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NWSA 2013 Fat Studies Interest Group Call for Papers

NWSA 2013 Fat Studies Interest Group Call for Papers
November 7-10, 2013, Cincinnati, OH.
Papers on any topic at the intersection of women's studies/ feminism/ womanism/ gender/ sexuality and fat studies will be considered.

At minimum, your submission should fall under one of the following themes for NWSA 2013:

* The Sacred and the Profane
*Borders and Margins
*Futures of the Feminist Past
*Body Politics
*Practices of Effecting Change

For more information on the themes, visit:

While this is an open call, topic suggestions from last year's meeting include:

-Defining and Refining Fat Studies
-Fatness and Beauty Ideals/Beauty Privilege
-Women of Color and Body Size/Fatness
-Fat Intersections (including race, nationality, disability, sexuality, appearance/beauty)
-Teaching Fat Studies (professorial bodies, student bodies, resistance)
-Fat Feminist Research Methods (including role of the researcher body)
-Fat Feminists Theorizing the Body
-Fatopias/Fat Utopias
-Transnational Fat Bodies (immigration, globalization)
-Fat Performance/Performing Fatness/Fat Icons
-Fat Activism & Feminism/Fatosphere

If you are interested in being a part of the 2013 Fat Studies panels at NWSA, please send the following info by February 13, 2013 to NWSA Fat Studies Interest Group Co-Chairs Michaela A. Nowell and Candice Buss: ( and Please make sure one of us confirms receipt of your submission.

Your submission should include your:
*Name, Institutional Affiliation, Snail Mail, Email, Phone.
*NWSA Theme your paper fits under (and fat studies topic area/s if yours fits any of the above).
*Title for your talk, a one-page, double-spaced abstract in which you lay out your topic and its relevance to this session.
*AND a 100 word truncated abstract (NWSA requirement).

Each person will speak for around 15 minutes, and we will leave time for Q&A. In order to present with your name in the program, you must become a member of NWSA in addition to registering for the conference.
If you submit a fat studies related paper or panel, you can tag it with the keyword 'fat feminisms,' and likewise search the program for 'fat feminisms' to find relevant panels. If you submit a paper or panel on your own, we encourage you to use this keyword if your paper or panel fits the bill. We thank NWSA for adding a keyword that helps conference attendees locate fat studies panels.

Marilyn Wann's two cents on Weight of the Nation

Weight of the Nation. It's the toxic new HBO documentary on how all of the disgusting and out of control fat people are going to bring down western society. Fuck you very much, HBO!

Marilyn Wann is on it in her latest SF Weekly column, Weight of the Nation Serves Up More Fat-Shaming. Marilyn reminds us:

I attended the first, government-sponsored Weight of the Nation conference in 2009. I didn't pay or anything self-defeating like that. I just walked in (with a brave friend or two) and delivered plastic-wrapped fortune cookies to the fancy luncheon tables where major stakeholders were about to chew on the alleged "obesity" problem. If the professional food scolds took a cookie, they got messages like these:

  • The war on "obesity" is a war on PEOPLE!
  • The No. 1 threat to fat people? Your unexamined prejudice.
  • What's the word for science that serves bigotry? Hint: It starts with "you."
  • If you can't imagine fat people being healthy...that's YOUR pathology!
  • Tell people to lose weight if you want to endanger public health AND civil rights!
  • How many fat people must you starve, poison, slice up? Celebrate weight diversity now!

AND she includes this nice video from the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH):

But don't stop here. Check out the whole article.

There's a new issue of Vol•Up•2 online!

I wrote a BFB post on the first issue of Velvet L'Amore's incredible web magazine Vol•up•2, so it's only fair to give all of you a heads-up. A new issue is available! Even better, I've figured out how to embed it in this post.

However, WARNING, this is not safe for work. It contains artistic nudes.

So without further ado...

