Anyone who has grown up obese knows this experience. Family members, teachers, beloved mentors or just some random stranger on the street decide that they need to give you advice on ‘how not to be fat.’ And if confronted for the behavior, each and every one of those people reply with ‘…but I just want you to be happy and healthy!’ or ‘…but I’m just trying to HELP!’ along with an offended look, like you should be grateful for their comments. But what most of those people don’t seem to understand is that what they are saying is actually ‘You’re not good enough. And you will NEVER be good enough unless you are…’ some random size or aesthetic.
Let’s go over some of the reasons this article gives:
- Because Stereotyped Assumptions About Someone’s Weight Are Oppressive
Translation: Stereotypes of any kind are cruel and unjust treatment of whomever they purport to represent.Oppression in our society has been further defined as:
- It is institutionalized power that is historically formed and perpetuated over time;
- It allows certain ‘groups’ of people to assume a dominant position over ‘other groups’ and this dominance is maintained and continued at an institutional level.
The stereotype, sadly, comes from being repeatedly told by so-called experts in the field that obesity always leads to death via diabetes or heart related issues. It developed because the average person’s understanding of dietary needs has not kept up with any of the actual medical studies that offer a more truly balanced diet.
And there are many differing “institutions” that have a stake in KEEPING the public ignorant, because weight loss is its own multi-billion dollar industry.
They WANT you to feel superior to those who are fat, because the more body-shaming that happens, the less body acceptance we have, means more money in their pockets while we emotionally and mentally destroy ourselves.
- Because Fat Doesn’t Kill
Studies have been done that have repeatedly shown that the older studies on obesity that state obesity is ALWAYS going to end up killing you from heart disease, diabetes, etc. were wrong, because they did not separate their groups by genetic heritage.When isolated by whether or not there is a family history of these so-called “obesity-related illnesses” those who were obese, but did NOT have a family history of these diseases showed ONLY the same statistics of incidence of these diseases as did the “normal weight” control group.
Additionally, the whole BMI idea has been debunked as a useful tool for obesity, as it gives a false understanding of one’s muscle to fat ratio. And, BMI studies have found that those with a “overweight” BMI actually live LONGER than someone with what is considered a “normal” BMI.Using the old idea of supposedly “killing yourself with fat” therefore has been proven to be simple fear-mongering.
- Because Fat Doesn’t Cause Disease Either
Most of this particular point is just a repetition of item 2. But there is an important factor covered by the authors.
“Yoyo Dieting” (i.e. when you lose pounds only to gain it back, repeatedly) is actually a danger to ANYONE who is on a diet. It doesn’t matter if you are losing/gaining 20 lbs or losing/gaining more. The constant change in your body, the constant issue of malnutrition (many of the diets out there are actually NOT supporting nutrition – which is why many of the fad diets expect you to buy their “patented dietary supplement” so you don’t realize that you are actually causing yourself damage.
- Because, If Anything, Fat-phobia Causes Adverse Health Effects
Many of the deeply horrifying eating disorders come from the fear of being fat. Even among what is considered “normal” there are millions of people with body dysmorphic disorder (i.e. A mental illness involving obsessive focus on a perceived flaw in appearance).
The constant stress of being hated for something most of us cannot change causes further damage. Bullying is a form of mental and emotional abuse, as is oppression (as defined above). And the fact that many people in our society “would rather be dead than be fat” continues the cycle of hatred and abuse. And your supposed “concern” is a form of abuse – no different than a physical abuser telling their victim that the VICTIM is the one at fault for making the abuser angry.
I encourage you to read the rest of the article, and THINK about it deeply.