Fat Doesn’t Require Apology

You may have seen the video where WKBT anchor Jennifer Livingston responds to a viewer complaint about her weight.  In her response, Livingston thanks those who have come to her support.  She encourages people to speak against bullying and to think about what they say in front of  kids.

What she does not say?  Jennifer Livingston does not apologize for her size.  Livingston acknowledges her size and does not try to justify or explain it.  No “I’m working on it.”  No “I’ve tried to change it.”  She doesn’t even point out that being fat is not a “habit”.*   Her size is her size.  No apology.

I loved that she did not get teary. I loved that she spoke strongly and positively about herself and against bullying.  But the fact that she did not apologize or justify her weight struck me the most.

*As the Academy for Eating Disorders put it, “Weight is not a behavior and therefore not an appropriate target for behavior modification.”  Weight is also not a “habit”.



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16 responses to “Fat Doesn’t Require Apology”

  1. Noel Lynne Figart Avatar

    Being fat is the worst thing you can do?

    GREAT! I’ll starve myself skinny and sharpen my knives, ’cause I have a little list…

  2. Joyce Spear Avatar

    “Fat Does Not Require an Apology.” After a lifetime of being chided, admonished, confronted, preached at, and hearing “concerns” about my weight, this is a very hard concept to wrap my head around. How might my life have been different if I had not been taught to feel “less than” because of my weight my whole life? This question has been haunting me since yesterday when I read your post. I wish I had someone like Jennifer Livingston and like you to show me it could be different when I was younger. The challenge is to change my mindset NOW. I hope I can be strong enough.

    1. Sue Newbould Avatar
      Sue Newbould

      I’ve been pretty headstrong my whole life and the more people (including my mother) said I couldn’t do or wasn’t worthy of certain things simply because I was so fat, the more I was determined to go right ahead. So my own method of fat acceptance is simply leading a happy productive life and not letting the naysayers get me down.

      As a very large woman myself, part of me worries Jennifer Livingston’s rebuttal might fan the flames of anti-weight bias, but mostly I love seeing a woman of size assert herself and I think that sets a very good example. Yay Jennifer!

  3. catgal Avatar

    I didn’t catch on the the “No Apology” aspect of the video, but you are right. Also if there were some type of apology no matter how subtle the response would be less that a complete victory, which it was. When I re-posted the video on Facebook I did point out that obesity is not a choice. I also told them to check out your site and linked to your introduction post. I need to make more noise about FA in my life. People need to know.

    1. catgal Avatar

      So sorry! For some reason I thought I was on the Fat Nutritionist’s site. I still agree with you and stand by my comments though.

      You can moderate my comment out if you like,

  4. fatlazyceliac Avatar

    The whole problem is that later, on Good Morning America, she and her husband do justify her weight by telling GMA that she exercises all the time, is doing a 5K next week, and has a thyroid problem and she just can’t lose weight. Sigh.

    1. catgal Avatar

      That stinks.

    2. Living 400lbs Avatar

      Yes, argh. That isn’t what makes fat hate wrong, however. Her message in the initial spot was “Bullying is wrong and yes, this is bullying” not “Bullying me is wrong because I exercise”.

      I’ve also found that if I want to dispel certain myths about superfat people (can’t walk, doesn’t exercise, on death’s door, etc) I end up disclosing things like exercise habits. My intent is “I eat right & exercise & I’m fat anyway” but to some it likely appears that I’m doing the “But I’m a good fatty don’t hate me”.

      Michelle also discussed bringing up HAES at http://www.fatnutritionist.com/index.php/introductions/#comment-34689

    3. Traci Avatar

      I hate it when fat people try to justify temselves by saying stuff like “I excersize and eat right….etc” instead of saying, “I’m fat. So what. Get ysed to it because I like myself this way and I am not changing for anybody!” We need more role models that say, “I’m fat. So what. Get over it!”

  5. tehomet Avatar

    Thank you. I’m glad she didn’t take that abuse lying down.

  6. Rese Avatar

    She is fucking beautiful. It takes guts to do something like that. I hope even one person shifts their way of thinking after watching this.

  7. […] gratitude ← Fat Doesn’t Require Apology […]

  8. Michelle Avatar

    I love the “weight is not a behavior” link. I’m going to have to cite that next time I try to convince about 1,000 yokels in my comments section that weight is more than behavior. None of them seem to want to believe me. Maybe they’ll believe AED.

    1. Living 400lbs Avatar

      It might give them something to think about, at least. “Weight is not a behavior” also has the advantage of being, y’know, true. :)

  9. […] mind for a while now, but the answer to “Why now?” is because of the reaction both to the Jennifer Livingston video and to Michelle The Fat Nutritionist’s blog post about how the discussion of the video has […]

  10. […] came across this post which explains how a news station in Wisconsin received a scathing email about Jennifer Livingston, […]

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