October 27, 2011

call for anthology entries!

5 comments:

  1. I am maybe going to sound 'bad' criticising this 'fat pos anthology'... but I dislike this sort of thing.

    On the one hand there is an awful lot of criticism 'out there' of promoting slimness (despite there being no clear evidence that promoting slimness is 'bad' for anyone). And so some folks go the opposite way and say 'let's promote fatness'.

    Warnings about obesity stem from clear scientific research evidence that possessing 'too much' body fat, or behaviours that lead to the accumulation of 'too much' body fat - are a risk to physical health. These warnings are not based upon a wish to marginalise people, even if that is the way that some people interpret these health warnings.

    Of course, there is also research evidence that dieting doesn't 'work' for many people - and that dieting can damage both physical and mental health.

    But why promote obesity - and say how 'fun' or 'fabulous' being 'curvy' (i.e. fat) is? I don't see the point, and I'm sure that if dieting DID work, many obese people would prefer to be slim than to remain obese.

    Moreover, I feel that this type of stuff merely adds to societal obsession with judging people on the basis of their size, even if the attempt is to use reverse psychology.

    I hope I don't upset anyone by expressing my opinion...

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  2. Cathy, you make important points. I guess it depends on whether you think obesity is a choice, or a physical state resulting from any number of factors.

    If weight is a choice - like smoking for example - then "promoting" weights associated with poor health would be unsavorty.

    But if weight is not something under our conscious, moral control - which is what I believe - then learning to live in and enjoy one's body at whatever weight it is becomes a good thing.

    I know you *adore* my analogies, but I think of weight much like I do skin color. We're born with a genetic profile determining our color. It can be changed - sometimes temporarily - and ill health can change it somewhat. Race is associated with stigma, poor health, and the ill effects of racism.

    The stigma against people "of weight" is tremendous right now and it causes terrible emotional problems and leads to disordered eating and behaviors. Embracing one's size is one way to fight back against those effects, just as "Black is Beautiful" transformed shame to self-acceptance for many over time.

    Dieting doesn't work, so if for whatever reason someone has an above average body size should they be ashamed or ostracized? Should they accept it but not love their bodies as is?

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  3. Thanks for your response Laura...

    I really do love many of your analogies - especially the one which states something along the lines of 'OCD is not caused by soap adverts - and hence anorexia nervosa is not caused by the media'.

    However, I do not see 'fat is beautiful' as being analogous to 'black is beautiful'. Skin colour is something a person is born with. Obesity is rarely something that a person is born with. Yes, there are some genetic links to obesity, but research suggests that in the majority of individuals, obesity is associated with lifestyle and living in an obesogenic environment. That is not to say that obesity is a choice. It is well established that the causes of obesity and its continuity are complex.

    The main point I was making in my first comment is that public criticism of obesity is health-related not personally related. Unfortunately, people do take it personally that the medical condition of obesity is considered inadvisable from a health-related perspective. But the intent of those who advise about the health risk of obesity is not to make a statement of (e.g.) 'fat people are not beautiful'. That is merely some people's perception and interpretation of health messages.

    I view obesity as being more analogous to smoking-induced lung disease. Smoking is very difficult to abstain from and the objective of anti-smoking campaigns are health-related. They're not meant to be personal. Of course, smokers may feel personally attacked by such campaigns and health-related messages around smoking - just as they are around health-related messages that advise eating less saturated fat and taking more exercise - to avoid common causes of obesity.

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  4. IMO, this is not "promoting" obesity. No place does it say "Eat more, get fat, join us." It says that it is good to accept ourselves -- even if we aren't of the body type that we are "supposed" to be.

    While you say "That is not to say that obesity is a choice," you also say that you believe obesity is "analogous to smoking-induced lung disease. Smoking is very difficult to abstain from." You can't have it both ways -- either it is a choice (like smoking) or it isn't.

    Yes, it's hard to quit smoking (BTDT after 20+ years). But it's IMPOSSIBLE to abstain from eating (and still be healthy).

    I respectfully disagree with your presumption that people who are overweight can "fix" themselves by watching what they eat and exercising. I am not a lazy, slothful glutton but have spent most of my many decades of life chasing that ideal of losing weight.

    Is this personal to me? Of course it is! Just as personal to me as someone telling an anorexic that it's their own fault that they have a life-threatening disease.

    IMO, there is a hidden danger to equating "weight" with "state" as it implies that, if you are of "normal" weight, you are healthy. Certainly there is no such guarantee. People of "normal" weight have high blood pressure, "bad" cholesterol, diabetes, etc. But you'd never think that to listen to those in the anti-obesity campaign.

    BTW, as we get older (the strongest correlation between disease and death grows with age, not weight), it seems that those who are under-weight have a higher risk of dying than those who are over-weight. There are other studies (that we don't read about) that throw doubt on the "lose weight, live longer" equivalence that the weight loss/cycling industry pushes at us at every juncture (in the US anyway).

    /off soapbox

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  5. @howdidIgetthere

    I apologise if any of my comments upset you. My intention wasn't meant to upset anyone.

    I am not sure if you understand the point(s) I am trying to get across.. Perhaps I didn't express myself very well.

    The point I am trying to make is that the objective of public health recommendations in relation to obesity prevention is not to marginalise overweight or obese people. Yet, many people seem to interpret these health recommendations in that way. They take these recommendations personally - and moreover, they seem to interpret them in the context of physical attractiveness. A recent example was when Denmark inroduced a 'fat tax'. This is a tax in food high in saturated fat; not a tax against overweight/obese people. Yet, many people seemed to assume the latter, or felt that it was marginalising overweight/obese individuals.

    You write: "I respectfully disagree with your presumption that people who are overweight can "fix" themselves by watching what they eat and exercising."

    As far as I can see, I didn't write or even insinuate that in my comments above. I have read a great many research studies on the causes and 'treatment' of obesity and related health issues. I know it is not easy for obese individuals to lose weight. I am also aware that the relationship between weight and health is complex.

    I am absolutely NOT anti-obese people. I hope my comments are not interpreted that way. However, I am in favour of health promotion, and I do believe, on the basis of research evidence, that if obesity can be prevented, in a manner that is safe and does not lead to dangerously disordered eating, that many populations will enjoy better health.

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