Fat People’s Failure to Thrive

Nothing to proveFat people are failing to thrive.  That’s the message that many people in society try to say to, and about, fat people – we are “failing to thrive” unless we are thin, unless we have a body that fits the social beauty norm.   Nothing we do will ever be enough to “make up” for our fatness – You’re an amazing teacher, but are you thin? You’re a great mom, but are you thin?  You cured cancer, but are you thin? We couldn’t possibly be truly happy living outside the cultural beauty norm.  We can’t possibly be comfortable at our size and if we say we’re happy and comfortable with our bodies then we’re obviously lying.  The solution to all of this is obviously for fat people to change ourselves and couldn’t possibly be to end the stigma, bullying and oppression that fat people face for how we look.

Where does this heaping helping of horseshit come from? Some of it is guessing, some is projection, some is lies spread by the diet industry (that makes $60 billion a year selling a product that is such a disaster that they are legally required to say it doesn’t work every single time it’s advertised,) some is bullying, some is just BS.  The truth is that people come in lots of sizes for lots of reasons and we don’t now how to make people smaller for more than a short time, and the government declared and funded  “War on Obesity” has casualties. If we want people to thrive then having a society which – often by government decree –  bullies, shames, stigmatizes and oppresses them is the exact opposite of anything that is likely to work.

We will never know just how much of an effect stigma and oppression (not to mention dieting which is a whole other blog post) have on fat people’s physical and mental health – and ability to thrive – until we stop stigmatizing and oppressing them.  We don’t know how to make fat people thin but we do know how to stop stigmatizing and oppressing them, so how about we give that the old college try.  Being fat is not better or worse, it’s just one of many ways to have a body and every way is amazing. People of all sizes deserve a world that treats them with respect – instead of shaming, bullying, stigmatizing and oppression – and gives them the best chance to, by whatever their personal definition is, thrive.

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12 thoughts on “Fat People’s Failure to Thrive

  1. Thanks as always, Ragen. I wish this message would just get absorbed. That society and that medical professionals would stop looking at us and assuming they know everything about us, what medical problems we have, and how “easily” it could all be fixed if we would just “try” to lose weight.

    Just a few months ago, I was finishing up a perfectly healthy pregnancy. My labor was induced and I was given an epidural before active labor. When it was obvious I needed a c-section, the OB first blamed a.) my weight and then b.) my “noncompliance.” She was snapping that I wasn’t “even trying” to push the baby out.

    The real reasons for my c-section: his heart rate was dropping, he was in the wrong position and I had a uterine infection that stopped contractions. At least she was ever so kind to admit to my husband on the way out of the operation that he wasn’t coming out any other way. Couldn’t have, you know, bothered to say it to me after treating me like crap.

    But, I’m just another subhuman fat patient who had it coming because fatness, so. The experience was very traumatic. It has amazed me in discussing it with others how readily they just act like: well, you’re fat. What did you expect?

    That people so readily accept treatment like that and feel it’s justified is so alarming to me.

    1. Cruel treatment of women in LABOR is so appalling and abhorrent to me! There’s a website—myobsaidwhat.com—devoted to this kind of abuse. There’s a section devoted to fat abuse. 😦

    2. If you’re a member of Angie’s List you can go online and give her a crappy review and tell everyone how horribly she treats her patients.

      I’m sorry you had to go through that.

    3. What the BLEEP happened to “First do no harm?” That is just appalling! I’m so sorry. I hope your baby is all right!

  2. “failure to thrive” in a nursing home or veterinarian clinic usually accompanies pronounced weight LOSS. how ironic.

    but I hate to admit that I actually admired my mother’s flat stomach (first time in her life she ever had one!) when she was on her deathbed. sorrowful in so very many ways!

  3. Jules that is such a horrible story. I related my horror story of being asked to keep a food log yesterday…I just wonder when it will all end?

    I’ve written about it and written about, but if you were in the state of California and something were to have happened to you or even your baby and you wanted to file a malpractice lawsuit (or you wanted to sue for the horrible, inhumane treatment the doctor gave you)…you couldn’t because the state of California recognizes by statute the links between health and obesity. In the state of California all a doctor (and their medical malpractice insurance) has to say is “the patient was not injured because of my bad care, they were injured because they were overweight.” But guess what? It won’t even get that far because the medical malpractice companies have such a stranglehold over litigation in this state, there won’t be a lawyer willing to take your case.

    This is what needs to be done NOW to resolve this (underpants rule of course):

    1. The state of California needs a worldwide business and tourism boycott until this travesty is fixed in the legislature. People in other states need to write to their national and state legislatures and make sure this doesn’t happen in their state (so far California is one of the only places in the world that has this codified in law, according to the one of 30ish lawyers who was willing to meet me in person regarding my malpractice suit relating to diabetes and the possible amputation of my feet).

    2. We need a nationwide quota system in place to ensure that at least 50% of all incoming medical students are overweight to obese. The same goes for lawyers.

    3. We need a national quota system in place immediately that ensures at least 50% of ALL people we see in media are POSITIVE portrayals of fat people doing everything from reviewing movies to climbing mountains.

    There could be others, please feel free to think of your own and add to this on blog!

    1. If nothing else, Simon, I sure hope you are submitting to those doctor-rating websites comments regarding all the lousy physicians you’ve dealt with in your time. Docs shouldn’t be able to get away with abuses- even if said abuses aren’t enough to file a malpractice suit.

    2. I had no idea this was a thing! That’s horrifying. Thank God I’m not in California…

      It gets worse and worse as time goes on.

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