by Lauren Gard
Some local luminaries appear in the compelling new PBS documentary, Fat: What No One Is Telling You. The two-hour flick, which explores fat prejudice, fat pride, fat angst and fat science, can be viewed online - broken up into short chapters for easy viewing by at-work procrastinators - or seen on KQED.
"I often describe myself as a professional fat woman," says Pat Lyons, a Berkeley public health nurse and researcher affiliated with the Center for Weight and Health at UC Berkeley. She's currently investigating large women's experiences receiving healthcare, as the Express reported in a September cover story, Fit! Fat! Fabulous? Filmmakers also sat in on a rehearsal with Matilda St. John, a therapist in Oakland and director of the Berkeley-based dance group the Phat Fly Girls. (It just so happens that the Fly Girls perform their major show of the year, All That Flab, on April 27 and 28. Click here for tickets and more info.)
While the title and official six-word summation of the doc ("an examination of the obesity epidemic" - yawn!!) might make it seem like a run of the mill "fat is dangerous!" piece intended to instill fear in all who glimpse it, the piece actually focuses less on how to "fix" fatness and more on understanding what fatness is. Which is a step - or a shimmy, in St. John's case - in the right direction. To see that shimmy - and the interview with Lyons, watch chapter six online.