05 November 2006

weight watchers, tool of the patriarchs

twisty semi-seriously considers whether dieting can be feminist. (no.)

the comment thread that follows is actually relatively sane, a real rarity where body size is concerned. people tend to be confused by unobserved variables when they're dealing with correlations between weight and health -- preternaturally skinny third-wavers claiming that it's really all about their poor, poor hearts; fat folks for whom the merest mention of cardiovascular fitness is a form of oppression -- but i'm really pleased that most of the stories in the thread are personal and ungeneralizable. i'ma put this in philosophy of social science terms, because hey, it's what i do: in our increasingly quantified (yet still statistically illiterate) world, there's a lot of reification/deification of mean effect sizes and aggregate comparative statics and not so much attention to the eight trillion possible causal mechanisms that might produce (or not produce) those correspondences at the individual level.