But What About Obesity?

You Forgot Your BullshitOne thing that I find really irritating is when someone wants to draw attention away from a discussion, and so they play a game of “look at the fatties.”  I’ve seen this won’tsomebodythinkofthefatties technique used in discussions from global warming, to contraception, to politics.  It goes like this – someone writes a blog or article that says  “here is my well thought out opinion on this issue (that has nothing to do with fat people).”  Then someone literally leaves a comment that says “But what about obesity?”

An example that I saw today:

Somebody was discussing the rise in restrictive eating disorders, and somebody asked “What about obesity?”

What about it?  Dude, this has nothing to do with fat people.  You might as well have said “What about Sharknado 3?” It’s exactly as relevant. Besides which, obesity is a body size – it’s not an eating disorder, it’s not a diagnosis, it’s not the problem, and it’s not part of every discussion. It’s just a body size.

The first problem with this is that it’s derailing – even if you massively don’t get it and mistakenly believe obesity is a problem, there are other problems and it’s ok to talk about those problems with absolutely no mention of fat people.

If you don’t want to discuss whatever the actual issue is that is being discussed, feel free to go find a place to talk about whatever you want to talk about, no need to throw fat people under the bus.

What’s worse about using obesity to derail a discussion is that obesity isn’t Sharknado 3, nor is it an abstract concept, it’s people.  People who are ceaselessly shamed, stigmatized and bullied in our society for how we look. People who should have a reasonable expectation of being able to engage in a dialog on the internet without someone suggesting that they are a worse issues than anything that is actually being talked about, or that we somehow compound every problem by our mere existence.  It seems like some people take joy in the idea that they can bash fat people all they want and justify it because, hey, that’s what everyone else is doing.  There are people who just want to take every opportunity to treat a group of people poorly with little fear of repercussion.  Look – making assumptions about people and/or attempting to blame them for things based on how they look is bigotry, straight up, there is nothing that can justify it.

Fat bashing for the purpose of derailing a discussion is still fat bashing and it has to stop.  If you’re up for a little armchair activism, you can always call that out when you see it.  Either way, if you’re fat know that it’s not you, it’s them, and it’s completely inappropriate.

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6 thoughts on “But What About Obesity?

  1. Also, if a person happens to be fat, everything has to be about that. For example, Chris Christie. There are tons of things about him, good and bad, that have nothing to do with his weight, but his weight is all people seem to be able to talk about. Back when he had weight loss surgery, everyone was saying “your family must be so proud” and I kept thinking- He’s a governor, but you think his family should be proud now because of surgery?

    1. He could win the Nobel Peace Prize AND the Nobel Science Prize, and they’d still say, “Oh, your family must be so proud that you went on that new diet.”

      So sad. Nothing is ever good enough, and every issue must fall by the wayside, if there is a fat person in existence.

  2. I’ve come to believe that the term “obesity” is meaningless. What useful purpose does it serve to label people by the percentage of fat on their bodies when (a) the vast majority cannot do anything to change it more than temporarily and (b) because of (a), it hasn’t been proven that there is any benefit to changing it? Each person is an individual and should be treated as such.

  3. actually since I think the war on obesity IS a large part of the reason for the rise in restrictive eating disorders its very much NOT off topic. After all what message d kids get in school “you’re fat, you’re fat can’t have good food cause you’re FAT”

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