22 October 2015

Anti-obesity campaigns: 10 Passing thoughts about a Sugar Tax

Today's headlines are all about a possible implementation of a sugar tax in the UK to 'help fight obesity'. Here are some thoughts on the matter that have been passing through my idle fat brain.

1. I want good quality food to eat, I don't want to be marketed to by food companies, I want to be able to make my own choices about what I eat based on my needs and desires. If this was about health, I wouldn't care what they do. It's the use of Obesity/Fat Panic to leverage this proposal that is wrong because it positions fat people as passive political pawns, as socially problematic, as ignorant ruiners, as pitiful. Why the scapegoating?

2. Do they think that people like me eat more sugar than people like them? That's why we're fat? Doughnuts?

3. Fat people are so absent in this discussion to the extent that there's a sense of denial that it's about us, it's some abstract phenomenon called Obesity that is being "tackled". So there's no need to talk to fat people about how we might feel about being "tackled" or how we might want things to be different.

4. Important experts making important decisions. Good work! Keep it up!

5. Jamie Oliver King of The Concern Trolls...again. Jamie Oliver in a fat suit. Jamie Oliver is very disappointed with the mums who don't play ball with him. Jamie Oliver's restaurant empire with the shitty tipping policy. Jamie Oliver everywhere.

6. Why is this being invoked now? What are the politics of this? Why would a Tory government support a sugar tax? Why is sugar being demonised now? What are the politics of this? Why would a Tory government attack sugar?

7. How come they've never heard of Health At Every Size? Why don't they want to hear it? What are the political reasons why HAES is not regarded as viable?

8. Why is fat a political story again?

9. Have food taxes ever reduced the number of fat people in a country? Does it improve people's health? Why is improving health about reducing th number of fat people around and about? How much does it cost to implement?

10. Can we talk about social engineering?

05 October 2015

Fat books and homemade badges

I can't find my copy of Macho Sluts by Pat, now Patrick, Califia but I often wear the badge that was cling-filmed to the cover when I bought it. It's pretty speckled with age now, it might have been through the washing machine a couple of times, but I am very attached to it. Queer books and badges are good companions, in my opinion.

Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement is being published in January and this is not an accident. January is the time of the year when weight loss companies capitalise on people's internalised fatphobia. I wanted to put something in the world that encourages people to think differently about fat during that dismal month.

However, it's likely that people might want copies of the book to give or receive as presents during the holiday season (or to read as a means of avoiding the holiday season!). So pre-orders will be available in December. As an incentive to pre-order Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement, you get a very limited edition badge lovingly made by two pairs of fat hands around the kitchen table.

Want one? Details coming soon.