Stories I've seen lately in my MedPage Today

I subscribe to MedPage Today and the following are some of the headlines I've seen in the last week:
Co-Sleeping May Protect Children from Weight Gain This one says

"The results may suggest that elements of parental social support or other types of positive psychosocial responses of being allowed to enter parents' bed during the night may protect against overweight, whereas types of negative psychosocial responses such as feelings of rejection when not being allowed to enter parents' bed may lead to overweight," Olsen said in a statement.

Not sure how I feel about that one, think more studies need to be done.

FDA Panel Gives Nod to New Diet Drug Lorcaserin hydrochloride, another drug that they don't know if it has any cardiovascular side effects yet, and has minimal effects on weight loss (3.3% difference between lorcaserin group and placebo group).

Big Midsection May Up Risk of Dying Suddenly Not sure what this is trying to say - are they talking heart attacks? If so, I thought they said fat people had a better chance of surviving heart attacks than thinner people. Seems contradictory to me, and in need of more study.

Program May Hold Promise for Teen Weight Control

A school-based anti-obesity program for adolescent girls from low-income communities cut down the time they spent glued to the TV or computer screen, researchers reported.
But although changes in body composition moved in the right direction, they did not differ significantly from those of girls in the control group, nor were there significant changes in physical activity, according to David Lubans, PhD, of the University of Newcastle in Australia.

The gist of the article is that BMI didn't change much (less than .2%) but the girls were more active and spent less time in front of the TV/computer. I'm assuming their health improved even though their weight didn't go down, so it seems to me that would be good, but the focus is still on weight loss instead of improving health. *headdesk*

IOM: Society Must Rally to Fight Obesity

"The costs [of obesity] have the potential to become catastrophic and unaffordable unless all sectors of society take the need for obesity prevention seriously and act responsibly," Daniel Glickman, JD, chair of the IOM's Committee on Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention, wrote in the 478-page report's preface.

Do I really have to dissect this? When are they going to admit that personal responsibility hasn't worked so far? If personal responsibility for being fat worked, all of those fucking diets that fat people have spent $60,000,000,000 on in the last year would have worked to make us permanently thin and there would be no fat people for them to get their knickers in a knot over.

Shedding Pounds May Hike Success of Fertility Tx And again, the problem with prescribing weight loss as a solution to a problem is that there is no way to guarantee that the weight loss can be maintained for long enough to do any good for the majority of people.

New Model Sees Smaller Uptick in Obesity Rates Methinks the CDC needs to get its act together - didn't they say obesity rates have been level for the last 8 or 9 years or so? Now they're predicting a smaller rise than was originally predicted? Which is it? Rates are either staying level or they're slowly rising - can't have it both ways, no matter how much you might want it.

Moms Often Blind to Toddler's Weight This one, well, this one is just outrageous fear-mongering as far as I'm concerned. Most mothers know very well if their kids are fat. Could it be that they know better than anyone how their children eat and how active they are and whether their weight is something about which to be concerned?

So that's the fat news round-up, have at it in comments.

The perfect body-positive gift

Everyone knows Marilyn Wann, right? She wrote the fun and radical Fat!So? in 1998. And now she's got a new Fat!So? website. Check it out!

But I'm here to tell you about her new project: the 2012 FAT!SO? dayplanner. Full of quotes, art, factoids, and body-love events, it's available from Voluptuart, a fabulously fat-friendly shop. You can buy it here.

It features:

  • Original art on a fat animal theme each month by Barry Deutsch, Jill Pinkwater, Les Toil, and more
  • A built-in flipbook of national dance champion Ragen Chastain
  • Body-positive tips and resources
  • Quotes from fat pride and Health At Every Size® leaders
  • Games
  • DIY projects
  • And it comes with a fat animal paperclip and surprise gifts!

This dayplanner is printed on 100% post-consumer paper by worker-owned collective. At 4.25" x 6, it has double pages for each month and week, lots of blank pages (lined and grid), and a sturdy cover.

All dayplanner sales support creation of the Weight Diversity Action Lounge, a community center, and it's priced at a very reasonable fourteen bucks.

