Monday, 31 October 2016

How to Killjoy an Obesity display one #BodySpectacular at a time

My friend E puts on events and curates things, as is the modern way. Earlier this year she asked if I would like to talk about my book at something she was involved with at the Wellcome Collection in London. For those not in the know, the Wellcome Collection is one of the world's most august museums on medical history. They are very hot on art as a means of understanding medicine and bodies that have been medicalised. Like fat people.

I said yes, I was thrilled to have been asked, and also daunted. The exposure and support of this institution for my work is not to be sneezed at. I work outside of institutions mostly, partly because I value my independence, partly because I feel that I don't belong, and partly because I actually don't belong and would never normally be invited to take part. I said yes because I wanted to see what might happen and because I hoped it would be a good way of supporting the book.

Yet I was daunted. The way in which fat is framed throughout the institution and its sister organisations is very retrograde based on my experiences of rubbing up against it as a visitor and researcher. The public face of the institution's attitude to fat people is located in a display in their Medicine Now exhibit called Obesity. This consists of a sculpture, weight loss technology, diet books, audio recordings of anti-obesity proponents and a token fat woman, and objects implying that people have become less active and over-reliant on labour-saving devices. As a depiction of Obesity Epidemic rhetoric and medicalised obesity discourse, it is pitch perfect. I experience it as a hate zone.

I knew that I would be talking about my book in the lecture theatre on the night, but I also wanted to be in the Obesity gallery. I didn't feel that I could deliver a talk about my book without some comment about the display upstairs. I couldn’t ignore it. I have loathed that display since it was installed in 2007 and I want to see it change to reflect the realities of people like me, and to be approximately a hundred thousand times more critical of the discourse it currently represents.

So I proposed a dance that I would dance with Kay Hyatt in the Obesity gallery. We've been working on a piece that would be suitable, called 'But is it Healthy?' The people at the Wellcome Collection said yes. I said I would make a zine to contextualise the dance, and I did, it's called The Blob. I made some beats to dance to based on some recordings of fat feminists from 36 years ago. I wrote an article about the event for the paper.

I'm making it sound very easy, but the reality is not easy. Another friend, L, said that people would likely tell me how awesome I am, which is nice, but they might not be able to see the risk involved in dancing in such a space.

The risk is I am dancing in a hate zone and that most people are unlikely to understand what that might feel like. Even at this stage in my life it is hard. My hope is that dancing, being there, making a spectacle of myself, might help transform that space. Sometimes I feel hopeful and other times I think I am a fantasist and that nothing can stop the greed and ambition of the weight loss industry. I don't want to bellyache about it too much, it is an amazing privilege to be there at all, I'm so grateful for the invitation and care that has been extended towards me, but it is still complicated and sometimes it sends me into a spin.

Today we did a site visit, I was able to hear the music we will be dancing to in the space and we did a little bit of dancing when no one was looking. I am so moved by the fat feminists who made a path for us all those years ago. When I think of the risks I am taking I am humbled by those women who dared to speak before. They give me a lot of strength. It was amazing to hear them speaking today, to dance to their words which remain so relevant. I felt that I was part of something much bigger than me, that there are many other voices of refusal, not just voices but bodies. I'm not the only one to put myself in a risky place. Those others have given me a lot of courage, they remind me that I am not alone and that this risk is worth taking.

Anyway, here are all the details, downloads and links. Come along if you can but, if you can't, you can still read, watch and listen. My talk on the night will be audio recorded and put on the Wellcome website too.

Paper copies of my zine will be available at the event but you can also download a digital copy.
The Blob (.pdf 4mb)

But Is It Healthy Beats by Charlotte Cooper, featuring Diane Denne, Judy Freespirit, Aldebaran and Judith Stein recorded by Karen Stimson in 1980.

Guardian article (I didn't write that rather boastful title!): The rhetoric around obesity is toxic. So I created a new language for fat people

Wellcome Collection Friday Late Spectacular: Body Language
Friday 4 November 2016

Please note that you will have to book in advance through the Wellcome Collection website if you want to see me lecture, though this is free. The dance will take place around 9.30pm, no booking is required though these events tend to be extremely popular, so get there early.

via Obesity Timebomb

Exercise During Pregnancy May Cut Labor Length in Women of Size

Image from Stocky Bodies Image Bank
Here is the abstract of a recent study that found that exercise during pregnancy might be useful in reducing how long a high-BMI woman spends in labor.

In the study, women of size who were active during pregnancy had shorter labors (13.4 hours vs. 19.2 hours) than those who were more sedentary.

The effect seemed particularly strong for women who had given birth before (multips). "Obese" multips who were active in pregnancy had labors of about 6.2 hours, vs. 16.7 hours for obese multips who were not active in pregnancy.

The difference in cesarean rates between those who were active in pregnancy and those who were not did not rise to statistical significance in this study, but as we wrote about recently, other research has suggested that exercise in pregnancy might reduce the risk for cesareans as well.

One caution is that this study was small, so that limits the conclusions from it. Perhaps there were simply not enough participants to show a significant difference in cesareans. On the other hand, its relatively small size might also have magnified the effect on labor length. So there is that caveat.

And of course, this finding is only a correlation. There are plenty of people who exercise religiously and end up with long labors and/or cesareans, and some people who don't exercise at all and have easy short labors and births. Exercising is no guarantee of anything, but it does seem likely to reduce the odds of problems. For example, some research suggests that regular exercise during pregnancy might reduce the risk for gestational diabetes in obese women.

Potentially reducing labor length is just one more reason for women of size to exercise during pregnancy. It's a low-tech intervention that is very unlikely to harm (barring the rare contraindications to exercise in pregnancy) and seems likely to be helpful.

If exercising is something you already do, good work! Keep it up. Regularity of exercise is more important in pregnancy than its intensity. You don't have to run marathons to benefit. Just get out and move most days of the week.

If exercise is something you can improve on, get started. Choose a form of exercise that you enjoy. Walking, swimming, dancing, prenatal yoga, riding an exercise bike, and water aerobics are all forms of exercise that are very friendly to pregnant women of size. And remember, any amount you do is better than none.

You'll feel better for having exercised, trust me (I definitely felt better in my pregnancies when I exercised). And maybe it will pay off with a shorter labor, fewer complications, or less chance of a cesarean too.


J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2015 Nov 12. [Epub ahead of print] Impact of physical activity during pregnancy on obstetric outcomes in obese women. Tinius R1, Cahill AG, Cade WT. PMID: 26564274
AIM: Maternal obesity is associated with complications and adverse outcomes during the labor and delivery process. In pregnant women with a healthy body weight, maternal physical activity during pregnancy is associated with better obstetric outcomes; however, the effect of maternal physical activity during pregnancy on obstetric outcomes in obese women is not known. The purpose of the study was to determine the influence of self-reported physical activity levels on obstetric outcomes in pregnant obese women. METHODS: A retrospective chart review was performed on 48 active obese women and 48 inactive obese women (N=96) who received prenatal care and delivered at the medical center during the past five years. Obstetric and neonatal outcomes were compared between the active and inactive groups. RESULTS: Obese women who were active during pregnancy spent less total time in labor (13.4 hours vs. 19.2 hours, p=0.048) and were less likely to request an epidural (92% vs. 100%, p=0.04). When stratified by parity, active multiparous women spent significantly less total time in labor compared to inactive multiparous (6.2 hours vs. 16.7 hours, p=0.018). There were no statistical differences between groups in rates of cesarean deliveries or neonatal outcomes. CONCLUSION: Maternal physical activity during pregnancy appears to improve obstetric outcomes in obese women, and this improvement may be more pronounced among multiparous women. Our finding is of particular importance as pregnant obese women are at higher risk for adverse and delivery outcomes.

via The Well-Rounded Mama

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Roundup: the 52nd Annual Chicago International Film Festival

It sucks that film criticism is a dwindling profession (and that I didn’t make life choices to result in it being my career), because I could live at film festivals.  I don’t do conventions, but I imagine that I like film fests for the same reason– it’s comforting to be in a space where everyone is excited for the same dorky reason that, in the harsh wilderness of the outside world, you feel relief if someone from the general population even knows what the heck you’re talking about.  And when there’s the opportunity to be in that space for two solid weeks?


Well, that hasn’t been my experience yet, partially because I haven’t had the vacation time or the money for tickets, and partially because the first weekend of the Chicago International Film Festival (ChiFilmFest) is always the same weekend as the Music Box of Horrors.  But this year, finally, I had the opportunity to spend two solid days and then some at ChiFilmFest.  I skipped over the high profile entries that are going to be in theaters soon anyway (although I am looking forward to MoonlightLa La Land, The Handmaiden, and Arrival) and instead went for stuff that I’m not sure I’ll be able to see a second time, let alone in a theater: locally made indies, foreign films, shorts.  I don’t think I caught the breakout film of next year; the movies I saw ranged from underwhelming to pretty damn good.  I caught some interesting director Q&As, was part of the first audience in the US to see Andrzej Wajda’s final film, and got an obscene amount of free refills from the soda fountain at the concession stand.  The list of all the films I saw at ChiFilmFest are here.

