10 December 2014
Ending Fat Oppression
It is sad to say that being overweight is one of the most stigmatizing characteristics of America and the nation. One cannot live through a single day without encountering numerous forms of fat prejudice in magazines, on television, in the streets, and even in their own homes. People are obsessed with noticing fat, not getting fat, and pointing out to people that they are fat without any sort of hesitation. Society believes that if fat people really wanted to they could just lose weight and be permanently thin. Fat is not the problem; rather fat oppression endorsed and then reinforced by society is the problem. Marilynn Wann seemed as though she was never ashamed of being fat and as a teenager, she perceived her fat as an opportunity to get ahead in life rather than as a disadvantage. But on October of 1993, things happened to her, which were out of her control. Her boyfriend was ultimately ashamed of her and her body, and she did not get health insurance because of her weight concerns. Marilyn Wann’s mental model of a healthy body weight was to be in good health. In her eyes good health is indicated by normal blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar, absence of serious illness. (Wann 10) She also says she is healthy because she does not smoke, and she exercises, eats vegetables, keeps good dental hygiene, and practices safe behaviors such as wearing her seatbelt. Wann reveals that many times, being fat is only unhealthy because fat people are discriminated in the health business thus they hesitate going to doctor and taking precautions to prevent disease. Some doctors base many diseases of fat patients as caused by their fat. In Fat!So?, Marilyn Wann describes why it is important to use the word fat, by explaining the meaninglessness of words like overweight and obese. She writes, "Over whose weight? Everyone has their own unique weight that’s right for them.” (Wann 19) And now lets discuss the word “Obese”. This is a doctor’s fancy way of saying, ‘I’m looking at you, and I find you disgusting. Would you like to buy this ineffective but wildly expensive weight-loss treatment? Wann discloses that “being healthy is not the same thing as being thin.” (Wann 35) The fact is that specialists have never decided on what exactly constitutes being ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’ (Wann 20). Some may say that in our society, being fat discredits the individual and indicates physical and moral inadequacy and failure. The unfortunate stigma attributed to fat people includes being lazy, stupid, unprofessional, and less agile, etc. Thus, fat people create ways to manage the stigma. Fat people believe these negative stereotypes, many see themselves as inferior to thin people, or consider themselves "good" if they do lose weight. Currently, fat children can be taken away from their parents on the basis of child abuse, courts even have made decisions to control bodies, such as putting people on diets. Fat people are even having a hard time finding jobs, even though they are extremely qualified, and this is causing problems with them getting health insurance. All of these examples of fat discrimination illustrate how the majority of society fat and thin alike, participate in perpetuating fat discrimination.
Society has a way of sometimes oversimplifying categories. Presently, there are only two categories people can fit into to define their weight: fat and thin. Individuals are either one or the other, and there is no word to describe people who fall in between these categories. Fat and thin have been arranged in a strict dichotomy in which thin women are "good, moral, beautiful, healthy, happy, and in control of their lives" but fat women are "bad ugly, disgusting, physically unfit, lazy, and lacking will power". In this method of the description, it is difficult to describe oneself because "fat" or "thin" may not be an adequate…