Saturday, 1 August 2009

Fat Fighters

Given the various brief conversations I've had with various people (including my esteemed flatmate) about people who are overweight, I found these two items of great interest. The first argues that neither are people in as much control of their body weights as is commonly suggested, nor is the link between weight and more general health inversely proportional until one gets into statistical outliers. [1] The second makes the (much more controversial) claim that one can draw some pretty good parallels between the way the public viewed homosexuality thirty years ago, and the way it views the fat today (in terms of defining the two states, and how they could be dealt with, rather than implying equivalency in the degree of hatred each group suffers). It's by no way a perfect fit, but a lot of the specifics line up quite well.

For further reading, the update to this post is pretty good. No way to piss a liberal off more than to point out they're acting like Ayn Rand.

[1] As a quick preemption, remember that "making one's lifestyle more healthy" and "losing weight" are NOT equivalent. The former can often lead to the former, but weight is a dependant variable, and not nearly so well correlated as many people think.


Gooder said...

Well nice to know I'm officially a bigot. :-)

Sorry, but I don't really buy most of what those two articles are trying to say.

There is some interesting dicussion to be hand around class, status, body image and weight but for it's straining to try comparing it to issues of sexuality

SpaceSquid said...

"it's straining to try comparing it to issues of sexuality"

I admit that I wasn't 100% convinced, but the two major points that both homosexuality and fatness were or are considered deviations from a "norm" that doesn't even exist, and that both could be "cured" with sufficient willpower, seem reasonable statements to make.

If nothing else, the first article reminded me that if you see a 180 pound person, there's no way to tell if they're a glutton who should way 152 pounds, a 208 person trying desperately to lose weight or just someone who averages 180 whilst eating normally. Which kind of makes the argument that fat people = bad people difficult to maintain.