I've spent the last two weeks traveling up and down North America - Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Portland, even Fresno! - giving a fake - and supremely snarky - TedTalk, in which I explain the history of the creepy ass dudes who pioneered the dietary reform movement (who were also big circumcision advocates), the connections between weighing yourself and the prison industrial complex, and also my suggestions for avoiding straight white dudes with hella privilege as a way of improving your cardiovascular health by a million healthy health points.
But why a fake TedTalk, you might ask! Well...
If you're anything like me, you're a bit of a snarky bitch who finds the idea of our cultural obsession with quantifying everything a bit, I dunno, fascistic. If not utterly puerile, girl!
If you're anything like me, you've also come to realize that things like TedTalks are engines of this weird neo-liberal fascination with knowledge production and information sharing. If you're a Westerner, like me, you grew up with the idea that gaining information was inherently valuable, and not just any ol' information - the kind that positions the West as a pioneer and a leader in global progress as well as Western "ways of knowing" as superior and that people who aren't on board with this very particular kind of information gathering/spreading is backwards if not dangerous.
This knowledge is broken down into numbers and charts that make us all "ooh" and "aww." These numbers and charts end up becoming things that we worship and obey. And then we begin to create meaning and worth from these numbers and charts that kind of don't really actually mean anything at all. Think, for instance, of the quite arbitrary and strange way we calculate something like Body Mass Index, etc. All of these things dovetail so perfectly into diet culture and explain some of the reasons it is so widespread.
And I have a major problem with all of that!
When faced with such silliness I was left with no choice but to make fun of it, of course! And so I did! And here's pictures of me doing it. The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles filmed the entire show of which my TedTalk was a part. Thanks, Hammer Museum!
Here I am explaining a very official PIE CHART with a very ACCURATE breakdown of life's most important pursuits when taking into account the new BMI - Burgers & Milkshake Index - I SCIENTIFICALLY formulated. In order of BMI importance:
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.