Kate Harding, a blogger of size, has taken something I said out of context on her blog—again. (I would provide a link to the last time she did it, but the item has gone missing from Harding’s blog—perhaps she has a conscience and removed it from her site?) Back in July Harding posted just my response to a letter in “Savage Love” from an aggrieved woman of size…
First off, LARDASS, you neglected to include a sign-off, forcing me to create one for you. I tried to create one that captured the spirit and tone of your letter, and I think I did pretty well. Too bad about the acronym, though, huh?
Ooh, see how mean I am to fat people? But Harding conveniently omitted the letter to which I was responding because that put my intemperate comments into context and made one of her sisters of size look bad/worse:
You ASSHOLE…. How dare you oppress women, large and small, with your judgments! Maybe if you enjoyed putting something in your mouth every once in a while that wasn’t cock, Mr. Skin and Boners, you would see things differently. At least food is supposed to go in our mouths. Food, it’s what’s for dinner. For some of us, anyway.—Large and Royally Disgusted About Savage’s Sermons
Wow. You can almost see why I would be pissed enough to lash out at that reader, huh? Well, over at Kate’s blog today you can find this:
Turns out Dan’s discovered the “obesity is a lifestyle choice” thing. And linked to our discussion of it. And yeah, take a wild guess what he thinks about it.
No, wait, don’t guess. Here you go:
No, you certainly can’t say that you’ll lose weight if you stop eating fast food, get more exercise, and eat more vegetables. It’s true, of course, but you’re not allowed to say it.
I’m not even gonna bother with that. Obviously, I’m lying through my teeth about my eating and exercise habits, as are the majority of Shapelings. It’s all donuts, all the time. In fact, I’ve rigged a system of ropes and pulleys between the couch and the kitchen, so I don’t ever have to expend any calories getting up to get more donuts. Periodically, Al flips me so I don’t get couch sores, but I hate that part, ‘cause then I can’t see the TV until he flips me again.
Oh for crying out loud, Kate. I’m fine with you being big—I have nothing against people of size, really, but I’m happy to be your pretenemie it turns your crank—but I have to take exception to the way your dishonesty humps away at your self-regard. I never said you were lying about your eating or exercise habits—I don’t know anything about your eating and exercise habits, Kate, or any system of ropes and pulleys that you’ve got rigged up at home. (I’ve got some ropes and pulleys at home too, but not for dining purposes.) My comments weren’t necessarily directed at you.
Here’s the context Kate omits:
Obesity is not a choice for Alley English, a 28-year-old mother from Missouri who has struggled with a weight problem all her life.
“If you knew that you could be what society considers normal, why would you not choose to do that?” English told AFP. “As we get older, life does get more rushed and we do tend to make the easier choices sometimes,” English, who currently weighs 392 pounds (178 kilograms), told AFP.
“But you can’t say if you quit going to the drive-through, exercise more and eat more vegetables, you’ll lose weight. There are so many more factors involved.”
My comments—“No, you certainly can’t say that you’ll lose weight if you stop eating fast food, get more exercise, and eat more vegetables. It’s true, of course, but you’re not allowed to say it.”—were meant to be read in the context of Ms. English’s admissions about her eating and exercise habits, not yours, Kate, or those of all overweight people everywhere. For the tiresome ol’ record: I do solemnly swear that I believe people come in all different shapes and sizes, and that not everyone can or should be a size 0, and further I believe that people can be healthy, relatively speaking, and large, and I believe that big people are attractive—to people that are attracted to big people.
But you know what, Kate? There’s a difference between big or or heavy or stocky and morbidly fucking obese. Ms. English weighs 392 pounds. Thats unhealthy and unsustainable. Her health risks are legion. And by her own admission, Ms. English is making “easier choices,” i.e. fast-food, no exercise, and she has a poor diet. And if Ms. English—a 400 hundred pound woman—stops eating drive-through garbage, starts exercising, and eats a few more vegetables, she’s going to lose weight. Period. Is she going to be a size 0? Probably not, Kate, but I don’t think she needs to be a size 0, and never said that she or your anyone else had to a be a size 0. Ms. English will, however, if she can resist the drive-through and get off her ass, be lighter and healthier than she is today.
And anyone whose eating and exercise habits are similar to Ms. English’s eating and exercise habits is going to lose weight and keep it off if he or she knocks off the fast food and gets a little more exercise—not as a temporary measure, not as a diet, but as a permanent lifestyle change. If you’ve already done that, Kate, and you’re still big, maybe you are at your body’s naturally “set weight” or whatever it’s called. But Ms. English, at four hundred pounds, has a weight problem, and a potentially life-threatening one.
Of course, if Ms. English is content at 400 pounds, and wants to assume the health risks that come with morbid obesity, and isn’t interested in making changes to her eating and exercise habits, that’s her absolute right. She shouldn’t be mocked or discriminated against or poked with sticks. But the rest of the world doesn’t have to pretend that eating and exercise habits don’t have an impact on weight just to make Ms. English feel better about the unhealthy choices she’s making now.
And you are, of course, not allowed to say any of that—lest the codependent thought police, in the guise of Ms. Harding, jump down your throat.