Posted by Pattie on 7/16/2009 04:01:00 PM

So the good news is the upcoming anthology, Fat Studies Reader, has already got press, which makes me happy because I am one of the authors. (It is scheduled to be out in November.)

The bad news is that the New Yorker article is less than I would have liked and pretty typical in its focus on weight loss as the only issue important when it comes to body size and, of course, its all about how much we eat. (There is also some serious problems with her selectivity in bringing up Katherine Flegal's work since she later amended that work as being incorrect and incomplete in its understanding of the consequences of being fat.)

Read it and comment here about it if you'd like. Below is what I wrote to them:

Only a handful of people have seriously asked the question posed in the title of Elizabeth Kolbert’s article. Most scientists since the 1920s have assumed that fat is merely a consequence of eating poorly and lack of exercise in every case. THE question has been "How do we get rid of fat?", not "why?" As an author in the upcoming Fat Studies Reader, I was also pleased to see the volume gain some attention. Certainly, this anthology is timely and important and I am proud to be a part of the project.

However, overall, I was disappointed with the article, especially the representation of the fat acceptance movement as allying "with McDonald’s and the rest of the processed-food industry, while opposing the sorts of groups that advocate better school-lunch programs and more public parks."

People making the "big food" argument never pay attention to the so called "diet foods" as one of the most unnecessary and wasteful offender of processed food. It is so easy to cry about the fast food industry with little regard for the complexity of everyday choices that families have to make. It is not a simple matter and those who want to make it so are not really paying attention to the world around them.

But more importantly, since this was essentially a book review, it should be pointed out that most Health at Every Size advocates believe that eating good foods, exercising regularly and taking care of one's body is an important and worthy goal. We believe that good health can be achieved by anyone at any size.
In addition, we not only advocate more public parks, we advocate that those who wish to use such public facilities to enjoy movement will not be harassed, bullied or injured because of their size. We not only advocate healthier choices for students in school lunches, but that school lunch will be a time of pleasantries for all children no matter how they look or what their size is.

Equating the promotion of size tolerance and body diversity with a lack of care for health is one of the stereotypes that leads to stigmatization that justifies bullying and hate crimes against fat people.
It is my hope that in the future when Kolbert reviews a book, she will actually read it and comprehend its message, rather than set it up for a straw-person for her predetermined argument. I encourage your readers to read the book when it comes out in the Fall and see for themselves