24 July 2008

Anti-obesity campaigns: kindly hatred

I reverted straight to Chubster mode when I saw the headline Hug A Fatty, which had the subhead "and help them lose weight."

Invariably I find myself re-writing such headlines to myself and this one turned into something like: "Stab a fatphobe in the face and help them to shut up." Clearly I have some aggression to work out of my system.

I'm not going to get into the bickering about "the obesity problem" which is starting to divide along party lines and be played up in the press. The Tories are going for mean, and Labour is trying to be kind, but both are equally idiotic/fatphobic in their own way.

It's this touchy-feely approach to fat hatred that interests me. I've noticed it coming from the Bizarro World of the Obesity Stakeholder, of which Alan Johnson is a citizen, and it's also being presented in various papers about "obesogenic environments," the latest thing to be worried about.

Fatphobes of yesteryear were a lot easier to spot. They were ghoulish, like Rosemary Conley, or creepy, like Richard Simmons or just outrageously freaky, like Gillian McKeith. They usually had a clear financial incentive in getting fatties to hate themselves and seek salvation from them.

But this new breed is different. They wear suits and have government backing. They are supported by authenticating systems of academics, health professionals, quangos and reports. They appear to care about "the obese" yet, as far as I can see, appear to know nothing about Health At Every Size concepts, or the existence of alternative and more compassionate approaches to fat health and culture. They don't even seem to know any fat people, or have any interest in talking to those of us who have fat self-esteem and stuff to say about it.

These caring people see nothing valuable in being fat, they want to get rid of us, and they keep pushing an agenda of discredited bullshit health-depleting "scientific" interventions in order to do so. Of course it's doomed to failure, as they will find out when the wave of repercussions hits, that is: an inevitable epidemic of eating disorders and body dysmorphia; people getting even fatter because of their struggles with yo-yo dieting; and even more fatties experiencing long-term health problems because of weight loss surgery and drugs.

Kindly fatphobia is strangely hypnotic, its representatives appear to be saying nice…soooothing…helpful things, but don't be fooled. Listen out for the magic words, "treatment and prevention of obesity," and you'll know where you stand.

PS. Hi, and welcome to this blog. It's a place for me to talk and opine about fat stuff, ok?

No comments: