I have mentioned repeatedly that stigma not only does not make you thin but can cause health issues due to stress, fear of exercising and binging.
I'm not a lone crazy for saying this, even groups that encourage weight loss such as the Rudd Center believe that stigma does not work and is harmful.
Of course you can't tell that to the Hastings Center Daniel Callahan who writes in his article:
It will be no less necessary to find ways to bring strong social pressure to bear on individuals, going beyond anodyne education and low-key ex- hortation. It will be imperative, first, to persuade them that they ought to want a good diet and exercise for themselves and for their neighbor and, second, that excessive weight and outright obesity are not socially acceptable any longer.
He then continues that more stigma not less will help fat people become super thin. He essentially wants to make being fat unpopular like smoking but being fat isn't a habit.
It won't work. It won't work because diets, "lifestyle changes", stigma, financial incentives, penalties, and eating less calories than your body needs does not work for most people in the long run. With 20 million dieters, I'm sure you're going to find some who succeeded but most won't. With almost 40 years of yo-yo dieting, we're aren't getting thinner and dieting is causing a lot of the weight gain. (As I have mentioned before, I estimate about 50 pounds of my weight is from dieting) And what happens to people who despite Daniel Callahan's whipping and screaming at them to lose weight, still fail to do so? (Hint: tough shit.)
He says that fat people don't think they are fat. Here's the lowdown, Mr. Callahan, we know we are fat. We know we are fat when people scream at us "Fat Bitch" while trying to exercise, or when we try to find fashionable, affordable, well fitted clothes, or a comfortable seat on the bus, train or plane or we are told for every ailment we have is weight related (Even when thin people get the same fucking diseases) or we are told we are too fat to keep the same job we had for ten years or we are denied health or life insurance because we weight too much. We know when we see billboards that say "Obesity Kills" "Beat Obesity with a stick." or "Save the whales, lose the blubber, go vegetarian."
That is what it's like to be fat. No amount of stigma, pressure, or flat out hatred will change that. Every fucking morning both and after I accepted my body I knew I was fat. Fat people aren't in denial we just don't want a lecture when we mention our weight.
In the end the intense pressure to be thin comes from one really place, a 66 billion dollar incentive to make people hate their bodies.