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Oh Hell No: MeMe Roth Edition

February 24, 2010

Girl is straight up Cray-Cray.

Some highlights:

-The anatomy and lifestyles of monkeys are directly comparable to humans.

-women should give up all intellectual pursuits beyond that of counting calories.

-the simple formula for your daily caloric intake: your desired weight x 100. she’s serious. (but if you exercise you get to eat about 500 more, per 4 running miles).

Jezebel dissects this a bit, but the women in the audience and on the stage with her put up a good fight and try to get her to talk about health, when she just keeps coming back to fat.

I think in her one interview, she manages to exemplify all those constructions and phobias we at Happy Bodies strive to change.

And I would love to hear your thoughts.

Because the only thing I can add to what the women in opposition to her so eloquently say is,


9 Comments leave one →
  1. Emily permalink
    February 24, 2010 9:58 PM

    I think the thing that annoys me most about her is how smug she is. She seems to have this idea that she “defeated” fat (see, for example, in her introduction, when the host points out that Meme “would like you to know” that she has a family history of obesity) and that people who can’t/won’t/don’t want to get down to her size are somehow less than she is because they can’t “defeat” their fat in the same way she apparently did.

    It’s also SO privileged, right? How many people have the time, energy or resources to run four miles a day, obsessively count the calories in their food, eat extremely nutritious food all the time, etc.?

    And you know what, good for her if she’s happy with her body, but not everyone feels their healthiest at 120 (or whatever she weighs) pounds. When I was walking 10-15 miles a day a few summers ago (long story), I felt strong and healthy, and yes, I lost some weight, but I’m sure I never even came close to 120. Because 120 isn’t where my body wants to be. I think one of the best ways to encourage people to be healthy (if that’s what she’s worried about, though the more I see of her the more I’m starting to doubt that) is to teach them to love their bodies and to not be ashamed of them. When you’re eating well and staying active to make yourself feel good, it’s a hell of a lot more enjoyable. And that’s what life’s about, right?

    Also, Meme, just for you I ate a bunch of chips today. AND ohnoes I DIDN’T RUN FOUR MILES TO “EARN” THEM.

    So suck on that.

    • Jill permalink
      February 24, 2010 10:08 PM


      I ate fries. WHAT NOW MEME.

      • Jill permalink
        February 24, 2010 10:47 PM

        Also, what the shit, EARNING CALORIES? Decrying our DEPENDENCE ON FOOD?.

        What the WHAT?

      • Emily permalink
        February 25, 2010 12:42 AM

        Yeah, she actually said that on days when she runs, she “earns” several hundred extra calories. Like she didn’t have a right to consume those calories beforehand.

        I think that is a really useful way of thinking about my body, you know? Like, sorry lungs, I know you’re out of breath, but you can’t take in more oxygen until you’ve EARNED IT with ten more minutes on the treadmill. And if I cave and take a deeper breath than I’ve earned, I’m a bad person.
        New workout plan!!!!

    • nko permalink
      February 25, 2010 1:17 AM

      I especially enjoy that she condemns eating only 1000 calories a day as obviously outrageous and below subsistence level for any human, but 1,300 is perfectly acceptable. I never realized the power of 300 calories.

  2. Laura permalink
    February 24, 2010 10:16 PM

    I eat peanut butter at every meal. Ha!

  3. adam permalink
    March 2, 2010 9:08 AM

    hi guys. it’s my first post, so let me start off by saying that i really like this blog. definitely coming from a very good place.

    that “face off” was really interesting to watch, especially when people weren’t getting too personal or too wrapped up in their own arcane logic (or stats). this might be my bias, but i thought the three most important points of that discussion came from the left (side of the room, of course ;p ).

    1. health is not just physical, and maybe we should be more worried about mental health
    2. before people can make change in their lives, they need to be able to love themselves
    3. the main enemy in any talk like this is HATE

    to address the first 2 points, i think what we might really need in america is some true confidence on an individual basis. i think this is more pressing than fresh food (although that clearly needs attention too). unfortunately, i think mental health is still a gray area in a lot of people’s minds today, and i don’t know what i think of a government campaign to boost self-esteem…

    what i do know is that HATE IS THE ENEMY. this means that when you are trying to help someone, you need to KNOW THEM. i think the problem with mrs. numbers is that she is wrapped up in her own ideas and not in touch with the needs of the people she wants to help. i don’t think she was a very appealing person, although i wouldn’t discredit EVERYTHING she said (only most of it).

    on the other hand, i don’t think we’re all even handed on this blog either. even if it is righteous indignation, getting offended by this woman and biting her head off is not constructive.

    let me quickly add that i’m pretty sure no one here is a head-biter by nature. but i still feel like singling her out is not up to moral scratch.

    hrm… then again, maybe people like her don’t get told they’re wrong enough… anyway, like a few people on tv were saying: LET’S GET POSITIVE!!~~ guess that’s all i’ve got

    peace, love, and FREEDOM ;p

  4. nko permalink
    March 2, 2010 9:34 AM

    Hey Adam! First of all, thank you for taking the time to comment and contribute to the discussion.

    I think that the last point you had is something that really resonates with me when I do my “Oh Hell No” posts. I’m referring specifically, to “maybe people like her don’t get told they’re wrong enough”.

    There’s a dominant discourse that shames bodies and the people who inhabit them, that makes them feel like there isn’t a place for them in this world unless they fit certain standard specifications.

    I think when one person (i.e. MeMe Roth) is offering “advice” that is so far removed from the bodies and experiences of those whom she wishes to help, it is so important to call her out on it. To point out the ridiculousness in her statements and to say IT IS NOT OKAY.

    I think it is important for our voices to be heard, to break this mold that tries to shape people into carbon copies, make them smaller (literally and figuratively) than they are, make them less like themselves or more like something “normal”.

    And that is why I continue to post things that may be classified as “righteous indignation”. There are things that are not okay, and the very least I can do to try and contribute to a more body positive world is by pointing out those things which are hurtful. Especially when they are the beliefs of one woman who is trying to pass them off as science.

    In conclusion, I agree with almost all of your points. But I just have a different definition of what “constructive” means in this context.

    • adam permalink
      March 2, 2010 10:36 AM

      word. david taking on goliath. looking at the comments again, i guess “head biting” was a little too strong anyway. it’s a tough to stay noble when ppl aren’t playing by the same rules.

      this stuff’s heavy!! it’s good to write about it.

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