Without Measure (WOM) 365

December 16, 2006

What’s With The Media?

Filed under: ISAA,size acceptance — directisaa @ 9:37 pm

It seems like “obesity” is still the freakshow topic of many media outlets. It’s the mutant menace of our day, the thing that will bankrupt all healthcare systems and devour our children. Why, it’s a wonder we’re not all fat already — oh, wait, we almost are, according to most studies! Then there’s the news stories that are basically infomercials for weight loss methods, especially surgery. Very little is reported about the dangers of these procedures, the death rates, the complication rates or repeat surgery rates. Now, to their credit, some media outlets do some reporting on it but most do not. If it’s medical and it causes weight loss, it’s A-OK in the media.

It really would be nice to see some objective journalism when it comes to size- and weight-related topics. Occasionally, it happens. Recently, a few Health At Every Size (HAES) articles have seen publication but they are few and far between. Also, over the years, I’ve met some really nice media personalities who are sympathetic to the cause of size acceptance and who don’t like size discrimination. At the very least, while some may not agree with us, they at least hear us out, which is more than I can say for others.

More commonly what we see is biased reporting such as the tabloid-like headlines of some of the UK papers (the Daily Mail has had a lot of them recently). Since when is a suggestion from a professor considered newsworthy? Noone is even considering this idea, no government or legislative body at least. And yet, it makes it all the way to the Drudge Report and other international media outlets.

I guess I take some personal offense, not as a size acceptance activist and educator, but as a former journalist who was trained in the fundamentals of journalism. And those fundamentals are pretty simple:

1. The only place you put your opinion is in an editorial;

2. Report the facts and report what people say about the facts;

3. Don’t make up the news, report it; and

4. Try to show both sides of any issue, if it’s possible.

Instead of these standards, what we tend to get in “obesity reporting” is either an entirely one-sided story with a focus on how obesity will supposedly kill you if you don’t submit to surgery or at least dieting in order to lose weight — or it projects the writer’s fears about obesity, which can include insulting fat people or writing things like “why can’t you just put the plate of food down?” In other words, generalizing without any factual backup whatsoever.

Sometimes there are “sympathy” pieces, written by people who agree that discrimination against fat people is wrong but also fear the heralded medical ills of obesity. And then there are plus-size fashion pieces, which even come under attack now and then, like this week.

If the headline has “obesity” in it, 9 times out of 10, it will ultimately be about weight loss…which means, it’s ultimately a self-defeating article that won’t help anyone. So why do we see so many of these headlines? It’s been known for a long time that the media is a great advertising medium in the guise of supposed “news.” Are you a scientist that made a mouse lose 0.0075% of its body mass in a poorly controlled environment with a drug you’re trying to sell? Nevermind that it writhed in agony the whole time or grew an additional leg, publish the results in a press release claiming the “potential” cure to obesity! Have a position of some prominence and an outrageous opinion that would impede the rights of fat people “for their own good?” Tell the news all about it, it will sell!

So where does ISAA come into all of this? Well, ISAA works with the media whenever we can. We respond to legitimate inquiries from the media, give our positions, try to clear up misperceptions and engage in dialogues. ISAA distributes press releases also and we try to communicate using our own media capabilities (email lists, podcasts, e-zines and now blogging). We know we can reach people with information they can use to help themselves.

ISAA also encourages you to contact any media outlet that publicizes anything biased or factually inaccurate and let them know what you think. Just as we want to know what you think about us, most media outlets welcome public feedback, even if the public doesn’t agree with them. They may not change their stance on the matter but if enough public pressure builds, they will respond. It’s definitely worth the effort. We’ve seen many successes over the years because of public input caused businesses to reconsider their position on a size- or weight-related matter. It can happen.

It will take time and it will take perserverence in the face of all obstacles. But ISAA is more than just its volunteers. ISAA has become a concept, a size acceptance idea that has begun to take root all over the world. It may not be evident immediately upon review right now, but give us time. We may surprise you. And you might surprise yourself!


