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

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  • dodea48dodea48 Posts: 142Member Member Posts: 142Member Member
    I don't think it's a moral and upstanding thing to make obese people feel bad about themselves. The idea that making people uncomfortable will improve their lives in the long run ... like fat shaming makes you a superhero ... it's pretty sanctimonious.

    Other people's choices are their business and responsibility.

    except when we all have to pay for them --- the oversize chairs and wheel chairs and hospital beds are not free
  • PhirrgusPhirrgus Posts: 1,883Member Member Posts: 1,883Member Member
    wmd1979 wrote: »
    Phirrgus wrote: »
    dodea48 wrote: »
    I hope people realize that "fat and fit" is a delusion like "functional alcoholic"

    Brian Shaw's BMI was 45.4 when his weight was at 412lbs. He isn't representative of that weight range among the general populace, but he and his competitors also clearly show that "fit" is something that can certainly be achieved in the absence of underlying medical issues.
    8hDzEPc.jpg

    Strong does not equal fit. I would disagree with the idea that Brian Shaw was fit in this photo. Strong, sure, but fitness is not represented by the amount of muscle a person has.

    I'm not certain of the timeline between this photo and his challenge vs the ex Navy SEAL, but the ex SEAL was as fit as you would expect and Shaw won the challenge.

    To be perfectly honest I'm not certain exactly what would constitute "fit" as it seems to be a moving target among various disciplines - remember the NFL Linemen conversations? I don't have a problem considering him fit, but I do acknowledge as stated that he's more of a one off.
  • Aaron_K123Aaron_K123 Posts: 7,077Member Member Posts: 7,077Member Member
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    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.

    I don't disagree that society has shunned overweight and embraced underweight but I'm not sure why the solution would be to embrace overweight as well, I think it makes more sense to just stop embracing underweight. As far as your worth being tied to your personal appearance....it sort of is to be honest. I mean for things you literally have no control over such as your sex or your race then no, that shouldn't matter, but for things you do have control over such as your weight and your hygeine and grooming then yeah...I don't really understand why society shouldn't make judgements on things like that....it is an outward sign of how much control you have.

    Society should be built in such a way that it encourages the type of behaviors that maximally benefits that society and discourages the type of behaviors that harm that society. Appearance is a part of that and weight most definitely is given its connection to health issues (which you seem to dismiss as being a deflection from the "real" reason but honestly its a legitimate reason).

    If we could snap our fingers and make all of society female or all of society white or all of society a brunette that wouldn't actually be better (actually it'd be worse in most cases). If we could snap our fingers and make all of society a healthy weight though....wouldn't we do that? Isn't that a goal we should be striving for? If so then isn't it's societies role to push in that direction? I think stopping the glamorization of underweight models is a part of that...but accepting that being overweight is okay somehow is definitely not part of that.

    You make some valid points that I agree with. I agree that the societal judgements we experience have impact on our behaviour to change, and certainly that weight is linked to health. Obesity is the 2nd largest contributor to cancer, causes type 2 diabetes and a whole array of health problems, and being underweight can lead to hair loss, anemia and fainting. I also agree that we shouldn't push for/glorify being underweight or overweight, pushing for showing people with healthy weights in media is important.

    However, I do disagree in some areas. Some people have health conditions that make it difficult to maintain an average body weight. Sometimes a variable metabolic rate, endocrine issues and the like. Some people haven't been educated in proper diet, some people don't have access to healthy food options due to socioeconomic issues. These things aren't dictated by self-control. Even if these things didn't come into play in how someone became overweight, it takes time, dedication, and a lot of self control to lose weight. Someone who you judge as a fat person with no self control may actually be someone who is on month 9 of an intensive lifestyle change that's incredibly hard for them to maintain. I'd say that person has a lot more self-control than the person with a naturally fast metabolism. You're weight isn't an accurate scale to measure self-control.

    Also hygiene and grooming aren't as comparible to your weight. A shower and skin care routine can solve that in 20 minutes, talk to anyone that's been trying to lose weight for years and they can testify it takes a little while.

