Diet & Weight Magazine

Gardening, Fat People, and BS Infographics

By Danceswithfat @danceswithfat

You Forgot Your BullshitAbout once a week I get an e-mail from a completely clueless person who has obviously never read my blog who wants me to promote some article, or infographic or something that says some version of:

“Ooooga Booga deathfatzarecomingforyou!  Because of that I have made a ridiculous infographic created based on “information” that I gathered via rectal pull, that will perpetuate misinformation about weight and health as well as weight-based bigotry.  A search I conducted turned up your blog because it has “fat” in the name, so now I’m pretending that I’ve read it and understand your readers to try to get you to post this ridiculous bullshit.”

Today’s version came from Organic Lesson.  I know that a lot these infographics float around, and this one makes most of the common mistakes, so I thought I would break it down: Here is the graphic, it may be triggering (especially if you are triggered by abuse of statistics, fatphobia, and/or bullshit.) so feel free to scroll right past, or click to enlarge it to all its ridiculous bullshit glory…

ridiculous bullshit infographic

Talking about a change in “obesity” levels since 1980 without discussing the fact that the measurement was changed in 1998, altering millions of people’s BMI classification overnight (on recommendations from a committee that included representatives from pharmaceutical companies that manufacture diet drugs and the chief scientist of weight watchers) does not have the ring of sound science.

Pretending to know the “fundamental cause” of “obesity” is a laughable example of people thinking that “everybody knows” is the same thing as fact. The assumptions made about fat people – that they don’t already garden or eat vegetables for example – are nothing but stereotypes. And, like anything that tries to conflate weight with behavior and/or health, this infographic does a disservice to everyone.

There is (what could be) helpful information in this infographic about ways that gardening might support health in people of all sizes (knowing, of course, that health is complicated and multi-dimensional, not an obligation or a barometer of worthiness, not entirely within our control, not guaranteed under any circumstances, and not anybody else’s business unless we choose to make it their business.)

Unfortunately, because of their attempt to cash in on a culture of fatphobia to get clicks, they’ve couched gardening as something for fat people to do so that they will stop being fat. This is a problem both because there is no evidence that it will work (there’s no evidence that anything will make people less fat long term), and also because it contributes to a dangerous and false dialog that healthy habits won’t support fat people’s health unless they make us thinner, and that thin people are healthy by virtue of their size and regardless of their habits, neither of which is backed up by research.

It’s also hella disrespectful to fat gardeners since – as is often the fate of fat vegetarians, fat vegans, fat athletes, etc – it suggests that they must be “doing it wrong” since they have failed to achieve a change in body size (never mind that there is not a shred of evidence that suggests they would.)

Remember that when it comes to these “infographics,” it’s always viewer beware.

Activism Opportunity

Want to suggest that they create materials that encourage people to garden without all the misinformation and fatshaming?  Feel free to use their contact form to give them some feedback.

The Fat Activism Conference is this weekend! 
This is a virtual conference so you can listen to the talks by phone and/or computer wherever you are. Whether you are looking for support in your personal life with family, friends, healthcare providers etc. or you’re interested in being more public with your activism with blogging, petitions, protest, projects, online activism, or something else, this conference will give you tools and perspectives to support you  and your work, and to help you make that work intentionally intersectional and inclusive, so that nobody gets left behind. Click here to get all the info and register!

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