July 7, 2010

Michelle Obama is out of synch with the fatshionistas.

Robin Givhan writes about the body acceptance movement. Most of her essay is about the desire for cutting-edge fashion in plus sizes. (She embarrasses the president of Lane Bryant for saying his customer is mainly concerned with comfort and "might be a year behind" on style.) Tucked away at the end is the part about Michelle Obama. The First Lady has been Givhan's prime subject these days (unfortunately), and it's surprising to find something critical of her in a Givhan column (even if it is given low prominence).  Let me highlight it:
What some currently see as the most distressing assault on their dignity is first lady Michelle Obama with her fight against childhood obesity.

"I'm really appalled at the first lady's campaign. I think it will do more harm than good," says Linda Bacon, author of "Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight." "I applaud her for some of the specific programs, but when it's done in the name of obesity, it's going to backfire on her."

Bacon was one of about a dozen researchers and authors who signed a letter to Obama voicing concern that her emphasis on weight was stigmatizing a population rather than dealing with the broader health issues. "I think it's great for kids to have a better connection to their food," Bacon says. 
Bacon. Great name. No seriously.


A grand and lustrous name. And if you thought a joke was in order, you should be ashamed of yourself... of your mind. Not your body, of course. Love your glorious, ample body.

Back to Linda Bacon:
But by focusing on weight, "you're teaching kids that they did something wrong to get the body they have."

The women do not dismiss decades of scientific research on obesity, but they are distrustful of the conclusions as well as the methodology. They know they exercise; they feel healthy. One young woman shared that she was a vegan and has always been a big girl. Mostly, however, they argue that everyone should eat better and move more -- not just the overweight. So why point a finger at fat people?
Givhan has the access to extract a response from Michelle Obama. The questions I'd ask: How can you talk about taking personal responsibility when what people hear is blame? If people are saying they feel good about themselves, do you really want to make them feel bad? Even those of us who don't favor inspiring self-esteem all the time want to know why you want to tear people down in the effort to get them to do something they'll probably never be able to do very well? But Michelle Obama is someone who's big on promoting self-esteem, so she's got a particularly difficult problem achieving coherence. You can't just be for everything that's good. Everyone must feel good and be virtuous. How does that work?

I assume Givhan will get back to us with the First Lady's response. Until then, let's speculate. I predict she'll go on about her garden and how delicious vegetables can be: If only these women would taste vegetables — really taste her most excellent vegetables — then they will love eating right and all the incoherence will melt away. You can love yourself, love your body, love all your food and eat right and be healthy — feel healthy and be healthy. Of course, that's emphatically not true, but one feels so pretty saying it. And that is what we want — to feel pretty.

ADDED:

126 comments:

Ron said...

If Althouse is going to have Christina Hendricks in a post, even indirectly, I have to come by and tip my chapeau in her direction.

Ample? Hadn't noticed....ahem.

AllenS said...

Ever since Michelle lost her $300,000+ hospital job, it's been pretty much down hill from there.

Quayle said...

The root of this whole issue is macro-economic.

We're the first society in the history of the world that is so affluent that even our poor are fat.

EK said...

I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, stick your head out and yell, “I’m as fat as hell, and I love my glorious, ample body”!

rhhardin said...

Maybe Michelle is into making herself feel good about herself and virtuous, which is easy to do.

The Crack Emcee said...

Feeling pretty isn't the same thing as being pretty.

Michelle is proof of that.

Adam said...

"The women do not dismiss decades of scientific research on obesity, but they are distrustful of the conclusions as well as the methodology. They know they exercise; they feel healthy."

Then they inexplicably develop Type II diabetes.

ironrailsironweights said...

Everyone has a different idea of what it takes to make a woman beautiful.

And you all know what my idea is.

Peter

Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...

Poverty cures obesity.
Every time.
It's a scientific fact!

Real poverty, not the 'bottom quintile' crap the US left has harped about, but old timey hardscrabble tin-roof-no-plumbing impoverishment.

I predict that in ten years, obesity levels will level off and fall modestly.

Why? Because Michelle's husband has enacted policies and raised taxes and outspent his predecessors, which guarantees a slow but steady economic stagnation and national decline.

Put simply, people will have less money, and they will buy less food, so their weight will drop. The feds will claim a healthcare victory

Lem said...

Oh oh..

I expect Trooper to come in any minute now..

Lincolntf said...

I want to hear more about the fat vegan chick.

jayne_cobb said...

Wasn't Michelle Obama supposed to be the next Jackie Kennedy or something like that?

Man, I remember the push to make this the next Camelot like it was almost yesterday. At the rate they're going they'll be lucky to get out as the Carters.

Pogo said...

It's the next Camel lot.

Lem said...

You cant have your Bacon and eat it too ;)

Synova said...

Every time this comes up...

I'm fat.

Now. Now I have the same body as my mother.

I wasn't always fat. But I always felt fat. Felt hideous. Got teased in school for having "thunder thighs." And as I think about it, it's appalling. (And if the guys were pigs the girls were worse... the guys were just being mean... the girls really did think that size 2 was reasonable.)

I look at my teenaged daughters, none of whom are fat. Even my youngest who has sort of stretched out and miraculously become tall, hardly counts as chubby anymore. The other two have never even flirted with the notion. And I was thinner than they are at the same age.

Teenagers have a hard enough time with body image and someone who is 120 pounds should not be made to feel like a cow because she is not size 2.

What's more, feeling good about yourself is more likely to result in the sort of lifestyle that promotes a healthy weight. After all, you're not defeated before you even start. And if my experience with karate is representative at all, often enough getting active has no impact at all on your weight, but it does improve your health. So was it worth your time or not? Feeling as though there are other measures for success lets a person go for the sure thing; the fact that if you work out you *will* be healthier, the fact that you are stronger and your balance has dramatically improved, the mental benefits of exercise, all of it even if you don't lose a pound.

Or you can concentrate on "something they'll probably never be able to do very well."

Larry J said...

Fashion is for suckers, as are the Obamas.

Scott M said...

But by focusing on weight, "you're teaching kids that they did something wrong to get the body they have."

A great lesson. If you're fat as a kid, you're looking down the barrel of a whole host of health and social problems that, with Obamacare, are only going to get worse. Plus, if you're fat as a kid, it's extremely self-limiting. Think of all the activities that fat kids either can't do, or can't do for long due to their weight/health/wind.

So why point a finger at fat people?

Because, especially under Obamacare, their bad diet and exercise choices are going to start picking my pockets. Before, it was just shameful. Now, it's a matter of public policy. Isn't socialism wonderful? Yes, yes, blather about how fat people already cost us under the current (previous?) system. Then rationalize that point of view with the explosion in cost we're about to experience.

Lem said...

Fat women have real breast.. make no bones about it ;)

wv- moventio

traditionalguy said...

Losing weight is indeed a wonderful thing to do for feet. But Michelle's over use of fat people's guilt to control their behavior seems to be a low level motivation skill. But it is that skill that remains the most familiar way of interraction between authority figures and their subjects among the once enslaved communities.

