goes on…because it wouldn’t be a real non-apology unless the person who did terrible things attempted to make themselves the victim

Yoga 7

There is a great breakdown of the “apology” here.

Randy’s girlfriend reach out to the fat yoga instructor to apologize for her boyfriend’s abuse and to assure her that Randy does not teach in her studio, which is definitely a relief.

The Yoga world has many issues including appropriation, racism, sizeism, ableism, classism, queer and trans phobia and more.  A great place to start understanding and dismantling these issues in addition to the excellent teachers mentioned by the OP (and in addition to ongoing svadhyaya) is Decolonizing Yoga.

In general, notice fatphobia when it happens, call it out when you can, and always refuse to normalize it or blame the victim.

Ready for a world where fitness doesn’t come with a side of sizeism:

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

If you are uncomfortable with my selling things on this site, you are invited to check out this post.



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Saturday, 22 July 2017

Artificial Sweeteners – No Surprise Here

Here’s a link to TLW’s other blog and a recent post about a recent study that’s been all over the news:

Artificial Sweeteners Associated with Being Fat – No Duh




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CPAP Adventure

I’m providing a link to my blog Thoughts from This Fat Old Lady, outlining the fun and games I went through trying to get my CPAP replaced when it unexpectedly died.

My CPAP Adventure




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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Is Slate Not Hiring Fat People?

Yesterday I was moderating friend requests on Facebook and I was reminded that far too many people connected to social justice are still rampant weight bigots. I’ll be scrolling through someone’s profile and see them on the right side of all manner of social justice movements; supporting Black Lives Matter, Queer and Trans rights, opposing Donald and all he stands for. I’m ready to press the “accept” button when I see that they have posted and defended articles and memes engaging in crystal clear oppression of fat people.

This experience prepared me for reading Slate’s recent job posting for a Political Editor. No, I’m not looking for a new gig, I was reading the post after receiving an onslaught of e-mails from fat and disability activists who were horrified by the bullet under “Requirements

  • A fast metabolism and strong organizational skills

What the hell?

Are they really saying that they don’t want a Politics Editor with hypothyroidism? Or are they stating a preference for editors with hyperthyroidism? Is this an attempt to suggest that only the thin need apply? Did they not know that they could be in violation of DC Human Rights Act (which is one of few that protects from discrimination against appearance) and ADA/EEOC guidelines?

The question I was being asked most in the e-mails flooding my inbox was, “Why in the world would a fast metabolism have anything to do with an editing gig?”

I had heard this term in journalism before, so I had an idea about the misunderstanding, but I still felt it was a terrible choice of words for a job posting. I e-mailed Slate for comment.

Click here to read my full piece about this!

Ready for a world where we don’t use sizeist, healthist, ableist metphors in job descriptions?

 

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

 

If you are uncomfortable with my selling things on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 



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Monday, 17 July 2017

The Biggest Loser – Ding Dong the Witch is Dead!

Don't let the door hit youon your way out!Reports are coming in saying that The Biggest Loser is cancelled. That’s excellent news and I could not be happier. Let’s recap this crap:

The Biggest Loser was a horror of a television show in which fat people were physically and mentally abused as they tried to lose as much weight as possible, as fast as possible, regardless of the danger, for a chance to win a tiny fraction of the amount of money that the show made off their abuse.

I am thoroughly convinced that if this show was shot with dogs rather than fat people it would have been pulled off the air after the first episode, because people wouldn’t have stood for this kind of mistreatment of dogs. The fact that fat people would subject themselves to this show is not a justification for the many abuses the show perpetrated.

Now the show finds itself under a cloud of suspicion as former “competitors” talk about the abuses that they suffered at the hands of their “trainers” and the show’s doctor, Robert Huizenga.

Click here to read the full piece, including how the show hurt not only their contestants, but also their viewers.

Want to create a world where The Biggest Loser would never get on the air in the first place?

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

 

If you are uncomfortable with my selling things on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 



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Sunday, 16 July 2017

We’re Supposed To Worry that Dust Makes Us Fat?

You Forgot Your BullshitToday we have a “study” that illustrates two of the truly ridiculous things that often happen in the “science” of weight and health.

1. You can get funding and published for literally any anti-fat study you can imagine 

In the tiny study, cells from mice were exposed to dust samples from 11 (not a typo, just eleven) homes to see if they would be linked with metabolic disruption including triglyceride and preadipocyte accumulation.

2. The most scientifically illiterate journalists will be allowed to write about it

A piece about this by Henry Bodkin (who, on the same day, had a piece published titled “Wild boar pictured roaming streets of city centre at night”) appeared in The Telegraph. The headline was ‘Household Dust Makes People Fat, Groundbreaking Research Indicates.” Seriously Hank (can I call you Hank?) WT Actual F are you doing?

Even if we assume that Henry isn’t responsible for the headline, surely he’s responsible for the actual reporting.  His piece didn’t bother to link to the actual study nor was it clear about the study’s limitations.  But it began, ambitiously, People should keep their homes spotless if they want to avoid putting on weight, new research suggests.”

That delayed this piece being written by a few hours due to the concussion I experienced from banging my head against my desk.

What the researchers actually said was “Our results delineate a novel potential health threat and identify putative causative SVOCs that are likely contributing to this activity.”

The words “potential,” “putative,” and “likely,” are important here as they all essentially mean “maybe” and do not remotely translate to the ability to suggest – at with with any kind of journalistic integrity – that if your house has dust you’ll become fat.

Now parents (and, let’s be honest, predominantly mom’s in our misogynist society) of fat kids will be blamed and, perhaps more tragically, blame themselves for not keeping their houses dust-free enough. We need to shut this bullshit down.

Today I’ve seen no less than four articles that included some version of “Is [XYZ] Making Us Fat?”  If an article asks that, I immediately ask myself “is this article a fatphobic (and quite likely ableist, classist etc.) piece of shit?” Hint: the answer is probably yes.

People are lots of different sizes for lots of different reasons and  I would personally prefer that we affirm the diversity of body sizes and spend research money figuring out how to support the health and happiness of people of all sizes, rather than trying to prevent or eradicate people of a certain size.

