What does it teach a child to be put on display, ogled and evaluated by adults for the purpose of selling designer clothes? Is this to the child’s benefit? If not, then what are the unintended messages it sends?
Here’s a few just for starters:
1. Expensive clothes are more important than you are.
2. You exist to please adults.
3. Learning to show yourself off is also really important.
4. Being real, genuine and private isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
So where’s the boundary? When do you know you’ve crossed it?
The best question to ask is this:
Cui bono: Who benefits? You or your child?
Was it a joke? Or are we living in an alternative universe? The by-words of the politically correct used to be, “tolerance,” “diversity,” “no-more-bullying,” and “mean people suck.”
Now, in the name of “but we have to DO something, anything!” comes a proposal for institutionalized bigotry and elevating the shaming of fat people to a moral obligation.
A bioethicist named Daniel Callahan thinks it’s a good idea to shame obese people because they simply don’t know that being fat heaps social disapproval and discrimination upon them. He says they just aren’t aware of how fat they are and we ought to embark on a new era of “zero tolerance for body fat.” He adds that he “can’t see how anyone could possibly have a problem with that.”
A billion dollar weight loss industry hasn’t been able to come up with a one-size-fits-all magic pill that eradicates obesity from the planet and that’s the best he can do? Institutionalized bigotry? Don’t get me wrong. I would like him to stop doing altogether and recognize that he only gets to be in charge of his own body and not everyone else’s.
Among other things Mr. Callahan doesn’t understand is that some people regardless of their age or class, unconsciously use extra weight to set a boundary against exactly the kind of intrusion and cruelty he thinks is in their best interest to tolerate. There are many other complex causes for obesity, none of which respond to shame or one-size-fits-all solutions.
While I don’t recommend it as a coping mechanism, obesity for some represents an unconscious response to sexual abuse. It can be an act of defiance and strength, unlike Mr. Callahan suggests (who is certain that it always means ‘lazy, self-indulgent, lacking in discipline, awkward, unattractive, weak-willed and sloppy.’) There is actually something worse than not looking good, though Mr. Callahan would be hard-pressed to know what that is.
Should Mr. Callahan be the one to force (as if he could) others to remove that protection just so he won’t be offended by their pulchritude?
It’s clear that Callahan and people like him are the ones with the problem. But just as some believe about our waistlines, the problem is growing into an epidemic.
Many people with weight issues have unfortunately been so beaten down by the stigma of which they are very well aware, that they do a great job of hating themselves before others get the chance–almost out of a sense of obligation. The treatment for these patients is to attempt to undo that ugly cycle.
Civil rights, tolerance, “Fat is a Feminist Issue” all appear to have been thrown under the bus in favor of “but don’t we have to DO something?” Where are Bella Abzug and Gloria Steinem when you need them? Or would they have been co-opted onto this new fat-phobia bandwagon too?
There’s one more thing to say to Mr. Callahan: You ought to be ashamed.
As political positions and tempers flair, adults are thrusting their children into adult roles in the hopes of scoring political points. A five-year-old lesbian? An “openly gay ten-year-old?” A course in child development is profoundly needed, en masse. Children may experiment with sexuality but this changes frequently into young adulthood before they know who they are or are meant to be.
Regardless of whether they turn out to be gay, straight, or presbyterian, they have a right to discover this on their own, rather than being made the proxy of misdirected, childlike adults who find them easy and moldable subjects. This abominable trend is resulting in no less than a generation of stolen childhoods.
What is required here is adult restraint, and that is without a doubt, “for the children.”
Who in life, thinks others have an obligation to accept them? I certainly never did, even when I was at my fattest. Yes, I encountered hatred and plenty of ugly behavior. Some people were verbally cruel and I lost jobs. Did I ever believe I should take them to court in attempt to force them to like me?
