Every day there’s more news about the size of the nation…the fatness of it. Media outlets spew their interpretations of “scientific” studies – often flawed studies with even more flawed interpretations. It’s maddening!
If the bad science and interpretation isn’t frustrating enough, the attitude with which this information is declared over the airwaves and in print is almost giddy with condescension.
There’s a conversation going on about fat people, right in front of fat people, but the fat people are not included in the conversation. If fat people dare to join the conversation, the “experts” are quick to talk over them and ignore what they are saying and pull out the standby stereotypes; fat people are lazy, fat people are stupid, fat people are unfit, fat people have no self-control, fat people are stuffing their feelings, etc. ad-nauseam. In a word, fat people are marginalized.
This superiority complex of the not-fat runs rampant. I’m sad to say I even see it on Primal/Paleo/Anti-Conventional Widsom sites. On the Marks Daily Apple Forum there was a post that served as more fodder for this disdain:
With time, we gain weight, because we accumulate so much information and wisdom in our heads that, when there is no more room, it distributes out to the rest of our bodies. So we aren’t heavy; we are enormously cultured, educated, and happy.
The above paragraph was quoted in the post on the MDA forum and the poster said that it was from a story written “to make people feel better about being large.” The original poster also went on to say “People go to great lengths to ‘justify’ their overweight. I guess you have to when you’re doing ‘everything right’ (low fat, low cal diet, chronic cardio) and nothing is changing.”
<sigh> I was really disappointed by this post. First of all, I’m not sure anyone would really take the quoted paragraph seriously. I think it was written tongue in cheek. Second, it’s rife with condescension and stereotypes. Third, why the fuck do I or any other overweight person have to justify the extra poundage we’re carrying around? It’s no one’s fucking business but our own.
Apparently the fat nazi’s are on the lose and demanding I cower and confess. As if I owe them an explanation, as if they’re entitled to know how I can possibly hold my head up and stare down their audacity.
And when I dare to do that, they start having a conversation in front of me, around me, about “how dare I…” and “don’t fat people know…” and “she’s just lying to herself…” and “studies show…” and “$147 billion in healthcare….”
It’s like elementary school tactics all over again. A couple kids start talking about another kid, usually an outcast of some sort, in quiet voices (or loud whispers)… loud enough for the outcast and anyone else within 10-15 feet can easily hear. Suddenly the outcast is the center of attention and incredibly uncomfortable…what to do? Walk away, shrug it off, run away in tears, or call out the kids talking about them.
99% of the time, the outcast is going to walk away, shamed into submission by the antagonists. And the antagonists rise up in their superiority, while anyone who heard the exchange, and saw the outcast shamed, now feels free to do the same thing to the same person regularly.
This tactic has gone global and the fat people are the outcasts on the playground, shamed by the media, the government, healthcare professionals, and science. The taunts of the bullies get a little louder, a little more vicious…and it spreads. More people join in, emboldened by the nerve of the “experts.”
What’s that quote…
Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.
Never has this been more true in the conventional diet wisdom arena. Stupid people are running amuck. Bad science is widespread. But apparently it’s still the fault of the fat people when they do everything that conventional wisdom demands of them and don’t see results. And now, apparently fat people are stupid for not finding primal/low-carb (or whatever), stupid for not questioning the status quo.
It seems these days that there is no refuge from the fat bashing…damned if you do, damned if you don’t. It’s around every corner. It’s exhausting to endure.
I don’t know what the solution is. I think it’s important for the overweight to stand up and call fowl. It’s important to arm ourselves with the knowledge and to understand the studies giving the other side ammo – we need to be able to engage. And we need to remind them of our humanity. Yes, we are living, breathing beings worthy of respect and compassion.
So anyway, I don’t know if this makes any sense. Maybe I’m rambling. I just feel like there’s this huge injustice out there concerning the overweight and it hurts me and I want to fight it. The overweight (myself included) need champions, people who are on our side.
And we need to be on our own side. We DO deserve respect and dignity.