Some of you may be aware of Ragen Chastain of Dances With Fat. In a nutshell, she’s an obese fat acceptance/HAES blogger who also bills herself as being “athletic.” Her claim to athleticism is dancing at a cabaret. Recently she walked a 5k. Just in case you missed that, she WALKED a 5k, which is yet another crumbling brick in the unsound foundation of “I’m obese, can’t tie my shoes without breaking a sweat, and climbing more than two flights of stairs would utterly destroy my terrible work capacity, but I am still just as athletic as someone who is 185lbs, 15% bodyfat, and deadlifts 575lbs. I, too strength train, but I don’t lift weights because they are damaging for your joints. Instead I do mild, limited-range calisthenics during which I don’t break a sweat.” Her time to walk 3.2 miles was 1:09, for those of you wondering.
As an aside, she claims to be able to develop Type II muscle fibers “very easily.” I clean 305lbs at less than 160lbs bw, and I know for a fact that I don’t develop Type II muscle fibers period, because I’ve been doing this for like fucking seven years and I’m still shoveling shit. Since she doesn’t participate in sprint-effort activities, she couldn’t even confirm this through a roundabout personal observation. I left a comment on her blog asking how she came to this conclusion and if she’s had a muscle biopsy done, which is truly the only valid method of determining whether someone is “Type II” dominant. It’s still awaiting moderation, and she’s not going to answer it, because despite pretending that she is a scientific individual, waving around studies that prove that diets don’t work (in powerlifting and weightlifting we see people move up and down in weight classes on a regular basis but fuck them, right?), she will not face challenges to her positions and instead chooses to pretend that they don’t exist. All versions of the DSM will call this behavior “delusional.”
As another aside, if you read her 5k post, one of the highlights of that day for her was acting like an entitled piece of shit over not getting a 4XL t-shirt for a 5k that she did not truly participate in. I just want to point out that many people walk 3.2 miles to the bus stop every morning, and they don’t get a fucking t-shirt either. I also want to point out that when they walk to that bus stop, it doesn’t take them 1:09 to get there, because then they’d be late for work, and they’d lose their job. I ALSO want to point out that I don’t buy meet t-shirts, ESPECIALLY at national-level meets, because I don’t want people to point it out and say, “Oh hey you went to Raw Nationals? How’d you do?” and then for me to answer that I benched less than 300lbs. Do you want to know why? Because I’d feel like a fucking farce having to answer that. But this is apparently not something that an “athletic privileged” person worries about.
This brings us back to “athletic privilege.” First of all, unless you’re making a living doing your sport, you are guaranteed to not have athletic privilege. It means you’re not talented enough to make it in a professional sport, or you are competing in something that isn’t actually a sport, and therefore not athletic. Walking a 5k in 1:09 guarantees beyond all doubt that you do not enjoy athletic privilege.
If we follow Ragen’s definition of “athletic,” which apparently is simply showing up at an event, demanding a t-shirt in 4XL, and then proceeding to do what foot-traffic commuters do on a daily basis, only better, then let’s talk about what “athletic privilege” to the average person truly means.
Athletic privilege means you get classified as a “junkie.” If you like to a run, you’re a cardio junkie. If you like to lift weights, and are halfway decent at it, the average layperson will probably accuse you of steroids – whey protein and creatine are steroids, after all.
Athletic privilege means that your intelligence is denigrated because you choose to do something physical. This is especially true if you lift weights. You bench press 315lbs? Get a load of this dickhead.
Athletic privilege means that your body image is now up for criticism to the general public. “For someone who runs so much, she’s not that skinny.” “For someone who lifts weights a lot, he’s not that buff.”
Athletic privilege means that your doctor will now tell you the dangers of whatever sport you choose to do. “You need to stop squatting, you will injure your back sooner or later.” “Running is great, but really only in moderation. All you need is 20 minutes of moderate cardio a day.”
Athletic privilege means that any injury you accrue is because of your sport. Back hurts? Stop deadlifting. Feet hurt? Stop running. It doesn’t matter that sedentary individuals also face injury, and if they do get injured, it’s from doing Mickey Mouse bullshit that an actual human would be able to walk away from and never think about again.
Athletic privilege is being criticized for even trying hard to be athletic, “because all that muscle will turn to fat once you stop.”
Of all the privileges, “athletic privilege” in the context of the average person is the fucking dumbest. Also, if you are 300lbs+ and don’t bench that equivalent on a barbell, I have a lot of trouble believing that anyone is going to treat you with it.
Thank you I’m Brunch Khar.