A reader sent me an article today that claiming that most fat people have no idea that we are fat. I’ve seen articles about how doctors don’t talk to their fat patients enough about weight loss, how fat people don’t know they are fat, that nobody is brave enough to talk about obesity.
What the hell are they talking about? Are these surveys based on 9 out of 10 people who live under a rock? All of those articles should start with “Once upon a time” because they are fairytales.
Magazines at the grocery store can’t stop talking about weight loss. I, and many of the readers who e-mail me have almost never been to the doctor and not had our weight brought up and that includes, in my case, occasions when doctors suggested that I should lose weight for strep throat, a separated shoulder, and a broken toe. My theory is that the media likes to interject this idea into their stories so that people don’t call them out for reporting the same “everybody knows” crap in multiple stories day in and day out without checking the evidence or, you know, asking questions as journalists might be expected to do.
The big problem happens when people believe this story and think that fat people are wandering the world oblivious to the fact that everyone from the media, to healthcare professionals, to them wants to stereotype us based on how we look, or that god forbid we don’t hate ourselves and spend all of our free brainspace, time, and money trying to be thin – and they think it’s somehow up to them to disabuse us of these notions, or remind us that if we’re not giving all of our efforts to self-hatred – if we dare to enjoy our lives in any way – then we’re just not trying hard enough.
The fairytale is based on another fairytale: Once upon a time, we got the idea that other people’s bodies were our business. And we all lived miserably ever after.
Until we called bullshit on these fairytales, made public health about providing options to the public instead of about making people’s health the public’s business, and chose to respect and appreciate people of all shapes and sizes. Maybe it’s not happily ever after, but it’s a much better start.
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