Female Empowerment Via The Fat Hatred Paradigm

by Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. on March 10, 2011

Beth Ditto

Beth Ditto -- Example #4,304,890 of Gorgeous, But Not Slim

It’s really hard for me to write this post, because I’m writing it about women who, at one time, I saw as figures of female empowerment.  I saw them as crusaders for a new kind of female embodiment that combined the goddesshood of 5,000 years ago with the badassness of the feminist movement.

I didn’t know that they’d sell us all out if a weight loss message meant extra sales.

Then, today, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a bunch of links to the Sane, Slim & Gorgeous Teleconference.  I couldn’t help myself.  I clicked the link.  And what I saw was a bit mindboggling.

The conference includes 34(!) women who are considered leaders in women’s empowerment.  Look at their pictures for just a second and you’ll notice something — all of them are thin (natch! fatties can’t be empowered) and, perhaps even more startling, not one of them is a woman of color.

Just reading the page for a few seconds and you get the message loud and clear — if you want to be an empowered woman, then all you have to do is become thin (and white).  If you want to be empowered, just be more like us.  Thin privilege and white privilege had nothing to do with us getting to where we are today.  It’s because we’re empowered!

The site invites me to learn from my “sister sages.”  And though I would have, at one time, counted women like Mama Gena and Barbara Stanny as my sister sages, I no longer can.  I can no longer see myself as part of a group that would promote weight loss or how to “turn weight loss into permanent fat removal”.

Although, they’ve definitely succeeded in fat removal, since they’ve removed the ability for anyone fat to be part of this group.  Events like this continue to reinforce the message that says that if you’re fat, you’re excluded.  So why don’t you just get thin?  We’ll show you how if you pay us!

I find it interesting that the conference is promoting sanity, along with slimness and gorgeousness.  Maybe that’s because studies have shown that weight loss efforts result in lower appearance evaluation and self esteem.  In other words, efforts at slimness and mental health don’t go hand in hand.

If you want to empower women to feel sane and gorgeous, we need to drop the worries over slimness. Slimness, fatness and everything in between should be recognized as part of the community of women, should be allowed to feel empowered, should have the right to feel gorgeous no matter what their size.  That is  true empowerment.  And that is what all of us, thin, fat or in between, should be fighting for.


{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Polli March 11, 2011 at 2:05 pm

And I just realised…..a number of these so called sister sages aren’t even comfortable with their own names, let alone their bodies.


Polli March 11, 2011 at 1:56 pm

OMG……how absolutely tragic. I couldn’t believe the names of some of the women, whom I’ve looked up to, who are participating in such self-hate garbage! Sane, Slim & Gorgeous?

How much truth is in marketing blurbs like this…..

“Looking gorgeous no matter what”
“How to start accepting and loving your body NOW”
“Using the “rejected” parts of yourself to find your greatness”
“How to leap into “glorious, wild, uncaged, divinity”
“The three myths that keep you from unconditional love”

When its attached to…..’but you need to lose weight’?

They’ve sold themselves out and betrayed their own principles. How Awful.


Anonymous March 10, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Here’s what I sent using the contact form on their website…

Subject: Spreading fat hate


I learned about your project from Golda Poretsky. I imagine you — and other people involved — have good intentions. They simply are not enough.

I am writing to alert you that your project clearly promotes fat hate.

I am a fat rights activist. I’ve been working to end weight-based prejudice and discrimination since the mid-90s. I’m part of a fat pride community that has been fighting this form of oppression since the late 60s. We are in vital coalition with medical and psychology experts who have created an approach called Health At Every Size(SM) and with scholars in an interdisciplinary academic field called fat studies.

I invite you to consider the Hate-Free Health Challenge. My colleague Pattie Thomas writes about it this week on the Psychology Today website. Her words are precisely what I hope you will take to heart…


I appreciate that you may not be able to imagine positively valueing fatness as part of human weight diversity. I hope you’ll seek out education on that topic.

Wheee! – Marilyn Wann, author of FAT!SO?


notblueatall March 10, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Agh! I hate when you see people you love/admire fall into the WL trap. For me it was Kirstie Alley and then Sara Rue and now? Worst of all because I think she is such a badass, Carrie Fisher! =0( WHY OH WHY?! I’m hoping she’ll come out full-on FA fanatic and writes a bestseller that changes the damned world!


Kath March 10, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Well said Golda!


Elizabeth March 10, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Wow, thanks for sharing this. Its too bad that someone who works as a nutritionist is so fixated on slimness rather than health and wellness that doesn’t have an aesthetic component. With all of the women involved in that workshop it had the potential to be truly powerful – advancing the cause of self-acceptance, good health, nourishing the soul, and feminine power and beauty – without making us feel like we have to put slimness at the top of the priority list. I ask the question: Is saneness equated with slimness? And respond with: the pursuit of slimness is what leads so many of us to insanity.


Daphne March 10, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Hi Golda,

My name is Daphne Cohn. I am the host of the “Sane, Slim and Gorgeous” series. I wanted to respond to your comments because they are so important.

I agree with you completely re: the “slim” part. It is because of that they I rebranded my company (yet the name of the series was already out there) to carry my title, “The Pleasure Nutritionist.” I stand for all women owning their beauty – any shape, any size, any color. I realize that may seem hypocritical given the speakers I have gathered – all white (except one), all slim (except one).

I stand by each one of these women as powerful beings changing the world. I also hear the cry for diversity and greater acceptance. You are an amazing woman. And I applaud your standing for your power and your beliefs.

If you look at the message of these women, every single one of them is about falling more deeply in love with ourselves. If you listen to the interviews they all speak about accepting ourselves exactly where we are at.

So here is to coming together as women in all of our beauty and glory – every shape, every color, every everything.

In love and pleasure,


Maryjane March 10, 2011 at 7:03 pm


Since, statistically, not everyone is white and thin, I have a really hard time believing that ALL the women you found to represent this cause are white and thin. I tend to be open-minded to the point of naivete, but even this is a bit much for me.


Anna Guest-Jelley March 10, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Are you sure you didn’t pull this off The Onion? :)


Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. March 10, 2011 at 4:23 pm

@Anna Guest-Jelley, Oh, how I wish. This is all too real!


Anonymous March 10, 2011 at 6:21 pm

@Anna Guest-Jelley, Heh–exactly. Golda, I saw the name of the conference and thought that was just your clever, sardonic nickname for the seminar. And then I clicked on the link. (!)


Jenna March 10, 2011 at 3:29 pm

hahahaha this is laughable… its like pseudo new age, pseudo-retro 90s empowerment, gives no real info… frankly it offends me that they feel they can call me sister, or whatever. sister “sages”? barf.

totally targeted to the overworked surburbanite so she can “find her feminine divinity” while rollin up in her SUV.

Thats Bullshit (oops excuse my…French) barf barf.


Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. March 10, 2011 at 3:55 pm

@Jenna, Totally barftastic!


bodylovewellnes March 10, 2011 at 7:40 pm

[New Post] Female Empowerment Via The Fat Hatred Paradigm – via #twitoaster http://www.bodylovewellness.com/2011/03/


eatlovelive March 10, 2011 at 8:18 pm

RT @bodylovewellnes: [New Post] Female Empowerment Via The Fat Hatred Paradigm – via #twitoaster http://www.bodylovewellness.com/2011/03/


suechenoweth March 11, 2011 at 4:09 am

RT @bodylovewellnes: [New Post] Female Empowerment Via The Fat Hatred Paradigm – via #twitoaster http://www.bodylovewellness.com/2011/03/


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