i found something to talk about

Actually, two things.

1. “Is It OK To Be Fat?”, the debate between Marianne Kirby, Crystal Renn, MeMe Roth and Kim Benson last night on ABC’s Nightline.  It took me until now to watch it, because I was a bit leery yesterday at the title alone, and I have so many feelings.  For instance: MeMe Roth obviously lives in a different America than I do.  She seriously thinks that Lady Gaga and Beyoncé represent a movement away from the “waif look”?  That thin people are discriminated against and fat people are coddled?  Are the ABC crew sure that Roth isn’t a spam cyborg for TrimSpa or something?  Or maybe because she falls under most categories of privilege (white, educated, upper-middle-class, thin), that is why Roth believes that fat people are not discriminated against?  Well.  Ms. Roth, let me say something.  Kevin Smith –– along with I-don’t-know-how-many noncelebrities –– was not kicked off a Southwest flight for being delicately thin.  He was kicked off for being fat and possessing only one seat assignment.  And can I say something more about the whole “you should buy two seats if you require them” philosophy that supports this treatment?  Fat customers aren’t made to buy two seats because we want the extra space.  It’s not like we’re stretching out across both seats in relaxed luxury, like the Fancy Feast cat resting on a silk pillow.  There’s a fucking armrest in between our seats, just like those of smaller customers –– so like everyone else, we have to settle for fitting into one assigned seat.  The other seat a fat customer is made to buy is strictly for the comfort of the person that would otherwise have sat next to him or her, so that person doesn’t have to (oh, the HORRORS!) deal with a portly neighbor’s blubber overreaching its assigned area.  It is not for the fat customer’s comfort that a second seat is purchased.  It is because fat people are often considered a spatial, visual, economic burden on society, one that oftentimes (as in these incidents with Southwest and United) is created and enforced by the institutions within that society.

There’s also the small matter in which Roth stated that overweight/obese people had brains “4% smaller” than “healthy weight” people.  I understand the study’s from the University of Pittsburgh, as she noted, but I want to know what exactly the university said, since this sounds –– as the audience for the debate attested –– like total crap.  Does the brain shrink as someone gains weight?  What of the five percent of dieters who used to be obese and are now considered “normal” weight, such as Kim Benson?  Do their brains enlarge as these people continue to keep the weight off?  The only way this makes sense is if evolution slowly progressed over centuries to the point that genetically larger people had 4% smaller brains, but then that’s admitting that weight and size has very much to do with genetics and very little to do with willpower or one’s moral worth, which Roth won’t concede to.  Except when it comes to fat women giving birth to kids with spina bifida, at which point Roth says, “You’re fighting against Darwin here!”  Well, MeMe, you can’t have it both ways –– either weight is caused by genetics or it’s caused by one being a self-indulgent slob, and it looks like you’ve undermined your lazy-slob position right there.  Check… and… mate.

2. I read on Jezebel this morning that Utah’s governor is considering the passage into law of a bill that would investigate (with, surprise, the possibility of punishing) women for having miscarriages.  The fear underlying the law is that some women might induce a miscarriage to end their pregnancies; therefore, the law goes, all women who suffer miscarriages can be charged with homicide.  To which I say:  WHAT THE FUCK, UTAH.



Filed under Heather

16 responses to “i found something to talk about

  1. Peter

    I am pretty sure this is the paper: Brain Size Scaling and Body Composition in Mammals

    “There is apparently no comparative analysis of this question, but assuming this pattern holds across species it suggests that metabolic rate might be related to brain size not in a direct causal sense. . .” Despite the title, the paper is basically about how Neanderthals needed to grow in order to have larger brains, since brains require a lot of resources.

    Tom Schoenemann was at University of Penssylvania (not Pittsburg) when he wrote that, and has since moved on to Indiana.

    This was the next closest paper, coming out of UCLA: Brain Structure and Obesity


    This paper has the most informative abstract I have ever seen. I pulled this from it, but it also talks about obesity in the elderly and diabetes.

