Fat People, The Super Bowl, And Pretty Blatant Hypocrisy

Super BowlOne of the reasons most commonly given for refusing to treat fat people with basic human respect, or to represent fat people in the media as happy, or successful at anything other than weight loss, is that fat people aren’t “prioritizing our health” and thus deserve to be treated poorly and denied positive media representation.

For today I’m setting aside the fact that this is both completely untrue and that it even if it was true it would still be extremely messed up, to discuss the almost unbelievable hypocrisy that is committed anytime this argument is made and, specifically, on Super Bowl Sunday, in this annual DWF post.

Today Super Bowl LIV will be played (for those not into sportsball, it’s the annual championship game of the National Football League,which has many serious issues, including with racism.) It has an anticipated audience of over 100 million people. Advertisers paid $5.6Millon for a 30 second spot (up from $5.25M last year.)

The dudes who will play in the game – many of them meeting the (totally bullshit) definition of “obese” – will be putting their short and long term health in jeopardy in the hopes of scoring more points than some other dudes, and winning jewelry.

If we really believe that people who don’t prioritize their health should be treated poorly and denied positive media representation, then I’m pretty confused here:

First is this incredibly long list of injuries.

And what about the massive impact of concussions on players future lives (and the NFL cover-up thereof.)

Or the fact that the rate of bankruptcy means that taxpayers will likely pick up the cost of most of the future healthcare they’ll need.

Football players are given massive media exposure despite the fact that they are clearly not prioritizing their own health.

So if we think that people who don’t “prioritize their health” are poor role models and shouldn’t be represented positively in the media, what is this whole Super Bowl thing about?  Where is the insistence that football players aren’t good role models because they aren’t prioritizing their health? Where are the calculations about how expensive football players (from Pop Warner to Pro) will be – not just with sports injuries while they play, but with the fallout from concussions, and the constant pounding their joints take? Where is the WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THEIR KNEES hand-wringing?

Where are the calculations of how much money could be saved if instead of playing football those who participate just walked 30 minutes a day 5 days a week?  Where’s the government-sponsored “War on Football Playing”? And all of that despite the fact that body size is complicated and not entirely within our control and we don’t have a single study where more than a tiny fraction of people were able to change their body size, but playing (or not quitting) football is absolutely a choice.

To be clear, people are allowed to play football. My point here is that this whole “It’s because of fat people’s health that we treat them badly” thing is just a crappy justification for size-based discrimination, and it’s long past time to stop using healthism and ableism to justify sizeism, and to end all of them instead.

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3 thoughts on “Fat People, The Super Bowl, And Pretty Blatant Hypocrisy

  1. Ragen, there is absolutely no way people are gonna make that uber obvious hop. I have read of the connection between sports and one time to chronic life long results of injuries and over use to the body. They are sooo not gonna give an inch on this. We are talking staring at the Eiffel Tower and saying it’s the Matterhorn entrenched denial here.
    We still have not passed the “too much food equals too much body” paradigm of willful ignorance. Do keep hammering on it. You may not get a huge audience, but you may make a tiny pinprick of light in the dark world of ‘need to hate fat people for my sense being’ people and you may save one person from hating themselves to sickness and death to achieve the unobtainable goal of losing weight permanently.
    Sign of just how irrational people can get. I believe a member of PETA said something about looking at the people (being held) in the concentration camps of World War Two saying there were no fat people there. ie, reelly strict dieting can make you thin.

  2. A good friend of mine started talking about his knees in the past tense when he was 18, thanks to the noble sport of college football. He’s in his fifties now, and, while he has not needed a knee replacement, he still regrets playing that sport when he was so young. Fresh air and healthy exercise and concussions and ruined knees!

  3. Considering how much money people make off of football and other sports, it will continue to be incredibly hard to make safer changes to the sport. Any time you bring money into a situation, actually caring about the people involved vanishes.

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