If you’re sick of researchers getting funding to figure out how to eradicate fat people, join us at the Fat Activism Conference!

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

 

If you are uncomfortable with my selling things on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 



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Saturday, 15 July 2017

A Quick Update

Well hello!  It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  I am going to work hard to remedy the dearth of posts over the coming weeks.  I miss writing here so much, I need to re-focus on it.

So what’s happening?  Well, firstly I want to thank everyone who contributed to my GoFundMe for the Sydney Cyberhate Symposium.  It was a success and I attended last week and gave papers at both a panel for ANZCA at Sydney University, and the symposium itself.  I deliberately remained fairly quiet about it all before the event, as I and others were understandably nervous that giving away too much information might draw some fresh abuse and harassment either at the events themselves, or online in general.  Both events were amazing and I will be writing more about them shortly.  I am also hoping to get a copy of the video recording of my keynote so that I can share it.

The other big happening in my life is that I’m hobbling around in a “moon boot” after taking a rather spectacular fall about six weeks ago.  I mean the fall itself wasn’t spectacular, unless you count spectacularly embarrassing (thankfully the construction workers I fell in front of were really nice), but the injuries kind of were.  Chipped a bone in my wrist, broke the tip off my fibula, turned my right palm and left knee into bloody pulp and sprains in both the wrist and ankle.  We didn’t discover the fracture in my ankle until a couple of weeks after I did it, when it didn’t heal.  Then it was moon boot time.  I of course, could not leave the moon boot in it’s original grey form, so I decked it out with some woodland creature themed stickers.

I’m not sure how much longer I’m going to have to wear the boot, I can honestly say I’m quite sick of it already!  It has really reinforced to me just how little of our world is made easily accessible for people with disabilities – but I think that should be a whole post of it’s own.

Otherwise, some things I think you should all catch up with if you haven’t already:

Catch you all again soon!


Filed under: Uncategorized

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Friday, 14 July 2017

Epic 10th Anniversary Road Trip Post

Hi Everyone! Ryan and I finally got to go on our honeymoon at the end of last month; from June 22nd to the 28th we were on the road from Sudbury to Prince Edward Island and back. We had a wonderful trip with miles upon miles of beautiful scenery, nice folks, gorgeous beaches and even a whale!

A happy caucasian couple with brown hair smiles for the cameraOur first day we were on the road a long time, from Sudbury to Prescott ON to Quebec City We were a little late leaving because of poor planning on our part but once we got underway we had a great time. North Bay flew by, we took a pic of the Tim Hortons just about everywhere we stopped, and then we had dinner with Ryan's cousin's family and had our first look at the St. Lawrence River. It's very wide. We drove on after dinner through Montreal where, even at 9pm, the traffic was  heavy and everyone was speeding like whoa. We made it to Quebec City by about 1130pm and finally got to sleep at the Hotel Bonaparte. It was about a 12 hour day. The hotel room was nice, clean and quiet and the front desk clerk said he spoke 5 languages.

The next morning we had breakfast at the little restaurant attached to the hotel then hopped back across the St. Lawrence into Levis to drop our stuff at the Quality Inn, then drove down to the ferry terminal to walk over to old Quebec City. If you ever get the chance to visit please do! It was beautiful and incredibly well preserved. We walked all over the place for about 5 hours in the drizzle and didn't even care that it was raining. We saw the gates that protected the old city, nearly 400 year old shops and houses, the Citadel and even the Plains of Abraham.

This is the heart of Old Quebec City and it feels like you're walking abound Europe. Highly recommend! We had dinner at a quiet little bistro by a park where it just so happened a man was playing the harp. It was exactly what I wanted for our 10th anniversary dinner and I was just about in tears from joy. I had the duck, Ryan had a rabbit pastry pie and both were just to die for. Our server was attentive and warm and I made sure to leave a good review on Trip Advisor for Le Lapin Saute.

The St. Jean de Baptiste Festival started to get rolling by about 8:30 and our cameras and phones were dead so we decided it was time to go back across to Levis and get some sleep. The Quality Inn in Levis does *not* have a jacuzzi or hot tub like I thought, sadly.

The next day we drove from Levis QC to St Andrews in New Bruswick. It was a long drive day again and we kept losing time but we made it all the way there just in time for our whale watching tour. Scratch another thing off my bucket list! We saw a minke whale and we were the only people that day to see one at all. There were a few seals lounging about on the rocks in Paddy (Passamaquoddy) Bay but once we got out on the big water in the Bay of Fundy it got a lot colder and that's where we found our whale.

The sunset made him a bit hard to see but I didn't mind at all. It added to the atmosphere. We were able to get pretty close and keep tracking at a distance thanks to the type of boat we were on, a Zodiac. Highly recommend the Fundy Tide Runners if you're out that way and looking for a fun trip! Not expensive either. After we got back to port we went in search of some food and then our bed and breakfast in Chamcook.

We received a bit of a frosty reception for coming in so late and missing the 4pm check-in (we were still on the road from Quebec at the time and were late for our whale watching trip) and were informed that, since the owner had to be at church the next morning for 11 and would be leaving at 10:30am sharp, breakfast would be served at 830am so please be downstairs. It was definitely an unusual experience staying at a BnB instead of at a hotel and it's really turned us off BnBs to be honest.

The next morning after a broken sleep in an antique bed and delicious pancakes at 9am, we hit the road and followed the coastal route from St. Andrews. Along the way we stopped at a waterfall where Ryan had a swim, the Cape Enrage Lighthouse, like eight thousand beaches and salt marches, and finally the famous Flower Pot Rocks at Hopewell. They're truly an amazing and unique area of the world; most of the East coast is made of sedimentary stone like sandstone, so everything is built of layers and layers of old mud that's been dried and petrified into rock. It wears away thanks to the high tidal action and leaves amazing sculptures all over the place.

The Hopewell Rocks were definitely a highlight of the trip! We got to the site at low tide so we got to roam around a lot of the area even though the park was officially closed. Turns out the staff don't care if you're on site after hours or in the dark as long as your car isn't in the parking lot and you obey the safety signs. One of the larger, more famous of the rock formations collapsed earlier this year so there are lots of areas roped off  where you shouldn't go. If you visit please obey the signs!

