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Why are today’s disgusting bullies so unashamed of themselves?

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TRIGGER WARNING: If you are currently recovering from or in treatment for an eating disorder, or if you are a survivor of an eating disorder who wishes to avoid triggering content, please don’t read the following post.

There’s a proverb that goes, “Do not speak unless you can improve upon the silence.” I think the same could be said about writing: Don’t waste people’s time when you don’t have anything of value to say.

Like, oh, just for an example here, let’s say you wrote an article praising people with deadly eating disorders as being “driven” and suggesting that having a child with anorexia is preferable to having a fat child.

I wouldn’t call Linda Kelsey’s piece for the Daily Mail an article, so much as an embarrassing online tirade targeting fat people with as much hatred as she was able to pack into her go-nowhere screed. In a nutshell, Kelsey feels that it should be socially acceptable to shame fat people… for the sake of their their health, of course.

Standing in the queue for airport security at Luton last week, en route to Malaga and my fortnight in the sun, I became transfixed by the three young women in front of me.

All in their early 20s, they were laughing and chatting, clearly looking forward to their hols on the Costa del Sol, excitedly planning their days on the beach and nights on the town.

They sounded – and looked – happy and carefree. But what mesmerised me most about this jolly trio was not their conversation, but their appearance: they were size 18 apiece, at least.

It isn’t enough to guess at their sizes. Allow Linda to describe them:

They were not chubby, but fat. They had bulging bellies and billowing pillows of back and shoulder stuffing, punctured by flabby arms and lardy legs that no amount of fake-tan could disguise.

And what struck me even more forcefully about these lumpen individuals (there were dozens more, equally large, in the queue behind me) was how obviously unconcerned they were about it.

Linda Kelsey is surrounded by fat people. There is no escape. And these people weren’t even appropriately somber. They were standing there, preparing to go on their vacations just like Linda was, and they were enjoying themselves presumably as much as Linda was enjoying herself. And somehow, they were doing this as though their body size didn’t inhibit their enjoyment of life. This isn’t fair. These woman were fat. They shouldn’t be allowed the same level of excitement or fun that lovely, slender Linda is entitled to as a thin person.

What’s worse, these girls were going on a holiday to southern Spain and they weren’t swaddled in winter coats. They were wearing stuff like shorts and tank tops, their rolls and cellulite on display for all to see. And they forced poor Linda to rake her offended gaze over every dimple and crease in their fat bodies. To top it all off, they were sharing a bag of chips!

I assume Linda was upset about them sharing the bag, rather than having one apiece, because she had to dial her scorn back a notch.

It occurred to me that if these girls hated their bodies and were racked with self-loathing, as we’re so often told that the majority of young women do and are, they were doing a grand job of projecting exactly the opposite impression.

Far from body hatred, what I witnessed was a let-it-all-hang-out faith in themselves and a don’t-give-a-damn attitude to their evident obesity.

Maybe I’m making a rash assumption here, but it sounds like Linda feels that all fat people should walk around in super-sized potato sacks, ringing a bell and crying, “Unthin! Unthin!” as they shuffle through the streets, and the fact that we don’t is proof that we face no derision or emotional upheaval from the culture that surrounds us.

Un-PC of me as it may be to criticise my sex for their size, when it comes to weight I’m not afraid to say it: I am unapologetically fattist. It’s unattractive, it’s unhealthy and, given the problems that being fat can cause, it should be as unacceptable as smoking.

The nice thing about being fat is that so many people care about your health. Your doctor, the media, hateful strangers in an airport who will compare your body to a cigarette… It’s always a fairly good indicator that someone is about to be unapologetically ignorant and offensive when they say something like “Un-PC.” The only people in this world who still bemoan polite language as being “politically correct” are the people who were outraged when the term came into use in the ’90’s to end their reign of verbal excrement, and haven’t gotten over the slight since.

Yet to judge by the moral panic over anorexia you would think our daughters are a generation of self-starving stick insects. That each and every one of them is dangerously striving for Keira Knightley’s razor-sharp scapula and fried egg breasts or Victoria Beckham’s hand-span thighs and knife-edge hips.

How silly of these people! It’s almost as though they see young girls, the friends of their daughters, the children they teach, the patients they struggle to help, and think that anorexia is somehow a disease worth panicking over.

If someone is too-thin by Linda’s standards, she has choice words to describe them, too. Kiera Knightley, arguably one of the most beautiful women in the film industry, has “fried egg” breasts. Victoria Beckham, the most glamorous of all the girls Spice, has “knife-edge hips.” In Linda’s worldview, no body seems to be at an acceptable weight.

I don’t deny that anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders are a pernicious problem, and I’ve witnessed at close hand the devastating effects of anorexia as young daughters of friends and acquaintances have succumbed to it.

What could the common denominator be in all of these cases of people you know having eating disorders? There has to be some underlying cause, some symptom in common. I just can’t put my finger on why someone who knew you would be stricken with a mental illness that causes people to starve and exercise themselves to death…

But in the cases I’ve come across, the psychological issues these girls were suffering from had far more to do with their driven personalities, their determination to be A*  students at any cost, as well as troubles with over-demanding parents, than simply emulating glossy magazine images of super-skinny models and stick-thin celebrities on the red carpet.

This is perhaps the most troubling aspect of Linda’s diatribe. The denial that thin-obsessed media culture has any link to the deadly rise of eating disorders is bad enough, but drawing a comparison between being anorexic and striving for excellence is unconscionable. Also, I’m not sure which class these girls were in that they had to die from an eating disorder to get good grades, but that school should definitely have their curriculum evaluated.

Far more attention and, dare I say it, opprobrium needs to be directed at young fatties who eat unhealthy diets and sit around watching TV and texting rather than going to the gym or even for a walk.

Doesn’t that just make the wording jump out at you more? “Fatties”– and by the way, Ms. Kelsey, only fat people are allowed to use that word to describe ourselves, so go wash your mouth out with low-calorie soap– have the audacity to “sit around” and be “unhealthy,” when they should be more “driven” and have the “determination” that seriously ill eating disorder patients display. As always in “health” related anti-fat arguments, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with being thin and sitting around watching TV while eating an unhealthy diet. The only marker of health is thinness.

While it’s well known that socio-economic factors have a bearing on weight – with those on lower incomes more likely to eat sugar and fat-laden diets, and less likely to exercise – there are other factors being ignored.

So, she’s going to go right on ahead and ignore that really important factor, the one where despite the abundance of wealth in first world countries, many people are chronically hungry and forced to make poor diet choices,  in order to focus on the more pressing issue. Mothers are encouraging their daughters to have self-esteem:

A generation of mothers seem to have swallowed a dangerously misguided message of body acceptance; making them terrified of telling their daughters they’re getting fat for fear they’ll stop eating altogether.

Mums are now so busy shoring up their daughters’ self-worth by telling them they’re lovely just the way they are, they’re becoming guilty of benign neglect instead.

Let me clarify her point: A generation of mothers finds it’s more important that their daughters live happy, mentally healthy lives, rather than encouraging them to crash diet and hate themselves. And that’s awful.

I don’t have a daughter, nor do I have a weight problem.

So what you’re saying here, Linda, is that you’re not at all qualified to be writing about how young girls should stop being so fat. You have literally no experience whatsoever with either raising a daughter or being fat in the world we live in. You know, I’ve never gone kayaking or farmed ostriches, but I’m fairly confident I can write an article about how to teach your ostrich to kayak. And the Daily Mail will probably pick it up, because they flat-out don’t care what nonsensical garbage they publish.

I love food, but even today, at 62, I am still very careful to cut back if I feel my jeans getting too tight. While I have sympathy for those with genuine metabolic conditions, the majority of today’s fatties seem simply too greedy, ill-disciplined and or ignorant to do the same.

I’m not sure what I find more laughable about this paragraph, the part about everyone being too greedy, ill-disciplined or ignorant to follow her pristine example, or the idea that a person as hateful, bitter, and self-centered as Linda Kelsey could experience any emotion that bears a passing relation to sympathy.

She goes on to cite figures about how much fat costs the NHS and how there are healthy alternatives to McDonald’s, and about how heart attacks, acid reflux, strokes, cancer and asthma can all be caused by fat, with no mention of how anorexia and bulimia are also linked to those same health concerns. Because, as I stated before, thinness is the only way to measure health.

We live in a society in which it has become OK to shame people for being skinny, but to come out and say ‘You’re fat. Not healthy, not a good look’ would be tantamount to a crime.

