Blogs Feb 11, 2011 at 3:53 pm


@1190 How about this or this. It doesn't matter on an individual basis (insofar as the bullshit use of shaming, ridicule, or even talking about individual circumstances) but there's definitely a social as well as health, psychological consequence.
@1204 *eye roll* I think it is pretty obvious what carbs I was talking about.

You know- perhaps THESE carbs?…
There are already too many comments on this article to check if anyone has already said this, but...

Lindy, you are not fat. I have no doubt that your size has bothered you over the years, but unless your photos here (…) and here (…) are very misleading, YOU ARE NOT FAT.

Or at least not the type of fat that has real and severe health problems that Dan has talked about in the past.
The article sort of treads the line, but ultimately it comes down enough on the side that "do what you want for your own reasons and stop worrying about other people" that I can get behind it.

However, a theoretical responder saying "but it is a health issue!" would be correct. It is a health issue. Obviously, losing weight for your health is a good thing. But being fat is only a possible indication of health issues. Maybe someone is okay with being overweight but otherwise good. Maybe someone who is thin has serious non-weight related health problems. Blah blah blah. What matters is people's intentions: both your own, and the people advising you. But Lindy is right, shaming is stupid.

I'm follow a tumblr blog called curvesappeal and I can't fathom why nearly any of the girls featured on there ever had any body issues.
Great post. Funny how people feel like their preference for the cultural media-pushed weight standard is not just an opinion, worth exactly their opinion on McDonald's vs. Wendy's French fries, but actually has some sort of credence and should be pushed onto other people.

Also, I find it incredibly ironic that the most judgmentally outspoken people are the ones who actually DO have an easy time losing weight and ASSume that because their body works that way, so does everyone else's.

Um, no. I am, incidentally, close enough to the stereotypical "good" weight to pass. And I will never, ever tell someone it's simple or easy to lose weight, because if your body works like mine, it's not. I'm happy for everyone whose body follows the calories in/calories out logic. Must be nice to be you. And STFU because for a lot of people, it really doesn't work that way, and your judgments make me want to stay away from you. I've spent enough years believing that if I just did what you said I'd be good was bullshit.
@1209 dirac

Good links. I do think that sharing individual experiences is helpful, in that it fills in where the facts leave off. It does help sharing our stories, along with the scientific and sociological information. Don't you think?
Comments were already at 900+ when I first saw this post, so I haven't bothered commenting for now, but thanks, Lindy. You are awesome. Don't ever change.
I'm a big fan of what Dan does for the gay community, but it has always set my teeth on edge when you can feel his venom toward fat people come through in his writing, even when he's trying to be "helpful."

It also tickles me pink that Marilyn Wann commented! Her book, Fat!So? changed my life.

I am a person who has a genetic predisposition toward being a big girl. I've never been tiny. When I took 7 dance classes a week, I was still chubby. When I was a cheerleader and a dance teacher, I was still chubby. I was not an overeater and I worked my ass off and I was still chubby.

I have battled my weight my entire life, but I finally learned to accept that I'll never be skinny. And I honestly think I look weird when I'm under 180. Right now, I'm around 195, My cholesteral and blood pressure are perfect and I rock my curves. I've never had a problem with men turning down their noses at my curvey figure. I've dated men who, some shallow people would wonder "Why is he dating that chubby girl?" Why? Because I rock, and I'm fortunate enough to have self confidence despite what fatphobes think about me.

I move, I dance, I excercise, and when I want pie, I have some damn pie.

Lindy, you are gorgeous, hilarious, wicked smart and an amazing writer and I have long been a fan of your work. This just solidifies my total girlcrush on you. You tell 'em, girl.
Where was Lindy's sensitivity to others when she wrote this?…

She seems to think it's okay to make fun of other people's physical traits.
The article sort of treads the line, but ultimately it comes down enough on the side that "do what you want for your own reasons and stop worrying about other people" that I can get behind it.

However, a theoretical responder saying "but it is a health issue!" would be correct. It is a health issue. Obviously, losing weight for your health is a good thing. But being fat is only a possible indication of health issues. Maybe someone is okay with being overweight but otherwise good. Maybe someone who is thin has serious non-weight related health problems. Blah blah blah. What matters is people's intentions: both your own, and the people advising you. But Lindy is right, shaming is stupid.

I'm follow a tumblr blog called curvesappeal and I can't fathom why nearly any of the girls featured on there ever had any body issues.
Dear Lindy,
I was in internet love with you before I ever saw you, but now you should know you 110% fit the profile of "lady I would like to marry." If I lived in Seattle I would totally stalk you. Why are men so afraid of women's bodies? As a raging homo, I find myself more tolerant to other people who have taken shit from everybody else their whole lives. I'd think of all people, Dan would understand what it is like to live that way.

Please have gay sex with me (I promise it will be good,)
- Beth

P.S. Fuck J Crew and their tiny pants.
Seriously Lindy, if you just cut carbs and do whatever works for my specific genetic make up, you will be have a socially acceptable body and be attractive to men. And I can just ignore your entire post and continue to pretend that that's the only thing that matters and any protestations are consent to fat shame you because no one, esp women, are allowed to ever not care about what other people think of their body.

@1217 If you can't get the difference between what Lindy was doing in that piece and what Dan does regularly, there's really no use arguing this with you.

Well put. Thank you!

Except the picture you're linking to isn't a picture of carbs. The burger bun is a carb. But the burger itself is meat/protein, the cheese is dairy, the bacon is also meat/protein... So are you saying if she ate everything else but the bun you'd stop judging what she chooses to put in her mouth? Or did you actually mean the entire thing, in which case you should specify besides just "stop eating carbs."

And YEAH, I'm being intentionally dense to demonstrate how stupidly simplistic your attitude on nutrition is.
@1218 It's not about health because skinny =/= healthy and big =/= unhealthy.

@1220: cheers. best.
@1214 Sure. I am sorry if I came off as disparaging. There's plenty of dimensions to this issue and it's VERY complex--note that the links I gave you have a conclusion and a rebuttal using similar methodology.
" I am not ashamed of it in any way. "

You should be.
good vagina @ 1128, Amen. I had the same thought as your post expresses, just before I read it. Thanks for expressing it so eloquently.