I don't know why jigsy isn't letting me load vertical photos vertically....

We spent the rest of the evening poking around the beach and taking pics then driving over the enormous Confederation Bridge to PEI and our resting spot in Cavendish, the Shining Waters Inn. As promised, since we were so late (it was nearly midnight) our key was in an envelope stuck to the front door. No kidding. It's such a small community, and the RCMP station is across the road, that they felt comfortable leaving the key to the inn AND our room stuck to the front door inside the screen so we could get in. Amazing.

The next day after a bit of rain and a lovely breakfast at Rachel's we went to see the crown jewel (for me) of the trip; The Anne of Green Gables house. It was everything I could've wished for and more. I was so overcome with emotion I basically cried my whole way through the house. I took a few pictures but Ryan took more for me and at one point, upstairs in Anne's room, he just held me as I sobbed on him. It's hard for me to express what Anne means to me, especially to people who've never read Lucy Maud Montgomery's classic work. She was an orphan, a chatty little girl who was smart and funny and imaginative and she loved the world she lived in. Anne got straight As in school and became a teacher but in her heart she never let go of the irrepressible little girl who moved to Avonlea as an unwanted waif. As a teacher she cared deeply for her students and as a mother she taught me a lot about grace. Anne of Green Gables was the first series I read start-to-finish as a young person and it shaped me immensely. Being in the house Lucy called home and where she based the Cuthbert farm, with it's little bedroom upstairs that looked out on the Snow Queen and the Haunted Wood, Lover's Lane and all the rolling, beautiful land of PEI was a dream come true.

We spent the afternoon, after I recovered, driving south to the Point Prim Lighthouse, the oldest light on the Island, and investigating little beaches and spots along the way. Dinner was a proper Celtic themed pub in Charlottetown and then off to the Cavendish Beach for sunset and again, not disappointed. PEI is known for it's sunsets and boy was ours a treat. When we arrived I became very excited as I'd forgotten that Cavendish was the host of one of the best spots to see PEI's famous red sandstone cliffs! Are they ever red!

All red with sand dunes up behind us where we were lucky enough to spot a fox. Ryan wasn't quick enough to get a photo unfortunately. Then the sun set and it was a perfect ending to a nearly perfect day.

The next day we started for home, stopping in at Shediac Beach for an attempt at a swim but we were thwarted by little red jellyfish in the water. We stayed the night much, much later at a little motel on the side of the highway somewhere in Quebec called the Silver Maple, slept and got back on the road the next day. After a visit in Kingston to see some old, dear friends, we went home to the kids. Our honeymoon, though ten years late, was wonderful and we can't wait to get back to the East coast next summer.



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Dress For the Body I Have? Done!

Every year we have to endure businesses and social media friends who for some reason think the fact that it’s summer means it’s totally ok to body shame people by putting out this ridiculous sign.

 

Image may contain: sky

It’s a picture of a sign at an eye doctor’s office (cleverly named “The Eye Doctor”) on which they’ve taken the time to arrange letters to say:

“Welcome to Lewiston When it’s hot please dress for the body you have, not the body you wish you had – thanks.

Can you imagine how it would feel to be a fat person arriving at your eye doctor wearing weather appropriate clothes? Too bad that these supposed healthcare practitioners are so comfortable stigmatizing their clients for a cheap joke.

First, while I’m certain that I’m the target demographic for this sign, the body I have is the body I want so they can G right TFO with this nonsense.

More to the point, it’s like 1,000 degrees outside which means that the body I have is hot AF and my concern is dealing with that, not being aesthetically pleasing to fatphobes. If someone doesn’t like the way I look in these clothes, then there are always at least 3 other cardinal directions in which they can fix their gaze.

Let’s give this another shot, shall we:

Please dress

Want a world with more fashion choices and less bullshit body shaming?

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference!

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

If you are uncomfortable with my selling things on this site, you are invited to check out this post.



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Flying While Fat – A Web Comic about Using the Airplane Toilet

 

Down that narrow aisle is the bane of my existence as a fat airline passenger.

THE AIRPLANE TOILET! For a long time, I wouldn’t fly at all because I wasn’t sure I’d fit. Somehow hurtling through the air at 536mph with a dangerously full bladder seemed the wrong moment to find out.

But then my best friend and I fell in love. After she’d just moved away to LONDON! I was gonna have to fly and I was gonna have to pee. There was no way around it. So, I tried. 

I fit but only just. I couldn’t get my legs apart once I’d peed. I had to do some acrobatics to engage in proper hygiene.

I ultimately made it to London with my dignity intact — & have since moved there permanently. I fly back to Portland, Oregon every year & I’m grateful each time that I fit well enough to make that possible. Not everyone has that privilege. I’m also keenly aware that I’m only one injury away from becoming too inflexible to do the required acrobatics — or one capitalist space-saving decision away from no longer fitting.

Tips & Tools for Using Airplane Toilets While Fat:

The “Bottom Buddy” is a handy tool to extend your reach in tight situations & It’s available on Amazon.

There are also “Heavy Duty” liners in case of leakage when you’re trying to hold on for landing on shorter flights.

IMPORTANT NOTE!

Whatever you choose to do about using the toilet while fat – please remember to stay hydrated! Dehydration is a primary risk factor for DVT. STAY SAFE! And remember: You deserve to fly just like everyone else!



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Thursday, 13 July 2017

the HAES® files: History of the Health At Every Size® Movement – Early 21st Century (Part 7)

by Barbara Altman Bruno, PhD, LCSW

In response to requests from our readers, the Health At Every Size Blog is honored to print Barbara Altman Bruno’s history of the HAES movement. Most of the installments of this history have been previously published in ASDAH member newsletters. This post is Part Seven in a series.

