A woman whose Instagram name is “The Fat Sex Therapist” gave a speech at St. Olaf College on Thursday in which she compared fitness instructors to Nazis and putting children on diets to rape.
“We should be critical of the use of science and the production of knowledge to continue promoting this idea that certain bodies are fit, able, and desirable . . . is it my fatness that causes my high blood pressure, or is it my experience of weight stigma?” she asked the audience.
She then took it even further, calling the science that states that obesity is unhealthy “fatphobic” science, saying that it is “often actually eugenic science . . . . eugenic science is Nazi science.”
“I do not think it’s surprising that the man who shot up Christchurch, New Zealand, was also a fitness instructor,” Rashatwar said, adding that the shooting was “a clear communication that there’s still an idealized body.”
“Nazis really love this idea of an idealized body, and so it makes a lot of sense to me that a fitness instructor . . . might also think about an idealized body in this thin white supremacist way,” she said.
The two-hour speech was sponsored by the college’s Wellness Center, Women’s and Gender Studies Department, and Center for Equity and Inclusion, and the topic was “radical fat liberation.”
This is so absolutely bat**** bananas that I hardly know where to start. First of all, the science that says obesity is bad for you is not “fatphobic science,” it is just science. Calling it “fatphobic science” is about as stupid as calling the science that says smoking is bad for you “smokerphobic science.” Obesity is unhealthy, according to studies conducted by everyone from the American Medical Association to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and ignoring that fact isn’t going to make it any less true. The link between health problems and weight problems is a reality, no matter how people may feel about it, and pretending that it isn’t only serves to hurt them.
As for her whole children-on-diets-is-rape thing, although it is obviously important to raise children with a healthy body image, there are some children who are obese. In those cases, it would be for the sake of the child that his or her parents, under the advice of a doctor, might want to put them on a special kind of diet to try and solve that problem. Regardless of what Rashatwar might say, this is actually quite different from rape, seeing as one of these things is objectively in the best interest of the child’s health, and the other is f****** rape. Comparing a person caring about a child’s health to a person violating and traumatizing a child for his or her own sexual pleasure is both stupid and a huge slap in the face to anyone who has ever been through the latter.
Second of all, it is also a fact that exercise is good for you. (Don’t believe me? Look here, from Harvard. Or here, from the Department of Health and Human Services.) Fitness instructors facilitate exercise, which means that they make people healthier, which, in case you didn’t know, is quite a bit different from what the Nazis were doing to people. Connecting fitness instructors to Nazism is not only an insult to anyone with a brain in general, it is also an even bigger insult to the victims of the Holocaust and their families specifically.
It is important to be sympathetic to people who suffer from weight issues, but the truth is, there is nothing kind about making them believe that they aren’t more likely to suffer health issues because of it — because that risk of health issues is still going to be there. Honestly, college is expensive, and it is absolutely absurd that this one actually spent money bringing in someone to try and brainwash students into thinking that the only reason medical professionals say being obese is bad for your health is because they are terrible, hateful Nazis. Knowing the truth about health risks, after all, is the first step in being able to work towards combating them.
This story was previously covered in an article on Campus Reform.