This looks like it would make a perfect gift for all of your fat activist friends, or anyone who might benefit from some body positivity in their lives.

The origin of Irish step dancing

My excuse for posting this here is that the guy with the long solo is a bit stout, and I love dancing and seeing other fat people dance. And he's a good dancer, too.
But really, it's just hilarious.

Tasty Morsels

Dr. Deah Schwartz has been busy lately. Her website, Leftoverstogo, has two active blogs as well as resources that support HAES and the treatment of eating disorders, particularly binge eating disorder (BED). The two blogs are Tasty Morsels, which features articles on body image, size acceptance, Health at Every Size, and arts therapy; and current events, which links to news stories, event information, and blog posts of interest.

There are two new posts on Tasty Morsels, The Time Fat Continuum aka Thoughts about the DREADED FRESHMAN 15 (pretty much self-explanatory) and America the Dutiful, about Darryl Roberts' documentary "America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments (A Look at our Unhealthy Obsession with Dieting and Other Weighty Matters)," and his process of discovery as he researched the subject matter, as described to a group of HAES activists and professionals.

Roberts may have been preaching to the choir but he was hitting all of the right notes as he brought us along his path of discovery that included debunking the myths behind America’s “Thin Commandments” exploring the unhealthy obsession with dieting by the American people, and unveiling the discrepancies behind the rarely disputed message that in order to be healthy you have to be thin. As Darryl continued to work on the film he found more and more evidence that despite the fact that health may come in a variety of sizes, BMI continues to hold an enormous amount of unsubstantiated clout as the barometer of health and definer of obesity.

You could practically hear the choruses of amen and hallelujahs from the people on the call each time Mr. Roberts presented another revelation he experienced during his research. Here was someone who began his exploration into this arena without a bias towards our point of view and yet he was concurring with our most prized beliefs; one of which was the mainstream media’s role in defining the standards for beauty and how those homogenous images contribute to body dissatisfaction among girls and women that often result in disordered eating and full blown eating disorders.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, Darryl Roberts told us a story...

There is a director’s cut preview of the film being shown on August 13th at the Sofitel Hotel near the San Francisco Airport, on the same weekend as the Association of Size Diversity and Health conference.

Marilyn Wann on State-Sanctioned Kidnapping

Foster Care for Fat Children? Gastric-Bypass Surgery? Two Wrongs Call for a Fight.

Thanks again, SFWeekly. Excellent piece.

Last week, major news outlets seemed pleased to report that a Harvard public health expert wants Child Protective Services officials to take fat children from their families.
As scary as that sounds, what David Ludwig advised, in the pages of the Journal of the American Medical Association -- one of the world's foremost medical journals -- is far more terrifying: "It may be unethical to subject such children to an invasive and irreversible procedure [gastric bypass] without first considering foster care."

Finally! An "obesity" fear monger admits that weight-loss surgery -- aka stomach amputation, digestive bonsai, gut lobotomy, gastric guillotine, and having your esophagus stretched to your anus (slight exaggeration) -- is dangerous. Or, in Ludwig's own words, its "long-term safety and effectiveness ... remains unknown, and serious perioperative and long-term morbidity and mortality have been reported." (Translation: You could get very sick or die, for little or no lasting weight loss.)

What kind of choice is this for kids? We cut off your stomach or we cut you off from your family? That's the best advice a Harvard public health expert can offer?

Yeah, I've got a third option. Stop telling fat kids that their bodies are tragic and inherently diseased, teach them the same things about nutrition and physical activity as you would any kid, and let them grow up into normal (fat or thin) people who are comfortable in their own bodies.

Marilyn also includes this very telling statistic:

For every 100,000 children, 11.8 have type 2 diabetes and 2,700 have diagnosed eating disorders.

Please don't try to tell me that all of the panic mongering over childhood obesity and all of the social prejudice against fat people isn't contributing to more and younger children developing eating disorders.

