Last Thursday I was interviewed by a journalist at the San Francisco Chronicle about the AMA decision to label “Obesity” as a disease. The interviewer was pretty cool but some of her questions made me feel that she wanted something specific but I couldn’t quite get a handle on it. Then they asked if I’d be interested in doing a photo shoot for the article, I said that I would. When the photographer called me, however, things quickly took a turn. They were insistent, down right pushy, about doing photos of me preparing and eating food. They kept saying, “It can be healthy food!” as if that would change my mind.
I explained my refusal by stating that I wasn’t comfortable with this regardless of the context of the article. I said that most fat activists would also refuse such a request. It is too easy a thing to take such a photo and have it used in other more sinister ways. Not only that, I explained, but I was not going to play the “good fatty” versus “bad fatty” game. I felt a bit disgusted but more so annoyed by this angle.
So when I got the link to the article last night I was surprised to see how little of my interview they used, how some of what I said was taken out of context (to appear, in my opinion, as thought I’m trying to be a poster girl for fat health…I AM NOT!) as well as how many people they interviewed for such a short piece. I was glad that such notable and awesome activists as Peggy Howell and Virgie Tovar were also interviewed. Well…see for yourself here.
I guess in the end I am glad that I participated, even if the end result what I’d hoped. It is the media after all and you just never know which way they will run with something. When I told a friend what happened and my hesitation in sharing or writing about it, her reaction was perfect:
“I’m not sure that everyone would have had the wherewithal to say no. It’s hard to say no when you think that what you are doing could end up helping people. And it’s the kind of thing, where you doubt yourself. You question whether you are being paranoid. Others may even question whether you are taking it too far. But the fact of the matter is that his request was not acceptable. And other people should understand that even in spreading the word, even when working with allies, you have to follow your instincts and protect yourself.
So you see, you don’t need to hide the article. In sharing it, I think that you’re doing something important.”
I swear all my friends are smarty pants! I just know that this AMA thing is getting a lot of attention and I want us to be aware and protect ourselves and just stay true to you. Always keep questioning and never give up! 😉