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The Right to be Fat

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Old 04-08-2010, 01:11 PM   #1
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Default The Right to be Fat

I recently came across a blog in which the author criticizes Jamie Oliver (he has a new show out called "Food Revolution" in which he tries to bring healthier food into the public school system) for being a condescending a** and a contributor to fat-bashing. She describe the show as:

"Headless fatties? Check. Enormous food stock footage? Check. OHNOES Obesity CrisisTM? Check. Being fat is ugly? Check. Fat people are lazy? Check. Fat people are stupid? Check. Fat people are sick? Check. DEATHFAT? Check. Mother-blaming for fat kids? Check. Fat as a moral failure? Check. Religious shaming of fat? Check. Fat people don't have "the tools" to not be fat? Check. Fat people need a skinny savior? Checkity-check-check!"

I'm a bit confused by this, and a lot of other blogs I've been looking at lately that aim to fight fat discrimination. What I find is people ardently defending their right to be fat, and anyone who suggests their obesity might be a problem are discriminatory and hateful. I watched Food Revolution and all I saw was a man who was trying to use his fame to shed light on the poor nutrition provided in school cafeterias. His message was, choose whole and natural foods over processed foods. Why is this a bad thing? I didn't get the sense that he was blaming anyone or being hateful in any way.

To me this seems like a case of someone who is really on the defensive. I can understand that if you've been criticized for a good portion of your life about your weight, but why would you take the position that being fat is a good thing? We know there are plenty of health risks associated with obesity, or with just not eating healthy in general (whether you are at a "normal" weight or not).

If you were smoking and your doctor said to stop because it causes health problems would you be offended? If you were an alcoholic and your doctor told you that you needed to go to rehab and stop drinking, is he being discriminatory and hateful? I see obesity in the same light. If you are obese, there is a very good chance that you are not healthy, and when a doctor says, you need to eat less/healthier and move more he is only saying what will be best for your health in the long run. Yes, if you want to be fat you can be fat... just don't get mad because other people think you are making an unwise decision. NOTE: I know a lot of the struggles people have with obesity go way behind choosing to eat healthy or not. I am not suggesting it is that simple. I am referring specifically to people who choose to be obese and then get upset when someone tells them it's not healthy.

Here is the blog I am referring to:
http://shakespearessister.blogspot.c...esus-chef.html

Please weigh in... and let me know if I come off as a condescending a** I have been known to be wrong on occasion

No day but today,
Dana
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Old 04-08-2010, 01:39 PM   #2
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I agree with you so much! As an overweight parent, I have an overwhelming urge to prevent my child from developing poor eating habits and a weight problem and going through everything I have and would be elated if his school would start serving healthier stuff in the cafeteria.

I think the root issue is that overweight people so often are stereotyped: lazy, sloppy, gluttonous, ignorant, etc. I can see fighting that stereotype. I think that was the original point of the Fat Acceptance movement, but it got out of control. It went from, ďDonít look at me and assume that I am unhealthy or that I canít walk up a flight of stairs or that I never eat salads just because I am overweight. And donít discriminate against me based on my weight,Ē to, ďFat is better, I have the right to be fat and donít you dare tell me itís not okay!Ē Not everyone who is involved in fat acceptance or efforts has this mentality, but a lot do, in my opinion.

I agree with you that some are coming from a defensive position. And it must be hard not to. I would imagine that some of these folks (perhaps the author of that article?) were once just like you and meÖtrying to lose weight, trying to change their lifestyle, trying to look and feel even a little better, and failed. And they got sick of being told that they needed to lose weight and how to do it. (Understand I am not saying this is the case for everyone.)

I think the best message to send would be that we should all put good, wholesome, healthy things into our bodies and the bodies of our children. We should all exercise as regularly as we can and make the best choices possible for our health. (The basics, right?) And if we do all of these things and weíre still overweight, so be it. It should be looked at from a health standpoint. We all know that a grilled chicken breast is healthier than a greasy hamburger patty. Regardless of our weight or what would happen to our weight if we changed our eating habits, we all know itís healthier, right?
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Old 04-08-2010, 02:12 PM   #3
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At first after just reading your post, I didn't think I was going to agree, because I am the first person to point out when someone is fat bashing...But after reading the blog entry, and watching half of the video (I am going to watch the entire thing, I love it!)...I do not think that he is being condescending or fat bashing at all...and I don't really think the point is about obesity, because you can be healthy and be obese...and you can be eating wholesome foods and still be obese. I think he just wants to save America from itself. Because not only is eating processed crap unhealthy for you body, it is bad for your brain, and has a huge negative affect on your happiness and fulfillment in life. Great post! Thanks!
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Old 04-08-2010, 02:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThicknPretty View Post
I think the root issue is that overweight people so often are stereotyped: lazy, sloppy, gluttonous, ignorant, etc. I can see fighting that stereotype. I think that was the original point of the Fat Acceptance movement, but it got out of control. It went from, ďDonít look at me and assume that I am unhealthy or that I canít walk up a flight of stairs or that I never eat salads just because I am overweight. And donít discriminate against me based on my weight,Ē to, ďFat is better, I have the right to be fat and donít you dare tell me itís not okay!Ē Not everyone who is involved in fat acceptance or efforts has this mentality, but a lot do, in my opinion.
I agree with you 100% that the stereotype of fat people as lazy or gluttonous or ignorant should be fought! The food choices a person makes does not reflect who he/she is as a person. A person's external appearance (at least the genetic parts that you can't control) do not reflect on what that person is about. This goes for people thinking positive things about someone simply because they are thin and/or beautiful. Thinness does not equate self-control or power, and beauty does not equate goodness and I think those are stereotype that should be fought also. Y