While I admit that there is a fair amount of thin-shaming going on in our culture and it’s totally not cool, it’s a bit dramatic to say it’s “tantamount to a crime” to call someone fat. It’s rude, and it makes you look like a huge a-hole, but so does writing an entire opinion piece about how mothers aren’t making their daughters hate themselves enough and eating disorders are no big deal because the sufferers are just “driven.” But it’s not a crime. Now, if you said that kind of thing to my daughter, there would definitely be a criminal charge involved, but it wouldn’t be you they’d be throwing in jail.

The problem with people like Linda Kelsey–aside from the fact that they’re rude, cruel, ignorant and self-important know-it-all bullies–is that they’ve convinced themselves that fat people want their approval. But we don’t. So it leaves them kicking and pounding like a toddler throwing a fit because they can’t make everyone as miserable as they are. Linda Kelsey doesn’t want fat people to hate themselves as much as she hates them. She wants fat people to hate themselves as much as she would hate herself for becoming fat. She wants mothers of daughters to make their girls hate themselves, so they never have the audacity to go to Spain and enjoy themselves. She’s fine with girls dying from anorexia because, hey, at least then they wouldn’t be fat. And she has a burning need to be able to shame the bodies of fat people and skinny, attractive actresses with “fried egg” breasts.

Linda Kelsey wants us to join her in a world where humanity and respect are only bestowed upon bodies she deems acceptable. Her body, for example. But it’s not out of vanity or self-importance. Linda Kelsey only encourages eating disorders for the sake of public health. In the end, isn’t that the noble motivation behind all those concern trolls who bully fat people for self-validation?

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88 Comments

  1. Mitzy247
    Mitzy247

    I couldn’t finish reading the original article. How dare this woman act like offer people should walk around all day like they are in constant shame?! I lived my life exactly like that for too damn long, and hell if I’m going to make my hold feel shame for the way they look because I can’t accept myself. We are more than our body size, hair style, skin color or anything else that is just surface beauty. I wonder when the Botox stops working and her body goes frail and imperfect with issues like incontinence if she’ll hide herself away in game for growing old…

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
    • Annie
      Annie

      My mother made many comments to me about my size all through middle and high school. She even asked other adults to talk to me about it, publicly. It always made me feel like I was never good enough. No matter what I excelled at: school, sports, etc. I was never the brain, or the jock, or the writer- I was just the fat girl. When I went away to college, I realized no one could pay attention to what I was eating or not eating and I became the thinnest I ever was–scary thin- because I stopped eating. I would allow myself to eat for one day and than not eat for three. Somewhere along the line, I had read that you can go for three days without food and still be healthy. So, I warped that information to suit my new, “diet.” I excelled at school and was even an editor on the newspaper; however, my biggest accomplishment, I felt like, was my weight loss. My mother would go on and on about how wonderful I looked. How I had finally grown into my looks, etc. I looked like I had it all, but I was slowly poisoning myself. I ended up with a myriad of health and anxiety issues and I still struggle with a horrible body image. I decline so many invitations because I think I am too fat to go canoeing, to the beach, to someone’s pool, someone’s wedding, etc. It was only a few years ago that I found out my mother has been struggling with an eating disorder for most of her life. She was projecting all of her own fears , anxieties and vanities onto me. These things are incredibly cyclical. I was trained to think that thin was the most important thing from a woman who thought being thin was the most important thing. I find myself struggling with my own two daughters. One is naturally thin and long-limbed, the other is a cute little tea-pot, short and stout. I talk to her, constantly- and have to stop myself, about making appropriate food choices. On the outside I say, “It is more important for her to be happy and feel pretty in her own skin;” however, my internal dialog goes more like, “Please, don’t let her be the fat kid in class.” She eats incredibly healthy, she eats the same diet as her willowy sister, she is just more of a sturdy maple. I want her to rejoice in her uniqueness. I want her to love every inch of her skin, but I also know she will grow up in a world that will not rejoice in her uniqueness, or want her to love every inch of her skin. How do we teach them to love themselves, but also prepare for a world that does not want them to love themselves? How do we break this cycle?

      July 16, 2014
      |Reply
    • Annie
      Annie

      My mother made many comments to me about my size all through middle and high school. She even asked other adults to talk to me about it, publicly. It always made me feel like I was never good enough. No matter what I excelled at: school, sports, art- I was never the brain, the athlete or the writer, I was just the fat girl. I remember specifics, like, “Maybe if you lost weight, you’d have more friends,” and, “You’re not just chubby anymore, you’re a whale- a real pig.” When I went away to college, I realized no one could pay attention to what I was eating or not eating and I became the thinnest I ever was–scary thin- because I stopped eating. I would allow myself to eat for one day and than not eat for three. Somewhere along the line, I had read that you can go for three days without food and still be healthy. So, I warped that information to suit my new, “diet.” I excelled at school, I was an editor on the newspaper, but my biggest accomplishment was my weight loss. My mother would go on and on about how wonderful I looked. How I had finally grown into my looks, etc. I looked like I had it all, but I was slowly poisoning myself. I ended up with a myriad of health and anxiety issues and I still struggle with a horrible body image. I decline so many invitations because I think I am too fat to go canoeing, to the beach, to someone’s pool, someone’s wedding, etc. It was only a few years ago that I found out my mother has been struggling with an eating disorder for most of her life. She projected her own fears, anxieties and vanities onto me. These things are incredible cyclical. I was trained to think that thin was the most important thing from a woman who thought being thin was the most important thing. I find myself struggling with my own two daughters. One is naturally thin and long-limbed, the other is a cute little tea-pot, short and stout. I talk to her, constantly- and have to stop myself- about making appropriate food choices. On the outside I say, “It is more important for her to be happy and feel pretty in her own skin;” however, my internal dialog goes more like, “Please, don’t let her be the fat kid in class.” She eats incredibly healthy, she eats the same diet as her willowy sister. She is just less willow and more of a sturdy maple. I want her to rejoice in her uniqueness. I want her to love every inch of her skin, but I also know she will grow up in a world that will not rejoice in her uniqueness, or want her to love every inch of her skin. How do we teach them to love themselves, but also prepare for a world that does not want them to love themselves? How do we break this cycle?

      July 17, 2014
      |Reply
  2. Samantha
    Samantha

    Man, sometimes it feels like there’s some crazy force at work in the world that makes women feel and follow this impulse to snipe at each other’s looks no matter what we look like. (Oh wait!)

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
  3. Katiedidwhat
    Katiedidwhat

    Did they fire Samantha Brick? Or did she not happen to have the recent life experience necessary to make this article inflammatory enough for the Daily Mail?

    The Daily Mail is like the Weekly World News, except that it keeps its variety of the sensational in the realms of reality with a healthy dose of vitriol. I prefer my evil conspiracies insane and fantastical.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
    • Katiedidwhat
      Katiedidwhat

      And with 100% more bat children.

      July 11, 2014
      |Reply
  4. Tania
    Tania

    My sister’s friend almost died of bulimia. To say there was no desire to be thin, that it was only her driven personality, is ignorant and dangerous. Her driven personality led to her being so good at making herself throw up, but it started as her being a Cirkids (circus kid) athlete who was heavier than the other, tiny gymnasts and having a couple of parents who would body-shame her constantly. (They loved her bulimia. They were so happy with how THIN she was.)

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
  5. Angie
    Angie

    What always gets me is the number of people who think it’s their job to say something to someone. I guarantee, I KNOW I am overweight. I am perfectly aware. I do not need strangers pointing it out to me. Do they actually think I don’t know?

    July 11, 2014
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  6. Seeing someone use “fatties” in a serious, hateful diatribe is cracking me up. It just sounds so over the top ridiculous.

    And while I’m sure you are aware, it is worth noting too that 1. women with bulimia often do not lose a substantial amount of weight. That means you cannot look at a woman and know if she suffers from bulimia or not by whether or not she seems overly thin. And 2. many fat women who do not have an active eating disorder have had one in the past, including anorexia, and are now in recovery from it. So the whole fatties vs girls with eating disorders is a false dichotomy, the two groups actually have substantial overlap.

    July 11, 2014
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    • Janine
      Janine

      THIS!!

      July 11, 2014
      |Reply
  7. Seeing someone use the term “fatties” in a serious, hateful diatribe is cracking me up. It’s just so ridiculously over the top.

    And while I’m sure you are aware, it is worth noting too that 1. women with bulimia often do not lose a substantial amount of weight. That means you cannot look at a woman and know if she suffers from bulimia or not by whether or not she seems overly thin. And 2. many fat women who do not have an active eating disorder have had one in the past, including anorexia, and are now in recovery from it. So the whole fatties vs girls with eating disorders is a false dichotomy, the two groups actually have substantial overlap.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
    • JordieBelle
      JordieBelle

      Not to mention that a person who is substantially overweight can have an eating disorder that meets all the criteria for anorexia apart from being very underweight simply because they started from so heavy (it’s then classified as EDNOS or “eating disorder not otherwise specified”). The disordered rating is just as punitive and damaging but from a casual glance the person would appear to be a “fattie” not an “anorexic”.

