The True Public Health Threat

WTF are you doingA small study found that fat women who like their bodies have better sex than fat women who don’t.  I spent some time trying to muster surprise but I just can’t find any.  One of the things that I will never understand is these people who insist that not only do we have to be thin to be healthy, but that the only way to do that is to hate the bodies that we have now.  The concept of hating ourselves healthy and or thin (two separate things, let’s remember) has always seemed ridiculous to me.  In fact, the concept of attempting to make any choices from a basis of self-loathing seems like a terrible idea.

We live in a culture where people consider weight bullying to be everything from a public service to a super fun past-time, and where billion dollar industries make their money by convincing us that we are not good enough and that we should be terrified of never being good enough (and that we should buy their products to try to get better or at least keep from getting worse.)  People of all sizes internalize that message and that’s a problem because people don’t take good care of things that they hate and that includes their bodies.

One of the things about Size Acceptance that I think is undervalued for people of all sizes is the option to like yourself right now, exactly as you are, and then make choices for your health and your life. The idea that you can build a life from a perspective of liking and appreciating your body, rather than hoping that you can do something, buy something, be something – anything – to just hate yourself a little less.

If we, as a culture, really want to look at public health threats then I think that we should take all of the time, money and attention that is currently focused on body size and instead focus it on those who spread a message of body shame and self-loathing – from the weight bullies to the “for your own good-ers” These people are the true public health threat.  They try to convince us that our bodies are unworthy, and if they succeed it means that people often believe that their bodies are unworthy of care.  They create an environment where people are scared to move their bodies for fear of shaming, scared to go to the doctor for fear of being ignored, shamed or made the non-consenting subject of experimental medical treatments.  They create an environment where our food choices are moralized and scrutinized by strangers,  and we are told that our own bodies can’t be trusted and should be ignored in lieu of advice that seems highly questionable.

People who perpetuate self -loathing and who engage in weight bullying (under any guise including “trying to help” or “for your own good” or “for the good of society”) are a real and direct threat to public health and it’s time to stop focusing on the bodies of other people and start focusing on changing a culture that encourages self-loathing as the gateway to the good life.

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14 thoughts on “The True Public Health Threat

  1. Great study… NOT!!! A waste if money again. Every woman who likes her body, fat or a stick insect, has better sex than the one who does not like her body. It has nothing to do with the size of the body or the shape but with acceptance and confidence… I have a friend who struggles to put on weight. She can eat so much. But of course she struggles too. And she hears it all as well. She is too thin, she should finally put on weight, she should eat more orbetter or healthier blablabla… Whatever is not the “norm” needs to be pushed back “in shape”. Instead of accepting a person for who this person is… Drives me nuts…

  2. A great post Ragen. I’m thinking a lot if us had rough experiences over the holidays. Mine was particularly awful because of the staggering selfishness of my father. I’m going to blog about it when I come to terms with what us actually happening to me but right now it’s good to be reminded that I am perfect the way I am and I need to chose to be happy now.

    1. You know what I suggest for your health, Simon? Spending the next major holiday as far away from your father as possible.

      Take care of yourself. You matter.

      1. Dear Simon, Just to remind you again, yes, you ARE perfect the way you are now. There are a great many people on this site who think you are pretty damn amazing and wonderful. I wish I could give you an in-person hug *right now*.

    2. I think you’re just a wonderful, lovely man! You’ll be happy. From what I’ve seen of you so far, it’s in your nature!

  3. Yes! I know it’s the norm to have to have someone to step on, to make yourself feel better, and concern trolls are no different. Thanks for giving me ammunition for the next altercation I have with one of them. I love you lady!

  4. Why is it always such a surprise when researchers discover that people who are contented with themselves live happier lives and enjoy themselves more than people who are filled with self-loathing?

    It’s one thing to want to improve oneself by getting more education or building one’s physical strength or making personal moral choices… but there are so damn many people who seem to think that if I don’t actively hate myself, I will never do these things. Poppycock! I only do these things when I am happy enough with myself to start to think about what I want for me.

    As for sex, if I find my own body disgusting, how will I ever believe that someone else doesn’t share that disgust?

    But there is nothing disgusting about my body. It’s quite a nice body, really. It’s compact and bountiful at the same time, it’s extremely sensitive, and it makes amusing noises at unscheduled times. What’s not to love about that?

  5. Earlier this month, I had to have a minor medical procedure. I am 54. In the course of pre-op testing, I was asked routine questions including what meds I am on. Answer: None. Yes, that’s right – One can be 54, female and fat and not have diabetes, high blood pressure or any number of other things, and one can not take any meds.

    I am also routinely told by many people that I look more like 35, not 54 – including by the above-referenced medical people.

    In all, I’d say my body is pretty damned amazing. I think I’ll keep it!

    1. I am 32, but look about 14. This makes it hard to get a job.

      Also the only meds I take are an iron supplement (Floravit) and a B-multivitamin (I discovered the wonders of B3 and the absense of migraines).

  6. I just want to thank you for this blog. It has helped me a great deal over the past few months since I started to follow. I don’t like being as big as I am for one simple reason, it is harder and more expensive to find clothes that look nice. For this reason I want to lose some weight, but now I feel like I don’t HAVE to lose ALL the weight that the doctor would like to see me lose. I just have to do what I want to do, whatever makes me happy. It makes me happy to walk around with the attitude of “I am fabulous just the way I am and aren’t you lucky to encounter me!” Happy New Year!

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