Thursday, February 09, 2006

Big fat carnival

Some fascinating reads concerning fat and our human experience over at the Big Fat Carnival. Particularly instructive: the section on Our Fat-Hating Culture.

If you're interested in this subject area, I also recommend Fat Politics by J. Eric Oliver. I haven't quite finished my copy yet, but it's a point of view with which I find myself in agreement.

It disturbs me when I see, on a regular basis, so much raw HATRED and derision projected about body fat. Overt, subtle, by people with relatively low body fat levels, by people with high body fat levels, at others, at themselves. It's ugly and poisonous and doesn't make anyone healthier in body or spirit or help anyone feel better. Unless, perhaps, it offers one that smug sense of superiority over people with higher body fat levels . . . right?

9 comments:

Frank said...

love your blog

The Spandex-King said...

I feel sorry for the fat people that can't find the right answer to lose weight. I know that no all of them do want to lose weight, but I think most would. I've lost 25 pounds in the last year and feel so much better. Not sure if it's loosing the weight or just being more fit that makes me feel better. Can't imagine the struggles of life, being obese.

William said...

Well, I think fat might remind people of their mortality and imperfection and that's what generates the aversion.

jeanne said...

I've been fat and I've been, um, less fat. I think once I was thin. I like how I am right now. Which is not thin, and not fat. So, I think I'm qualified to talk about what it's like being fat in america. (I smell a blog post coming on!) So, yes, yes, yes, I think you are right on.

I don't know how much raw hatred there is toward overweight people (see, I don't even like to say fat). Maybe I'm naive. Yes, I'm sure it exists in certain circles (as we saw the other day!) But I think (hope) that they are a minority.

I do think this country is so madison- avenue obsessed (brainwashed?) with body image that many of us have completely forgotten about feeding our souls and our spirits, and how important that is.

On the other hand, I cannot deny that our culture also, paradoxically, encourages a sedentary lifestyle, and bad eating habits. And many people fall victim. (And no, i'm not excusing them, just offering an explanation. Which many others before me have offered.)

great post nancy. I have no answers, I just try to treat everyone with respect.

Comm's said...
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Comm's said...

I deleted to comment above because after I wrote it I went to the Fat Carnival website and read it and your book link to read the synopis. I may pick that book up.

I have a problem with fat acceptance people, actually the same problem I have with fat bigots. Both extremists. The fat extremists that I have met are not moms and dads who are 40-50 lbs overweight, next door neighbor type. They are radicals who are trying to force their reality on a society with political and social change that creates obesity as a privillaged minority status.

I read most of the links, and was actually pleased with the gastric bypass link, I again have met dozens of these patients and they become brainwashed in their indoctrination and follow up that gastic bypass is the way of the future and are actually asked to recruit new people to their surgeons. To see a link that condemns that strategy was good.

I am ashamed of people who deride obese people, their condition is not always of their choosing and many wish they were not the way they were. Most considered overweight are perfectly heatlhy, functioning people. The fat acceptance crowd, I wish people would not personally attack them, but at the same time they present themselves as targets because their antics and positions are so...out of bounds. No rational debate can be achieved because their position is always, "its because I am fat that you hate me." Well no actually it might be that your weight has nothing to do with it, its your shouting and completely emotional position that I don't agree with.

I have personally led several people to lose 30-40-100 pounds. I have watched 1000's lose the same in my line of work. No person, unless medically conditioned or morbidly obese, is more than six months away from looking the way they want too. But its not easy, and its not simple. It takes among other things; time, commitment, education, motivation, accountablity, sacrifice and yes money. Most people don't or won't make that kind of commitment.

In a way that is also what keeps the triathlon community fairly small. We have taken all those steps.

I may look at someone and judge them physically at first, but that has no bearing on my overall assesment of that person. I don't know their goals, their sacrifices, their medical conditions. None of that matters. I will treat you the way I want to be treated and lets get along. You disrepect me or snap judge me then I don't care thin or fat I will draw my imaginary X on you. Start a debate with me and take the opposition, we will have robust intectual dialogue.

I liked some of what I read there but I think, based on my own live interaction with politically active fat acceptance people you have to look through the rethoric and see the pain that is truly masked on the majority of those people who have body image issues and address those topic which usually arise at a very young age.

Now look, I have written a longer response than the original post. Nancy you sure can pick the hot topics for me. Good job.

Wylee said...
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Wylee said...

Call me simple minded and egotistical, but as a rule I just don't care to think that hard about other people's fat. I'm concerned with my own body-- it's the one I live in. I alone make the choice to change my body and how I think about my body. It's really that simple... for me anyway.

nancytoby said...

I could probably go on at great length on this topic, but it tends to bring some of the real nasties out of the woodwork. Let's just say I think it's unfortunate for everyone that anti-fat-people prejudice seems to be so widely acceptable in society today. Like I said, it does no one any good, and harms many.