    Societal shaming is an effective technique to make people stop doing things. It also can also cause ingrained psychological damage. Sure it works in some cases, but it isn't ethical.
    I can give a few things that work in real life scenarios; better diet education, more public funding in areas for play and fitness, cutting sugar content in meals, sugar taxes, increased healthcare funding. All of these work to curb being overweight without building into someones psyche that they should hate themselves. These are the techniques we should be using, this is what the societal push should be, not to hide away people we don't like the sight of.

    Body positivity should go alongside these methods. I think it's the difference between glamorisation and representation. Its the difference between 'You should look like this' vs 'People look like this'. Body positivity pushes for representation of all body types, because all bodies in the world are beautiful. But not all of them are healthy. Doesn't mean you should shame them for it, a) because it's kinda ineffective in comparison to other methods and b) it's kinda mean. I also don't think making underweight people who pushed to make themselves to be underweight because society told them to should be made to feel bad about themselves either. Or people who have fast metabolisms! Body positivity is the push back from the years of self hatred that people have been forced to feel bad about their appearance, people shouldn't feel shame constantly, that is also unhealthy. All of this aside - your worth, pride and self esteem shouldn't be tied to your health or weight alone.

    I think everyone would agree that they would snap there finger if it meant everyone was a healthy weight, there is no argument there. But that doesn't exsist, and your finger snap in reality, is a method that doesn't work all that well, we have better ones that don't make people feel awful about themselves.

    I hope this didn't come off as combatitive, although I get the feeling it might have done. I'm not the most eloquent of people and dyslexia doesn't help with the spelling of it all! I am interested in what you think, it's a good topic to debate over.

    I didn't read your tone as combative at all and you make some excellent points. I think you do make an important point that there is a distinction between hygiene/grooming and obesity in terms of although both might be regulated by behavior, one can be adjusted in 30 minutes while the other can take years. Societal pressure to not smell bad is something you can make the decision to address and have no more societal pressure the next day, but obesity even if you are addressing it you might still feel set-upon for months or years during that process and I get how that could end up being discouraging or detrimental.

    I also think that societal pressure versus acceptance can take many different forms and that some forms are definitely not appropriate. I don't think just calling someone a "fatty" to their face is at all helpful or constructive. That said I think being supportive and accommodating of their obesity (ie making it easier to be obese) is not constructive either. If you are obese I think you should feel a bit uncomfortable with that and I think society has a role there. Its not that I somehow support being abusive towards overweight people, its more that I am against societal acceptance that obesity is a-okay and you should feel "positive" about being obese.

    I do get that we'd all prefer if strangers weren't judgemental of us based on first impressions or appearances, I'd agree with that. But as you pointed out with the finger-snap that isn't going to happen. People are judgemental and there judgements are societal. Things that society considers "bad" are going to result in judgemental attitudes towards those exhibiting those traits. That is unfortunate in that feelings can get hurt and people can be driven towards depression or self-harm but I think what would be more unfortunate would be addressing this by pretending that obesity isn't bad because I think societal acceptance of obesity would be the greater harm.

    You mentioned sugar tax in one of your examples and that is something I'm actually a bit ambivalent about. That is simply because it can end up being a tax on the poor and that makes me uncomfortable. Despite what another poster said I really don't lack empathy.

  • CSARdiverCSARdiver Posts: 5,890Member Member Posts: 5,890Member Member
    Is the empathy heirarchy based upon the empathy you feel for those judged without empathy?

    We need a Roberts Rules of Order on da feelz.
  • Aaron_K123Aaron_K123 Posts: 7,077Member Member Posts: 7,077Member Member
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    Is the empathy heirarchy based upon the empathy you feel for those judged without empathy?

    We need a Roberts Rules of Order on da feelz.

    Oh good I'm glad you showed up CSARdiver...was beginning to think I was the only ***hole here. :-)
    edited September 11
  • aokoyeaokoye Posts: 2,771Member Member Posts: 2,771Member Member
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    MikePTY wrote: »
    Marginalizing the obese doesn't help them become less obese.

    Out of curiosity why would you think that it wouldn't decrease obesity rates to marginalize obesity? It certainly decreased the number of people who smoke when society marginalize smoking and made it inconvenient to be a smoker and if you are a smoker quitting isn't an easy fix and often takes years.

    Just to be clear by "societal pressure" and "margalization" I don't mean being verbally abusive to overweight people, same as I don't mean that you should be verbally abusive to someone who smokes. That said I think having a bit of a mantra in society of how smoking or obesity are things to avoid and shun is a positive force overall, even if some people feel disadvantaged because of it.

