The Collateral Damage Project seeks to collect stories of the casualties in the War on Obesity. There are many. Sadly, like any war, the war on obesity has seen it’s share of casualties including fatalities.
Fiona Geraghty, who suffered from bulimia, told her doctor and her parents that girls at her private boarding school were teasing her for being fat before committing suicide.
After a year long inquiry the coroner blames the fashion industry, the media, and the internet. Her parents blame the treatment that she received for her eating disorder.
A school bus monitor is taunted to the point of tears for being fat. People say that kids are cruel and blame the parents.
In truth, the climate created by the war on obesity is a huge part of the problem. The war is not just useless, pointless, and lacking evidence of efficacy – it’s harmful. It’s deadly.
It’s also not the first time this has happened. Think about times in history when a government has encouraged citizens to blame the country’s problems on a group of people who they can identify by sight or a particular characteristic. By way of understatement let me point out that, historically, that is not something that goes well. And if you think “well, this isn’t the same thing” maybe remind yourself that people in the past have justified their horrific behavior in exactly the same way.
The truth is inescapable: fat people are being shamed, stigmatized, oppressed and scapegoated for profit and political cover.
For the record:
Yes, the fashion industry, the media and the internet are part of the problem but all three of those are funded by our time, money and energy so ending this war starts with us and it’s not hard to participate. There is one simple thing that you could do right now that I think will have a major impact:
Stop all negative body talk. Right now. Seriously, right this minute commit the mental energy to noticing your thoughts and intentionally changing your thought patterns to stop thinking negative things about bodies. Including and especially your own body. Including thin people- size acceptance means all sizes. If we stop all negative body talk, if we decide that we are simply no longer willing to put others down to make ourselves feel better, if we choose to stop trying to make people hate the body they live in 100% of the time, if we choose to start loving and appreciating the body that we live in 100% of the time, if we realize that other people’s bodies, health and habits are none of our damn business (just like our bodies, health and habits are not a matter for public comment), if we teach these values to our children, we will start to see a massive change for the better. And we can do it starting right freaking now.
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On July 9th the hard copy will go up for sale including shipping and without the autograph, and the low cost e-book will also become available.
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