To add to 1188 above: It's about how you and others consistantly miss the point: That fat people are tired of being society's punching bags for the perceived shortcomings of their body shape. The only thing you need do is understand that point to the best of your ability, because (as with gay people, old people, disabled people, etc, etc) the problem (addressed in Lindy's blog post) is not in the physical actuality of a person's body, but in a society full of people's attitude toward that attribute and the group of people who are perceived to share it. You, and the other million people in these comments missing the point, are addressing a completely different problem; that of the effect of obesity on health.
You are free to have all the opinions you want, but unsolicited advice is rarely appreciated (including this piece, no doubt).
@1228 Cynic Romantic

I've left many comments here, many in response to what others were one comment seen by itself can be horribly taken out of context.

First of all, I began posting on this article because of Lindy's words, specifically the fact that she doesn't care what causes fatness and doesn't seem to see it as a problem at all. (Though some have commented that her strong emotion displayed throughout the article shows that she really does have a problem with her weight. If she didn't she wouldn't be so fightin' mad.) I then commented in response to what others were saying. So many people, on both sides of the argument, are raising excellent points. Many of us are sharing personal stories. I think it helps. I also think it's best we all try to treat each other with respect.
@1206, you're right, "cherry picking" isn't the issue. Except that it sort of is - to me, posting those specific columns seems to be his are examples of me being sorta supportive, so therefore you can't say I'm sometimes derisive...which is bullshit. I don't think Lindy would deny cherry picking her examples either...I just think in his case, it's not a valid defense, whereas in her case, it absolutely is the way to support her statements. (Examples of him being derisive prove that he's sometimes derisive, whereas examples of him supporting fat people only prove that sometimes he supports fat people...they don't at all show that he often is not doing so.)

And that posting closed-comment collections of these columns is pretty immature. How is that "leaving it alone" to do that? It seems defensive and nothing more...the point to him seems to be, don't be mean to Savage (not, oh, maybe see that he's been making hurtful statements and actually examine his own actions...Lindy linked specific examples, so if he's not going to address those examples, I'm not sure what he gains by responding at all right now).
you all think Savage is really going to jump into a cage full of 1228 tigers (and counting)? the minute he dangles a toe into this thread you'll all chew it off. no matter what he says.
Maybe you don't want comments, Dan, but you're going to get them anyway:

I bet that you're feeling a little stunned by Lindy's post and by the outpouring of support for her (coupled with the accusations of bullying being directed at you).

It's my belief that the reason so many people are challenging/accusing you now is that your role in the world has changed so much recently. A few years ago, you were essentially an entertainer, and like Simon Cowell, being a bit of an asshole was part of your schtick.

But now, with all your media presence regarding the gay marriage debate, and especially with the creation of the It Gets Better Project. you've become so much more than that. Whether you intended this or not, you are now the most prominent public face of the LGBT rights movement. This is a great power, and you have the intelligence, creativity, and persistence to wield this power.

But there's a downside for you personally. Being a famous leader in a controversial movement puts you under the microscope - there is going to be a lot more attention paid to your words and actions (both present and past). Any indications of hypocrisy or bullying on your part are going to be noticed and remembered more than they ever were before.

The other downside is that you're stuck with the responsibility of representing the LGBT community - so when you do or say something sketchy, it reflects on the rest of the community. When you, our mouthpiece, say something intolerant, the foes of gay rights will use it to attack all gay people.

For example, let's say that you have occasion to go head to head with Sarah Palin in a TV interview or something. Sure - you're smart and articulate and funny enough to debate circles around her (not to mention having facts and reason on your side...). But, she's raising a child with Down syndrome, and you're on record as calling people with Down syndrome "tards" then ignoring the people who call you on it. Do you really think Palin's supporters aren't going to be able to dig that up, or that they're going to put in the context of non-hateful things you've said over the years? And do you really think you're going to have the moral high ground? Or, are people just going to draw the conclusion that gays are intolerant, and only care about bullying when the victims are gay?

It's not exactly fair that you have to shoulder the responsibility of being examined so closely or having to be a role model ... but it's a reality, the price of being famous. If you choose to embrace your destiny as king of the gays, you owe it to the rest of us to watch your words and apologize when you should. Otherwise, you're hurting our position in the world, rather than helping it.

So: stop bullying fat people, and don't tell me you haven't - both the outright namecalling ("LARDASS") and the dog whistles ("Ban fat marriage") are on the internet, and posting non-hateful columns doesn't make the hateful ones go away. Stop calling people tards, retarded, or leotarded. Stop insulting women you don't like by calling them cunts, and stop insulting men you don't like by calling them transexual. And, apologize to the people you've insulted. It won't make you lose face, it'll make you look like somebody big enough to admit and grow from his mistakes. And it will make you a more powerful advocate for gay rights.
@1228 So, your solution to stopping the cycle of treating a class of people with hate is to call someone a "dopy pint" (amongst a million others) on a comment thread?

Lindy does not care about her weight, but does care how people treat her/react to her/judge her based around it. I explain it as, if you stuck her on a desert island, she would probably never consider her weight. She defines herself in other ways, thus where she gets the "I don't care" attitude. However, stick her back in society, and suddenly people react to her in a certain way based on something she herself doesn't even think about (Like if people suddenly started being really mean to you cause you have long toes. You don't define yourself by your large toes, and after a while you'd probably start feeling kind of defensive/upset that people are defining you by such a strange arbitrary physical thing.) She cares about THAT, about the attitudes and misunderstanding surrounding her weight.

I don't think these two emotions cancel each other out. We can have complex emotions, especially when it comes to weight.
Let’s cut the shit — “health” has nothing to do with it. This society deems fat people unattractive, and calling someone “fat” is like calling them ugly. Actually, it’s worse, because being ugly could just be the result of losing the genetic lottery, while being fat is something that you did to yourself, and how dare you let yourself go like that? It’s not just about aesthetics, it’s about moral failure. And it’s particularly bad for a woman to get fat, because we are still the ornaments of society, and required to make everyone’s landscape as pretty as possible. How dare we not stay within acceptable ranges to make dicks hard!
This - all of this - is a very interesting experience.
Here's another anecdotal example for you, not to be generalized in any way, and to only be applied to my own individual case, okay? I am overweight, and ashamed, and yet I feel no judgment towards anyone dealing with weight issues. I really don't, so please do me a favor and believe me. And yet I hate my own body, and find it unpleasant to look at and be in. Is it because I internalized some kind of silly size 0 ideal? hell no. I want to be a size 10, or an 8, as I was three years ago. I felt great then, I don't feel good now.