ISAA UK Denounces Anti-Obesity Stories In UK Media

Filed under: ISAA — directisaa @ 8:14 pm

Press Release – For Immediate Release

LONDON – The United Kingdom Branch of the International Size Acceptance Association (ISAA UK) is very concerned about the recent series of media articles on cosmetic/weight loss surgery for plus-sized children and even the contemplation of the idea of “health warnings” on plus-size clothing. ISAA as an organization has a firm stance against bariatric weight loss surgery of any kind.

“The thought of it being used on growing children is unconscionable to ISAA,” said Fatima Parker, President of the ISAA UK branch. “It will invariably deny them the nutrients they need to grow into healthy adults and could result in death or extremely poor quality of life.”

Also, the suggestion that plus-size clothing needs health warnings is abhorrent to ISAA UK, which sees it as an attack on the plus-size fashion industry. It is also potentially the first step in a slippery slope of separating fat people from society in order to further discriminate against them and profit from the weight-cycling caused by failed weight loss efforts.

“One would not be safe from the fat police, even in their own clothes,” said Parker. “Would they put health warnings on size 0 clothes as well? How about on the show clothing that the extremely thin models wear in fashion shows? If you open that Pandora’s box, where does it end? The whole notion of health warnings on plus-size clothing is biased against the fat and indicative of the prejudice we face daily. ISAA exists to combat such discrimination.”

ISAA’s mission is to promote size acceptance and to help end weight-based discrimination throughout the world by means of advocacy and visible, lawful actions. ISAA has branches in the U.S., Brazil, Canada, France, Middle East and Africa, New Zealand, the Philippines and the UK. ISAA also has several virtual chapters online. ISAA was founded in 1997.

Contact Information:
Fatima Parker
President, ISAA UK
Email: redah888@yahoo.com
WWW: http://www.size-acceptance.org/uk

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December 5, 2006

Fighting Against The “War On Obesity”

Filed under: ISAA,self esteem,size acceptance — tima888 @ 8:16 pm

I have just come out of the battlefield. I had no warning. I have a terrible flu and my voice is gone, but I fought back and won the last word for size acceptance.

On BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) radio, they had 3 Doctors, one after the other, spreading the same propaganda on Obesity, same old adage. I had been invited on to represent the size acceptance point of view.

(Here is a link to the “Africa Have Your Say” radio programme’s website and audio)

They were saying one thing, then when I retaliated, they changed their tune. But when they went back to saying obesity kills, they sounded like a sales pitch to the connoisseur but doom and gloom to the listener.

Obesity is a major killer in Africa, they said. It is a time bomb waiting to explode and kill every one in its path.

The majority of the callers were against them. They said that the WHO (World Health Organization) should re-check their data. How can obesity be a major killer of Africans when over 77% of the deaths are from starvation and AIDS?

One of the doctors told me that I was feeling victimized, I should not. They only want my health and well being.

The other said since I am an activist, then I have negative feelings and need help. I must be positive, he said, and do something about my weight. I should not be too confident because if I have any one in my family who has diabetes, I will surely get it. I said I would get it even if I was thin. I thanked him for his advice and said that scaring people into starvation is not the right way to go about it. The worst thing, I said, was the humiliation, the abuse, the insults and the marginalization of fat people and not acceptance of diversity. You want one size to fit all and you make beauty trends that are not attainable by the majority in the world.

The dietitian said first that obesity kills and that they must get rid of it. Then when I said how does she get rid of it, when diets do not work, she then said only 10% is enough, but got back to the obesity kills message quickly.

I spoke about many things. I had more time since I was the “punching bag.” The presenter asked the doctors to convince me that obesity kills and that I should not be proud of being fat, but I answered back (I had to shout sometimes) my voice is very weak, I am not well, but I found strength in our cause and I fought on with dignity and respect for them and myself. They kept repeating the same thing about how not every fat person gets diseases like the smokers but obesity in general kills and Africa is in mortal danger from It.

