Fitness Magazine

Fat Prisoners of War

By Danceswithfat @danceswithfat

End the war on fat peopleSadly I hear stories all the time about a fat person who has put their life on hold – they skip events, they don’t do things that they want to do, they don’t hang out with friends,  they don’t even attempt to date, so crushed are they by self-hatred derived by bullying and stigma, that their life is a living hell.  We are told (often by someone trying to sell us weight loss) that this person is a prisoner of their fat, that the solution to all of these problems is weight loss.  That weight loss will somehow free them from their prison of fat and allow them to live a full life.

I would suggest that they are prisoners – but not of fat.  They are prisoners of war – the war on obesity.  A war waged on them by the government, which is actively encouraging people to stereotype fat people and make wild guesses about our “cost” to society, and blame us for anything bad in their lives.  They are actively recruiting our bosses, doctors, friends, family, and strangers who interact with us to join in the battle.  The war on obesity has casualties. It also has prisoners.

When there is a movement of public and private interests to stigmatize people for the way they look – for a physical characteristic that they can’t possibly hide, then some will choose to try to escape the incessant stigma, shame and bullying by doing the only thing they can – hiding themselves, withdrawing from life.

And then they get shamed for withdrawing and blamed for the poor treatment that they are receiving.  Surrender, they are told, act the way we want you to act and look the way we want you to look and all of this pain will go away.  Never mind that there’s no proof that it’s even possible for more than a tiny fraction of people to become thin.  Never mind that the cure for social stigma and bullying is for people to stop stigmatizing and bullying people – not weight loss. Surrender they are told.  Surrender and pay the piper – the diet industry can’t make 60 billion (and rising every year) dollars a year without your contribution.

I say enough is enough.  I say it’s time to call for an end to the ridiculous notion that there can be a war on obesity without having a war on obese people.  That war can be waged on our fat but not on the “thin people” they claim, without evidence, live underneath it. It’s time to call for an end to the assertion that the casualties and prisoners of this war are acceptable collateral damage, so important is the goal of a world where everyone has the same height/weight ratio. Well, maybe not so much important as… profitable.

I used to be a prisoner of the war on obesity – spending my time desperately hoping that I could change my body so that I could start living the life that I wanted to live.  Even after I learned that there were options to fight back, to escape, I remained casualty for a long time – deeply damaged by the stigma, shame and bullying that were heaped upon me by family, friends, doctors, strangers and the government the seems to think that ‘inalienable rights” actually means “rights you’ll get as soon as you’re thin.”

Things are different now.  There’s still plenty of stigma, shame, and bullying. There’s still a war being fought against me for how I look. People are still trying to leverage an inappropriate use of power to alienate me from my rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  I still have rough days.  But I’m no longer a prisoner, no longer a casualty.  I’m a combatant now. And If the government wants a war on obesity, I’ll damn well give them one. 


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Fat and Fit, Or Not

    Fit,

    Ragen Chastain 5’4, 284 pounds. Photo by Richard Sabel.I’m going to talk about fitness and movement, and some cool things that are happening with the Fit Fattie... Read more

    By  Danceswithfat
    FITNESS, HEALTH
  • Being Fat at Work

    Being Work

    A lot of my friends are bemoaning their return to work today. Not because they dislike their jobs, necessarily, but because of what their work is likely to put... Read more

    By  Danceswithfat
    FITNESS, HEALTH
  • Fat and Fat but

    In my post about one of the most truly awful attempts in history to help fitness instructors work with fat bodies, there was a category called The Athletic But... Read more

    By  Danceswithfat
    FITNESS, HEALTH
  • Fat Dating

    Dating

    I won the dating lottery.When I heard about Golda Poretsky’s new master class on body positive dating, I was really happy – I think it’s a subject that doesn’t... Read more

    By  Danceswithfat
    FITNESS, HEALTH
  • Back Off My Fat Body

    Back Body

    Picture by Substantia Jones for Adipositivity.comEveryday I hear messages from society about my fat body. I’m told that it’s a sign of moral failing, laziness,... Read more

    By  Danceswithfat
    FITNESS, HEALTH
  • New Fat City

    City

    Reader Abby let me know that Karen Hitchcock is a doctor, and I mean that only in the strictest definition that she completed medical school, not the she is... Read more

    By  Danceswithfat
    FITNESS, HEALTH
  • Fat Civil Rights Simplified

    Civil Rights Simplified

    Discussions about fat civil rights can become complicated, today I thought I would take a stab at simplifying things a bit.Fat people have a right to exist in... Read more

    By  Danceswithfat
    FITNESS, HEALTH

Magazines