The characters I saw were in wide variety, from an irrepressible Tibetan goatherd in Soul on a String to a closeted Quebecois track runner in 1:54.  There weren’t many instances where I was specifically impressed with representation of historically marginalized groups– notable exceptions were Pushing Dead‘s depiction of a person living with HIV/AIDS; the nuanced meditation on a young woman’s sexual agency in The View from Tall (cn: sexual harassment); and the rediscovery of black country blues artists during the 60s folk revival and its parallel to the civil rights movement in Two Trains Runnin’. And while there were some fat characters included in the 13 films I saw, none really stood out as anything different than the kind of representation I’ve grown accustomed to, unfortunately.  Here’s a quick rundown of them.

(CN: discussion of sexual assault)

“Superbia” (dir. Luca Toth)

An animated short that could be most simplistically described as a surreal world made up of two warring societies of men and women.  I’m not going to pretend that I understood what the film is trying to say, but it was cool to see characters drawn in a variety of sizes and shapes.

Night of 1000 Hours (dir. Virgil Widrich)

A magical realist murder mystery and allegory about historical responsibility, in which one Austrian family’s entire history comes to visit on the same night.  A notable fat character is a blowhard World War I-era police chief who is more concerned with maintaining rule of law than he is with bringing about justice.

Afterimage (dir. Andrzej Wajda)

A biopic of the final years in the life of Polish abstract painter Władysław Strzemiński and his losing struggle against the government-mandated rise of socialist realism in art in post-WWII Poland. There was another line-towing fat police officer, a relatively small part.

Imperfections (dir. David Singer)

Cute, funny heist movie that, not unlike a Coen Brothers film, has a lot of quirky bit parts embodied by fat people, including an obnoxious department store manager, a mob heavy who asks the guy he’s trying to intimidate if he can use his bathroom, and a socially awkward guy who just wants to buy some drugs.

Middle Man (dir. Ned Crowley)

A black comedy that reminded me a bit of last year’s submission Entertainment, this film stars Jim O’Heir (Jerry from Parks and Recreation) as an overly-optimistic square headed to Las Vegas to fulfill his dreams of being a standup comic, but gets waylaid when he makes a bloody pact with a mysterious stranger.  (O’Heir joked during the Q&A afterwords that he would have been off the project if they were able to cast Jonah Hill.)  He’s the only fat character on the screen, but another fat historical figure is invoked.  And as temptation is a big theme in this movie, I want to tell you how I avoided what could have been the most obnoxious “well, actually” moment of my life thus far:

At the screening, writer/director Ned Crowley and Jim O’Heir were in attendance to do a q&a. There’s a scene in the film where a character has a speech that uses a historical anecdote to illustrate a point. The anecdote in question was the story of Fatty Arbuckle raping a woman at a party with a champagne bottle so severely that she died from the resulting injuries.

Now, I don’t have a time machine, but I do know that contemporary film historians largely agree that Fatty Arbuckle was not guilty of this crime and unjustly crucified by the media and resulting moral panic. And one of the reasons I know this is because I’ve read the essay “Roscoe Arbuckle and the Scandal of Fatness” by Neda Ulaby, which is included in the essay collection Bodies Out of Bounds: Fatness and Transgression (ed. Jana Evans Braziel and Kathleen LeBesco), which I happened to have brought with me to the theater to read in between films. Plus I was sitting in the front section of the theater, so I both literally and figuratively could have thrown the book at the screenwriter. But I’m too classy (or is it spineless?) to do such a thing.

via Consistent Panda Bear Shape

the HAES® files: Fat Studies: May the Next Generation of Fat Kids Be Free of Self-Hatred

by Mikalina Kirkpatrick

I am a Women, Gender, and Sexualities Studies (WGSS) major at Portland State University in Oregon. I concluded my junior year with a 2016 Spring term of Fat Studies immersion. I was the teaching assistant for an online class called Gender and Body Image and I took an online senior capstone class called Embracing Size Diversity. I then decided to round out the term with a last-minute eight hour bus ride to Vancouver, BC to attend the fourth annual International Weight Stigma Conference.

After a lifetime of fat phobic schooling, this was 10 weeks of incredible, unusual, validating, and empowering education. If education has the potential to reshape the world, it’s really exciting to think about the next generation of gym teachers, nurses, teachers and others who work with kids going through this kind of educational experience.

The Way It Usually Is

Classrooms are important settings where people’s experiences can either be validated or denied. Those of us in the Social Sciences know this well. So many teachers and classes from kindergarten to college follow established curricula that reinforce the dominant paradigm. It takes a brave teacher, and maybe even a brave institution, to challenge the lessons that laud Christopher Columbus as a hero and promote thinness as the ideal standard of beauty and health.

One of the best things about taking a Fat Studies class was getting to have so much of my experience legitimized. For those of us who have grown up in a fat phobic society, a fair amount of our life experience is defined by our fatness. We have felt shamed, ostracized, and othered. We’ve been the butt of jokes on TV and in our own homes. We’ve been desexualized and dehumanized. We’ve been bullied in school by classmates as well as fat-hostile educators and curricula. I remember the panic and shame that burned in me when my teacher announced that we were going to calculate our BMIs in health class. I thought everyone was staring at me when he talked about the health dangers of fatness when we covered human anatomy. In every classroom setting where I was told my body was wrong, that I was wrong, I wanted to disappear over and over again.

A Different Set of Readings

In our Embracing Size Diversity class, we read a lot of great material. We kicked it off with The Fat Studies Reader chapter, “What is “Health at Every Size?” by Deb Burgard, the “Hunger” chapter from The Beauty Myth, Fikkan and Rothblum’s article, “Is Fat a Feminist Issue?” and Biltekoff’’s article, “The Terror  Within: Obesity in Post 9/11 U.S. Life.

But the reading that really got me was chapter three from Sondra Solovay’s Tipping the Scales of Justice, “But Names will Never Hurt Me: Growing Up Fat.” In this chapter, Solovay discusses several factors that lead to fat kids experiencing stigmatization and objectification. In short, it’s a reading about the many ways in which it’s really painful and hard to be a fat kid in American society. Parents policing eating habits, sneaking food when parents restrict, feeling shame about being seen eating and moving, all the internalized self-hatred that comes from living in a fat phobic society—and it starts when we are still kids! It felt so amazing to read these pages in an academic setting, for the wisdom of Health At Every Size® (HAES) to be shared by an institution of higher learning, to have my own lived experience finally validated.

I was one of two people in the class who were “out” as fat. As an online class, we had a lot of agency about how much of our identity we shared. We could choose to have a picture of ourselves or not and we could choose to talk about our own personal experiences as they relate to the readings or not. In our introductory post we introduced ourselves, identified our majors, and articulated why we enrolled in the class. I noticed that a lot of the folks in my class were Health Studies majors. These are future gym teachers, health teachers, physical therapists, and community health workers. Exactly the people we want to be entering the workforce already knowing about the power of HAES to change lives for the better. Our class had the opportunity to work with the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) by making an infographic for the organization for our final project. The project was great exposure to the organization and its resources for many folks who had never heard of HAES before this class started.

Watching from the Other Side

My teaching assistant duties for Gender and Body Image, a class taught through WGSS, included overseeing and participating in the online discussion forums. It was so beautiful to see young women and men begin to grasp how the ideal thin body type is manufactured by our capitalist society. It took time, but exposure to materials such as Body Respect by Bacon and Aphramor, the film Killing Us Softly 4, and the “Body Politics” section of led to a number of students talking excitedly about reclaiming their relationships with their bodies, feeling liberated from mainstream expectations of beauty, and embracing themselves as they are. People openly admitted that this class changed their lives and that they were passing on the materials to their friends and family members. It was thrilling!

The Time is Ripe for Fat Studies

These classes serve as both damage control and as a roadmap for a way forward. Both classes provide a place of education and healing from the dominant paradigm that tells us that our bodies must conform to a narrow standard to be worthy. They help us understand how we are being sold solutions to problems that are created by advertising agencies. They illustrate how fat discrimination mirrors and reinforces other forms of prejudice and discrimination in our society. They spell out how we’re not being told the whole, or even the real, story when we tune into the mainstream media’s messages of health, wellbeing, beauty, or the value of a human being.

The time is ripe for cross-disciplinary Fat Studies classes in undergraduate education. Let people who are interested in feminism, social justice, health sciences, and activism come together in classrooms to learn about a different way of being. Future gym teachers, nurses, parents, and public health workers who are savvy to the message of HAES can save a next generation of fat kids from the shame and humiliation so many of us have had to endure.

Editor’s Note: As the author calls for more Fat Studies education, one resource for instructors interested in teaching this material is The Fat Pedagogy Reader. In addition, a special issue of Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body, Weight, and Society on Fat Pedagogy is due out next year.


