Show Your Fatty Papers

Recently I got mud on my boots in a popular feminist news blog. The topic was a new weight loss drug, and far be it for me to leave that shit alone.

I mocked its promised 11% weight loss (in the short term, since that shit gives you kidney lesions and can’t be taken long term) and brought up the 40% – 80% hereditary nature of body weight (which I got by scouring Google Scholar one weekend. I suggest you try it, it’s fascinating. Turns out I was underestimating – it’s more like 65% – 85% (see here and here)).

The response? I was asked how I ‘knew’ that my body weight was genetic. Did I get a genetic test done or something? Really. The commenter really wanted to know, guys, honest.

I asked how the commenter ‘knew’ their eye color, nose shape, and height were genetic. Did they get a test done? Really. I wanted to know.

The point of this is that body weight is highly heritable, as heritable as height, and so on. We know this. We’ve known this for nigh on fifty years now. It’s not even a little in question. But this obesity moral panic is so advanced, so strong, has so penetrated popular culture with its toxic propaganda and lies, that people find the generally genetic nature of body weight so unbelievable they demand our fatty ‘papers’ before we’re allowed to say our body weight is genetic.

If this isn’t proof enough that size discrimination and fat loathing has nothing to do with facts or science, I don’t know what is.

9 comments on “Show Your Fatty Papers

  1. I’ve been reading your blog off and on for simply years. I don’t recall ever commenting and that’s my bad. You have a great blog and you are an inspiration.

    Just saying.

  2. This whole culture of “EXPLAIN YOURSELF FATTY!” makes me so angry. I don’t have to prove my right to be treated as a human being, without discrimination, vilification or ridicule, just because my body is fat. I simply refuse to participate in it and instead spend my time helping other fatties like myself stand up for that right.

    • bigliberty says:

      Yes, absolutely. It can be tempting to plunge into the fray from time to time, but what I’ve noticed is the more vehemently someone tends to demand scientific evidence that a fat person is ‘allowed’ to be fat, the more stridently they ignore the evidence once presented.

  3. Jackie Yoshi says:

    I was on Playstation Home, and someone tried to insult me by calling me fat. I decided to try furthering fat acceptance, by making my avatar look like myself in real life, where many other women have avatars reflecting the body ideal. I don’t know if they are that thin, but the idea is to make a statement that being fat is nothing to be ashamed of. So I told this person, fat is genetic & 77 percent genetic, which was the last stat I read about it. The person was totally flummoxed, and I was like “Yeah I pwned that hater!” awesomeness.

    • bigliberty says:

      I’m glad that person had the presence of mind to be flummoxed by that stat! I’ve had people outright ignore me or look at me like I had three heads (which is code for: she must be lying and/or crazy) when I say that body weight is nearly as heritable as height. Using the height comparison hits home with people since it is so widely accepted that if you have a generally nutritious upbringing (that is, no outright famine) you can expect to grow tall, and if you are *very* nutritionally-blessed you might even be a couple inches taller than the previous generation. This has such a natural parallel in body weight. It’s a way to set the terms for the conversation, at least.

  4. I believe weight is genetic because my whole immediately family is thin. People don’t think being fat is inherited, but it is. Being thin is also.

    • bigliberty says:

      Oh sure, the hereditary nature of body weight is all body weight. I’ve typically dated thinner guys in my time (no particular reason, that’s just what happened) and all of them were from thin families. When we went out to eat we ate the same amount (sometimes me less), they didn’t do any particular hard/long cardio regimen to ‘stay’ that thin (in fact, one boyfriend was trying to gain weight to have a little extra padding for when he gets sick), nor were they dieting or doing some secret magic thin thing to stay thin (no offense, but there’s a segment of the society that believes thin people are thin because they’re ‘doing it right’ where fat people are ‘doing it wrong.’). And when you live with people, it’s as intimate as it gets—you know pretty much all their habits, and they know yours.

      What’s interesting is the thinnest people I knew were more open to the idea of body weight being genetic and to the reality of setpoint theory, because they knew they weren’t doing any thing in particular to be thin. The people I’ve met who were the least open to body weight being genetic were people who constantly dieted between BMI categories, usually only losing/gaining the same 10 – 20 lbs.

  5. tehomet says:

    //I asked how the commenter ‘knew’ their eye color, nose shape, and height were genetic. Did they get a test done? Really. I wanted to know.//

    Ha, good one!

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