    There is also a big difference about having empathy for an individual and having just global societal acceptance of what could be argued is a negative trait. I think society should put pressure against obesity...doesn't mean I can't have empathy or understanding for an individual who is overweight. Not wanting society to accept obesity is not the same thing as promoting fat shaming.

    How are you defining "marginalization" in this context? I suspect your definition isn't similar to the way the world marginalization is commonly used in areas like sociology, public health, and the social sciences more broadly. That is to say, the way you're using the word is likely different to the way that people who are doing research in fat studies are using the same word.
  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Posts: 390Member Member Posts: 390Member Member
    MikePTY wrote: »
    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.

    Out of curiousity I googled her stats, and if the internet is to be believed, she is 5'9", 187.5 pounds, which puts her at a BMI of 27.7. Which is overweight, but not even close to obese. That shows how far off we are from a society that glorifies obesity when she is what is considered "plus size".

    If the Internet is to be believed LOL. If you Google her, it seems her weight changes as much as most people change their underwear. Apparently something magic happened in late 2018. Articles say she was over 200 pounds (which at 203 lbs would make here technically obese). but lost wight to a healthier level.
  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Posts: 390Member Member Posts: 390Member Member
    I don't think it's a moral and upstanding thing to make obese people feel bad about themselves. The idea that making people uncomfortable will improve their lives in the long run ... like fat shaming makes you a superhero ... it's pretty sanctimonious.

    Other people's choices are their business and responsibility.

    Will you be saying that when/if we have socialized healthcare in the US and you have to pay (even to a greater extent than you do now) for other people's bad choices?
  • mbaker566mbaker566 Posts: 9,679Member Member Posts: 9,679Member Member
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    aokoye wrote: »
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    MikePTY wrote: »
    Marginalizing the obese doesn't help them become less obese.

    Out of curiosity why would you think that it wouldn't decrease obesity rates to marginalize obesity? It certainly decreased the number of people who smoke when society marginalize smoking and made it inconvenient to be a smoker and if you are a smoker quitting isn't an easy fix and often takes years.

    Just to be clear by "societal pressure" and "margalization" I don't mean being verbally abusive to overweight people, same as I don't mean that you should be verbally abusive to someone who smokes. That said I think having a bit of a mantra in society of how smoking or obesity are things to avoid and shun is a positive force overall, even if some people feel disadvantaged because of it.

    There is also a big difference about having empathy for an individual and having just global societal acceptance of what could be argued is a negative trait. I think society should put pressure against obesity...doesn't mean I can't have empathy or understanding for an individual who is overweight. Not wanting society to accept obesity is not the same thing as promoting fat shaming.

    How are you defining "marginalization" in this context? I suspect your definition isn't similar to the way the world marginalization is commonly used in areas like sociology, public health, and the social sciences more broadly. That is to say, the way you're using the word is likely different to the way that people who are doing research in fat studies are using the same word.

    That is why I put it into quotes. Problem with these sorts of online debates is people read into what you are saying based on the words they choose for you. I started using marginalization only because other people said what I was talking about was marginalization.

    All I mean is that society should actively discourage obesity in the same way we started actively discouraging smoking. Being obese should have some consequences within society. We shouldn't go out of our way to accommodate obesity. Trying to push for larger seats to accommodate people who are morbidly obese or acting like being obese is perfectly fine would be like having smoking sections in restaurants or programs on TV glorifying smoking. Wanting everyone to feel good about themselves is admirable of course but I think it can cause real damage to just act like obesity isn't a health issue. And yes, I do get that there is second-hand smoke but there isn't second-hand fat so the two aren't directly comparible, I still feel like the analogy does convey more the types of "marganilization" I am talking about. A society that has made it clear that that trait is something to be addressed and fixed by the individual rather than accepted.

    What I do not mean is that I think its a good idea to mock individuals for their appearance.

    Smoking is something you do. You can tell people you can't smoke in certain locations. You have to go outside, at least 50 feet from the door, etc.

    Being obese is something you are. Are we going to tell people they can't be obese in certain locations. Go outside, at least 50 feet from the door, until you aren't obese anymore?

    tbh, being obese is often something you do as well. not always but often
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