Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Immoral Lifestyle I Lead

The Immoral Lifestyle I Lead
One thing I do find very funny (funny odd rather than funny ha ha) is the way people moralize about fat. I have noticed that often people who are very critical about other people in our culture moralizing about others when it comes to their sex lives or whatever will turn around and do it themselves when it comes to fat people. There is a real puritanical aspect to it.

There is a notion that thin = virtuous. It is more than just a cultural standard of beauty. It is that people believe that thin equals healthy and healthy equals virtuous. People cannot believe that fat people can be healthy. They cannot believe that person who exercises regularly and eats a healthy diet can be fat. They believe that being fat is the fault of the fat person and that if the fat person were more moral (i.e. had virtues of self-control, moderation, etc) they would be thin. People who would never ever think it ok to ask a person to deny their sexual desire by waiting until marriage to have sex or to only have sex with people of the opposite gender even if they are gay, have no problem moralizing to people that they should deny their hunger and starve themselves to fit into a cultural ideal body weight.

This point was really brought home to me recently with the TV show LOST and the character Hurley. Last season, it was really great to have a non-stereotypical fat person on the show. I loved it when he was accused of hoarding food and it turned out that he wasnt. He was just fat. But it turned out that people just couldnt buy it. Fans who were somehow able to suspend their disbelief about such things as polar bears on a tropical island, people having visions of dead people, people surviving that plane crash, crippled people suddenly walking, and a fricking monster in the woods...simply could not believe that a fat guy could land on a tropical island and stay fat. There were thousands of letters to the writers and editorials in entertainment sections of the news. So the writers changed the character to fit the stereotype more. Oh well.

So I realize that probably many people reading this are shaking their heads and thinking that I am crazy and in denial about life and the immoral lifestyle I live. Some people probably think I am lying about the amount of exercise I get because the belief that no one can be fat and exercise regularly is very strong. And some people probably think that the idea of a fat person talking about being healthy but still fat is so funny and delusional that it is worthy of a skit on SNL.

Even so, I'll keep talking about this stuff, because I think that talking about health and our attitudes towards health are ok. I think fat people need to know that they *can* be just as healthy or nearly as healthy as thin people if they make significant lifestyle changes and that those changes are worth while even if they dont lose enough weight to be considered thin.

And if I am wrong and the lifestyle changes cause me to lose all the weight, I will be the first one to admit that I am wrong.


writer said...

this was a compelling post. its nice to see someone standing up for themselves against a culture of paris hiltons.

S. Lynne Fremont said...

Thanks for the encouragement!

E-Speed said...

Good post Lynne! I don't watch Lost but that is very interesting that they were forced to change the character because of the viewers bias.

It's all Bull Shit! As long as you are living a lifestyle you are comfortable with and strive to make every day a good one there's nothing more you can do!