Scott M said...

Can vegans eat Twinkies? Seems like one helluva loophole if so.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Maybe Michelle should enlist NASA to make fat people feel good about their contributions to science?

- Lyssa

deborah said...

"Feeling pretty isn't the same thing as being pretty.

Michelle is proof of that."

I think Michelle is a beautiful/handsome woman, and usually like her style choices. I think of her as our new Jackie,style-wise(though her husband gets on my last nerve). The obesity campaign is a real dog, though. Making little kids self-conscious is stupid.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Put simply, people will have less money, and they will buy less food, so their weight will drop. The feds will claim a healthcare victory


Pogo is absolutely correct.

I collect things from the Art Deco period (which extends from the 1920's through the Great Depression) and some early 40's items, jewelery, pottery, furniture and even some clothing.

MOST of the men and women's clothing are in sizes that are almost child like today. Teeny little gloves. Tiny hats for the men. Most men wearing those hats today would only be able to perch them on top of their heads. Small dresses. Little feet.

You know why they were all so small. Diet. People ate much less and NOT by choice. Didn't have food available at all times. Hardly any processed foods.

Less food as children= smaller adults. Many were undernourished if not malnourished.

Plus the folks had to work much harder with no modern conveniences, walk further, pull the plows themselves (literally and figuratively)and burn off the few calories that they did get.

This is what we get to look forward to for our next generations when Obama succeeds in destroying industry, oil production, agriculture, infrastructure etc. Welcome to the Brave New World. At least we can all fit back into those size 3 dresses.

Lem said...

I predict science will have the answer to this not so subtle supple scourge..

By the year 2020 BP will have developed a poker dot dress that will be absolutely safe.. will also create an oil containment boom building boom.. it just might solve the energy shortage ;)

Remember what the administration said - "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste"

prairie wind said...

I'm with you, Synova. And the styles for large women do need some updating. Even if we don't want to be this size (unlike the women in the article, I guess), we do want to dress well. Take swimsuits, for example. Most of them are meant for women who want to sit by the pool showing off cleavage. I want a suit for swimming and diving. Hard to find.

Palladian said...

"Can vegans eat Twinkies? Seems like one helluva loophole if so."

Anyone can eat Twinkies, they're inorganic! The better question is "should", not "can".

Kevin said...

What some currently see as the most distressing assault on their dignity is first lady Michelle Obama with her fight against childhood obesity.

Because it is better for poor, fat people to become diabetic than have their self-esteem lowered!

holdfast said...

Michelle's message is almost as incoherent as her dress sense.

I don't think I would dislike Obama nearly as much as I do if he were not surrounded by such vile people - I mean, I think Obama is wrong on most issues, but I don't get the same malicious vibe as from the First Lady, Chief of Staff and Attorney General. Then there's the clueless wonders like Janet Incompetento, Sec. Chu and Jim Jones.

Kevin said...

Because, especially under Obamacare, their bad diet and exercise choices are going to start picking my pockets.

Before, I really didn't care about fat people. Now I'm going to hate them, because they are costing me money.

Synova said...

I think it's a little optimistic (what?) to think that a worsening economy will lead to smaller people. Even if people eat less, cheaper food is particularly high in calories and there won't be a corresponding change in what people do for work. It's still going to be mostly going somewhere and sitting.

I actually bought Twinkies about a week ago (after seeing Zombieland) and they're sitting in the cupboard. No one has even opened the package.

prairie wind said...

Because it is better for poor, fat people to become diabetic than have their self-esteem lowered!

It is better for people to manage their own weight and health, and for insurance companies to decide what conditions they will cover or not.

Whoever advised Michelle to choose obesity as her issue gave her bad advice and I'd bet that Michelle curses the day she agreed to do it.

Trooper York said...

Really?

JAL said...

I think of her as our new Jackie, style-wise

Not even close.

And I was never a Kennedy fan (having been around when the Kennedys were king).

Synova -- use the Twinkies to start your stash for the coming apocolypse. They last forever. ;-)

Lem said...

Michelle is just saying that the fat places an 'undo burden' on the Fed.. they are fat enough already.

If only the fat accumulated in certain areas on the body we would not be having this fat "conversation".

We need to segregate the fat.. send it to the back of the bus.. where it will be most wellcomed ;)

wv - pormo

Synova said...

"Because it is better for poor, fat people to become diabetic than have their self-esteem lowered!"

Logical error... it's not either/or. Is it better for poor, fat people to become diabetic AND have their self-esteem lowered?

Or perhaps someone should figure out if lower self-esteem ever results in weight loss before patting themselves on the back for being a scold.

c3 said...

These women are NOT obese (likely their BMI's are all less than 25)

This is obesity

This woman is under-weight (BMI probably about 18)

So yes we have problematic expectation of what women should look like AND we have too many obese women.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I think it's a little optimistic (what?) to think that a worsening economy will lead to smaller people

Well, I guess it depends on how worse it gets and for how long.

Seriously. I don't think it will come to that.

Because it is better for poor, fat people to become diabetic than have their self-esteem lowered!

It is better for poor fat people (actually all people) to know how to cook and have access to food that isn't processed. Put down the Twinkies and back away from the Pepsi.

However, it also isn't the government's job to micro manage our diets either. People have free will and if given the choices, they choose to eat themselves into oblivion and ill health, they should be able to do so.

We also should be given the choice to not have to pay for their poor choices through a government subisidized (taxpayer funded) socialized medical program.

Milwaukie guy said...

Frozen twinkies. Mmmmmm. My only sugar fix.

Trooper York said...

What Robin Givhan knows about plus sized fashion can fit on the head of a pin. She was totally taken in by the publicity generated by the so called "Full Figured Fashion" week and has no concept of what was going on.

What "Full Figured Fashion" was really about was selling modeling kits and seminars to aspiring Plus Sized Models. It was run by a woman named Gwen Devoe who is a promoter and runs a modeling school. Think of "Toddlers and Tiara's" for the Plus Size Community.

The only reputable plus design company that was involved was Igggi which produces many great and stylish dresses that Robin Givhan would have no idea about because she is part of the Elite Fashion Journalist snobbery who know nothing about Plus Size and do not educate themselves about it. The other lines (besides Iggi) that were shown are cronies of the promoter who are show casing lines that are just starting out. Except for Monif C who we have major issues with but which I will not bore you with at this time because I don’t think you would find it interesting.

We were asked to be part of their "Grand Shopping Excursion" but we decline for reasons I do not want to detail here. Let’s just say it was not a professional operation and not done in a business- like manner.

There are two kinds of people in the fashion industry. There are the people who talk about it and go to the parties and the shows and have all the glitz and the glamour. And there are the people who actually do it, make the clothes, go to dusty warehouses to find fabrics and haunt the trade shows to find plus sized clothing that is on trend. Never the twain shall meet.

Plus sized fashion politics is just as dirty a game as regular politics. Robin Givhan has not a clue.

Shanna said...

