We already know that the cultural stigma, oppression, and bullying of fat people is extremely profitable to the diet industry and that people like Jillian Michaels, Steve Siebold, and Paul Plakas have made millions off of fat bullying and oppression – trying to solve social stigma through weight loss which is essentially just giving the bully your lunch money and hoping he beats you up less. Obviously I think this is disgusting.
What I see more and more of is politicians using fat people to gain political points. It seems to go like this – the politician wants to do something that scores them points and avoids having to spin a possible downside. Since the country is already whipped into a fat hating frenzy, they just go after fat people with some random untested policy that promises to rid the world of us whether we like it or not. Luckily for them the diet industry has spent years convincing people (including fat people) that we should not be trusted to tell our own stories, so this works out great for them.
So New York City Mayor Bloomberg supports a ridiculous law saying that people in restaurants can’t buy sugary drinks more than 16 ounces. No word on how much ice has to be in the drink and of course people can add as much sugar to their giant coffee or tea as they want, and it doesn’t affect convenience stores so you can go across the street from the restaurant to a 7-11 and buy a quintuple big gulp 2 gallon barrel of Mountain Dew (and I’m not shaming you if you do it, I’m a writer – I’ve been there). It apparently doesn’t matter that there is not strong evidence that the ban will do anything for health outcomes of anybody, or do anything other than cause restaurants to pay for an extra cup and straw for people to buy 2 drinks putting more garbage into circulation. But what the hell, he gets to say that he is “doing something about obesity.” To show how foolproof this is, Mayor Bloomberg announced the initiative on the same day that he went around celebrating…wait for it… Donut Day. So he spent half the day saying that businesses should be limited in the size of drinks that they can serve because of big bad fatties, and the other half of the day getting photographed eating donuts. And people still cheered his “hardline stance” on obesity. Nice spin if you can get it.
Michelle Obama makes the probably well-intentioned but absolutely horrible decision to wage war on fat children. She does this while simultaneously supporting an anti-bullying campaign and sees no dissonance between the tw0 (even though appearance, including weight, is the number one reason that kids are bullied.) Then she goes on notorious weight bully Dr. Oz’s show and says that fat people are the greatest threat to national security, then gets credit for working to end this greatest threat. That’s like me saying that I think that lack of hummus is the greatest threat to National Security, then saying “Hey, I just made hummus so everybody praise me.” What the hell? And she does it knowing that the media is unlikely to call her out on it, not because they don’t agree that she is wrong or out of touch, but because they don’t want to point it out and risk their relationship with the White House.
I do not want to let this go without comment. Fat people are people, we deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and that includes not being used to score cheap political points. Let’s put an end to fatty hunting season and let’s do it now – when you see this kind of thing consider speaking up, pointing it out and telling your actual story.
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