Are We Doing Enough About Obesity?

Today for the roughly elebenty gabillionth time I saw the headline “Are We Doing Enough About Obesity?” These types of articles often ponder such important ideas as:

  • Are we shaming fat people enough?
  • Are we ostracizing fat people enough
  • Are we oppressing fat people enough
  • Are doctors doing a good enough job of ignoring fat people’s actual health issues and focusing on their body sizes?
  • Are we making fat people feel horrible enough about themselves?
  • Are we stereotyping fat people enough?
  • Are we doing a good enough job of conflating weight and health?

The answer seems to almost always be “No, we could be doing more.”

Look, if you are one of these people, I imagine it must be very stressful to constantly try to take responsibility for, and worry about, the business and bodies of so many people who aren’t you, so let me help you out:

You have done enough; more than enough even. It’s time for you to go look for your beeswax at your own home and in your own mirror.

If you want to make the lives of fat people better, the absolute best thing you could do is leave us alone.  I have been thinner and I can tell you that it didn’t improve my quality of life even a fraction as much as not being constantly stigmatized, stereotyped and oppressed would.  Seriously, trust me on this – you’ve done enough, go sit down now.

I know this may be hard to wrap your head around, so feel free to read this sentence a couple of times:  Fat people’s bodies are not a signal that we require your interference in our lives.  No, really – it’s true.  You know how you can make decisions for yourself about food, exercise, health without people giving you 386,170 negative messages about your body every year? You know how you manage to make choices for yourself without being the subject of a war based on how you look?  Well, fat people are just like you, only bigger! We are capable of doing our own research and making our own decisions about our health and bodies, so you are totally off the hook. Isn’t that great?! Aren’t you just so relieved?!

If you are interested in public health, then it would be great if you would focus your efforts on making sure that everyone has access to the foods that they would choose, safe movement options that they enjoy (and that means physically safe and also emotionally safe so that they know that they can put on a swimsuit and walk around without even the thought that they would be treated poorly or shamed about their bodies), affordable evidence-based healthcare, and true information.  Then you can make choices for you and let other people make choices for themselves.

I promise – you’ve done enough about “obesity.”  Please return to your homes and the policing of your own bodies only. Thank you.

I’m “obese” and I approved this message.

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12 thoughts on “Are We Doing Enough About Obesity?

  1. Total freakin spot on! This should be a tshirt, bumper sticker, etc. Fat people’s bodies are not a signal that we require your interference in our lives. Thank you foy a well- reasoned, rational argument.

  2. Obesity bashers….putting the RAGE back in RAGEn!!! LOVE it. Did you read the story yesterday about how C sections are now a new cause of childhood obesity? They are warning women to reject unnecessary c-sections…not for the already bazillion reasonable reasons to reject unnecessary c-sections, but for the one uber important reason ( more important than complications of surgery etc.) it might make your child FAT. ARRRGGH,

  3. Are we making sure to ruin a fat person’s day by either staring at what they’re eating or laughing when they try to buy clothes in a “normal” store?

  4. Yes. That.

    Public health measures: absolutely yes. Blaming anyone, individual or group, for being lazy slobs etc.: no damn way.
    Hell, I would love to find some dance classes where they wouldn’t consider me a sack of lard who hasn’t given up childish childhood dreams about Odette.

  5. Thanks for this. I just experienced a hit-and-run intervention at my office (a colleague I know slightly teased me in the office kitchen the about the chocolate cake someone brought in until I changed my mind and didn’t take even a taste, and he congratulated himself for “helping me out”). If I told him or HR I found this shaming and rude, I’d be regarded as the one at fault.

    LiisaW, I am plump and have mild cerebral palsy, and have UNrenounced dancing FINALLY in the second half of life after having given up the Odette thing at 14. I really enjoy Let Your Yoga Dance and JourneyDance classes, which are inclusive with INTENT–you might check these groups’ websites to see if there are teachers near you. I just found Ragen’s blog today and will be availing of her DVDs in the near future as well!

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