Mikalina Kirkpatrick is a fat, white, queer, married, middle class woman. She is a writer and a student in the Portland State University Women, Gender, and Sexualities Studies Program. She lives in Portland, Oregon. She blogs at

via healthateverysizeblog

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Link: Spooky podcasts for your ears

October’s been a busy month for me, and that agenda has included being a guest on some fantastic podcasts you should check out to help get into that holiday spirit:

First off, we have Tracks of the Damned, a podcast of horror film commentary tracks hosted by Director’s Club alum Patrick Ripoll.  Patrick is making commentary tracks on the Scream series for the month of October, and you can hear me on the Scream 3 episode, which also includes a rambling discussion sparked by a listener’s question about women in horror.

I’m also featured on Film Jive’s Halloween special, Soundtrack of Terror Vol. 2, a compilation of mini audio essays on favorite music from horror film.  My contribution was on “Through the Trees” by Low Shoulder from Jennifer’s Body.  Thanks to Zach, Simone, and Andrew for inviting me back, after including my piece on Night of the Hunter on Soundtrack of Terror Vol. 1.

And last but certainly not least, I was happy to be back on Creepypodsta, the creepypasta podcast hosted by Jeff Kowalski.  Louisa Herron and I discuss the first episode of SyFy’s Channel Zero, based on Candle Cove, the creepypasta that the three of us discussed on the podcast’s very first episode.  The episode drops on November 3, so keep your eye on that space.  Jeff and Louisa also cohost the podcast Seeing Red(dit).

Have a safe and happy Halloween, everyone!



via Consistent Panda Bear Shape

Monday, 24 October 2016

Exercise During Pregnancy May Cut Cesarean Risk

Image from World Obesity Federation Image Bank*
I'm a big fan of being proactive in pregnancy. I think eating healthfully, getting enough sleep, avoiding stress when possible, and getting regular exercise strongly benefit pregnant women of all sizes. Now there is new research suggesting it may also lower the risk for cesarean.

However, keep in mind that there are plenty of women who don't do these things and still have a vaginal birth. And there are plenty of women who do everything "right" and still end up with a cesarean. There's certainly not a one-to-one relationship between exercise and cesareans. But being as proactive as possible in your health habits during pregnancy may lessen the risk for complications or for an unplanned cesarean.

Personally, in my first pregnancy I didn't exercise that much. I had quite a bit of bleeding and spotting at first and was told not to do much, plus we had a major move in the middle of it all which meant that most of my non-work time was spent on packing and unpacking from the move. I felt pretty out of shape by the end of pregnancy.

In my second and third pregnancies, I exercised quite a bit. I wasn't running marathons or anything, but I did walk regularly, and added in swimming, water aerobics, and prenatal yoga as my schedule allowed. If all else failed, I ran the stairs in my house. I felt SO much better and had way more stamina.

In my fourth pregnancy, I was taking care of my seriously ill mother as well as my three young children. It was hard to find time to sleep, let alone exercise, but I did still manage to walk some. I fit in swimming or stairs where I could but I didn't get nearly as much exercise as the second and third pregnancies. By the end, I felt the difference.

Here is the abstract for a recent study that supports the idea that regular exercise in pregnancy might cut the risk for cesarean. 

For me, exercise didn't make much difference in which pregnancies ended in cesarean, but it sure did make a difference in how I felt by the end of pregnancy! And I think it helped me lower my risk for complications like blood pressure issues etc., which I never got despite being "morbidly obese" and a much older mom.

So I'm a major fan of getting regular exercise in pregnancy. It doesn't have to mean running a marathon, but simply doing regular movement of some sort seems to be a common-sense thing to do. And if it lowers your risk for cesarean somewhat, all the better.

However, exercise programs are often pushed mainly for "obese" women. Frankly, ALL pregnant women should be encouraged to get more exercise, not just women of size. High-BMI women may benefit the most from it, but women of all sizes benefit from regular exercise.

As long as you don't have any medical contraindications, exercise is just a common-sense thing to do in pregnancy.

*Isn't it telling that I couldn't find a good positive picture of a pregnant woman of size exercising? Many of us do it, so why aren't there many good pictures of that? The very few pictures I did find were problematic for various reasons. Most images in articles about exercise for heavier pregnant women actually showed pregnant women of average size, or the images were patronizing and stigmatizing. Please, if you have a good picture of yourself pregnant and exercising, I'd appreciate it if you shared it with me for use in the future. 


Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Aug 23. pii: S0002-9378(16)30579-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2016.08.014. [Epub ahead of print] Exercise during pregnancy and risk of cesarean delivery in nulliparous women: a large population-based cohort study. Owe KM1, Nystad W2, Stigum H2, Vangen S3, Bø K4. PMID: 27555317
...OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between exercise during pregnancy and cesarean delivery, both acute and elective, in nulliparous women. STUDY DESIGN: We conducted a population-based cohort study that involved 39,187 nulliparous women with a singleton pregnancy who were enrolled in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study between 2000 and 2009. All women answered 2 questionnaires in pregnancy weeks 17 and 30. Acute and elective cesarean delivery data were obtained from the Medical Birth Registry of Norway. Information on exercise frequency and type was assessed prospectively by questionnaires in pregnancy weeks 17 and 30...RESULTS: The total cesarean delivery rate was 15.4% (n=6030), of which 77.8% (n=4689) was acute cesarean delivery. Exercise during pregnancy was associated with a reduced risk of cesarean delivery, particularly for acute cesarean delivery...The largest risk reduction was observed for acute cesarean delivery among women who exercised >5 times weekly during weeks 17 (-2.2%) and 30 (-3.6%) compared with nonexercisers (test for trend, P<.001). Reporting high impact exercises in weeks 17 and 30 was associated with the greatest reduction in risk of acute cesarean delivery (-3.0% and -3.4%, respectively). CONCLUSION: Compared with nonexercisers, regular exercise and high-impact exercises during pregnancy are associated with reduced risk of having an acute cesarean delivery in first-time mothers.

via The Well-Rounded Mama

Friday, 21 October 2016

5 Tips for Your Dog in Hot Weather

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Appetites4Life #CollectiveBias Hi friends! Last week I introduced you to Frankie, the newest...

Read more here!

via Skinned Knees

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Being Bi and Maybe Having Some Straight Privilege(s)

Expect a lot more posts about bisexuality around here.  So, one of the reasons that I hesitated a little bit to apply the label of “bisexual” to myself, even when it was obvious that I’m attracted to both men and women, was that I haven’t really suffered from homophobia or biphobia, and I worried about being “attention seeking.” And when there are lots of people ready to say that you’re not “really bi” if you haven’t suffered enough, like the article Miri rebuts beautifully here, it’s not surprising.

What sparked me thinking about being bi and still having a lot of privileges that a straight person gets was a Twitter thread. @elielcruz was pointing out that a freaking LGBT magazine erased bi people, calling them gay, and pointed out that being bi is really stigmatized in the same ways being gay is.  In some ways, more so, because spaces that are safe for the LG part of LGBT reject, ignore, or mistrust the B. (The T too, but that’s not my experience, so I can’t really speak to it.)

And I totally agreed with that but also couldn’t reconcile it with my own experience. That may be just because my experience is outside of the norm, even for a bisexual person.  Until  some time in my twenties, I thought of myself as straight. In college, I had fairly intense  feelings toward female friends that felt platonic at the time, but may, looking back, have been crushes. They were similar to the intense crushes I had on guys, but without any (conscious) thinking about sex. I had internalized so much shame and guilt about sex at all, particularly sex outside of an opposite-sex marriage, that I think my whole sexuality was really repressed as a teenager and into college. Any kind of sexual thoughts, it all felt sinful and shameful. (Thanks, evangelical purity culture!)

Because of that guilt and repression, I’m not really sure if I used to be straight and my sexuality shifted, or I was just in complete denial. I kind of think that it was repression, a subconscious way  of protecting myself from something I wasn’t ready to deal with. It’s probably academic anyway, because I thought of myself as straight, and didn’t experience attraction to women that seemed sexual at the time.

During and after college, I went through a lot of religious angst and soul searching, rejected most of what I’d been taught in evangelical churches, and went from being someone who thought “love the sinner, hate the sin” was actually an acceptable way to relate to gay people to someone who was fully convinced that being gay or bi is totally normal, no better or worse than being straight, and that what makes a relationship pleasing or displeasing to God is whether the people in it love and respect each other, not their genitals, their gender identity, or their signatures on a marriage license. But, I didn’t think of myself as bi at the time, and I think that process would’ve been harder if I had, because I would’ve had to ask if I was just justifying what I wanted to do or be, rather than looking for honest answers.

What that meant is that actually discovering that I was bi didn’t have much angst to it at all. All the emotional work had already happened, at a safe distance. What to call my sexuality, and how to talk about it, and to whom, were still hard, but I was past the point where the lie that that sexuality is broken or dirty could take root in my mind.

