Well hello! I haven’t forgotten or abandoned you all, I promise. Life has been intensely busy and I made a promise to myself at the beginning of this year that I would pace myself better and not work myself into the ground with both my activism and my day job. So you will be getting less posts from me but I’m sure they’ll be better quality in the long term.
I actually had another post written and ready to publish, but something else has cropped up that I would like to talk about. On Thursday night, as part of the local Bluewater festival here on the bay, there was an event at Shorncliffe called Bayfire. I decided to take myself along to it to have a look at the markets, get some dinner and watch the fireworks. I wandered up there and had a look around, bought some very cute hair accessories from a small business called Princess Perfect Clips, tried Transylvanian cheese pie for dinner (verdict – rather tasty) and then watched the fireworks.
When the fireworks were finished, I decided to go and have a look at the rest of the markets. As I was walking along the waterfront where the stalls all were, minding my own business, someone shoved something in my hands. I looked down and it was a flyer for some ridiculous weight loss product, which was basically wrapping bits of your body in cling film. I turned towards the woman who had stuffed it in my hand without asking me if I wanted it, and there they were, a bunch of seriously miserable looking women, all with their arms or middles wrapped in cling film.
I couldn’t believe anyone would be so rude to shove weight loss propaganda into the hands of someone who was not in any way inviting them to do so. So I tore up the flyer very deliberately right in front of them, making sure they were all watching me, and tossed it into a bin, and walked away. I was so pissed off.
A bit later I decided to get some dessert, and I decided to share this picture of my dessert on my social media sites (Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook) with the following caption:
Om nom nom, right?
Well, I didn’t imagine the shitstorm it would create on Tumblr. Mostly because some people seemed to take personal offense that I wasn’t “allowing anyone to be encouraged on their weight loss goals”.
Now how my protesting some company forcing their material on to fat women (they were not shoving the flyers in the hands of men or thin people) to shame them equals “not allowing anyone to be encouraged on their weight loss goals”, I’m fucked if I know. After all, I don’t give two fucks what other people do to their own bodies. This has got nothing at all to do with other people’s bodily choices. What this has to do with is the public shaming of fat women to make money. What this has to do with is some woman wrapped in cling foil selling a phony diet product deciding that the fat woman walking past her has a body that is “unacceptable” and she can make a buck off that fat woman by flogging her snake oil product. This is about someone selling a product assuming that as a fat woman that I must be unhappy with my body and want to spend my money on cling film to reduce it.
The other argument that people kept making is that it is “legitimate advertising” to single out fat women (again, they did not hand the flyers to men or thin people) in public and give them weight loss propaganda.
I am not sure what planet some people are living on.
To equate handing unsolicited weight loss flyers to fat people (and only fat people) to an ad on TV, in a magazine, on the radio or on the side of the street etc is fucked up.
Advertising in general is shitty, and needs to be spoken up against, but it’s not picking out an individual in a public place and physically handing them a flyer that says “Hey fat person, here’s a product you should buy to stop being a fat person because fat is gross.” It’s not singling out someone who is minding their own business in public, to pass commentary on their body by recommending a product to reduce their body.
Imagine if I wasn’t the confident, self aware woman I am now. To be singled out like this and handed such propaganda would have DEVASTATED me years ago. I would have felt so upset that someone had pointed out my fatness in public and made commentary via their actions that my body was unacceptable. How many other fat women had their night ruined on Thursday by being handed this shitty flyer while enjoying an evening out with their friends and/or family? I don’t know about you, but most fat women I know don’t go out to a fair to find a weight loss solution, they go out to have fun and enjoy the shopping, dining and fireworks.
For some reason, it is believed by many people that weight loss peddlers actually care about us. That they care about our happiness, our health and/or our bodies. They don’t. They care about obtaining our money. They tell us our bodies are not acceptable, sell us a product that does not work, then blame us for failing, and sell us the product again, or a new product that does not work. In Australia alone they make almost $800 million per year. In the US, it’s $66 billion per year. They are taking your money and laughing at you as they watch you blame yourself for their product or service failure.
Don’t stand for that shit. Don’t let anyone dismiss what a horrible act it is to single out a fat person and try to shame them into buying a product. Don’t let the weight loss industry brainwash you into believing that they care about you, or that they are doing anyone a public service by pushing their product on to people who never asked for it in the first place.