March 28, 2006 at 12:55 pm
I often get the impression that telling someone they should lose weight because it’s a health issue is just a politically correct way of saying fat people disgust them. It would be nice to think that there are so many people in the world wringing their hands in concern over what that fat person on the street’s blood sugar levels must be. But I don’t see many people running around with glucometers warning fat people that they’re about to become diabetic. If someone doesn’t like fat people, I wish they’d just suck it up and say it and not hide behind the “it’s bad for your health” charade.
For example, I don’t like cigarette smoke. I think it smells gross. Whenever I visit my smoker friend in another city, the first think I do when I get home is throw all my clothes in the washer and then take a shower. That smoke smell manages stick to every fiber and every hair it brushes against, just like cat hair.
Everyone knows smoking will kill you. I would guess more people could tell you that smoking is fatal than could tell you who the Vice President is, and he just shot somebody, so he is just as potentially deadly! If someone is smoking around me, I could always say “You really shouldn’t smoke. You’re going to get cancer and/or emphysema.” But honestly, do I give a shit if some anonymous stranger is hacking up their blackened lungs 20 years from now? No. America doesn’t have socialized health insurance, so I don’t have to worry about my taxes paying for their treatment either. I just don’t want to inhale their second-hand carcinogens. So if I ask someone not to smoke around me, I just tell them “I don’t like the smell of smoke. Could you please smoke elsewhere?” I don’t pretend to care about the state of their air passageways.
If someone says “You should lose weight because it’s unhealthy,” I call bullshit, unless said person is a friend or family member who might actually have to foot the bill for my funeral arrangements or at least send a tasteful flower arrangement (fifty dollars, at least). What if tomorrow all the scientists came out and said “Oops! We were totally wrong. Being fat is actually good for your health.” Would fat people suddenly be embraced and glorified? I bet dollars to donuts that they would not. Because health really isn’t the issue here. It’s about appearances and all the power that goes along with beauty and what beauty is perceived to be.
If you think fat people are ugly or gross, just step up and admit it. We all have prejudices and the only way to start overcoming them is to face them.
ETA: Of course, if your doctor or a health professional is telling you to lose weight, they obviously get a pass. I’m talking about people who aren’t friends, family or medical professionals. Just random “guy on the street” people.