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Thoughts on the “glamourizing/normalizing” obesity vs body positivity conversations



  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Posts: 9,071Member Member Posts: 9,071Member Member
    The only time that fat acceptance bothers me is when it tips the scale into actual untruthfulness. I recently read a bunch of posts from an influencer who runs marathons while being morbidly obese. That’s her brand. She claims she was skinnier at one point, didn’t like it and found it was too much work to stay thin, and now chooses to go about her business being happy, active, and obese. And I would applaud her for doing that, if she could actually run a marathon, but she can’t. She walks marathons, very slowly, and with pain. She has to find marathons which stay open indefinitely and then she makes the support crew wait for hours on her to finish. And then she posts triumphantly about “running” another marathon.

    She’s not healthy and she can’t run a marathon, and she’s telling lies about that, and that’s not cool to me.

    Because I have diabetes due to my past obesity, I’m aware that pretending obesity is just lovely and won’t hurt you isn’t a good idea. Obesity kills. Obese people - I was one - should absolutely be able to buy clothes, and sit in chairs, and go out in public without being mocked, but they should also be told the truth about the consequences of obesity.

    To be fair, cheating in marathons "is a thing." I don't understand it, but she's not the only one, and if she's walking the whole 26.2 miles that puts her ahead of a lot of people claiming to have finished. Not that I'm condoning lying.
  • weatherwoman94weatherwoman94 Posts: 14Member Member Posts: 14Member Member
    I think too much attention is given to the topic of hypothetically obese/overweight people and how they feel about their bodies and whether they're doing anything about it.

    It can become a dumping ground for people with eating disorders who over-identify with grand narratives, driven by low self esteem and untreated mental health issues.

    The attention and concern is shaping decisions that are being made by the Government, for everyone. It is misguided decision to drag everyone into the plight of decreasing obesity/overweight statistics to promote a "health conscious society".

    It's promoting a disordered society for people who are not obese/overweight and whom it doesn't concern. The blatant advertising of calorie values on food where it's in your face.

    You don't have a choice but to look at it, they won't even separate it or put it on a website. It shows a lack of concern and empathy for people who are negatively impacted by having the calorie content of food displayed.
    edited September 5
  • aokoyeaokoye Posts: 2,771Member Member Posts: 2,771Member Member
    What do you folks thing about the glamorizing and normalizing of speeding? Talk about dangerous behavior, right? Wait, we can only shame fat people and pretend it's because we care?
    I wish I could click like more than once.
  • jafinneartyjafinnearty Posts: 41Member Member Posts: 41Member Member
    There's a quote that I can't quite remember that puts it better, but it tends to be that people form there ideals and opinions after there intrinsic gut instinct. A lot of people in society have been taught that being towards underweight is the ideal, and being seen as overweight is a personal flaw. This leads to a knee jerk reaction in those people to use overweight as a dirty word, a classic insult of childhood bullies (or adult ones in some cases).

    However, as there's been a push for more understanding of what it's like being an overweight person, people have come to realise that there treatment and demonisation of overweight people makes them what we call in the buissness 'a bit of a jerk'. And people don't really want to be seen as mean, so the back pedal looks something like:

    'I'm worried about your health!' - 'It glorifys bad life choices' etc etc, you've probably heard a lot of them.

    In actual fact, they don't want to face the reality that they themselves have been a part of pushing - that their treatment of overweight people is unfair, cruel and undeserved.

    In terms of responding to a lot of the critisism that 'body positivity' I would say this. It's the ability to be able to say 'hey, I shouldn't hate myself for the way my body looks - My worth is not intrinsically tied to my outward appearence'.

    And that body positivity disconnects health and physical appearance. Because people can be healthy as they can be, be outside of the average weight due to medical conditions, and should still love themselves. People can look average weight and be unhealthy, and they should love themselves. People can want to change there appearance and still love themselves just as they are. Love yourself!

    Because at the end of the day the people that don't want you to love yourself because of the way that you look, don't have your interest at heart, and they certainly don't care about your health. They just don't want to be seen as mean when they make fun of people.

    Thank you! This is the same line of thinking I have, but I wasn't able to get the words to come out in a meaningful way.

    Anyone and everyone can have something about them that is outwardly "acceptable" in society, but they still hate themselves. The same can be said for that someone that has something that is "unacceptable" in society but they accept it themselves as who they are. It doesn't mean that they don't want to change that about themselves. They just don't hate themselves for it.
  • jafinneartyjafinnearty Posts: 41Member Member Posts: 41Member Member
    MikePTY wrote: »
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    I think a role of society is to apply negative pressure to behaviors that that society wishes to discourage. Being fat is a physical thing and a physical trait but it is definitely caused by behavior and personal choices. If we, as a society, want to encourage athletic health and wish to discourage being fat then I honestly don't see it as a problem that fat people are "marginalized".

