Friday, March 18, 2011

I don't believe you remix. Part forty two.

I have said many times before that I don't believe you when it comes to a lot of the discourse about the obesity epidemic.

When it comes to fatness everyone (for right now I'm using everyone in the context of the media, government etc) likes to yell a lot, everyone likes to point fingers, everyone wants to make their money, everyone likes to lament the awful implications of fatness from the economy to the fucking glove industry to global warming.

Here's the thing.

When people are talking about the obesity epidemic, a good part of the time what comes next? Someone wants to sell you something.

Whether it's yet another diet and fitness guru who promises if you would just not be such a lazy piece of shit and if you'd work real hard, you too can be the most awesome hardbody in universe. They say that while out of the other side of their mouths they are hawking diet pills.

It's companies telling you that all your problems will go away with this pill, this powder. They try to trap you in your own self loathing so you will get the surgery, so you will buy the "magic" slimming everything.

Or what comes next are the dire warnings.

We see the video clips and pictures of fat people. One of them might be you. The media has started using imagery not only to try and titillate you into buying everything, but finding ways to turn human beings into morality stories.

They show a fat person eating and follow with a story about some "horrifying" meal at some restaurant. The fat person isn't eating it, it's left to the viewer to assume that this person is fat because they do X thing and it's meant to engender disgust and frankly hate.

When you take away someone's face and you present them as largely unrecognizable, it sets the stage to allow people to dehumanize others in ways they might not if they saw the faces of the people. It's harder to hate someone if you are looking at their eyes.

What else comes next?

Parents are sent into fits of paranoia to the point where they put their babies and toddlers on diets or allow their teenagers who have not finished growing yet to have life altering bariatric surgery because the media puts the fear of Fat into them.

Parents are bombarded with every terrible thing that could potentially happen if they have a fat child. From diabetes to a life of misery and lonliness. So many parents in what I have to believe is their love of their children do awful things.

Some parents think that if they shame their children (bully) that they can force them to lose weight or exercise. Some parents encourage disordered behavior. Some parents tease, some perfect the art of the back handed compliment.

What happens?

What happens is that their children may lose weight they may not. They will most definitely grow up hating themselves and feeling like human shit because the people who were supposed to love them no matter what could only focus on their bodies.

How is that good?

There are lots of other awful things that are seeded and watered by the current way everyone talks about obesity.

Let's talk about what doesn't happen on a large scale.

No one holds diet/fitness gurus accountable for their often outrageous (*results atypical anyone?) claims.

No one is calling out the medical industry on their biases towards fat people.

No one is putting their foot down to acknowledge the hypocrisy in medicalizing everything about living as a fat person but, letting doctors essentially not treat you if they think you are too fat.

Why is it that no one in positions of power understands that things like health, weight, food consumption are not mutually exclusive issues? Why is it so hard to be honest about the intersection of these things?

Why is no one in one of those positions of supposed power understanding or even promoting the idea that not every single person in the entire world can eat the same way, move the same way or even have the same body?

Why is it that when it comes to almost every other "disease" often doctors will tell you that symptoms, causation, correlation and even presentation can differ dramatically among people because human biology is pretty diverse?

And now why I don't believe Michelle Obama in particular right now.

Her whole focus has been on forcing exercise and diets on children.

Being that she is the most powerful woman in the country, why hasn't she said a peep about the shit the food industry allows in our food?

Why hasn't she said word one about the established effects of things like high fructose corn syrup on the American diet?

Why hasn't she said anything about how part of the problem of getting people fresh local produce is that Big Farming throttles the life out of the small farmer with things like patenting seeds.

Why hasn't she or anyone for that matter talked about how it is not safe for millions of children in this country to just go play outside?

Why hasn't she taken the store chains that don't open grocery stores in poor neighborhoods?

Why hasn't she talked about to bolster a child's self esteem and self image so that they will want to learn how to take care of their bodies?

The answer is unfortunate and quite simple.

The money is not in answering those questions. The money is in the food industry lobby. The money is in the big farm industry. The money is in the medical industry. There is no money in deciding the the actual health of the citizenry from children on up to senior citizens.

Profits.

If all this was really about health, wouldn't someone decide that it's not in the best interest of the health of our people to have shit in their food that causes widespread harm?

If it was really about health, an entire picture of personal health wouldn't someone take the time to explain all the ways a population can be healthy and not just thinner?

So all this is to say, Michelle Obama, Mrs. President, Ma'am I don't believe you and it breaks my heart.

It breaks my heart because America is supposed to be the greatest country in the world and yet we can't even take care of each other. We can't be honest and say, hey this isn't really about your health it's about keeping the profits in the health/wellness/diet/medical industries strong. Hey America, we don't care if you're healthy as long as you're buying.

That's all I can say about this.

I don't believe you.

Homo Out.
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1 comment:

vesta44 said...

Awesome post Shannon. What really chaps my hide is that MO has come out and said she's against bullying, but that's exactly what she's doing to fat kids with her Let's Move campaign (end childhood obesity in a generation - yeah, that's not going to lead to bullying fat kids at all). Then for her to say that fat kids are to blame for the failing economy just adds fuel to the bullying fire, not to mention how it makes fat kids feel. Now they're not only to blame for being fat, lazy, gluttonous slobs, they're also to blame because their parents lost their jobs and businesses aren't locating where they live. Hypocrisy, much?

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