19 November 2012
Is Being Big Really THAT Much More Dangerous Than Rock Climbing?
I know the supposed health risks that arise from obesity. Sure, diabetes, premature immobilization, heart failure, breast cancer if you’re a woman, etc. etc. etc., are all possible. I’m aware of the statistics and the so-called facts. But in case no one noticed, skinny people get all these illnesses and mishaps as well. I have a 20-year-old cousin who has been diabetic since she hit puberty, and no, she was never fat. My best friend who is 21 has had arthritis since high school, and she’s also been a size four since then. My aunt currently has breast cancer and she never weighed a pound over 140 her whole life (wow, realization that I know a lot of ill people). I’m not uneducated or naive, and thus I know being seriously overweight can increase the likelihood of various health problems. But you know what, most overweight/obese individuals don’t choose to be that way. Most of them either have a health problem that caused the extra pudge to begin with, like polycystic ovaries, or glandular anomalies. Most fat adults really can’t help it, and if I hear one more accusation that being fat is ALWAYS a choice, that person is going to receive some serious backlash on my behalf.
If an adult chooses to be fat – if a woman says, “Hey I frikin like my body this way so deal with it,” people need to back off. What happened to individualism? What happened to managing one’s body, as one deems appropriate? If someone wants to tattoo their canvas from head to toe, it’s rare that said person would be told again and again that they’ve destroyed themselves; has anyone heard of Kat Von D? If a French rock climber (cough cough Alain Robert) scales skyscrapers without any equipment and risks death every single time, being deemed “the French Spider-Man” people rejoice and praise and say, “Wow, isn’t he adventurous!” If someone wants to go gold digging in the sub-zero Alaskan seas and make a damn TV show about it, thousands of people watch in suspense, admiring the way the stars dance with death. But if a woman says, “I want to be fat,” doctors and critics and bored housewives protest and say, “Doesn’t she know how unhealthy and unattractive that is?” As if climbing a skyscraper without any gear or plunging yourself into an arctic ocean don’t pose even more immediate health risks? Erm, pretty sure if you fall off a 60-story building you’re dead, and if you stay in that icy ocean too long you’re going to get hypothermia or lose a toe.
Firstly, attractiveness is a matter of preference. The definition of the word itself is “pleasing, appealing to the senses.” Last time I checked, we all have varying sensory experiences to things. I might really love dunking my Oreos in peanut butter, but I’m well aware some people find the combination repulsive. I might be in love with pineapple pizza, but does every other single human being in the world feel the same? The same goes for attraction. I’ve spent years struggling to see the appeal of Russell Brand, but I’m sure several thousand women in the world would bitch me out for it. I do, however, think curvaceous, voluptuous women are attractive, and I know people who would both agree and disagree with said statement. If your personal preference is being thin or buff or built or to look like the spokesperson for a fitness center, that is your choice. If mine is to look like someone who eats a lot of ice cream (I admit I have quite a serious relationship with Chunky Monkey) it’s my damn choice. If I like the fact that I am a size 14 as opposed to a four, leave me the hell alone, because it is my given choice. Or if a woman who is bigger than me, say a size 18, and posts a bikini picture of herself on her blog, stop complaining and see it as what it is – a beautiful woman who loves her body and isn’t afraid to speak against weight discrimination.
Which leads me to point two – weight discrimination in and of itself. If you ask me, someone who receives pleasure out of taunting of bullying fat people is just as bad as a homophobe or a racist. It’s the same concept, isn’t it? You’re honing in on an aspect of people you don’t happen to like and making them miserable for it. Organizations have been developed to fight against weight discrimination just as they’ve been developed to fight against other hate crimes. The National Association for the Advancement of Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) is doing everything it can to make this world more bearable for fat people. Side note, I really think what we need is a “Fat Parade.” Going back to the “I’m not naive” comment, I don’t believe we will ever fully be in the kind of world where a gay man or a fat girl never receive a hurtful comment or a taunting stare. But I can’t stand it when people speak out against organizations and movements that are aimed at the betterment of society. For all those out there who have nothing better to do than say how unattractive obesity is and that if it were up to you, fat people would all enroll in gyms, please find something better to do with your lives. And P.S.: go grow a heart.