Like it or not, fat people are at war. I’m not hyperbolizing or dramatizing. If you don’t believe me, Google “War on obesity”. Tonight HBO premiered its new documentary series “The Weight of a Nation”. On the premiere page it says “Obesity in America has reached a catastrophic level. Almost every aspect of our lives is threatened. The first step toward ending the damage is learning how to fight back.”
I spend a lot of my time politely asking people to please stop oppressing me. I don’t apologize for that, nor do I begrudge it – it’s proven to be a very effective way to create change and I think that people deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt and the support they need to shift their thinking, and it’s a reasonably pleasant form of activism. I will continue to do it.
But I also have to acknowledge that there is a war being waged against me because of how I look, by people who have been given every opportunity to know better. In concert with HBO’s documentary, I received a Tweet letting me know that Kaiser Permanente is launching the “most aggressive anti-obesity campaign in history.”
They know that there are healthy fat people and unhealthy thin people. They know that not a shred of research shows that any method of weight loss works in the long term. They know that research shows us that we could vastly increase health by providing access to healthy foods, safe movement options, and affordable/free evidence based health care. Nobody is obligated to be healthy or thin; however, I wonder how many people would make different choices if they knew they just need 30 minutes of moderate movement 5 days a week? If they knew that people who choose simple healthy habits have very similar health outcomes regardless of weight. What would people choose if they knew they could abandon the goal of weight loss completely and they could still pursue health. America could be a successful role model for giving people access to health, but instead they are choosing to be a failed role model for thinness - waging war on people based on their appearance for tremendous profit and actively blaming the casualties of the war for the war’s massive failures.
Let’s be clear - they are pathologizing a body size. It doesn’t matter if they say that we need to seek solutions environmentally instead of at the individual level, or if they say that we should have “compassion” for fat people – they are still telling people that is is not ok to exist in fat bodies and that they should see fat bodies as a threat to America. There are tons of thin people who eat unhealthy foods and are sedentary (which is completely their right), but as far as the government is concerned, as long as you are thin you’re part of the “solution,” feel free to do whatever you want. They want people to look at me (and you, if you’re fat) and think “She is part of a catastrophe. She is threatening almost every aspect of our lives. The first step toward ending the damage is learning how to fight back against her.”
I say that if they want a war, I will damn well give them one.