    “…BMI was still negatively correlated with brain atrophy…”

  2. I fucking hate MeMe Roth. Can I say that again? I FUCKING HATE MEME ROTH. She’s a privileged bitch that only cares about who is assaulting her delicate eyeballs. Well, I’m sorry that I’m not a skeletal bitch trying to take cupcakes out of the hands of children so that they don’t, oh god, become fat like Beyonce???? But it seems like you’ve got that particular niche down, MeMe, so NO PROBLEM. Even her name is perfect, because she’s a skinny self-absorbed person that probably has a huge eating disorder and just presses it back on the world at large making it even harder for us chubby girls, which we REALLY DON’T NEED. Everyone already expects me to look like Shane, I don’t need it from you too, MeMe.

    Sorry, I just have a lot of feelings :/

    • Heather

      Confession: I had to stop watching the debate after two-thirds of the way through because I felt so frustrated, and also because this post would have gone on for yards.

      Re: the Shane thing, I know what you mean. People don’t necessarily expect me to look a certain way, but they expect me to be a certain way based on my appearance (and often, additionally, on my cheery demeanor).

  3. Rachel

    love love love all of this, seriously.

    also, meme roth is certifiably crazy. jezebel has a good article up about how she, um, has no credentials for anything she says. and also pretty clearly has an eating disorder herself, and anything she says should be viewed through the lens of her own sick relationship with food and is in fact a testament that everything she says is wrong.

    • Heather

      I read that on Jezebel right after I put up this post. I feel slightly more at ease with the world now.

      But not with Utah, because what Emma said is 100% right.

  4. emma

    both of these things make me wanna puke.

    1. meme roth first came to my attention because she said jordin sparks was too fat to be the american idol even though her father is a LINEBACKER and you ain’t gonna be small if you have 50% of his genes. she has no medical or journalistic qualifications and during this interview advocated a diet wherein people eat 10x as many calories as their ideal weight (1,100 if you want to weigh 110, for example). to me, this sounds a suspiciously like a “diet” a teenage girl would invent and post in the _realthin livejournal community. also, it makes no sense.

    in:re the smaller brains thing: meme, are you a racial scientist? wtf are you talking about?

    2. SOME DOCTORS ESTIMATE THAT 50 PERCENT OF PREGNANCIES END IN MISCARRIAGE. miscarriages. happen. all. the. time. you don’t get pregnant because jesus flies down and puts a baby in your tummy and, accordingly, he doesn’t come and take the baby away if you don’t take extra close care of it. pregnancy has something to with, uh, biology and a large (if unattractive) part of that is the fact that many pregnancies are not carried to full term. you know what the medical community calls “miscarriage”? “spontaneous abortion.” because anyone who knows anything about the way humans work understands that pregnancy is about more than christianity and oppressing women.

    • Peter

      Emma said everything I was going to say about the pregnancy thing, but with percents added.

    • emma

      p.s. even if jordin sparks didn’t have a linebacker father and even if she was “fat” and even if it was somehow proven that she got that way by being sedentary and eating in excess, it still wouldn’t have anything to do with whether or not she should be american idol.

    • And Jordin Sparks is hot so MeMe Roth can go violate herself with a spork and a toaster.

  5. Pingback: Nightline debate that broke my brain « Jumbled Words

  6. Pingback: Heather and Rachel Have Feelings

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  8. Hello! Just stopping in to say that I’m doing a second pingback to this post for my Swedish blog, sorry you won’t be able to read what I say about you! I’m basically translating this post, though. Just in case you’re curious.

    • Heather

      Totally fine. I’m flattered! And curious to see what I look like in Swedish. Send me a link when you’re done?

  9. me

    I hopped over here from the Jumbled Words blog, which linked to your post. Thanks for the recap and arguments. I too appreciated your “Check… and… mate” argument (and the way you put that).

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