These 3 stories show how we're subconsciously teaching children to be fatphobic.

I was The Fat Girl™ growing up.

Nearly every school and class has one because fatphobia is about normalizing hierarchy and social control. No matter what the relative weight or size spread of the group, there's always a biggest kid.

Recently I was talking to a group of teenage girls for their high school's Women of Color Speakers Series. I talked a lot about what it was like being TFG.


Fatphobia shows up in a lot of different ways, and those ways change over a person's lifetime. Most people only think of stigma as the "moment of impact" — the moment when one person treats another person in a cruel or violent way because of who they are. But stigma is never just those moments; it can happen without the conscious intent of another person and can often seem harmless.

Children in particular are encouraged to assimilate into our ways of knowing and doing, which aren't always awesome — especially when it comes to fatphobia.

Here are some examples of fatphobia that occur in childhood to help illuminate the nuance of it:

1. Exclusively casting fat children as elders, foils, or villains in plays and productions.

Every fall from age 5 to 12, it came time to rehearse the Christmas play at my Pentecostal church. Each year, the plot was a little different but often included a beautiful girl, a boy hero, and a lesson about humility or the true meaning of Christmas. Every year, I, like most of my friends, really wanted a lead part. As hard as I tried, practiced, rehearsed, or memorized, I knew I wasn't the kind of kid who could ever be cast as a lead — because I was fat.

That didn't stop me from wishing, but each time it fell through, I kicked myself for having wanted something so unattainable.

The last time I was in the Christmas pageant, I was cast as Monica, a third-wheel loser who went around chasing the hottest boy in church as he barely tolerated my advances. I was proud of this role because, unlike previous years, I got several lines. For some reason, I was also dressed like a huge bell the entire time. I liked that I made people laugh, but I didn't have the intellectual tools to understand that they were laughing at the familiarity of the insulting trope.

When fat children are consistently cast as the same type of character, we are sending them (and everyone else) a message about what is possible, who deserves to be visible, what heroes (and villains) look like, and who is worthy of positive representation and outcomes.

2. Monitoring how fat children eat.

Science says that children are often hungry. They like the stuff they've seen popularized on television. They like sugar and starchy stuff because it's delicious but also because they're growing. As a child, I was on the receiving end of differential treatment in both directions — sometimes being encouraged to eat less than my smaller peers or being served twice or three times the amount of food without any indication from me that I wanted that.

It's important to recognize that no matter the size of a child, they have the right to have judgment-free eating experiences.

3. Asking fat children to ignore hateful language and behavior.

Children can understand notions like justice and community and are natural self-advocates.

We teach marginalized children to be disempowered. This is facilitated by adults' and peers' sense that certain types of anti-social behavior are normal. Because of our own cultural education, we don't see certain manifestations of sexism ("boys will be boys," especially if they're white boys), fatphobia, and ableism, for example, as a "big deal."

Furthermore, we are sometimes unknowingly committed to the hierarchies that are maintained through anti-social behavior because we see them play out in our own lives.

At school, it is the targeted child's job to self-resolve hateful language and behavior. This sets up the victim-blaming mentality that fat children carry into adulthood. It's never OK when someone targets someone because of their body size. Older children, peers, and adults can help develop easy-to-remember scripts and create communities of accountability where adults and teachers are not the only people capable of mediation or resolution.

There’s this belief that bigger children are more adult-like and can therefore withstand more emotionally or physically.

This is dehumanization and stigma, plain and simple. Childhood is not determined by how small or large a child is. Children — no matter what their size or what they've been taught about their size — deserve to be treated with care and responsibility, free from the stigma we grew up knowing.

This story originally appeared on Ravishly and is reprinted here with permission. More from Ravishly:

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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