From commenter Mackey:
In Australia a couple of academics are gathering a media library of images that show our curvier brothers and sisters living their lives, to counter the oft used negatives images of their depiction in the media. For once there isn’t the ridiculous neck to knee shots of our more Rubenesque community members. Instead there are pictures of people doing the things they enjoy, without their humanity being called into question.
The article can be found here.
In the words of the actual academics:
We are currently engaged in a project with the aim of producing an image library that more fully represents the lived experience of obesity in a non-stigmatising manner. The images show people engaged in activities such as bike riding, shopping for fashionable clothes and applying makeup – depictions that challenge the image of the slovenly and lazy obese subject.
What stunned me was some of the comments that appeared at the bottom of the article. All those logical fallacies come out in abundance: correlation being equated to causation, anecdote = fact, etc etc. (If anyone reads the comments, they have the potential to be triggering.) I think the best comment made is by someone who is called Kissindra, who says:
Plenty have said it before but it is worth repeating – you know what you can tell from looking at me? That I am fat. You cannot tell what I eat, if I am lazy, how much I exercise, how professional I am or if I am healthy…but because of unrelenting media negativity many people see my fat and asign me a whole host of negative views and don’t stop for a second to consider if they are wrong.
I think projects like this are necessary. Given the vast array of human body shapes and sizes, I hate the level of body policing that goes on.
There was a follow up article to the one above, about the issue of health and size that also drew the ire of the concern trolls, and the body police. (That can be found here.)
Once again some of the comments were pretty appalling, but I thought a couple stood out for me, that once again reinforces my view that body policing and concern trolling have no part in people’s health and well-being, whatever their size and shape.
I thought I would leave this quick hit with a couple of comments that made my day:
Shame and stigma are NOT motivation. If it were, we’d all be thin right now. Every fat person has had a gutful (GEDDIT?!) of shame. It hasn’t worked.
HAES means health at every size for the population, not the individual. That means health can exist along of spectrum of sizes, not that every obese individual is automatically healthy.
I find it amazing that you think that HAES – with its tenets of mindful eating and enjoyable exercise – has nothing to do with an individual taking responsibility for their health. Like, that’s so ridiculous I don’t know where to start.
…when faced with healthy, fit, fat people who don’t indulge in any of the stereotypical behaviours you scoff at in your comment, what do you think? Being fat is not the issue, telling people they are worthless because they are fat is.
I’d prefer if everyone adopted healthy behaviours (and had access to nutritious food) but do you know what? It isn’t my business to tell others how to live with their bodies and it’s not theirs to tell me what’s best for mine.
And I though the best one was by a commenter called Kath Read:
And yet again, a whole swathe of people don’t actually read what the article is saying, and totally miss the point.
There is no amount of evidence that can be presented that will sway these people who need to feel superior to someone, anyone that:
a) fat does not equal lazy/greedy/stupid
b) that fat people actually DO lead active, healthful lives yet still remain fat
c) health is not some hierarchy of social value
d) shame cures nothing
e) human bodies are not lawnmowers, the law of thermodynamics does not apply to a complex organic being
f) that other people’s bodies/health are not their business.
They cling to this notion that by way of the size or shape of their body they are superior to those who are fat because without that sense of superiority, they feel worthless. So they make fat people feel worthless instead.
Fat people are not worthless. They are not inferior to thin people. They do not need to “prove” their health, their lives, their worth to anyone.
I deeply appreciate what the authors of this article are doing – it’s a hell of a fight to try to change this archaic, messed up thinking. But as the comments on the previous article, and this one prove, there are always going to be those who cling to their superiority complex in the vain hope that they can push someone further down the social ladder than themselves.
So Harpies, what do you think?