100 lb. Club - Is the prejudice growing or is it me?

Phenomenal Woman
09-04-2009, 05:54 AM
I was just shown this news article that was published yesterday: http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/08599191988500

I realize at the bottom that it tells parents not to encourage their kids to drop their heavy friends, but personally I doubt most people will read that far down the article because I almost stopped reading when it went on to talk about other statistics and stuff like that.

Is it me or does it seem that the prejudice against bigger people is getting worse every day?

I mean, now almost all the stores that used to have plus sized sections have removed those sections from the stores and made the plus sized items only available from their online stores... they are passing rules on planes about heavy people being required to buy two seats even if they don't need two seats... Does anybody else see this happening or is it just me being paranoid? lol

It may actually be a good thing if it is, kinda like an infection under the surface about to burst so it can start healing, I guess we'll see!

09-04-2009, 09:37 AM
I think that the prejudice against bigger people is getting worse. First it was the smokers and now it is obese people. You are hearing more about how we obese people are costing society so much money.

I am not so sure that it will end up being a good thing but maybe. I think fewer people smoke now, so maybe the same thing with happen with obesity. I am afraid though that the prejudice will hurt so many people that it will cause them even more problems than they already have.

Fat Chick B Gone
09-04-2009, 09:42 AM
I don't really thinks so and I've been large all 28 years of my life. I think the risks associated with being obese have really just started to really manifest themselves and as such we read more articles about how it affects our health.

09-04-2009, 10:10 AM
I think it has gotten worse, especially with the new debates on the cost of health care, and the articles about how obese people affect global warming (I don't have a link, sorry! but they are out there!)

09-04-2009, 10:16 AM
It is probably getting worse because of the numbers of overweight people increasing and childhood obesity increasing. I think there are more overweight people than not overweight people and the minority is getting scared.

09-04-2009, 11:02 AM
Perhaps we are just sensitive to the obesity media, because most of the people on this board have been heavier at some point. When someone is being blamed for something I think it's a natural reaction to be defensive. Alternatively, When there is a problem, it's natural to blame it on someone else.

09-04-2009, 01:44 PM
I think it is. Here is an article from this week's Newsweek about fat hatred in America: http://www.newsweek.com/id/213646

It hit the nail on the head for what I've been feeling lately.

09-04-2009, 01:56 PM
I don't think it's worse, I do think governments haven't worked out a way of getting their msgs across without stigmatizing obese people.

Certainly in our health system, obesity costs the health service millions, as does alcoholism and drugtaking and all other 'self-induced' conditions. I really don't know the publicity answer. Certainly if I were slim and I or one of my loved ones were denied treatment or had to wait longer for treatment because someone whose condition was self-induced was higher up the waiting list, I would find that very hard to deal with. I say that as one who is still, by a few pounds, in the obese category, I hear what I'm saying.

Being obese is so fraught with attendant health problems, not to mention mental/emotional problems (well my confidence is mostly hidden by obesity anyway), clothes issues, comfort issues etc etc, it's only right to try and get the msg across HARD that obesity is to be avoided. How to get that across without stigmatizing those who're fat n trying, I don't know.

09-04-2009, 02:21 PM
I think it is not as bad as it used to be.

Twenty-five years ago, when I weighed 150 pounds, 5'8" and was very athletic, I struggled to fit into size 14 clothes and most stores didn't carry plus sizes. Now, many high quality clothing brands have a plus size line-- back then, fat people wore mu-muus.

Now, there are so many more obese people in the population that it's easier to think it's not so bad if you're heavy...

09-04-2009, 02:25 PM
It is possible for slender 'normal' weight people to develop diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes and all the other diseases that obese people seem more prone to get. They can't deny health care based on that. If the health care system put more money into preventative medicine they'd save more money in the long run. Say if they spent money to open weight loss clinics (not for WLS) they'd save money down the road when these people don't develop these diseases which cost more money to treat. Acute care medicine costs a lot more than preventative medicine.

09-04-2009, 02:36 PM
I don't get a sense of prejudice from the article. I'm encouraged by the interest in obesity in our medical community. The public does need to become more aware of this epidemic. When I was in school, I was one of only a few "chubby" kids. Have you really looked at our children these days? The thin child is now becoming the exception rather the the rule. Most of my daughters' friends have rolls around their tummy. The instance of adult onset diabetes in children is growing at an alarming rate.

Regarding plus sizes, I have more choices now than I ever had before. And, they are relatively stylish options. There are now more plus size clothing for children. My Mom used to shop for me at Sears. Now, there are children's plus sizes in several stores.

Regarding buying two seats on airplanes, I agree with this policy. Why should I be allowed to enroach into another paying passenger's space just because I am fat? If I take up more than one seat, I should pay for more than one seat.

I really don't feel like I'm discriminated against. Almost everyone I meet or see these days is somewhat overweight. To be thin would make me stand out from the norm!

