covid misogynoir that's completely wrong the federalist

The Federalist declares war on Lizzo for being unapologetically fat and possibly killing people with COVID or something

The Federalist has come up with a new scapegoat for the COVID pandemic: Lizzo.

Yes, that Lizzo, the multitalented singer, dancer and flautist who also happens to be an unapologetically fat person who regularly speaks out against anti-fat bigotry.

Lizzo’s latest crime, as the Federalist sees it? Last Sunday she posted a video of herself dancing-while-fat, declaring that she — famous for losing something like 50 pounds back in 2020 — had gained some weight over the holidays, like a lot of us. But instead of apologizing for this crime against humanity, she celebrated herself. “I gained weight,” she posted. “I look TF GOODT.”

The Federalist’s improbably named fat people correspondent Tristan Justice suggested that such an unphobic reaction to her own fatness could kill people. in an article with the clickbaity title “Lizzo Celebrates Weight Gain As COVID Kills Obese People,” Justice declared that the singer’s “promotion of obesity … is tragic for the millions she serves.”

The millions she … serves? Is she a cultural McDoanld’s?

Justice pointed out that obesity can exacerbate COVID — and it can.

The CDC [has] released data … showing nearly 80 percent of those hospitalized with COVID-19 were overweight or obese.

But given that 74 percent of American adults are overweight or obese, according to the CDC’s own data — which Justice himself cites — this 80 percent figure is a little less alarming than he clearly intended it to be.

But he was off and running.

Cultural currents glorifying obesity under the guise of body positivity have played no small part in the American acceleration of weight gain.

Justice, always quick to mention a study when it seems to back up one of his points, offered zero evidence that the body positivity movement has contributed to America’s collective weight gain in recent years.

Warming to his task, Justice complained that

Cultural icons have normalized the deadly disease that disproportionately impacts African-Americans and the working class, with Lizzo serving as the movement’s mascot. According to the CDC, non-Hispan ic black adults “had the highest age-adjusted prevalence of obesity” with 50 percent, or half, considered medically obese.

Lizzo might feel good. Her fans might even claim the same. But on screen is a pop star at severely higher risk of premature death than she would be at a healthy weight. She won’t feel good if she’s dead by 50, and neither will her fans.

Well, to be fair, she won’t feel anything at all if she’s dead.

Justice wasn’t the only right-wing media hack taking Lizzo to task for her body positivity; other right-wing rags, like the Gateway Pundit and Infowars, alto took potshots at the singer. But Justice’s post was the nastiest, and the most ironic, of the bunch, because the Federalist has itself been altogether shitty about the pandemic, publishing endless articles “skeptical” about vaccines and celebrating celebrity figures spreading misinformation about COVID. Hell, the Federalist once ran a post suggesting that dying of COVID was actually sort of good.

The Federalist’s tendentious coverage of COVID has almost certainly made the pandemic just a little bit worse. If anyone in this “debate” is killing people, it’s not Lizzo but the Federalist itself.

But in some ways Lizzo got off easily. In a mpre recent Federalist post targeting Self magazine for running a package of stories making clear that one can in fact be both fit and fat, simultaneously, Justice described celebrity yoga teacher and body positivity advocate Jessamyn Stanley as a “visibly obese anti-health activist.”

Later in that post, Justice bravely called for people to pick on fat people even more than they already do.

If a crusade against obesity is recognized as “fat-phobic,” then maybe a nation where only a minority of the population is at a healthy weight could use a little more fat-phobia.

As Justice — the Federalist’s go-to guy for yelling at fat people — no doubt knows, this is complete bullshit. Fat people know they’re fat, and they know that fatness can have adverse health effects. Making them feel worse about themselves by pestering them about their weight at the gym or in the virtual pages of the Federalist isn’t going to cause anyone to lose weight, In fact, studies suggest the opposite: castigating people about their fatness is actually more likely to cause them to gain weight.

Justice, who fancies himself as something of an expert on obesity, is certainly aware of this. But he evidently doesn’t care. I can only conclude that he is what he accuses Jessamyn Stanley of being: an “anti-health activist.”

In the age of COVID, we already have way too many of these.