Here's why I hate my body: I can't run as far and as fast as I did when I was not carrying extra weight. I pop out of my clothes. I have less sexual desire. I feel less attractive. I already feel accused of not "loving myself" enough or accepting myself as I am. I don't, and I can't, because my stomach roll makes my stomach turn.

I want to be healthy, and athletic. I also like being desired and thought of as attractive. It's not the primary driver of my existence (that would be my job and love for my husband). But I also want to be attractive again.

I'm 20-30 lbs overweight and it's exclusively my fault. I do have Hashimoto's thyroid (hypo), which in theory makes it difficult for me to lose weight, but I take a hormone for it and keep it under control.

So here's the grand explanation for my fatness: I overeat. I eat 3500 calories on some days. Sometimes more.

When I go down to 2000-2500 calories a day, I lose weight. That's plenty of food for most humans, but I crave more. So I can't keep up the progress I make, and I hate myself for it; I don't judge anyone else, I just judge myself.

I wanted to add my experience to this thread, to alert some of you to cases like mine for which the only explanation is overeating, coupled with not exercising. Like those overweight people here who eat 1500 calories and can't lose weight, my experience matters too: I eat too much, and I hate myself for it, while, shockingly, not having any judgment at all for other overweight or obese people. This attitude exists, and now you know.
I like @1232 saying Dan is a role model, like it or not, and that his quick witty and sarcastic slog posts will be mined for nuggets to be taken out of context and used against issues dear to his heart (and my heart, too). But, I don't want him to change - just be yourself, Dan and that is good enough.

Remember that tennis match that went on for, like, days? Surrrr-eal! This ls like looking at one of those weird GIFs that, if you stare at it long enough, you think it will jump the groove and come to an end, but it never does and you can't stop starring.....
littlesparrow @1229: Firstly, let me appologise unreservedly for calling you a "dopy bint". That was completely uncalled for, out of line, and mean, and I am very sorry I said it.

To me, the article reflects Lindy's absolutely emotional overload (for want of a more accurate term) from 28 years of abuse from other people regarding the size and shape of her body. It is that verbal and emotional abuse, and the associated presumption that accompanies it, which she is rejecting, not the medical risk of obesity per se. These are excellent points, but they are almost completely irrelevant to the point of the article (IMO).

Also, I don't think Dan should take this thread too personally. There is obviously a lot of pent up resentment and emotion being expressed here, and the fact that his posts triggered it does not make him responsible for the conditions that created it.

Actually, all the length of this comments section is that fat people like to whine a lot.

And Lindy isn't fat. She's a cube. Her BMI is over 38. She's past fat and well into obese.

To deny that there are serious health consequences from that is crazy. I don't care about the insurance costs. I know that obese people die early, and help keep Social Security solvent.

Thank you again for yet another unsolicited opinion. Will you do me the favor of restraining your unsolicited opinions, your criticisms, your proclamations of the supposed mass hurt I have caused, your demand that I negotiate the meaning of everything I say, your accusations that I'm attempting to defend any person, or justify any persons words and/or behavior? Because, I'm not. And, the fact that I have told you numerous times that I am not defending Savage or anyone else, should have been sufficient. I find your insistence that you are better qualified to understand what I'm saying or thinking very hurtful. Kindly keep in mind are not my judge nor are you my editor. I have never asked for your opinion or criticism, you have decided to nominate yourself for the job. Please, kindly keep in mind that I have as much right as you do to ask questions or state opinions on any thread. I am not obligated to negotiate the meanings of anything I post with you, either. Kindly keep in mind that your opinions are not facts, too.

There are more than enough individuals who are honestly seeking to cause hurt feelings on this thread, try hounding one of them. Honestly, I've had enough and truthfully you are starting to remind me of bully who used a lot of nice sounding words before beating the crap out of me. I was never good enough for that person, and you have successfully convinced me that I can't say anything to please you. Thus, I think it best if you just refrain from attempting to 'correct' anything about me and I'll vacate this thread.

And, I'm truly sorry for your hurt feelings on this thread. I'm sorry that my comments seem to have added to your hurt feelings. Which is the only reason I've come up with as to why you keep hounding me. (Perhaps, if I was well I could come up with a more creative reason to your liking?) I never seek to hurt people's feelings and I'm more than happy to apologize when they tell me that I have hurt them. So I am sorry. I hope you find healing and peace.
Not one comment from Lindy, here or on Slog, all day. Only posts from Dan are in response to this. Only 30 posts total from others all day on Slog. Seems like things are kind of tense. I miss Dan.
Fabulous, from one large girl to another, THANKS!
@ Littlesparrow7

I created an account just to let you know that you are awesome. This is one of the very few times that I've ever come away from a comments section with a positive experience. There's nothing like a reasoned, fact-based discourse. Cheers.
Wow. Now Dan is the "King of the Gays"(?!) and should only issue politically correct directives, and should apologize retroactively for ever insulting anyone? So, I guess DTMFA is off the table from now on?
Lindy West should run for office. Something like AWESOME GODDESS OF THE ENTIRE FUCKING UNIVERSE!!

Love you, Lindy and love this article. Sent it to my teenage daughter. Well said.

Now - please pose nude. Pretty please?
It seems to me that the shaming you are experiencing or social oppression isn't all that harsh. You are a morbidly obese person that publicly and enthusiastically describes eating meals fit for a normal family of four.

If I had my way, you'd have a horn blaring in your ear all day:


You are disgusting and the most UNATTRACTIVE part of you is your personality.

I'd rate your body a 1.5 and your personality a 1.

Why is Dan Savage the enemy? Why not the totally effed Western food production system that makes it cheaper and easier to eat crap? Why not the companies that are subsidized by our tax dollars to put empty calories, salt, and fat into processed junk foods that are marketed to kids the same way cigarettes were in the past? Being concerned about the obesity epidemic does not make someone a fat-hating bigot. It IS being empathetic and compassionate and I can't see how anyone functioning in today's society with half a brain would not be concerned about it.

