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Unveiling the Persistence of Fatphobia: A Closer Look at its Enduring Presence

"In the Shadows of a Pandemic: Unmasking the Persistent Specter of Fatphobia

Amidst the chaos of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, a disconcerting trend emerged—one that revealed not only the rapid spread of the virus but also the unsettling undercurrents of fatphobia. As society grappled with the uncertainty, prominent figures like director Taika Waititi and actor Vanessa Hudgens offered problematic perspectives, emphasizing a misguided focus on physical fitness as a supposed shield against the virus.

Waititi's call to use the pandemic as an opportunity for personal transformation, coupled with Hudgens' callous dismissal of the inevitable loss of lives, laid bare a disturbing mindset that deemed certain individuals, particularly those who were disabled or overweight, as expendable. Imani Barbarin, a writer, public speaker, and disabled advocate, reflected on the prevailing narrative: "We became extremely obsessed with who has the ‘perfect body’ or, rather, who’s genetically superior. This is kind of like saying, ‘I am worth living and I don’t care because I’m not one of the worthless people that are susceptible to dying.’”

Despite the strides made in advocating body positivity and condemning fat-shaming, the pandemic exposed the persistent and insidious nature of fatphobia. Fat bodies, it became clear, were still viewed as undesirable and expendable. Barbarin aptly observed the unsettling reality, stating, “To me, personally, that stuff is always going to exist. I hope it goes away. But we live in America where people live on a currency of attractiveness. And thinness.”

The text delves into the frustrating time loop in which society finds itself—a loop where discussions around body positivity and the condemnation of fat-shaming seem to falter in the face of a crisis. The Guardian's piece by Rebecca Shaw, titled 'Smelling a Whiff of 2000s Fat-Shaming in the Air,' highlights the perpetuation of fatphobia in media and culture, signaling a failure to address more significant issues. As we confront the realities of a post-pandemic world, it becomes evident that fatphobia never truly went away—it has silently lingered, challenging our progress and exposing the fragility of our commitment to embracing diverse body types."

"Unmasking the Evolved Facade of Fatphobia: Beyond the Illusion of a 'Sudden Return'

Labeling this era as a 'sudden return' to Y2K-era fatphobia may be a misnomer, for fatphobia never truly exited the cultural and societal consciousness. Instead, it shape-shifted and adapted, mirroring the inherent evolution of societal ills. Industries fixated on diets, fitness, wellness, and beauty, the very entities that thrive on fatphobia, cleverly co-opted and distorted the body positivity movement. It became starkly evident that people, even those directly affected by fatphobia, remain inadequately informed about its pervasive influence in the media, highlighting our collective unpreparedness in dismantling its toxic narratives.

In the realm of pop culture, where figures like Lizzo stand as advocates for self-love and body positivity, a disheartening incident unfolded. Three backup dancers filed a lawsuit against the empowering "Truth Hurts" singer, accusing her of fostering a hostile work environment marred by sexual harassment, weight shaming, and physical threats. Lizzo vehemently denied the allegations. The shocking element wasn't the legal dispute itself but the online response it garnered. In the aftermath, the internet became a breeding ground for fat-shaming comments, revealing a disturbing joy among trolls who seized the opportunity to unleash cruel content aimed at the singer. This lawsuit became a gateway for the resurgence of fatphobia, emphasizing its insidious nature.

Fatphobia, as the text underscores, is a serious issue, one that elicits frustration, especially when it falls on the shoulders of individuals, such as the author, who must tirelessly educate others about its prevalence—particularly as a fat Black woman. The sentiment reached a breaking point with the premiere of "The Whale" and its subsequent Oscars campaign, as attention gravitated towards misguided concerns. The focus, the author argues, should have been on the exploitative nature of Hollywood rather than the inconsequential details surrounding Brendan Fraser's role. The controversy surrounding Fraser and the film illuminated the discomfort of some fat white individuals who yearned for fat representation, showcasing the industry's willingness to exploit or humiliate individuals, especially those with larger bodies.

In essence, the text unravels the multifaceted layers of fatphobia, revealing its persistent presence, adaptive strategies, and the unfortunate reality that educating society about its harmful implications remains an ongoing battle."

"Unveiling the Victimhood of Brendan Fraser and the Troubling Resurgence of Fatphobia

In a candid assessment, the author empathetically labels Brendan Fraser as a victim, asserting that the industry sought to humiliate him to facilitate his reentry into Hollywood, especially in the aftermath of his disclosures about sexual assault. The text prompts a crucial question: why is the uproar over fat suits disproportionately directed at certain individuals, particularly overlooking the historical misuse of fat suits, especially involving Black characters?

