Wednesday, May 27, 2009

MeMe Roth and Anorexia

Life on Fatz already covered MeMe Roth’s equating eating food with rape, which is on a level of F’d up I haven’t seen yet. I want to cover another problem that came up in the interview.

I have a hate-hate relationship with the article in general. The first hate is that they are giving this woman attention, despite her complete lack of credibility or expertise. (Fat parents and a job as an “image consultant” does not a health expert make). She portrays herself as a modern Jeanne D’arc leading the people from death, and the last thing you want to do with a hate-mongerer crazy for publicity is to give them publicity. For some reason the media seem to fawn on her, but I’m not sure if it’s because of body-envy or because she’s spewing the vitriol they’re secretly afraid to say because they know it’s nasty and bigoted. At least this reporter is careful to emphasize that she’s the only nut job in her particular bag ‘o trail mix. Second, of course, is that the reporter has to give the obligatory paragraph-long crunch on Death Fat, trotting out the same statistics that have been disproven for years but are still stacked somewhere in a fact-check file for reporters to reference.

Now for the reason why I even bothered to click over to it. This interview casts a light on MeMe’s disturbing intensity of fanaticism. First she refuses to meet the reporter anywhere that serves food. She shows up in a tightly belted coat she refuses to take off. She talks about shame trauma as a child which she centers on the weight of her relatives. She’s highly uncomfortable talking about her own eating. She says she doesn’t do breakfast, halfway admits to not often eating lunch, won’t or can’t name a food she does eat other than black beans, brags that she runs four miles a day, sometimes doesn’t allow herself to eat until after she’s run four miles a day, and as of the 3:30 interview had not eaten anything that day.

Now I’m not an expert either, but doesn’t this quack a whole helluva lot like anorexia?

I’ve spent as much time as anyone in disgust and sometimes anger over this woman and her unproductive bile, but is it possible that instead of just being a nasty, hateful human being she might also/instead be seriously ill? There’s also the risk that if she is anorexic as she comes across in this interview, that she’s passing dangerous behaviours on to others via her “private nutrition counselling business”.

There’s a point where sometimes an aversion becomes pathological. I can see where a lifetime associating fat with shame and pain could warp into disordered eating, which then would need to be self-justified. By encouraging disordered eating in others she would validate her own illness to herself. I wonder what she’s doing to her daughters, as an example? What would she do if one of her own children picked up a gene for fatness from their grandparents or great-grandparents? Would she be willing to watch or force her own daughters to run four miles a day on no food? Give the daughter her own childhood of shame and abuse (this time external instead of internal)? I would hate to think there’s that kind of evil in the world sitting in plain sight.


Anonymous said...

She runs a nutrition counselling business? Somehow I managed to miss that little tidbit in my first skim of the article.

Someone just shoot me now.

Heidi said...

If she weren't such a vitriolic person, I'd feel sorry for her (the story about being ashamed of her fat mom in kindergarten is *sad*). That said, she's an adult and it's her responsibility to work through those issues in a healthy way. I absolutely *do* feel sorry for her kids, because I cannot imagine what warped views of food, eating, and body image they must have.

Anoif said...

This woman has some serious problems. I admit that my first reaction to hearing about her "wedding dress challenge" was a string of unkind four letter words... but the more I read about this new object of loathing, the more I was filled with sympathy.

She's a casualty of society's ridiculous perceptions about fat... and has chosen to deal with them in a particularly extreme and scary way.

- fat = bad health. Check.
- embarrassed not of her own fat, but of family members' fat. Check.
- believes food is evil. Check.
- believes that nobody is attracted to fat people. Check.

MeMe Roth is doing everything "right". Society tells us, "be thin at any cost!" and that's precisely what she's done. If you've gotta eat nothing but black beans (or just straight up nothing) and run four miles a day to be thin, you'd better do it.

She is a prime example of why misinformation and fat hatred is bad for EVERYBODY... not just fat people.

These things set us (ALL of us) up for failure. You are either not thin enough, and are a disgusting slob with no resolve and no self-respect, or you are thin enough and you are a manic whackjob c-bomb with all-consuming mental disorders.

The sooner everybody (in general, and women in particular) learn to go "fuck off, my weight is none of your concern", the better off we will all be.

Rachel said...

She runs a nutrition counselling business? Somehow I managed to miss that little tidbit in my first skim of the article.FYI: I'm about to post a blog entry on her "business," lack of qualifications and more.

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Rachel said...

Unlike MeMe, Peggy Nature actually does appear to, you know, eat. Plus, she actually goes to a Real Recognized school for her professional training. So, not so strange to me.

Anonymous said...

You know what? This kinda makes me want to go to her same unaccredited school and then debate her...just imagine...dueling "degrees"

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Allison said...

I recently had the misfortune of watching Meme on Nightline, and you just eloquently wrote everything I had to say and more. Not only do I believe this woman to be mentally and possibly physical ill, I find her to be the definition of naive. Clearly the only definition of health and beauty is her's. I hate to think about how many people could be entering into an unhealthy lifestyle because of her incorrect view of what it means to be "fat."

Anonymous said...

She is, without a doubt, ill, mentally as much as physically. I can bet anything on it. Any nutritionist will tell you that skipping breakfast is one of the worst things you can do to your body and health. Any professional trainer will tell you that working out every day is NOT good for you unless you're training for the Olympics.

This woman has a highly unhealthy lifestyle, and it pisses me off that she's being toted as some sort of "expert" on health. It's like putting a pedophile on the air and claiming he's a "child expert".

She's not fighting obesity. She's fighting anyone who doesn't fit into her shallow idea of what's physically acceptable - and that means anyone who's larger than a size 2. She belongs in a loony bin.