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A societally beneficial message?

  • 06-06-2012 4:30pm
    Registered Users Posts: 2,819 EuropeanSon

    This video was posted in the "Share something you like/find interesting" thread recently, and struck me as deplorable. As I posted in the thread:
    I simply find it abhorrent when people blatantly misrepresent reality for what appears to be the sole purpose of appearing non judgemental and super nice, which is what the girl in the video is doing. No doubt legions of unhealthy people will be empowered by her message to continue costing the healthcare system (and thus everyone else) a bomb and slowly killing themselves with their unhealthy lifestyles

    One of the most pathetic failures of the argument presented, I feel, is the failure to draw a distinction between "to have fat" and "to be fat" with the latter here meaning severe obesity in the generally recognised way. The girl in the video is not one who suffers "disapproving glances from strangers" etc. as a result of having a few pounds of flab. The paintings she references as former ideals of beauty (at least, that's the implication I get from her) are not of obese people, but of people who are of what seems average build and are only "fat" in the sense of not being rake thin like modern equivalents seem to be. While the defence of fatness presented seems to be applied to all overweight/obese people (as inferred from the pictures of fat people ridiculed on TV being of morbidly obese people), her defences are only drawn from the average to slightly overweight.

    So, is being (very) fat OK and something to be proud of/indifferent to, or is it a problem which those who have it should attempt to address?

    Before anyone comes in with a rant about how I'm advocating bullying fat people/ridiculing them etc., I'd like to say that I'm not. I think picking on people and riduculing them about their weight and so on is horrible, but I do think it is something that should not be promoted as a reasonable lifestyle choice, and that those close to people who are overweight should encourage them to try to look after themselves better and give more consideration to how they live, rather than just blindly accepting it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,498 Jamie Starr

    My main gripe with all these "love your body campaigns" is that the pressure they put on people seems just as antagonising as any invective aimed at the overweight/underweight/heavy-weight champion of the world.

    Case in point: that "real women have curves" campaign launched by Dove/Boots/tenapennyultra-coporatecompanythatcares. Coming as a reaction to the ultra-thin, size zero culture (bleugh, I can't believe I typed that) that a lot of modelling was known for, this was supposed to reassure a certain type of woman... that they were real..?

    As far as I'm concerned, a 2-D model walking down a cat-walk is just as harmful to a person as a bunch of middle-aged curvaceous women in the nip being categorised as real. They're both domineering representations of life, and a fukkdah8terzyolo attitude to people usually contains just as much ignorance as the most vicious stereotyping.

    A girl on youtube or a big company has no more right to define your mindset or body than any bigot, and they're probably more dangerous, because most of us can recognise a bigot with an agenda and dismiss them, but when a teenager gets a web-cam or a PR-fuelled company gets a billboard, their view becomes much easier to accept.

    There's so many different tangents to the issue, that letting anybody make your mind up for you (including me, although I wouldn't flatter myself thinking I have that kind of power, I have neither millions of dollars nor boobs) is a mistake.

    I listen to Howard Stern quite a lot, mostly for laughs, but sometimes because he says quite insightful things, though in a relatively abrasive way. He made a comment about Gabourey Sidibe (star of Precious) and how her weight was being glossed over in an industry which usually (a) embodies rigid conformity in terms of image and (b) produces things like Big Momma's House. In the wider context (lulz), Stern pointed out how Sidibe was championed as a body image role-model whilst the rest of America and the world is desperately trying to eradicate obesity on health grounds.

    In other words, it seems to me that determination of body image is a breeding ground for hypocrisy. Oftentimes the viewpoint that seems the most inclusive and progressive is riddled with the same deficiencies expressed by most prejudiced h8r2k11.

    Might I add:


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,962 ✭✭✭ jumpguy

    Will post something a bit more tangible when I've time, but there's a problem on both sides. Obesity is the result of an unhealthy addiction, and as with all addicts there is a judgemental attitude towards them. This attitude never helps, and only contributes, as with all addicts, to a self-perpetuating cycle. Feel bad for being fat/alcoholic/etc, drink/eat, get more fat/sick, etc. Saying "it's your own fault" is of no help to anyone. If you've never been addicted to a substance/activity, you won't understand. It's barely a voluntary activity at that stage.

    On the other end of the spectrum, you have super-skinny/fit being the plateau of beauty. Not only does this affect themselves, but also has massive mental health effects on society and costs the healthcare system even more. The girl has a point. Yes, fat people should not be empowered to stay fat. But we should not stigmatise fat people for being fat, and deem them as lazy, stupid and/or unattractive.

    If one is fat, they should see it as "oh dear, gotta lose a bit of weight" and not see it as "I'm ugly, society will not accept me as I am."

    tl;dr: The problem of weight control is only exacerbated by society's current attitude to it. I'd wager mental health issues as a result of this attitude cost about as much as obesity-related problems, directly and indirectly.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,248 ✭✭✭ Slow Show

    jumpguy wrote: »
    Will post something a bit more tangible when I've time, but there's a problem on both sides.

    You can try jumpguy, but I don't think we'll ever be able to touch your post. :pac:

    I have pretty much no opinion because I can't debate or even properly follow one without being swayed from side to side forty times a minute, so I tend to avoid these types of things. When I read European Son's post I agreed with him, when I read the youtube comments contradicting his ideals I agreed with them. Errr...I suppose I think that if you're a bit, well, a lot overweight you need to do something about it for your own good but there shouldn't be stigma attached to being fat. Some people actually cannot lose a notable amount of weight (shouldn't it be mass or was JC Physics a lie?) no matter how hard they try, and can gain it as easily as breathing. Unfortunately there probably always will be stigma attached to being overweight. Yes, you heard it here first people. Remember this.

  • Registered Users Posts: 713 ✭✭✭ Cherry Blossom Girl

    As a woman who is apparently not 'real' because I am neither rake thin nor exactly what you'd call curvaceous, these campaigns really piss me off. I think it's both dangerous and sad that society has pretty much disregarded the notion of having a healthy relationship with food and being a healthy weight for your height and body type, whatever that may be.

    I hate the misuse of the 'curvaceous' label that is being bandied about in numerous campaigns; if we're being honest here there is a big difference between someone who is curvaceous because they are overweight and someone who is perfectly fit and healthy but still curvaceous because that is their natural body type. From what I've seen on billboards and from ads on TV, the majority of the women in the 'real women' campaigns fall into the former category.

    It's no secret that obesity is a huge problem in society and I really don't think that these campaigns are helping. IMO, and I know this is probably controversial, but I believe that they act as somewhat of a crutch for overweight people who now have the option to feel less ashamed/guilty/<insert your emotion of choice here> about being overweight because, after all, 'real' women have curves.

    I'm not saying that overweight or underweight people should be ridiculed and made ashamed of their weight, it's obvious that reactions like that will only lead to further problems. Rather, I think there needs to be far more emphasis on what is healthy rather than what is 'real', and that applies to the whole 'size zero' issue too.

    Similar to what Agnostic Mantis said, no one, not even the great powers that be behind Dove or Vogue should be able to determine what is 'real' and what is not with regards to weight and appearance, it's a hugely individual thing. (I have now typed 'real' so many times that I feel like I'm in the middle of some kind of postmodern analysis on weight and appearance, but I digress).

    Tl;dr: I think it's dangerous for any campaign to claim to represent 'real' women in order to justify being an unhealthy weight, be that over or underweight.