Today in Fatties Ruin It for Everyone

[Content Note: Fat bias; disordered eating.]

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed "obesity-fighting" initiative to ban the sale of sugary drinks in sizes greater than 16 oz at restaurants, street carts, and movie theaters has been approved by the New York City Board of Health.

Genuinely, the only people who could possibly think this is a good idea are people who do not understand the first thing about fatness.

If you are fat for reasons other than disordered eating—like, say, because you are disabled; because you are ill; because you you are on medication that causes weight gain; because you ruined your metabolism yo-yo dieting at a much lesser weight; because you just gave birth; because of your genetics; because you like the way it looks; because you don't have access and/or cannot afford the healthiest food choices for your body; because of a combination of these things; because of reasons you haven't even identified yet yourself—banning sugary drinks in large sizes in certain places isn't going to change your body.

If you are fat because of disordered eating, and part of your diet is an excess of sugary drinks, banning sugary drinks in large sizes in certain places isn't going to change your body.

...Since you can just buy as many drinks in smaller sizes as you want. And anyone, irrespective of their weight, can still drink a 2-gallon of Mountain Dew with dinner every night of their lives, if that is their desire.

The root of this failure, as with so many other issues of autonomy, is tasking individuals with solving a systemic problem. And the systemic problem here is not fat, but our food supply.

If Mayor Bloomberg and the NYC Board of Health weren't interested in trying to shame fatties into being less aesthetically displeasing and were instead actually interested in increasing nutritional healthfulness across the city's population, then he could, say, lead a national movement petitioning the USDA to ban high-fructose corn syrup in all foods.

Researchers have found that HFCS prompts considerably more weight gain, and that the average USian's consumption of HFCS over the same time period associated with the OH NOES Obesity Epidemic has increased by "an alarming 12,250%." That's a more reasonable place to start, if you genuinely care about what people are putting into their bodies.

But shaming fatties is a lot simpler than fighting Big Corn, which is subsidized to the tune of billions of dollars in the US every year.

That is, of course, only one example of the many intersecting issues that conspire to undermine healthfulness in the US food supply. The rampant use of growth hormones, food deserts, food insecurity, federal subsidies that result in a salad costing more than a Big Mac...

It is a massive systemic problem, which undermines the nutritional health of millions of people irrespective of their size, and tasking fatties with "fixing themselves" not only ignores this catastrophic system fail in order to scapegoat and demonize us; it also critically endangers everyone else whose fucked-up food comes from the same places.

Not everyone would be thin even if all of us were the picture of nutritional health.

Which is why nutritional health should be the goal—not thinness.

And I will suggest again, in regards to individual choices, that maybe we could all let fat people sort out for themselves the business of their being fat.

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