Fatness and Parenting

Great article over at Feministe on fatness and parenting.

I was once told that I had an obligation to become thin (as if I could just choose to be and, voila!) because my kid will grow up looking at me and thinking that fat is a way to be. As if, somehow, she would catch my fat, no matter how our family lives and eats and moves and no matter what her genetic predispositions. (This person assumed, as many do, that thin is objectively healthier and ‘better’ than fat.) Some people think children should be kept from the terrible knowledge that contented fat people exist because that would, by some sorcery, mean that the notion of fatness would never occur to them and they would always remain thin. Some people just don’t believe fat parents can possibly provide a healthy home. Some people think parents of fat children are by definition lazy or incompetent or unloving. Some people are ignorant. Some people are arseholes.

Some of those people have been in the media this past week talking about a study which, it has been widely reported, recommends that very fat children be removed from their parents and put into foster care. One of the problems with this is that the study has been widely misrepresented: have a read of this break-down by Dr Samantha Thomas if you’re interested. I’m not in the least surprised that the media haven’t been more accurate and sensitive in their handling of this ‘news story’. That’s par for the course when it comes to ‘obesity’ and they do love to parade us fatties as cautionary tales. Unfortunately, what could have been an opportunity for some serious discussions about systemic barriers to good health and the ethical problems with performing gastric banding surgery on minors, became a great big festival of fat hate with a large helping of mother blaming. Especially poor mothers, cause they’re really easy to hate on, apparently.

Head on over and read the whole thing.

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