“Accept them or not. Just don't block their hustle.”

Don't block their hustle? What does this mean?

Larger women all carry their extra weight differently -- in the hips, in the bustline, in the belly. That must be accounted for in the designs.

News to fashion designers…ALL women carry their weight differently!!!! Even size 2's. You would think, considering you design clothes for a living, you would know this but it's clear when one goes shopping that you don't. God. I was talking to my brother about how all the regular jeans at gap are ridiculously long and that considering I'm 5'7'', who the heck do they think should be wearing regular length jeans (and how tall do you have to be before you need to buy talls?). He said "don't you have lengths on your pants?" No, no we don't. Women's clothing is kind of screwed up.

deborah said...

I think of her as our new Jackie, style-wise

"Not even close."

To each his own, but just for the record, I'm a Project Runway junkie. Also, I just remembered reading that Jackie used to criticize teen-age Caroline about her weight.

c3 said...

Don't block their hustle?

Maybe meant to be "don't block their bustle"

prairie wind said...

Maybe some styles are longer in order to accommodate platform shoes? Women's clothing is endlessly varied, where men's clothing is not. You can find thirty styles of pants for women where you'll find maybe five for men. It's easier to manufacture the different lengths for men when they have fewer styles to worry about. That's my guess, anyway. Trooper might have a better explanation.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Trooper.

I looked at those web sites for Igigi and Monif C. All I can say about most of their dresses is tacky. Monif C looks like fat hooker clothing.

Igigi has some nice separates and a few tailored items, but most of their casual dresses are certainly not appropriate for work. And their career wear is not either.

Whats up with ALL the low cut necklines that enhance the boobs. Not that there is anything wrong with boobs...God knows I've got'em.....but when looking for "work attire" I want my clients to focus on my face and my words!!

Trooper York said...

The bloggers who are mentioned are working from the best of intentions. They are talking to like- minded readers who are frustrated in not finding fashionable plus sized clothing that is on trend. They are interested in the “Politics” of plus sized. Once again something that Robin knows nothing about.

Robin mocks Lane Bryant which is so easy to do. They deserve respect for what they do and what they have done in the past. They were often the only alternative for plus sized women. Lane Bryant has a multi-million dollar business and doesn’t need to apologize to anyone for the service they provide.
But that is what ignorant journalist do when they haven’t done any research and are just talking out of their ass. It would be same thing if you mocked “The Gap” or “Old Navy.” The clothing they produce are just dumbed down versions of what is on trend this season at a more reasonable price than what you would find in the cutting edge of fashion.

Journalists have no concept of how business works.

William said...

Most of my youth I was skinny and miserable. Among men anyway, self esteem is more linked to income level than waist size. There are many fat, pompous assholes with combovers who are totally convinced of their rectitude and beauty. And, with sufficient income and power, they have many in their retinue to marvel at their modesty and wisdom.....The world is not troubled by the low self esteem of the fat, but by the high self esteem of the assholes.

Sixty Grit said...

The White House will be the next stop for Losing it with Jillian. Television worth watching...

danielle said...

"But by focusing on weight, "you're teaching kids that they did something wrong to get the body they have."

Linda Bacon is projecting, and perhaps unintentionally, trying to guard her market niche.

Trooper York said...

Well DBQ, each company is appropriate for what it meant for. Iggi makes a quality low cost party dress that is appropriate for special occasions and not for work. Some of their separates could possibly work but they are mainly for that girl that normally wears Lane Bryant to work but wants to step it up for a party.

Monif C really has club wear and hootchie cootchie stuff that is not our taste at all. There is definitely a market for it as she has a very good business. We have never carried it and never will.

The reason why the boobs are so prominent is twofold.

One is that is so much easier to close it up than it is to open it up. A stitch here or an added button there will close up most of those styles. Alternately a camisole will give your coverage so that the dress will be work appropriate.

The other reason that many plus size girls are well endowed and feel that this is their best feature that is what they want to emphasize. Especially the African American Community which is the market that both Iggi and Monif C really cater to. They are extremely strong in that demographic and make the clothing that they want to buy. That is why they have very strong and viable businesses. You have to make something that people want to buy if you want to stay in business.

When we opened our store we struggled to find clothing that we wanted to sell. That is why we are making more and more of our own clothing, much of which is really appropriate for business. Our exclusive line is very popular and sells to customers all over the country. Recently I have started a new way to sell. We Skype our customer s so they can see what the clothing looks like and get an explanation as to how to wear it properly so it fits the way it is supposed to. It has been extremely successful.

Trooper York said...

Anytime you want to Skype me you can have a vitual shopping spree DBQ!

My wrap dresses, pencil skirts and new seperates are right up your alley. As well as the new limited edition fitted business suits. Not boxy but fitted to a T. Plus my new poplin blouses which will be on line in a couple of weeks are off the hook so to speak. Hee.

danielle said...

Ann, first lady's campaign is coherent: it focuses on getting kids to develop healthy eating habits and exercise habits early so they're less likely to become obese adults.

And she's doing that in a positive way, which in her messaging to children, doesnt not contain anything about them being fat. She talks about healthy food, movement, and she talking to food executives, chefs and parents about improving what children eat.

if people read that as condemning fat people, then those people perhaps prefer to ignore statistics linking obesity to health issues and perhaps already felt condemned...

And with regards to the speculation about a response from the WH, nothing in Michelle's campaign precludes being large and healthy -- just healthy, fresh foods and movement. Of course she knows that eating healthy, moving your body, and feeling healthy and being healthy are not the same, but she does know that they are very highly correlated .... and she knows that will save a lot of people, and reduce healthcare costs long term.

danielle said...

I'm surprised that you suggest that feeling pretty is why the WH would promote this. I've heard Michelle link this to health care cost, and even the military was complaining that they were finding fewer recruits because people were so unhealthy.

Trooper York said...

Why doesn't Michelle concerntrate on getting her husband to stop smoking?

I thought that was a major health hazard. Or was I misinformed.

Trooper York said...

"Shanna said....
News to fashion designers…ALL women carry their weight differently!!!! Even size 2's. You would think, considering you design clothes for a living, you would know this but it's clear when one goes shopping that you don't."

This is the principle reason why we are making our own clothes. The designers do not take into account what an actual human body look like. In fact, many of the designs in the "straight sizes" are generated by a computer program which is why they do not take into account the reality of the human body. These styles are designed and graded on the computer, emailed to China where they are mass produced for pennies and retailed in mass quantities. Even though they don't fit correctly people will still buy them. Because quess what?

People need clothes.

Pogo said...

"I think it's a little optimistic (what?) to think that a worsening economy will lead to smaller people"

I don't think we can assume that (1) food will remain cheap and (2) we will all still have plenty of money to buy it as we do now.

Back in the 40s, families commonly devoted 27% of their budget to buy food. This dropped to 25% in the 1960s and was just 12% in 2000 and after (source).

Pervasive unemployment will persist for years, and the tax base will shrink. More of the home budget will be devoted to food. People will eat less fast food. If we hit 1960s era food spending, weight will fall.

