Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Concern Trolls, Ahoy!

[Content note: discussions of weight]

Ya know, I was just thinking how nice it was to see many women who were not extremely thin at the Grammy's Sunday night (Adele, Kelly Clarkson, Mavis Staples, Brittany Howard, Miranda Lambert.) Oh course, as soon as my brain formed that thought, Fox News came along to crush it. Now, before you fear I was actually watching Fox News, don't worry--I only know this because Feministing reported it. As Samhita wrote:

No, seriously–it’s bad enough that Fox News wasted a segment on Adele and Kelly Clarkson’s weight post-Grammys, but instead of just being the tabloid news show they are, they tried to give real analysis. And they end up perpetuating crappy myths about weight, weight-loss and health. Neil Cavuto had on nutritionist Keren Gilbert who said, if either of them walked into her office, she would advise them to lose weight.
This came right on the tails of another high profile person, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, being publicly criticized about his weight by former white house doctor, Connie Mariano:
Dr. Connie Mariano... tells KTVK-TV in Phoenix that Christie angrily called after she gave an interview to CNN suggesting he’s at risk of having a heart attack or a stroke if he doesn’t lose weight...While on CNN, Mariano described herself as a Christie supporter who wants him to run for president and warned the governor’s health could hurt his potential 2016 race..."It's almost like a time bomb waiting to happen unless he addresses those issues before running for office," said Mariano.
Now, I'm certainly no Christie fan, but the man had every right to get mad at this lady who has never examined him. I mean, the fact that people legitimately question if he is "too fat to be president" is amongst the stupidest things I've ever heard. But it's a common place and accepted question. Seriously.

What we have here, in both cases, is a prime example of concern trolling. I've written at length before about this phenomena but I thought I'd capitalize on this opportunity to remind everyone just how common it is. In both cases, these people know nothing about the actual health of the celebrities they are criticizing--all they know is how they look. They're making assumptions about health based off of appearance. And they're getting a pass on it because they're doing it under some guise of caring about the people involved. That's the definition of concern trolling. They don't really care. (Why should they!?) They're just extremely fatphobic and they're using this as an opportunity to gain a little publicity.

Long story short, it's bullshit.

Relatedly--here's some really great stuff from the fatosphere this week to wash all that nasty concern trolling from your pallet. (Can I make fatosphere a thing?)

Fat Heffalump: My Plate Does Not Have to be the Same as Your Plate

Dances with Fat: Even if Weight Loss Was Easy


  1. Pretty sure fatosphere already is a thing, LOL. But yeah, fuck this noise.

    On a happier note: I don't know if you remember, but a while back I talked about how I was too worried about the stress of negative feedback to come out publicly as a "fat and proud" person in my real life and specifically on my facebook. Well, I recently finally took the plunge and the response has been overwhelmingly supportive. I really have been so surprised at how amazing my friends and family have been about all this. I only had one person who had a fully negative reaction and even that didn't bother me nearly as much as I thought it would. So there's hope yet for this world!

    1. Damn, I thought I was being clever :-P

      Glad to hear the good news!


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