Wednesday, 28 July 2010

If only Fat People Knew they were Fat, they'd Do Something to Stop it.

Today I find myself mildly irked by this article over at the Telegraph urging us to "tell people they are fat". As if fat people don’t already know they’re fat.

GPs and other health professionals should tell people they are fat rather than obese, a health minister said today.

While I agree with a number of other people in the fatosphere that the word fat is preferable to the word obese, in this case they’re doing it for all the wrong reasons. The fatosphere prefers the word fat because is de-medicalises fat bodies, and does something to pervert fat people as being seen as “the other”. Instead of being “the obese” we become fat people. And at least then we are people.

But no, this particular health minister thinks we should be calling people fat to motivate them to lose weight.

Stressing she was speaking in a personal capacity, she told the BBC: ''If I look in the mirror and think I am obese I think I am less worried than if I think I am fat.''

Now I’m all for the use of the word fat to replace to word obese, but if that’s supposed to motivate me to get thin then they are very much barking up the wrong tree. I’m far enough into my fat acceptance that most of the time the word fat doesn’t bother me. It’s simply a descriptor. Other times it becomes a source of pride.

This minister wants to make out that fat bodies are still wrong and should be changed, made more normal. I’m all for using the word fat, but please let’s use it for the right reasons.

Contrary to what this woman seems to think, people who are actually fat know they are fat. All this “guideline” or whatever it is she seems to be issuing is going to achieve is increasing the anxiety levels of people classified “overweight” or “obese” by the BMI but don’t look it. In other words this is designed to punish people who are otherwise normal but are classified as “other” by a piece of faulty statistics.

Admittedly what this woman has said is on a personal level. What worried me is that people with these kinds of opinions are in our government, and potentially have the power to turn their personal opinions and prejudices into law.

This is definitely one to keep an eye on.

1 comment :

  1. I think this kind of response would just make even more fat people avoid their doctors.

    To think fat people don't know they are fat is silly. But as I type this it makes me remember all the average to skinny people I know who have called themselves fat so maybe there are fat people out there that don't know they are fat.

    But still, it seems like a bad idea brought out of lack of information.