Obese "poor" people in the USA are not poor by any reasonable measure.

But they soon will be.

Trooper York said...

I have no use for most fashion designers especially in the higher end market. They will come up with a great dress that actually fits. You sell it like crazy. Then you go back the next season to buy it again. And they say "Oh I already did that. I am not going to do it again. But look at this new dress I designed that has live gold fish swimming in tubes. It's fabulous!"

Trooper York said...

Also there is a great deal of nonsense regarding the idea of "Obese people." Most of you will point to "Morbidly Obese" people and say that is what America has come to in getting so fat. In fact that is the exception and not the rule. That is like judging all liberals by Jeremy. Its fun to mess around like that but we all know it is not the case.

Some people are just naturally bigger. They will never be a size 2There is nothing more harmful than the current obsession with lap band surgery and stomach reduction. I have seen it destroy a lot of people.

Obviously exercise and a healthy diet are extremely important. You should be healthy. But the drastic steps that so many people take to conform to society's desired look is just as bad if not worse than being fat. You should do what works to make you healthy. So if you look "fat" so be it. Just try to maintain your health above all else.

Scott M said...

@Trooper

Everything you've said is true enough, but let's not sugarcoat (lol) the fact that our populace, in general, is fatter that any of us here can probably remember. We eat too much crap and our lives are so completely catered to that a great deal of us have to go out of our way to get the exercise we need.

The most stark example of this happens when you travel abroad, especially to "western" countries. When you return, the difference in the number of fat people, just at the airport, is striking.

Not to mention seeing a fat mother and father at the mall, scarfing down Panda Express, with three little rolly-polly kids in tow. It's everywhere.

Morbidly obese, a la Gilbert Grape's mom, are indeed rare. But all to common are the fat, yes, FAT people in the general population that eat shitty diets, never exercise, and pass those wonderful behaviors on to their console-gaming kids.

Trooper York said...

That's very true Scott M. But there are a lot of behaviors that I think are just as bad or worse than a fat family scarfing down food at the Mall. Because I think these behaviors are stupid because I don’t like them and I don’t care if they are regulated or even destroyed by the government.

For example motorcycle riding or racing around in your car. How stupid is that. How many people die from wiping out on a cycle? Or getting injured in a car crash. Or go in a coma and cost millions of dollars to stay alive because they want to go fast. Or they were drunk or pissed off. It was a choice that made.

You can say that is totally different. That it is not a valid choice. Or they don’t have to make that choice. But you have to eat just as you might have to travel by internal combustion engine. Both are a choice. You could ride a bike. That is probably a lot healthier for you. But I don't have any right to tell you what to do. Just like I don't have the right to tell somebody not to eat a Twinkie. This is America. It is still a free country. For a little while longer.

Don't buy into the nanny state argument. Because they will start with things you don't care about so much. And the next thing you know they will regulate your life till it won't be worth living anymore.

People should be able to be fat if they want to. Don’t let the Danielles of this world dictate how and what you can eat.

Trooper York said...

I hate tattoos. I think they are disgusting. I don’t even want to look at someone with a tattoo. They make me sick. I sceive them more than you do fat people. But I don’t have the right to tell people how they should look. I don’t have the right to tell them not to do that because they might get hepatitis or some other infection from getting a tattoo. I think they should live their life the way they want to. They can do it without my condemnation and abuse. They look stupid and disgusting but they seem to be happy with it.

This is America. It is still a free country. For a little while longer.

Scott M said...

I would never call for a government action plan to deal with the fat among us or cater to nannyism to solve the problem. A fat, food-hedonist population is the direct result of a simultaneous occurrence of extremely cheap food combined with the systematic destruction of shame and self-responsibility in our culture.

In other words, this isn't a governmental problem. In reality, it's a cultural problem. Once people rediscover self-responsibility and give up suckling at the victimization teat, we'll all be better off.

Trooper York said...

I hate short people. They have no reason to live. They got little hands. Little eyes. They walk around tellin' great big lies. They got little noses and tiny little teeth. They wear platform shoes on their nasty little feet. They get into everything. They are creepy. Walking around looking up women’s dresses.

There are things they can do. They can take human growth hormones like A-Rod for crying out loud. Why don’t they want to look like the rest of us. They disgust me.

But I don’t have the right to tell them how to live their puny little lives.

This is America. It is still a free country. For a little while longer.

Trooper York said...

"Scott M said....
In other words, this isn't a governmental problem. In reality, it's a cultural problem. Once people rediscover self-responsibility and give up suckling at the victimization teat, we'll all be better off."

Our culture is the anomaly. In the history of the world it was the fat people who where always considered beautiful. Not the skinny bitchs. Now fat being realtive once again. It is only in the modern era where the gay sensibility and the new age cults that Crack talks about did the ideal become a twelve year boy's body. Look at art through the ages. Chubby rules. We are the outliers.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I would never call for a government action plan to deal with the fat among us or cater to nannyism to solve the problem.

However, isn't this just what the Obama's anti childhood obesity is doing? It is a foot in the door to control what we eat, how much salt and sugar we can user, how we exercise etc.

While the idea may be worthy: to reduce childhood obesity, is it really the function of the Federal Government or of government at all? I say no.

In addition, ANYTIME the government gets involved the results are terrible and the costs are high. Just look at our Public Education System.

Balfegor said...

Even those of us who don't favor inspiring self-esteem all the time want to know why you want to tear people down in the effort to get them to do something they'll probably never be able to do very well?

For the past month, for the first time in my life, I've been on a diet, and I've lost about 10 pounds with negligible effort (the diet is "stop eating before you feel full and just go hungry," and stuff oneself with indigestible stuff, like peas). Frankly, I don't particularly care either way about my weight, but at least it has shut up relations carping about how I need to lose weight if I ever want to get married.

In any event, though, how hard is it really to lose weight? I was pretty shocked at how easily the pounds fell off (and are continuing to fall off). I understand there are people who really do have difficulty, genetically and physiologically (or whatever) in losing weight, but given this brief experience, it seems to me that the majority of people who, like me, are only overweight, not obese (plump, not corpulent) shouldn't actually have that much difficulty losing weight if we want to. It's only that in the hierarchy of our personal wants and desires, "looking good to puritanical busybodies" comes below "enjoying life."

That said, if for some bizarre reason, the government is going to meddle with peoples' private culinary preferences in this absurd way, it does seem to me that trying to bully people into it by "tearing them down" is as good a method as any. After all, it worked on me -- at some point, one just gives in, just to get them to shut up.

Scott M said...

@Trooper

Fat people were held up as the ideal because there were so few of them. It also was a sign that you were wealthy enough to afford enough food to BE fat. Just like anything else even remotely desirable, the fewer there are, the more relative value. I don't think it gets any more complicated than that. Conversely, we have a plethora (Jose, do you know what a plethora is? Why, El Guapo?) of food and it's actually HARD to stay thin as you get older and your metabolism slows down. Thus, the ideal is held up to the be the thin body we had when our mets where running like nuclear reactors no matter what we ate.