      July 11, 2014
      |Reply
      • Kayla
        Kayla

        Seriously, eating disorders are first and foremost psychological illnesses. The next edition of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or the APA’s big book o’ psychological diagnoses) is actually revising the criteria for anorexia and bulimia nervosa, to raise the minimum weight and get rid of amenorrhea as a necessary symptom (though that’s partially because of increased awareness of the prevalence of male patients). I can imagine there’ll be a huge uptick in AN/BN statistics once the DSM-V comes out and more people cross the official line from ED-NOS to AN/BN; at the height of my own disorder, I never quite lost “enough” weight to “get”* to be anorexic. I was (and…still am, really, but not as bad) ED-NOS, but I’d have qualified for AN status under the new guidelines.

        *Scare quotes to show disordered thinking – you bet your ass I picked my “goal weight” by the numbers. Shit’s fucked up, yo.

        July 11, 2014
        |Reply
  8. I can’t believe how much bull-shit is packed into such a small space. What strikes me over and over again that this whole tirade was allegedly spawned because some people going on vacation were excited to go on vacation. Then there is the same tired old spiel about how fat people are unhealthy and ignorant. WOW SO OBESITY IS UNHEALTHY BECAUSE NO ONE HAS EVER SAID THAT BEFORE, WOW I MUST BE SO IGNORANT YET EVERYONE IS SO HAPPY TO TELL ME WHAT IS WRONG, HOW CONVENIENT! <Much sarcasm. Not to mention the fake concern for those with eating disorders is staggering. It reeks of false pity and faux-empathy. Like 'Oh it sucks, but at least they're thin what do they really have to worry about…'

    "Of course, eating disorders can kill. But being overweight leads to high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks and even cancer. According to Cancer Research UK, as many as one in ten cancer cases could be prevented by improving our diet."

    … Yeah you can die by literally starving yourself to death, but high blood pressure is so much worse than that. Also the trying to correlate cancer thing is bullshit. Maybe cancer can be prevented by improving your eating habits, notice I say eating habits, because in this case they could just mean you need to eat more carrots and this is not what she is trying to say at all. Everything has to come back to the weight loss spin. I could eat my body weight in carrots or whatever but I don't think it will magically make anything happen, except maybe some extremely orange waste afterwards.

    I just feel bad for any one who does have an eating disorder that reads this as it could just trigger their disorder even more harshly. I had a friend in high school who was anorexic and if she hadn't gone to a clinic I think she would have died.

    In short, fuck this woman and her shitty opinions.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
    • Courtney
      Courtney

      “In short, fuck this woman and her shitty opinions.”

      YES!!!!!

      July 11, 2014
      |Reply
  9. Wow. What a horrible excuse for a human-being. I’m almost afraid to look at the comment section of her tirade because I know people will enable her. This woman will be emboldened by the support. The internet has a nasty habit of enabling bullies like her. Not enough of us speak against it.

    Great post as always!

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
    • Rachel
      Rachel

      I did and most were not happy with her hate filled “article”. So at least there’s that.
      And while I wasn’t bullied for my weight when I was younger, I was bullied and I have no tolerance for it now.

      July 11, 2014
      |Reply
  10. Gloria
    Gloria

    One thing about telling our daughters (and sons) that they are fat is that it only serves to increase stress for the child. Overeating is one way that people inappropriately deal with emotions that are too hard for them to feel. Eating comfort foods, or crunchy foods– or whatever kinds of food that is appropriate for self-soothing a particular emotion–momentarily distracts from the discomfort of feeling it. Of course, the aftermath is even more discomfort and then self-loathing if the family or others make a big deal about the child’s size. Making any comments about a child’s overweight is almost guaranteed to make them fatter.

    There’s too much negativity already in the world for our kids to handle well. They are not born equipped to deal with it. Heavy children get negative comments from other children in grade school too. So why give the child you love more disapproving messages than they already are receiving?

    I messed up that way with my daughter. My parents gave me many unkind messages so that I felt that my appearance was almost more important than anything else about me. (And my mother was fat. My dad was rude about her too, but my mother was worse about the comments.) They both commented about whether I had gained or lost weight throughout my life while they were alive.

    Because of the comments I heard from various sources, I also didn’t understand until late in life that there should be boundaries on this issue. My comments, though far fewer than my parents–just one or two–caused my daughter to become fearful that I am constantly judging her for her size. As a middle-age adult she still feels that way. I realize that it was not just my comments, but those she heard from her friends in high school that hurt her as well. And she is beautiful. She always has been.

    Commenting about another’s weight is a boundary that just should not be crossed. It’s no one else’s business, except perhaps your doctor’s. And sometimes it’s your doctor’s personal biases that are causing him or her to tell you that you need to lose weight. Many times some extra weight has nothing to do with ill health.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
    • Gloria
      Gloria

      Ok, I remembered one more comment I said to my daughter. At the times,it did not sound to me like a criticism; but it was a criticism, and my daughter took it as one. We need to be careful about what we say and how we say things to our children. Our words as parents carry greater import than we may realize.

      July 11, 2014
      |Reply
      • Gloria
        Gloria

        By the way; though my much-younger sister was never heavy, and even won a local beauty contest, she suffered from bulimia for a while. Parents can put too much pressure on their children to be perfect and they will fail to acknowledge a job done well or just done well-enough. Instead, they offer criticism for the small imperfections. That’s too much pressure for a child–especially one who is learning to do things. That was the way it was in my family of origin. And we parents tend to do what we learned from our parents unless we get ourselves sorted out first.

        July 11, 2014
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        • Snai
          Snai

          I agree entirely with this. Parents pushing their child to be thinner puts enormous amount of anxiety and stress on the child and is more likely to induce eating disorders than not. My mother strongly believed in the image of beauty promoted by media and never hesitated to tell me that I was too fat. It not only helped destroyed my self esteem in my teens, played a huge part in my depression and bulimia (though I never managed to lose enough weight to make her happy, the emotional eating was giving me far more calories than what I ever managed to throw up). But foremost of all, it had completely distorted my self image. Despite having a healthy bmi, I perpetually think of myself as “too fat” (her words) and couldn’t correctly assess my weight gain through the years because I was already too fat and ugly to start with, where is the difference between that and being even more fat and ugly? I couldn’t objectively assess my weight gain and even today the subject of weight and physical appearance is a sore point between the two of us.

          July 12, 2014
          |Reply
    • Ilex
      Ilex

      Three cheers, Gloria! Your post is so insightful, and absolutely spot on based on my own experiences.

      I was a scrawny underweight kid when my mother read some article asserting that at the age of 13, girls stopped exercising and got fat. Well, I was 13! And I was obviously all girls! So she got on my case about how I was doomed to get fat, and I’d better start fearing that and watching my weight. And you know what? I DID get fat — not all at once, but over the next ten years. And I’ll forever wonder whether her fear became some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy for me. My whole family (parents and two brothers) got into commenting on my weight all the time, pointing out whether they thought my stomach was sticking out further than usual, etc. Real fun times. And what a surprise that I got driven to eating junk food to seek comfort.

      I’m with you that commenting on other people’s weight, even positively, is something we should all stop doing. It should absolutely be viewed as a boundary.

      July 16, 2014
      |Reply
  11. All I get from these “articles” is the burning desire to live in the world of the authors, which seems to be fatty paradise. No one insults us! No one shames us! Beautiful, almost-naked men bring us Twinkies and McDonald’s while we lounge on velvet chaises and watch television! We use up ALL THE HEALTHCARE!

    I just – their fantasy lives are so active, I’m kind of jealous that I’m stuck in the real world, where it’s shitty to be fat. Mostly because of them.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
  12. Sara
    Sara

    Equal opp bigot, that woman.

    July 11, 2014
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  13. MaryK
    MaryK

    “What could the common denominator be in all of these cases of people you know having eating disorders? There has to be some underlying cause, some symptom in common. I just can’t put my finger on why someone who knew you would be stricken with a mental illness that causes people to starve and exercise themselves to death…”

    Hehe.

    But seriously, we all know appearance is the most important thing, right?

    July 11, 2014
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  14. MaryK
    MaryK

    So, the comment box totally ate my tag, forcing me to explain and completely ruining my dramatic impact. 🙁

    July 11, 2014
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    • MaryK
      MaryK

      /sarcasm! I give up.

      July 11, 2014
      |Reply
  15. becca m
    becca m

    “Linda Kelsey doesn’t want fat people to hate themselves as much as she hates them. She wants fat people to hate themselves as much as she would hate herself for becoming fat.”

