On the blog KevinMD, (self-described as “Social Media’s Leading Physician Voice”) a video was posted [every trigger warning that you could possibly imagine, I definitely don’t recommend watching it] under the title “This is the video that will make you feel sorry for doctors treating obesity.” (Update: The blog has been removed from KevinMD – way to go everyone, thanks for your activism!)
It’s a slickly produced video by Waqas Khan (who I don’t even want to acknowledge is a physician because it’s just too horrifying), the premise of which is that fat people are all stupid walking stereotypes, and that everyone should feel sorry for doctors because they are expected to treat fat people like human beings.
I mean, who do these fatties think they are, expecting healthcare practitioners to provide evidence-based (god, even compassionate?) care rather than just making assumptions about us, diagnosing us as fat, and prescribing weight loss (using “interventions” that have not only been shown to be almost completely ineffective long-term, but to actually have the opposite of the intended effect most of the time.) Poor doctors, oh the humanity!
Or, in Waqas’ case, the complete lack thereof. (Activism options are listed at the end of this blog post.)
The videos are created by Waqas’ company called “Healthcare Not Fair” (I guess “Doctor Bigot Films” was already taken.) He claims the piece is satire. So we can add “satire” to “compassion,” “basic human respect,” and “evidence-based medicine” on the list of things that Waqas Khan does not understand. What this video actually shows is what happens when a bigot abuses a position of authority and trust to wallow in, and perpetuate, his bigotry.
Make no mistake though, his behavior is a direct and serious threat to the health of fat people. Waqas is trying to spread a message of weight bigotry, body shame, and self-loathing. If he succeeds, many fat people (and those who feel fat) will believe that our bodies are not worthy of good care and that we are not worthy of being treated with respect by healthcare practitioners, or anyone else which will make it nearly impossible to make decisions in our best interest.
Many of us will see doctors like Waqas who ignore our actual complaints, trust their bigotry and stereotypes over what we tell them, and miss actual health problems because they are so busy trying to manipulate our body size. Some of us will see doctors who refuse to give us routine care until we meet some ratio of weight and height.
Others will be so scared that our doctor will be a bigot like Waqas that we’ll avoid seeking care, causing us to miss out on preventative care, early diagnosis, and to have worse outcomes than those who can go to the doctor without being terrified that the doctor might create and promote videos making fun of patients like them. This is a real public health threat. If we’re going to wage war against someone in the name of public health, let’s wage war against bigots, and bullies, and people like Waqas Khan.
By the way, this video (called “Miss Fatty”) isn’t the only one, this is a series that includes “Ms. Stupid Taxpayer,” and “Ms. Have it All” among others. Nobody, of any size, should be subjected to a physician like this.
The video contains a “watch at your own risk” warning at the beginning that says “Just like cancer, there’s no cure for getting offended.” His trivialization of cancer to defend his bigotry aside, I beg to differ. I think the cure for getting offended is taking action. Here are some actions that you can take: (Regardless of whether you engage in activism or not, let me just remind you that this guy is the problem, not you. This is severely fucked up, you are fine.)
Leave a comment on KevinMD.com and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org asking him if “Social Media’s Leading Physician Voice” really wants to be a voice for bigotry, and suggesting that he take the video down. DONE! Thanks to our activism, KevinMD.com has removed the video! There’s still work to be done:
E-mail Waqa’s company (by the way, his next project is a “memoir” film called ““Superdoc: Healthcare’s Own Superhero”” about himself) and let him know what you think of him email@example.com
Leave comments on his social media:
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