@DBQ

Agreed.

Frankly, I think we're all arguing from the same side of the bench here.

Trooper York said...

My niece came home from school with a note from her teacher. She is very tall for her age and without an ounce of fat on her. The note said she was in the ninety nine percentile for being overweight for her age group. Not an ounce of fat on her. But forget that. She’s a kid. She should be able to have an ice cream or a hot dog or a donut. She’s a fuckin kid. Who the fuck is the NYC Board of Education to tell her that she is too fat because of some stupid chart make up by some douche bag who couldn’t get hired to lie about global warming. Just because she is four inches taller than is normal for her age group.

This is America. It is still a free country. For a little while longer.

Balfegor said...

Re: Synova

Or perhaps someone should figure out if lower self-esteem ever results in weight loss before patting themselves on the back for being a scold.

Well, I think it does work -- at least when it's parents against their sons and daughters, etc. etc. It's not so clear to me that people will have the same reaction to Big Brother (Big Mother?) trying to humiliate them in public -- there's at least a chance that it provokes an anti-bluenose backlash of defiant burger-consumption -- but it doesn't seem ridiculous. They may as well try. If, you know, they're convinced that's even a proper thing for the state to be meddling with, which I don't think it is.

Trooper York said...

Scott fat people were revered because societies that were closer to Nature knew that is what you wanted to be to be healthy. Those people worked with their hands and engaged in a lot more strenous excercises then the normal American couch potato. But still and all some of them were just naturally fat. They had the ablity to eat well.

Let me have men about me that are fat,
Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights.
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look,
He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.
Give him a donut
to sooth his savage breast.

Trooper York said...

Perhaps yound Cassius might like my new invention yond Caesar Salad.
Forsooth, he has pulled a blade
Quick get more donuts.

Shanna said...

Maybe some styles are longer in order to accommodate platform shoes?

I don’t need to be wearing 4 inch heels every day. I’m already tall enough! Sometimes you just want to put on some tennis shoes with your jeans without having them drag the floor. Avg woman is 5’4’’, and I’ve got her beat by 3 inches. If they are too tall for me, they are probably too tall for everybody else.

If I were in a complaining mood, I would get into why so many dresses are low v’s that I have to wear a camisole under, because that gets on my nerves. And why so many swim suits are now halter tops. There are other necklines, people!

lyssalovelyredhead said...

She talks about healthy food, movement, and she talking to food executives, chefs and parents about improving what children eat.
if people read that as condemning fat people, then those people perhaps prefer to ignore statistics linking obesity to health issues and perhaps already felt condemned...


I actually kind of agree with Danielle here. Not to say that I in any way support the nanny-state aspect of it all, but I think a lot of people are interpreting "healthy" as a codeword for "skinny," which doesn't seem to be the program's intent and likely reflects their own issues.

I also agree with Trooper on gastric bypass being pretty nasty and generally a bad idea, and about tatoos.

I think I need to lie down.

Trooper York said...

Styles change Shanna. But what is out there is what sells. It is a lot easier to close it up than it is to open it up. It is my experiance that about 60 to 70% of my shoppers perfer the lower neckline.

I do have a speciality in clothing for taller people. My Lola Maxi dress is very popular with the taller girls as is my "Tall Premium" jeans which are sold out at the moment.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

In college, I waited tables at a restaurant that served bread before the meal, with a couple little tubs of butter (well, margarine). Once, I waited on a mother and daughter. The mom was extremely fat. I'm talking just barely shy of not being able to walk fat. The daughter, who was about 8 or so, was basically normal.

When I brought the bread & butter, Mom demanded that I bring extra, extra butter. She then laughed, pointed at her kid, and told me "she likes to eat it." As in, daughter wished to eat it straight from the tub, and mother not only allowed, but encouraged this.

I'd probably be OK with the nanny state intervening when it comes to parents like that.

Trooper York said...

You would feel a lot better if you just went to get something nice to eat. How about a nice steak. Or some veal parm. Or even an ice cream sundea. That's what Grandma would tell yo.

Eat. Mangia. You will feel better.

Just sayn'

Class factotum said...

Less food as children= smaller adults.

In Spain, you will see a lot of elderly people, maybe in their late 70s and early 80s, who are much shorter than the average younger Spaniard - men only five feet tall.

My theory is that they were malnourished as children during the Spanish Civil War. At least they survived.

Trooper York said...

And don't think that the nanny state will neglect those who are underweight. Their time will come too.

I fact I know a lot of legislators who would be willing to vote for a bill that would mandate that no woman should have less than a D-cup.

I think Chris Dodd and Vitter are cosponsering it.

Shanna said...

My niece came home from school with a note from her teacher. She is very tall for her age and without an ounce of fat on her. The note said she was in the ninety nine percentile for being overweight for her age group. Not an ounce of fat on her.

BMI is wrong for a lot of people. Clearly, it’s wrong for a ton of kids, because the exact same thing happened with my cousin’s son. There needs to be somebody who actually takes a quick glance at the kid before they start sending notes idiotic notes home. My cousin went to the doctor with the note and the doctor said ignore it because they are idiots.

As for the difficulty of losing weight, I gained after high school for a while and the only time I was able to reverse it was when I stopped drinking cokes.

Trooper York said...

"When I brought the bread & butter, Mom demanded that I bring extra, extra butter. She then laughed, pointed at her kid, and told me "she likes to eat it." As in, daughter wished to eat it straight from the tub, and mother not only allowed, but encouraged this."

Oh yeah. Well I know this mother that lets her kid listen to this Justin Bieber. She buys the kid the cd's and even takes her to his concerts. If ever there was a cause for government intervention that is one!

But if she wants to courrpt her daughter she is still her mother.

This is America. It is still a free country. For a little while longer.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

This video seems to be perfect for this thread.

edutcher said...

I will cut Mrs. Obama a little slack here since I saw a couple of kids (brothers almost certainly) who were so fat, they looked like they had Hula Hoops under their T-shirts. Damn it, that's child abuse, in my book. So, if she can do something substantive to correct that, I'll give her some props.

Hoc dictu, my guess is that her solution would involve the kind of Goebbelsesque propaganda Britain's NHS has used to induce most Brits to call anyone with any extra flesh on their bones as obese, such as the luscious Ashley Graham.

PS no offense, Troop, but any guy talking fashion with a picture of Captain Kirby York by his name creates a cosmic disconnect hard to beat.

Trooper York said...

Dude that is just business. Most people who work in fashion are extremely and I mean extremely ugly.

I feel I fit right in.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Trooper said: lyssa you would feel better if had something nice to eat. Just sayn'

Couple of hours ago I had a lovely chicken dish dressed with a tarragon-dijon cream sauce (yes, real cream) and some green beans dressed with bacon fat and kosher salt. We had some leftover ice cream in the break room (wonderful stuff- strawberry-vanilla), so I had a bite a little bit ago. Now I'm sipping on some green tea and trying to decide what my husband and I can have for dinner. (There's a little bit of leftover flank steak that needs to be used- I'm thinking of cooking it in beer and taco seasoning, adding some black beans, guacamole, cheese, tomatoes, and sour cream- oh, and maybe some corn, and calling it Mexican night.)

