Back in the early days of dating my boyfriend, every once in a while he would turn on Fox News just for a laugh and to see what they’re saying. This usually ended up with me yelling at the TV then yelling at him to change the channel, then, and I’m not proud of this, throwing (hopefully) non-destructive pillows at the TV.
So, as you can imagine, I’m not watching the new HBO “documentary” called Weight Of The Nation for the sake of my own sanity and the well-being of my TV.
You may be thinking, “Wait a second, Golda. Maybe this documentary will be an unbiased look at the so-called ‘obesity epidemic.’ Why not watch it?” And I want to thank you, reasonable reader, for thinking such a reasonable thing. But a few things have clued me in that this is a one-sided documentary, including the tagline, “To Win, We Have To Lose.” That alone let’s you know that this will be a documentary about obesity being on the rise, fat being bad, and weight loss being the answer. The fact that none of that is actually true doesn’t seem to matter.
Here’s the thing – I actually love debating. But I’ve found that debating the existence of a problem is often no fun at all. For example, it could be fun, in a way, to debate what we should do about global warming. But debating with someone over the existence of global warming tends to be a tedious and fruitless debate. Similarly, debating with someone over the existence of the obesity epidemic, which doesn’t actually exist and is a completely unhelpful framework for discussing improving people’s health, is no fun when that debate is with someone who’s invested in the idea of the obesity epidemic and the need to eradicate obesity. Plus, debating with the TV is never any fun.
I know that I should be watching this “documentary,” if only so that I can snarkily tweet about it. But I won’t be. Watching stuff like this makes me feel really stressed out. It makes me feel personally attacked, which the so-called “War On Obesity” really is. The War on Obesity is really just a war on fat people. If weight loss efforts don’t work for 95% of people, and making a fat person thinner doesn’t bestow any health benefits beyond a few months, what are we really talking about here? We’re talking about a concept that basically says, “We don’t like you or the way you look, so we declare war on you. We consider you a scourge and seek to eradicate you.” Couch it however you want, but this is the War On Obesity, and it is truly vile.
So how do we fight back? This fight is already happening, of course, in so many different ways. Every time we fight for anti-discriminatory legislation, or put up fat positive billboards, or write letters, or just live our lives in full view of others as fat positive, we are fighting back.
I really admire the fat folks who can watch something like Weight Of The Nation and take action. I admire the fat folks who can do this on a regular basis, diving into the comments sections of fat positive posts to fight fat hating comments. (By the way, if you want to do this, there’s an amazing facebook group called Rolls Not Trolls which does this in a somewhat organized way.)
But if you’re like me and can’t hack it, I want to say that that’s okay too. Activism takes many forms, and all of them are valid and needed.
Finally, you might dig this response video from The Association For Size Diversity & Health (ASDAH):