In 2005, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) released a deeply flawed study that sought to justify Dr. William Klish’s assertion that today’s children would experience a shorter life expectancy than their parents. But like Klish, Dr. Jay Olshansky and his team of co-authors admitted that their dire prediction relied on their “collective judgment,” rather than empirical, scientific evidence. “These are just back-of-the-envelope, plausible scenarios. We never meant for them to be portrayed as precise,” said University of Alabama professor, David B. Allison in Scientific American in June 2005.

Even noted obesity scaremonger JoAnn Manson explained to the Associated Press, “the calculations that were made may not be perfect.” An internal review committee at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called Allison’s method for counting obesity-attributable deaths “fundamentally flawed.” Despite the controversy surrounding Allison’s method, the authors of the NEJM study explained that because they only wanted “plausible estimates rather than precise numbers,” they chose to rely on Allison’s “simpler approach.”

Not surprisingly, that approach exaggerated the problem. MSNBC said that other life expectancy forecasts rely on past mortality trends; the Olshansky group (led by University of Illinois professor S. Jay Olshansky) used obesity prevalence data and previously published estimates of years of life lost from obesity. Olshansky co-authored the study with Harvard Medical School “obesity warrior” David Ludwig, who compared childhood obesity to a “massive tsunami heading for the United States.” (In 2011, Ludwig suggested that very fat children be removed from parental custody.) Allison presented so many financial conflicts of interest that NEJM published a three-page financial disclosure, listing more than 100 organizations (mostly weight-loss companies) from which he received money.

The National Weight Control Registry, which was established in 1994 by Rena Wing and James O. Hill, is a prospective investigation of individuals who have lost 30 pounds or more and kept the weight off for one year. In response to claims that dieting efforts result in long-term weight loss, Joanne Ikeda, Nancy K. Amy, Paul Ernsberger, Glenn A. Gaesser, Francie Berg, Claudia A. Clark, Ellen S. Parham, and Paula Peters, wrote, “The National Weight Control Registry: A Critique,” which was published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior in the summer of 2005 (July-August 2005;37:4).

Katherine Flegal at the Centers for Disease Control—and also the Center for Weight and Health in Berkeley, California—authored an analysis, “Excess Deaths Associated With Underweight, Overweight, and Obesity” (JAMA 2005 Apr 20; 293(15); 1861-7) which vastly lowered the estimate of excess mortality among people deemed obese or overweight. Conversely, overweight was associated with fewer deaths (as had been indicated previously in other population studies).

In 2005, Australian physical education professors Jan Wright and Michael Gard published The Obesity Epidemic: Science, Morality and Ideology, which demonstrated “in persuasive detail, with ample citations, that the epidemiological evidence underlying the interpretation of the data by obesity science is subject to skeptical consideration because it generally fails, on closer examination, to warrant the claims being made for it.” (Richard Klein, Essay Review of The Obesity Epidemic in International Journal of Epidemiology 35:1, pp. 207-8.)

“Obesity is the terror within,” Surgeon General Richard Carmona said during a lecture at the University of South Carolina in 2006. “Unless we do something about it, the magnitude of the dilemma will dwarf 9/11 or any other terrorist attempt.” He had previously referred to obesity as the terror within in 2003, calling it “a threat that is every bit as real to America as the weapons of mass destruction” and a growing epidemic.

In early 2006, educators from five disciplines (law, sociology, nutrition, political science, and exercise physiology) published an article questioning the supposed public health crisis posed by increasing BMIs. It evaluated four central claims made by those who were calling for intensifying the war on fat: (1) that obesity is an epidemic; (2) that overweight and obesity are major contributors to mortality; (3) that higher than average adiposity is pathological and a primary direct cause of disease; and (4) that significant long-term weight loss is both medically beneficial and a practical goal. “The epidemiology of overweight and obesity: public health crisis or moral panic?” was written by Paul Campos, Abigail Saguy, J. Eric Oliver, and Glenn Gaesser.

Eric Oliver’s 2006 book, Fat Politics, shows “how the so-called obesity epidemic has little to do with genuine health concerns.” Oliver explains, “…it’s all about money: drug manufacturers who finance ‘obesity institutes’ that hype the dangers of overweight to sell diet drugs; diet and exercise companies with a vested interest in convincing people that their excess pounds are hazardous to their health; bariatric surgeons who want your insurance money; researchers who find that focusing on the dangers of obesity greatly improves their changes of getting grant money and publishing their findings.” (Amazon review by P. Lozar, 4/6/06)

Continuing the critique of “obesity science,” registered nurse and writer Sandy Szwarc began her blog, Junkfood Science, in 2006. She wrote: “The more I’ve learned, the more horrified I’ve become. Science is being misused for marketing and political purposes. Evidence is being distorted and bias has inundated media, research, government policies and clinical guidelines. Unsound information proliferates in professional and advocacy organizations, academic institutions and journals; and even professionals aren’t reaching beyond beliefs to critically examine studies and recognize credible information. So much valuable and critically important information, and the very best science—well documented in careful, objective, evidence-based research—is almost never reported by mainstream media. Fear sells and unfounded scares, exaggerations and “what-ifs?” are being used to terrify people about their foods, bodies and health.”

The first Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) conference was held at the Sheep Barn at Case Western Reserve University on June 23-25, 2006. Presenters included Paul Ernsberger, Richard Koletsky, Jon Robison, Miriam Berg, Lynn McAfee, Lily O’Hara, Roki Abakoui, Frances Berg, Deb Burgard, Claudia Clark, Nancy Ellis-Ordway, Carol Kostynuk, Dana Schuster, and Marilyn Wann.

The fat acceptance and Health at Every Sizer communities expanded online. Blogs came into being, and thus began the “fatosphere.” Kate Harding started Shapely Prose in 2007, which closed in 2010. In 2009, Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere, co-authored with Marianne Kirby, was published. A list of some of the blogs ends this chapter. (9)

New York Times medical writer Gina Kolata published Rethinking Thin in 2007. It again debunked the belief that one could deliberately and permanently lose weight and keep it off. She said, “I’d often wondered how obesity researchers can keep doing study after study, advertising for subjects…, starting them off again and again on a path whose outcome they must know for sure.” (p. 221)

Traci Mann, A. Janet Tomiyama, Erika Westling, Ann-Marie Lew, Barbra Samuels, and Jason Chatman of UCLA published “Medicare’s Search for Effective Obesity Treatments:  Diets are Not the Answer” in the April 2007 issue of American Psychologist (Vol. 62, No. 3, 220-233).  They reviewed long-term studies of diets and concluded, “there is little support for the notion that diets lead to lasting weight loss or health benefits.”

