Tuesday, February 7, 2012

You Can't Spell Bozo Without OZ

178.8 lbs. But it’s more muscle than it used to be.

Yoga kicked my ass today, BUT with the work I’ve been doing on my triceps and core (all the way around: abdominals, obliques and whatever you call the muscles in the lower back), I’m getting closer to a complete yoga pushup.

This is what I’m using to work the core. It’s called a Roman chair.

You use your own body weight and gravity to do the moves. When that gets to be too easy, you can clutch a weight to your chest as you do the moves.

I listen to the Savage Love podcast and #275 had a caller who was attracted to larger, curvy women, but hid this from his friends and family because they had tried to steer him away from them in the past. Dan tore him a new asshole, calling him a coward for letting those around him shame him in this manner. You love whom you love (and thanks to the 9th Circuit of the Court of Appeals, today it’s official. I don’t benefit from the ruling, but I have some friends who are utterly joyous) and those around you can’t handle it, you don’t need them in your life. Dan said women should be allowed to be a size 12 or 14 as long as they eat properly and exercise and this guy should tell his friends to “Fuck off. More skinny bitches for you!”

I heart you, Dan Savage.

Okay, I watched “The Dr. Oz Show” today because the promos showed him “confronting” a group of super-obese (at least 400 lbs.) women. And I’m infuriated. If you see spittle on this post, it’s because I’m nearly rabid. This guy needs to be discredited.

For starters, THERE WERE NO SUPER OBESE MEN as part of the show. There were 8 individuals on the stage and 1 via remote hookup (The World’s Fattest Woman. We’ll get to her later), all women. Oh, excuse me: there were 2 men on stage, Dr. Oz and a Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist.

The first four women were shown in little “slice of life” clips talking about their weight, their eating, their lives. At least two of these ladies make a living from the “feeder” fetish: people will pay money to watch them eat over the Internet. They said that business is good. When it was time for them to come onstage, you could have heard a padded pin drop in that studio. Usually, when guests come on, there’s applause and support. Not these ladies. The camera showed some disapproving head shakes in the audience.

Let the gang-shaming begin.

Oz started right out of the gate with attempting to verbally arm-twist these women into admitting to self-loathing. NONE of them budged and one flat-out called him a “fat basher.” (Yeah, I agree) Three of the ladies said they’d had recent checkups and their health was good; blood chemistry was healthy, etc. In fact, the slice of life clips showed them walking, doing sit-ups, swimming and carrying on like “healthy” people. He couldn’t budge them. Each of the four stated that she liked herself AS IS; one went so far as to say she wanted the record of the World’s Fattest Woman.

The arm-twisting included inquiries about meds: only one woman was taking anything – 1 blood pressure med. Doesn’t it cost a lot to maintain the eating/weight? Like I said, two ladies are operating feeder fetish websites and business is good.

Okay, Oz brings on a second group of women (Yeah, this REALLY burns me. For God’s sake: WHY ISN’T THIS DIPLOMATE DOOFUS ATTACKING MEN, TOO??????) who are also super-obese (it is a technical term) who do not like themselves at the big size. THIS group was applauded when they came on. Some had been part of the feeder/gainer fetish scene and weren’t happy with it any more. Okay. This got applause. One lady had previously been on the show when he’d attempted to shame her into losing weight: the Fat Acceptance/Health At Every Size community had made its presence known.  She said that where it had required one seatbelt extender the last time she’d been on, this time, she needed 2. Dead silence.

Okay, here’s the deal: I’ve been in studio audiences for sitcoms and for a health talk show with the Berman sisters (they’re both doctors. One is a gynecologist, I think and the other is a urologist. I know that for sure). The audience gets HEAVILY cued as to when to applaud, when to keep silent and that “we’re going to take some close up shots, so look ______.” Nothing is left to chance.  

Then we get to the remote of the World’s Fattest Woman. She talked about she’d been 400 lbs. when she met her husband, gained even more during marriage (and he was okay with all this), now at 1,200 lbs., her life has become very limited and she needs help doing damned near everything. “I wouldn’t wish this title on anyone.” Cue sad face and wild studio applause at the end of the video interview.

Okay, we have 10 people on stage: 8 large women and 2 men who are there to dispense shame/approval as they see fit. Again: this was men telling women how they should feel. Not a woman psychologist talking about these issues, not men on the receiving end. Patriarchy is alive and well.

Still, some of the larger women wouldn’t budge on their self-acceptance. Okay, Oz goes to one of his favorite tricks to break down people and make them agree with him: Let’s trot out the diseased organs. His favorite refrain is “I’ve spent years fixing bad hearts in people’s chests so you need to listen to me.”  Two of the women refused to handle the hearts.

We go back and sit down and the relief pitcher, Dr. Ablow, takes the mound. He immediately went to bad childhood/child molestation/absent father to explain. .   Oz jumps in with “So who was the first person to tell you you’re worthless?”

You should have seen the stunned looks on the  faces.

Of the 4 women who were the first guests, they went 4 for 4 saying, “I have a great support system. Nobody ever molested me. Yeah, my dad left, but I got a great stepfather who loves and supports me.” Well, that knocked some of the wind out of Dr. Ablow.

Undeterred, Dr. Ablow took a different tack. "Well, then they're in DENIAL." Again, they didn't budge. (Dear Dr. Ablow, when you're in a hole, stop digging). You go, Girls. IF YOU ARE HAPPY WITH WHO AND WHAT YOU ARE, DO NOT LET ANYBODY UNDERMINE YOU.

Oz, cardiac surgeon, offers to help the women “change their lives and change their health” and if they didn’t want it, leave the stage. 2 of the original 4 left. Silent audience.

And Dr. Ablow congratulated everyone left on the stage for taking this first, brave step and
“how to get the train rolling.” About then, I turned off the show. Enough.

For starters, this is America: if you want to be of a particular size and shape and have the power to do so, go for it. The Wiccan tradition (I am a Congregationalist – low-key Protestant. My Pilgrim ancestors invented the Unitarian church. We’re cool with people who are cool with each other) says “As it harms none, do as ye will.” Okay, so if you’re not hurting anyone, knock yourself out. These women weren’t hurting anyone but Oz couldn’t stand it. Don’t judge. I’ve had people treat me pretty badly based on what they thought of my appearance. I have no use for tiny-minded idiots. Some have found this out the hard way.

If you can support yourself in a particular lifestyle, it’s not illegal and harms no one, have at it.

Expertise in a specific field of medicine does not carry over to other specialties. You may be the ace of heart surgeons, but I don’t want you spelunking inside my brain (I’m very fond of it). You’re not trained for neurosurgery. Furthermore, the host of a TV talk show doesn’t do his own research; he has staff and interns. I doubt any of them are endocrinologists, gynecologists or have any expertise in the medical field other than applying a Band-Aid. They’re in the ENTERTAINMENT business, not medicine. The bent is going to be “What’s going to keep the audience tuned in?” not “What are the facts?” I took an advertising class in college and the teacher told us that that purpose of a TV show is to “keep the audience in place for commercials” (This was before the invention of Tivo).

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Oz’s big sponsor is Weight Watchers. OF COURSE, his programming is going to be geared to keeping them happy and herding customers to them.

Self-loathing is the key to a consumer economy. By making us hate ourselves then promising that this product or that one will make everything instantly all better and bring about Cosmic Harmony and the Music of the Spheres, it’s the Pennzoil in the capitalist engine.  It especially fuels the fashion, cosmetic  and diet industries.  

If there isn’t  a good “Law & Order” rerun from now on, I think I’ll just turn off the TV. I’ve certainly been turned off Dr. Oz


Keep it civil.