In what kind of twisted world is it controversial to say that being fat is bad?
26 September 2018
It is things like this that make me believe we’re living in the worst of times. Free speech is under attack. Socialism is trendy. Satire is racist. And morbid obesity is to be celebrated. The culture is headed into a downward spiral to lunacy, a trip made ever faster by ridiculous claims and an ignorance of well-established truths, such as with the case regarding body positivity and plus-sized models.
This isn’t a debate I wanted to have. The Cosmopolitan cover that sparked this discussion was so clearly designed to provoke outrage, politics, and controversy, that I didn’t want to indulge the dying media and its vacuous cycles.
However, the discourse has gone far beyond that initial magazine cover, with the arguments in favour of so-called ‘body positivity’ becoming more and more negative in their potential effect on society.
I don’t want to make anyone feel bad about their circumstance in life, nor do I wish to critique the way in which people choose to live. My only piece of advice is that you consume pleasure in moderation, and if not, at least be able to face the consequences when they inevitably arise.
But right now, a subset of American and Western ‘thinkers’ are trying to shy away from the consequences of leading an unhealthy lifestyle. They’re doing so not by outright running away from the problem but through trying to change the problem into something else, something more palatable, totally acceptable and even laudable.
Let’s be honest: they’re trying to manipulate the cultural outlook on a dangerous medical condition.
The intent isn’t necessarily to deceive. I doubt that many of those who argue for ‘fat acceptance’ are doing so in order to hurt anyone or cause damage to humanity. Nevertheless, damage will be the result of such ideas being taken on as the prevailing wisdom.
Putting an obese model on the cover of a fashion magazine is just a single element of what’s wrong here. The reason why this little stunt by Cosmopolitan stirred up so much debate is because it raised questions regarding what ideals our society should strive for, as the media typically dictates what’s popular and on trend.
Of course, dangerous lifestyles have been perpetuated in the past, from sex, drugs, and rock and roll to the glorification of violence. But never has the media glorified something so tangibly dangerous and then been revered for it.
Obesity is one of the leading causes of preventable death, and around 40% of people in America are obese—that’s over 90 million individuals. In the UK, obesity will soon outstrip smoking as the biggest cause of preventable cancer in women. Time and time again, obesity has been linked to the cycle of poverty and low socioeconomic households.
As a culture, we’ve typically found healthy people attractive, and that’s for a good reason. Morbidly obese people are literally sick; an overabundance of body fat will lead to further illnesses and a debilitating way of life.
No amount of glamorisation will cover up the harsh truth that nobody really wants to be overweight, and no sane person would want their children to be either.
At this point, we’ve gone beyond the excuse of personal choice. Yes, you have the right to damage your body in any way you please. We all do things that are unhealthy from time to time, but when you start trying to convince the world that your vice is perfectly OK and commendable, that’s when the realists need to step in.
If any smoker or drinker tried to convince you that cigarettes and alcohol don’t do any damage, you’d rightfully dismiss them as out of their mind.
Why should we act any differently toward those who try to spin food addiction?
According to the Huffington Post’s, ‘Everything you know about obesity is wrong,’ it’s because ‘smoking is a behaviour,’ while ‘being fat is not.’ Let that little slice of misleading illogic prime you for the rest of the stupidity found in this article. Being fat is not a behaviour, but it definitely is caused by one. It’s called overeating.
Using the veneer of sympathy and caring for obese people, the article attempts to discredit the entire notion of dieting and even following your doctor’s advice, stating that medical professionals could have ‘saved millions of lives’ had they admitted that ‘diets do not work.’ Apparently, ‘research has shown that 95 to 98 percent of attempts to lose weight fail and that two-thirds of dieters gain back more than they lost.’
If that is indeed true, then it proves nothing more than the prevalence of a weakness of will. Many people suddenly decide to go on diets, be it new year or the start of a new week, and many of those attempts fail.
Losing weight is a goal for many people, and a lot of people don’t achieve their goals—what’s new? We can’t blame the inability to succeed on the notion of success itself.
The idea that ‘diets do not work’ also discounts the experiences of everyone who has managed to lose weight. It’s hard work, and I doubt many of those people would appreciate being told that their efforts were a fluke. I would know because I recently lost quite a bit of weight through dieting and exercise, so allow me to tell you that diets do work.
Perhaps the biggest travesty in this article is the complete elimination of hope for those who want to make a change. By chalking up obesity to a matter of ‘biological and irreversible’ reasons, the author is effectively making weight loss seem like a futile endeavour when it definitely isn’t.
This all adds to their attack on the medical establishment, calling doctors ‘a source of unique and persistent trauma’ for ‘fat people’ and dragging in identity politics to damn the ‘white, wealthy, skinny doctors’ who attempt to ‘bond with their low-income patients.’
The article ends with the sentiment that the ‘dreams’ of overweight people to become healthy again ‘are a trap,’ as rather than losing weight, ‘there is only the revolutionary act of being fat and happy in a world that tells you that’s impossible.’
What a load of bull.
The ‘fat acceptance’ movement is predicated on dispelling the notion of self-improvement in favour of blind self-indulgence, not in regard to food but pity. After all, what else are you supposed to feel after being told that your obesity was caused by factors outside of your control? With that, nobody will make a change, and everyone will be mindlessly content to the day they die an early death.
When I demand that we stop glorifying obesity, I’m not just talking about movie screens and magazine covers. I’m talking about glorifying obesity as anything more than the consequence of one’s own personal decisions. It is not a tragic disease anyone can contract nor an irreversible fate.
In truth, I do not care about the bodies of strangers or celebrities. I care about how the next generation will be brought up, and if these attitudes become widely adopted, our legacy as a people will no doubt decline alongside our health.