I think the way you turn obesity purely into an emotional, personal issue is ridiculous, and clearly does nothing to solve the problem. It is a political issue, and the 30% (or is it now 40, or 50 percent?) of obese Americans are being had by corporations who want to addict them, and bleed them of their money and their sense of having the choice and the will to change the way they eat. It is misguided and absurd to direct your anger over our society's really complicated, destructive relationship with food onto DS.
Why is Dan Savage the enemy? Why not the totally effed Western food production system that makes it cheaper and easier to eat crap? Why not the companies that are subsidized by our tax dollars to put empty calories, salt, and fat into processed junk foods that are marketed to kids the same way cigarettes were in the past? Being concerned about the obesity epidemic does not make someone a fat-hating bigot. It IS being empathetic and compassionate and I can't see how anyone functioning in today's society with half a brain would not be concerned about it.

I think the way you turn obesity purely into an emotional, personal issue is ridiculous, and clearly does nothing to solve the problem. It is a political issue, and the 30% (or is it now 40, or 50 percent?) of obese Americans are being had by corporations who want to addict them, and bleed them of their money and their sense of having the choice and the will to change the way they eat. It is misguided and absurd to direct your anger over our society's really complicated, destructive relationship with food onto DS.
@1244 joshk

Awww thanks, that's so sweet! Sometimes it felt like no one was really reading anything, so that means a lot! You made my effort at keeping up with this thread and writing responses like a crazy person (while sick at home with a really bad cold) worth every second. :)

I'm with you, Lindy. Be yourself and love it. Don't let anyone think you need to go on a diet.
Blah, blah, blah.
First of all, I loved Lindy's post, because it was clever and addressed the effects of shaming and the way that most people act like they know all about the health status of an overweight person and what that person should do fix emself, simply by looking at em. However, I've read a great many of these comments, and I think that this thread is missing a really important point.

Lindy's post is as much about gender as it as about fatness, and no-one, including Lindy and Dan, seem to acknowledge or address this. I think it was brave and brilliant of Lindy to post her picture and her weight, but not because she's fat: because she's female. In this culture, women are expected to be physically attractive to guys and to be skinny (and dress femininely, which Lindy clearly does), in order to be worthwhile. In other words, Lindy's shame came from how this society treats women more than from how this society treats fat people.

Yes, this society needs to be more compassionate to overweight people, and we need to emphasize healthy eating and exercise more than appearance, but the soul-crushing expectations that Lindy is so excellently refuting are, in fact, more about gender expectation than about weight.
Dear Ms. West,
Over the years of you being at the Stranger I have tried my damnedest to stay away from anything that has been written by you. For the most obvious of reasons really, you are a crap writer.
I have heard from my various acquaintances in the whole of Seattle who have told that there is this article by someone that was posted on the SLOG that, supposedly, was, well, in their words, 'Awesome!' Finally after many confrontations of people asking me to if I've read that 'Awesome!' article I finally have broken down and read it.
It's crap!
I'm not going to sugarcoat this for you darling, or the little druggie friends who have helped you up to this pinnacle, because this is a very defining and true statement coming from me.
I don't care. About you. Your fat. Or the size of whatever burger you are about to eat! Really. Seriously.
Honestly, I was anorexic as a kid, I hit thirty and I gain weight rapidly enough that I was put at an extremely bad health risk. Since that time I've lost weight and still struggle to lose even more to stay healthy. But, sorry, unlike some that will remain unnamed I do not flit about proclaiming how angry I am over how others are ridiculing me about it. Nor do I see myself in any contextual sense trying to provoke an outrageous fight with another staff member where I work...please, that's just suicide.
While we are on the subject, because I'm being so honest and all, I've been sitting back quietly and watching your meteoric career with disgust while those around you flounder at the Stranger. True the Stranger isn't what I would call the most stellar piece of journalistic integrity in the whole of the U.S. but I would like to think that it would have enough integrity at some editorial level to recognize the plagiarism involved with your work.
Oh, by the way, before you go off on whatever conniving little cover up you would have about how you didn't know you sounded like others staff members, please keep in mind that I have been reading the Stranger a hell of a lot longer than you and I do recognize the various amounts of verbiage and sayings you've lifted over the years from said staff members.
You are a plagiarist. And not a very smart one at that.
AND, I am NOT the only one who sees it. So, you keep on telling yourself, and others, that you are an original. (I've read what you call 'original', you don't have an original voice and only started getting noticed when you began lifting work from other Stranger staff!) It all comes back to you being a crap writer.
In closing Ms. West. You are a fat plagiarist with very little integrity other than being able to drink enough alcohol to look cool in the eyes of those who pay you.

Seriosly hon.

You are LOVED.

Not just by douchebag "fanboys" like me, but by thouands (if not hundreds of thousands who haven't yet had the pleasure of the introduction to your intellect AND beauty) who have yet to appreciate you.

Dan S. isa righteous target - but just a symbol. Reading his response - he doesn't get it yet. Buthe will (God wiling).

Lindy - keep it up sweetie. You are loved, and you are RIGHT.

And you are BEAUTIFUL.

You are awesome! I have always thought that so long as you are happy in and of yourself; your weight is irrelevant. Love you! Keep happy!
@1255: Wow. Just wow.
@1241: My comments were simply meant to make you think, not to draw you into an argument. Apologies for making you feel hounded--it's my nature to reply to someone who continues to address me specifically.

I'm sorry to hear about your biopsy results. My mother didn't survive hers, so hopefully you'll accept my best wishes.
I was 245 lbs I'm now under 230 eating 5000 calories a day.

While there is a range of potential heaviness found natural in humans it is doubtful that you weigh more than a 6 ft tall powerlifter that squats 500 lbs, because you just go unlucky in your genes (really doubtful).

Personally, I don't care about fat vs. thin. I'm not going to think fat is attractive no matter how much you say it is so, but until it affects me keep on keeping on. The problem is that obesity is associated with a whole host of other metabolic disorders that eventually everyone else ends up subsidizing in cost (how many type II diabetics on medicare?).…

Lindy, I know it's been said and said, but you are beautiful and brilliant and you absolutely rock.
A small piece of possibly helpful information for those who are overweight but have had no success shedding the pounds despite tremendous amounts of effort:

As most already know, being overweight puts people at risk for sleep apnea. What fewer people know is that sleep apnea makes it much, much more difficult to lose weight. It may be worth getting a sleep study if you are one of these people, especially if you awaken at night a bunch, or if your sleeping partner says you snore, or if you wake up feeling headachey and poorly rested, etc.

In sum, sleep apnea is a beast and makes life totally miserable and also causes a litany of health problems, including weight gain / retention, so it may be worth considering a sleep study if you think you might have symptoms of it.