    And here it is, really. I believe this is what all of the hate, snark, and faux health concern comes down to. Anger that some “fatties” can be happy. That just maybe, prioritizing thinness isn’t the only way to get to happy. And facing the fact that you would hate yourself if you became fat really puts into perspective how little you think of yourself outside of your weight. That is some unpleasant sh!t to look at, so instead let’s reinforce why fat is bad and therefore I am good, because thin. It’s ugly, ugly stuff.

    Sorry if that made no sense. It’s late and my sleeping pill is kicking in, heh.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
    • Gloria
      Gloria

      You made perfect sense, becca. And I apologize for saying almost the same things in my post below yours.

      July 11, 2014
      |Reply
  16. Robin
    Robin

    Really the only thing that’s positive about this whole mess is that she doesn’t have a daughter to infect with her vicious cruelty. It’s a lie to say you’re concerned about our health, and I wish people would just stop.

    Even doctors are full of crap with their assessments half the time. An ER doctor told me recently, unasked, that no one would perform surgery on me because I am fat. He specifically said that the reason my surgeon hadn’t removed my appendix was that I am fat. This is just not even true. He didn’t remove my appendix because it was too infected, and too dangerous to remove. Which they found out by opening me up the first time. It just wasn’t necessary, wasn’t true, wasn’t solicited, and wasn’t even pertinent – I was there for a drug interaction.

    I guess my point is, a lot of people suck really bad and should just mind their own fucking business. My body is not your concern unless I make it your concern.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
  17. Jan
    Jan

    “I have sympathy for those with genuine metabolic conditions”; funny how people like that make sure to add that caveat and at the same time are convinced that they can tell which people those with genuine conditions are, and that they know the rates of them across the general population. They accept that such things exist somewhere in the world but never right in front of them, and still expect decency points.

    I pick up on this because my hormonal condition had many other symptoms apart from weight gain, but they were all ignored because fat equalled all my ill-health being self-inflicted, as far as most people were concerned. They started listening, finally, when I very narrowly avoided death (the avoidance part due only to my own research). I don’t forgive anyone who dismissed my concerns because I was a bit chubby, and I never will.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
    • So my friend, I’ll call her “Jane”, has run marathons, hiked the pilgrimage trail across Spain TWICE, kayaks, and is a trapeze artist. Another friend, “Anna” is an amazing and talented dancer who is always, ALWAYS exercising and can do about 75 sit-ups in a row. She moves like she’s made entirely of feathers and air.

      But both of these women are large. Chubby. Anna will tell you flat-out that she’s FAT. Me, on the other hand… well I have a heart condition. I had thyroid cancer. I sit on my ass most of the day and think exercise is booooorinnnggg. I wheeze just going up my 5 front steps. And yet I’ve topped out at my highest weight ever – a whopping 150 lbs with a mom-belly. And in the zombie apocalypse, both of them will survive simply by virtue of being able to outrun me, as I collapse wheezing in front of the undead hordes.

      So whenever anyone says they can just tell who is “unhealthy” – bullshit.

      July 12, 2014
      |Reply
      • Lara
        Lara

        Love this! Undead horde. LOL

        July 12, 2014
        |Reply
    • Maggie
      Maggie

      Everything you said, Jan, 100%. Another shit thing about the article- “fat causes cancer” bs. My mom has cancer, and she gained weight for taking medications that would treat her cancer. So that fucker who called her a fatass can eat all the dicks. ALL OF THEM. A lot of people who have weight issues got unhealthy—-> then got the weight problem. I have severe acid reflux and GI problems since birth, and I’m bone thin because of it. My friend, who had the exact same surgery and condition is heavy. A common side effect of a lot of illnesses is weight change. Some people lose their appetites when they’re sick, and others get so sick they can’t move (let alone work out). It’s a crapshoot, and it’s awful to be criticized about your appearance when you’re fighting for your health or your life. Sorry I don’t meet the cultural standards for beauty when I just got out of the hospital.

      May 7, 2015
      |Reply
  18. Gloria
    Gloria

    Jenny, perhaps this was meant as a rhetorical question, so I hope you do not mind me responding directly to it: “Why are today’s disgusting bullies so unashamed of themselves?”

    From everything I understand, bullies were themselves bullied as children, usually by their primary caregivers first. The bullies then bully others who have been bullied because those who have been bullied give off indications of low self-esteem. The bullies bully because the bullies also have low self-esteem; and, therefore they have a deep-seated need to try raising themselves “up” in their own eyes, at least momentarily, by making those who have already been bullied feel worse about themselves than the bullies normally do about themselves.

    You will notice that bullies do not pick on people who are well-thought of by others and who obviously are comfortable with themselves. People who like themselves can remain relatively unaffected by bullying and are more adept at putting bullies in their place because they can maintain their good self-esteem. People who like themselves generally had parents who were mostly supportive people. But mental health care can undo at least some of the damage our parents may have/probably have inflicted upon us. Most of the world is messed up, so there’s no reason to feel any shame in how we were raised. It’s just a fact of our past. And the bad things can mold us and shape us into more caring and understanding people–if we allow them to.

    While I cannot say that bullies are to be pitied–since they express their own insecurities in ways that further harm others–their motivations can be understood. They can also be shut down relatively quickly in one-to-one encounters by any person who is able to keep remembering who they themselves are . People who like themselves don’t easily succumb to bullies’ accusations, if they can just keep remembering who they really are during an onslaught by a bully.

    The internet encourages more bullying because messed-up people can now say ugly things to others within the relative safety of anonymity. It’s sad. It’s regrettable. But messed-up people cannot be changed. Nothing we can say to another person will change them. There are no “magic zingers” that will change another person’s attitude. Others must want to change themselves. The only person we can change is ourselves, our feelings and our reactions.

    If everyone in the world liked and accepted themselves, bullying would stop. There would be no targets and no one would feel any need to make themselves feel superior to others. So the best thing we can do is raise our children in a supportive manner. And for most of us, it means we would have to unlearn what we learned from our parents and come to a good understanding and acceptance of ourselves. It’s not easy to do that and most people are not motivated enough to change. Many people feel that they cannot change and many don’t have the motivation. It’s just easier for most people to go on as they are as self-perceived victims and/or continue to bully others because that’s the path of least resistance. They tell others that they must be accepted as they are. You may hear people say things like “That’s the way I am, deal with it.”) They say that because it takes the least effort to stay stuck and unhappy.

    We have to give our children the tools to know that they can love themselves and so they will be able to take care of themselves better in the world. Telling our children we love and accept them is not enough. We have to model love and acceptance for ourselves and others in our lives.

    Bullies will seldom become ashamed unless they realize why they do it and understand how deeply and even permanently the bullying can affect others. That takes introspection, which can be hard for some people to do. And bullies usually get too much momentary pleasure from treating others badly to bother changing their ways.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts, Jenny. You can take them for what they are worth.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
    • Gloria
      Gloria

      BTW, Jenny, when I say “mental health care”, I don’t necessarily mean paying a psychologist or psychoanalyst to help. There are self-help books and groups we can use if we want. Just like looking for a helpful psychologist or psychoanalyst, we can find books and groups that we are comfortable with, if we want and need to use them. Sometimes it takes searching for the right source and discarding bummers. But anyone who wants to help themselves do life “better” can probably find help they may want.

      I’m a work in progress. At times, I live my life better than at other times. But I measure myself by myself and make sure to remember that comparing myself to others is self-defeating, mostly because it’s a human trait to pick another’s “strength”, (what I perceive as their strength), against which to compare my own self-perceived weakness. So I don’t do that.

      I also remember that I wouldn’t recognize someone else’s “strength” or “weakness” unless I shared the very same thing in some manner. So if someone does something that irritates me, it’s usually because it’s a trait I share that I would rather not have. If I admire something in another person, it’s because I have that trait too. I have not yet recognized it in myself. But I have it, or I would not be able to see it in another.

      I’m not normally self-revealing in a public area. You can tell that this topic has affected me. Thanks for your posts.

      July 11, 2014
      |Reply
  19. I wonder why she hates other women so much? There was such desperation to shore herself up in this piece, it was obvious her own self esteem was extremely low. How DARE other women be happy in their bodies? They might be happy in their sexuality too – good grief! And as for the scalpel shoulder bones and fried egg breasts …. looking at the sullen photo, it’s a self description. I think she needs the help of a good therapist to find out where all this hatred is coming from, but most of all, the palpable self hate.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
  20. I am quite shocked by the Daily Mail article. Shocked and disappointed and saddened that someone could inflict such shame and judgement on people she does not even know. I read some of her other articles and discovered that she used to be the editor of Cosmopolitan mag. Big Surprise.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
  21. Jeanne
    Jeanne

    I have to admit, it’s a a tad amusing to scroll down to the end of the article and see this rather severe, unhappy looking woman who looks downright unpleasant to be around. Ladies and gentlemen…..the author!