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33 replies on “The Federalist declares war on Lizzo for being unapologetically fat and possibly killing people with COVID or something”

My husband hates lizzo too. But mostly it’s because I listen to her’s and cardi B song rumors a thousand times on repeat and when we go to the gym. And I sing cardi part like it’s my life
“All the rumors are true yeah. Fake ass fake boobs!”
“Look I’m a Bronx bitch with some top hits. Use to pop off when they talk shit. Now clam down and my records live in the top ten. ”
And it makes him so mad

“your a white girl from Kansas. You talk in a drawl! And your boobs and butt are real.”

I love lizzo. The woman can play the flute like no body business

Glitch: the “recent comments” list on this page is not showing a comment I made on the previous article, even 20 minutes after I posted it. The page for that article shows the comment itself and lists it in “recent comments”, by contrast. So it seems the old bug the site used to have with the “recent comments” lists being out of date on some pages randomly some of the time had somehow been resurrected. Either that or it’s yet another new bug…

Also, form autocomplete is no longer filling in my username and email automatically for me here. I haven’t recently made any changes to Firefox’s configuration or updated it, so this too is almost certainly a problem at your end.

I suggest stopping with whatever approach you have been trying for fixing things, as it’s clearly not working after 3 whole days of no visible progress, and instead just reverting every configuration related thing back to the state it had on Monday, before any of this happened, keeping only the posts-and-comments database at their present versions. The configuration of the site as it was on Monday is known-good, so that should fix everything and have everything back to normal around here as fast as it takes to copy a few hundred KB of text files and then reboot the box.

I know that that’s something of a sledgehammer approach, but it doesn’t seem that the alternative is working. Clearly some change was made on Tuesday that was improperly documented and that you now can’t even find to put it back. Blowing the whole configuration away and reinstalling the last pre-Tuesday version of that is the only way to do so if you can’t find the specific change that caused the problems, and after three days of failure to do so it’s probably time to throw up your hands and go find that sledgehammer. 🙂

Hmm. I haven’t gained an ounce since I became aware of Lizzo. She’s going to have to try harder.

Correlation, causation? I guess to the Federalist, it’s basically “Eh, whatever. That’s sciencey stuff for those people with their population control vaccines.”

Anyway, I wouldn’t recognize Lizzo if you had me sit down for dinner with her. Maybe that’s why I’m thin?

Edit: @ Elaine The Witch

The flute you say? How about that Ian Anderson fella?

I have not yet heard Lizzo play the flute, will have to look it up. I will second the mention of Ian Anderson. I’m also quite fond of that style of flute playing in my metal (see link).

As for the weighty issue (sorry), I am not a medical professional, nor is it my business, so I’ll refrain from passing judgment on someone’s weight. Better to be supportive of someone who tries to lose it than try to shame someone who is not. Seems like that is a better approach if they actually cared.

“Tristan Justice”? Seriously? Sounds like an alias a tweaker (meth-head) on a three day run would come up with while cooking up the “crime of the century”.

I like Lizzo. And I don’t think there is any evidence that she has caused anyone to gain an ounce of weight. It is completely okay and good to be body positive. However, yes, she is pretty heavy and no, it’s not healthy overall. But that is science and we all know that. But that’s not what the Federalist is talking about. They are using her as another slam at African American women and an example the stereotype of the obese Black woman. I mean White women never get hugely fat, do they ? I might be wrong – I’m not much into pop music – but weren’t both Kelly Clarkson and Adele pretty hefty for a while ? And also, since the Federalist desires to take itself seriously, why are they devoting time to a pop singer in its august and learned pages?

@Elaine the Witch

I was born in Kansas and I am a white girl too and I love both Cardi B and Lizzo. And see below for what I think the real motive of the Federalist is. (By the way, my weight has swung from 120 to 170 and back again and then back to 170 in my life, and not once did it have anything to do with the talented Lizzo, whose music I first heard several years ago at a New Year’s party.

So, someone who is overweight or obese is about 40% more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-related reasons than someone who isn’t; that’s significant, though definitely not the “only fat people die of COVID” that certain people like to frame it as. What are the numbers for people who used to be overweight/obese, but lost weight? I suspect we don’t know — because almost none of the “fat is bad” studies compare obese to formerly-obese people. This is mostly because they just can’t find enough formerly-obese people to do the study, so we’re told to make aggressive medical and lifestyle interventions (keeping off more than 20% weight loss is basically a full-time job, makes proper nutrition difficult due to having to eat much less than never-obese people, and comes with a permanent major increase in hunger) based on the assumption that people who haven’t gone through major weight swings are a realistic model of people who have. So instead of “make sure you’re getting good nutrition, keep a solid exercise schedule as health allows, and if you’re still carrying some ‘extra’ weight at least you’re doing what you can” we have “all other life and health priorities must be secondary to body-size conformity.”