I agree with the overall point of your post. I think that people in general confuse being "healthy" and being "thin". One does not equal the other necessarily. A crack addict might be skinny but I would argue they are not in fact objectively healthy. I know a guy who appears visually to be overweight but he eats a solid diet and runs regularly...I am sure I would be winded trying to keep up with him. If you looked at me, you would most likely characterize me as "thin". But I have cellulite on my thighs and a belly roll from being pregnant. So even though I am thin, I have "unsightly fat rolls". Where do I fall on the judgement spectrum?

I think it's a positive thing to do things that keep our bodies (and minds!) healthy. My problem with alot of what is said here in the comments and in the related post is that it's hard to argue any real point when everyone is talking about something different.

Finding someone subjectively attractive/unattractive has nothing to do with health or insurance costs or whatever. I think you do a nice job of addressing that.

Hopefully, reading this makes at least a few people a little more aware and a little less inclined to judge.

-Jane in Pa
Wow, holy trip to crazytown. Lindy decided to take Dan on, and the best she could come up with was a snarky comment about an unfortunate fashion trend? OMG gay man makes snarky comment about fashion!! Dog bites man!! Sky is tinted an alarming blue color!! And your deployment of that quote was, of course, utterly dishonest. That makes you a liar, sweetums. Why in hell are so many people praising you for this piss-poor behavior? If you want to take Dan on, you will have to do SO MUCH BETTER than this. A first step? Try rejoining the reality-based community, in which we look at what Dan has actually said instead of just imagining him making a squicky face as he types. Just because you have some sort of secret conviction that underneath Dan's totally-not-phobic and reality-based comments, Dan is secretly motivated by hatred of the unsightly fatties!!, doesn't make it so.
Lindy for President of Slogvania.
I love everything about this post except for the Dan bashing. I had a similar "i'm fat and I love my self anyway" moment of rage about two months ago and man it felt good. But when I was done with it, I picked myself up, went to the gym and stopped drinking so damn much liquor. I'm slowly starting to lose weight, which I have to admit I'm pretty happy about!
It's true that fat people do not need shaming (you hear that dad?), and I have to say that as an avid listener and reader of Dan for the past five years, I have never gotten the impression that he is shaming fat people.
So keep on Lindy, I just discovered your blog and I believe I will visit it regularly, but please take it easy on Dan, he doesn't have as thick a skin as you and I, you know, cause he is obsessed with being so damn thin.
The thing is... I've been overweight my entire life. It's been Dan's columns that helped me realized that there is a huge market of guys who want to sleep with overweight guys like me. And I let them.
... And you're raising your voice to say that it should be more socially acceptable to be fat. Why do we want a society in which more people are fat? Think about the waste of food and the waste of dollars spend on healthcare. The way you got this way is NOT good for you. You are a valued, worthwhile person just like anyone else, and each person in the world has problems in one way or another. But don't try to pretend that it's okay to be fat.
... And you're raising your voice to say that it should be more socially acceptable to be fat. Why do we want a society in which more people are fat? Think about the waste of food and the waste of dollars spend on health care. The way you got this way is NOT good for you. You are a valued, worthwhile person just like anyone else, and each person in the world has problems in one way or another. But don't pretend that everyone should admire you for being fat.
Love, love, love, love, love. It's about time. I read Dan's response first, in fact, and whoo baby, that's some defensive action going on. I then came here and read this -- seriously, THIS is what he's all worked up about?

Thank you, Lindy, for absolutely making my day.
Fat AND obnoxious - a winning combination.
Shame is a tool of oppression, not change? Please, get over your self-righteous self.

Diets don't work? False. Fad diets tend to not work, and if they do, the results generally aren't sustainable. Limiting your caloric intake and eating "cleaner" does work, along with exercise of course. Laziness doesn't work. Cheating on your diet doesn't work. Changing your lifestyle does work. You may have to work harder or be more diligent to overcome your genetics, but progress can be made.

If you're okay with being fat that's fine with me, unless your slow, out of breath, fat ass is blocking my way up the stairs, or onto the subway, or spilling over into my seat on an airplane. Then I'm not happy about it.

@1190 that last part is for you too. Not a study, but that's how obese people affect me on a daily basis.
Lindy looks like the sort of girl that's always coming up and eye raping me.

Scary, and a rapist.
Lindy, I think it's great that you feel good about your body and that you don't want to be shamed. I, too, agree that shame is never a positive motivator for any sort of change or acceptance, and both of those things must come from within. I do take issue with the link you included to the "thin privilege checklist". While I am well aware that, like any privilege, there are things that thin people take for granted everyday, I think this checklist unrightfully ignores the pressure even thin girls feel all of the time to achieve perfection in their bodies. "If I pick up a magazine or watch T.V. I will see bodies that look like mine that aren’t being lampooned, desexualized, or used to signify laziness, ignorance, or lack of self-control." Nope. That's part of the whole problem. The fact that the skinny models in magazines DON'T look like the average girl and are often weights/sizes that are unattainable is what drives many young girls to drastic measures. Bulimia and anorexia are also a big problem in this country, and much of that is due to obsessive focus on body image. The "thin privilege checklist" seems to think that if you are thin, you don't think about your weight or worry about how others see your body. That is false. Many thin girls look in the mirror and see a fat person. I know that fat people are probably like "well, boo frikken hoo", but that's still a problem. It's a problem that our society has created an attitude around body images that prevents a lot of people from feeling comfortable with the skin they're given.

So yes, I think we should lay off "fat" people. I also think we should lay off thin people. And medium-sized people, for that matter. Weight should not be about image, it should be about health, and that applies to everyone.

I read your post, then Dan's, and then about 500 or so of the comments. Now it's all the way down to about number 1275 so the chance of you and Dan seeing this is fairly slim, but I felt compelled to respond:

Lindy, you go girl!

Dan, you just don't get it! Your response has even generated even more hateful comments directed at Lindy.
@1272 GOLD

Fat is fine. The real shit here is UGLY discrimination.
Dan doesn't get it.

"Lardass" = "fucking faggot".

Equating fat with "disease" = equating gay with AIDS.

Comparing fat with "choice" = comparing gay with "choice".