Or, you know, I could be eating frozen entrees, fast food, and cokes, (and margarine straight from the tub), like most fat people I've seen in my day (most, not all, but definitely most). Do you think I'd be more satisfied then?

- Lyssa

Dust Bunny Queen said...

There's a little bit of leftover flank steak that needs to be used- I'm thinking of cooking it in beer and taco seasoning, adding some black beans, guacamole, cheese, tomatoes, and sour cream- oh, and maybe some corn, and calling it Mexican night.)


Yum!!!

See. This is why it would be more beneficial if poor people (all people) would know how to cook. Better food, not processed, less expensive and satisfying to have made it yourself.

El Pollo Real said...

Speaking of bringing home the bacon, did you know that their intl'n HQ was right here in Oceanside? link

traditionalguy said...

Styles do a 180 sometimes. In the 1700s the poor were outdoor workers in agriculture and all had tanned skin, while the rich were careful to never let the sun hit them so they could show off a pale white skin that proved they never had to work. A hundred years later and the poor were all working in textile factories from dawn to dusk 6 days a week, and they were the pale ones, while the rich were careful to get a suntan that proved they never had to work. Incidentally the Fat Plague began in the late 70s when overnight High Fructose Corn Syrup became the sweetner in every food sold. Corn is what is used to fatten up livestock the month before they are sold by the pound. It works on cows and on kids equally.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

This is why it would be more beneficial if poor people (all people) would know how to cook. Better food, not processed, less expensive and satisfying to have made it yourself.

Absolutely! And it doesn't really take much time, effort, or skill- most people who claim they can't cook really just haven't tried it. I think it should be taught in schools, really, it would be more beneficial than P.E., IMO. And once you get a taste for high quality foods, you really lose interest in highly processed junk.

I've written about it before, but I really think the first lady is doing her cause a disservice by not incorporating cooking. Wouldn't it be kind of fun if she took some healthy cooking classes and posted the videos online for people to follow along? Surely there are some celebrity chefs who would volunteer their time for the effort. It would be a great family project- learn to cook with the first lady!- and people would actually learn how to improve their health, as opposed to just some tired platitutdes.

(Oh, and I'll probably have this for dessert.)

Trooper York said...

I only cook with natural ingredients. What I grew up with is you went to the store everyday on your way home and picked up what you were going to cook that night. When I got married my mother-in-law said "Well he is a cook. That's great. He can cook up a bunch of things to freeze and you just have to heat it up." I told her "I'm am completely old school. The only thing I have in my freezer is ice and ice cream. I cook everything fresh that day from the butcher or the fish store or the bakery."

That is one way to eat healthy. But your genes have a lot to do with it. Some people are just naturally big. I am 6'3" about 285.
So no matter what I eat I am still going to be a big boy unless I cut my caloric intake drasticly and excercise like I am running away from my problems on a threadmill like all the other hamsters at Lucille Roberts.

But everybody has their own story. I don't begrudge anybody their way of life. Life is for the living of it. I just want everyone else to feel the same.

This is America. It is still a free country. For a little while longer.

Trooper York said...

What you need to do with that flank steak is go all Ritmo on it. That means put some Chimichurri sauce. Chop up some chopped parsley and cilantro, add tons of minced garlic and red pepper flakes and soak it all in some distilled white wine vinegar. Put that steak in a pan and cover it with the entire marinade like it was Al Gore laying on top of a masseuse. When you take it out make sure the green stuff covers the meat like the dandruff on Elena Kagans collar, thick and crusty. Grill it medium rare

Serve with caipirinhas.

Heaven.

danielle said...

"really, it would be more beneficial than P.E., IMO."

i was with you till this statement.

the cardiovascular benefits of exercise are immense.

home ec. in middle and high school perhaps; PE up through middle school I'd say. Is there PE in HS ? ... i cant even remember ! I played sports, so I know I got exercise; but I cant remember if I got out of PE because of it. we definitely had PE requirements in college ....

danielle said...

oh, and Lyssa, i think cooking classes w/ the first lady is a great idea. I think that's probably the idea in her being on those 'top chef'' type shows. i'm guessing she doesnt do kid shows aimed at kids, because, it seems her program is aimed at tweens and younger. But she could do some videos teaching parents to include their kids while they cook. that could work.

c3 said...

Trooper;
What's the link to your store.

And as a follow up, who would wear this

wv: reoli Are you reoli going outside in that!!

Trooper York said...

Thanks for asking.

You can go to Leeleesvalise.com and check out what is happening.

I think you will really enjoy the videos that are a lot of fun.

Trooper York said...

We have a long and troubled history with Monif C and would never have her stuff in our store.

We are doing really well with our own bathing suits which are selling out really fast.

I am going away for a few days so if you want to order wait until after Monday July 12th.

Trooper York said...

Not to discourage you but I won't be shipping anything out until I get back.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

home ec. in middle and high school perhaps; PE up through middle school I'd say.

Ha ha ha...

Everything old is new again. (Please please please don't bring back the "Mod" fashions or make up...I beg you)

When I was in junior high and high school, eons ago, home ec was a popular class for girls and with some boys. We learned to cook basic things, spaghetti sauce, cream sauces, cookies, cakes casseroles etc. Also sewing and household budgeting. I think today it should be mandatory for all: boys and girls.

We could also elect to take shop classes or typing (no personal computers existed then), which I did. Woodworking and typing electives.

PE. Also mandatory all the way through high school. Unless you were on a sports team (swim team for me) or a cheerleader you had to take classes that made you get up and move. Everyone had to learn to swim at least a little bit. Badmiton, volleyball, field hockey, track and even square dancing.

So instead of making kids watch An Inconvienent Truth....teach them how to bake a batch of cookies and then run around the track and burn off the calories.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

oh, and Lyssa, i think cooking classes w/ the first lady is a great idea

Me too.

Jennifer said...

Here in Germany, stores are much smaller than in America. Obviously part of that is the fact that real estate is at more of a premiuim in most of Europe than in the vast US. But, I think it's primarily because there is so much less processed food for sale here. Does the government control that or is it a market effect? I have no idea, but I like it. And the people here look a lot better.

P.S. I'm two inches shorter than you, Shanna, and the Gap regular jeans are perfect for flats days but I have to buy long for heels. It's a function of body proportion and build, not height. I'm just glad more womens' lines have multiple lengths these days! Not a fan of the highwaters. :)

Jennifer said...

I meant grocery stores, by the way.

c3 said...

Trooper thanks and...
(confession time)

I love watching What Not to Wear

I've even shed a tear over some of the transformations.

Congrats on such acknowledgement and publicity. I hope it isn't too much a of hassle to have the WNTW crew in the store (though I'm sure it doesn't hurt your sales)

danielle said...

wow , Trooper ! I'm also a big fan of WNTW. What a great shop you must have. very very impressed !