Highlighting the longstanding issue of fat suits as a comedic device for Black women, the author references films like "The Nutty Professor," "The Klumps," "Big Momma’s House," "Norbit," and various Tyler Perry productions featuring the character "Madea." All these instances draw from the problematic caricature of The Mammy, perpetuating harmful stereotypes. The text extends its critique to recent examples such as Chris Hemsworth’s "Fat Thor" in "The Avengers: Endgame," Jared Leto’s Palo Gucci in "House of Gucci," Jessica Chastain in "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," Viola Davis in "Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom," and Colin Farrell’s Penguin in "The Batman."

Beyond the realm of fictional representation, the author explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on what is termed a 'fatphobe's renaissance.' The emergence of terms like "Covid 15," "Corona 15," and "Quarantine 15," forecasting weight gain during lockdowns, infiltrated not just casual conversations but also medical discourse. The text criticizes the adoption of such terminology by reputable sources, emphasizing the perpetuation of harmful body standards.

Addressing the racial dimensions of this fatphobic resurgence, the text delves into the assertion that it is a backlash to the 2020 resurgence of Black Lives Matter. Drawing from Da’Shaun L. Harrison's insights in 'Belly of The Beast,' the author explores the intertwining of anti-fatness with anti-Blackness, contending that rejecting the curves associated with Black women becomes a means to resist BLM and dehumanize Black women and their communities.

In essence, the text unravels the layers of victimhood, historical misrepresentation, and the insidious resurgence of fatphobia in both the entertainment industry and societal discourse."

"Unmasking Cultural Shifts: Kardashians, 'Blackfishing,' and the Alarming Rise of Fatphobia

In dissecting the resurgence of Y2K-era beauty standards, Hastings doesn't mince words when pointing out the Kardashians' role and the disturbing trend of 'Blackfishing.' He expresses frustration at the 2010s, where figures like the Kardashians appropriated aesthetics from both Black and non-Black women, only to discard the costume and revert to predominantly white beauty standards in the return to the Y2K era.

The narrative takes a stark turn to 2021, exposing a draconian agenda embedded in a fatphobic and ableist playbook. The unveiling of the DentalSlim Diet Control device, reported by The New Zealand Herald, shocks with its purported solution to the obesity epidemic. The device, utilizing magnets and locking bolts, restricts the wearer's mouth opening to a mere 2 mm, enforcing compliance with a low-calorie diet. Lead researcher Paul Brunton's claim that this approach helps establish new habits and ensures compliance with a calorie-restricted diet raises eyebrows, given the well-documented ineffectiveness and potential harm of extreme calorie restriction.

Brunton's choice of the term 'compliance' adds an ironic twist to his confident assertions about weight loss. Critics argue that extreme calorie restriction disrupts the body's homeostasis, triggering responses that thwart sustained weight loss. The narrative, rooted in age-old stereotypes, perpetuates the notion that fat individuals lack self-control and succumb to gluttony. The absurdity reaches new heights as Brunton dismissively claims, 'The fact is, there are no adverse consequences with this device.'

The text navigates through the complex interplay of societal expectations, medical interventions, and the perpetuation of harmful stereotypes. It sheds light on the insidious nature of fatphobia, emphasizing the need to challenge prevailing narratives and promote a more nuanced understanding of body image and health."

"Unraveling the Troubling Resurgence of Jaw Wiring: A Remix of Past Trends with Far-reaching Consequences

The notion of shutting one's jaw to stave off unwanted weight gain may seem like a novel concept, but in reality, it's a repackaging of trends from the '70s, '80s, and '90s that involved wiring one's jaw shut. However, the consequences of such extreme measures, as pointed out by the researchers behind DentalSlim Diet Control, are far-reaching. Past practices of jaw wiring resulted in adverse effects such as vomiting, the risk of choking, the development of gum disease, and even the onset of acute psychiatric conditions.

Remarkably absent from lead researcher Paul Brunton's purported expertise is an exploration of the intricate connection between dental health, gum disease, and overall well-being. The text emphasizes the importance of recognizing the impact of cavities, gingivitis, and receding gumlines on health. It draws attention to the fact that digestion begins in the mouth, a well-established concept acknowledged by osteopathic medicine and Eastern wellness traditions. The narrative underscores that when extreme caloric restriction impedes the absorption of essential nutrients, discussions about health devolve into aesthetic judgments and societal norms, particularly those regarding respectability.

The text highlights a stark double standard in society's concern for dental health, exemplified by the compassion shown to bulimic patients facing dental havoc. In contrast, there is a stark lack of empathy for individuals resorting to extreme measures, like torture devices, in their desperate quest for acknowledgment of their humanity. This discrepancy reflects a disheartening continuation of a cursed time loop—one that society seems reluctant to break free from.