In 2008, Linda Bacon, a professor of nutrition with a background in exercise physiology and psychotherapy, published the first edition of her groundbreaking book, Health at Every Size (Benbella). The second, improved edition arrived in 2010. In 2011, Bacon and English dietitian/researcher Lucy Aphramor published “Weight Science: Evaluating the Evidence for a Paradigm Shift” in Nutrition Journal, 24 January 2011. In the article, the evidence they presented suggested that shifting to a weight-neutral, HAES paradigm improved health without negative unintended consequences.

HAES pioneer Esther Rothblum joined attorney Sondra Solovay (Tipping the Scales of Justice, 2000) to edit The Fat Studies Reader in 2009. The compilation included chapters on health, sizism, social inequality, and taking action.

In 2009, dietitian and researcher Corinna Tomrley and Ann Kalosky Naylor edited Fat Studies in the UK, which included content by Lucy Aphramor, Katie LeBesco, and other scholars, artists, and activists. Aphramor cofounded HAES UK in May 2009 with activist Sharon Curtis.

ASDAH leadership was concerned that weight-loss companies would attempt to coopt HAES terminology, and so applied for trademark protections. ASDAH trademarked Health at Every Size on July 12, 2011 and HAES on May 22, 2012.

New York Times writer David Brooks, in a column (“The Post-Trump Era,” 3/25/16) cites Thomas Kuhn, author of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: “According to Kuhn, intellectual progress is not steady and gradual. It’s marked by sudden paradigm shifts There’s a period of normal science when everybody embraces a paradigm that seems to be working. Then there’s a period of model drift: As years go by, anomalies accumulate and the model begins to seem creaky and flawed. Then there’s a model crisis, when the whole thing collapses.“

The list of anomalies, “obesity paradoxes,” has grown over the years. The voices against the weight-centered health paradigm have been growing. The model crisis is pending…

Published to the HAES Blog with permission from Barbara Altman Bruno. Copyright © 2017 Barbara Bruno. All rights reserved.

Readers can access previous installments of this history here:
Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5
   Part 6


Barbara Altman Bruno, Ph.D., DCSW has been a clinical social worker, size acceptance activist, and HAES pioneer.  She has presented at clinical conferences, appeared in television, radio, magazines, newspapers, and demonstrations, and has written many articles, including well-being columns for larger people, guidelines for therapists who treat fat clients, a brief history of HAES, and a book, Worth Your Weight (what you CAN do about a weight problem).  She is former co-chair of education for ASDAH and is on the Advisory Boards of NAAFA and The Fat Studies Journal.




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Wednesday, 12 July 2017

If She Wasn’t Trying to Fat Shame, She’s a Natural

fat shaming naturalI received this Facebook post from a blog reader Annette today with the note “I know that she’s wrong, but I don’t know how to break it down for her, can you help?”  Well Annette, I can try! Please not:  this is some fat shaming BS, if you’re not in the mood to deal with it you can skip the indented parts (which are quotes from the nonsense) and still get the gist of things. I’ll start with the quote in its entirety:

For those who didnt see my post, I posted a pic of a pair of shorts with a 70″ waist. I found them hilarious, and laughed all through the thrift store I saw them in. I meant no harm to any living being, and stated so in the post, nor was I trying to shame anyone who suffers with their weight. I, myself, have weighed 240 pounds. I have suffered with eating disorders my entire life, yet I was lectured by people who presumed that I was fat shaming people. What? So let me say… I send merit to all those who are obese. I pray that you can get this under control… NOT BECAUSE OF THE WAY YOU LOOK, but because obesity leads to heart issues, diabetes, depression, some forms of cancer, and an overall unhealthy life. I respect all human life, and am sorry for those who assumed that they knew I was intentionally implying something else. What a world we live in. Oh, and by the way, I am still laughing

The short answer of why this is wrong is because you can’t say “I respect all human life” while in the same breath engaging in stereotyping, fat shaming, and healthism. If you want to be credible you can’t just say “I respect all human life,” you have to actually do it.

Let’s break it down:

For those who didnt see my post, I posted a pic of a pair of shorts with a 70″ waist. I found them hilarious, and laughed all through the thrift store I saw them in. I meant no harm to any living being, and stated so in the post, nor was I trying to shame anyone who suffers with their weight.

So this person saw a pair of shorts made for a fat person, and then felt the need to tell everyone she could reach on social media that she found them “hilarious.” But she wasn’t “trying to shame anyone who suffers with their weight.” Riiiiiight.

I can’t imagine what she would have done differently if she had intended to shame fat people. If she wasn’t trying, then she’s a natural. By the way, this is exactly what I mean when I say that I’ve never suffered from my weight, but I have definitely suffered from fat shaming.

I, myself, have weighed 240 pounds. I have suffered with eating disorders my entire life, yet I was lectured by people who presumed that I was fat shaming people.  

Thanks for the PSA that internalized fatphobia is a thing.  The fact that this person used to be fat isn’t doing fat people much good right now is it? I’m sure some of her best friends are fat or whatever, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is fatphobic bullshit.

What?

YOU ARE FAT SHAMING! IT IS SHITTY! YOU SHOULD STOP! That’s what.

So let me say… I send merit to all those who are obese. I pray that you can get this under control… NOT BECAUSE OF THE WAY YOU LOOK, but because obesity leads to heart issues, diabetes, depression, some forms of cancer, and an overall unhealthy life.

