Big, Fat Assumptions

So I get this cold call style message on facebook from an author named Bill Lauritzen trying to promote his book (which I’m not going to promote for him here). I have no idea how he got my name but I decided to check out his page.

The first thing I see is this picture of him on the beach sucking in his gut and puffing out his chest with seemingly great effort. To the right is the following text:

“Some of my friends tell me I am SO thin, and I eat SO healthy. The trust [sic] is that they are FAT and they eat a lot of CRAP!”

How noble of him to be so self-flagellating in support of “pro-health” dogma. Accompanying the above text was the sub-text question “Thin or Fat? What’s your Perspective?

The following is my attempt on facebook to address these messages and ultimately answer his question.

I think the weight/health thing (which are NOT actually synonymous) is just another basically arbitrary focal point in a long line which we use to socially categorize and judge each other. This is an age old social exercise that has more to do with establishing group identity and pecking order which includes a self-defending (and inaccurate) mechanism of explaining itself in terms of concern and caring.

If you engage in the exercise of relinquishing your own biases, you can observe the nature of these patterns including not only the surface meaning of words, but also the emotional reactions and value judgements that coincide, you may begin to see what I’m talking about. The acceptance or rejection in these categorizations often has less to do with the actual body size of the individuals, and more to do with whether they support the judgmental dogma, which is generally thought within these groups to be very thoughtful and accepting. Much like how it works with most other “isms” (racism, sexism, classism etc)… think “I have a friend who’s ____ and they support me, so I’m not ___ist”

What’s especially odd is the apparent fervor in defending the above according to the notion that if we do not, “they’ll just think they can get away with it.” The sentiment being that we must shame people for their own good. It’s truly absurd.

So, I guess the short version is “who cares” and the question “are you happy?” This is apparently a radical stance.

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Posted on January 27, 2012, in Health, Science and Skepticism, Social. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I think you’ve got it: fatness, or perceived weight, is just another way to assign *value* to people where no other acceptable/politically correct device exists.

  2. Thanks for your comment Gal. 🙂
    I think my only addition would be that I don’t recognize “politically correct” as being a valid term. I’m not sure if it ever was, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be now. For the most part, I see it being used to misrepresent social anti-oppression ideology with mere sentimental accommodationism. It’s basically a pre-packaged Strawman argument.

    But yeah, basically just another line drawn in the sand.

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