Episode 17: My 600Lb Life, Infinifats, and Darlene Cates: Fat activism is underserving our fattest peers

I recently got an email from a listener asking for my thoughts on My 600Lb Life, a TLC show about very fat people, most of whom are pursuing weight loss surgery. I have been thinking about this show for a while, but my problem with shows like these have nothing to do with the fat people profiled or their pursuit of surgical weight loss. As I’ve said before, I believe in unconditional body autonomy–even when the decisions people make for themselves are contrary to the work that I do on this podcast.

The problems that I do have with the show, though, are on the production side. The show’s recruitment tactics are pretty creepy. But I also believe that if the fat positive community did a better job of including people in this size range (or really made any effort at all to do so,) fewer very fat people would turn to shows like My 600lb Life.  Often the people profiled on the show feel hopeless and isolated, and they need the support that the fat pos community offers to its smaller fat peers. We are not acknowledging these people, not giving them voices, and not advocating for them. That makes the fat pos and fat activist community part of the problem.

The music in today’s episode is by Starcrusher. Find more of his music at cstarcrusher.bandcamp.com!

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