And, when I realized I was bi, I was already married to an awesome guy. So, I’ve never been in the position of having to come out to my parents if I want them to meet the person I’m dating, or of having to plan my wedding guest list based on who would “approve” of the relationship. We got married in Pennsylvania, nearly a decade before a same-sex couple could do the same. I’m not out at work, but I’ve got photos of my husband on my desk. So I feel like I have privileges that most LGB people don’t.

At the same time, it seems misleading to call that straight privilege, because I’m not straight. I still wince when people think being bi means orgies, or that bi people are greedy or indecisive. And when people assume I’m straight, I still do this weird mental calculus. Would it be weird or attention-seeking to correct them? How would they react? Do I even want to go there?

But I feel like getting to pick whether to go there or not is a privilege. It’s awfully convenient to be able to tell only people I trust (and the whole internet, quasi-anonymously), without having to hide my marriage or my dating history. Really, the only way you’d know I’m bi is 1) I told you, or 2) You saw the amount of femslash in my browser history.

I don’t know if you’d call it passing privilege, or if “heteronormative relationship privilege” is a thing. But I definitely feel like I’ve had it easier than the women I know who are dating or married to women, whether they’re bi or lesbian or identify some other way. Maybe that’s a combination of several privileges, intersectionality, and the fact that privilege isn’t really binary.

And yet bi women have the highest rates of intimate partner violence. Higher than lesbians, and *much* higher than straight women.  A lot of the stereotypes about bi women feed directly into that—we’re viewed as more likely to cheat, or incapable of being satisfied by a single partner, and toxic masculinity often interprets having a woman cheat with another woman as emasculating. So it’s not really safer to be bi when that’s taken into account. It feels safer to me, but statistically, not so much.

I don’t think it’s appropriate to say that bi people as a whole group experience straight privilege, but I think there’s some nuance and some weird intersections that confuse the issue. I like having labels for things, but I’m not really sure how to neatly categorize and compartmentalize any of this.


via Kelly Thinks Too Much

Anti-Healthism in a Nutshell

If anti-healthism is confusing to understand or difficult to explain, here are a couple of things to keep in mind. Well-being is weight neutral. Don’t think living well is about being skinny, or make your health goals center around weight loss. Health, like happiness, is not a destination but a means of travel. Anyone can […]

via Dead of Winter

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Some Seriously WTF? Fashion Advice

Biscuit doesn't care about flatteringSeveral readers let me know about this truly ridiculous article from called “Seven Mistakes We Make When Choosing Clothes that stop us looking our best ” Their advice is indented, followed by my responses.  To read the article in full, you can click the link above.

Clothes that have a large checkered pattern can completely kill your figure. They look stylish, but they give the impression that you’re several inches wider at the hips. Instead, go for designs with neutral prints or just plain colors. If you really love checkered designs and can’t imagine your wardrobe without them, select items with small rather than large squares.

Looking several inches wider at the hips will “kill your figure?”  Spare me. Let’s try this again.  If you really love checkered designs and can’t imagine your wardrobe without them, then wear them happily and fuck whoever wrote this.

Horizontal prints give the impression of a much larger figure than you actually have. But if you love striped clothing, don’t despair. All you need to do is change their direction: vertical stripes achieve the opposite, making you look taller and slimmer. Alternatively, you can always opt for a classic combination of different colored items.

If you love striped clothing don’t despair, because you can wear it whenever the hell you want.   You are under no obligation to buy into a stereotype of beauty that suggests that your clothes should be used to create an optical illusion magic trick.  You look just as fabulous with a “much larger figure” so rock those stripes.

Endless ruffles, folds, and frills add at least a couple of sizes to your appearance. Try to choose clothing with the minimal amount of decorations, such as a zip-up skirt which will lengthen your figure or vertically striped clothing as described above.

We are only three tips in and already I’m sick to death of this tired fat-shaming bullshit advice.

Large prints make you look heavier and wider, whilst sandals with long laces going up your legs make you appear shorter. On the other hand, a sharp neckline and a slit in your skirt can make you look taller. Take care to select things made with just one color, and choose shoes that are close to your skin tone. This will also help you look taller and slimmer.

Say it with me – There’s nothing wrong with being short and fat! (Or tall and fat, or short and thin, or average height and kind of medium size, or whatever.) There’s nothing wrong with being tall and thin, but it’s not any better than any other height weight combination and there is something wrong with the idea that we should all try to look as tall and thin as possible.

A boat neckline on a dress can give the impression that you’re a lot heavier than you really are, whereas a V-shaped neckline with cleavage can make you look truly elegant.

This just in – being heavy is not the opposite of looking truly elegant.  GTFO with this nonsense.

The only thing worse than horizontal stripes on clothing is wide and bright horizontal stripes.

Beg to differ.  I think that there are far worse things on clothing that wide and bright horizontal stripes – like spilled spaghetti sauce right before a date, baby spit up when you are running out to an important meeting, or a swarm of angry wasps at any time.  A little perspective, please.

Bright colors make you look larger to a much greater extent than more subtle tones do.

At this point I’d like to suggest an alternate title for this piece “Seven Ways That Women Can Dress To Look As Small As They Can And, If Possible, Disappear Completely.”

This is just ridiculous.  I’m a proud member of the Fuck Flattering Club, but others don’t have to be. People of all sizes are allowed to dress however they want for whatever reasons they want (and should have the same options for design, quality, and pricepoint to do so) but can we please stop suggesting that smaller and taller are better than bigger and shorter?  Can we stop tolerating  articles like this one – that do nothing but promote fat shaming under the guise of fashion advice? Can we celebrate our right to choose clothes based on our own criteria, including not giving a flying frick whether they make us look bigger, smaller, shorter, or taller?  Instead of trying to make all bodies look tall and thin, let’s celebrate the diversity of body sizes and all the ways we choose to dress them.

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!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at

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

via Dances With Fat

Monday, 17 October 2016

Roundup: The Music Box of Horrors 2016

The Music Box’s 24 hour horror movie marathon is always a delight.  There is something intoxicating about the temporary community that forms for one weekend every October. This is a place for the unabashed horror lover, and even if you normally wouldn’t consider yourself one, you will get swept up in the tsunami of a few hundred other audience members cheering when Christopher Lee appears for a cameo, or  groaning at a particularly gory death scene.

That being said, I unfortunately only stayed for the first half, but a handful of the movies I did get to see had fat characters:

Seven Footprints to Satan (1929, dir. Benjamin Christensen)

The link goes to a full version on YouTube, thanks public domain!  Jim (Creighton Hale) is a wealthy young man who wants to go on an expedition to Africa, but gets caught up trying to help his fiancee Eve (Thelma Todd) catch a thief… which leads them to a bizarre mansion filled with trap doors and sadistic Satan-worshipping cultists.  A few of the nefarious cultists are fat, but given the spectacle that this film makes of other kinds of transgressive bodies (including a little person and other actors some very grotesque special effects makeup), it seems merely incidental.  It just gets weirder as it goes along, definitely give it a shot.

Street Trash (1987, dir. J. Michael Munro)

Only caught the last half of this one, about a group of homeless people living in a junk yard who drink tainted booze that causes them to melt.  This one gets compared to/mistaken for Troma Studios’ work pretty often, in that it’s unapologetically trashy and cartoonishly vile.  In true “this offends everyone!” style, a lot of the jokes and characterizations are based on stereotypes, including two fat characters who are included for a grotesque factor.  While most of the victims of the killer liquor melt into colorful puddles, the fat bum who drinks it swells up and explodes, burping and farting the whole time.  The other fat character is the owner of the junkyard; maybe he has a nuanced plotline in the first half of the film that I missed, but in the second half he rapes a woman’s corpse. So there’s that.  Most of the exploding man can be seen in the trailer, here.  (As you might have guessed by now, it’s very cartoonishly gory.)

Another Evil (2016, dir. Carson D. Mell)

I was quite taken with this horror-comedy about a haunted house situation where things get even weirder once mild-mannered homeowner Dan (Steve Zissis) hires “ghost assassin” Os (Mark Proksch) to get rid of the ghosts.  The film becomes a bromance of sorts set within a horror film, and the film has a charming down-to-earthy quality that has a lot to do with the ghost hunters being two paunchy average Joes.

I didn’t stick around after that, but the last film of the festival this year was Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, which I wrote about two Halloweens ago.





via Consistent Panda Bear Shape

Saturday, 15 October 2016

A Required Uniform Should Fit

Second Class CitizenA feminist-identified group put out a shirt for sale on Facebook in response to Trump’s horrific comments glorifying sexual assault. It was a great shirt that they referred to as a “REQUIRED UNIFORM FOR NOV. 8 VOTING” I clicked to buy the shirt only to find that they only had sizes from XS to XL.  So I guess it’s only a “required uniform” for those people who wear size XL and lower.