Dan Safvage is a fucking bigot.
Dan Savage is a saint.
Just Jeff, some of your equivalences are just flat out *factually* wrong, and that's the part that those beating up Dan and defending Lindy can't get right. The bigots here may not be the ones that you think, apparently.
Okay, you've come to the realization that you are OWNING your weight...but, I mean, just because you work for The Stranger doesn't mean you are entitled to 1) explain that in some beat up fashion, and then 2) defend it into the ground, and THEN 3) be a bitch to Dan, and ramble a little more because you are "Lindy West." I get it. I do. You want to the "I love you so much Lindy West" parade. But this is an abuse to this paper. It's hideous to demand respect via your professional (not so professional) job. With that said, go back to writing shitty movie reviews. People might love you because you're snarky, angry, demanding, opinionated, or x, y, and z. But I just think you're cashing in on something that many a fat lady can't. And I don't say that to knock weight. Fat, as #1277 said, IS fine. That's not the issue. The issue is your vehicle. Way to use the system, for no reason other than to make yourself feel a little better, or a little worse. Whatever, West.
Q: If she isn’t ashamed of her body then why would anything anyone said be “hurtful”?

A: She is ashamed of her body.
Lindy - love your blog but you are fat because you eat too much and don't exercise enough . . . stop being a victim . . . it's boring
You go girl. I am 200 pounds, at 48 years of age and my own husband doesn't find me attractive anymore. But, I figure that is his problem. I got heavier when I had my 6 year old late in life, and he is a joy to me. Also, I went through chemotherapy at this weight, and was told more often tthan ever in my life (even more than when I was young and light) how beautiful I was, I began to realize that I really am beautiful. That it wasn't just people trying to be polite. That they mean it. So, the hell with judgment. I also live in a suburb with a lot of unworking moms in jogging suits and blonde pony tails (even at my age), and I like being different. I would like being thinner, but not that much. Not enough to not like myself the way I am too. Thanks for your post Lindy. You go, girl.
Q: If she isn’t ashamed of her body then why would anything anyone said be “hurtful”?

A: She is ashamed of her body.
Q: If she isn’t ashamed of her body then why would anything anyone said be “hurtful”?

A: She is ashamed of her body.
So, I know that no-one is probably reading down this far but I want to throw my two cents in anyway. I think that people genuinely suck when it comes to being sensitive to people's appearance... I also think that this is something that you just have to learn to deal with.

I have been on both extremes of the weight scale, I was a chunky-monkey as a kid AND an anorexic adult. For my bigger years I was tormented, so I stopped eating, lost a ton of weight. The thing is, I got tormented even WORSE when I was skinny. My bigger friends (ones I commiserated with when I was bigger) now made fun of my eating habits, about how clothes fit me now and even though I never said a word against their weight... I was now one of "those" skinny people.

I think that its great that Lindy loves her body but calling out a co-worker (he is NOT her boss) publicly is childish and petty. It completely ruins her credibility for me. She did not give the context for the comments and spun them to fit her needs. I agree with Dan, rolls of fat are gross when people are not wearing clothes that fit them. It has nothing to do with thin or fat... its about fit. My best friend is a big girl (and I think she is stunning) but growing up we were the same size. Its something she has never got out of, she is very size tag conscious. I went from a size 16 to close to a 4 and she tries to fit into current my size clothing... in her head we are still the same size even though she is currently a size 16. She get rolls, and it looks gross on her... just like it would look gross on me if I tried slipping into a size 0. When people wear the correct size... no rolls! Dan was talking about fashion in one of those quotes!

For people who are ragging on Dan for his opinion shame on you! Its his opinion, he can say. I don't always agree with what he says, but I will defend his right to say it. He is a sex advice columnist, not an advocate for every issue on the planet. He doesn't HAVE to be kind or sensitive to every issue on the planet. I can even understand how frustrating the issue must be for him. He's gay, its a matter of genes- he was born gay, will die gay and will be continually persecuted for being gay. Its like being persecuted for being tall or short. It must be very frustrating to see people get upset about an issue that is fixable. Weight is fixable, its controllable (its not always easy to control but you can control it). There are diets, exercise, will-power, surgeries and medication that can help you adjust you weight... being gay is not the same. It must be incredibly frustrating to watch people suffer for something that they can solve.

Being over-weight can lead to a lot of health problems, its a fact. It increases the chances of getting so many health problems, just like smoking, alcohol, and other addictions (and I'm aware that not every over-weight person is a food addict). He may not have sugar-coated it, but he has an opinion and reasons behind that opinion, and people can either take or leave it.

Does everyone find fat attractive.... no but people also don't always find thin, blond, brunette, short, tall, big boobs, small boobs attractive either. Aesthetics are about PERSONAL taste. If your bent out of shape because someone doesn't find you attractive, tough. There are others out there who do, stop being so sensitive and go out and live your life.
Q: If she isn’t ashamed of her body then why would anything anyone said be “hurtful”?

A: She is ashamed of her body.
Feeling good about your own body is a great accomplishment. I myself still struggle with that to a small degree, even though I don't judge others for how they look. But here's a trick that might help others who don't look like supermodels for whatever reason (not weight alone): TURN OF THE GODDAMN TV! Since I quit Charter for the horrible price and customer service, I have given fewer and fewer thoughts to how I look. I see people who are "normal" i.e. not on TV, and they interact with me and are human and beautiful. Being away from TV stereotypes makes it obvious that they are just that: stereotypes. I don't internalize them any more because I don't see stereotypes 5 hours a day! I don't know what it is about people, but when we watch fake things on TV or online, we act as if it's reality, even those of us who know it's fake! Just stop watching it and it will no longer be your reality. It's fun out here in the real world!
Funnel all your anger into hitting the treadmill darling!
@1291 Brian

Awesome, awesome post! I especially love this, in response to Lindy's view that fat people are oppressed:

"Truly oppressed people lack choice. People of color can’t wash the pigment off their skin. Gay people can’t stop being attracted to the same sex. Mentally or physically disabled people can’t grow new brains or legs or arms. However, as fat people, we DO have power over our own bodies. We may be shamed, but to say we are oppressed is an insult to those who are really oppressed, who do not, in any way, have the ability to change. Lindy shouldn’t make oppression a buzz word in her personal struggle with fatness."
I've commented on this topic too much, but 103 stuck out to me...

"try to eat less than 2000 calories"...

Not going to work for all "fat" people, particularly women. My average daily caloric intake is around 1100 calories, mostly raw veggies and lean protein. I also require an hour a day of "light" activity or 30 minutes of "heavy" activity, plus an additional hour of "moderate" activities 3 days a week to maintain 5'5, 152 lbs. I don't appear to weigh as much as I do, though, so I don't get beaten up on as badly as I used to.