Trooper York said...

Thank you danielle.

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Here are some obesity statistics for the U.S., broken down by ethnicity, per NYU (http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/race_class/othergirlsstuff.html):

"The United States is facing a new epidemic. More than half of all Americans are overweight or obese and the percentages are most shocking for women of color."

"The statistics are startling. Sixty-six percent of African-American women are overweight and 37 percent are technically obese, meaning that they are 30 percent above ideal body weight. The figures for Mexican-American women are similar: 66 percent overweight and 33 percent obese. For Caucasian women, the figures are slightly lower with 49 percent considered overweight and 24 percent, obese. And why the prevalence of obesity among minority women?"

* * *

"'People don't like to think about the idea that one is identified by social class or social stratification,' Dr. Nancy Adler explained."

Shanna said...

P.S. I'm two inches shorter than you, Shanna, and the Gap regular jeans are perfect for flats days but I have to buy long for heels. It's a function of body proportion and build, not height.

No kidding? Strange. I wish they'd have lengths beyond short regular tall, because I can't wear the short ones.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Danielle said: "really, it would be more beneficial than P.E., IMO." i was with you till this statement.
the cardiovascular benefits of exercise are immense."


I should have been more clear- I meant more than P.E. as it is usually "taught" in schools, which is usually just a bunch of kids waiting in line to play kickball and stuff.

Even so, in terms of raw importance (if you could absolutely only have one), I'd probably rather have kids learn good nutrition and how to apply it than how to exercise, in terms of how this is going to improve your life in the long run (both would be better). People are going to exercise if they want to, or not if they don't- it's not really a learning thing, but a lot of people just plain don't know/understand/try to eat well. (Of course, that assumes a good class on, which is giving a lot of credit to schools!)

Re: Home ec- I always thought that schools should have a class called "adult living" or something like that- you could learn a bunch of things that you just are expected to know- some basic law, how credit works, how insurance works, interview techniques, budgeting, nutrition, maybe some child care, some basic home and car maintenance, etc. (I also think this would be a good place to add sex-ed, since the idea is that you are learning things to use as adults, it gets around some of the weirdness.)
********

Pants length- definitely a function of spread, for some reason. I've noticed that if I gain a little in the belly (as we gals tend to throughout the, er, cycle), I don't really notice a change in fit at the top, but my pants get shorter. Which is annoying.

************

Trooper, I was thinking about doing a chimichurri when I first cooked the flank steak, but my husband's not a fan of cilantro. I wonder if I could cut it way back and replace most of it with parsley? There's another one in the freezer, I might try that next. This was more to use up leftovers that had already been grilled. (BTW, the taco seasoning w/ beer and beans was a big hit. Only problem was, I wound up creating more leftovers, rather than using them up! Hubby works tonight, so I'm thinking I'll get some salad, make a sour cream-based dressing, and top it with the rest of the mix.)
********

I also love WNTW. I'll definitely look for LeeLee's on there next time I watch.

*******
A Lawyer's Mom's Musings said: "(minorities are more likely to be overweight) "'People don't like to think about the idea that one is identified by social class or social stratification,' Dr. Nancy Adler explained.""

That seems like a really racist statement from Dr. Adler. If it's a social class issue, why wouldn't the proof be tied to income or poverty level, rather than race? When I hear minority, I don't think "person in a different social class;" plenty of minorities live in my neighborhood, work at my workplace, and went to my law school. I find Dr. A's conclusion very offensive.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Oh, and as for Ms. Obama being on the Top Chef style shows, I actually would say that may hurt her cause as much as it would help it, because she never actually cooks (or, at least in the ones I've seen, even enters the kitchen). It's all professional chefs with fancy equipment, which sort of adds to the idea that normal people can't do it.

Her cause would be much better served to show a person who doesn't know what she's doing learning and showing others how to do it. De-mystifying, if you will. (If she were to appear on one of the non-competitive foodnetwork shows, for example, that would be much better, because they are more teaching, you can do this at home, centered. That's how my husband and I started out- watching those, and saying, "hey, we could do that!" and doing it.)

Shanna said...

I think school should just have more sports for fun, like intramurals, in school. I would have played a sport if I didn't have to be super talented to do so, but if you are at a large school and you haven't been playing X sports since kindergarten, you are pretty much out of luck. Team sports are more fun and social, but not everybody is gifted enough to get on the regular teams. Not that I think that will ever happen, so I guess bring on the cooking classes.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Lyssa

The adult living class would be a really good idea.

I used to volunteer to host teach a class for seniors that covered some of those things. We did a fake car loan where we let the kids choose the car....usually something that was hot and expensive. We did a session on credit, how to get credit, how to KEEP your credit, how much the car loan would be monthly, how much you ended up paying all together. It was fun and enlightening. The kids usually were shocked and scaled back their car lust.

We balanced check books, made budgets for groceries and rent....and the car loan... and a few other things.

Talked about saving and investing a bit.

It was a fun class and the kids enjoyed it....at least it seemed like it anyway....lol

Shanna said...

I don't see the point of Michelle talking about cooking (or gardening for that matter) if we all know she's got a bunch of professionals to do it for her. Something in the Rachel Ray vein (although she annoys the crap out of me) is better for the average home cook.

That seems like a really racist statement from Dr. Adler. If it's a social class issue, why wouldn't the proof be tied to income or poverty level, rather than race?

The thing is, if they are using BMI for these measurements, it was developed by someone in Belgium I believe, so maybe it is more off for different ethnicities (not prevelant in belgium). We know it's off for certain body types and athletes.

c3 said...

That seems like a really racist statement from Dr. Adler. If it's a social class issue, why wouldn't the proof be tied to income or poverty level, rather than race?

Its a good and interesting question. Here's one research abstract that suggests it more than just socioeconomic. Unfortunately because being obese is a "negative" we shy aware suggesting its more than a "victim" issue

danielle said...

" why wouldn't the proof be tied to income or poverty level, rather than race?"

its probably correlated with both.... is it not the case that income and poverty level are correlated with race?

The feature of BMI that may doom its utility for certain groups is that it doesnt capture where the extra weight is stored, which is an important variable in predicting certain ailments. I wouldnt be surprised if there is a tendency for people of different races to carry weight in different places (when they are in the slightly over-weight to obese range determined by the BMI).

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Interesting link, c3. I would suggest that there are a lot of reasons, one of which might be tied to socioeconomic status. Tied to, but not caused by. As a former grocery store cashier, I've been up close and personal with the foods that the poor buy- they aren't cheaper by any means. A lot more of it is processed and pre-made, which is always going to be more than staples. And fast food, prevalant in lower income communities, is hardly cheaper than home cooking, even with 99 cents menus.

I would argue that the poor are more likely to be obese because the same sorts of lifestyles/attitudes/etc. that cause a person to be poor also cause a person to do things that lead to obesity.

