I just sent an e-mail to Marilyn Wann, using my gmail account. If you’re not familiar with her, Marilyn is a pioneer and a hero in the fat liberation movement. For a lot of us, her book was the first place we ever heard of the concept of — gasp! — being healthy and liking your body while still fat. She’s awesome.
And here’s a partial list of sponsored links that came up alongside my message to her:
Weight Control for Kids
You Are What You Eat
Burn the Fat
FatsOff Soup Scoop
And helpfully, I can also search for more about…
Obesity in Children
Childhood Obesity Prevention
When I started trying to develop a wider audience for my blog, I thought about putting some Google Ads on it, just to see if I could bring in a little pocket change. But then I realized that every fucking ad I’d end up with would be for diet products and random crap like the FatsOff Soup Scoop. The lovelies at Big Fat Deal have dealt with this problem, and while I understand their reasoning, I can’t do it myself.
First, I flat-out don’t support weight loss for the sake of weight loss, and I definitely don’t support commercial diet programs; the BFDealers and I differ there. (What I do support, if one is looking to improve her health: regular exercise and eating a variety of nutritious foods, which may or may not cause weight loss.) Although I will say I admire their brilliance in code naming a particular diet drug “Kelly Clarkson,” so ads for that wouldn’t end up on their site.
Second, seeing those ads on my site every day would just infuriate me too much, let alone whether it would be dispiriting or triggering for my readers. So, between those two things, the fact that I don’t have enough readers to make money anyway, and the fact that I like wordpress.com a whole lot better than blogging hosts that allow ads, nixing the Google Ads idea was a no-brainer for me.
But that doesn’t mean I’m over it.
Seeing what keywords like “fat” and “obesity” turn up on Google — even apropos of a conversation between me and Marilyn Freakin’ Wann — is such a clear, maddening message about what we’re up against. I can say over and over that “fat” ought to be regarded as a neutral adjective like short or blonde, but Google — i.e., the wisdom of the crowd — is there to remind me what “fat” really means in this culture. It’s something to be burned, to be overcome, to be conquered. It is something no one wants to eat, and absolutely something no one wants to be. And there are endless businesses ready to sell us endless products that claim they will slay the dragon Fat once and for all.
But of course we’re not brainwashed. Of course savvy folks like us are not susceptible to marketing. Of course we have all examined the evidence and drawn our own conclusions about fat: that it is dangerous, unhealthy, undesirable — something to be burned, overcome, conquered. We have examined the unbiased research into dieting and again drawn our own conclusion: that an absurdly high failure rate indicates moral, physical, and intellectual laxity on the part of dieters, not a problem with diets themselves. We have considered all the arguments and arrived at the truth — which just happens to line up perfectly with umpteen Google ads.
Damn, what a coink.