What people are willing to claim as sensible policy proposals is one thing, what we all say in response is what marks us out as being an adult civilisation or not. An interesting claim here being made by an activist called Sonalee Rashatwar, that fat people should gain more in welfare. Because, you see, it requires more food to keep a fat body fat, therefore more food stamps should be on offer to those carrying that extra weight that needs to be fed.
The claim isn’t the point, as above, because there will always be chancers out there. Rather, the interesting bit is what is our response to this going to be? A useful guide to our views here being guffaws of laughter. Followed by an injunction to have sex and travel.
Let me introduce you to a very large American lady of colour, Sonalee Rashatwar, and her take on the horrible murders of Muslims in Christchurch. Rashatwar is a “radical fat liberationist” and had been lecturing students at a Minnesota college. The killings were occasioned primarily because the perpetrator was physically fit, she explained, going on to draw a link between being fit and white supremacy. She then asserted there was no link between obesity and ill-health, adding that instead of lecturing her about her size — which is indeed substantial — the US government should subsidise the extra amount of food she requires to stay the size she is. It sometimes seems that the more deranged you are, the more likely it is that you will be invited to lecture at a college or university. Especially if you can get “white supremacy” in somewhere.
Well, yes. Sonalee is of a certain size:
She’s also a sex therapist doncha know:
Sonalee Rashatwar (she/they) LCSW MEd is an award-winning social worker, sex therapist, adjunct lecturer, and grassroots organizer. Based in Philly (licensed in NJ, and PA license is pending), she is a fat queer non-binary therapist working as a sexual violence crisis counselor, specializing in treating sexual trauma, body image issues, racial or immigrant identity issues, and South Asian family systems, while offering fat and body positive sexual healthcare.
Presumably the sex therapy including how to deal with the rolling in flour issue*.
Last week, self-described queer non-binary “fat sex therapist” Sonalee Rashatwar delivered a two-hour lecture entitled Race as a Body Image Issue at the St. Olaf College Health and Wellness Center in Minnesota. The event was a master class in social justice, at times putting shame to the parodies of the genre that now traffic on social media. In the video, the visibly obese woman asks: “Is it my fatness that causes my high blood pressure—or is it my experience of weight stigma?” In the presentation, which has gone viral, Rashatwar also compared “fatphobia” not only to eugenics (which is itself absurd) but also to “Nazi science,” and declared that “a child cannot consent to being on a diet the same way a child cannot consent to having sex.” Indeed, the very titles of her recurring presentations—including Health is a Social Construct, Decolonizing Sex Positivity, Gender Isn’t Real and Neither Is Health and How Fat Queers the Body—seem like something you’d find on the Twitter feed of satirists such as Titania McGrath or Madeline Seers. Yet Rashatwar can’t be dismissed as just another social-media kook—for she is regularly invited to speak to actual health experts at numerous universities across North America, including, recently, medical students at the University of Texas. The listed speaking fee on her web site is US$5,000. (She also specifies that “travel arrangements should not be made on Sonalee’s behalf by the host organization due to her disability needs.”)
We’re capitalist and free market around here and if someone’s able to make a good living out of this tosh then why not? No one’s ever gone bust overestimating the gullibility of the American public after all.
Popularly known as TheFatSexTherapist on Instagram, their notoriety peaked
Someone for whom the plural pronoun is actually apt. Well done there. Although I do suspect it’s just a typo.
Finally, Rashatwar took a crack at recent events, particularly the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand. “I do not think it’s surprising that the man who shot up Christchurch, New Zealand was also a fitness instructor,” Rashatwar said. After making this claim, she added that the shooting is “a clear communication that there’s still an idealized body. Nazis really love this idea of an idealized body, and so it makes a lot of sense to me that a fitness instructor…might also think about an idealized body in this thin white supremacist way.”
But it is that idea about food stamps which is so fun. In a number of cultures a certain heft on a woman is a sign of wealth, of riches. For in a subsistence society only the rich can actually be hefty. And now the insistence is that we should all subsidise such a social appearance of wealth?
And the thing is, she’s making a good living out of this so she’s not crazy. The people who pay her however…..
*There’s not a teenage boy, or former one, on the planet I’ve got to explain that reference to, is there?