The Deadly War on Obesity

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. Oppressions cannot and should not be compared, my point here is 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:

No, fat people are NOT the reason that healthcare costs have gone up.

No, there is no argument to be made about how fat people are costing you tax dollars.

Yes, it’s okay to be fat – no, other people’s bodies are not your business

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.

Pre-Order the Book!

You have until this Sunday to preorder the book and get free shipping and an autographed copy.

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.

Fat: The Owner’s Manual – Navigating a Thin-Obsessed World with Your Health, Happiness, and Sense of Humor Intact, with foreword by Marilyn Wann, is now available for pre-order.   This is a book about living life in the body that you have now, making decisions about what you want in the future, and how to get there.  Whether you want to change your body, fight for size acceptance, just live your life, or understand and support your fat friends and family, this book was written to provide the insights, aha moments, humor, and hard facts to help.

Become a Member, Support The Work!

I do HAES and SA activism, speaking and writing full time, and I don’t believe in putting corporate ads on my blog and making my readers a commodity. So if you find value in my work, want to support it, and you can afford it, you can  become a member (you get extra stuff, discounts, and you’re always the first to know about things) or a you can support my work with a  one-time contribution.  The regular e-mail blog subscription (available at the top right hand side of this page) is still completely free. If you’re curious about this policy, you might want to check out this post.  Thanks for reading! ~Ragen

Published in: on July 6, 2012 at 9:12 am  Comments (6)  

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Imagining a world where fat chicks aren’t mooed at and skinny ones aren’t told to eat a sandwich. You know it’s time for change if the world gets better when masses of people STOP doing something.

  2. I love the Collateral Damage Project and hope to see it grow. Sadly, I don’t think it gets better and I hope to see some more uplifting stories than some of the ones that are there. I also think it needs to grow so that maybe some well intentioned people with bad ideas can see what kind of damage they are contributing too (I’m looking at you Michelle Obama).

  3. I declared myself a ‘no negative body talk zone’ a couple years ago, and it’s been fabulous. I’ve still got a few people in my life who don’t seem to get the message, but they’ll usually quit the negativity if I remind them I don’t listen to that bullshit.

    Also I consider the DVR one of the top ten best inventions ever. Pause the TV once, zip past dozens of Jenny Craig and WW and latest quack diet pill ads for a couple hours easily!

    Now if I could just convince every show I love never, ever again to run a ‘fat person doesn’t know he has diabetes and is going to DIIIIIIEEEEEE if he doesn’t get thin’ stories, my life would be very nearly perfect.

  4. When I look at my body in the mirror, I notice the soft curves and tell myself I have a sexy body!

  5. Just a thought: Send this as a letter to Michelle Obama along with a copy of your new book.

  6. I hope you don’t mind, i posted the last paragraph to my facebook as i found it so compelling. i noted, that it was borrowed from your blog,. If you would like me to remove it, just let me know.


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