The narrative broadens its scope to critique the resurgence of the 'heroin chic' look from the '90s in popular culture. Celebrities are reversing body modifications and popularizing seemingly antiquated yet rebranded procedures, such as buccal fat removal, to project an image of wasting away. The text delves into the pervasive promotion of diet teas, waist trainers, weight-loss gum, cleanses, and plastic surgery on social media. It sheds light on the concerning trend of repurposing diabetes medications like Ozempic for weight loss, leading to nationwide shortages. Moreover, the appropriation and distortion of Eastern 'wellness' practices into weight-loss advice raise ethical questions about cultural appropriation and the commercialization of traditional wisdom."

"Unveiling the Persistent Evolution of Fatphobia: From Celebrity Pawns to Influencer Ploys

While the weight loss tools mentioned have a long history, their recent shift from celebrity endorsements, exemplified by figures like the Kardashians, to everyday influencers marks a disconcerting evolution. Instagram, the epicenter of these modern ad campaigns, has become a breeding ground for heinous promotions perpetuating fatphobic body ideals. Influencers, often neglecting to disclose their reliance on cosmetic surgery for weight loss, engage in aggressive advertising tactics—from psychologically coercing followers into consuming slimming teas to bombarding them with exercise and weight loss ads amid friends' stories.

The degradation of Eastern wellness in the name of fatphobia adds another layer to this sinister trend. Adrie Rose, a former sex worker, writer, and photographer, sheds light on the commodification of wellness, expressing sadness over its corruption. She highlights the troubling rebranding of early 2000s diet culture, emphasizing that the conversation needs to address the insidious return of familiar fatphobic trends under new, seemingly innocuous names.

Rose's frustration with terms like 'intermittent fasting' and 'keto' reflects the discomfort around the resurgence of diet culture, now packaged in more palatable names. The coded language of 'curvy' becomes significant in this context, particularly as it intertwines with the return of the 'heroin chic' aesthetic, epitomizing an aggressively white beauty standard. In dissecting this nuanced narrative, it becomes evident that none of these damaging trends ever truly disappeared; rather, they have evolved and found new avenues, perpetuating harmful ideals that continue to shape societal perceptions."

"Unraveling the Intricate Threads of Fatphobia: The Distorted Evolution of 'Body Positivity'

The insidious influence of whiteness, coupled with a superficial embrace of fatness, has infiltrated the modern 'body positivity' movement, subtly derailing its radical roots. Founded by Black women and non-men, the movement underwent a transformation with the entry of whiteness, accompanied by commodification. What began as a radical push for dismantling fat discrimination swiftly devolved into timid calls for 'representation,' eclipsing the voices of Black women and non-men. Icons like Ashley Graham and Tess Holiday, initially propped up as 'body positivity' figures, became symbols of a movement co-opted by whiteness.

The narrative takes a critical turn as whiteness, firmly entrenched in the 'body positivity' space, allowed thin white women to hijack the movement entirely. This shift facilitated the resurgence of the 'heroin chic' era, erasing the movement's original purpose and steering it in a direction that undermined its radical foundations.

The concluding directive in The Guardian article, urging those who have never spoken out against fatphobia to "open your skinny mouths," is both noble and misguided. It inadvertently overlooks the pervasive anti-Blackness fueling contemporary fatphobia and neglects the complicity of a pandemic that spans over three years in facilitating the dark resurgence of 'heroin chic.' The plea falls short of addressing the need for a collective commitment to eradicate fatphobia, irrespective of one's body size or race. It highlights the systemic collusion of entities and industries in perpetuating the erasure of fat and disabled individuals from societal consciousness, underscoring the urgency of dismantling deeply ingrained biases that persist in our collective mindset."

"In conclusion, the twisted journey through the evolution of fatphobia reveals a disheartening reality. The resurgence of damaging trends, from the problematic rebranding of early 2000s diet culture to the commodification of wellness, underscores a persistent societal struggle with body image. The co-opting of the 'body positivity' movement by whiteness has not only drowned out the voices of its original founders but has also paved the way for a disturbing return to the aesthetics of the 'heroin chic' era.

As we navigate through the minefield of fatphobia, it becomes evident that this complex issue intertwines with systemic problems, perpetuating harmful beauty standards, anti-Blackness, and the erasure of diverse bodies. Calls for action, while well-intentioned, must not overlook the nuanced intersections of oppression that contribute to the perpetuation of fatphobia. It is crucial to move beyond surface-level representations and dismantle the deeply ingrained biases that persist, fostering a society where all bodies are acknowledged, respected, and celebrated.

In facing this uphill battle, acknowledging the roots of fatphobia in both historical and contemporary contexts is imperative. It requires a collective commitment to challenge societal norms, question industry practices, and redefine beauty standards. Only through a comprehensive and intersectional approach can we hope to break free from the cursed time loop that perpetuates harmful ideologies and strive towards a future where the humanity of every individual, regardless of their size or identity, is fully recognized and valued."