Jamie Oliver leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Someone on my twitter feed posted the link to Jamie Oliver’s talk about how it’s important to for people to learn about foods they are cooking and eating, and to pass that on to any spawn they might have. I totally agree with this; it’s important to be informed and listen to what your body needs.

What stopped me from listening to the entire talk was the constant peppering of OBESITY IS SO BAD, OMG WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE EARLY AND IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT.

…. I become really really frustrated with this kind of talk.  There is an obsession with weight in today’s society that is so distinctly BEYOND one’s health, and it’s so very ingrained that I don’t believe that most people realise they are even obsessed with it. It’s so easy to talk about the “obesity epidemic” but some people have talked about it with me as though I am not one of the chunky brigade. When i point out that “hey, I’m fat. And that’s okay!” there are wild flayings of “OH NO NOT YOU, YOU’RE NOT THE KIND OF PERSON WE ARE TALKING ABOUT.”

Who are these people you are talking about then?  And more importantly, what gives a person the right to talk about someone else in such a way? What happened to compassion for others? Kindness towards anyone regardless of their appearance? Am i just missing a part of the human psyche that thinks it’s okay to blatantly hate on the way someone else looks? Perhaps as a fat girl (being on the other side of the judgement conundrum) I am just not looking at it from a lot of points of view. Then again i’ve known some pretty bitchy fats so I really don’t think that’s the case – horrible people come in all shapes and sizes too.

I don’t know.  I just honestly wish that celebrities like Jamie Oliver would do a bit more research before blatantly hating on us fats.  Why can’t we be educated about food without the whole shaming thing? Sometimes I wonder if Jamie Oliver plans to come out with some hideous sort of meal replacement plan, and that’s why he’s doing this. SIGH.



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  • http://www.nomoremumus.com/ Sonya

    Ugh, good going, Oliver. Way to shame. While healthy eating is important, what other people choose to feed their bodies with is absolutely no concern of mine. Definitely makes me wonder if he's trying to spruik something. Well, besides the cookbooks and the tv shows.

  • stobiepole

    This makes me feel much better:


    Schadenfreude is a wondrous thing.

  • ainge

    what people often forget is that the more they stigmatize fat, the less likely fat people will be to approach their doctors and get healthcare. as a lifelong fatty who has always felt brutally out of place at gyms, i've only been able to get excited about fitness when health at every size has been promoted. you'd think they'd want their program to attract the very people they think are in danger of dying of fat, since they just have our best interests at heart, right?

    it seems like this is a huge topic stateside given michelle obama's crusade to end childhood obesity. why this couldn't be a crusade to end childhood inactivity or a crusade to promote nutrition? meh.

    http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/childhood-s… – this opinion piece is great, just don't scroll down to the comments unless you want to rage.

  • La_di_Da

    It's very frustrating that he thinks that somehow his gourmet ham and specialty cheese focaccia is morally superior to a sliced white bread sandwich with soccerball ham and Kraft cheese slices or a pizza with dough you make yourself is morally superior to one from Dominos. That if only those fatties (read: lower class slobs) would learn to cook nice food they wouldn't be so fat and gross! Sure the gourmet stuff might taste nicer to many people, but WHO THE FUCK CARES??? If someone isn't interested in cooking “nice” food, well, that's their business. Likewise someone who prefers a Big Mac to a $25 wagyu burger.

    Oliver's classism is repugnant anyway, but especially considering he likes people to think that he's Essex lad with a working class background. His parents were middle-class business owners and he went to private grammar school. He has dyslexia and left school at 16 – hmm, maybe that's where some of this comes from, a la “If I with dyslexia can pull myself up by my bootstraps and be a millionaire chef, surely those fatties ought just exercise a little willpower like I did! Simple!” Feh. He is full of middle-class outrage at the awful lives of the fat plebs.