If it becomes acceptable to take children away from their parents because they're fat, how much further will it go? Internment camps for fat kids? It sounds like a distopian future out of a science fiction novel, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if it's being discussed seriously in some circles. After all, everyone knows that foster parents aren't all that great, on average. If you think that kids are fat because there's something wrong with the way they're being raised, then you'd go in for state-controlled reeducation, wouldn't you? To me, it seems like the unspoken conclusion. If you're reading this as someone who isn't pro-size acceptance and thinking that sounds like it might be a good idea, then give some thought to the history of that type of policy.

ASDAH's new HAES Blog

The Association For Size Diversity and Health, a Health at Any Size (HAES) advocacy organization made up of medical professionals, academics, and activists, has recently begun publishing a very impressive new blog!

The authors are a HAES all-star team, most of whom have written books that are Health at Every Size classics:

So far, the blog has three substantive posts. The first is an introduction by Deb Lemire, president of ASDAH: the HAES files: what is the Health At Every Size(SM) approach and why it is important.

The Health At Every SizeSM approach is about the ways that people of all sizes can maximize their health.  This approach does not mean to give up or to let everything go.  It is an active process by which people work positively with their bodies and within their lifestyles to achieve a level of health which is reasonable and above all, sustainable for them...

We are no longer content with sitting in the back of the room, listening politely as policy makers, the media, and the food, diet and health industry dictate how this is going to play out.  We are done asking for a seat at the table, we are taking one.

Next is a post by Linda Bacon, The HAES files: on the fat beat, the Health At Every Size(SM) approach deserves “equal weight”.

By overlooking the Health at Every SizeSM approach, aren’t journalists missing the full story on fat? In coverage of the so-called War on Obesity, why is the HAES-led Peace Movement so invisible?
It’s a Journalism 101 cliché that there are not just two sides to every story, but three or more. Yet most health reporting relies on the singular viewpoint of “anti-obesity experts.” The problem is not just that contrarian voices aren’t heard in articles about weight, it’s that few reporters recognize those voices even exist.

The newest post is by Deb Burgard: the HAES files: promoting health or peddling weight loss?.

My challenge – to health care providers, family, fitness and nutrition experts, school officials, our own government and public health agencies – basically, anyone who will listen – is to have the courage to make the argument for health without doing it on the backs of fat people.

All of these posts are worth reading in their entirety.

Their goal is to post one new article a week. Since it doesn't seem to be on the Notes from the Fatosphere feed (yet), I'd strongly urge anyone who's interested in HAES to bookmark it.

Friday Fun: The Badass Fatass Superhero Name Generator

Direct from Stacy Bias, fat activist extraordinaire, the Badass Fatass Superhero Name Generator!

Amy Farrell on The Colbert Report

So, Amy Farrell recently appeared on the Colbert Report. Who is Amy Farrell? She's a professor of American studies and Women's & Gender Studies at Dickinson College. From her bio:

Her research includes 20th century U.S. culture, U.S. women's history, body politics, and the history of fat stigma. She has. published a book on the history of Ms. magazine during the second wave of feminism, Yours in Sisterhood: Ms. Magazine and the Promise of Popular Feminism.

Dr. Farrell's newest book Fat Shame, is available on Amazon. To get a taste of her work, you can access a pdf of her fat studies introduction here.

Oh, and the video doesn't work outside the US (sorry; I can't watch it either), but the fat studies intro is still well worth a read.

It's International No Diet Day!

Today is International No Diet Day! I'd write a long post about it, but Kira Nerusskaya at Fat Girls Float (which is one of the best blog names I've ever seen) has already written the most information-packed, thoughtful, and good-linky post imaginable.

Here's what she's doing to celebrate:

I am taking a pic of everything I consume tomorrow.... a photo documentary, you might say and posting it on Twitter and Facebook.

There's also a beautiful post over at Fierce, Freethinking Fatties, Whak-a-Mole, where drdeah discusses the general ineffectiveness of dieting and other weight loss attempts and uses personal experience as a jumping off point to explore everything from the ultimate failure of liposuction to the mismarketing of intuitive eating as a weight loss method.