I managed to talk about many things like eating disorders, stress, the ridiculing of fat people in society and in the media, my own experience as a fat beautiful normal person, the war on obesity that has no opponents, fighting the docile fat people who believe it all, they get on the merry-go-round of bingeing and dieting and getting bigger. They have no voice and they are always blamed for their size.

The doctor then said, We are not fighting you, Fatima. We are fighting obesity not the obese. You have a problem with people, but we are fighting the fat not fat people.

I said you have been fighting fat for over 50 years and obesity is on the rise, why? …they did not answer. I said what we need is education and acceptance that people can learn to live happy healthy lives at any size. And if you do not push for one size fits all and make one look or one color a trend and model of beauty to sell hope of happiness and success in a jar , if every one was respected and had dignity and their self esteem was not damaged from feeling low and inadequate, then there would not be extreme obesity nor would there be need for a war.

Fatima Parker, President

ISAA UK (United Kingdom) and MENA (Middle East aNd Africa)

December 2, 2006

Powering the sports car

Filed under: health,ISAA,self esteem,size acceptance — lyndafinn @ 9:44 pm

Many years ago, a friend recommended that I try the Hip and Thigh Diet.

I asked her how the diet plan knew to take weight only off my hips and thighs. What if it got it wrong and just took fat off one bosom and I ended up with one voluptuous breast and one saggy, skinny one. Or suppose it targeted my legs, I didn’t wants to walk around with one thin leg and one strong, shapely one.

She told me seriously that this was a, “scientifically designed diet to improve health and wellbeing”. Up to then, I hadn’t really thought of her as terminally stupid.

No diet, whether it is aimed at reducing body fat or designed for improving nutrition, can possibly target specific areas of the body. The Heart Diet doesn’t zoom in on that muscle and immediately repair any damage and cause it to beat happily for the next fifty years. The Liver Diet does not sweep through only that organ, cleansing like some nutritional hoover.

Of course you can eat foods which are kinder to the liver but they also reach every tiny particle of the whole body.

A certain food may upset your stomach and give you headache but it is also reaching every blood cell, every vein and muscle – because that’s what food is designed to do.

That’s why we have well nourished feet!

There are sensors throughout every particle of our wonderful bodies and when the glucose level falls they leap into action. First our senses become more acute so we can see and smell food and respond positively to it.

If you doubt this, try looking at your favourite food when you have a full tummy – doesn’t have the same appeal at all!

Then the awareness of food, or the need for it increases and our brain is unable to concentrate fully on whatever we are doing.

It begins small, the odd thought, ‘Gee, I’m about ready for a cup of coffee’, and continues, if we don’t respond, to a more intrusive imagining, the smell and feel of Java.

Eventually we just can’t get on with the job in hand because the body is crying out for sustenance.

Our need for food is no different to our need for water – the longer you deny that need, the more the body shuts down other faculties so it can concentrate on making you reach for something liquid, or edible.

I call that pretty wonderful.

Every tiny atom of you has been built and is sustained by one thing – food and this is why everything in the body is geared towards finding and consuming it.

From the pupils of the eyes, which dilate when we see food, to the saliva glands, taste buds and stomach juices which ra-ra in anticipation.

If we consume a diet full of low-nutrition foods, we will be malnourished, every part of us, and that means the organs will deteriorate.

This is why the diets aimed at certain organs are just plans to get better nutrition into the body so it can heal itself.

Eat fruits, vegetables, quality meats and fish, nuts, seeds and grains and (unless we are allergic to something) we will be filling every particle of our body with the elements it needs to repair and remain healthy.

That we should now be firmly trapped in a culture which seeks to feed the body on something which offers no nutritional value, or deprive it of the essentials it needs, is sad beyond belief.

It’s like buying a top-of-the-range sports car, expecting it to run on mower fuel and never maintaining it.

YOU are that sports car and you deserve the very best to power and keep you going, every part of you, hips, thighs and all.

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