Re: being fat

It’s a statistical risk, not a guaranteed death sentence. Also risks: eating red or processed meat regularly, smoking, drinking, and walking barefoot on grass in the southern US. Most fat people don’t die at 50 of massive heart attacks. Most people in the US *are* fat by the time they reach 50, be they healthy or not, for reasons mostly outside their control (including metabolic changes that happen in all humans as they age).

Most fat people do not need or want your health advice. Many of us aren’t fat just from overeating, either. See: being mobility disabled, being on almost any kind of psych meds and many non-psych meds, autoimmune disorders, trauma, life stress, being forced to skip meals (this will lower your basal metabolic rate and may cause weight gain), sleep apnea from sinus problems, lack of income to spend on actually healthy food, desk jobs… the list goes on and on. From my experiences as a disabled person I would say fatness is symptomatic, not just causal, the majority of the time.

And US culture is fatphobic to an absolutely ridiculous degree. People in e.g. yoga and meditation classes here often need to overcome a fear of “looking fat” in order to learn diaphragmatic breathing, since it expands the belly on inhale. Research on eating disorders has found a prevalence among US women as high as 65% – yes, literally a majority. It’s also very common for people, especially women, to have health concerns dismissed by doctors due to being fat. “You’d feel better if you lost weight” obscures all kinds of treatable illnesses.

If you are actually concerned about your fat friends’ health, the best thing you can do is fight systemic oppression – not just fatphobia but racism, sexism, ableism, capitalism, etc. Encouraging us to “eat less and exercise more” will not help us be healthier, let alone lose weight.

Men are, like, fifty percent more likely to die of COVID than women but I don’t see any moral panic over that. As pointed out above, the hospitalization levels of BMI outlaws is barely higher than that of their existence in the general population.

Look, the CDC likes to push the ‘it’s your fault because you’re fat’ thing because it pushes everything onto the individual; it’s a government organization and the US government doesn’t want to address the systemic issues that affect health and healthcare.

One of those systemic issues is medical anti-fat bias. Researchers have found that fat COVID patients tend not to receive as much medical treatment as not-fat patients. Geeeeeee could that possibly be affecting outcomes? Also, fat people often are conditioned to avoid doctors because doctors will blame everything on the o-word. People have died or been permanently disabled because their doctors would not believe there was something wrong with them besides being fat.

And if you feel the need to shoot your mouth off about how bad it is to be fat, please listen to the Maintenance Phase podcast first and think about what it teaches you.

@ LouCPurr
I was about to mention The Maintenance Phase podcast when I read your comment 😁
Such a great duo. I am like a kid awaiting Christmas every two weeks when they drop a new episode…

Bold of right wing arseholes to suggest it’s fatness that’s going to end our lives prematurely given we’re living on the precipice of compete ecological collapse – and all because of them, their ilk and their paymasters. I have a feeling we may live through a time when we are reminded that the ability to lay down fat is an evolutionary advantage, not a shameful failure of willpower.

I say sincerely to The Federalist:


All of you, individually and collectively, and your fanboys and girls and the GQP.

But specifically, about Lizzo. I am a big Lizzo stan! Even though my liking for hip-hop isn’t large and I am an old-ish white suburban woman born in one of those big squared-off states in the middle. I like that she’s herself, funny, feminist, AND talented. Name anyone else who punctuates their rap songs by accompanying themselves on flute.

At one point she did lose a lot of weight because of crap like this, but that wasn’t her, so she went back to a more natural size. She’s got the breath to sing, play flute, and dance.

Considering what the average (Whitey white white) GQP member weighs, they’ve got no room to throw shade at her, either. They couldn’t do half what she does.

I have been a big fan of Ian Anderson’s work since the 70s, but he doesn’t rap. Nor (thankfully!) can he play flute while twerking.

And she’s got soul:

@Cyborgette: what you said.