I commented to let them know that I don’t think “No Fat Chicks” is a feminist ideal.  (I was not the first, several people had commented before me, none of us received a reply.) I also posted about it on my Facebook page, and a number of other people also took the time to point out the company’s mistake.

As often happens in situations like this there were those who jumped in with attempts to justify the exclusion of fat people – they are a small group, maybe they just took the stock that was available, and hey, once a whole bunch of people complained they said that they would work on it, why isn’t that good enough?

Ultimately, they added a 2XL option and called it a day. Immediately people suggested that I should be happy with that.  And yet my joy is less than full – far less. First because they could have added many more sizes and made their feminist work much more inclusive (as a 3X I’m still not able to wear this “required uniform.”)

Also because I’m not willing to celebrate being an afterthought, a second class citizen, the inspiration for  V8 moment wherein people slap their foreheads and say “I coulda included fat people!”  Fuck that.

They knew that fat people existed when they decided to create and market this shirt, and there are plenty of vendors that would have provided a wider range of shirts had they actually made their feminism inclusive of fat people.  But they didn’t.  And the way I know that is that fat people had to do the work of reminding them that we exist and that we would like to be included in feminist work. And after we did, they added exactly one size.

So just a reminder that you deserve to have organizations consider you in their primary planning – whether it’s shirts, or chairs, or something else – and not just as an afterthought following a bunch of complaints.  Speaking of complaints, you can always choose to do the work (and the courtesy) of letting people know that they’ve failed at inclusion and that they can do better.  You are, of course, never obligated to do this, and any response you choose is valid.

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!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at

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

via Dances With Fat

Thursday, 13 October 2016

the HAES® files: HAES and Naturopathic Medicine: Using HAES Principles to Facilitate Healing

by Caitlin O’Connor, ND

Practicing medicine, especially naturopathic medicine, in a weight-obsessed culture can be tricky. Food and movement are two of the most powerful tools I have to help my patients feel better, but how do I apply those tools in a culture so obsessed with diet and exercise as a means to an end (get skinnier) rather than a foundation for health? Oftentimes, my patients come to me having been traumatized by not only the weight loss industry, but also by medical professionals who have blown off their medical needs and/or focused solely on weight loss as a singular approach to anything that ails them. Figuring out how to work with women of all sizes – in a society that desperately sells the idea of small and slender as the only markers for health – has been a huge challenge in my practice.

First things first, when I work with patients, I ask them to define their goals. I would guess that at least 50%, if not more, of the women in my practice list weight loss as one of their primary concerns. This opens the door for conversation. Why is weight loss important? What has their relationship with weight been over the life span? Is there any history of disordered eating?

Next, we talk about the reasons behind the goal. What does she think will change in her life if she loses weight? Are those reasonable expectations? Do those goals truly hinge on weight-loss, or has she accepted the myth that weight loss will make them happy.

We address the images in media, social and otherwise, that might be driving her desire – we talk about photo-shop, and starvation diets, and a laser-focused obsession with food and exercise. I try to point out areas of diet culture that might not actually be health promoting. Weight loss is not a promise of health. And the tools used to promote it might actually be a detriment.

Then, I try to reframe. Is there a movement goal she would like to achieve? Walk more, dance more, lift heavier things? These are the types of goals I can get behind and will very likely result in enhanced health – I would love to help those goals become a reality.

These conversations are difficult and I do not always navigate them gracefully. However, I think this discussion brings into focus what is truly going on and also gives me the insight to create a plan that is respectful of past experiences. Some guidelines that I have put into place include:

Don’t refer to food in moralistic terms. There are no good foods or bad foods. I will often point this language out to patients and, together, we figure out new terms. As I like to say, there are good people who eat brownies and bad people who eat kale. The food we put in our mouths does not define our moral character. The wording is often tricky, but I have settled on “health supporting” vs. “not- health supporting” choices. For example, if you know skipping breakfast and drinking coffee makes you grouchy, that is not a supportive choice. But making that choice doesn’t make you a bad person.

Define non-scale goals. I almost never track progress in pounds. In fact, I rarely, record a patient’s weight. Instead, we might pick a physical goal –feeling stronger, trying a new dance class, walking with more ease. Often, blood lab results can help us track progress – better blood sugar control, decreased inflammation, more balanced cholesterol – all attainable without drastic weight loss. Many people feel like a battle against the scale is one they can not win. They have fought and fought. I want people to get free from this battle and realize that there are other pathways to feeling better in their bodies.

Focus on pleasure. This is often a tough one because everyone knows that a healthy person must sacrifice all earthly pleasures, right? Nope. If your revolution doesn’t include joy, community and sensual delights – count me out. Exploring and experimenting with the types of food and movement that result in feeling good is a critical component of creating a long-term approach that is nurturing and nourishing. The same goes for how we choose to move. This does not have to include punishing regimens and feelings of deprivation. Instead it could involve movement that is fun and fulfilling, meals that focus on flavor. For health supporting habits to be sustainable, they must be enjoyable.

As a naturopathic doctor, I have had to actively observe and critique my training when it comes to embracing the principles of Health At Every Size® (HAES). Naturopathic medicine is a distinct health care profession that emphasizes prevention, treatment, and optimal health through a variety of tools including, but not limited to, nutrition, mind-body practices, botanical medicine, supplementation, pharmaceuticals, and minor surgeries. In some states we practice as primary care, while in other states we offer more specialized services. In this way, I think we sometimes are exposed to the worst of both worlds – the fat-phobic teachings of conventional medicine and the fat-shaming world of holistic health.

It is a work in progress, but I strive daily to meet the principles put forth by HAES.
I invite my fellow holistic doctors to observe how they talk about and use weight as a motivating tool in their professional practices. Observe your biases and feelings about weight – how has your journey been? If we are truly working with the whole person, we need to accept people for who they are and not try to move them to where we think they need to be. Often, patients who come to us are desperate and vulnerable, convinced that maybe we have the secret weight loss tool they need to crack the code. Don’t perpetuate the myth. Partner with your patients to figure out what can be done to truly enhance health and well-being. Focus on parameters and outcomes beyond the scale. Be the (potentially first) health care provider to ensure folks that their bodies are not broken and that health is truly achievable at any size.


Dr. Caitlin O’Connor provides Naturopathic care with a focus on women’s and children’s health. She pairs a philosophy of patient-centered, whole body, individualized care with an emphasis on nutrition, botanical medicine and a balanced approach to healthy living. She practices in Denver, Colorado, where she has been active in the political process regulating naturopathic doctors. She graduated from Bastyr University in 2008 with a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine and a certificate in Naturopathic Midwifery. In addition to teaching at the Nutrition Therapy Institute, she has presented for both lay and professional audiences including the Colorado Midwifery Association and the Colorado Association of Naturopathic Doctors. In the clinic, she strives to provide skilled, compassionate guidance with a focus on optimal patient outcomes. At home, she tries to be a centered and present mother, a caring partner and good friend to both herself and others.

via healthateverysizeblog

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The Ghosts of Roundups Past, Present, and Future

Hi folks, I know it’s been a while since my last article.  I’ve been stretched a bit thin lately, but I have managed to do a bit of film writing.  Check out my recent article for BitchFlicks on bisexuality in Jennifer’s Body.  I’ve also recorded a small audio essay that is going to be included on FilmJive‘s upcoming episode on music in horror films, also on Jennifer’s Body.  Why was I so invested in examining a film where Megan Fox makes out with a bespectacled geeky chick with messy hair?  The world may never know.

I also wanted to talk a bit about my Monthly Roundup feature.  I just started doing it last year without really explaining why.  At my most prolific (read: unemployed), I write two articles a month for this blog, usually tackling one or two films per article.   However, I see way more films than what I write about, usually at least two a week.  Not all of them have fat characters, not all have fat characters worth writing about, and not all of them can fit in the amount of time I devote to writing CPBS.  But while my articles take a close look at one or two films, I also want this blog to function as a reminder of the overall experience of what it’s like to be a fat person with a deep emotional investment in movies, how I see myself reflected in that respect on a macro level.  So if the Roundup articles seem like weird, arbitrary inventories, I ask that you think of them more like month-sized montages of my personal cinephilic journey as is chronicled here, a condensed onslaught of trite physical jokes, incompetent flunkies, ‘Murrikans, and characters who are coded as fat but who you probably wouldn’t think of as such if you saw them on the checkout line at Target.  (And if you’re at all interested in my hot takes on all of the movies that I see, you can check me out on Letterboxd).

This October, I’m very excited to have two spectacular movie binges on my schedule.  This upcoming weekend, I’ll be at the Music Box of Horrors with my partner Patrick, a 24-hour horror movie marathon hosted by Chicago’s own Music Box Theater.  In addition to my annual write-up of fat characters at the Music Box of Horrors, I’ll be doing the same for the selections I see at the Chicago International Film Festival the following weekend.  One film at the Music Box of Horror this year has already been featured on CPBS:  Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.  As far as #ChiFilmFest, I’m mostly not sure what I’m getting into, but Middle Man does star Jim O’Heir, aka Jerry Gergich from Parks and Recreation.

