I don't really want to give a lot of time to the HBO series Weight of the Nation, the 8o million part series (Okay, it's actually four parts) about poor stupid fat people who will only get better if they learn to put down the doughnut and run 5 miles. Looking at their web site, it looks like the same shit different day because the first thing it does was start us off with a fat joke. As you can see we fat people are so heavy we are putting cracks into the United States. My only hope is no one will watch it. I don't want have to go into detail about it because ASDAH has given us ten reasons to be concerned about it and a viewer's guide. Plus Dr. Deah Schwartz also weighs in.
And this Jezebel article sums it up nicely:
I know this is a terribly uncool, bleeding-heart thing to say, but language like "crush the United States into oblivion" hurts people. It sets up fat people—in case you forgot, fat people are people—as not just the adversaries of our own health or some lady's airplane elbow room or your boner (the usual crimes), but as the future downfall of humanity itself.
Oh and Michele Simon won't watch it either.
How many years has it been since we got serious about the "weight" problem in this country? Yet despite pushing for dieting, removing treats from schools, taking fat kids away from their parents, victimizing the poor, and stigmatizing, we are still fat. Despite that our weight is leveling off, we are living longer (BTW living longer is the biggest drain on our health care system. It's just easier to blame fat people). The answer to every ailment has become weight loss. It's an easy out, far easier that looking at the complex issues of health including genetics, the environment (Not just food but pollution) and yo-yo dieting (I say my fatness is about 50% genetic, 40% dieting and 10% other). No matter what the issue a person has, if they are fat the answer is always weight loss.
However weight loss doesn't work for the majority of people. We've been dieting, doing lifesysle changes, drugs and surgery and we are still fat. We are also being made fun off a lot and it is considered perfectly acceptable. For example a NYTimes articlecovered whether plane travel is safe for fat people since the seats and safety belts aren't made for big people (Let's ignore the fact that is still safer to fly than to drive), an article in gizmodo picks up this story and instead of chastaise the lack of safety in the airline industry, makes fun of fat people.
That's right, obese air travel could kill you. Standard seats are a legacy of old airplane design, and as people get plumper, they haven't been rethought.
First off what is "Obese air travel." Is that a travel agency or finally our own airlines where seats are made for us?
Second getting plumper is wrong, we've apparently been getting plump for about 30 years. Yet despite 30 years of dieting, we are still fat.
The hysteria of Weight of the Nation will do nothing to make people healthy, it will make continue the fear mongering and stereotypes about fat people. It will make fat people the villains, the victims and will continue to marginized them.
An article in Reuters show prejudice affects behaviors.
The stigma also hurts the efforts of America's 73 million obese adults and 12 million obese children to get back to a healthy weight: Targets of stigma often fall into depression or withdraw socially. Both make overeating, binge eating, and a sedentary existence more likely, studies show.
It's funny because a similar article about stigma has a picture of a women's back with fat rolls who is wearing an exercise bra.
I don't find this unattractive but others might find this humiliating, a headless fattie with rolls of fat. To me this underhanded hatred is more dangerous than the outright stigma because it's ingrained. This woman is wearing an exercise bra. She is being healthy, she's exercising, just like her fucking doctor told her to but seeing this picture she might be embarrassed by it. Maybe even humiliated enough to not exercise anymore.
Stigma is far worse because the often those who create stigma either don't think they are doing it or don't realize they are. The person who choose this photo, did they think they were creating stigma? Or groups like the Rudd center who always get quoted when talking abut how horrible stigma is don't think they are the cause of it. The truth is this, they can't ever end stigma until they also realize that fat people are people who exists, good or bad. Overeating or listening to body ques and that being fat is as just a normal state as being thin.
What if a picture like this was used instead?