Thursday, July 26, 2007

Watch out, I'm gonna getcha!

The contagious obesity study is all over the web, and well, this response from Slate magazine is just lovely.

William Saletan wrote,"To resist a fattening norm, you need willpower. To reverse it, you need to promote responsibility, which implies blame. You almost certainly need stigma. And realistically, to add normal or underweight friends to your circle, you have to relegate others who are overweight. That may be bad for your fat ex-friends, who will lose your friendship as well as your thinness. But it's fine for you, since you'll have just as many friends as before."

As someone who respects concise writing, I think that Saletan could have made the same point this way, "Cooties!"

That's right, I and the other estimated 20 million obese Americans carry big fat cooties that are going to glomp immediately all over the body part you most fear will get larger. Watch out, I've trained my cooties to land directly on your stomach. We need to have this pointed out for our own good, since apparently we're irresponsible people who just don't care enough to make ourselves fit through the only acceptable physical mold for a responsible person.

After that, we all need to be quarantined, because we're dangerous, don't you know. (I've got some great Escape from New York imagery in my head, some relic of a city converted to a walled prison for fat people. Potholed streets crushed from our thunderous steps. Mass riots and mob scenes as our food allowance is air dropped in before our contagion makes the pilots too heavy to get their helicopters away from Fat City. Can I wear the Snake Plisskin eye patch or would that just not work with chubby cheeks?)

Don't you also love the underlying assumption in Saletan's article that a person can only have so many friends? Apparently, in order to acquire a skinny friend, you're going to have to dump a fat friend to make room for them. Did I miss the memo limiting how many friends I'm allowed to have? If I meet someone really funny with whom I click, am I going to have to dump a serious, intellectual friend?

What is that thing called when you advocate socially isolating, stigmatizing and judging people who are different from you? Can you say prejudice? I knew you could.

This entry was originally posted at my other blog, Taking Off. I started a separate blog for just my weight and diet stuff, because it's really its own niche, but this article made me so mad, I want it here as well. I don't plan to continue cross posting a lot of entries, but I'm still getting used to the multiple blog habit.



Blogger Donna said...

Let's see then: as a teen, I would have had to avoid most of my aunts and uncles and, at times, my mother. And for most of my married life I'd have had to stay away from my husband. Yeah, right.

A (skinny) sister-in-law once told me, "Fat people are fat because they want to be; Dr. Phil says so."

Not the fat people I know.

July 27, 2007 6:13 AM  
Blogger gigi said...

I come here at great risk to myself and my waistline, dear Cynthia, out of my deep respect for you and our many years of online friendship.

I fear I must tell you in person what we now both know; I must stop reading and commenting on your blog forthwith. I had noticed I was putting on a few extra pounds lately, and could not figure why. I see now that it is you, my big beautiful sister Cyn, and those nasty self-acceptance vibes you've been sending my way. Farewell, my friend; I know you'll understand.

I am replacing you with the Olsen Twins MySpace blog; I'll be twice as thin in half the time! Maybe now I can eat my M&Ms and Cool Ranch Doritos in peace.

PS ~ Dr. Phil should know. Dr. Phil is fat.

July 27, 2007 3:24 PM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

Oh, Gigi, do you know how much I love you? ::giggling my thanks::

July 27, 2007 4:31 PM  
Blogger Magdalene6127 said...

Yeah, I heard this on NPR yesterday. Blech.

However, the good news is: the opposite is true. Healthy living is similarly "contagious."

Hang in there sister.


July 27, 2007 11:00 PM  

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