Friday, March 25, 2011

The Obesity Stigma

I am not saying that all people that have a naturally faster metabolism, or just no issues with food/never get fat think this way, but a lot of them like to assume things about those of us on the other side of the spectrum. Some of them like to believe that they are somehow superior to their fatter counterparts. And thanks to society pushing this general state of thinking it has become WIDESPREAD!

I can't keep count of how often I see forum members post about nasty comments people made in regards with them getting surgery. I myself have even received horrible comments regarding my decision to get surgery. WLS patients now have a LOT of respect from me. They have to grow thick skin. After WLS it seems a lot of people not only STILL run into rudeness from those that are smaller naturally, but from other obese individuals too. What the heck?! Those obese individuals may be operating under jealousy, or maybe they are happy the way they are and are mad we chose not to be.

But to me it seems, because we were obese at some point and then dared to get wls the "always been skinny" folks think we are not good enough for their "club".

Well I have three words for them: "Fuck your club."

Seriously if anyone wants to tell me their opinion on MY decision to get this surgery I am not going to mince words. Afterall, in the long run I am probably going to be healthier than them. I still have to watch what I eat, probably still even more so than them, I have to exercise, and I have to keep track of my lab results in order to stay healthy.

I can't place the blame for this stupid state of mind all on the "skinnies" either. It is everywhere. As I have hunted for a second job I have seen it. I see it in people's faces everytime I go to a restaurant and dare to eat anything (How dare I?!) How long have we been bitching that the barbie dolls (and now the BRATZ dolls) are too unrealistically skinny and sending the wrong message to little girls? I don't even really read magazines anymore either. Besides, how many of those models are photoshopped to perfection? That isn't really how they all look.

With regards to tv shows, I don't have cable but thanks to Netflix I get to see a lot of stuff (albeit not the current seasons, but still). In Ugly Betty there was an episode where they accidentally published the unphotoshopped pictures of an actress that had gained a few pounds and the whole office was FREAKING OUT! I like the fact that the actress came out with saying she was happy they published those in the end of the episode...but really people?

The show Drop Dead Diva's whole premise is a skinny, blonde, and pretty aspiring actress dies, manages to come back to life only to be put into an overweight brunette lawyers body (which by the way I think that actress is gorgeous...I wanted to shoot myself hearing all the freaking out about having to wear Lane Bryant suits). Part of me wants to like the show but it annoys me how they make her this stereotypical "fat girl" that loves donuts and uses cheese whiz to calm herself down (seriously). She is suddenly smarter because she retained the girl's knowledge when she took over her body, and she does become a less shallow person but why does that have to be because she is now a "fatty"?

Unsurprisingly Nip/Tuck also jumped on the fat bashing bandwagon too. In one of the earlier seasons (maybe season 3) Liz makes a comment about how if the patient had put down the chips and worked out they wouldn't need the plastic surgery they were getting. I didn't feel bad when a couple episodes later Liz's kidney was stolen by beautiful woman that seduced and then drugged her. Karma? Maybe. Liz herself is not a skinny character. Then she herself gets work done and her girlfriend (played by Alanis Morrisette) at the time tells them they need to be more aggressive as she has a lot of work she needs done. Personally I laughed as Liz's character had totally been judging others for the work they chose to get done, then she herself did exactly what they did.

In the first season in LA Sean hooks up with an actress only to find out she is a post-op bypass patient and has lots of skin left over. He offers to do work on her to get rid of it but then looses interest in her after having to remove her extra skin. Add in some jokes from Christian and I could barely make it through the episode without turning it off in disgust. The next episode the poor girl (in desperation to stay thin as she deals with emotional eating issues and self esteem issues) had taken laxatives and subsequently accidentally shits in her hot tub while Sean is in there with her.

Really, guys? Glad it was humorous for you but there are real people that deal with the issues and pressures that society and media places on them. Real people that abuse laxatives to loose weight or trade weight loss for extra skin so that they can be healthy.

So I know this turned into a bit of rant. But seriously I am tired of being the likable fat girl that just ignores stupidity like this. If there is one thing I want to get out of this journey it is the strength and the ability to change the mainstream view of obesity because it is bullshit. WLS obviously has benefited a LOT of people and helped them overcome obesity and get healthy. Why should they be hated on because of their choice to do something? Why should people be looked at like they are stupid and lazy because they are obese? Do you know what they go through in their life? NO!

While you are pondering all this here are some great links that you should check out.

The Obesity Action Coalition The OAC was formed to bring together individuals who are facing the often life-long struggle with obesity. Whether you are beginning to address your weight issues, you have been fighting the battle for a long-time, or you have 30 pounds or 300 pounds to lose, you are not alone in this journey.

Also this movie FatHead.

About the Film

Have you seen the news stories about the obesity epidemic? Did you see Super Size Me? Then guess what? … You’ve been fed a load of bologna.

Comedian (and former health writer) Tom Naughton replies to the blame-McDonald’s crowd by losing weight on a fat-laden fast-food diet while demonstrating that nearly everything we’ve been told about obesity and healthy eating is wrong. Along with some delicious parody of Super Size Me, Naughton serves up plenty of no-bologna facts that will stun most viewers, such as: The obesity “epidemic” has been wildly exaggerated by the CDC. People the government classifies as “overweight” have longer lifespans than people classified as “normal weight.” Having low cholesterol is unhealthy. Lowfat diets can lead to depression and type II diabetes. Saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease — but sugars, starches and processed vegetable oils do.


This article has also come to my attention....

Is America’s Anti-Obesity Message Now Affecting Other Cultures?


FreeJulie said...

Great post! Yes, WLS is a weird topic for people. I have only had one friend get really catty about it one day, but I have heard stories, too. And pre-op, I went through a lot of self-doubt, self-disgust, self-destruction on why I couldn't fix myself. Ah, well. :) It's one of the only things people get to be openly judgmental and hostile about, I guess. Jeez.

Jenn said...

Thanks Julie! You know it's like as society has progressed and stopped being as racist or as sexist (in some places anyways) they needed something else to put down. For some reason it seems it's still seen as okay to put down or discriminate others based on our weight.