    Which reminds me, there was a post at Pandagon about how conservative* beliefs all kind of join up, and it applies here, where people are trying to tell fatties/plebs how to behave. http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/comments/the… The big quote is “Easily available chemical highs are the moral equivalent of welfare—they undercut the official culture’s control of who gets rewarded for what.” And I really think that for a great many people, this is why they feel that outrage over fat/poor people who either do or are believed to eat nothing but tasty, tasty junk food. How dare poor people, or other people deemed to be low-status, have some pleasure from eating a delicious meal laden with fat, sugar, salt? They're supposed to be ascetic and grateful for our moral guidance, including what to eat! (See: restrictions on what you can buy with food stamps or vouchers from charities; restrictions on what certain people can buy with Centrelink benefits; etc.) Fat people are obviously out-of-control ignoramuses and they should be grateful for our paternalism! They are flaunting our hierarchical reward culture by not losing weight and eating indulgent food, because only thin people are allowed to reward themselves with a child-sized ice cream once a year!

    Oooh, it makes me ranty.

    * I am sure you have all noticed how even the most self-proclaimed progressive, liberal, free-thinker can suddenly turn into a patronising concern troll/fat-hater at the merest mention of obeeeesity!

  • fabkate

    I'm not sure where you think he's said something hateful. Shaming? I didn't see any of that either. Can you give some examples of where you felt he was being hateful? I'm trying to understand your point of view.

  • nitrojane

    Perhaps hateful is an exaggeration on my part – I was feeling quite visceral at the time I wrote this. I guess sometimes it feels to me as though many people talk about things like THE OBESITY CRISIS as though it's an accusation – and sometimes I feel as though I have somehow failed society by falling into this category. Why yes, I am “morbidly obese”, I don't really exercise, and I eat whatever the hell I feel like. I am obviously failing at life, and wasting taxpayers' money, and all the children who die earlier because of my fatitude are going to come and get me in my non-existent afterlife. (See? This stuff makes me ranty and visceral, apologies.)

    Then after I go through this whole self-deprecating schpiel in my head, I realise that I too am a human being, who pays tax dollars like everyone else, and deserves to be treated not as a statistic, but as a person.

    Look, I know Jamie Oliver has good intentions. But his attitude of storming in and telling people what's right and what's wrong really gets my back up. I think mainly it's because he's not looking at the bigger picture this; people eat crappy foods because it's usually cheaper and more convenient; people live sedentary lifestyles because more jobs in the first world are sedentary, and people are working longer hours due to the economy and the high costs of living. It has also been shown that fats are far less likely to go to the doctor because every time they do they get fat-shamed. This can often lead to ongoing health issues which wouldn't have been a problem had they gone to the doctor in the first place. Whose fault is this? Not the individual, that's for sure! The medical profession (and society in general) has taken a stance of fat-shaming wherever possible; with shows like The Biggest Loser, as well as celebrities endorsing weight loss products, tips and tricks for looking “fabulous” (ie losing weight) on every magazine cover and idiots such as Meme Roth ranting constantly about how fats are going to take over the universe and WONT SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN. Not to mention that doctors are paid by pharmaceutical companies to promote their products (and lets face it, diet and weight loss supplements and prescribed pills are multiplying at an alarming rate.)

    While I -love- Jamie Oliver's food, I can understand why other people have hesitated to jump on his bandwagon. After all, nobody likes being told they are idiots and are doing it wrong, and (from my perspective) that seems like what he is doing.

    I was wrong in calling what he said hateful, but his ignorance of all the facts (and emotions!) makes me… well, sad.

  • fabkate

    You know I agree that a lot of what's wrong has to do with larger social issues. The thing I DO like about Jamie Oliver is that he addresses those issues. He's not just blaming the mom who feeds her kids pizza, he's trying to offer an alternative (and education) on how to do something just as fast and more nutritious. The thing I do like is that he's addressing broader issues like school lunches (which is one of my pet peeves). I don't know how much he addresses sedentary lifestyles… I mean I haven't seen him talk about that… but I have seen him talk about bringing better quality foods into our lives cheaply, and about corporate responsibility. What I like is that he recognizes that it's not a bunch of individuals who are “guilty” of making bad choices for themselves and their children, but a culture of food which has created an environment where people are going to naturally be unhealthy.