For race, there are some cultural aspects as well- where obesity is more accepted, you will certainly find more of it. I've seen studies in the past that say that black men are less turned off by obesity in women, for example. Different food cultures play a role, too, of course.

And, danielle, are there a higher percentage of minorities that are poor? Sure. Does that mean that when someone says poor, it's acceptable to stereotype it as a minority thing? No way. That's textbook prejudice.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Whoops, actually, I reversed that last sentence. Should have said: If someone says "minority" and you assume they are poor, that's textbook prejudice.

As c3's link pointed out, it's not that simple.

Shanna said...

I've been up close and personal with the foods that the poor buy- they aren't cheaper by any means.

Seriously. I think none of the "cheap food is less nutritious than expensive food" folks have priced cokes and potato chips! You can buy bags of frozen veggies for a buck and meat isn't too bad either (some meats at any rate). I think the "organic food is the only healthy food" crowd has done the poor a disservice by pushing fresh organic veggies, which can be more expensive, but if you buy fruit and vegetables fresh that are in season and some frozen stuff (and maybe canned tomatoes) to round it out you can make really healthy, filling meals for fairly cheap. Better than fast food and potato chips at any rate.

danielle said...

"are there a higher percentage of minorities that are poor? Sure. Does that mean that when someone says poor, it's acceptable to stereotype it as a minority thing?"

i wasnt sterotyping something as being minority because it involves poor people. but I do think that there are higher rates of obesity amongst the poor and amongst minorities. that's that statistics. i'm guessing that if you control for income, there would still be a higher rate of being over weight *as measured by the BMI* amongst some groups, for the reasons I stated earlier.

in the post that started this mini-debate, there was a chunk of the article missing. its not clear to me what was in the chunk, and if the author is as racist as you suggest. I dont think it can be disputed that overweightness as measured by the BMI is correlated with 'social class' and also with race.

danielle said...

"I've been up close and personal with the foods that the poor buy- they aren't cheaper by any means."

I dont buy this. (no pun intended). If you just consider what fraction of income can go towards food when things like rent and car notes etc have to be paid, I do think that whittles down what is left for food.

I've read that there is less access to fresh fruits and vegetables in many inner cities; and that is a problem. Healthy filling snacks for kids can keep them away from the over processed junk.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

In California the 'poor' and marginally 'poor' get food stamps, or rather a debit card. The average amount is about $300 a month and can be even higher.

IF you know how to cook and are careful about planning your meals $300 a month for food can make you a lot of nutritious and tasty meals. Will you be eating steak? Hardly. But the food will still be good.

There is NO excuse for substituting junk food for good food when you are being given free money. It is just lazyness and ignorance.

Except, as Danielle says.... in some areas fresh food is just not available. In the inner cities, crime and vandalism have driven many of the traditional grocery stores out of the area and the small Mom and Pop stores just can't carry the volume of fresh foods.

Unless the government wants to subsidise quality grocery stores in the inner cities AND in the rural areas to allow poor people the choices of fresh foods and meats, there is no way that anything will change. All the nagging by Michelle Obama isn't going to magically make food appear where it isn't available or suddenly turn welfare recipients into Betty Crocker household wizards.

Synova said...

Also, in some cities, when an evil empire store like (gasp) Wal-Mart wants to open a Superstore with groceries and everything, all the people who know better have a cow and won't let them do it.

Michael said...

Danielle: Study after study has shown that fresh vegetables and fruits rot in inner city grocery stores catering to African Americans and thus are not offered in the quantities available in Asian American communities. Harsh but it seems to be how it works.

Shanna said...

In the inner cities, crime and vandalism have driven many of the traditional grocery stores out of the area and the small Mom and Pop stores just can't carry the volume of fresh foods.

I would say (in addition to the point about asian grocery stores made above) that

1. Inner cities do not make up all the poor, or probably even the majority of them, across the country and

2. even in an "inner city" IF fresh fruits and veggies are your priority, you can find them. You may have to take some public transportation, but there are people somewhere in that city who want some veggies and if you are interested you can go a few blocks out of your way to get them. AND probably even if the fresh produce looks terrible, there are some frozen veggies that you can buy that will still be cheaper and healthier than potato chips.

danielle said...

Michael, please cite one or more of these studies that you claim are so numerous.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Fresh fruits and veggies are frivolous. You should really make up the bulk of your veggies from frozen- they're more nutritious than fresh , cheaper, and you can stock up a bunch in case getting to a grocery is difficult. Just be careful not to overcook them.

See, this is another misconception that my cooking and nutrition education should be taking care of!
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Danielle, I think DBQ already covered this, but when I was talking about poor, I was talking about food stamp recipients (how else would I have known they were poor?- you sure couldn't tell from their cars and jewelry, believe me!). I would guess that people that are barely making ends meet, but not on gov't assistance, probably do use cheaper foods. And I'd bet they have a much lower obesity rate, too.

I completely don't buy the whole "food dessert" thing- usually when I see that described, they're talking about not having a good grocery for a matter of a mile or two- so what, neither do most people I know, including me! If you want it, you can get a few miles away to stock up once a month or so- go in with a neighbor if you don't have a car of your own. There's no reason to insist on fresh. My M-I-L grew up on a military base of some sort where the nearest grocery was miles and miles away; they used to freeze milk to make sure the kids could have it on hand. (Apparently, when you freeze and thaw milk, it separates, and she still habitually shakes it when she pulls it out of the fridge.)

BTW, I'd like to see the studies that Michael references, too.

danielle said...

thanks for the info on frozen veggies ! I didnt know that.

but I insist on fresh fruit -- apples, grapes, pears, strawberries, mangos .. etc. if those were not available near me, I think I could quickly get out of the habit of eating them. I dont know that I would have developed such a taste for and need for them were they not just around the corner. I dont doubt that I would find some cheap, unhealthy substitute.... So I do think having fresh fruits in stores is a good thing. I suppose I might be inclined to make a further trip for fresh fruits, but, if I had a long list of things to do, and not much spare time, I'm not sure if it would get done.

danielle said...

oh, and this is specifically if there was a perfectly reasonable grocery store nearby w/out the fresh fruits, and if I didnt have a reasonably low-cost (money and time) way of getting to the store w/ the fresh fruits...

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Certainly true; I'm not saying that fresh is never good. It's just a matter of finding out what is available and making the best of it. For example, if you could only get to the store every once in a while, buy limited amounts of things that are highly perishable (like berries) and use them quickly, and stock up on what will last (carrots and apples, for example, keep for months in the fridge- I actually read somewhere that most apples are only havested between July and October, and kept in cold storage and doled out throughout the year.) That way, you would get a good mix throughout the time between trips. It's more of a planning thing.

Of course, I have this weird OCD where I have to have everything I might need under any circumstances on hand at all times, so you could probably feed an army for a month off of what I routinely keep in my kitchen. (I try not to rely on things that are perishable, unless they're the sorts that get used quickly in my house.)

I completely agree, though, I love fresh fruits! Particularly this time of year. Peaches!