I think we need to have a little chat about health. There’s some misinformation flying around and this shit needs to be corrected.
First off, people tend to assume that fat people are all inherently unhealthy. People are slowly unlearning this because as science evolves and as we start to actually research how obesity affects things like heart failure, we’re learning more and more that actually being fat has very little to do with it. In fact, being fat increases your chances of surviving a heart attack and can help protect you from numerous conditions and diseases moreso than our thinner, “healthier” counterparts.
It’s probably shocking for some to hear that there even ARE health benefits to being fat. But as these doctors noted, kidney disease isn’t the only health problem where studies have shown that being fat appears protective and beneficial, especially as we age. It also includes infections, cancer, lung disease, heart disease, osteoporosis, anemia, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and type 2 diabetes.
Being fat doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy. You can’t look at a person, go “Sweet Cheesus, look at those rolls. That woman is so unhealthy.” Not that that’s really the thought that goes through people’s heads in the first place– we all know our global concern over obesity has zero to do with concern for our fellow wo/man in the same way that our concern over complete strangers smoking as they walk by us has nothing to do with us staying awake at night worrying that this poor person may die of cancer someday. We don’t think “Ugh, I can’t believe that person is smoking. Don’t they know it’s horrible for them?” We’re thinking “Ugh, I can’t believe that person is smoking. It smells terrible.”
Just like we’re really thinking “Look at those rolls. That woman is so hideous. She should cover up/stay inside/learn to diet so my eyes aren’t so constantly offended.”
Our worry over our fellow human beings, sadly, usually only goes skin deep. As a group we’ve all come together and decided that this is pretty, this is ugly, and everything not in the “pretty” category (or at the very least everything in the ugly category) just plain shouldn’t exist. Though really it’s sort of a joke to say that we decide what societal beauty standards are. We don’t. Companies do. Do you really think the health and beauty industry wants us to love each other and come to the conclusion that beauty comes in all shapes, colors and sizes? Do you really suppose that the diet industry wants us to keep weight off? Not only are diets showing to be increasingly more harmful than helpful, a successful diet would murder the entire structure. They can’t make money off of thin, confident people. But if they make you think that if you’d just tried hard enough, if you’d just paid a little more money, been a little more loyal. If it’s your fault that you’re fat, well then you’ll keep right on running back. Because being fat is way worse than getting cancer.
Secondly, let’s assume nothing I said so far is true. It’s all fake, being fat is the worst thing ever and it means we’re all going to die of a heart attack, or possibly in our sleep gurgling for air as our own neck fat chokes us to death.
How the hell is that any of your business?
My health is my business and mine alone. I’m not shoving cakes down your throat. You aren’t packing on the calories by looking at me. And our society values very highly the privacy of our health information. We have HIPPA agreements, doctor-patient confidentiality agreements that are considered sacrosanct. It doesn’t matter, frankly, if I really am unhealthy. My health is between me and my doctor. A random stranger on the street has no business looking at me, sizing up my health and determining it is their place to shame me into being healthy, not that fat shaming is something that really works in the first place. If all it took to make people thinner was to make them feel horrible about themselves as motivation to improve, our “obesity epidemic” would’ve been cured decades ago.
It doesn’t matter if I’m dieting. It doesn’t matter if I’m fat because I eat six quarter pounders a day and wash it down with a giant fucking milkshake. It’s my health. And for a world that seems so concerned about making the nature of our health care private there sure seems to be a gigantic logic gap between that truth and the knowledge that we feel it’s our duty to judge other people for our visual conceptions of a stranger’s health. You have no idea what their health issues are or aren’t. Stop pretending you’re trying to give someone advice “for their own good” and start realizing that you’re being exactly what our media has raised you to be– a vain, judgmental fuck.
So the next time you look at someone who dares to go outside in a muffin top, the next you stop to give a family member “friendly advice” on how you shed those pounds (which, by the way, the diet industry is likely to make sure you gain back), keep in mind that I don’t want it. Your body issues are your business. Stop shoving them on other people and start learning to love yourself instead of hating everyone else for reminding you that you, like the majority of humanity, aren’t 5’7, 110lbs and naturally blonde.