    One of the important things Jamie does do, which is something you don't see all over, is look at it as a MEDICAL problem rather than an issue of mere appearance. These people don't recognize that being “fabulous” isn't merely an appearance thing, that it's health, self worth, and ability to live life the way we want to rather than being limited by our health.

    I think one of the big problems is also that as obese people we do have higher levels of shame… and that we can be oversensitive. All criticism is not shaming… and can be constructive once we let our defenses down just a little. I know from experience that there were a lot of things I wasn't ready to hear (much less deal with) for decades while I hovered around the 400 lb mark. One of those things was that being poor and disabled didn't mean I had to stay unhealthy. I knew that poorer people tend to be more obese because high calorie filling foods are cheaper. I knew that having Lupus lowers mobility and resting more reduced the amount of “flares”. And I knew those things so absolutely that I didn't want to hear someone tell me that there were other ways to live. But, thankfully, I was wrong.

  • nitrojane

    I agree about Jamie trying to address things, I guess I am somewhat overemotional about this. I honestly wish that he hadn't brought up obesity as one of the reasons why he's on his crusade though. It just makes me feel a bit itchy, yaknow? I mean, why couldn't he just talk about health and wellbeing instead of bringing out the obesity card. It's just such an easy card to play with all the fat hysteria going on in the world.

    My reaction largely comes from a background of people telling me they were criticising me for my health, when really all they wanted to do was make sure I knew that I should be striving to be thinner – because thinner is always better. It's deeply psychologically ingrained in me, and only recently am I beginning to deal with it, and address those issues in my life.

    I wish that there were more people just willing to listen to others and their stories. Each person's circumstances are different. I like that Jamie Oliver at least gets to know people along the way, but sometimes he's as tactful as a blow to the head with a baseball bat. Perhaps if he worked on that, more people would be receptive to his ideas? I don't know. Maybe it's just a case of him implementing things at a higher level, and about corporations taking responsibility, as you mentioned.

    When I say all these things, I really do hope that his goals work out. People should know the difference between a tomato and a potato. People should know how to cook delicious and healthy meals. It's an everyone skill, in my opinion. I do hope, however, that he realises weight and health aren't necessarily linked. This would make me back him 100 percent.

  • jess.

    i live in huntington. jamie oliver came over & asked OUR hospitals to donate the money towards his mission in our city. he built a kitchen & left one of our underfunded free clinics to run it after he left. i haven't heard or read a single story about how much money he himself donated to “help” my city, just how he used other people's money.

    the cooking classes aren't free, either.

    did you notice he referred to my state as a “season”? we're just a fucking tv show to him.

  • La_di_Da

    He's not just blaming the mom who feeds her kids pizza, he's trying to offer an alternative (and education) on how to do something just as fast and more nutritious.

    Thing is, he does blame the mom who feeds her kids pizza. You may have heard about an incident where two mothers were handing their kids takeaway food over the school fence. It was painted as fat-kids-demand-junk-food-from-fat-parents, when in fact the new school lunch arrangements were such a shemozzle that some kids weren't getting any lunch at all, so their mums had to leave work and bring them something before the lunch hour was over for both of them. Jamie Oliver called those mums “fat old scrubbers”. He later apologised to one of the mums and she accepted but told him off for living in a bubble and being out-of-touch with people who may be working long hours at low-paid jobs. He's also called parents ” “tossers”, “white trash” and “arseholes” who feed their children “shit” “. Those are hardly the words of someone who's not blaming individuals and who just wants to offer an alternative.