That being said, I did see several films in September and August that featured fat characters:

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016, dir. Taika Waititi)

I saw this film at the Chicago Critics Film Fest earlier this year, and I liked it so damn much that I took advantage of its theatrical release coinciding with my birthday to see it on the big screen a second time.  Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) is a great fat character, and he deserves his own article.  Just watch the damn movie.

hunt for the wilderpeople.gif

Amadeus (1984, dir. Milos Forman)

A fictionalized account of Mozart’s (Tom Hulce) life and death in Vienna from the perspective of his rival Salieri (F. Murray Abraham).  Like any good period drama, the social scheming is as intricate as the music.  The court of powerful Emperor Joseph II (Jeffrey Jones) includes the syncophantic, and fat, Kappelmeister (Patrick Hines).

Miller’s Crossing (1990, dir. Joel Coen)

While a more serious neo-noir from the Coen brothers about chaos breaking out between two organized crime syndicates over a sleazy bookie (John Tuturro), the film does of course include some outlandish supporting characters.  In this case, it’s Johnny Caspar (the late, great Joe Polito), a fat mob boss with a comparably fat wife (Jeanette Kontomitras) and bratty son (Louis Charles Mounicou III).

Burke & Hare (2010, dir. John Landis)

This dark comedy is loosely based on the careers of real-life Victorian grave robbers William Burke (Simon Pegg) and William Hare (Andy Serkis), who begin to murder people when their natural supply of corpses that they sell to medical schools runs low.  One murder includes the stalking of a fat man (Tom Urie) through the foggy night streets of Edinburgh.  Burke and Hare manage to frighten him into having a heart attack.  Shortly after, on an exam table in a medical school lecture hall, the professor grabs the man’s belly and dramatically declares his cause of death to be gluttony.

The Big Lebowski (1998, dir. Joel Coen)

It feels downright patronizing to summarize The Big Lebowski on a blog aimed at film geeks.  But to summarize: Joe Polito has a small part as a private eye, the wealthy and short-tempered Mr. Lebowski (David Huddleston) is also a fat character, as is potential car-thief Larry (Jesse Flanagan).  And, of course: Walter Sobchak.  John Goodman’s magnum opus?  Only history will tell.




via Consistent Panda Bear Shape

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Make This BOO Kit for your Favorite Cat This Halloween

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Mars, Incorporated. All opinions are mine alone. #BOOItForward #PawfectBOO #CollectiveBias Friends! Today I’m going...

Read more here!

via Skinned Knees

Monday, 10 October 2016

5 Essential Tips for Taking Your Dog Out in Public

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Appetite4Life #CollectiveBias Friends, meet Frankie! She’s the newest addition to...

Read more here!

via Skinned Knees

People Die From Exposure – Pay Me!

In one day last week I had to answer three separate emails requesting my time and considerable work for free (or a $10 gift card!).  All in the space of one day, I had two for-profit businesses and a researcher (who mentioned she had been given a grant for her research) ask me to do considerable work for them, for free.

All three of them claimed to be about “empowering women”.

Sigh… is anyone else really, really sick of this shit?


You want to “empower women”?  Pay us for the work we do.  And pay us fairly – not in bloody $10 gift cards that are useless to us.We know that women are underpaid.  Women on average do four years extra work than men in their lifetimes (which is compounded when you add other marginalised identities) and earn AT LEAST 25% less than men for doing the same work – white women on average earn 25% less than white men, again, compounded when you add other marginalised identities – ie black women earn at least 40% less than white men.  That doesn’t include the frankly phenomenal amount of domestic and emotional work that women are expected to provide, for free, across our entire lives.

Yet still, businesses, organisations and academics constantly make requests of women to give our time and skills for free.  As though we don’t already have more than enough piled on us both in the workplace and unpaid in our private lives.

Look, if I’m contacted by a non-profit organisation, and it’s a cause or concept that matters to me, I’ll volunteer, if I have the time.  Because that’s what volunteering is about, supporting things that matter to you and contribute to society.  If it is something that means I’ll have to travel, I appreciate assistance with my travel and accommodation, so that it’s not a financial burden on me to participate.   I’ll even negotiate rates for small and emerging businesses, if they don’t assume that I’m just going to work for free for them.  But if I have businesses contact me, tell me about how successful they are and then ask me to do work for them – and please, understand that what I do is WORK, it’s not a hobby – and then tell me that they’re not willing to pay me, that’s exploitation.  That’s furthering your own agenda at the expense of someone else, and it’s wrong.

I’m not talking about being slung a few freebies in exchange for a review, I mean actual work – speaking at an event, writing articles or papers, something that takes my time and skills.

Of course, there are always those that claim that women are being unreasonable for expecting to be paid for their time and skills, that it’s somehow “selling out” to expect payment for work.  I’ve even had it suggested to me that I’m somehow prostituting myself for expecting to be paid for my work.  Nobody calls a man who expects to be paid for his work a prostitute.

Both businesses responded to my query about payment for my work with “The exposure will be great for you.”  I don’t need exposure.  Y’all found me OK didn’t you?  You knew my name and where to find me.  I’ve just been on a national TV show that has been a massive success – people have been stopping me in the street to tell me they saw me on telly.  I can find my own “exposure” thanks.

Not to mention that as the saying goes, “exposure won’t pay my rent”.  Exposure isn’t going to pay the bills that all of us have in our lives.  We can’t live off exposure.  Let’s face it, people DIE from exposure.

If you are in the position that businesses and other funded organisations are requesting your time and talent, ask yourself “Is this work?  Shouldn’t I be paid for working for someone?”

And if you’re a business or other organisation that is looking for someone to do some work for you, at least ask them their rates, don’t turn up expecting them to work for free.  One would hope that you’d pay your staff, so pay people who do short term work for you too.  Especially if you’re going to trade off their name and reputation.

*Image credit: Pictures of Money on Flickr
As always, I do not run advertising on Fat Heffalump, but if you would like to support me and enable me to expand on my activism work, you can do so by donating here.

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via Fat Heffalump

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Anti-Healthism Is Not…

I had a conversation with my therapist about what it means to be fat accepting and anti-healthist. Fat acceptance is pretty straightforward. We believe that healthy, attractive, and normal people come in all shapes and sizes and our acceptance in society shouldn’t depend on losing weight. We do not believe a lot of the common […]

via Dead of Winter

Friday, 7 October 2016

So You Have An Opinion About Fat People’s Health

Image result for nobody caresBecause our society is so incredibly thin-obsessed and fatphobic, sometimes people get confused and think that a fat body is a walking invitation for their judgments and comments. If you’ve been pointed to this blog, you may be one of those people.  Don’t worry, I’m here to help.

First of all, other people’s health is not your business unless they ask you to make it your business. It doesn’t matter what you think you know about someone’s health, it doesn’t matter if you know something about someone’s health, it doesn’t matter what you want your tax dollars to pay for. Your health isn’t other people’s business, their health isn’t yours.

So, even if you are stating a sincerely held negative belief about fat people’s health, that just makes your anti-fat sentiment healthist and ableist as well as sizeist.

I could go into the research and realities about weight and health, but it doesn’t matter. No matter what stereotypes you personally believe to be true about everyone whose weight in pounds times 703 divided by their height in inches squared is greater than 30, or everyone who “looks fat to you” or however you’re personally making this distinction, other people’s health is not your business unless they ask for your opinion.  And not for nothing, but I notice that pretty often the people who want to criticize fat people aren’t interested having other people making judgments about them, or interested in criticizing thin people for their “unhealthy decisions,” so it ends up just being a thin veil for size-based prejudice (since we’re ok with athletes, and rock stars, and cast members of jackass, and people who don’t get “enough sleep,” and choose stressful jobs, etc. etc. )

It’s simply not your place to tell people what they are allowed to look like. Fat people have the right to exist, in fat bodies, without shame stigma, bullying, or oppression and it doesn’t matter why we’re fat, what the “consequences” of being fat might be, or if we could (or even want to) become less fat/not fat. The rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (including not being concern trolled by sizeist strangers) are not size, or health, dependent.

So if you have an opinion on fat people’s health then congratulations, and keep it to yourself.

Did you miss the
Fat Activism Conference?
It’s not too late
Registration Closed 10/9!

You can still register to get access to all the recordings, transcripts, speaker handouts, and the conference goody bag! Get recordings of all 30 speakers talking about everything from Re-Imagining Fashion from an Inclusive Framework” to “Activism for the Introverted and Anxious” to “Building Fat Patient Power While Accessing Healthcare” and more. The pay what you can option is still available so that money is not a barrier.

Click Here to Register!

Registration closes October 9th (though of course you’ll have time after that to listen and download.)

