On reflecting – 20/20

On February 16th, 2012, 20/20 New Zealand aired a segment about fat activism in New Zealand.  I watched the episode with friends, at a viewing party hosted by the amazing Craig & Mary Prichard. We had a great time leading up to the episode, and everyone was positive after it aired.

My first reaction after watching? I teared up – and was relieved that it didn’t suck. You see, the night before it aired, I saw a promo for the show for the first time. And I panicked. All of my nervousness, and all of my fear, rose within me at the same time and spilled over the surface. I always had reservations about the show, but I took a leap of faith that the 20/20 team was genuine in their interest to share what I do with others. And I am glad that I did – in the episode they embraced the beauty of fat activism, and encouraged others to do the same.

The biggest surprise in the show for me was the word, ‘Poppycock’. I am 100% sure that I have never said that word except during that interview. It was quite a shock to hear it come out of my mouth; I had no memory of using it. I think it is an appropriate way to characterize the obesity epidemic hype, but also a word that you will probably never hear me say again.

My biggest disappointment in the show was the way they edited my response to the question, ‘Are you healthy?’ My full answer was, ‘It depends on how you define, measure, healthy. If you measure health by metabolic health, cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose, etc, then yes, I’m healthy. If you define health by healthy activities, I eat a nutritious diet, I exercise regularly, I get enough hours of sleep at night, I go to the doctor every year, so, yes, I’m healthy. If we measure health the way NZ Immigration measures it, I’m not, simply because my BMI is over 30.”

Spencer’s biggest disappointment was not making the show. All of his scenes ended up on the cutting room floor. I appreciate that most of what we filmed over three days did not make the show, so here’s a taste of what you didn’t get to see:

  • An eight year old boy who stepped on the Yay! Scale shared that he is weighed every week at school before he is allowed to play rugby.
  • I made super yummy Santa Hat cupcakes.
  • They recorded me singing with the Palmerston North Rugby World Cup choir – I am sad that this did not make the episode, because I know that my fellow choir members were really excited about being on TV.
  • I had at least eight outfit changes that did not make the show. I kept changing outfits, every time we did something different. I wanted the show to look like filming took place over days, weeks, or months – not just a few hours.
  • For one sequence, I wore a Mockingjay necklace.
  • I talked about the silliness of assuming that fat people are fat because they eat crap and never exercise – and that slim people are slim because they never eat crap and always exercise.

Something else that didn’t make the show was credit for all the amazing fat activists who created, wrote, or inspired items shown.

  •  The blog I read on my show was ‘It starts with a guess, and ends in a revolution’ from Danceswithfat, one of my favourite blogs, written by Ragen Chastain.
  • The woman who joined me on my show was Kath Read, of the Fat Heffalump.
  • The amazing Adipositivity calendar is produced by Substantia Jones, of the Adipositivity Project, and may be purchased at Cafe Press online.
  • My favourite accessory is a ‘Fat’ necklace from Fancy Lady Industries, I have it in pink, frost, black, and red. You can get one online at the Fancy Lady Industries website.
  • A lot of people have asked where they can get a Yay! Scale. Marilyn Wann’s  Yay! Scale is a must have for any bathroom -You can get your very own at Voluptuart
  • The Fat Rights Tool Kit is produced by Love Your Body Detroit. I do not think they are selling any at the moment, but if you send them an email, they may let you know when they make more!
  • There are several places you can buy seatbelt extenders. I’d recommend checking out the More of Me Love Shop. What they call ‘Airline Seat Belt Extender’ universal will fit the Air New Zealand planes (except the Beechcraft 1900D, which takes the ‘Southwest Airplane Extender’).