Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Forget settling, Lori Gottlieb's fat shaming is horrendous, sickening

If you read the comments in duchess's Lori Gottlieb counterpoint, you're no doubt aware that the author of the newest self help fad is no stranger to penning controversial work, including an essay titled "Fat Like Him," which purports to be about the experience of dating someone that fails the "checklist," but is really about Gottlieb's fat phobia, narcissism, bigotry, and neurosis.

Yes, the writing is witty, and she taps into some real features of human relationships, but hearing her describe a real person the way she describes her ex "Tim" just makes me sick to my stomach (and not because he's fat, which is the source of her nausea).  Moreover, her treatment of him is patently abusive (refusing to introduce him to her friends, not wanting to be seen touching him in public, constantly criticizing his weight and what he eats).  You can hear Tim's own take on the situation, and Gottlieb's mental state, over at Jezebel.

Gottlieb is a former anorexic, and it seems clear in her essay that she still exhibits the psychological symptoms of the disorder, if not the physical ones.  She is disgusted by fat, by fat people, by what type of person someone must be to get fat.  The essay is one big exercise in fat shaming and bigotry, playing up every stereotype and misconception about obesity, from fat people smell bad to they snore to they can't be good writers.  On top of this, Gottlieb takes every chance she can to describe herself as "tiny," "100 pounds," or 1/3 of Tim's weight, in case we didn't understand how skinny she is, and how therefore morally superior.

If you are considering taking anything Gottlieb has to say about relationships seriously, I encourage you to go skim her essay.  Don't put yourself through the same punishment I did and read the whole thing, but just read enough to get a taste of the ugliness.  Then, look at yourself in the mirror and say "I am a beautiful, amazing woman who is perfectly capable of making my own decisions about relationships and does not need the advice of someone as hateful, glib, and distinctly unqualified as Lori Gottlieb."

After reading the essay, I had the same reaction Tim (eventually) had to her insanity--I went to the kitchen and found something to eat.  Something to prove my ability to put my physical appearance in appropriate balance with other things I enjoy, to celebrate food as a life source and pleasure rather than a fidelity test, to show Gottlieb that putting butter (of all things!) on your bread does not make you a deviant.  Something delicious.


  1. I snack to that. :)


  2. LOL!

    I actually went through and read the article. I didn't even know there were people who actually thought like this. So stereotypically shallow. And her friend Stella actually encourages it! It would be hilarious if it weren't so sad that she's not making it all up.

    I kind of feel bad for her. She must really carry a lot of suffering inside to have tried to cut the fat off her body with scissors. :(

  3. This totally adds a whole new framework for reading her book.

  4. Wow, i guess she didn't mean compromise at all. She literally meant if your a crazy shallow bee-otch like me, then you're never gonna find anyone. Umm... Duh!

  5. Hey Vanny, I know what you're saying, but no name calling. Thanks for all the comments!

  6. sorry the alternate spelling didn't foolya ;)


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