You are probably right about the movement getting a little out of control. It's one of those cases where people come up against resistance to their ideas and so in response, they push back even harder and more adamantly.

No day but today,
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Old 04-08-2010, 02:33 PM   #5
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I really think the reason the FA movement has gotten so off-track is because it's allied itself with the fat fetishists - primarily men who are interested in only fat partners and the feeders (again primarily men who are aroused by seeing their partner eat and/or gain weight).

I think the NAACP would have faced the same deterioration if it had allied itself with a group of white men whose primary motivation was having sex with black women.


Fighting unfair discrimination (and determining when the discrimination is justified) and sexualizing and aggrandizing extreme fat are two very different issues.


I think people do have the right to be as fat as they wish. Just as people have the right to do other stupid-and risky behaviors. Swim with great white sharks with meat in your pockets, jump out of planes with defective parachutes.... hey, it's a free country........ but for crying out loud recognize the possible consequences of behavior.


Yes, there are extremely morbidly obese people who are healthier than their thinner counterparts. I have a lot of health problems, and I'm sure somewhere I could find a person of my age, height, race, gender, socioeconomic class..... that is sicker than I am. That doesn't mean my problems aren't weight related or that it's "good" to be fat (or that it's evil to carry around a few extra pounds, either).

I think bodies do come in different sizes and I think that there is no healthy weight, BMI or fat percentage for every person on the planet.
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Old 04-08-2010, 02:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThicknPretty View Post
I think the root issue is that overweight people so often are stereotyped: lazy, sloppy, gluttonous, ignorant, etc. I can see fighting that stereotype. I think that was the original point of the Fat Acceptance movement, but it got out of control. It went from, ďDonít look at me and assume that I am unhealthy or that I canít walk up a flight of stairs or that I never eat salads just because I am overweight. And donít discriminate against me based on my weight,Ē to, ďFat is better, I have the right to be fat and donít you dare tell me itís not okay!Ē Not everyone who is involved in fat acceptance or efforts has this mentality, but a lot do, in my opinion.
Hmm, I picked the same paragraph to agree with. I got very, very, tired of assumptions being made about me based on my fat that were simply not true.

But never would I have said or thought the "Fat is better". I've watched the Food Revolution show and hope it does get people's attention about eating healthier, regardless of their current weight.
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:29 PM   #7
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You have GOT to be kidding me. I've watched three episodes of Food Revolution and didn't for a SECOND think he was bashing people who were overweight. The show is focused on eating healthy, unprocessed foods.

The American town the show is centered around has the highest rate of obesity related death in the nation. DEATH. You can't fault the man for trying to wake people up. Being obese dramatically effects our health and the length of our lives. You also can't fault the man for trying to get healthy food served to children in schools. What Jamie is doing is admirable.

If he truly was bashing overweight people I would be the first one outraged. The writer of the blog needs a reality check.
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:37 PM   #8
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The funny thing is that I lived in Huntington, WV and gained 30 pounds in my first year there (went to Marshall University). All of my friends who grew up in Huntington were at least overweight and there were those that were even morbidly obese, so I applaud what Jamie is trying to do. I've seen three episodes, and he does not bash fat people in ANY of them; he just wants us to eat healthier and be healthier. Strangely enough, some of my friends in Huntington have taken offense to Jamie showing people there that they are eating unhealthy foods and showing them what foods are good for them. They have this attitude of "nobody can tell me what to eat", and that's true but he's just pointing out the obvious that unprocessed healthier foods are better.
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:50 PM   #9
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So after reading through everyone's comments, I turned this forum post into a blog. Check it out if you are interested:
http://morethanmediocrity.wordpress.com/
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