Or maybe, like a story in Colorado this month, they ought to be forced to bake me a cake? Since some bureaucrats have confered upon themselves the power to restrict the size soda you can buy and in light of the growing social acceptability of hating fat people, (especially by ‘tolerance activists’) we are well on our way to seeing bakers restricted from baking a cake for a customer who is deemed unacceptably fat. Meanwhile, people ought to be forced to bake you one if you are in a politically acceptable group! Both are ridiculous and threaten the most precious of things of which you’d think all groups would treasure: Freedom.
I have always loved non-conformists. They have the courage to go their own way, regardless of others’ approval. They often blaze new trails. Sometimes they persuade others and sometimes they learn from reactions they receive. How silly would it be for those people to spend their time forcing others to approve of how individualistic they are?
Just as I have feared, the trend of using force to make others live, think and behave as an “elite” group of bureaucrats and special interest groups demand, is growing. Not too long ago, a popular bumper sticker said, “If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.” It never said, “If you don’t like abortion, I’m going to force you to like it anyway.” It pains me to state something so obvious but apparently, there are those who have forgotten: I must protect your free will to disagree, disapprove and/or dismiss even something which I love, so that I can protect my freedom to do the same.
I finally did it. I watched the segment of the Barbara Walters Special in which she features Honey Boo Boo and her family. Walters named Alana Thompson one of the “Ten Most Fascinating People of 2012.”
Ms. Walters chose not to interview the family directly but presented previously seen clips. Apparently, she took a lot of heat for her choice which also helped to publicize her special before it aired. Intentionally or not, Alana was used to sell Walters’ program just as she has continued to be used by her mother and her family to garner money, recognition and fame.
What is most curious, is that the most “fascinating” questions as to why Honey Boo Boo has been so fascinating in 2012, were never asked, questions like:
- Why do people watch this show and why were its ratings higher in some markets, than the national political conventions?
- Fifteen years after the JonBenet Ramsey case, why is there a show called “Toddlers and Tiaras” and why is it more popular than ever?
- Why do parents keep putting their kids in beauty pageants?
As in the case of many television programs, initially people tune in for a little escape and perhaps some curiosity. Many can’t believe a show like this is even on TV. But if they become a regular watcher, they may be getting seduced in somewhat the same way as the participants and the parents. The voyeuristic quality of this whole endeavor feeds on itself. (yet another not-so-inadvertant food pun.)
Hollywood has never had good boundaries when it comes to child stars. The long list of children who hit adolescence just in time for an adult meltdown, is legendary in Hollywood. From Michael Jackson, to Lindsay Lohan, show biz has rarely had positive long-term effects on kids.
One has to wonder who is leading whom. Does the media lead the culture or is it creating it? In this case, individual citizens must begin to educate and lead the media by refusing to watch a spectacle in which children are being robbed of their childhoods before our very eyes.
Apparently, Barbara Walters was seduced too. It’s unfortunate that she didn’t use the opportunity to shed real light on Princess by Proxy Syndrome and the damaging consequences that await a whole new generation of little girls.
According to ObesityMyths.com “thirty-five million Americans went to sleep one night in 1998 at a government-approved weight and woke up “overweight” the next morning, thanks to a change in the government’s definition. That group includes currently “overweight” celebrities like Will Smith and Pierce Brosnan, as well as NBA stars Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.” “Overweight” had previously been defined as a BMI of 27.8 for men and 27.3 for women; in 1998 it was lowered to a BMI of 25 for both genders.”
Why is it so important to stir the pot of obesity hysteria and label more Americans fat? Could it be that it makes us flabbier and more tolerant of food regulation and food controls? It’s a losing vicious circle, (and not in a good way) as more control and admonishment leads to more real obesity and more FATLASH.
Obesity Myths also reports that many of the biggest food cops who regulate and litigate are funded by the weight loss industry. Check out this site: www.ObesityMyths.com It may explode a few myths you’ve been feeding too!
This week, The Atlantic praised Mayor Michael Bloomberg as one of the “brave thinkers” of 2012.
Is it bravery which leads a politician to anoint himself emperor and captain of the food police merely by virtue of having been elected mayor of New York City? Will the mayor of Philadelphia next be anointing himself captain of the fashion police?
