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The War on Santa

December 9, 2011

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I was fairly speechless last holiday season when poor Santa started getting diet tips. A fat Santa is an iconic American Christmas image — we have poems and stories and songs dedicated to him and his jolly fatness!

But many critics (ahem, let’s call them what they are: scare mongering fatphobes) are saying that Santa is “obese” and needs to slim down, saying that he’s “promoting obesity.” I’m sorry, but when was the last time anyone looked at Santa and decided to start gaining weight? Santa may be a warm and fuzzy reminder of many of our childhoods, but he’s not a celebrity, he’s not exactly someone who’s idolized. Are we, as a nation, so afraid of fat people, do we hate them so much, that we’re afraid of our children even seeing a fat person? Or is it just seeing a fat person that’s happy, and not lazy and disgusting?

Not only does nobody look at Santa and think, “Oh! I should be fat!”, but even fat kids don’t look at Santa and think that being fat is okay. If that happened, then we wouldn’t have a $60 billion a year diet industry, the obsession with thinness, or the increased risk of eating disorders among fat kids.

The holidays, instead of being a time of joy, comfort, and family, are often filled with stress and dieting. Around this time of year we start seeing “10 ways to avoid those holiday pounds!” even though a 2000 study found that the average weight gained during the holiday season was 1lb, (about 5% gained about 5lbs), and even that wasn’t tracked over time to see if that pound (or 5 lbs) was later lost.

While I don’t know if there are any formal statistics on the topic, I’ll guarantee that advertising for diet products and weight loss increase significantly during this time. And honestly, we’ve been fear mongering for so long on fat that we’ve really just run out of places to turn… which is why poor Santa is coming under attack.

A Monash University professor, Nathan Grills,  first attacked Santa in 2009 and this year went after the Easter Bunny as well. I’m sure once we thin down Santa and have him eating carrots instead of cookies, and make sure the Easter Bunny delivers broccoli into baskets instead of chocolate, then we’ll suddenly have no more fat kids! … right?

Why does the mere existence of fat people “promote obesity”? Seriously, I realize their entire goal is to get rid of us, but I can’t help but be reminded of conservatives who insist that the existence of gay people promotes being gay or that people of the same gender getting married threatens the very foundations of straight marriage.

I think we’re seeing fat hatred hit a peak. I don’t know if it’s the peak, but it’s definitely one of them on a very rocky, pointy journey. I’d like to think that this fanaticism in hatred only adds more members to the fat activism community, but it has its casualties as well. Is poor Santa Clause doomed to become just one more casualty in the irrational, hateful, fear-driven War on Obesity?

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. December 12, 2011 9:58 am

    Man, I never thought of the whole “enabling obesity” thing in these terms: our mere presence terrifies them. It goes back to the whole “fat is contagious” claim they made a few years back.

    But in a way, I think that having openly gay, confident activists is “enabling” homosexuality, in that it encourages other, less-confident gay people to find their voice. It does “enable” them to take a stand for themselves, which is exactly what homophobic people don’t want to happen in this country. They would rather gay people remain intimidated and silent on the issue.

    I would imagine the same applies to fat people: they would rather fat people remain intimidated into seeking cure after cure after cure in an endless pursuit of perfection, rather than having confident, self-assured fat people going shirtless at the pool or standing up to fat hatred in public. It’s much easier to be an oppressor when your victims are “disabled” through fear and self-loathing.

    Peace,
    Shannon

    • hlkolaya permalink
      December 12, 2011 7:44 pm

      “But in a way, I think that having openly gay, confident activists is “enabling” homosexuality, in that it encourages other, less-confident gay people to find their voice. ”

      Sure! But it doesn’t make people gay who weren’t already which is what many homophobes think. Remember, to them it’s a choice! (although it wouldn’t matter if it was!)

  2. L.J. Utter permalink
    December 12, 2011 10:32 am

    It’s only ‘promoting obesity’ if were happy with our fatness. Santa is the jolliest dude of the season. I’m sure the likes of Meme Roth are more content with the idea of a miserable Santa, sobbing into his milk and cookie binges, desperately wondering if the elves will take up a collection for lap band. Geez, leave Santa alone!

  3. vesta44 permalink
    December 12, 2011 10:56 am

    Oh, it’s promoting obesity all right, haven’t you seen all the people just rushing to stop being thin and running right out and stocking up their pantries with all manner of junk food and goodies so they can go on midnight binges and become fat? Haven’t you seen the drop in sales of exercise equipment and gym memberships so that thin people can stay home and sit on their couches while they’re eating all those goodies with which they stocked their pantries? And let’s face it, sales of video game systems and computers are sky-rocketing – after all, it’s rather boring to just sit on the couch and eat, got to have something to do besides watch TV while they’re pigging out.(/sarcasm, and like any of that would make naturally thin people fat for very long)
    Yeppers, it’s so much fun being fat that people are just longing to join our ranks. They want to get in on the discrimination we face on a daily basis – the nastiness from doctors, the lack of stylish, well-fitting clothing, the lack of accessibility, the scorn and derision we face from the public, the lack of health care insurance, etc, etc, etc, etc. Now, if promoting obesity would cure all those ills we fat people face, I’d be out there in the streets, wearing a signboard, promoting my fat ass all over the place. As it is, I’m not promoting anything, I’m fighting for recognition of the fact that I’m a human being that deserves respect and dignity and the size of my ass has nothing to do with that.

  4. Mulberry permalink
    December 12, 2011 3:50 pm

    Let’s design a t-shirt that says:

    If promoting
    health.
    happiness,
    self-respect,
    and full participation in society for fat people = promoting obesity
    Then
    I’m promoting obesity!

    And a matching button:

    Lose Hate Now
    Ask Me How

    (Any graphic designers out there? I can’t draw worth a damn.)

    • December 12, 2011 4:28 pm

      I think we need to develop a Fierce Fatties Zazzle account. So many great ideas for shirts!

      Peace,
      Shannon

  5. lifeonfats permalink
    December 12, 2011 7:49 pm

    Ah, Fox News. The same channel that also started the “War on Christmas” because they got angry over the retail industry realizing that Christmas isn’t the only winter holiday celebrated in America. They’re about as reliable as Lindsay Lohan in an alcohol class.

    Santa has been fat for centuries. He spends his entire time making toys and being active with the elves. He can also squeeze down chimneys with ease. He flies a sleigh with reindeer which I’m sure isn’t easy to do. These clowns need to find something else to whine about.

  6. Sarah permalink
    December 2, 2012 2:30 am

    im just saying isnt EVERYONE supposed to be beautiful? but the fact is if everyone is beautiful why do people always complain on people or things setting bad examples if everyone is perfect in there own way… make up your mind is everyone beautiful or not…

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