Meta: Why I write about health & science

Besides the fact that I’m a fat science geek, that is.

This post was prompted by Fat Heffalump’s recent post, No More Hoops, but I made a separate blog post since it was mostly about my blog, and I thought it would be interesting in its own right as well as in the context of Fat Heffalump’s post. (Plus it’s kinda long for a comment.)

I think No More Hoops is a good reminder that we shouldn’t focus primarily on justifying ourselves to those opposed to Fat Acceptance/Fat Liberation. And I agree, we shouldn’t. I can’t speak for Paul Campos or Marilynn Wann or anyone who writes about fat and science and health, but when I write on those topics, I’m not focusing on justifying myself to the haters. While we can sometimes fool ourselves about why we do things, my experience is that I’m not primarily writing in order to convince the concern troll types (or sow doubt in their minds), although that may give me a little extra motivation. While I sometimes try to anticipate common arguments, that’s not the main reason why I write.

Usually my purpose is one or both of these two things:

1. Helping myself, and like-minded people, to feel more positively about being fat. Knowing that I can still be healthy while fat, and that there are things I can do to reduce or eliminate risks that are presumed to be related to my weight, without changing my weight, makes me feel happier about my body. Hearing about a new study that supports my decision not to diet makes me feel happier and more certain about my decision.

2. Criticizing people or pointing out flaws in their arguments, partly because I’m angry at or disappointed in these people and want to vent my feelings, partly because it feeds into #1. Sometimes, because it amuses me. (This post is something of a mix of all these motivations.)

I have to live in a fat-hating society, too. All the anti-fat messages wear on me. Hearing a new study being used to justify assertions that fat people are unhealthy can lead me to doubt. (And a little doubt is healthy! But the anti-fat side is all but monopolizing mainstream discussion.) Sometimes I need to remind myself of what’s wrong with the mainstream messages about fat. And I figure there are other people in the same boat, who intellectually know that the mainstream messages are wrong, but whose spirits are bolstered by specific reminders of why they’re wrong.

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