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
  22. Flo
    Flo

    The Daily Mail is only good for one thing anymore-lining bird cages. It sounds like their writers belong there too. I think what I find most disturbing is that she was upset that these people were HAPPY–OMG! What a novel idea in a world that is falling apart that someone could actually be happy whether they were skinny or fat.

    It’s very easy for someone who is skinny to throw out accusations and suggestions. My best friend has been heavy her entire life. In college she became friends/roommates with a girl who was toothpick skinny. One day when my friend was down about her weight, the roommate said “well, why don’t you just lose the weight?” She made it sound like it was as simple as going to the corner store and buying some magic weight loss serum. There are too many people who just don’t have a clue. Maybe they could buy one?

    I also have a friend whose daughter nearly died due to anorexia. Sweet girl who felt that she wasn’t as pretty/smart/skinny/talented as her younger sister. She still has issues to this day, but has managed to find a healthy balance. Unlike my husband’s cousin who was overweight her whole life, decided to have gastric bypass surgery and basically traded one addiction for another, she’s now a raging alcoholic who has been in and out of jail, therapy, etc. Everyday is a struggle for her, she’s lost jobs over it, her family barely speaks to her and she’s always teetering on the edge. I wonder if she feels that it was worth it now? The underlying issue in both situations is bad body image. Many times reinforced by media or the uncaring/clueless individual who makes a snide remark. It has to stop and women like Linda Kelsey need to shut up. Maybe we could put her in a room with Ann Coulter and have a good old catfight to the death?

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
    • Maggie
      Maggie

      I’d never ever say “Why don’t you just lose the weight?” because I’ve had “Why don’t you just gain the weight?” lobbed at me. Why don’t I? Because it’s hard, and I have other problems in my life to focus on. And who cares what another person weighs? Nobody worth knowing. The author is just. so. miserable. A quick read through the comments reveals that even other people who are on the “fat is bad” train think she’s an asshole. I also couldn’t believe they posted pictures of innocent people (even if they weren’t the ones she was shaming in that shitty article). That’s… sick.

      May 7, 2015
      |Reply
  23. Linda
    Linda

    Thank you, thank you for so clearly writing what I wish I could articulate about such an idiotic piece. Nothing like giving an uninformed jerk like Linda Kelsey a stage to pontificate on a subject that illustrates her ignorance. If I were a better person I would feel sorry for her obvious issues, but I am not.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
  24. ali
    ali

    i couldn’t handle any more of the article than the excerpts here, but I did click over to look at the photos. i don’t know who picked the photos of the “fat and still eating!!” people, but they are all women. with that, plus targeting mother-daughter relationships and unkind descriptions of female bodies on both ends of the spectrum, she managed to produce a perfect example of the media influence that she doesn’t think exists or doesn’t think is that important.

    if the un-excerpted parts of her article did expand her tirade to overweight males… then my insight may be wrong, but she’s still awful.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
    • Withans
      Withans

      Nope, it’s literally entirely about women (except the bit where she briefly mentions her son and how she’d never, ever let him be fat). She’s definitely going for the full bingo card of shittiness.

      July 13, 2014
      |Reply
  25. Alice
    Alice

    It’s absurd to me how people like Linda Kelsey revel in their prejudices. I still have some fat prejudices that I’m trying to correct, but I keep those to myself because I know they are wrong and aren’t actually my opinion. Rather they are the thoughts hammered into my head by society. I would feel shame if ever I let myself give in to accepting those thoughts and spewing them out where they could hurt people.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
  26. Fabulous article. I absolutely agree. The Daily Mail is a pustulous, shit stirring rag with a set of scruples that make Hitler look like a paragon of virtue.

    Cheers

    MTM

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
  27. GM
    GM

    Her article is deplorable. I personally do not live in a world where it is acceptable to shame neither skinny nor fat!
    I simply cannot understand this constant need to comment on other people’s bodies – why is my body or her body any of your business? Yes indeed, there are health issues – physical and emotional. But no amount of shaming will better them. Most likely they will only cause more issues. Are overweight people not allowed happiness? Are they not allowed to feel good about themselves? Are they supposed to live in absolute misery, filled with self-loathing until finally one day there is an “acceptable” number on the scale? And what is that number, by the way? Are we judging by body mass index or is there going to be established some sort of panel or task force to decide when someone is of suitable weight and therefor allowed to smile and walk with their head held high?
    There are so many women (and men, btw) today who struggle with poor body image – skinny, fat and everything in between – and women like Linda Kelsey are part of the problem, not the solution. I wish we could focus more on lifting each other up instead of putting each other down – I believe we would all be happier and healthier for it.
    I myself am a survivor of anorexia and I still struggle with my body image so this subject matter is close to my heart and in the end I can’t feel anything but pity for this woman, because honestly it sounds like she may have her own struggles with food and weight.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
  28. Em
    Em

    Reading articles like the one put forth by Linda Kelsey makes me so incredibly angry. It’s a good thing that I can calm down by reading voices of reason – like your own (and the great people here commenting).

    It is very typical of someone who’s never had any weight issues to think that losing weight is an easy thing to do. Same as people who walk about “energy in-energy out” for losing weight. Thinking it’s really that simple. Which, sure, for some people – it might be. For others. No, not nearly.

    And really… How can this woman in all seriousness sit there and say that this generation of moms is so horrible. Cause omg, they taught their daughters that they’re beautiful/great just the way they are.

    I think that’s the best sentiment ever. We’re all beautiful/great just the way we are. Whether we are fat or skinny. Healthy or sick. Able or disabled.

    As much as that generation of moms may have said so. Let’s be honest though. The world in general still thinks that fat is bad/unhealthy and will judge you for it. So… In the end, how much difference has it really made? Let’s not have less moms doing that… Let’s have more. And let’s include dads, grandparents and the whole world as well. Then maybe… people could stop judging everyone else.

    At least one can dream…

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
  29. Cervenka
    Cervenka

    I’m also offended by her use of the word “lumpen,” which implies that these young women are uneducated and boorish, which decision she arrived at simply because of their size. It’s the worst kind of stereotyping.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
    • God bless the Gaurdian and all who sail in her.

      July 11, 2014
      |Reply
  30. It’s always always about the women, isn’t it? People like this woman feeds off it. She’s “not like the other girls”

    Not that guys don’t get horrible criticism for being fat at school and the like, but it seems like the spectrum is tilted more for them. Up to x point you’re not fat, you’re a Bear or a Silverback. Or a cheerful homely funtime-guy with his shirt off. Only when there are more obvious health issues attached or debilitating obesity does it become a criticism.
    For women, one little nudge towards ‘muffin-top’ country and you’re clearly a terrible ugly person who should never look at a bikini.
    According to that piece of filth of an article anyway.
    It’s a tricky enough social territory without all the nasty underhand anti-feminism she ‘s spouting.
    Eeeugh it’s just all so creepy and….Nasty.

    I almost laughed out loud at the sheer brazen madness of her having such a negative reaction to people chatting cheerfully and having a good time.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
  31. Lynn M
    Lynn M

    Well, Linda Kelsey can rest assured that there is one thing far more unattractive than being fat, and that’s being a judgmental, sanctimonious cow. And for that talent, Linda wins the crown of ugliest human currently walking the planet. Plus, all overweight people, if they chose to do so, could conceivably lose weight, but poor Linda is doomed to forever being a giant twat. I figure Karma’s a bitch – hopefully she’ll be crushed by a really fat person falling on her.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
  32. Tori
    Tori

    My head already hurts from arguing with stupid people (and hunger, actually – I just asked my husband why Taco Bell won’t deliver 50 burritos to my mouth) so I’m just going to leave it at this.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
  33. Courtney
    Courtney

    Thank you, Jenny. You are (as usual) spot-fucking-on.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
  34. Alexandra
    Alexandra

    Can we curse here?
    What a fucking cunt! Especially the part where she said anorexics have a type A personality? This woman has no idea what she is talking about.
    I will bet she has not been laid in a long time, dried up old hateful twat like that. Pardon my french, I got a bit mad.
    The way she describes the “fatties” and everyone else is just vile. What a horrid human being.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
  35. Laurel
    Laurel

    I think we should get this woman’s address and mail her THOUSANDS of pictures of our smiling fat selves. “Hey Linda, just wanted to let you know I’m having a great time swimming even though I’m fat! Does my fat body disgust you? Ha ha ha! No love, A HAPPY FATTY! :D” etc.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
  36. I’m going to channel my inner Vulcan and just say it is illogical for self-appointed arbiters of health like Kelsey to say that society should look on obesity with the same intolerance as smoking. No one has ever gotten cancer from second-hand fat. Maybe it’s different in the UK, but in the US, smoking bans were enacted primarily to protect innocent non-smokers from exposure to second-hand smoke. Healthcare savings were a bonus.