The diets not working approach is still alive and kicking in the field of nutrition, weight management and eating disorders. Books on the subject are bountiful (e.g. Judith Matz’ books, Beyond a Shadow of a Diet and The Diet Survivor’s Handbook that explain how restricted eating plans result in destructive, cyclical patterns of binge eating). Unlike Bob Schwartz, Matz cautions people NOT to use this intuitive eating or attuned eating approach as the “Intuitive Eating Diet.” She emphatically reminds a person that giving up dieting demands making a contract with their body that hunger is NOT an option and in turn the client has to accept the fact that this is NOT about losing weight.

If you're in San Francisco, you can build a YAY! Scale with Marilyn Wann: Change a bathroom scale, change a life: Event on May 6, as announced on About Face. Scales and other materials are provided, and the proceeds go to About Face's media education programs.

When – Friday, May 6, 2011 (International No Diet Day)
Time – 7pm – 9pm
Where – Chase Community Room at Chase Bank, 2112 15th St. (at intersection of 15th/Market/Sanchez St.), San Francisco
Tickets – Sliding scale of $20-$40.

Space is limited to 25 people, so buy tickets to reserve your spot today!

And me? I'm not sure how to celebrate. I've been not dieting for a long time. Any ideas?

Oh - and please feel free to add links to other blog posts in the comments, too.

Alexandra Beller Dances

(if the more abstract stuff at the beginning doesn't hold your attention, then start it at 1:45)

I have a story to tell today.

As a preschooler, I had a long playing record with the Nutcracker on one side and Swan Lake on the other. I listened to it, dancing around like a ballerina, until it wore out. But, by the time my parents had decided I was old enough for dance lessons, I said 'no' because I'd already been bullied about my size and I was afraid that people would laugh at me if I wore a leotard.

So, I still liked to dance. I danced at school dances. I went out to clubs once in a while when I was older. I enjoyed dance exercise classes. But, I never took a "real" dance class until 1994, when I was 24. By that time, I'd discovered fat acceptance, recognized how sad it was that I'd refused dance lessons as a little kid out of self consciousness, and decided that I was damn well going to take a real dance class.

I took a class called "Modern Dance for Non-Dance Majors" at the University of Michigan School of Dance. It was a great class. There was a live pianist who provided the music, and it was taught by a group of dance majors. I was absolutely stunned when I saw that one of them was around my size. I'd expected to be the largest person in the class (I was), and I had never dreamed that a woman my size could be a dance major. I imagined what she must have gone through to get to that point, as someone who had obviously taken dance lessons all along but had probably not had the "right" body type, ever. Just like I hadn't. I never talked to her about the issue, but I had a lot of respect and admiration for her.

Her name was Alexandra Beller.

Over the years, I've occasionally Googled her, wondering how her career was progressing. She moved to New York and joined the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. In the year 2000, she was interviewed by Radiance Magazine. It's an excellent interview, and in it, Alexandra reveals her ambivalence about her size and about how it has affected her career as a dancer.

Of course there was discrimination:

at age thirteen, she auditioned for and was accepted into advanced classes at an eminent New York ballet school, where traditional balletic standards pervaded and prevailed all the way up to the front office. Alexandra recalls her first day. “I walked into the office, and the administrator said, ‘You’re not supposed to be here, this is not the right place for you.’ And I said, ‘But I auditioned and I got into this class.’ ‘Well, we’ll fix it, there’s obviously been some mistake, you’re not supposed to be here.’ And that was my introduction to the school.” Alexandra laughs ruefully. “I ended up with a teacher who was a little bit more ambivalent about the ‘rules,’ and so she wasn’t mean to me. But other teachers in the school were pretty cruel.”