You send merit? You can always tell that someone has a grossly over-exaggerated sense of self-importance when they think that they are in a position to grudging bestow honor on others. Fat people don’t need your “merit.”  We need shorts that fit us and not to be fat shamed.  We also don’t need your stereotypes, your prayers, or your healthism. Even if you somehow still believe that tripe that weight and health are the same thing, other people’s health is not your business. In truth, there are people of all sizes with heart issues, diabetes, depression, cancer and whatever the hell she means by  an “unhealthy life” and those people – like all people – deserve respect and access to healthcare, and nothing else about their health is anybody else’s business unless they ask us to make it our business. They should certainly not be used as cheap fodder to justify hand-wringing “Won’t somebody think about the health” fat shaming.

I respect all human life, and am sorry for those who assumed that they knew I was intentionally implying something else. What a world we live in. Oh, and by the way, I am still laughing

You don’t respect all human life.  Those who assumed that you were fat shaming are right. What a shitty fat shaming world we live in because people do crap like this. I’m not laughing. Fix it.

Inevitably people (probably this woman) will turn to the “Can’t you take a joke” defense, so I’ll end with a quick reminder that it’s totally messed up to ask groups of people to become better at being stigmatized and made fun of without complaint, so that other people can laugh at our expense without having to feel badly or have their atrocious behavior pointed out.

Want to help create a world where this kind of fat shaming is seen as completely unacceptable?

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference!

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

If you are uncomfortable with my selling things on this site, you are invited to check out this post.



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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Childbirth Classes and Birth Plans Increase Chances for Vaginal Birth

Photo by Andy Ellison

Fewer women are taking childbirth classes in some communities. They feel they are too busy to accommodate a multi-week class or they feel that they should defer to the expertise of their care provider. They spend far more time decorating the nursery than they do planning for the actual birth.

But here is one good reason to consider taking childbirth ed classes or making a birth plan. They may lower your chances of a cesarean.

In this study, only about a third of women birthing at this particular hospital attended a childbirth education class; 12.0 percent had a birth plan, and 8.8 percent had both. This shows how underutilized these tools are in many communities.

However, those who had a birth plan had nearly TWICE the chance of having a vaginal birth as those who did not. Those who did attend childbirth ed classes had a 1.26 better chance of a vaginal birth, and those who had both childbirth ed classes and a birth plan had 1.69 the chances of a vaginal birth.

Taking childbirth ed classes and having a birth plan will not guarantee you a vaginal birth, but it is another tool in the toolkit when preparing for labor and birth.

Discussion

Of course, some L&D nurses will swear that women who come in with a birth plan have higher cesarean rates, not lower as in this study. This can be true in some situations, like those hospitals and caregivers who find it threatening when birthing women claim their independence to make their own healthcare decisions. Some will find ways to punish women who don't just automatically follow what they are told to do. A few will schedule these women for extra interventions to "teach them a lesson."

However, other hospitals truly respect women's birthing choices and will accommodate them as much as possible. One helpful thing to do is to request an L&D nurse that supports and is enthusiastic about natural childbirth but who will support your choices without judgment. Don't be afraid to request a different nurse if the one you are assigned doesn't meet your needs. Another helpful thing to do is to hire a doula, a professional labor support person, if your budget allows. Research is very clear that having a doula lowers the chance of a cesarean significantly. And of course, a provider that believes in the physiological model of birth (also called the midwifery model of care, though doctors can practice it too) is key.

Really, attending a birth is both an art and a science. The same mother with the same presenting conditions can be managed very differently by different providers. That's why it's so important to research your hospital choices and choose your caregivers wisely in pregnancy. Learning about the different choices available during birth (and the pros and cons of each) is a big part of this process. A good childbirth education class is perfect for this process, and a good birth plan helps you decide what is most important to you.

Of course, it's always important to remain flexible in your plans because unexpected things can occur. Sometimes a cesarean or other intervention is the best choice under the circumstances. Birth plans should be short and flexible, and of course the parents should take into account the advice and expertise of their birth attendants. But a road map describing where you want to go and how you'd ideally like to get there (with information about alternatives in case of detours) can be very helpful when planning your childbirth trip.

Personally, I found childbirth ed classes invaluable. I took the regular hospital classes with my first and while they were somewhat helpful, they were more a lesson in how to be a compliant patient. In later pregnancies I took various other classes, including Birth Works, Bradley, Birthing From Within, and Hypnobirthing. I found these classes much more useful so I generally recommend independent childbirth classes. Some hospital classes can be wonderful but often their content is tightly controlled by the OB staff and may not present a full spectrum of choices.

My personal favorite was Birth Works classes, which is why I became an instructor in it, but I also enjoyed Birthing From Within. I know parents who swear by some of the other classes. It's mostly a matter of finding the approach that resonates with you.

But do try to find a good independent childbirth class and get the instructor's help in making a good birth plan. It's no guarantee of a vaginal birth, but it helps.


Reference

Birth. 2017 Mar;44(1):29-34. doi: 10.1111/birt.12263. Epub 2016 Nov 15. Childbirth Education Class and Birth Plans Are Associated with a Vaginal Delivery. Afshar Y, Wang ET, Mei J, Esakoff TF, Pisarska MD, Gregory KD. PMID: 27859592 DOI: 10.1111/birt.12263
BACKGROUND: To determine whether the mode of delivery was different between women who attended childbirth education (CBE) class, had a birth plan, or both compared with those who did not attend CBE class or have a birth plan. METHODS: This is a retrospective cross-sectional study of women who delivered singleton gestations > 24 weeks at our institution between August 2011 and June 2014. Based on a self-report at the time of admission for labor, women were stratified into four categories: those who attended a CBE class, those with a birth plan, both, and those with neither CBE or birth plan. The primary outcome was the mode of delivery. Multivariate logistic regression analyses adjusting for clinical covariates were performed. RESULTS: In this study, 14,630 deliveries met the inclusion criteria: 31.9 percent of the women attended CBE class, 12.0 percent had scheduled a birth plan, and 8.8 percent had both. Women who attended CBE or had a birth plan were older (p < 0.001), more likely to be nulliparous (p < 0.001), had a lower body mass index (p < 0.001), and were less likely to be African-American (p < 0.001). After adjusting for significant covariates, women who participated in either option or both had higher odds of a vaginal delivery (CBE: OR 1.26 [95% CI 1.15-1.39]; birth plan: OR 1.98 [95% CI 1.56-2.51]; and both: OR 1.69 [95% CI 1.46-1.95]) compared with controls. CONCLUSION: Attending CBE class and/or having a birth plan were associated with a vaginal delivery. These findings suggest that patient education and birth preparation may influence the mode of delivery. CBE and birth plans could be used as quality improvement tools to potentially decrease cesarean rates.