    If Kelsey is really so concerned about rising obesity levels, perhaps she should turn her energy toward banning the routine use of antibiotics in livestock. It helps them gain weight — possibly by altering their gut bacteria — and may have the same affect on the humans who consume their meat.

    Framing obesity as a moral failing is as misguided as framing poverty as a moral failing. Sadly, both seem to be popular with entitled douchebags (and Dan Savage assures his readers that DB is not an inherently sexist insult, since many gay men also use douches).

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
    • Not to get off topic here, but Dan Savage himself is a douche bag.

      July 15, 2014
      |Reply
  37. Tracy
    Tracy

    Linda has no daughter. Does she have sons….? A husband? Wife? Lover? Dog?

    All doubtful. Go crawl back under your rock, you hateful, mean excuse for a lady.

    July 11, 2014
    |Reply
  38. Tan
    Tan

    Start by saying, this Linda woman is terribly hateful and not at all helpful and obviously doesn’t understand that “thin” does not equal “appropriate weight” or “healthy”
    That being said, I do believe that the obesity epidemic(or whatever they’re calling it) in this country is a valid concern. I work in TX and see great numbers of obese people. Not just fat, or slightly overweight, but a hundred pounds or more overweight and I personally believe that IS a problem for society at large. Obese people aren’t a world unto themselves, if they get seriously injured it’s the nurses and paramedics that have to risk their own backs to move and assist them, particularly in small towns where they can’t afford the mechanical lifts. (which cost how much?) What about the people that have to take care of them when they are 300lbs and 80 years old?
    That’s not to say that I think obese people should have to magically change themselves, but I do think the mindset for EVERYONE should be more “try to improve yourself” rather then “be skinny as possible” or “be fine being fat”
    I think obesity is just as much an eating disorder as anorexia is, and we (as a society) should help with both. As with most things, extremes in EITHER direction are harmful and finding a middle ground would be ideal. And *shaming* anyone for whatever size they are is simply bullying-pointless, unhelpful, and harmful all around. You have no idea what journey another person is on, maybe they have medical issues, maybe they ARE actively working on their weight or working on changing how/what they eat.
    Anyway, to circle back around, this article helps precisely no one and is full of nothing but pointless drama on the authors part.

    July 12, 2014
    |Reply
    • At the end of the day, all you can (and should) do is make it easier to make healthy choices.
      Healthy as in – ‘I’ve just had a bazillion vitamins and feel great’! Rather than dieting.
      Or
      ‘Hey, I can eat this green stuff and it tastes awesome and is super fast!’ rather than ‘OIMG DIET!’ or ‘I can’t be arsed to cook so I’ll grab a takeout’ or ‘chips and meat are the only food’ as the default.
      Or
      ‘Hey this sports club is actually fun and makes me feel good’ rather than ‘GYM GYM GYM!’ or ‘all those sporty people are laughing at me.’ or ‘I won’t try because I’ll fail’
      Or
      Fixing the boxy image issues that force people to think that you can only be perfect by dieting and if not that then why the hell bother? Or stop people falling into comfort eating and shame cycles by genrally loving people as beautiful regardless.
      Or
      Let people know what the health issues are and leave them on the table there for education. Rather than having Doctors shame them and nag them and people sneer.

      That obesity is a health issue is absolutely a fact. And it doesn’t help for people to ignore that fact. But there is a big difference between a serious health concern and general chubbiness.
      And there is a big BIG difference between making information available and healthy choices easier and more fun, and forcing people to adhere to a standard ideal. And this applies to all people of all weights.

      The same applies to other lifestyle or biological issues.
      Eg sugar consumption and tannin consumption screwing up your teeth.
      This costs a lot medically, true.
      But at the end of the day you can’t and shouldn’t police or shame people’s teeth. You offer up incentives to help them (eg ‘hey-dental care is cheaper now!’) education to help them (‘hey, did you know that too much red wine and tea fucks up your teeth?’ ‘hey, keep an eye on acidic drinks if you can’ ‘hey, maybe don’t chomp that lolly-pop all the time here’s why’ ‘hey, look how nice this brand of toothpaste is’ ‘hey, here’s how you floss well’ ‘hey look – sonic toothbrush! talk about easier and more efficient’) and finally while it’s fine to enjoy the ‘ideal’ (‘ooh straight white teeth!’) don’t bully or shame people who can’t meet that ideal or don’t want to. ‘Hey you have a crooked teeth – BRTISH smile, amirite?! though seriously, that overbite and the way they slant a little is kinda cute.’)

      Same for booze. Does banning or taxing it to high heaven help? nah, not really. is it a huge drain – hell yeah. Can it fuck people up? yes. But the best way to make any sort of change is again to keep the hell out of other people’s business and just genrally be there with ‘hey, maybe drink is becoming a crutch. here’s a place you can go to help’ or ‘hey, this is how many units is in each beer and what it does to your system. now you’re educated a bit more about it – go out and party, girlfriend.’

      Same with smoking. Bans are for other people’s health. But scaring and nagging smokers doesn’t help them much. Offering alternatives does – like the e-cigarettes at the moment.
      Put the knowledge on the table and walk away.

      In the end, someone’s health is their own business, whether it affects other people or not. And ESPECIALLY when people expressing ‘concerns’ over people’s ‘health’ scoops up a huge pecentage of people who actually have no problem at all.

      Positivity and general sharing of knowledge is the way to combat all these things – if they even need to be ‘combatted’.
      Let people now they have a choice and then support them in whatever choice they make or don’t make.
      They don’t need ‘help’ in any other form.

      Simple as that, really. And this is something this Linda womanabsolutely does not get.

      July 12, 2014
      |Reply
      • In case it didn’t come across in that ramble:

        If people are having good fun fulfilling lives then that’s all you need to care about.

        Other than that, just give people choices and let them do whatever the heck they want with those choices.

        July 12, 2014
        |Reply
    • Obesity is not a fucking eating disorder.

      Eating disorders are *mental illnesses* that cause certain behaviors. Often those behaviors have an effect on one’s weight, but sometimes they don’t, because weight gain or loss is not a simple in/out formula.

      If you’re looking for the overeating disorder, it’s called Binge Eating Disorder — or BED — and people who have it are not always fat. In fact, you can suffer from both BED and anorexia (they actually work really well together — take it from someone who knows). If you want to learn more about it, you can go here: http://bedaonline.com/

      “Obesity” (which is a fucked up word, because it pathologizes human beings — WE’RE NOT AN EPIDEMIC) describes a visual. That’s IT. “fat,” “overweight,” “chubby” — all these words describe what someone looks like.

      Which tells you absolutely nothing except your own feelings on other peoples’ sizes.

      July 13, 2014
      |Reply
  39. Sara
    Sara

    I just find this kind of behavior creepy and borderline… voyeuristic? Obsessive? Like why does the existence of fat people so viscerally bother folks? As someone with thin privilege I overhear a lot of body policing and I’m doing my best to speak up about it. People are taken aback when I don’t agree with them–the idea that fatness = bad is very, VERY deeply entrenched within the culture. My future plans include pursuing an MD, and I really don’t want to be one of those doctors that unilaterally blames every medical malady on extra weight. Sure, being overweight can and does cause problems, but assuming weight loss is always the answer is silly. After all, skinny people need medical attention too.

    July 12, 2014
    |Reply
  40. She writes for the Daily Mail. It’s a requirement of the job.

    July 12, 2014
    |Reply
  41. Sophie
    Sophie

    What a horrible article! And what a horrible woman!

    The only thing I wanted to say was whilst eating disorders do have links with the way women are portrayed in the media and the idea that being thin is the only way be acceptable, they are also about control. Controlling food intake, or overeating and then purging can be about feeling in control. Especially in teenagers, as often they really don’t have much control over their lives. Obviously not every person with a type A personality will develop an eating disorder, but it is often the overachieving teenage girls that develop anorexia. It can be another way of striving to be perfect, just one more A*, just lose 1 more kg.

    So an ED may start as feeling not good enough when comparing yourself to someone in a magazine and resolving to lose some weight, or it can be about desperately needing to feel in control of something in your life. Obviously I can only speak from my own experience, but I know for me it was about the latter, and the same for other people I know who have had EDs. Once I acknowledged that it was about me wanting to feel in control of something in my life, I finally started to get better.