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!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at

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


via Dances With Fat

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Maria “No Excuses” Kang Has Found Some Excuses

You Forgot Your BullshitYou may remember Maria Kang from her fifteen minutes of “What’s Your Excuse” fame.

Now, like so many diet peddlers before her, Maria’s gained some weight and is not only making excuses about it, but also trying to co-opt the language of Size Acceptance.  I wrote about it for Ravishly and talked about culture, compassion, and co-opting. You can check it out at:

Did you miss the
Fat Activism Conference?
It’s not too late!

You can still register to get access to all the recordings, transcripts, speaker handouts, and the conference goody bag! Get recordings of all 30 speakers talking about everything from Re-Imagining Fashion from an Inclusive Framework” to “Activism for the Introverted and Anxious” to “Building Fat Patient Power While Accessing Healthcare” and more. The pay what you can option is still available so that money is not a barrier.

Click Here to Register!

Registration closes October 9th (though of course you’ll have time after that to listen and download.)

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!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at

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

via Dances With Fat

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Is Canadian Obesity Network Really OK Killing 15 of Every 1,000 Fat People?

Tank is concernedI’m sure that the folks (or at least some of the folks) at the Canadian Obesity Network are well-meaning and well-intentioned but wow are they doing some messed up things.

First of all, they are pushing “person first” language.  It is a terrible idea for many reasons that we talked about at length here.

They also link to the “Obesity Action Coalition” (a complete nightmare of an organization) as a resource, which creates immediate mistrust for me.

They are co-opting the language of Fat Activism and Health at Every Size in their “anti-discrimination” work, while still working to eradicate fat people.

But the most egregious thing I’ve seen so far was on their Facebook page:


The Facebook conversation above resulted from a post on CONs Facebook page that asked people to talk about their weight loss surgery.

Brilliant activist Marilyn Wann pointed out:

The people who are killed by stomach amputation won’t really be able to tell their stories, will they? Fat people deserve safe, effective, weight-neutral treatment for our medical concerns, not deadly attempts at eugenics.

And can I just say “Hell yeah, Marilyn Wann!”  In response CON posted:

Actually very few people are “killed” by bariatric surgery – less than 15 out if a [sic] 1,000 who have the surgery – read the article! The author is a surgeon who himself had the surgery. [Editor’s note:  It’s the least of the problems with this, but I did read the article and the author is a woman who is not a surgeon and did not have the surgery. WTF CON?]

So is the Canadian Obesity Network really ok with killing nearly 15 out of every 1,000 fat people (and letting many others live their lives in literal agony with horrific long-term side effects)?  Do they really think it’s reasonable to kill almost 15 out of every 1,000 fat people in an effort to prevent or cure health issues that can have weight-neutral treatments that don’t include a nearly 1.5 in 100 chance of dying?  After all, thin people get the same illnesses as fat people and they are given evidence-based health interventions, not prescriptions and surgeries for body size manipulation.

I don’t get surprised by fatphobia a lot anymore, but even I’m shocked at how flippant this CON representative (a representative of a group that is supposed to be all about supporting fat people) is about killing nearly 15 out of every 1,000 of us, and describing that number as “very few.” Especially considering how the people who profit highly from these surgeries are constantly trying to expand the pool of people recommended for the procedure (often through the lobbying of organizations like the Canadian Obesity Network.)

On their website they claim that “six million Canadians living with obesity may require immediate support in managing and controlling their weight.”  If half of those Canadians turned to stomach amputation, then their surgeons would kill about 45,000 of them.  And CON considers that number to be “very few.” I’m betting those people’s families and friends don’t agree. I certainly don’t – especially considering it’s an elective procedure that may not have any health benefits and may have horrible long-term side effects for those it doesn’t kill.

That doesn’t include the fact that this figure is very likely low-balled because of a lack of long term follow up and the tendency to blame the patient (and not the surgery) if they die (also known as “surgery successful, patient died.”) It also doesn’t discuss the fact that many people live with unimaginable lifelong side effects, nor does it talk about the long term effects of surgically-induced malnutrition, and that many people regain their weight but not their ability to get proper nutrition. And, as Marilyn Wann pointed out, the people who are the most negatively affected are the least likely to have the chance to tell their stories publicly.

People should be allowed to do whatever they want with their bodies, including amputating perfectly healthy organs for whatever their reasons might be, people can choose to have this surgery despite the risks (though it’s arguable that anyone can truly give informed consent considering the lack of long term follow up data, the ways that this surgery is sold as a cure-all from diabetes to dating woes, and the fact that most surgical centers do not include stories from people whose surgeries resulted in nightmarish side effects in the information and presentations that they give prospective customers – still their bodies, their choice.)

Regardless, I think that organizations that claim to exist to support fat people should not be so flippant about killing tens of thousands of us.

Did you miss the
Fat Activism Conference?
It’s not too late!

You can still register to get access to all the recordings, transcripts, speaker handouts, and the conference goody bag! Get recordings of all 30 speakers talking about everything from Re-Imagining Fashion from an Inclusive Framework” to “Activism for the Introverted and Anxious” to “Building Fat Patient Power While Accessing Healthcare” and more. The pay what you can option is still available so that money is not a barrier.

Click Here to Register!

Registration closes October 9th (though of course you’ll have time after that to listen and download.)

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!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at

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







via Dances With Fat

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Fired for Being Fat

What Will you DefendRecently eight Egyptian television hosts were told that they must lose weight or lose their jobs. All eight hosts were women, and they found that they had been deemed “too overweight” to appear on camera and were given a one month suspension during which they were told to diet and lose weight.

Since this happened I’ve seen a number of attempts to justify this, which tend to fall into two main categories:

This is a business and if the people who run it think that people are more likely to watch thinner women then they have a right to only hire thin women. 

My first question about this argument is always the same – what other prejudices are you ok with businesses indulging?  Now, prejudices are different – they come from different places, they have different histories, they benefit different people so I try not to directly compare them, but this isn’t the first time that something this blatant has happened:

I remember doing activism against Cracker Barrel which had enacted a policy in 1991 that they would not hire, and would in fact fire, employees who didn’t conform to “normal heterosexual values.” Under pressure from activists they retracted the policy in 2002, saying that it had been a response to the “perceived needs of their clients.”  Apparently Cracker Barrel perceived that their clients needed to be served their country fried breakfast by a straight person?

Also, who could forget Citizen’s Medical Center in Victoria, Texas who decided not to hire anyone with a BMI over 35 because they felt that their employees “should fit with a representational image or specific mental projection of the job of a healthcare professional.” They also bowed to pressure from activists and rescinded their policy.

The question here is: are you comfortable with people being denied jobs for which they are qualified to appease bigots? (And, by extension, are you comfortable being denied a job for which you are qualified to appease bigots?)

In order to make the argument that it’s ok for experienced television hosts to lose their jobs because of their body size, you have to agree that it’s ok to prioritize bigots over qualified professionals, and just as I’m not ok with doing that in a Presidential election, I’m also not ok doing that with newscasters.

Fat people are bad role models

In order for this to hold you have to believe that body size and health are the same thing, and then you have to believe that people who aren’t “healthy” by some definition can’t be “role model.”

Health and body size are not the same thing, but that’s not particularly germane to the conversation because health is not an obligation or a barometer of worthiness, it’s not entirely within our control or guaranteed in any circumstance, and “health,” by whatever definition, should not be a prerequisite for being a role model or acknowledged for one’s achievements. The idea that someone, of any size, should have to meet some level of “health” in order to be appreciated for their talent or be a role model is horrifying, and is the definition of healthism.

Even if people believe that fat people are fat because we engage in behaviors that they think are unhealthy, that still doesn’t justify this.  We can look up to people for their achievements, appreciate their talents, we can make them our role models based on their accomplishments, even if we don’t agree with every choice they make about their personal health – because those choices are between them and their doctor and whomever they choose to include. Professional football players are an excellent example of this.

The bottom line is this: suggesting that only thin people should host television shows is bigotry, full stop, and it’s wrong. Many will try to justify it in any number of ways because they enjoy engaging in (and/or they benefit from) sizeism, but there is simply nothing that justifies this unless you think that blatant bigotry is a justification.

Did you miss the
Fat Activism Conference?
It’s not too late!

You can still register to get access to all the recordings, transcripts, speaker handouts, and the conference goody bag! Get recordings of all 30 speakers talking about everything from Re-Imagining Fashion from an Inclusive Framework” to “Activism for the Introverted and Anxious” to “Building Fat Patient Power While Accessing Healthcare” and more. The pay what you can option is still available so that money is not a barrier.

Click Here to Register!

Registration closes October 9th (though of course you’ll have time after that to listen and download.)

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!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at

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

via Dances With Fat

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Staples vs. Sutures During Cesareans in High BMI Women

Women of size have higher rates of cesareans in many studies. Many of them are probably preventable but the fact remains that high-BMI women have a high rate of cesareans.

