This past Tuesday (5/29/12), I had an opportunity to watch Dr. Drew Pinsky’s show on HLN. I tuned in because the subject of the show was of particular interest to me. The segment was called “Is It Okay To Be Fat?”
I was made aware of the fact that this segment would air when my girlfriend Lissa pointed out to me that the Dr. Drew website was asking the same question on his page, looking for comments. Here was the post as it appeared on Dr. Drew’s webpage:
Overweight members of a “fat acceptance” movement believe it’s fine to be fat and love yourself the way you are.
72 million Americans in this country are obese.
Is it okay to be fat?
I always marvel when I hear questions like this, as if something would happen if there was a voter turnout that said that it wasn’t okay to be fat……..well, okay, NOW WHAT? Do you kill fat people, or put them in internment camps that would FORCE them to lose weight?
I belong to several size acceptance groups, both on and off Facebook. One of them is a group called Rolls Not Trolls, whose purpose is to scour the internet for articles about fat and obesity, looking for incorrect information and negative comments, and post corrected info, and fat positive comments in our message. With that said, I posted in this group the question asked by Dr. Drew on his site, and we went to work. In the process of doing this, I found out that this question was put forth because the next day, several members of NAAFA (Julianne Wotasik and Jeanette DePatie) were going to appear in favor of size acceptance. So the table was set, and I tuned in.
Unknown to me was the fact that MeMe (Meredith) Roth was also on the segment. For those of you who don’t recognize the name, Ms. Roth is the figurehead of a group called National Action Against Obesity (NAAO). Here’s their mission statement:
National Action Against Obesity is a non-partisan, all-volunteer advocacy group dedicated to reversing the obesity crisis by eliminating disease- and obesity-accelerators from the food supply; barring junk food from child care centers, preschools, and schools; and eradicating Secondhand Obesity™ (obesity handed down from one generation to the next, as well as from citizen to citizen); while encouraging exercise across all ages. Success relies upon wholly re-imagining what the U.S. population considers “normal” food consumption and “normal” exercise. When the majority is overweight, America cannot be normal.
Ms. Roth, under the guise of this mission statement, has done the following over the years, in her crusade against obesity:
1. Attempting to start a national boycott of Girl Scout Cookies
2. Challenging women to try their wedding dress on annually to make sure it still fits over the years.
3. Crusaded against plus size clothing lines, claiming that they enable obesity
4. Criticized celebrities like Jordin Sparks & Angelina Jolie, and athletes like Olympic gold medal winner Michael Phelps
What she’s most well known for however, is fat shaming, and on Monday night on the Dr. Drew Show she attempted to do just that. Fortunately, the lovely and articulate women from NAAFA were still able to make some very size positive points. Take a moment to look at a short clip from this show.
The segment went on for an additional 12 minutes, which consisted of more of what you see here, which is Roth attempting to talk over the other guests in order to put over her agenda, which if spoken the same way 70 years ago, would remind listeners of another historic figure who espoused the same sort of shaming and hatred, Adolf Hitler.
She’s been called a lunatic by many, including Penn & Teller, who made Ms. Roth a subject of one of their episodes of “Penn & Teller’s Bullshit” on the Showtime Network.
Other online publications like Jezebel.com have also taken her to task, questioning her qualifications, saying that she:
1. Is not a doctor
2. Is not a dietician
3. Is not a medical researcher
Additionally, she was quoted in the UK Guardian as equating the victims of rape to the “victims” of obesity. In her words:
The defense has been made in the case of sex criminals that there is pleasure on the part of the victim. The same is true with what we’re doing with food. We may abuse our bodies with food, but it’s incredibly pleasurable. From a food marketer’s point of view, when your quote unquote victim is so willing and enjoying of the process, who’s fighting back?
Unlike these other websites and bloggers, I don’t view MeMe Roth as a lunatic. I view her as delusional, and more important, I view her and her agenda as dangerous. I have no issue for a crusade to educate our kids about making the best food choices for their health, and we’re in agreement that the government has turned the American food industry into a juggernaut, that we eat far too much processed foods for our own good, and that the soft drink industry is responsible for more sugar and carbs in our diet than ever.
And that’s where we part ways.
See, rather than work TOWARDS change in how our government has changed our nutritional priorities, and working towards education of future generations, she chooses to shame fat people. She thinks that shaming and shock value will somehow motivate fat people to lose weight, or lose rights, or lose medical care, or the ability to travel, or even the ability to eat in public.
Just as important, this one woman organization has a platform, and gets air time on national television to spew her agenda.
Not me, I just have this little blog that a handful of people read every week. Okay, so it’s more like 5-700, depending on what I write about, but it’s certainly not a national platform like she has. I’ve been content to publish my blogs for my friends (and a couple of enemies) to look over and discuss, and hopefully learn (myself included, as many of my readers point out things from a perspective that I may not always see).
Content to keep it that way until now
I don’t have a want or need to be famous. Most of my noteriety is behind me, having been in musical groups that have performed for audiences of over 5,000, giving motivational speeches to large audiences, and having a radio/internet talk show whose audience of over 20,000 tuned in weekly to hear. I look at it this way:
1. I’m not a doctor
2. I’m not a dietician
3. I’m not a medical researcher
This means I’m as qualified as she is to discuss fat related issues!!!!
I want to debate this very dangerous woman. Someone needs to stop this verbal assault and it might as well be me. I don’t use tags to call attention to these blogs of mine, but I will begin to do so, starting with this one. I have contacted MeMe Roth via both Facebook and Twitter, and challenged her to a debate. I believe when she’s not traveling, she lives in New York City. I live in Southern New Jersey, about a 90 minute drive. I want her to participate in an old time town hall debate. She can bring her “supporters” and I will brink my fatties (and some armless chairs, just to piss her off). We’ll do the debate, withe the audience asking the questions, and see who the better man is. I mean, what does she have to lose?
In her eyes, a whole lot, since she has yet to respond to my debate request. So readers, I need your help. I would really appreciate it if all of you could respond to her via her Facebook and Twitter pages, and ask her to debate me. I figure that if she gets enough requests, it means she can get more of the attention that she so craves. Please make her happy, as it will make me happy in the process.
Her Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/MeMe-Roth/21699931769
Her Twitter Page – https://twitter.com/#!/MeMeRoth