It’s easy to roll your eyes at trolling—to say “don’t read the comments” and dismiss trolls as just a bunch of haters. But let’s talk about trolling for what it really is: disruptive behavior that seeks reinforce power over marginalized communities. The power issues that motivate trolling become especially obvious when you talk to fat-acceptance activists about their work online.
Workplace wellness incentive programs are not a new phenomenon, but the Internet is in turmoil today over a recent announcement by the national drugstore chain CVS. Beginning in May, CVS will require employees on the company's insurance plan to undergo health testing—including body mass indexing and blood glucose testing—or face a $600 annual penalty.
FOX News' coverage of Adele and Kelly Clarkson's performances at the Grammy's took a bizarre turn when the channel brought on a nutritionist to discuss the "critics who are taking to Twitter saying they need to slim down." Why random people calling famous women fat on Twitter is valued as a "criticism" that requires discussion remains a mystery. But the results were appalling. In their conversation, the anchor and nutritionist Keren Gilbert articulated that stringent body image standards can be harmful for young women—and then turned around and critiqued Adele and Clarkson's bodies for not being "normal." The anchor even took a pot shot at the nutritionist's body for being too thin.
Apparently, Fox News has gone meta. They're now wrapping a conversation of unrealistic female body standards within a conversation exemplifying exactly that problem.
Check out the whole hot mess, or there's a transcript below the video.
After losing some regulars last season—Abby Elliott, Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg, and Jason Sudeikis (maybe)—Saturday Night Liveannounced the three new cast members who'll be joining the show's 38th season. One of the three is Aidy Bryant, a Second City alum who just happens to be fat. Though SNL has long showcased the work of funny fat men like Chris Farley, Horatio Sanz, and Kenan Thompson, Bryant is the show's first-ever fat female hire. Hooray!
When Ragen Chastain learned that Michelle Obama was appearing on The Biggest Loser to promote the show's contestants as role models, she felt she had to do something. " I e-mailed my friend Darryl Roberts, filmmaker of America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments. We wrote a well-researched article pointing out the problems with Mrs. Obama endorsing the contestants as role models," she says on her blog, Dances With Fat. She continues:
It wasn't meant for this blog, but it's now been turned down by three major media outlets. Not because they disagreed with us, in fact all three said that they agreed with the article. It was denied in all three cases because the White House wouldn't like it, they were worried about damaging their working relationship with the White House, and it it made the First Lady look bad and out of touch.
While we might know full well that in real life being 5'4" and weighing 180 pounds doesn't look the same on one person as it does the next, it can be difficult not to internalize those numbers and let them mean more than they should. That's where My Body Gallery can help.
Look, I get that Angelina Jolie is thin, and that she also burns the brightest of all of our Bright Hollywood Stars and is therefore subject to more scrutiny than your average woman. However, body snarking of the "eat a sammich, skinny" variety is hardly different from body snarking of the "stop eating sammiches, fatty" variety that we (hopefully) know better than to post in our Facebook feeds. Yet I've seen lots of people across the World Wide Web today—including people I know to be smart, savvy feminists—crack wise about Jolie's arms, legs, and weight as if, because she's beautiful and thin, policing and commenting on her body is more than acceptable.