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Jumping Through Hoops for Knee Surgery

knee surgeryOne of the most read and shared blog posts I’ve ever written is about fat people and our knees.  Today we’re going to look a a specific situation. An incredibly common question that I get is from someone who needs knee surgery but whose orthopedist has refused to perform the surgery unless and until the person loses weight.  This happens with other surgeries as well, but the one I hear about the most is knee surgery.

Sometimes the doctor suggests weight loss through diet and exercise.  I would point out that even if diet and exercise might lead to short term weight loss (and even if they could manage exercise on a knee that required replacement!) the most likely outcome, based on the research, is that they would end up heavier than they started within a few years, which begs the question: If you think that my size is the problem, then why are you are giving me what is  statistically the worst possible advice?

Now I’m hearing more and more from people whose doctor has claimed that knee surgery is “too dangerous” at their weight and has recommended … wait for it … weight loss surgery.  You aren’t reading that wrong – doctors are refusing to fix someone’s knee until they are willing to have their stomach almost entirely amputated.

The first issue here is that the weight loss requirement is generally an arbitrary percentage or number of pounds, creating a situation where even if the patient achieves the prescribed amount of weight loss (short term at least) they are then offered surgery at a size at which the surgeon would have denied them if it was their starting weight. If that’s not completely ridiculous I don’t know what is.

But far worse, suggesting surgery is an extraordinary breach of the idea of “do no harm” since they are asking fat patients to risk their lives and quality of life by having a surgery that is a complete crapshoot in terms of outcome (some people are happy, some people die, some people have horrific lifelong side effects and people don’t know which group they’ll be in until they are in it) so that the patient can get a simple surgery, and the doctor can perform an easier surgery despite the fact that two surgeries are riskier than one. Jumping through hoops to receive knee surgery is bad enough, risking your life to receive it should be out of the question.

But doctors use the realities of surgery on larger bodies as reasons not to give us healthcare, rather than working to solve these issues (for example, if a fat person’s leg is too heavy for one person to hold during the duration of surgery the correct answer is to find another way to hold the leg – an extra person, a device etc. – not for fat people to simply live with chronic knee pain and limited mobility while medical science aggressively shrugs its shoulders.)

Even if you believe that fat people face additional risk from the surgery and/or have less benefit, that doesn’t mean that the procedure should be denied. Less pain and more mobility is a reasonable motivation for seeking healthcare even for patients who are unlikely to have the absolutely best outcome for any of many reasons (which is why Shaquille O’Neal received knee surgery even though it was his plan to continue the professional athlete lifestyle that trashed his knee in the first place.)

None of this is to suggest that if you are refused knee surgery you are under any obligation, or even recommendation, to try to change your doctor’s mind.  That’s certainly an option (and for those who live in areas with limited practitioners and the inability to travel to see another doctor it may be the only option.)  Many people have found that their best option was simply to find a more compassionate and talented surgeon who isn’t interested in simply cherry picking only the easiest surgeries.

Remember that you get to choose the path you take. While you shouldn’t have to do it, you might decide that it’s worth it to try to crash diet to lose that 20 pounds the doctor asked for so that you can get your surgery – knowing, of course,  that you’ll be gaining the weight back again and probably more. Maybe it’s worth it (and you have the resources) to travel to see a surgeon who doesn’t practice from a base of fatphobia.  Maybe you want to turn this into activism and start insisting that the doctor provide proof that you can lose weight long term (they can’t) or that you won’t die or have horrific longterm side effects from the surgery (they can’t) and then lobby for the procedure since their position is baseless.  Or be super extra nice and try to sweet talk them into it. Sometimes trying to access medical care in a deeply fatphobic society means doing whatever it takes to get the care we deserve.

If you’re looking for a fat friendly doctor you can check out the international fat friendly doctor list at http://ift.tt/1Yezbqr (If you have a fat friendly doctor, please take a moment to add them to the list!.)

If you want to help make the world – including medical care – less fatphobic, join us (online!) for the Fat Activism Conference:

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference!

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

 

 



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Monday, 10 July 2017

Fat Shaming at Commencement

What Will you DefendI often hear from people who don’t understand the many ways that fatphobia affects fat people every day – and on special days, as well as folks who don’t understand how these incidents increase the fatter we are.  I recently heard from reader Rene about a terrible experience that she and her mother had at her commencement (and that I’m sharing with her permission.)

To start with, Rene had to go to effort that she wouldn’t have had to do if she were thin or if her school’s graduation ceremony was accommodating to students of all sizes in the first place. So she started almost a month ahead of time:

From:   Rene
Date:   Wednesday, May 24, 2017  03:35 PM
To:   commencement@XXXXXX.edu
Subject:  Seating at commencement

Hello,

I’m registered with DRC for seating accommodations in my classes, and I’m wondering what steps I need to take to ensure that there is appropriate seating for me at commencement? Specific to the ceremony, my concerns are that I may need a stronger chair if folding chairs are used for graduates, and that if I’m seated in the middle of a row of students, I might need additional space between myself and the people next to me for everyone’s comfort. Please let me know what the next steps are.

Thank you,

Rene

The university responded:

From: <commence@XXXXX.edu>
Date: Jun 13, 2017 6:49 PM
Subject: RE:’PSU=773-094′ Seating at commencement
To: Rene

Hi Rene,

We will have a bariatric chair available for you at Moda. It will be placed on the side of the bowl near the bachelor SSW area. I will be instructing the line’s staff that you have requested that chair so that way they can move one of the regular chairs at the end of the row and replace it with your bariatric chair. Please remind the lines staff as it is close to your turn to sit down once entering the space.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Sounds easy enough, but sadly that’s not how it happened:

—–Original Message—–
From:   Rene
Date:   Monday, June 19, 2017  05:44 PM
To:   commencement@XXXXXX.edu
Subject:  Re: ‘PSU=773-094’ Seating at commencement

Hello,

I wanted to follow up after the commencement ceremony. I was placed at the end of a row (separated from my BSW classmates), however no bariatric chair was provided, and the staff seating us seemed to have no idea that one was required or where it might be. As a result I spent an agonizing 3 hours perched on the edge of my seat, standing in the side aisle each time we were asked to stand. It’s extremely disappointing that after being assured that appropriate seating would be available, that it was not in fact present on the day of the ceremony.