09-04-2009, 03:06 PM
I'm not sure about the discrimination aspect. I think the bigger issue (no pun intended) is to decide exactly HOW far is our society prepared to go to accomodate those out of the range of the "norm", especially if the condition is completely curable without medications/surgery by the afflicted individual.

It is a tough situation -- do companies incur a loss because of those individuals who demand 2 seats for the price of 1 because they chose to eat themselves into a situation where they need 2 seats for comfort? Or do they pass this cost down to the rest of us? Conversely, am I as an overweight but not a super-morbidly obese person being discriminated against because I am not able to have 2 seats for the price of 1 for my personal comfort? Are buildings to be modified with respect to door and aisle widths to accomodate for the comfort of extremely large people? Are car manufacturers discriminating against the very large because they don't have enough space between the seat and the steering wheel for extremely large people to drive comfortably? Should all public services be required to retrofit their facilities and equipment in order to accommodate the extremely large individual at the cost of the taxpayer? Where is the line between reasonable accommodation and discrimination? At what BMI/size does one "draw the line"?

And if everyone is larger now than in previous years, it makes sense to accommodate the norm, but accommodating EVERYONE? I'm not sure -- after all, we don't accommodate for the little people amongst us with respect to counter heights, public washroom facilities and so on. We don't significantly accomodate for visually impaired people (other than braille on some public building elevator and door signs and the odd beeping walk signal). We don't accommodate for the hearing impaired. And these conditions aren't curable. But obesity IS and it is a bit hard for alot of people to sympathize with the plight of the super-heavy amongst us because it IS a condition within their control.

One other aspect to think about too is this: are we as a society "normalizing" a condition that isn't and perhaps should NOT be "normal" -- by making it easy to be super-overweight, it there any incentive for people to actually change to a healthy lifestyle? If there is no consequence to the action, what is the motivation to change? One BIG motivator for me was when I caught the train at my highest weight, and the fold down table wouldn't fold down in front of me fully because my tummy was too big! TOO BIG!!! I knew THEN that things had to change -- I'd been forced out of my denial that "I was OK" because the darn table tray was resting on my tummy. I wonder if I'd have continued upwards in weight if the table tops were designed for very large people. And I wonder where I'd be today if I'd blamed the table tray/seat design and societal discrimination instead of recognizing the consequences of my eating behaviours.

I don't know the answer to any of these questions, but I DO feel that there is an element of unreasonableness when it comes to the expectation of the very very large people amongst us. Especially when this condition is completely curable without requiring the intervention of the medical establishment (LOTS of us on this site are proof of THAT!).



09-04-2009, 03:14 PM
I understand the idea that overeating can be contagious, but so can weight loss. And as far as kids eat more with their fat friends, I think it's kids eat more with other kids who eat more. When I was a kid I did a lot of eating at my friend Leah's house. She was one of those kids who could have a plate of spaghetti for a snack and still eat a full dinner. She was (and still is) VERY skinny.

09-04-2009, 03:17 PM
The conclusions seem a bit overblown to me. I mean, anything your child's friend does becomes something your child is more likely to do. Children and adolescents are under so much pressure to conform. What and how much they eat is affected by who they're with, just as what they talk about, the language they use, the music they listen do, the clothes they wear, etc. I certainly wouldn't prefer my child hang out with normal weight, rude, close-minded, risk-taking friends over overweight, considerate, responsible ones. If all things were equal, sure, I'd prefer they had friends with healthy habits over unhealthy ones. But in what world is it all divided that neatly? There is so much scary stuff going on amongst adolescents that the weight of their friends wouldn't be at the top of my list of things to worry about.

Alana in Canada
09-04-2009, 03:22 PM
Oh, this just makes me so mad!

I did like this line from the Newsweek article: Geier notes that even the most rigorous behavioral programs result in at most about a 12.5 percent decrease in weight,

At most, at most?

How many of us are already a testament to this not being true?

*raises hand*

I have lost more than 12.5% of my starting weight. Am I following a "rigorous behavioural program"?

I wouldn't have said so.

09-04-2009, 03:44 PM
I did like this line from the Newsweek article:
Geier notes that even the most rigorous behavioral programs result in at most about a 12.5 percent decrease in weight,
At most, at most?

At most, at most?

How many of us are already a testament to this not being true?

I suspect it was a badly written sentence or a reporter who isn't great with statistics. Most likely, 12.5% is the highest *average* weight loss reported by studies.

09-04-2009, 04:23 PM
I've recently noticed more prejudice towards fat people. I go to a university which must have, at the very most, a population which is 99% healthy- or under-weight. Being part of that 1% makes you very stigmatised, some of which almost feels subconscious.

I was in a public bathroom the other day, where there were three cubicles, all of which were free. When I left the cubicle I was in, there was a queue of two or three women, all of whom were slim. The first woman in the queue went to use my cubicle, but when she saw me laughed to herself and muttered 'ha, I think I'll wait'. The only reason I can think of for this is that she didn't want to use the same cubicle as a fat person.

