Today in Fat Hatred

[Content Note: This post contains discussion of public campaigns to shame fat children and/or their parents.]

Part One: My pal and sometime Shakesville contributor Erica Barnett forwarded this piece by Sarah Kliff in the WaPo about a campaign in Georgia (US) to raise awareness about "what childhood obesity actually looks like."

on the left, an image of a chubby white boy labeled 'Fat prevention begins at home. And the buffet line.'; on the right, an image of a chubby white girl labeled 'It's hard to be a little girl. If you're not.'

I'm not even going to go into, for the ten thousandth time, discussions of how fat is a systemic problem, the link between fat and poverty, the known but ignored reality that children may self-medicate with food to fill an emotional void left by neglect or abuse, or the facts that children's bodies tend to store fat before growth spurts and not all fat children become fat adults (and not all fat adults were fat children).

Instead, I'm just going to note, with a brevity befitting the profundity of my comprehensive contempt, that this is some real bullying horseshit.

Even if (which is an enormous "if," in my estimation) parents are truly in need of a campaign to educate them about "what childhood obesity actually looks like," there are certainly other ways of conveying the information that via posters and associated media that make fat children look like they're criminals on a show called "America's Most Hated."

Part Two: Shaker FarmerStina forwarded this piece by Vicky Buffery for Reuters about French diet guru Pierre Dukan's proposal "that France tackle child obesity by giving extra exam marks for slimness. ... The plan calls for high school students to be allowed to take a so-called 'ideal weight' option in their final year exams, the 'baccalaureat', under which they would earn extra points if they kept a body mass index (BMI) of between 18 and 25."

"Ideal weight" is such a fascinating term, isn't it?

I wonder how many people who use the term "ideal weight," as if it isn't an arbitrary standard created in accordance with an arbitrary beauty ideal that ignores an entire spectrum of natural body diversity, have ever considered what an "ideal weight" may be for, say, a person recovering from disordered eating, a person whose metabolism is fucked from crash dieting, a fat person who has spent hir life being publicly and privately bullied and struggles to maintain a modicum of self-esteem...

There are people in this world who can't not be fat without thinking about everything they eat in exacting detail, and there are people for whom thinking about everything they eat in exacting detail is emotionally devastating.

Which means there are people in this world for whom an "ideal weight" is whatever weight at which they can exist in relative peace, whatever weight at which they can love themselves.

There really shouldn't be anything controversial about that.

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