BMI outlaws

(Open: a ruined cityscape; no glass in the windows, some buildings partly collapsed, and a few pillars of smoke in the distance; one area is full of sweeping searchlights while the rest is poorly lit by a mix of scattered working streetlights and trashcan fires. Police sirens can be heard.)

Voiceover: “The year is 2150. America has become a dystopian hellhole where being fat has been criminalized.”

COP: “You, citizen! You look like you’ve not been getting enough exercise! But we’ll remedy that soon enough … in the labor camps!”

Voiceover: “But one band of determined outlaw rebels plans to change things…”

(Vroom, vroom!) (Cut to a group of overweight women on motorbikes modified to add weapons, devices to make oil slicks, and the like)

RINGLEADER: “This is the big one. We’re going to liberate Camp 3. Then they’ll know we mean business…”

Hey Surplus, you like a good volcano I believe. Check this out. Some spectacular imagery. And it appears, despite the superlative nature of the blast, no-one has been harmed; so it’s ok to go ‘wow’.


Bold of right wing arseholes to suggest it’s fatness that’s going to end our lives prematurely given we’re living on the precipice of compete ecological collapse – and all because of them, their ilk and their paymasters.

Very well said. Yeah, “bold” is a good word. And Satan is always, always bold.

I have a feeling we may live through a time when we are reminded that the ability to lay down fat is an evolutionary advantage, not a shameful failure of willpower.

That’s harsh but could be true. I hope you’re wrong.


I am often wrong and very much hope its the case here! I find Greta Thunberg’s position that we do genuinely have time to save the situation and the fight is not over quite comforting

TIL that if you’re fat, you can’t leave your body to science. Research and teaching can only be done with thin bodies. The medical and scientific establishment really just doesn’t give a fuck about fat people.

@LouCPurr – WTF? That’s not fair. If doctors are only familiar with certain body types they’re less likely to be able to treat other ones.

It could be literally a matter of life and death, as I just heard in the class I’m the TA for* – the prof was saying how doctors who were just used to anatomy models/pictures of White people were less likely to diagnose skin cancers in Black people and other POCs because they didn’t know what they were looking for.

*sociolinguistics but we were on a tangent

Blaming poor health outcomes on fatness is the easy thing because we can so easily pretend it’s a moral failing and not systematic. Being sleep deprived and stressed also leads to worse outcomes, but what are we going to, change the entire culture so that we work fewer hours for more pay? Hell no. Better to all tell ourselves that if Americans just ate fewer calories, we’d become a utopia of all healthy, fit and conventionally attractive people.

LouCPurr: I donated my father’s body to KU Med. He was not skinny. It might be a place by place call on taking obese bodies, but it’s not a universal ban.

When i was trying to be a forensic science major, the corpse I had to help assist with an autopsy was a fat older gentleman. And that corpse wasn’t just like someone who had died, and they had on ice. He donated his body to science so people like me could learn the shit we needed to do. Basically, taught me that I wasn’t cut out for forensic science because I threw up a lot that day. So I don’t think that it’s everywhere. From my understanding people that need human cadavers are juts kind of taking what they can get.

@Elaine: Whoa, I’m glad I only took the introductory criminalistics course (lab stuff and theory) and didn’t move on. Because dissecting things in high school was bad enough.

Maybe there’s a cutoff, so they don’t take the people you see on reality shows.

@GSS ex-noob

tw: vomit

If I’m haunted at all, it’s by that guy’s ghost from the disrespect i did to his corpse. His chest cavity was open. we had his ribs cut and opening him up and I just full vomited into his open chest cavity. I didn’t think I had a problem because I don’t have a problem with animal corpses. I’ve gutted fishes, I’ve skinned deer. No problem. Humans are very very different. And honestly, yes, I think that course was to find out if you were cut out for that work. I was not.

I can’t get a current version of this page. No matter how many times I reload it I get a stale version from before Alan Robertshaw’s post on the MRA thread.

When is David planning to put this site back the way it was?

And I can’t comment again. They get eaten.

DAVID!!! (I hope you see this in the logs or the spam filter instead of it being completely vaporized.)



Oh no. Yeah, you might be haunted.

I’m kidding. While incredibly embarrassing for you, his family never needs to know, and there’s probably a few other former forensic students who’ve had similar visceral reactions.

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