Napoleon crowned himself emperor too. Maybe we’ll have a new pastry in a few hundred years called the “Bloomberg.” I have a feeling this Bloomberg would ban that too –but those are trans fats for another blog post.
While it’s encouraging to know that the Mayor’s hubris is largely unpopular, I keep wondering how any freedom-loving American could support a politician, City Council or other, who believes they can with force, dictate to those over the age of consent, how much soda, salt or “trans fats” they are allowed to consume. (It doesn’t work with children either, as FATLASH attempts to illustrate.)
After several conversations with people who see nothing wrong with allowing the government’s bloated belly to keep expanding, I had an epiphany:
Those I spoke with don’t think they need laws to control their diet. They think other people do. The campaign of hysteria over the “obesity epidemic” has demonized overweight people with such fervor that an increasing number of people are willing to allow bureaucrats to be their proxy in regulating what other people eat. This is a relatively new development and should be disturbing. What is also surprising is the belief that blanket bans on specific foods and ingredients will actually “make” people thinner.
A billion dollar weight loss industry has tried unsuccessfully to find a magic recipe to accomplish this for decades and their clientele is voluntary. They know better than anyone, that unless the client “owns” the process for themselves, they are doomed to failure.
“They came for the Ho Hos, but I didn’t like Ho Hos, so I said nothing. They came for the Mountain Dew, but I don’t drink Mountain Dew, so I stood by and did nothing. Then, they came for the nachos, my favorite tailgate snack, but they were banned before I could even protest.”
The Daily Mail reports that the Mayor and his minions now have their eye on your buttered popcorn. Proof positive that dictators are emboldened when their edicts are passively accepted. The Atlantic may have been right afterall. Bloomberg is bold –but not in a good way.
Whether food dictators are in your house or in your state house, it’s never about the food. It’s about control. If you stand by and allow others control over your stomach today, they will surely attempt and may succeed in controlling the rest of you tomorrow.
On the eve of the conclusion of what has seemed like an interminable election cycle, I’m in the mood to wax philosophical about the issues I care about most and the country I love so much. (how sad that in some corners, such proclamations of love for one’s country is considered to be extreme.)
Freedom has always been the language of America and both parties have been known to use the idea to defend agendas which contradict those basic precepts. It behooves the voter to conduct his own taste test to determine whether the agenda truly shows respect for individual liberty and freedom.
If you are so adamant about your point of view that you would use the power and force of government to compel others to comply, you are no champion of freedom. If you draw no distinction between what you yourself would choose to do and what you would force others to do, then you do not understand our founding principles of Liberty. If you think you are entitled to “save others from themselves,” it will only be a matter of time before someone will appoint themselves lord and master over you too.
The true litmus test for freedom is to defend to the death others’ rights to behave as you wouldn’t, so long as it does not infringe on your rights to do the same. Unfortunately, we are living in a time when that simple principle has been twisted and neglected.
I may abhor sodium and soda in 17 oz containers, but I’ll defend to the death your right to ingest them. That is but one flavor and defense of freedom but it symbolizes so many others. So please vote and vote responsibly!
I loved this letter posted by Emma, Mom of little Helena on her blog, “Wealthy Single Mommy.”
How ironic that hatred which surrounds “fat” and obesity in this country never benefits from such positive expressions of acceptance. In fact, people are expected to hate themselves and often do so in order to inocculate themselves from the onslaught of fat hatred from others.
Fat hatred is often couched in “…but it’s for your own good” and has ballooned to such proportions that many are called fat even when they aren’t, as the highest form of insult.
A positive body image isn’t necessary for just some. It’s a necessity to affect any lasting change in one’s own body, whether it is to lose weight or to tolerate an “imperfection.” Everyone’s entitled to disapprove of course, but wouldn’t it be great if people recognized more readily, that people come in all shapes and sizes and forcing them to fit into prescribed dimensions is really not their business?