Reviewers tend to fixate on her size:

Alexandra’s silence after she recites this review speaks volumes. On the one hand, this is one of her best reviews. On the other, the review reads deep meaning into Alexandra’s figure. Alexandra’s work has been written up by major dance magazines here and abroad, but the coverage almost invariably focuses on her weight, not her dance. “A part of me knows that it’s still a big deal. Because I’m the first woman of an . . .” here she pauses, searching for a discreet word, “atypical body type in a major modern dance company in this country. Of course I’m breaking down barriers, and I’m doing it with my own body. But sometimes it just kills me that these reviews have to talk about it. They always say something positive about my dancing, and they usually frame however they’re talking about my body in a generous light, too, but sometimes I just feel like, Can you just talk about my dancing? That’s really what I’m here for. I realize that I’ve taken on this other role because I have to, because it comes with the package. But I didn’t really sign up to be the poster girl.”

She's spent some time feeling disconnected from her body:

However strongly Alexandra may feel about her body, at least she’s in it, which is a significant shift from how she used to feel. “I tried for a very long time to separate my body from how I danced, and to say that I would dance how I danced no matter what my body looked like,” says Alexandra. “But it’s really ridiculous to say that. Nobody can say that. You dance how you dance because you’re in your body...

And, although she has worked steadily, she's been typecast:

Alexandra also finds shape a defining feature in Jones’s choreography. “He does see me in a certain way. I think he sees each of us in a certain way, to be fair,” says Alexandra. “He typecasts us, in terms of movement and in terms of characters. He’s sort of cast me as the femme fatale. He tends to think, Oh, that sexy music is coming on, let’s give that to Alex.

Alexandra accepts the casting, and considers the diverse look and feel of the ten dancers to be a strength of the company. But she admits to wanting more for herself. “I also would like to get the more athletic parts.”

And post-2000? She's now started her own company, Alexandra Beller Dances, and is both a dancer and choreographer. She also teaches modern dance. She's got some videos of her company's repertoire on her dance company's webpage and on YouTube.

She has an intermediate/advanced modern technique class starting tomorrow, April 16th 2011, at 1:00pm at Dance New Amsterdam, 280 Broadway New York, NY.

For performances, look for the calendar items in brown on the company's website.

I'm still a huge admirer of Alexandra: her focus and determination, her talent, and her intelligence. I hope that she influences the next generation of dancers and choreographers and helps to open up the dance world to people with diverse body types. But most of all, I love to watch her dance: graceful, expressive, agile, and full of energy and joy.

The Front Page of Today's New York Times

A story called "Fat Stigma Spreads Around the Globe," by Tara Parker-Pope, was on the front page of the New York Times this morning. It reports on a new study in the April 2011 issue of Current Anthropology, Body Norms and Fat Stigma in Global Perspective.

The news is bad.

Dr. Brewis said she fully expected high levels of fat stigma to show up in the “Anglosphere” countries, including the United States, England and New Zealand, as well as in body-conscious Argentina. But what she did not expect was how strongly people in the rest of the testing sites expressed negative attitudes about weight. The results, Dr. Brewis said, suggest a surprisingly rapid “globalization of fat stigma.”

“The change has come very, very fast in all these places,” she said.

However, but the coverage is amazingly even handed.

...what appears to have changed is the level of criticism and blame leveled at people who are overweight. One reason may be that public health campaigns branding obesity as a disease are sometimes perceived as being critical of individuals rather than the environmental and social factors that lead to weight gain.

“A lot of the negative health messages have a lot of negative moral messages that go with them,” Dr. Brewis said.
Marianne Kirby of Orlando, Fla., who writes the fat-acceptance blog, said the apparent spread of fat stigma was not surprising, given the global push to brand obesity as a major health threat.

“The fundamental message we’re putting into the world is that fat people deserve shame for their own health,” said Ms. Kirby, co-author of the book “Lessons From the Fat-o-Sphere.” “We’ve been pushing this message for a long time. I don’t think anyone is immune to it.”

Wow! This article includes a quote from Marianne Kirby. The author has come to us - fat acceptance advocates - for balance. This is truly amazing to me. Maybe we really are making a difference.