I’d also like to bring to your attention that my mother was denied access to ADA seating in the audience when she arrived at the Moda center. While she doesn’t appear disabled at first glance, having to climb a large number of stairs then sit in the poor seating in the “nosebleed” section was physically challenging for her.  I had specifically requested ADA seating when I picked up my tickets, and she is not comfortable advocating for herself when she’s denied services in public. I’m deeply disappointed that watching me walk caused my mother to be in physical pain for the rest of the day

I hope this feedback will help spark a discussion about how to better serve the disabled individuals graduating and supporting graduates.

Rene Rice

The response that she received:

Hi Rene,

I apologize that these things did not go as planned. I will make sure to provide the feedback to Moda about your mother’s situation. If your mom had the ADA tickets, she should have received the ADA seating.

For the bariatric chair we had it ready for you. We made several announcements in the Exhibition Hall where you lined up, to come and identify your self. It was loud in there so you might not have heard the announcement, but there was no other way to identify you. As you might have noticed there was also no way of knowing where you’d be sitting. I apologize that it didn’t happen and you had an unpleasant experience. We will think of another way in the future to connect with students prior to the ceremony.

And finally Rene’s beautiful response to this victim blaming nonsense:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Rene 
Date: Tue, Jun 27, 2017 at 6:45 PM
Subject: Re: ‘PSU=773-094’ Seating at commencement
To: commencement@XXXX.edu
Cc: <drc@XXXXX.edu>

Had I been instructed to listen for an announcement in the Exhibition Hall, I might have been able to connect with the staff there.  However, that was not the instruction I was given. I was told to alert the line staff when I was being seated.  Another way to handle this would be to have a station near the entrance where students with ADA accommodations can check in as they arrive…perhaps with a big sign since clearly announcements are completely futile in that space.

Please also consider that the tone of your reply regarding my seating is such that it places the blame on me for not being accommodated.  That’s a really problematic attitude, especially considering that a) the university was already aware of my seating needs well in advance of commencement and b) I specifically reached out to the commencement planning office several weeks in advance to ensure that my needs were communicated.  As a result of the failure of commencement staff, I was extremely uncomfortable at my graduation ceremony, and chose to leave early (after walking, but prior to the end of the ceremony). I’m struggling right now to express how frustrating this experience has been, and how angry I am regarding the response I’ve received.

I’m completing my master’s degree next June, and now I find myself questioning whether participating in commencement is worth my time and frustration. That should never be the case.  I’m looping the DRC in on this conversation, and I’m pasting in the last set of instructions I received from Natalie prior to commencement.  It’s absolutely unacceptable that this has been handled so poorly.

Rene

This is the world that fathpobia and ableism has wrought, and it sucks.

Want to fight back and create a more inclusive world? Then:

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference!

The Fat Activism Conference is an online conference, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recording and transcripts so you can listen/read live and in your own time.  The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

 



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Wednesday, 5 July 2017

On super fat packing

As I’ve shared before, I’m on sabbatical for the second half of this year. I have the privilege of spending seven months in Germany (with short trips around Europe to collaborate with Fat Studies scholars and activists). Packing for a long trip is difficult; trying to cultivate a 3 season wardrobe into two suitcases feels insurmountable at the onset.

Lots of people who I spoke to about this were sympathetic, but then quick to quirk that I can simply buy what I need there. And that suggestion was always said with a wink and a nudge; ya know, you’ll HAVE TO buy new wardrobes in Europe and what a hardship that will be. Sometimes I just smiled and played along, but usually I took it as an opportunity to help them check their privilege.

“I can’t be guaranteed that any stores there will carry clothes that will fit me, so that’s not really a good way to plan for someone who is super fat, like me.”

This usually returned blank stares or dawning horror as it never occurred to them that clothing options are limited if you’re above a 18 (and even more so when you’re a 34/36 like me). I usually continued on, just to drive the point home.

“I’m sized out of all the clothes stores here in NZ. So, if I need something, I have to order it online and wait for it to arrive. And hope it fits well. Or at all.”

So, packing for my seven month trip to Europe is filled with more anxiety than anything else. Because I can’t just stroll into a shop and buy what I need. (Luckily, the same places that ship to NZ will definitely ship to Germany, so I will have access, albeit slow access, to additional options).

What I’ve done is twofold.

First, I’ve a definite colour scheme. I’ve gone with white, black, and red. Now, I wear a lot more blue than anything else, but I had key pieces in red (turtleneck and stretch tank top) that made red my best accent colour.

Second, I’ve curated a wardrobe where everything can go from summer to winter (except the heavy duty winter stuff).

So, for example, take this sundress.

Me and Substantia Jones of The Adipositivity Project (she was a keynote at FSNZ16)

It’s perfect for hot summer days. If I add leggings (& maybe a black duster jacket) it’s good for cooler Fall weather. And if I put a turtleneck on first, and switch the leggings for thick tights, I’ve got a winter outfit! And I can change between three turtlenecks (in white, black, red) and three leggings (guess the colours) and three tights (ahem, you’ve got this, right?), and I’ve technically got 13 different outfits (feel free to check my math) in this one dress & accompaniments.

This is how I’ve planned to fit seven months into two suitcases. I’ll report back on Twitter over the next several months about how I’m going (follow me for lots of super fatting around Europe! @FOMNZ). I’d love to hear from other super fats what challenges they encounter when packing for trips – and any hacks they’ve worked out to make that part of travelling less of a hassle!



via Friend of Marilyn http://ift.tt/2tfUQ94