A friend writes on Facebook that she is aware she is overweight but “when did we overweight people become public enemy number one???”
I will trace the history of this a bit, but first I have to show the total illogic of it.
Ask anyone who is going on about “fat people” what their objection is to people who are overweight and you will hear something like this sampling:
“They cost too much to insure. They raise the premiums at work for everybody in our company.”
“Yes, but do they raise the cost much higher than the cost to insure sexually active people against AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases? AIDS requires a lifetime of very expensive drug therapy.”
“It’s none of our business what people do in their bedrooms.”
“Ah, but are you saying it is our business what they do at their kitchen tables, and in restaurants? Is that because it is easier to observe? So things are only wrong if we can see them occurring?”
“Well, they also choose to let something easily handled go totally out of control. If they would only go to the gym and watch their portions like the rest of us, this would not be a problem. It’s all about self-discipline”.
“I understand our insurance premiums also cover a multitude of substance abusers, between alcohol and drugs. Is self-discipline with food in a different category than self-discipline with alcohol and drugs?”
“There you go blaming the victim. People with addictions to alcohol and drugs deserve our compassion, not our judgment.”
“But people addicted to food deserve our judgment? Why is that different?”
“They get in my way walking, especially when they have to ride those little scooters in Walmart.”
“Okay, now you are finally saying what your true objection is. Overweight people inconvenience you by not being invisible like people usually are with sexual issues, alcohol issues, or drug issues. It’s really all about your convenience, isn’t it?”
“They are just not nice people.”
“I don’t hear you calling for laws against hypercritical, petty, vindictive people . . .”
“Fat people slow me down.”
“But you have no problem with the people who race to the front of a line of backed up cars, then cut in at the last minute, with potentially lethal consequences to you if you are in that first car. That kind of thing could slow you down permanently.”
“I only want to make laws to get overweight people to reduce.”
“Wow!!! Busybody much?”
You see, fifty years ago there were laws against all kinds of sexual contact outside of marriage. The sexual revolution of the 1960’s turned those laws on their ear. We decided to be “anything goes” sexually as a society.
However, we are at heart judgmental people. So when we stopped judging people for whom they loved (and believe me, this is not just about gay relationships because we also have stopped judging people for extramarital affairs and serial monogamy that produces five children by five different fathers and . . .), we had to find a new target. For a while, that was alcohol and drug abusers. We then located our compassion for them.
But . . . we still needed a target. Ergo, those who are overweight. Fifty years ago, butter and gravy were good things and everyone expected a woman to plump up after having children. For her mate, it was optional.
All that to say, we could outlaw rude, cold, mean people but they can become invisible in a moment by temporarily shapeshifting into a nice person. And then where would we be?
No, we need someone who always looks the same. Always looks on the fringes of acceptability.
“Ah, there we go. Let’s single out people who are overweight, and already probably pretty embarrassed about it, for some special humiliation. Ah, yes, that is a good place to fling our judgmental venom. Not!”
You see, I was there 105 pounds ago. And I will never forget how much I felt I had to work harder and contribute more than others in every group just to justify being taken seriously. For yes, society does have a standard by which obese people are instantly judged to be less gifted than others intellectually.
I will never forget how it felt and I will always advocate compassion toward those who struggle with their weight. Or even those who don’t struggle with it, but just accept it the way it is.
Why is that our business again?