    July 12, 2014
    |Reply
  42. Lara
    Lara

    Oh Jenny, why didn’t I take your “trigger warning” more seriously? Thankfully, I have been in therapy for years and have figured out how to calm myself without eating an entire package of Oreo cream. (Note: I said cream. Not the cookies. I have some self-control. Do you think this Linda lady would approve, since I’m only begin a partially gluttonous pig? That was sarcasm because I literally could not care less what that woman thinks.)
    I don’t normally comment, although I pretty much LOVE everything you write, Jenny. But this…. It brings to mind a favorite phrase that I picked up from Jenny Trout. This woman. This fucking woman. 😉
    I was bullied for my weight. Not terribly, because I had a popular older brother which offered me some protection. But what I would love to mention to Linda is that NOTHING, not one single fucking thing, that she or anyone else could ever say to me would be half as horrible and nasty and cruel as the things I say to myself. I know I’m fat. I could spend hours pointing out each of my physical imperfections. I get it. You don’t want to see my pasty, obese, flabby chub hanging out. I still, at 35 years of age, I still pick out clothes with the intention of camouflaging everything I perceive as wrong with my body. And the worst part? I have tried every diet I could find. I failed at every diet I could find. I actually qualified for gastric bypass, which was the best choice I have ever made. But guess what, Linda? I’m still not thin. I am not built like that. Maybe you should speak to my parents about their evil genetics. Or perhaps you should speak to Darwin about evolution. Perhaps you should mention my obvious defects to God and have him “fix” me. Because clearly, Linda, my weight is the most important thing about me. People should never go beyond the superficial to get to know me as a person. But I digress. I should move on to the other point I wanted to make, besides how awful the original article is.
    How dare you try to take the joy from these girls? How fucking dare you. I guarantee these girls at the airport know they are overweight. I’m sure they’ve cried. I’m positive they’ve avoided events, agonized over clothing decisions, felt shame over food choices, and had some really terrible moments. So I think we should be saying “Good for them”. Congrats on their ability to be happy anyway. Cheers for them making the choice to have a happy life despite not having physically perfect bodies. They haven’t murdered people or committed heinous crimes. Why should they be expected to never be happy? To never show joy? To cover every inch of skin so they don’t offend your eyes? If you don’t like what you see, look at something else. They don’t need your approval.
    And that doesn’t even get into the rest of her statements. Anorexia, bulimia, and other disordered eating issues are very serious. And it makes me insane that this woman, one who admits she has never struggled with her weight, makes serious diseases seem like a personality choice. And to insult Kiera Knightley and Victoria Beckham. Seriously, nothing makes this woman happy. I can’t. I just can’t even.

    July 12, 2014
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  43. Amber
    Amber

    I should have paid more attention to the warning…

    Oh well. I am fortunate to have a supportive group of people around me. The question I have for people like this bitch is simple: do you realize how long it takes to lose weight? I’m working on it. I’ve dropped a couple pounds and i’m looking better, but if I follow medical advice to not lose too much weight at once and damage my internal organs, and if I never have a relapse of my eating disorder (which is pretty unlikely, unfortunately) I have months of work ahead of me. Maybe years.

    In the meantime, should I hate myself? Should I walk around screaming “fatty unclean” and shroud myself in a sheet like a leper? Is there any way that that kind of behaviour is more healthy than liking myself while trying to become healthier?

    Ugh. They don’t wanna see us in public. They don’t wanna see us be happy. They don’t wanna see us in gyms because the sight of jiggling fat is offensive. What the fuck do they want? They’re awfully fast to point out how awful we are and never offer any fucking solutions.

    July 12, 2014
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  44. J
    J

    The woman who wrote this article obviously has a lot of crazy issues, but I will say the one part where I kind of understood what she was trying to say was when she said in her experience the girls she has seen with eating disorders were suffering more from pressure to achieve at all costs than they were from just a barrage of media images. I don’t think it’s fair to say the media and the images it feeds us have no impact, but as someone who has struggled with how I view my body throughout my life, and as someone who struggled with eating disorders when I was young, I will say that for me it was more about wanting to prove that I could have more control over my body and be more powerful than food or temptation could be. I would also say that beyond that, being the only girl in my dance class with hips was a substantially bigger issue for me than flipping through “Seventeen” and seeing stick skinny models ever was. I think sometimes we rely too much on the “well if the media didn’t tell us we had to be weird stick insects…” line of thinking, which to me has always seemed insulting, like if you’re suffering from an eating disorder you are just so easily swayed by celebrities that you are incapable of making your own decisions. But yeah – the fat shaming this woman advocates is ridiculous. Fat people do not have to walk around being sad because they are fat, even if they are in the presence of someone who thinks they should be.

    July 13, 2014
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  45. Rosa H
    Rosa H

    Why the hell does she think that these driven girls applied their determination to fasting, excercise, and losing more and more weight then? It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with our society’s unrealistic beauty standards flaunted in those glossy magazines, could it? Hmm? Seriously though, what an irresponsible idiot.

    Thank you, Trout, for writing this post!

    July 13, 2014
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  46. Magpie
    Magpie

    Bravo for tackling this. I wonder what planet this woman thinks she lives on, where it’s ‘unacceptable’ to call a fat person fat? Odd the way people like this always think they’re being ‘brave’ by saying stuff they think nobody else is saying, when in fact they’re just repeating the same crap as everyone else.

    As for all those irresponsible mothers who tell their daughters they’re ‘lovely just the way they are’ – I’m an example of what happens when a mother does the exact opposite. Mine was a critical narcissist who was very thin herself and had issues about many aspects of my appearance, but especially thought having a ‘fat’ daughter was shameful. She was forever haranguing me about my ‘enormous’ thighs and ‘flabby’ upper arms (I look at teenage photos of myself and I really wasn’t fat at all, not that it would have been remotely acceptable if I had been). Result: I got bigger over the years, and while I never had an actual eating disorder, I got pretty diet-obsessed for a while, and came *this* close (holds thumb and forefinger a fraction of an inch apart) to wanting out of this shitty world where the person who was supposed to love me unconditionally had rejected me for how I looked, so how could I have any worth whatsoever?

    I’m 45 now and after much counselling and meds, on a rather more even keel and at peace with my (now actually fat) body. Most of the time. But I wonder what it’s like for girls growing up today with more or less *everyone* telling them their bodies are unacceptable if they’re above a certain size. I may have had a bully for a mother, but at least she didn’t have the whole culture backing her up…

    July 14, 2014
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    • Ilex
      Ilex

      Magpie, are you my secret sister? Your mother sounds frighteningly like mine.

      July 16, 2014
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  47. bem
    bem

    So, when Kelsey writes that eating disorders are caused by girls’ perfectionism, “driven personalities, their determination to be A*  students at any cost, as well as troubles with over-demanding parents,” but are totally *not* related at all to a popular culture that promotes thinness at all costs…where does she think the girls are getting the idea that they need to be thin to be perfect? Or is it just that she doesn’t care, because clearly they’ve absorbed the correct attitude about their bodies, and are already doing all the things she approves of?

    I mean (and if discussion of ED behavior/thoughts upsets you, you might want to stop reading this comment here), I partially find this frustrating because I fit Kelsey’s overachieving anorexic profile pretty well, and nobody in my life (well, okay, no adult in my life, my teenage friends were pretty on point) ever suggested that my eating disorder was an issue while I had it. It seems like the entire world thinks that it’s fine and normal for teenage girls to go around crippled with hunger (and they should be able to get straight A’s while they do it!), but god forbid that you not feel miserable about your body, whatever shape it is.

    Oh, and she’s helpfully specified that she’s being critical *only* of her own sex, because either a) fat men don’t exist, or b) she doesn’t think they’re an issue, or c) obviously you can’t expect men to do a girly thing like diet, or d) maybe she just isn’t trained to be constantly evaluating men’s bodies based on whether they’re pleasing to her horrible eyes and then judging their entire worth as human beings based on her decision.

    (It was really this last that got me when I had the worst of my eating disorder. Not the specific pictures of models or celebrities or what have you, but the totally ingrained idea that so many people around me seemed to have, that your worth as a person was entirely in your body, and your body was always wrong. If you were too fat, you were subhuman, if too thin you were a freak, if you had the right body but the wrong face you were good just for sex, and if you were *too* pretty, you had no right to reject attention, even the worst kind. There was no way not to play, and at a certain point I just wanted my body not to be a part of me anymore.)

    Ugh. I didn’t realize you could get so much awfulness into such a small space.

    July 14, 2014
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  48. Rebecca
    Rebecca

    I was soooo glad to know that we’re all supposed to be lovely ornamentation for Linda’s perfect world. Finally, a purpose in life.