I know how hard it can be to lose and maintain weight, I started at 235 lbs. Half the problem is the mental energy to do it just isn't there when you're beaten down by the world. In a way, many if not most fat people CAN'T lose the weight because they physically and mentally don't have the energy to do it. Fat people also probably tend to just be larger naturally, so it requires even more work that they don't have the energy for. I know firsthand that it takes A LOT of energy to stay where I am, and is damn near impossible to lose more (I was a few pounds lighter a while back, but felt terrible), and I have no right to tell other people to put themselves through that. Forget eating healthy, forget moderation. For many fat people, losing weight would be a constant state of denial (hey, like it is for me!)...I don't eat cake on my birthday, and I don't celebrate promotions with a night of binge drinking. I'm lucky I have a boyfriend who can drink an entire bottle of wine by himself, because I hate to waste expensive wines and I can only have 1 glass a night, and we all know that 24 hours is about your limit once opened. I gain weight quickly, so when I travel for business I'm always asking too many questions about sauces and ingredients...2 weeks off would be disastrous (I could gain 10 or 15 lbs easily). I find it so hard to dine out that I often just bring something with me to the restaurant, so I don't have to sit at home alone (yes, I could ask for a salad with plain grilled chicken and vinegar, but (a) restaurants hate when you do that, and (b) I'm never sure they didn't sneak something else in the food).

So, yeah, not so easy. I'm not asking you to find fat, or muscular, or curvy, or big-boned, or any other type of person attractive, I'm asking you to keep your fucking opinion to yourself unless explicitly asked for it...kthanks!
@whoever said:

"If what you say is true, then many people in third world countries, without adequate food supplies, would also be obese. We don't find this phenomenon to be the case, and therefore it's not true."

Um, there are lots of undernourished fat people in third-world countries. What planet are you living on?

Or did you mean countries where large swaths of the population are dying of catastrophic famine? Because yeah, I take your point, that's an eating model we should all be emulating.
I'm almost 50 years old, and have been overweight all my life, including when I literally starved myself down to a size 11, which was still considered overweight. I am on 0 medications. My pulse, blood pressure and cholesterol levels are perfect. I'm active, and happy. Most of my thinner friends are on some kind of medication or another. I have tried many diets, and they all worked, for a short time. Then, they stopped working. All of them. So, first of all, don't assume that being overweight means being unhealthy. Second, don't assume it's easy to lose weight. It isn't easy for everyone.
@whoever said:

"If what you say is true, then many people in third world countries, without adequate food supplies, would also be obese. We don't find this phenomenon to be the case, and therefore it's not true."

Um, there are lots of undernourished fat people in third-world countries. What planet are you living on?

Or did you mean countries where large swaths of the population are dying of catastrophic famine? Because yeah, I take your point, that's an eating model we should all be emulating.
@1296 gbertina

You obviously didn't understand the point. I was responding to a commenter who said that some people are still obese even though they restrict their calories to below 2000 per day. If that were true, then there would be roughly the same number of obese people all over the world.

Clearly, this is not the case. Some obesity statistics:…

And thus, the fact is...more food and more calories equals a fatter person. It's very simple.

Actually, 1297, the source of the calories is also important for many people. If I ate 1100 calories a day of sugary junk, I would weigh more than I do now - and I'd be really, really hungry. One of the problems that we face in the U.S. is that sugary junk is prolific and cheap, while whole, natural foods are harder to get a hold of and relatively expensive. Though I disagree with those who will say "calorie for calorie, they're X times more expensive," because one does not NEED as many calories of real food as junk, the fact remains that I could totally eat boxed mac & cheese, white pasta, white rice, hot dogs, and soda for way less than I spend on veggies, poultry, fish, and a few high-fiber whole grains.

And, I really want a fucking orange. I haven't had an orange in maybe 5 or 6 years...too much sugar...but I love oranges. My coworker is eating one and between this article/discussion and the smell it's making me cry a little. to retrieve my bag of broccoli from the fridge.
You're fantastic. Thank you.
@1297 littlesparrow7, I suggest your obsession with should disqualify you from participating in this discussion. Seriously. What body image issues do *you* have that draw you there? How does Jennifer Hudson losing weight make you feel? Is she a "better" person now than she was before? Would you like her less if she had gained weight? Would you have posted a disparaging comment there? Why?
I'm a dude, 6'0, 190 lbs. The much-maligned BMI states that I'm overweight (25.8), and the truth is that I could stand to lose about 10 lbs.; I just don't care enough to. I have to put a LOT of effort into maintaining my weight as-is, including

1. No desserts, ever. I haven't had ice cream/cake/pie/etc. in years.
2. No snacks, ever. That includes chips, salsa, crackers, cookies, etc. I don't buy them; they're not even in my house.
3. No caloried soda, ever. Coke Zero was a godsend, because I really missed soda and couldn't stomach the Diet labels. Again, I haven't had a caloried soda in years.
4. No meat, ever. I'm a vegetarian.
5. No sauces. I don't say "ever" because they show up at restaurants, but I no longer make any sauce for my home food, and the only thing I put on my salads is salt and pepper.
6. I eat two meals a day. When I tried to eat three like everyone else, I kept gaining weight, so I switched to a "brunch" (really, lunch) and an early dinner.
7. I do strenuous exercise for an hour a day, five days a week. Strenuous = running on the treadmill or heavy lifting. [How do I find time? I don't watch TV. I don't have cable or even an antenna.]

There are a bunch of other tweaks-- I use egg whites instead of eggs, only drink non-fat milk, don't use mayonnaise, etc.-- but those are less significant.

I do have a couple indulgences: wine and cheese. As I get older, my metabolism gets even slower, and I know it's only a matter of time before I have to give up both of those as well. (I've already started cutting back on the cheese.) I figure by the time I'm in my seventies, I'll be living off of water and air. :)

My point is twofold:

1. It is a lot easier for some people to maintain their weight than others, and I seriously doubt that any of the anti-fat crowd have to live with the kind of severe diet I've imposed on myself. So you can STFU about willpower and whatnot. Y'all sound like George Bush insisting that anyone can be rich if they only work hard enough.

2. At this same time, it is possible to control your own weight if you're willing to give up a lot of things that everyone else gets to eat. That doesn't mean everyone should-- it's a lot of work for some of us, and we may have better things to do with our time. But barring the very rare exception, it's possible.
Very thought provoking. I can imagine what comments like this would do to someone who feels like they are on the other end of it. I am so happy to hear that you are loving your body more now, and with time and age, I hope it gets better every year. It has for me.

