Dr. Oz (of “I was flabbergasted” by evidence that is clearly in the literature fame) has donned a fat suit. First I will say that I appreciate any goals he had around gaining empathy for what it’s like to be a fat person in the current culture. It can certainly be problematic to “dress up” like someone who is part of a marginalized population for a short time to try to understand what it’s like to be them, especially when there are many, many reports from actual fat people about what it’s like to be fat people. Even assuming that he went into it with good intentions , there are other issues that are very problematic.
“‘I’ve been in some difficult situations in my life, but this i think will be the most difficult. My arms are heavy, my legs are heavy.’
This is the same mistake that he made when he had Glenn Gaesser put on an 80 pound vest and run up some stairs. Being fat isn’t the same as being thin with a bunch of dead weight attached to you all of a sudden. As people get fat their bodies adjust to the weight, many of us have very strong bones and a lot of muscle mass (many fat people’s mobility improves quite a bit when they work on strength).
It’s sobering to walk past a window and see 400 pounds staring back at you. Even though in my head I know I’m wearing a fat suit and I’m not really 400 pounds, my heart is saying, “you’re not worthy.”‘
That’s not a reaction to being 400 pounds, that a reaction to being 400 pounds in a culture that stigmatizes 400 pound people. It’s a culture to which Dr. Oz has contributed quite profitably.
He concluded that he is no longer going to display people’s weights in his show’s Truth Tube, claiming that there’s no need for a scale to ‘be proud of who you are’.
It’s a start. What I think would also be super duper is if he would start focusing on health and not weight, stop exploiting fat people for ratings, and seek out and believe the experiences of actual fat people. What I think would be fabulous is if he would start talking about the real health risks to people of size that come from shame and stigma and talk about that on the show.
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