I came across this today quite by accident. Psychology Today Article on Fat Shaming and Stigmatization
It’s worth a read.
Whilst I’m very much against bullying people, stigmatising and demonising anything that has complex issues behind it, I know that I definitely gave up smoking because of social pressures. Moreso than health issues and I definitely consider social pressures to be part of what makes me want to lose weight. It’s not the whole story by any means, but it’s a small part of it. Nobody likes being mocked or judged and we know that we sometimes are, we’d have to have an exceptionally thick skin to totally ignore negativity of any kind meted out to us.
I just wonder if it’s right though to assume that obese people don’t already know that some people may treat us differently because of our weight and that obesity is not the healthiest state to be in… do they think we are insane or just stupid?
Also if there is going to be a stigmatisation of obesity and obese people there needs to be some understanding of the real issues and some development of help and treatment which goes beyond 12 free slimming club classes, 6 months free gym membership, some tablets or bariatric surgery to eliminating the illness long term.
Decades of work, research and development went into understanding the psyche of the smoker, the actual effects of smoking, the way the body developed and dealt with its cravings and the way those cravings were able to be reduced. Similar research needs to go into fighting obesity. It is OK for doctors and experts to go around talking about medical effects but the only people who know about the real causes and effects are those of us who suffer this debilitating condition, who live with it and fight it every day of our lives.
As long as ignorant ‘experts’ like Bioethicist Daniel Callahan (The Hastings Center Report 2013 Find full report by clicking here) have anything to do with it, we are a very long way from anything like the support and information we need to solve this issue as individual sufferers and as a society. Mr Callahan cleverly suggests shaming fat people by asking them “If you are overweight or obese, are you pleased with the way you look?… Fair or not, do you know that many people look down upon those excessively overweight or obese?”. Does Mr Callahan imagine that as your body grows your mental capacity shrinks? What an utter jerk!
What do you think? Social stigmatisation, subtle as Callahan suggests or otherwise, is it a good idea?