Ashley has expressed concern that, in the process of fighting fat-hate, there could be sneering at the skinny. This would, of course, be wrong. Women are, as Fokkerites KarenB and Becky noted, fabulous and beautiful in many different forms. But it is undeniable that only ONE form of beauty is considered beautiful in our culture, and that makes all women vulnerable. I, personally, have yet to meet a woman who didn’t want to be at least a “little thinner” or it’s colliery, “more toned/buff”. The media has restlessly drilled subtle messages into people’s skulls that ONLY thin is beautiful, and the uber-thin white woman is the ideal.
What does it say when even the ideal women must be photoshopped to look even thinner? How will women ever, ever be thin enough?
That’s why I use the terms fat/obesity interchangeably; people who are merely overweight often consider themselves fat. I also prefer the word fat, since obese carries a negative health connotation that is complete bullshit in a lot of cases.
Obesity is a defective term and the obesity ‘epidemic’ is artificially constructed. In actuality people are not as fat as statistics make it seem. Some good information in Health at Every Size by Dr. Linda Bacon (p.140-155) is that the shift in the percentage of Americans considered obese (23% in 1991 and now at 30%) is really a difference of an average increase of 7-10 lbs since 1991. In 1998 the NIH changed lowered the BMI scores that would be normal, overweight, or obese. 29 million Americans became overweight once the numbers changed, even though there was no clinical reason to change the figures. However 7 out of 9 people on the committee worked for or owned weight loss companies. Motive much?
Moreover, the obesity rates for women have leveled off since 1999 and men have been the same percentage since 2003, so the epidemic isn’t even “growing” anymore!
If obese is going to be used as a health term, then actual scientific data doesn’t correlate fat with poor-health until a BMI of 40, so that’s where obese should start. However, thanks to the NIH shift, you are obese with at BMI of 30 or more. That 10 points is a LOT of weight difference.
For example, a person who is 5’5″ who weighs 180 has a BMI of 30 according to the NIH. That means they are obese with all the scary things that implies. They need to lose weight “for their health” … not so they can look hotter by cultural standers, right? Har. Yet to have a BMI of 40, where the real health correlation starts, you need to be 5’5″ with a weight of 240. That’s a difference of 60 lbs between ascribed and ‘real’ obesity! I wonder if they would have as many people lined up at Weight Watchers if people knew that weighing 200 pounds was only dangerous to their social life? Would there be more fat activists if the nay-sayers didn’t have the standard “it’s for their health!” as an excuse for discrimination and condemnation?
It does make one wonder.