    That said I think society also needs to support healthy eating habits and recognize that if the cheapest foods are the highest calorie to nutrition foods that poor people will become fat and not because of poor behaviors but because they are poor and what they can afford is high calorie. Although being poor can potentially be due to poor personal choices I think in any society there will always be a certain percentage of the population that is poor, its just a bell curve I'm not sure you can ever have a society where no one is poor.

    If you then try to correct behavior of being fat by increasing the costs of high calorie/nutrition foods (like a sugar tax or something) you have to match that by decreasing the costs of nutritious foods via subsidies, otherwise you are just screwing over poor people.

    So for me in terms of health and what society should encourage and discourage its simple, in terms of economics and the health of the lowest economic classes then it becomes a bit more complicated in a society where high cal/ low nutrient foods are the cheapest.

    As you admit, obesity is a characteristic and not a behavior. Sure, certain behaviors can cause and sustain obesity, but you can't just decide to stop being obese one day and then be not obese the next. It doesn't work like that. So you are marginalizing people, and not behaviors, when you marginalize obese people.

    It also shows an incredible lack of empathy, because while yes, the vast majority of obesity can be corrected by behavioral modifications, it is wrong to assume that it is anywhere close to easy for most people. Nobody knows anyone's individual circumstances and challenges. Successful weight loss and maintenance of that weight loss is difficult under the best of circumstances. For people who have other compounding health issues, disability, depression, poverty, extreme stress and difficulty in their lives, etc, it is significantly more difficult.

    Marginalizing the obese doesn't help them become less obese. It is a big reason why depression and suicide is higher among people with obesity though. It does not create positive outcomes for their health.

    Thank you for saying this.
  • BecomingBaneBecomingBane Posts: 3,646Member Member Posts: 3,646Member Member
    Not to mention that recovering from obesity is most often a slew of minor changes that add up to larger change over time... not simply one change that works magic. Unrealistic expectations on both sides are harmful.
  • tlpina82tlpina82 Posts: 206Member Member Posts: 206Member Member
    I am not here to offend or discuss beauty. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I can't make anyone think I am beautiful if they find me ugly just as much as you can't make me think someone is beautiful if I find them ugly.
    That really is not the point, in my opinion.

    I remember growing up in the 90s and that was the era of the toothpick models. Nearly anorexic girls.
    Critics said that magazines and fashion boutiques should not glorify unhealthy behaviors.

    Then Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell came along and suddenly, healthy was beautiful again. The Victoria Secret boom happened and Giselle Bundchen became the goddess of the fashion world,
    Critics said that those Girls were perpetuating the idea of impossible standards.

    Now, the new body positive movement is out and those same magazines are being applauded for displaying women that are not a little curvy, but severely overweight and anyone who doesn't call it beautiful, suddenly became a misogynist.

    And my question is... Where are the people who 10, 20, 30 years ago, raised hell about magazines glorifying unhealthy bodies? Isn't this the same thing.
    Will anyone here make the claim that a person who's 5.7 and 350lbs is healthy?

    and perhaps the most pertinent question... Why is it that the "Body positive" advocates insist in pushing other people to agree with their new standard of beauty? I only ask this question because if you feel positive about your body, you don't need anyone else's approval.

    and as Kimny said a few posts back... I am middle aged and still haven't seen a body positive movement member who's actually positive about their body.

    That;s my 2 cents... I hope i didn't offend anyone.
  • PhirrgusPhirrgus Posts: 1,883Member Member Posts: 1,883Member Member
    kimny72 wrote: »
    I mean, I don't pay as much attention as I used to, but I don't see many (if any) magazines putting 350lb women on the cover, certainly not health or fashion related publications. Most "plus-size" models are just in the overweight range, and it's rare to see them on the cover of anything, except as a token "here, don't tell us we don't represent real women anymore, okay?" one off. There have been one or two actresses I can remember off the top of my head that did a lot of publicity at one point with the requisite admiration for their beauty, but no one holding them up as examples of good health.

    ETA: One of the reasons Ashley Graham gets so much media attention and controversy is because she is unique. Her weight is always being praised/criticized/argued about, and I'm not even sure if she is technically obese or not.

    Ashley Graham is also quite beautiful. Couple that with however her weight/health is perceived and she's almost the perfect target for media vultures. I sure wouldn't call her obese though.
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