    As has been said:

    “There’s nothing wrong with providing people with an opportunity to learn to cook. Eating well is a life-enhancing experience. Oliver could easily have produced a show where he simply showed ordinary punters how to make interesting meals. Unfortunately, that’s all a bit too Delia these days, and instead the whole exercise was turned into a military-style campaign to save the lower orders from their own failings.”

  • kellyhogaboom

    Good topic.

    Irrespective of Mr. Oliver but on the topic of fat-shaminz: I recently got lectured to about how horrible THE OBESE are and how they all eat several gallons of ice cream a day or whatever. And are wretched and/or dumb/ignorant and deserve to die or suffer, are the source of so many problems, blah blah. And I hear this stuff because I guess I'm not fat enough to be one of “those people”. So when I challenge, “Oh I'm not talking about you.”

    Yeah, but you are! Because yeah, OK, I'm not that fat. How “fat” do I have to be to count as someone who might object to the base disrespect and cruelty? Because I am fat compared to, oh, about a million bajillion cultural messages (like the memorable “SO FAT” Jessica Simpson stage where I'm guessing she BALLOONED up to 130 lbs. and it was on many, many, many magazines). So I am fat, really, and if you're hating on fatties you're giving me a temporary pass unless, you know, I gain more weight, and then you'll hate me indiscriminately and assume I eat X, Y, and Z and I'm a BAD PERSON for doing so.

    I'm very tired of all the hate… and I wonder what it feels like for the many who actually are so fat, and get to walk around with this kind of hate directed at them directly.

    @nitrojane / Janey:

    My reaction largely comes from a background of people telling me they were criticising me for my health, when really all they wanted to do was make sure I knew that I should be striving to be thinner – because thinner is always better.

    I actually got tears in my eyes reading this. I'm sorry you've been talked to this way. Sadly, I know you are not alone – especially as a woman. In my life, I grew up listening and absorbing my own mother talking about herself and her “health”. She still does: masquerades fat hate/striving to be smaller as “health” concerns (her health is damned awesome). I challenge her on this as gently and compassionately as I can. I suppose I should start telling her she's beautiful As Is. I have a lot of resentment towards her over her dieting stuff, but I suppose I should put on my Big Girl panties and forgive her once and for all.

    Sorry for making the post about You into a post about Me (and my family). Getting back to it, I appreciate your post and the topic very much.

  • http://www.fatnutritionist.com/ the fat nutritionist

    I don't believe that most people realise they are even obsessed with it.



    Because they were talking about ALL THOSE LAZY UGLY SMELLY MORALLY BANKRUPT FAT PEOPLE. Which is to say, imaginary fat people. Because those kind don't actually exist — at least not in greater numbers than LAZY UGLY SMELLY MORALLY BANKRUPT THIN PEOPLE, over which there appears to be no hand-wringing.

    Jamie Oliver needs to read a book or something. Seriously. It takes about five minutes' worth of head-not-up-your-ass thought to discover that shaming people based on the way they look is never a good idea.

  • fabkate

    I hadn't heard that Jamie Oliver had done those things… I'll certainly look into it.

  • Chris

    if you enjoy looking disgusting, being constipated and smelling of sweat then good luck to you.. fat people make me sick.. at least in America you only drain your own money and not that of taxpayers.. Fat people have no self pride..

  • Chris

    so this is a pro fat site then… buy a mirror fat cunts

  • Abifalola

    Jamie should stop eating so much of his recipes in my opinion he’s gaining these days. I agree he does have a lot of people obsessing over their weight when they really do not need to. But on that note I must say it is not really okay to be fat because you are killing yourself slowly, I am not someone to talk because I’m not exactly within my ideal weight (my thighs have been kissing for a long time) but people say it’s okay to big because big is beautiful. Yes you are beautiful but obesity, heart disease and osteoporosis is not. Shed the weight in a healthy way. It not okay to be fat or super skinny.

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