One of the problems with this is that "obese" women are at increased risk for infection and wound complications after a cesarean, and this leads to a great deal of morbidity and healthcare costs.

What can be done to improve outcomes? Past research has strongly suggested that closing the subcutaneous fat layer and avoiding a surgical drain reduces the rates of infection in high-BMI women. Higher doses of antibiotics also seem to be helpful, though the best dosage is still being debated. Using low transverse incisions instead of vertical incisions whenever possible probably also lowers the risk for complications.

Now, new studies seem to suggest that taking the time to suture the wound closed may result in less infection than using staples to close the wound. 

Doctors don't always like to do this because suturing takes longer. And suturing a woman with a lot of abdominal fat is more challenging as well. So most often, staples are used to close a cesarean, especially in women of size. But is this a good idea?

Mackeen 2015 performed a meta-analysis of studies and found that using sutures cut the risk for wound complications in half compared to staples. This risk reduction persisted even when data was stratified by obesity levels.

Zaki 2016 studied sutures vs. staples specifically in obese women. They found:
Women with staples had higher wound complications compared with sutures (22.0% versus 9.7%) with a 2.27 unadjusted relative risk (RR) (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.7 to 3.0) and 1.78 adjusted RR (95% CI, 1.27 to 2.49) after controlling for confounders in the final analysis, including vertical skin incisions. 
Further studies done specifically on high-BMI women should be done to confirm these findings, but the findings so far seem pretty clear. Using a subcuticular suture to close the incision seems to lessen the risk for wound complications compared to staples.

This is important news because research shows that as BMI increases, doctors are less inclined to use sutures. 

In other words, without intending to, doctors may actually be unnecessarily increasing the risk for wound complications after cesarean in women of size.


I'm glad to see that more research is FINALLY being done on how to lessen the rate of complications in women of size who undergo a cesarean.

For years, doctors simply made assumptions about what they thought would improve cesarean outcomes in obese women ─ but they didn't test their assumptions. Once they started testing the assumptions, they found a few surprises.

Doctors have traditionally been more inclined to use vertical incisions in high-BMI women. They did this because they thought that vertical incisions would lessen the risk for infection by avoiding the area underneath the belly (pannus). They were wrong; most research shows that vertical incisions actually increase the risk for wound complications in obese women.

They thought surgical drains would allow fluids to exit and thereby decrease the chances for wound separations and infections. Yet some research seems to suggest that surgical drains actually increase the risk for problems.

They assumed that the standard antibiotic dosage for all women was sufficient for high-BMI women too. Yet research shows that standard dosages probably do not provide adequate coverage to prevent infections.

When a cesarean is truly needed, it's a wonderful and life-saving thing to have available. Although cesareans carry more risks for obese women, there are important things that doctors can do to improve outcomes in high-BMI women when a cesarean is truly necessary. This list may now include suturing instead of using staples to close the wound, even if it takes slightly longer to accomplish.

However, let's not lose sight of the fact that the most important step that doctors can take to improve outcomes in obese women is to only do cesareans when they are truly needed. 


J Perinatol. 2016 Oct;36(10):819-22. doi: 10.1038/jp.2016.89. Epub 2016 Jun 2. Wound complications in obese women after cesarean: a comparison of staples versus subcuticular suture. Zaki MN, Truong M, Pyra M, Kominiarek MA, Irwin T. PMID: 27253895
OBJECTIVE: To compare wound complications between staples versus subcuticular suture for skin closure in obese women (body mass index (BMI)⩾30 kg m(-2)) after cesarean delivery (CD). STUDY DESIGN: We conducted a retrospective cohort study to compare wound complications between staples and subcuticular suture closure in women, with a prepregnancy BMI⩾30 kg m(-2) after CD between 2006 and 2011 at an inner-city teaching hospital. Wound complication was defined as a composite of wound disruption (hematoma or seroma) or infection diagnosed up to 6 weeks postpartum. Variables collected include age, parity, prior CDs, prior abdominal surgeries, incision type, chorioamnionitis, maternal comorbidities (hypertension, diabetes) and gestational age. RESULTS: Of the 1147 women included in the study, women with staple closure were older and had higher BMIs (40.6±9.3 versus 36.1±5.4) and were more likely to be multiparous, have a prior CD, diabetes and hypertension compared with women with subcuticular suture. The overall occurrence of wound complications was 15.5% (178/1147). Women with staples had higher wound complications compared with sutures (22.0% versus 9.7%) with a 2.27 unadjusted relative risk (RR) (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.7 to 3.0) and 1.78 adjusted RR (95% CI, 1.27 to 2.49) after controlling for confounders in the final analysis, including vertical skin incisions. CONCLUSIONS: In obese women, skin closure with staples at the time of CD is associated with a higher rate of wound complications compared with subcuticular suture. Skin closure with subcuticular suture over staples should be considered in obese women undergoing a CD regardless of skin incision type.
Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2015 May;212(5):621.e1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2014.12.020. Epub 2014 Dec 19. Suture versus staples for skin closure after cesarean: a metaanalysis. Mackeen AD, Schuster M, Berghella V. PMID: 25530592
OBJECTIVE: We sought to perform a metaanalysis to synthesize randomized clinical trials of cesarean skin closure by subcuticular absorbable suture vs metal staples for the outcomes of wound complications, pain perception, patient satisfaction, cosmesis, and operating time...RESULTS: Twelve randomized trials with data for the primary outcome on 3112 women were identified. Women whose incisions were closed with suture were significantly less likely to have wound complications than those closed with staples (risk ratio, 0.49; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.28-0.87). This difference remained significant even when wound complications were stratified by obesity. The decrease in wound complications was largely due to the lower incidence of wound separations in those closed with suture (risk ratio, 0.29; 95% CI, 0.20-0.43), as there were no significant differences in infection, hematoma, seroma, or readmission. There were also no significant differences in pain perception, patient satisfaction, and cosmetic assessments between the groups. Operating time was approximately 7 minutes longer in those closed with suture (95% CI, 3.10-11.31). CONCLUSION: For patients undergoing cesarean, closure of the transverse skin incision with suture significantly decreases wound morbidity, specifically wound separation, without significant differences in pain, patient satisfaction, or cosmesis. Suture placement does take 7 minutes longer than staples.
Am J Perinatol. 2014 Apr;31(4):299-304. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1348402. Epub 2013 Jun 13. Maternal obesity and risk of postcesarean wound complications. Conner SN, Verticchio JC, Tuuli MG, Odibo AO, Macones GA, Cahill AG. PMID: 23765707
OBJECTIVE: To estimate the effect of increasing severity of obesity on postcesarean wound complications and surgical characteristics. STUDY DESIGN: We performed a retrospective cohort study of consecutive cesarean deliveries at a tertiary care facility from 2004 to 2008. Four comparison groups were defined by body mass index (BMI; kg/cm2): < 30 (n = 728), 30 to 39.9 (n = 1,087), 40 to 49.9 (n = 428), or ≥ 50 (n = 201). The primary outcome was wound complication, defined as wound disruption or infection within 6 weeks postoperatively. Surgical characteristics were compared between groups including administration of preoperative antibiotics, type of skin incision, estimated blood loss (EBL), operative time, and type of skin closure. RESULTS: Of the 2,444 women with complete follow-up data, 266 (10.9%) developed a wound complication. Compared with nonobese women (6.6%), increasing BMI was associated with an increased risk of wound complications: BMI 30.0 to 39.9, 9.2%, adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.4 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.99 to 2.0); BMI 40.0 to 49.9, 16.8%, aOR 2.6 (95% CI 1.7 to 3.8); BMI ≥ 50, 22.9%, aOR 3.0 (95% CI 1.9 to 4.9). Increasing BMI was also associated with increased rates of midline vertical incision, longer operative time, higher EBL, and lower rates of subcuticular skin closure. CONCLUSION: A dose-response relationship exists between increasing BMI and risk of postcesarean wound complications. Increasing obesity also significantly influences operative outcomes.
Decreasing Cesarean Wound Complications in Obese Women

Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2015 Apr;29(3):406-14. doi: 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2014.08.009. Epub 2014 Oct 16. Obesity and the challenges of caesarean delivery: prevention and management of wound complications. Ayres-de-Campos D1. PMID: 25457856
Caesarean section in obese patients is associated with an increased risk of surgical wound complications, including haematoma, seroma, abscess and dehiscence. This review focusses on the available strategies to decrease wound complications in this population, and on the clinical management of these situations. Appropriate dose of prophylactic antibiotics, closure of the subcutaneous tissue, and avoidance of subcutaneous drains reduce the incidence of wound complications associated with caesarean section in obese patients. For treatment of superficial wound infection associated with dehiscence, there are data from general surgery patients to suggest that the use of vacuum-assisted devices leads to faster healing and that surgical reclosure is preferable to healing by secondary intention, when there are no signs of ongoing infection. There is a need for stronger evidence regarding the prevention and management of wound complications for caesarean section in obese women.

via The Well-Rounded Mama