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Idolizing Fat

June 29, 2009
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A UK expert on keyhole surgery is worried. Very worried. About fat people. On TV. Because all people on TV are role models, and seeing fat people on TV might convince us that fat is (gasp) normal.

This is stupid for about a bazillion reasons, not the least of which is that fat just might be normal. The reality is, some people are fat. We don’t lock them away in a closet or refuse to train a camera on them just because they don’t fit the cultural aesthetic we’re trying to cultivate.

He hits all the major points. But here’s the kicker:

A survey for the healthcare provider [McMahon, the “expert” in question] found many obese people are apathetic about their weight gain.



Researchers found many obese people refused to take any action about their situation with almost one in five not contemplating doing anything to lose weight.

Wait, hold the fucking phone. Only 20% of those labeled obese are not contemplating doing something to change what their body looks like? A full 80% of those surveyed believe there is something wrong with their bodies and are trying to change it. That sounds like a victory for Dr. McMahon, doesn’t it?

The body police will never rest until every last person out there becomes completely preoccupied with fixing themselves. That’s how this guy–along with plenty of others–makes money: by telling you that, if you’re fat (or have a big nose, or kinky hair, or small breasts) you should be silent, invisible, and untouchable. The problem with fat people on TV–especially in major roles–is that we might notice that, hey, being fat doesn’t actually make you a leper.

Let’s expand that 20%, remind our friends who do think about changing their bodies that they are worthy no matter what they look like, and demand to be seen even if our bodies scare the crap out of Dr. Michael McMahon.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Becky permalink
    June 29, 2009 5:53 PM

    Lets… demand to be seen even if our bodies scare the crap out of Dr. Michael McMahon.

    too good, Jill, too good.

    Also, I think you would love this post at the Rotund reacting to the comment, “Fats shouldn’t be pretty”:

    That’s when I laughed.

    Because, ooooooooooooooooh. It might be cloaked in the guise of “I’m just concerned about their health” but what it really boils down to is that the existence of fat women who look good seriously screws with people’s comfortable paradigms of rigid boxes and categories of who is okay to hate

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