I think we need to make something clear: Advocates of Self Love (like Lizzo) and Celebrities who call out the Diet Industry (like Jameela Jamil) and Runners who chastise Fat Shamers are NOT promoting obesity . They are NOT glorifying fatness. They are not making people choose unhealthy lifestyles.
I know people like Bill Maher. (Who made the news for recently promoting fat-shaming.) I’ve gotten into debates with people like him. They honestly think that the only thing fat people are allowed to say about their bodies is: “I want to be skinnier.” They don’t believe that fat people can also be healthy. So trying to argue, “It’s only about healthy and if I’m healthy my weight doesn’t matter,” doesn’t work because they know all of the medical statistics that show that the Healthy Fat Person is an anomaly.
So you have to do what James Corden did and point out that fat people are ALWAYS BEING SHAMED. Just in the check-out line at the store they see magazine covers with before/after photos where the “before” photos look an awful lot like them. They see headlines promoting how weightloss made this person’s life so much better. They see photos of celebrities and their cellulite broadcasted over cruel descriptions in block lettering. THIS IS JUST WHILE BUYING THEIR GROCERIES.
If you’ve ever tried to work on correcting your cultural brainwashing around fatness thanks in not part to the twisted messaging of the diet industry, then you realize fat shaming is EVERYWHERE. From the Facebook advertising determined to make me repulsed by my muffin top, to the latest “I was fat and sad and then I became skinny and happy” pop culture contribution. From your size-7 co-worker who is constantly complaining about the 6lbs she gained on her honeymoon to the instagram influencer perfecting her foot positioning so she can make her waist look like it’s 14-inches. Everywhere around us we see unattainable standards set as expectations and anything beyond that is defined as a “BEFORE” picture. Something you MUST HATE…or else.
With the rise in conversations around self-love and the harms of body-shaming, people like Bill Maher think that we are going to make the obesity epidemic WORSE. And I assure you? That is not the case. Poverty is making it worse. Mental health is making it worse. A diet industry that only survives if we all hate our bodies…makes it worse.
So let us learn to love ourselves, because the hate that society forces upon us will give us enough shame to last a lifetime.
4 thoughts on “Let Me Add My “Dear Bill Maher” response to the tidal wave of criticisms…”
So, the statistics actually don’t show that being fat and healthy is an anomaly. Recent research actually points to the likelihood of a third variable—perhaps weight cycling due to dieting, which leads to insulin resistance—causing both fatness and diabetes, which may strip legitimacy entirely from any causal argument about fatness and type 2 diabetes. Also, obesity is generally not a term that’s used in the body acceptance movement, since it’s rooted in BMI concepts which have been widely disproven. I think the argument can and should be made that a) fatness and health quite often coexist, and that b) our health or able bodies are not things we have control over, nor do we owe either to the general population, including Bill Maher. I agree with you that his speech was disgusting, though.
Let me add clarity to: “they know all of the medical statistics” I meant “they all HAVE medical statistics” just like with any issues you can find statistics that support your cause. I’m sorry, I should have been more clear. Trust me (because I’ve had them thrown at me) there are plenty of statistics out there that someone can throw at you that support their cause even though I’m with you and believe otherwise.
I’m sorry I wasnt clear. And I’m sorry I didn’t use the right language. I feel like you and I agree but you maybe don’t think so.
Here is the thing that I also have issues with, being judged as a person that must overeat food
that is fattening and or sugar loaded. I feel also that it is assumed that I do not exercise. After all, I am old (67) and overweight, so surely I must have high BP, high cholesteral, heart disease, diabetes. Sorry – but no. The answers usually 115/75 , no but on meds, no, and no. These sidelong looks are from nurses and Drs. Yes, my ankles swell, but no Dr trama surgeon it is not from heart disease. My total downfall is a huge sweet tooth. People are amazed at how well I am recovering from a car accident. Its because I am in good shape for my age and weight. Yes I totally wished that I was a lot lighter when I have to support myself on my hands. Its easier as I can bear more weight on the broken leg. It would be nice to be lighter. But I know that for my body, its not just eating but exercise is key. Arthritis makes it necessary to exercise, but not things I once did. Because , yes I am old and fat, and that’s OK
I thought James Corden did a good job critiquing Bill Maher’s comments while not burning bridges with the person. Anyway, yes, this is something I’m struggling with since I had my second baby in March and have been coming to terms with how my body has changed. There are so many weight-related messages coming through my inbox via parents.com and babycenter.com and etc.