Kirstie Alley on Dancing With the Stars

Kirstie Alley. Okay, so she's been a yo-yo dieting exhibitionist whose body negativity and obsession with weight loss has sometimes made me cringe - and I never even watched any of her weight-related shows.

But I like her as a comedienne (remember Cheers?) and it can't be denied that she is tearing up the dance floor as a 60-year-old -- 60! -- fat chick in this sequence from Dancing with the Stars.

So, go go go with the (non-weight focused) comedy and dancing, Kirstie! Keep on living fully and joyfully in the body you have. It's a truly beautiful thing to see happening.

Champion Sumo Wrestler Completes L.A. Marathon


Kelly Gneiting broke the Guinness World Record for "Heaviest Person to Complete a Marathon" by crossing the finish at the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday.

The former U.S. sumo champion, who weighed in at Dodger Stadium on Sunday morning at exactly 400 pounds, finished the race in 9 hours, 48 minutes and 42 seconds.

Gneiting, of Ft. Defiance, Ariz., walked the last 18-plus miles of the race after jogging through the first 8 miles.

Shaunta at Llve Once, Juicy has written a post about the Anger Kelly Gneiting inspires among runners, and she makes some excellent points.

Reading the media coverage of Kelly's accomplishment, I was struck by the condescending tone in a lot of the articles. There are the usual fat-ha-ha plays on words and a very prominent focus on how difficult and painful the marathon was for Kelly; how his feet hurt and he had blisters. However, I'm pretty sure that marathons are difficult and painful for everyone. Looking at the ESPN footage of Kelly finishing, he looks tired but in control - and there are plenty of people behind him.

Now, the L.A. marathon has a 26.2 mile course. The top runners finish in a little over 2 hours. The average time for people who finish the race is 4-6 hours. For the 2011 L.A. Marathon, the average was 5 hours 16 minutes, and the last participant came in at 12 hours, 23 minutes.

Kelly was slowed down by his weight, no doubt.

However, here's a controversial thing to say: if we fat people can keep up with lighter people, showing no more strain than they do, then that means that we are stronger and more cardiovascularly fit than they are. How many people can walk 26 miles, let along run the first 8? How many people can do it without having a very low fat percentage? There are comments on the stories about Kelly talking about "strain on his heart." What people seem to forget is that the heart is a muscle. If you're heavy and active, then it gets to be big and powerful (and when you lose weight, it shrinks - this is why so many people have heart attacks while regaining weight they've lost).

If you're a thin fitness type reading this and shaking your head, then I have a challenge for you: attach enough weight to your body to make you equal in mass to an active fat person of your acquaintance. Then try to keep up with him or her. Frankly, I doubt that either you or I could walk a block, let alone a marathon (let alone run the first 8 miles), with enough added weight to equal Kelly G.

If you want to know how the performance of the type of thin, active folks who are considered fittest responds to added weight, then take a look at the military finish times for the Baton Memorial Death March, where participants can compete while wearing 35 pound backpacks. When you compare military men with and without packs, the packs add over an hour to the median time. Incidentally, the median time with the packs is similar to Kelly's time in the LA Marathon. Remember, these are the completion times for athletic members of the U.S. military who are only carrying an extra 35 pounds. Wonder how far those military guys would get with 200 pound backpacks.

This is a real athletic accomplishment, not just luck or some kind of fuzzywuzzy-newsy "triumph of the human spirit." Kelly trained hard, he did something that, in terms of weight, was more difficult for him to do than for any of the other almost 20,000 participants in the marathon, and he did it with grace and dignity. Cheers, Kelly!

Oh, and there's a beautiful photo of Kelly demonstrating his strength, flexibility and balance (by Mariah Tauger of the L.A. Times) here . I wish I could have used it to illustrate this post, but that would be a copyright violation. (curses!)

Pattie Thomas in 'Psychology Today'

This seems like a good time to give a heads up on "I Take Up Space," a series of articles that Pattie Thomas (author of "Taking Up Space,") has been writing for Psychology Today's web site. Her newest article, "Stigma is BIG Business," focuses on Allergen and the lap band.

