Candye Kane has always been a fat activist. The former plus size sex symbol and current professional singer/songwriter, Ms. Kane has written many songs about body image and body acceptance – “200 lbs of fun” “You need a great big woman to show you how to love” and “work what you got if its a little or a lot” are just a few of her song titles. Recently Strong4Life Org. has begun an ad campaign that reks of discrimination and bullying. Ms. Kane was willing to share her feelings about this ad with us, give it a read - it might just resonate with you, and if it does take action to stop it.
B411: Candye, at one point you weighed nearly 300 pounds, then got terribly sick with pancreatic cancer – and survived that battle. Where are we now in the scope of weight, size and health issues?
CK: Although I am now an average size 12 adult female, I once weighed close to 300 lbs. In 2007 I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and I lost over 100 pounds during my cancer surgery and subsequent treatments. I have chosen after cancer, to limit sugar and avoid the diet cokes, processed and fast food, bread, pizza and alcohol that contributed unnecessary sugar to my diet. Mostly I do so because I only have half of a pancreas now and so sugar is very hard for my body to process but also because sugar has been linked to cancer growth. (Read “Beating Cancer With Nutrition” by Patrick Quillen).
That being said, I was very proud of my size and very active, even at 275 lbs. I rode my bike daily. I walked for miles every other day on the beach where I live. I danced onstage nightly. I had low cholesterol, low blood pressure and no diabetes or blood sugar issues. Until cancer struck, I was a healthy, large sized woman in her 40s who loved my curvy, sturdy body and was often told I was beautiful, sexy and desirable and had to fight off date offers. Had I been only 125 lbs, which is the suggested weight for my height on the standardized weight charts, I would likely have died from the cancer surgery. Essentially, my 300 lb frame saved my life. In essence, my fat ass SAVED my fat ass.
B411: Yes, I have heard you say that at your shows, and personally I repeat it to people because I feel it is important to understand that concept.
What is it about this specific ad that obviously has you taking up arms against it?
CK: I think this ad campaign is fat discrimination at its most blatant and disgusting. That this discrimination is being played on primetime television in any city, anywhere, is vile. Fat people are already discriminated against in the workplace and in the culture. I grew up being called names and being ridiculed even though I didnt become overweight (whatever that means…) until I was in my 20s. I had a round face and large breasts at an early age and was called ‘fatso‘ even when I weighed only 130 lbs and was 5’5.
B411: I tend to see this as just another form of bullying, but a government driven social-economic form of such, your thoughts on this.
CK: Bullying in schools is rampant and our children are killing themselves. How can it be allowed to point a critical, insulting finger at any segment of society, particularly our nations children – who are already under such pressure? Large sized children dont need to be told they are fat – they are already suffering persecution in school and they KNOW they are different. All they have to do is turn on the television, go clothes shopping, open a magazine or buy a Barbie doll to see what the “norm” is in our culture. The chubby little girl, is still that — JUST A LITTLE GIRL. To say she is NOT a little girl, dehumanizes fat people and makes it acceptable for others to follow suit. Or shame her into hiding herself in fear of the insults she surely endures on a daily basis. To give bullies more ammunition to belittle and degrade their classmates will only result in more needless suicides.
B411: Well stated. With the sudden interest in ‘childhood obesity’ being a good thing in it’s purest form (not to mention adult obesity) what should have they done – how could have they addressed this in a better fashion?
CK: This ad campaign does nothing to address the fact that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy at ANY SIZE. I have many thin friends who suffer from all kinds of health issues attributed to fat people — diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are just a few of them.
B411: Very true . . .
CK: Further, this campaign unfairly targets families who are very likely low income. It is no accident that the “dollar menus” at many popular fast food restaurants are calorie rich and affordable for the poor. McDonalds are found in poor neighborhoods far more than they are in upper income neighborhoods. When Congress and school districts are labeling pizza a vegetable, what kind of mixed message are we sending children with this ad campaign full of blame and shame?
Physical activity is essential at any size. This ad campaign would be far more effective were it to show children of all sizes – turning off their televisions, Ipads and playstations, throwing out their Cap’n Crunch and Coca Cola and dancing in the sunshine. SHOW THEM HOW TO BE CHILDREN AND CELEBRATE THEIR BODIES. Teach them how to be tolerant of each other in all their beautiful diversity.
No one has ever been ridiculed into losing weight. One of the main reasons the diet industry is a multi billion dollar industry is because diet programs like Jenny Craig and Nutri System, serve unhealthy foods, loaded in sodium and only help you lose weight while you consume their disgusting, pre-packaged foods. The Diet industry is big business and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that they are funding these detrimental ads behind the scenes to boost their own revenue.
B411: So making better choices in both food and lifestyle would be a better, more holistic (and in turn) a less of a feed the corporations solution? Plus help gain momentum to the ‘self acceptance’ and diversity of humankind issue.
CK: Encouraging exercise, healthy foods, and loving our bodies at any size; teaching self acceptance and accepting that most of us will not look like super models; celebrating our miraculous bodies while teaching that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors and ages would be the best gift we could give our children. This ad would never be tolerated if a child was asking his black parents “Why am I black?” or his gay parents “Why am I gay?” This ad campaign is revolting and should be stopped immediately!
Strong4Life and the Childrens healthcare system in Atlanta should be ashamed.
B411: Candye, thank you for speaking out on this issue and let’s all pull together to bring it into the light.
Write here to protest the unfair debasement and targeting of overweight children in Atlanta.
1687 Tullie Circle NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
404-785-GIVE Fax: 404-785-7355
Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
photos: Advertisement from campaign:
Candye Kane photo Leslie K. Joseph.