Founder of Feministing.com and author of Full Frontal Feminism Jessica Valenti recently came out with her book Why Have Kids? While pitching stories to media outlets about issues on motherhood covered by her book, including paid parental leave and affordable childcare in America, a major news organization came back to her, emailing this suggestion for a story:
Would Jessica be interested in writing something about weight loss after having a baby? We’re doing a lot of coverage around Jessica Simpson’s efforts to lose the baby pounds, and we’d love to hear from Jessica Valenti about what it was like for her to shed the weight.
So here is a feminist writer– probably the most well-known one of her generation– with a new book out on motherhood and all this so-called “news” organization wants to know is how she lost her baby weight? Seriously?
On her own web site, Valenti posts a video where she reveals her secret for losing that weight so fast, so easily: she had a preemie. Her baby weighed just two pounds. Valenti was living in a hospital, stressed out and sleepless, watching her baby cling to life.
I am so happy Valenti posted this video, because in doing so, she takes on the bullshit myth that this obsession with women and fat has anything to do with health. It doesn’t.
Contrary to popular belief, all thin people are not healthier than all fat people. There are plenty of thin people who smoke cigarettes, yo-yo diet, do drugs, and are actually sick. There are plenty of fat people who exercise daily. There are fat vegans and fat vegetarians.
When you see a “fat” person, in a magazine or walking down the street, you often don’t know if she’s just lost fifty pounds. You don’t know if she just gotten sober and is healthier than she’s ever been in her life. Or maybe she just got out of an abusive relationship. What’s more, her own doctor often has no clue what’s going with her, because doctors rarely ask, yet, magically, they still know everything about what their patients should be eating.
After the birth of her baby, Valenti was sick and her baby was sick, but she lost that baby weight. So its all good, right?
After Jessica Simpson had her baby, her baby was healthy (9 lbs, 13 oz) and she was healthy, yet, she was mocked for being fat. She’s still talking about how she can’t lose the weight as fast as she’d like, and how she really needs to, because, you know, “extra weight” isn’t healthy.
Fat obsession is not about health. It’s about judging and controlling women’s bodies. Thank you Jessica Valenti for calling that out in this great video.