    July 14, 2014
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  49. Heather
    Heather

    Diatribe follows, please excuse!! Literally dumbstruck that any paper would publish such an article by such a narrow minded individual. Re all the other points made above, most led to much nodding (so enthusiastic was I that all three of my outraged chins joined in) and ‘hear hear’ murmurs from me. Also though, I find pretty damning that whilst waiting in a queue to jet to sunny climes, surrounded by others absorbed in the excitement of their coming travels, this miserable b**** had nothing better to do than get out her bigotry stick, dip it in ignorance and stand there tainting and daubing her bitterness all over the happiness and carefree holiday feeling of others. A woman of some years behaving no better than some of the bullies I was unfortunate to be schooled alongside. Shame on her, just piles and piles of shame.

    I myself, a woman of the unashamedly chunky variety, am only finally learning that if others want to waste time pointing, laughing, mocking, then let them – for it is time they will never get back nor is it well spent as it doesn’t make for a fulfilling and happy existence. I’m not wasting any more of MY time feeling small, worthless and crushed at their behest. I’m done! Life, be it spent fat, thin, gracious or bigoted, sporting melons or fried eggs, is always too short, and certainly not long enough to spend a second of it making others unhappy, nor, more importantly, letting folk do it to you.

    Jenny, you rock!

    As for Linda, as my favourite Aunt once said, “Well she must just fuck off then”.

    July 14, 2014
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  50. Ugh, people like this make me so mad. The two arguments that always bug me the most are:

    1. Comparisons between being overweight and smoking. Dude, the REASON we don’t allow public smoking isn’t because we think it’s some kind of moral failing, but because the side effects of smoking also affect nonsmokers in the vicinity. I’m unfamiliar with “secondhand fat.”

    2. ANY TIME someone compares being overweight to eating disorders. So. Much. Rage. I could go further into this, but instead I’ll leave a fact: I have a great-aunt who is very heavy. She was heavy as a younger woman, she is heavy now in her nineties. People with untreated eating disorders don’t make it into their nineties.

    July 15, 2014
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  51. Katy Newton
    Katy Newton

    “I am unapologetically fattist. It’s unattractive, it’s unhealthy and, given the problems that being fat can cause, it should be as unacceptable as smoking”

    Grammatically, this is correct- being fattist *is* unattractive and unhealthy and it *should* be unacceptable.

    July 16, 2014
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  52. Ilex
    Ilex

    The apparent narcissism of the writer is astounding: only she is just right, while everyone else is either too fat or too thin. Sheesh.

    She is correct that anorexia seems to disproportionately affect high-achieving girls from perfectionist families, for whom controlling calories can often feel like the only control they truly have over anything, but she ignores the connection between “perfect” and “thin,” and she also fails to ask why so many girls are driven to deprive themselves, and to try to take up as little space as possible (because eating more calories would also be a form of control).

    And I notice she never once complains about fat men or boys having the nerve to feel good about themselves. No, it’s only us fat women who are cause for concern and who shouldn’t be flaunting ourselves. Screw that.

    July 16, 2014
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  53. Trynn
    Trynn

    No, being”fat” in public is NOT the sample as smokin in public. It has been documented and prove that second hand smoke is harmful. (And I’ve seriously met people who stop breathing when they pass a smoker I the street.)

    However, meeting a “fat” person on the street has never harmed me in the slightest. No one I know stops breathing around “fat” people and if it bothers This woman so much, she can look away.

    I’m not a mother, by I’d rather have a fat and happy child than a child who struggles with anorexia.

    July 16, 2014
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  54. Miriam
    Miriam

    So I realize I’m a little late to this party, but this was only published today so I couldn’t have posted it any earlier anyway. This seems relevant to a lot of what’s being talked about here; the idea that the kind of people who write these articles are not actually concerned about health but just the look itself. My favourite part is at the end:
    “So, do we even have an obesity epidemic? Perhaps not if we use health as a marker instead of some arbitrary decision to hate fat. Paul Campos, covering this story for the New York Times, points out:

    If the government were to redefine normal weight as one that does not increase the risk of death, then about 130 million of the 165 million American adults currently categorized as overweight and obese would be re-categorized as normal weight instead.

    That’s 79%.

    It’s worth saying again: if we are measuring by the risk of premature death, then 79% of the people we currently shame for being overweight or obese would be recategorized as perfectly fine. Ideal, even. Pleased to be plump, let’s say, knowing that a body that is a happy balance of soft and strong is the kind of body that will carry them through a lifetime.”

    Anyway, take a look! I found it super interesting: http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2014/07/16/overweight-americans-have-the-lowest-risk-of-premature-death/

    July 17, 2014
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  55. War
    War

    I just had a posting ‘conversation’ with some one over 18 being a fat size or not. See, I use to be (key words: use to be) over a 20, now I’m 8-9 depending on what brand of jeans I get.

    18 is large- and I’m not holding back from saying 18 is fat to be PC, I’m comparing it to what I was- over a size 20 to the size 32-42 I’ve lived with/interact with. What bit that hatter described sounds to me more like a size 32+ body not 18. But – I honestly wouldn’t know. Cuz my size 8 ass does not fit in that bracket of fat shaming.

    TL; DR
    Large bodies are large bodies, fat bodies are fat bodies. I have no clear way to judge clothing size and I have other things to do than to project my work caused body fat issues on to other people.

    July 18, 2014
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  56. The Real Cie
    The Real Cie

    Sounds to me like Linda’s a dyed in the wool jerk. If I knew her, I believe I’d approach her with my fat arms open wide and boom “LINDA, MY FRIEND!!!! HOW ARE YOU DOING!!!!” Just to humiliate her, because obviously, a paragon of virtue such as Linda would never stoop so low as to have a fat friend.

    July 18, 2014
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  57. Just look at this dumb cunt’s other articles and you’ll be painted a very obvious picture of someone bitter, unwanted, and unloved. It’s cute when [unattractive] bullies try to put down entire groups of people to feel better about their own appearance. Not today, Satan. Her self-important articles reek of a need for validation but to be honest Linda (I hope I can call her Linda–we must be on a first name basis by now after reading that little anti-fat tirade), I didn’t know who you were today and I won’t know who are you tomorrow. To be quite frank Linda, you are a nobody and that is exactly why you are so bitter, and why you will continue to be a nobody. Hating on other people’s bodies will never fill whatever hole in your heart exists.

    July 22, 2014
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  58. Skipping half the article to comment on the thing about “driven personalities” &c: There is actually a very strong connection between perfectionism, obsessive need for control, and anorexia. Being “driven” like that, it’s not a good thing. Ms. Kelsey is too enamored of good grades to notice, but that need to be perfect all the time is soul-destroying. These girls aren’t getting good grades because they’re “driven” and “determined”, they’re getting good grades because they feel they are worthless if they aren’t perfect. All the time. At everything. Forever.

    But of course Kelsey’s STUPID TERRIBLE FRAMING has cast this obsession as a… good thing? Somehow? Personally, if my kid was destroying herself to get good grades, I would see this as a problem. “Driven” my jiggly ass.

    July 22, 2014
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    • Okay, finished the rest of it. People like this Kelsey person drive me batty, and I’m glad there’s people like you around to knock her work down.

      The thing that bothers me the most about these kinds of people is, how does she know those girls aren’t losing weight? In her estimation, she would be okay with them if they were in the process of losing weight, right? But no matter how much weight you’ve lost, it doesn’t mean anything until you’re thin. Lost a hundred pounds and still fat? You’re still unhealthy and gross and should be constantly bullied, even though you’re trying, you’re doing everything they tell you to, and it’s even working! But they still try their best to make you feel like a failure as a human being until you reach the shape they find comfortable looking at.

      July 22, 2014
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  59. Pennymoonz
    Pennymoonz

    I feel bad for the sack of shit, linda. She must really fucking hate herself. I wanna wear my corset and mini skirt and do a lil sexy dance infront of her while eating an icecream and proceed to twerking onsome hot guys. I want to so badly!! thos article pissed me off so much i almodt had an anxiety attack and am at the brink of tears. This linda woman is our societys views of us fat people, just compacted into a 62 year old skinny lil old lady. Its like every little shitty thing anyones ever said, about being fat, typed up in some shit article. Im fat, i was bulimic and recently, have been binging. So close to purging, but by the binge phase i feel too guilty, and can atleast pretend i just snacked too much. Im ashamed, but reading this article reminds me of why i dont wanns go back to what i was. I dont want to hate myself, the way linda wants me to, the way she thinks a girl my size should. I dont need to be skinny to love myself, my eating disorder did not make me happy, i lost lots of wait, my skin was yellow, my face always red from all the purging, i was so much thinner, and i never hated myself more. I dont want that, ever again. Thank you jenny, for all the inspiring post you write. And thanks for introducing Billy Joel to my playlist

    November 9, 2014
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