It's a great article, and it includes some interesting numbers:

What Allergan calls "obesity intervention products" are expected to bring in $220 to 240 million in NET sales. That is what they will make beyond the cost of production. This expansion is estimated to have created a new market of over 26 million Americans, quite a significant boost to their potential sales...

Going from 15 million potential customers to 41 million customers is a 173.33% increase in a market in which Allergan basically has a monopoly. In other words, our government handed over to Allergan an incredible increase in market with a simple vote.

Other recommended links:

On Live Once, Juicy, Shaunta reflects on yet another (Remember Peta's?) god-awful anti-obesity ad campaign in Georgia, this one focusing on kids.


on Living ~400 lbs, there's a post on a new study that's - big surprise - being negatively spun in the press. Guess what? When you take other risk factors into consideration, BMI is not strongly linked to heart disease risk - even for apple-shaped people. Of course, the press is interpreting that as "Body shape has no impact on heart disease risk! If you're fat and pear shaped, you're still doomed!! Bwahahahaha!"

Another Type of Love

So first from Lonie McMichael's post on Love:

In hooks’ ideals, everyone is understood, appreciated and valued. 'This vision of relationships,' hooks said, 'where everyone’s needs are respected, where everyone has rights, where no one need fear subordination or abuse.'

Lonie goes on to connect this type of love to self acceptance and the acceptance of fat people in general. However, what stuck me was that it applies on both larger and smaller scales as well: in individual relationships and in social justice as a whole.

The idea of intersectionlity has come up in the fatosphere before. One discussion that I particularly remember included interesting posts by Tara Shuai at Fatshionista, by Marinanne Kirby at The Rotund, and Fillyjonk at Shapey Prose.

Of course, it's striking how hook's definition is also the model for modern relationships. It's almost as if western society, at least since WWII, has been turning away from traditional power dynamics based on gender and social hierarchies and toward a more inclusive ideal, both in families and in the larger society.

But, can we do it, or are those power dynamics an inescapable part of human nature? When we suppress social power dynamics, do they just pop up in new places? Is that why the anti-fat thing has gone... yeah, viral? Because hate is more of an epidemic - a sickness - than a high weight/height ratio.

Oh, and I'd like to use this as an excuse to link to two of my favorite fatosphere blogs, both written by women of color: Red Vinyl Shoes and Nudiemuse. The topic of intersecting identities and social justice as a whole has come up more than once in their blogs - and they're just good in general. So, if you're not already reading them, check 'em out.

HAES article in 'Psychotherapy Networker' magazine

Judith Matz has written an article for the newest issue of Psychotherapy Networker: "Recipe for Life: Is Attuned Eating the Answer To Diet Failure?"

Psychotherapy Networker is the most widely read magazine for U.S. mental health professionals.

This article should help to educate therapists on some of the real reasons for the failure of diets (it's not just psychological; it's physiological) and on the principles of HAES and attuned/intuitive eating. It even gives good advice for helping diet-scarred clients.

Hopefully it will make it easier to find mental health practitioners who aren't biased by questionable assumptions about fat people, our character, and how fatness may (or may not) relate to mental health issues.

It's a good article, very comprehensive and well supported, and definitely worth a read.

Shrink-seeking fat people: you might want to arm yourself with copies of this.

New Paul Campos, Glenn Gaesser journal article

Paul Campos and Glenn Gaesser (et. al.), are making sense as usual, this time in Oxford's International Journal of Epidemiology: "The epidemiology of overweight and obesity: public health crisis or moral panic?"

I was going to quote from the article, but frankly, there's just too much well supported, well expressed awesomeness to fit into one, two, three or even four blockquotes.

Here's the full article. Enjoy.

Oh - and if you haven't read Paul Campos' "The Obesity Myth" (also called "The Diet Myth") or Glenn Gaesser's "Big Fat Lies," then check it out! These are absolutely essential for anyone who's interested in what medical research research and population data reveal about weight and health.

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