Home General ‘Thinness’ Is a Product of ‘White Supremacy and Patriarchy’ – Truth or Fiction

‘Thinness’ Is a Product of ‘White Supremacy and Patriarchy’ – Truth or Fiction

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What is the truth?  What is fiction?  What is in the eyes of the beholder?

Everygame casino login is a casino website.  Is it the greatest website on the internet?  I think it is, but that is my opinion.  It is not a fact.  Facts are facts and opinions are opinions.

NPR podcast argues “thinness” is a product of “White supremacy and patriarchy”. 

Quotes from the podcast

Here are some quotes from this podcast that are worth noting:

“I had spoken to a couple of women, both HIV-positive, who refused to take their HIV medications for fear of gaining weight.”

“It immediately took me back to conversations I’d been having with my grandmother. Like, oh, my gosh, she was onto something so important. You know, when she was talking about it, she saw it as largely a white phenomenon. But the women I interviewed that day were both women of color.”

So, because white women do stupid things in order to keep a “thin image” since Black women are also doing this … it must be the fault of the white women?  Okay, I am honestly confused at this point.  So I will continue reading the transcript.

“you might have assumed that there was some moment in between Marilyn Monroe and Twiggy… In which – right? – suddenly that – whoa, we suddenly became fat-phobic in those three years.”

Tiggy was a teenage model during the 1960s.

Marilyn Monroe on 19 May 1962 performed the song “Happy Birthday, Mr President”.

So this author is basically saying that in 1965 our nation became fat-phobic, but before that date, we were not fat-phobic?

During the great depression, 1929 – 1939 our country was definitely NOT fat-phobic.  We were fat-deprived.  People were selling apples on the street in order not to starve to death.

Food was also scarce during WWII (1940-1945), so the country was definitely NOT fat-phobic then.

After 1945, soldiers came home, the country celebrated, and the country prospered.

So we are talking about the time between 1950 – 1970.

The first food stamps were issued on May 29, 1961.  So again, if we are making the assumption that people of color were poorer than white people (yes, a stereotype, but before the civil rights movement, safe to assume it is a reality).

Now we are talking about 1961–1970.

The point of the food stamp program was to encourage domestic consumption of surplus food as a source of unemployment relief.

“With the new program, people on relief (public assistance) purchased orange stamps for $1 each, up to an amount approximately equal to their normal monthly food expenditure. For every orange stamp they purchased, they received a blue stamp worth 50 cents. The orange stamps could be used to buy any food, while the blue stamps were for foods USDA deemed surplus.”

John F. Kennedy made an executive order on January 21, 1961, starting a pilot program for food stamps.  In 1964, a permanent food stamp program was created.  It was called the “war on poverty”.

Any food for home consumption could be purchased except imported foods (exceptions were made for coffee, tea, and bananas). Alcohol and tobacco purchases were specifically prohibited.

“By April 1965, there were more than half a million participants, and by the time of the next major program changes, in February 1971, there were 10 million participants”

In 1971, instead of state-by-state eligibility requirements, there were nationwide eligibility requirements.  In 1974, the Food Stamp Program expanded across the nation. Before the nationwide expansion, many counties operated commodity distribution programs in lieu of the Food Stamp Program, in part because the commodities were intended to cover a family’s full food needs for a month with no cash contribution.

“The next major changes to the Food Stamp Program resulted from the Food Stamp Act of 1977.6 The purchase requirement ensured that a family would receive coupons valued at what USDA determined to be the cost of a healthy diet; however, it had a depressing effect on program participation. After heated debate, the purchase requirement was eliminated, and participants were to receive only the formerly free portion of their benefit in coupons; they were expected to continue to buy a healthy diet by supplementing their coupons with cash (the 30% of net income rule). Following implementation in 1979, the reforms did indeed result in a greater percentage of eligible households participating in the programme; during the month in which the purchase requirement was lifted, participation increased by 1.5 million over the previous month.”

Go back to the podcast transcript, now that I have some background information

“…looking at 19th-century magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, and what she found was troubling; articles warning American women – well, middle-class and upper-class white women – they needed to watch what they eat.”

If you read the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, you know that women wore corsets and were pushed into their middle area.  Obviously, women who worked physical labour did not wear these, because it would affect their ability to work.

The movie Meet Me in St. Louis also talks about women wearing corsets.

So it would be safe to assume that white women who were not doing physical labour wore corsets and women who did do physical labour (white or black) did not wear corsets.  And men justified women doing these horrible things to their bodies for “religious reasons”  (Yes, men in this time period were idiots.  Nobody is arguing that.  And the women who listened to them were also idiots.  And yes, this is my opinion, and not a fact.)

“…Renaissance women… were full-figured, and that was absolutely a thing that was valued.”  Rich women could afford food, and poor women could not.  Being fat was a sign that you could afford extra food (and become fat) and not just enough food in order to survive.

They then go on to talk about the 18th century and the colonies.  “Africans are sensuous. They love sex, and they love food. They tend to be too fat. Europeans, we have rational self-control.”

Okay, this is where they lost me.  “They love sex.”?  Did they?  Or did the men say this in order to justify forcing the women to have sex with them?  “They love food.”?  I was always under the impression that during the time of slavery, the slave had to eat what their master gave them to eat.  That there was not much choice in the matter.  “They were not thin.”?  When you tell a woman to have 12 babies and she will win her freedom, and she tries to have them as quickly as possible, so she can have her freedom as quickly as possible … yes, the woman will end up being fat.

But then the podcast jumps into talking about women in the colonies.  Slave importation ended in 1808.

The podcast then says that due to their being bi-racial kids (slave owners producing children with their slaves), they then said that your body size determined if you were a slave or not a slave.  Me:  Sorry, but I have never heard of this anywhere.  In my opinion, this is grasping at straws.

I have never in my life heard of any country in the world enslaving people due to their body size.  Think about it.  Who wants a fat non-muscular physical worker?  Nobody.  It is bad for business.

The podcast then goes on to say that BMI in White people is different than BMI in Black people due to differences in their body structure.  This fact I would actually agree with.  There should be different weight charts for different races, but then I think that in today’s age that would open up its own set of problems.

The podcast then loses me again …

“The main advice that people are given when they are so-called obese is to lose weight, and there are so many problems with this. We have been telling people to lose weight for decades. What ends up happening is that they either don’t lose the weight, or they sometimes do lose the weight and then frequently gain it back. So first off, it could be more harmful to tell people to lose weight in the long run. And then in addition to that, there are the psychological effects of telling people that their bodies are wrong…”

This is biology.  Fat cells never go away.  They just shrink.  This is part of evolution because the human body is used to going through periods of little food and periods of food abundance.  This is not life in the US in 2023.

Takeaway

The only positive that I have gotten out of this podcast is that there need to be healthy weight charts for different races due to how different racial groups have different bodies.  This is not a white vs. black issue.  It is a biology issue.

Unfortunately, due to the author basically saying “white people are the cause of black people feeling obese”, the true fix “creating weight charts based on race” is most likely not going to become a reality.

As for food stamps, it comes down to education and having access to good quality healthy foods.  I have lived in border communities where you go down the street in one direction and you get to the “poor community grocery store”.  In that store, they have grade-B meats, eggs, and produce.  You go in the other direction, and you get to the “rich community grocery store” with its grade-A meats, eggs, and produce.   Not to mention the whole buying food off the back of a truck that is common in poor neighbourhoods, but not rich neighbourhoods.


Zuella Montemayor did her degree in psychology at the University of Toronto. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle. 

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