Just a day later, I was in a public bathroom again. The toilet seat was broken and graffiti above it read: "toilet seat broken. Probably fat ****s. Hope they all die." Lovely, huh?

On top of that, I receive fairly recently unwarranted and unnecessary comments from people in the street or in everyday life, such as when I went into a pub the other day, I was due to be served by the barman, and he took one look at me and went 'woooah fatty, I'll serve you in a second' and then proceeded to serve a thin blonde girl in a tight dress. Isn't that so nasty? And this is without even mentioning how guys never ever notice me or speak to me.

The thing is, I'm not even that big!! I'm 205lbs, a UK size 14 (US size 10) and yet I get this treatment every day. I can't even imagine how different things will be 70lbs down! Anyway, rant over!

09-04-2009, 06:14 PM
I think that outspokeness to the point of rudeness is growing. For a lot of reasons, people seem more likely to share negative opinions than in the past. I noticed the change first in online communications. Not having to look people in the eye (I'm guessing) many people found it easier to say whatever came to mind, no matter how much it might hurt someone. I think sensational talkshows (from Jerry Springer to Dr. Phil), and reality shows, showing people behaving badly (and saying what comes to mind no matter who it hurts) has contributed to a society in general that is more likely to say what's on their mind, consequences be damned.

Extreme opinions get more attention than moderate ones, so it seems that common sense is being thrown out the window. Instead of seeking reasonable, compassionate solutions to problems, witch hunts are more popular. There seems to be a growing lynch mob mentality to many social ills.

Last night, I saw on the news that a 60 year old man, irritated by a 2 year old's crying in a Walmart, told the mother to "shut her up, or I'll shut her up for you." The mother moved to another aisle to avoid the man, and he followed her and slapped the baby 4 or more times in the face.

Other shoppers surrounded the man and refused to let him leave while the police were called (On the plus-side, I'm not sure that this would have happened 30 years ago. People were expected to mind their own business to a larger degree).

09-04-2009, 06:22 PM
I agree with Kaplods that expressing rudeness in public seems to be more prevalent than in years past, although as a very tall woman I have gotten my share of nasty comments as far as 30 years ago when I was very slim. Strangers would feel compelled to remark rudely about my height; once when I was a clerk in a dime store, a customer looked me up and down, lauged, and said, "Boy, your parents must feed you good. What do you eat?" He kept pressing me and I could feel my face get hotter and hotter. Back in the 1970's in my small town, a 5'11" girl was pretty unusual--now they're a dime a dozen, so I hope that my tall younger sisters don't get the flack that I got.

It's even worse now. I hear people making rude comments about others all the time and it's so hurtful and unecessary. I just don't get why some people feel that it's OK to be hurtful and rude to a perfect stranger.

09-05-2009, 03:43 AM
To play the devil's advocate, so to speak, there are some truths truth in those articles.

For example, as someone who is overweight, I DO feel more comfortable eating around someone who, like me, is overweight and, therefore, not as likely to judge me...I did as a child and do so now. Pretty? No, but it's the truth.

And that's all the dark advocacy I'm up to at the moment...

What I find disturbing, however, is the "overall" tone of the article. Yes, they tucked in a tiny little disclaimer suggesting you should not try to discourage your kids from hanging around with those who are overweight, but the overall "tone" of the article suggests you should.

Just imaging the LIFELONG emotional damage that can be done to a child!



09-06-2009, 11:24 PM
I do not think it's getting worse at all. Perhaps that's because I live in Mississippi, which has the distinction of being the fattest state in the U.S. (Hey. We're dead last in education and health care. We need to be number one at something! :lol:)

Here's a picture of my world: Hollidays (a small clothing chain akin to Fashion Bug) was having a sidewalk sale yesterday. Great prices...$40 dresses and shirts marked down to $5. I looked and looked and looked and could not find a SINGLE cute thing in size L or XL. Now, if I wore a 2X or a 3X, I would have been golden.

09-07-2009, 01:02 AM
I guess it would depend somewhat on your geographical location, Jennell, but also on the population.

For example, I'm on the AL/GA border, so one would think I'd be in the same boat as you, but we have a large army base and AFLAC and TSYS are headquartered here, so there are a LOT of "out of towners" in our local population.

We've seen a lot of plus-sized shops close as well as those sizes disappearing from the racks of other stores. After all, shelf/rack space in retail is limited and the stores are going to focus on what will make them the most money (it's very frustrating to have to drive 100 miles to Atlanta to shop for anything decent, KWIM?).

Just my thoughts...


09-07-2009, 01:13 AM
I completely agree with Sherrybwc..it's totally the tone. I mean, a lot of the article's content was proven fact...it's the phrases such as

"Socializing with overweight people can change what we perceive as the norm; it raises our tolerance for obesity both in others and in ourselves"

Socializing with overweight people! Like overweight people are another species or something. Ridiculous.

This article suggesting that the way to solve the obesity epidemic in this country is to stop associating with overweight people is just a sign that we have bigger problems here.