The Real Public Health Threat

A small study found that fat women who like their bodies have better sex than fat women who don’t.  I spent some time trying to muster surprise but I just can’t find any.  One of the things that I will never understand is these people who insist that not only do we have to be thin to be healthy, but that the only way to do that is to hate the bodies that we have now.  The concept of hating ourselves healthy has always seemed ridiculous to me.  In fact, the concept of attempting to make any choices from a basis of self-loathing seems like a terrible idea.

We live in a culture where people consider weight bullying to be everything from a public service to a super fun past-time, and where billion dollar industries make their money by convincing us that we are not good enough and that we should be terrified of never being good enough (and that we should buy their products to try to get better or at least keep from getting worse.)  People of all sizes internalize that message and that’s a problem because people don’t take good care of things that they hate and that includes their bodies.

One of the things about Size Acceptance and Heath at Every Size that I think is undervalued for people of all sizes is the option to like yourself right now, exactly as you are, and then make choices for your health and your life. The idea that you can build a life from a perspective of appreciating your body and wanting to take care of it rather than hoping that you can do something, buy something, be something, anything, to just hate yourself a little less.

If we, as a culture, really want to look at public health threats then I think that we should take all of the time, money and attention that is currently focused on body size and instead focus it on those who spread a message of body shame and self-loathing – from the weight bullies to the “for your own good-ers” These people are the true public health threat.  They try to convince us that our bodies are unworthy, and if they succeed it means that people often believe that their bodies are unworthy of care.  They create an environment where people are scared to move their bodies for fear of shaming, scared to go to the doctor for fear of being ignored, shamed or made the non-consenting subject of experimental medical treatments.  They create an environment where our food choices are moralized and scrutinized by strangers,  and we are told that our own bodies can’t be trusted and should be ignored in lieu of advice that seems highly questionable or replacing actual food with a chemical shitstorm of highly manufactured food substitutes.

People who perpetuate self -loathing and who engage in weight bullying (under any guise including “trying to help” or “for your own good” or “for the good of society) are a real and direct threat to public health and it’s time to stop focusing on the bodies of other people and start focusing changing a culture that encourages self-loathing as the gateway to the good life.

Book Me!  I give talks all across the country and I’d love to give one to your organization. (I’ll be in Northern New York and Central Pennsylvania in the next couple of months if you are in those areas and would like to add an event to those trips.) You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and even testimonials here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

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My Book:  Fat:  The Owner’s Manual  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details

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Published in: on August 24, 2012 at 7:42 am  Comments (9)  

9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I started accepting my body for the way it is right now when I started studying mindfullness. It’s amazing when you start to notice how many of us stop living in the moment simply because we are bombarded with the messages that we aren’t good enough…right now.
    I love reading your posts! Thank you!

  2. A-freaking-men!

    That is all.

  3. Hallelujah, Sistah!

  4. I think what you are doing is great and I enjoy reading your blog, I will join as soon as I get the extra cash and am looking forward to it! You are offering a great service of educating people and I think what you say is of great education to many, I just wish we could get the word out and make every really HEAR what you are saying!!! Keep up your awesome words and work, it is appreciated. I also must compliment you on the way you handle those of us that are not rich and do not have a lot of money, that also, is much appreciated. You are a good person. Thank you!!!!

  5. It is horrendous that people still believe that the public health threat come from those who refuse to be treated like crap, who love themselves and their bodies as they are, and don’t conflate health with weight. They justify the needs to concern troll others so that fat people can hate themselves healthy. How do you even hate yourself into health? Isn’t that the first step into self-destruction? Why do people think that oppression and terror is the way to make others improve instead of love and appreciation and acceptance? People who do this don’t seem to understand that health isn’t just about the physical part (which they shouldn’t be judging on the cover) but about mental health too. Since others don’t really know the actual health situation of a fat person just by looking at them, without the measurements of health (like blood pressure and fasting blood glucose/ glucose tolerance), they’re certainly contributing to hurting one important thing – their psychological health. The bigoted bullies are a public health threat, alright. Even thinking about them makes my blood pressure rise.

  6. I saw dr oz saying that self hatred is worse than being obese on a show a few weeks ago (tyra banks guest starred). I was like “OH REALLY? WHY ARE 99% OF YOUR SHOWS ABOUT LOSING WEIGHT THEN?”

  7. I have to say, I think this is really important. There is so much shaming in the area of bodies, particularly women and a lack of confidence. I’ve even heard women who are in the 0-2 size range complain about the parts of their bodies that still jiggle and not being fit enough. As angry as it can make you to hear someone at a size you may wish you could be, or even be near, complain about their weight, It really goes to show just how pervasive the self hate and the shaming around fat is in our culture and how damaging Clearly no number on the scale or pant size is “enough” if you don’t respect and love yourself.

  8. This blog subscription is definitely the BEST move I’ve done all summer! Every one of your posts are informational and encouraging. I have come to be more accepting of my own body, as well as the bodies of others. Keep up the good work!

    • Thank you so much! I’m really glad that I have the chance to support you while you do really awesome hard work! You rock :)


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