Today I was the unfortunate victim of a Fat Non Sequitur, which I've decided to call FaNS for funsies.
Let me tell you what a FaNS is, ghurl.
Fat Non Sequitur or FaNS (noun)
a rote statement that is topical but irrelevant and follows a fat positive person's attempt to say something that critically engages with weight loss culture.
Me: I'm glad that the Senate convened to discuss Dr. Oz' role in promoting diet pills and products. Diet pills can be harmful.
FaNS giver: Yeah but being fat is bad for you.
Me: The weight loss focused health discourse has - unequivocally - caused more harm than good. This argument that you present here is one that is consistently presented as a way to mire the discussion in a medical discourse. I'm a civil rights and human rights activist who cares NOT what a person weighs/ideal weight for "maximum health benefits." I care that people of every size are guaranteed rights against interpersonal and institutional discrimination based on size. Dieting culture actively prevents the movement toward those goals and therefore I am against it.
Did you see what happened there? I'm being all cute and smart and happy that someone has called out a diet pill slinger and someone tries to poop on my party with a FaNS. Sometimes people have difficulty spotting a FaNS because they are typically TOPICAL but are not RELEVANT. It's like if I told you that my cat just learned how to flush the toilet and someone I wasn't even talking to interrupted with their experience of getting cat scratch fever one time from a cat they found in the Walgreens parking lot. Yes, we are both talking about cats doing stuff but cat scratch fever is like not relevant to what I'm talking about, ghurl.
I just don't have time for this shit. My energy is focused on making my life and the lives of other fat babes fabulous. But I straight up got FaNS-bombed this morning!
Here's what I want you to remember the next time a FaNS tries to ruin your Wednesday:
FaNS is a form of discrimination and bigotry.
There is no weight at which a person stops deserving protection against interpersonal and institutional discrimination. Period.
On my way to some cat meme therapy this afternoon I almost missed the Dr. Oz headline on MSN's front page. For a split second as I was leaving the page I saw his I'm-in-trouble face (see above) alongside the words "diet" and "senate hearing." I clicked the back button with an enthusiastic curiosity typically reserved for closeups of dessert.
Oz testified during a Senate hearing this week convened to discuss his role in promoting diet products. Oz is a well known and vociferous advocate of weight loss and often promotes products that claim to cause weight loss on his show. Well, he finally got read by the Senate:
“I don’t get why you need to say this stuff because you know it’s not true,” said Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat.
Keep it real, Claire.
I find Oz' choice to make weight loss his primary platform problematic, if not unethical. With growing panic around body size in the US it's easy to exploit people who watch the show seeking guidance from a medical expert. Whether Dr. Oz is directly profiting from the sale of these products or not is not particularly relevant. He is responsible for promoting weight loss above any number of arguably more accurate health indicators.
When you teach people to unequivocally equate weight loss with health - which is an inaccurate measure of health - you create a market for "miracle products" that either have no effect, have no sustainable effect and/or have harmful effects.
Considering the state of access to healthcare in the United States until very recently, the reality is that Americans at times look to television for medical advice. And they trust people who are or pose as medical doctors. The War on Obesity has created a platform for people like Dr. Oz to exacerbate the anxiety that people feel about their body size. This anxiety leads to vulnerability that can be exploited by companies peddling diet products.
The dieting industry survives because of our culture's obsession with the notion of an ideal body. Unfortunately, ideal and thin are seen as synonymous. For as long as this is true, people like Dr. Oz will come and go but health related media will remain potential diet pill pulpits.
Read the ABC News article on the Senate hearing.
Not 24 hours after I debuted the Tracy Turnblad roach dress homage (see image, ghurl!) with, yes, the matching nails (see nail blog asap) as the co-host of the Second Helpings Fatinee extravaganza in SF that I was out on the town for another fat positive soiree with one of my main femmes Kitty. This time our love of all things Fat High Society took us south of San Francisco to the Curvy Girls Rock Fashion Show where we got the VIP treatment from host and Curvy Girl Lingerie mastermind, Chrystal Bougon.
We talked to some press, got some ridiculously sexy goody bags from Lelo and had some soft cheeses, chicken skewers, chocolate martinis, cake and crudites. Ghurl love her some crudites.
Then the show started!
After mingling and eating more cake bites I made a new friend named Shae!
And then Kitty & I took to the runway OF COURSE.
Ok ok. Me and Shae took a #bitchface photo I was gonna share with you but then I realized that would be serious emotional blog infidelity so here it is.
Whew, ghurl, time for me to go to Chevy's and get a strawberry daiquiri to go so I can cuddle up with my boo and try the new stuff I got in my goody bag!
In anticipation of tomorrow evening's Second Helpings FATINEE at SOMArts in San Francisco (the show is sold out but I will be heavily photo'ing it - don't worry) AND the public debut of my Tracy Turnbladesque homage I decided that roach nails were #MANDATORY.
Thanks to the interwebz and all the nail karma I've wracked up, Taylor of @sfpartynails (find her on Instagram immediately) got in touch and said she could make my roach dreams a reality!
My very first introduction to nail art was when I was living in Bangkok. After the sun sets (cuz ghurl it's won hottest city in the world for a while now) some enterprising Thai women set up an on-the-go nail art studio out on the sidewalk. They turn gorgeous nail jobs on a tv dinner tray (set up is fast and easy, ghurl) and you can get literally ANYTHING painted or glued on your nails in about 15 minutes. These nail queens are talented! And they're totally using nail art to gain class mobility (#getthatmoneygirl). I remember wondering why I hadn't seen this in the US.
And then some babes showed me Taylor's work on Instagram. She started out doing nails at bars and parties in the Bay and now works at a salon in the Temescal district in Oakland.
While Taylor and I were chopping it up in my kitchen we got to talking about the politics of nails.
I need to set the scene for you: 2 babes - me + Taylor - sitting in my kitchen nook.. Taylor is painting epic roaches with little pink hearts on my nails and we're analyzing the race, class and gender implications of nails. It was like my idea of the best femme afternoon ever.
I didn't grow up in high femme nail culture. Taylor did. But we both see nails as ways of broadcasting messages - some call this flagging. For me, brightly colored or cockroach-covered nails demand visibility, align me with a history of adornment commandeered by women of color, declare my undeniable femininity. When I grow my nails out they become claws that make me feel ferocious, independent and anything but harmless.
What do you do with your nails and what does it mean to you?
The TOO-TALENTED-TO-HANDLE Joy Nash (who you may know from The Mindy Project, American Horror Story and the famed Fat Rant) narrated Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion just for you lovers of the fat girls!
In case you didn't know, the book features some of my hands-down favorite writers and sheroes.. like Kitty Stryker, Tigress Osborn, Golda Poretsky, Margitte Kristjansson, Tasha Fierce, Rachel Kacenjar, Ginger Snapz... and the fabulous just goes on and on, ghurl.
I want to give you a chance to get in on the fatties on tape action for FREE to accompany you during your next fatkini hoe-down, road trip across America in search of the best margarita/donut/antique cat vase and other summer shenanigans.
All you need to do is sign up for my brand spanking new email list between right now and June 17th at 11:59pm!
There are 2 ways to sign up: Enter your email address right there ^^^ or click here to get directed to a sign-up page.
I will randomly choose 3 winners who will each receive a FREE code for the audiobook download on Audible. The codes will be sent to the three email addresses that are selected on June 18, 2014.
Virgie Tovar, MA is one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the founder of Babecamp (a 4 week online course focused on helping people break up with diet culture) and the editor of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion (Seal Press, 2012). She writes about the intersections of size, identity, sexuality and politics. See more updates on Facebook.