Posted by Pattie on 3/26/2002 01:03:00 PM

Well it's nice to know that the "liberal press" is as ignorant and biased against fat people as the mainstream press. Sheeh. I share your anger. It is amazing to me how little critical thought goes into discussions of obesity. I'd expect something a little more thought provoking from -- something that considered the other agendas that might be informing these assertions.

And of course, now we have the politically charged "think of the children" argument in which no one actually thinks of the children but just use the children to further their own agendas.

I guess it's okay to go after the tobacco industry for targeting children, but not the diet and beauty industry for the same damn thing. Oh yeah, I forgot -- it's the small group of fat acceptance activists who are the equivalent of the multi-billion dollar tobacco lobby, not the multi-billion dollar diet, pharmaceutical (look for the phen-fen disaster dragging profits down towards the end of the article) and beauty industry. Meanwhile more people die from taking drugs like Merida, no research is done into exactly what have fat body is and isn't, and the things that we know don't work like restrictive dieting, yo-yo dieting, and harmful diet drugs are being introduced to younger and younger people. Fat-hatred is being passed to a new generation, creating a new impetus for eating disorders and bullying.

The big news in my neck of the woods is the conviction of a teen for criminal harassement in a bullying case that led to the suicide of the victim. It seems like kids are getting crueler and their acts of cruelity are having direr consequences. That's probably because the adults seem to be getting more violent as well. But for whatever reason, it seems like the worst timing in the world to start targeting fat kids. With adults stigmatizing them, where will they go? Who will they turn to when the bullying begins? It just makes me sad and angry when I think about all this.

I have come to terms with not knowing why I am fat. Since little research is aimed at understand fat (it is all aimed at getting rid of fat, but little is done from a fat-neutral position), I doubt we will ever know if it is genetics or germs or culture or psychology. I suspect that it is just the way we are, but it is exacerbated by the way we live.

I do think women in general and fat women in particular succomb to guilt about health. Of course, men tend to ignore their health problems and avoid the "sick role" while women are encouraged to take the role more often. But since the women's health movement , I think women have been between a rock and a hard place -- we want to take more responsibility for our health and bodies, but when we are sick, we feel like we are failing both the feminine role and the feminist role. We are neither other-oriented, nor taking care of ourselves. Fat women have the added guilt brought on by a society that blames every illness on fat.

Of course, I have the added complication of lupus. When I get a cold or the flu, I worry about it getting worse and developing into a problem with my lungs. Like most people with a chronic illness, I negotiate the sick role practically every day of my life. Most of the time, these negotiations are transparent. I know I'm in pain, but it isn't obvious to anyone else (except maybe my husband). I don't like feeling dependent and I don't like worrying about my health, yet I have to think in those terms if I am to stay healthy -- I have to take my medicine everyday. I have to eat good food everyday. I have to stretch and walk and make my body move often or I will suffer painful consequences. Is this the sick role? I'm never sure anymore. I just know I have to care for myself and I feel selfish doing so.