I just wish there was a better debate about paying for children to learn and be creative and confident in this world through education and taxes than the costly health care required because of choices we make that often catch up with us. I hope you get the joy of having one some day and realizing this statement is as ignorant as yours about weight.

So be proud, be confident and be humble. And remember the famous saying 2 wrongs don't make a right.
Lindy, I was already a fan for your reviews of "Sex and the City" and "Get Him to the Greek." Now I admire you as a bold and articulate fatshionista, too! Love the outfit -- way to focus attention on your beautiful ankles! -- and the don't-mess-with-me expression.
@1298, I don't know how global this is, but didn't some dietitian recently lose weight by eating nothing but junk food -- just a small amount of it (I think around 1K Calories/day)? I think the issue is complicated because you need to have nutrients with your calories or all sorts of processes start crashing on you. But the point (at least in his case) was that it really WAS the number of calories and not the source. Now, someone who's actually a dietician or a biochemist correct me if I'm wrong, but the idea about sources of calories affecting your weight, I think, came from Dr. Atkins and his very vague notion of biochemistry. That doesn't mean the low-carb/low-sugar diets don't work for some people, but it also doesn't mean that it works FOR THE REASON THEY THINK. It might just be that carbs, the way we eat them (with extra sauces and baked densely) have more calories per mouthful than meat. It might also be that sugars taste great and therefore compel us to eat more. Of course, you know better than I what works and doesn't work for you, but I was hoping this might help you think about things you can eat that you might not have considered. If it doesn't, disregard.
@1239, you might want to consider that that "being beaten down by the world" is depression from biochemical sources, not from how the world views you. I, of course, don't know your situation, so forgive me if I'm projecting. But I know that for me, I got fat because I was depressed for a totally irrelevant reason. But then once I fixed that, I stayed fat and the fat itself was making me depressed. Only a little bit (i.e. slightly paranoid, barely enough energy to get out of bed, lack of willpower in the face of burgers, not WANTING to be healthy because of slight self-destructive tendencies, etc), but that was enough to make it very hard to fix. It's a tough hole to climb out of -- depression makes you sit in bed and eat and want to hurt yourself, but the only way out of it is to exercise and eat vegetables and be good to yourself. Nobody was ever mean to me -- in fact, I got hit on more with the extra weight (not really a plus as far as I'm concerned, but I'm counting it as a sign that the people were nice instead of mean). Still didn't make me not hate myself, but the hatred was from the depression, not the fat! Who gives a fuck about your weight -- just fix the depression. It makes us all irrational (i.e. our brain incorrectly attributes a cause to the feeling), and it's just plain no fun. For me, the fix was lots of water, SAM-e, all of my daily servings of vegetables (just add them to your diet if you still want to eat unhealthy things), exercise every few days, and more than 6h of sleep a night. It took a year and a half to make these minor changes stick, but now I can make the rational decision about whether I want to lose weight because I am no longer depressed 23/6. I think I will lose a little because my back hurts sometimes, but I don't feel compelled to look like a model. Why? Because I know I'm fine and people who think otherwise are silly and wrong -- it seems outrageous that I'd care what they think. Why do I feel that way? Because I circumvented the biochemical effects the extra fat (if I read the literature correctly, it's about inflammatory effects of no exercise and adipose tissue fucking with your hormone levels) was having on my brain. Fix the root cause -- feeling bad is not because of your appearance, just your biochemistry. And that can be fixed without changing your appearance, if you so choose.
Okay this is more of a response to Andrew, whose comment begins with: This is bullshit. I weighed 238 lbs on Jan 1st, and today I weigh 215. That's 23 lbs in 6 weeks (actually less than 6).

You sir, are an asshole. Not everyone loses, weight. I can attest to that, no matter what I have done, which I've done exactly what you've done, entire diet and exercise program...and nothing happened.

You cannot say that everyone can lose weight...not everyone can, and it's not our fault, or our's sometimes just a fact of our body, and our different healths. I completely agree with this blog, it is a beautiful piece and of course we shouldn't be shamed into thinking we're disgusting. More power to you Linda, and to me!
I think the criticism Dan levies against fat people (which is almost wholly legitimate) is being conflated with the illegitimate and often terrible pressures healthy women feel to look like supermodels. They're not the same, and to equate obesity with healthy women who are pressured is not only dishonest, but it's selfish.

Lindy, you're neither a tad bit pudgy, nor are you healthy. You're morbidly obese. Plenty of studies published weekly in reputable medical journals time and again state that you are more likely to suffer countless health problems solely because of your weight. And what do you do to try to fix these problems? You blame someone who states empirically verifiable facts instead of making a concerted effort to do something about your problem. This is not an unwarranted criticism of another person. Would anyone in their right mind think somebody was unjustified in confronting someone with a crack problem? Of course not, and the only reason criticizing fatties is not P.C. in some circles is because there are so many walrus look-alikes in the good old US of A.

I used to work in a health club, and EVERY SINGLE tubby bitch (used without any intention of referencing gender for you sensitive folk) looking to lose weight said the same exact thing: "I do countless things and I can't lose weight." Alas, a month into a diet and exercise regimen, EVERY SINGLE person who stuck with the program lost weight. At first, most chalked it up to the hand of god blessing their trainer, but then those that realized what it actually takes to lose weight owned up to the notion that it's not a miracle. It's a simple formula: burn more calories than you take in and you will lose weight. It takes more effort for some than others, but it can be done by anyone. Stop trying to make others feel bad for your shortcomings, and do what most of us do with respect to our own: suck it up, take responsibility, and get help if need be.

P.S. I don't know anyone who thinks somebody some 100 pounds overweight is "attractive." If you love yourself that's fine, but it's selfish to force people to think you're not unattractive and unhealthy.
this post = made of awesome.

Dan will, if he's lucky, someday come to some sort of peace with the fact that internalizing some others' gay-hating does not excuse him for perpetuating hatred of other kinds for other people. I hope. For his sake, and his kid's, but mostly for himself.

His response is just a sad regurgitation of various odes on the theme 'I'm hated! So I get to hate, too! It is only fair!' Oh Dan. Grow the fuck up.

And meanwhile, Lindy, you absolutely fucking rocked the debate. Win win win.

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