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Author Topic: Fat-shaming in modern culture  (Read 486 times)

dyany

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Re: Fat-shaming in modern culture
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2020, 10:56:51 pm »
Fat shaming consists of a lot of things, and there is a lot of research out there about all sorts of topics related to it. It includes a lot of factors, and I can only list some.
  • Thinking that someone is less valuable or desirable because of their weight
  • Assuming that someone who is overweight is more stupid or lazy than someone who is thin
  • Treating weight loss as a simplistic, even easy, one-size-fits-all approach
  • 'Thin privilege' - disparaging or dismissing struggles of heavier persons because you have not had the struggles with weight that they have had
  • Failing to provide accommodations for people of various sizes
  • in the medical field: Failing to use valid, up-to-date, and individually tailored approaches to health issues commonly associated with excess fat (e.g., the ridiculous BMI)
  • Seeing or identifying anyone as their weight rather than their qualities
  • Also in the medical field: dismissing medical/health complaints because of a patient's weight. Can include failure to run tests or treating as though weight is the cause of complaints without proper diagnostic process.
  • Considering non-ideal body sizes (not necessarily fat) an acceptable subject of jokes and ridicule
  • Failure of fashion and other industries to consider respectful marketing and producing products for those of larger sizes that are practical, affordable, and flattering.
  • Failing to recognize the fact that correlation DOES NOT mean causation, which means recognizing that many health (mental and physical) issues are, rather than our current ideas of 'Character flaws (e.g., gluttony or sloth) lead to weight gain which leads to health issues,' while failing to recognize the increasing load of evidence that underlying health issues lead to weight gain AND more overt health issues, and there is then a cyclic relationship between all factors.
 
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Roper

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Re: Fat-shaming in modern culture
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2020, 12:10:20 am »
I have to admit that I'm hesitant to participate much in this discussion. My experience has been that in every discussion of weight/health/diet on social media, someone makes an accusation of "fat shaming" and immediately shuts down the whole conversation.
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 
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dyany

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Re: Fat-shaming in modern culture
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2020, 02:13:26 am »
That's understandable, and one of the reasons why topics like this are important.
We all have a little bit of some type of privilege. Things that are simply easier for us (though we often work for them) than they are for others for whatever reason, but we don't recognize as being easier. A man who works hard to move forward in a job won't easily or comfortably recognize that a woman in the same position will have to to put up with more disrespect and work harder to get to the same position. A white person who struggles with making ends meet won't easily recognize that a person of color would have a harder time finding work that pays as well and will run into more discrimination in housing and from authorities. A person who grew up financially comfortable won't naturally understand or appreciate the simple struggles of meeting basic transportation, housing, education, medical, connections, and other needs that they may naturally receive family assistance with in their younger years. A person who has been lucky genetically and in other ways regarding health won't understand how impossible it is for someone in a wheelchair to open that swinging door or for the person with the walker to walk that extra 20 feet through a parking lot. And a person who has never had health issues leading to morbid obesity, or a smaller frame, or who has never had greater than normal trouble losing/keeping off weight or exercising or had dietary restrictions that make food choices even harder, won't naturally understand the bias in health care, housing, services, clothing, social functioning, and even getting a job that fat people have to cope with (even from themselves, as we are all taught the same "being fat comes from gluttony and sloth" shame from birth) on a daily basis.
And that's WHY we need to talk about it. For instance, Roper, I know that you're divorced. You know more than many of us of the stigma that divorced people, especially men, experience in our society, especially in the Church. LOTS of assumptions, right?  "Who sinned?" and ideas of you being weaker or more flawed, and failure (sometimes willful) to accommodate, try to understand, or have any sympathy for the struggles of custody and mixed families. If people understood better how much our hurtful judgments and careless attitudes hurt, and what particular struggles you and other divorced saints are up against, I think more people (though never ALL) would be more kind. People often try to understand and be kind, but it takes work and INFORMATION to realize when the things we think or say or do are hurtful and downright wrong. And I'm hoping that Nauvoo is a little better with this than social media in general.
 
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kazbert

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Re: Fat-shaming in modern culture
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2020, 08:02:23 am »
On many topics both on and off the Internet I have witnessed two sides stating their POV over and over again with no progress made. Neither side was giving validation to the other side, so both sides felt like they were not being heard. Mostly I have found that there is a third POV that encompasses much of both of the first two POVs but it takes sincere effort to find it.

Regarding this topic, I feel that my words in the other thread were being twisted into a POV that is not mine in order to negate my POV. It is an emotional topic.

I understand privilege, though the term is often used to dismiss POVs rather than seeking the common ground. I do the same, at times. I tend to dismiss weight-loss advice that comes from people who have always been thin. The mistake they make is presenting their advice as if it is easy. The advice itself is often sound, there is just a piece of the picture missing in the always-thin person’s presentation. They avoid making it sound hard so as not to be discouraging, but then come across as not understanding how hard it can be.

Some of my POV is influenced by what I found on the National Weight Control Registry:

http://www.nwcr.ws/research/

It is a registry that seeks out individuals who lost a significant amount of weight and kept that weight off for a significant amount of time. They do not promote any specific plan. They ask those individuals to answer a survey, and use that survey to look for common factors. 80% of the registrants are women.

I understand that there will always be people who are genuinely exceptions to the majority. What I find, though, is that too much of the majority than claim to be exceptions so as to justify their own lack of progress. It is a topic where self-honesty isn’t widespread. If 5% of the group are genuine exceptions, you can’t have 70% of the group claiming to be exceptions. I do not posses any supernatural insight to discern who is being self-honest and who is not, but clearly there are many who are not, and there are serious health consequences to cultural attempts to normalize it. It is not acceptable to be cruel to those who are overweight. We are not children. But there has to be a rational point in between.

Looking back over my own life, the most hazardous denial I have used is, “I’m not perfectly fit, but I am fit enough.” When I was 40, I went with my son on a five-mile hike that was 2.5 miles down hill followed by 2.5 miles back up the hill. I accomplished it with relative ease even though I was 110 pounds overweight. So I took that to mean that my being 110 pounds overweight was of no concern. I was “fit enough.” As I hit 45 I began to pay the price for my denial. I am an engineer. I know the difference between correlation and causation. I also know how easy it is to cherry pick data to defend a POV rather than using that data to correct a POV. Some of my current health issues have nothing to do with my obesity, but many of them certainly do.
If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.
Ronald Reagan
 
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Roper

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Re: Fat-shaming in modern culture
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2020, 11:32:20 am »
Kazbert and Dyany thank you for your responses.

A quick aside, here: I've been pushed out of feminist discussions because I have "male privilege," even though I was supportive of the topic and I was advocating for my wife and daughters. I have been pushed out of race discussions because I have "white privilege," even though I was advocating for the Black, Hispanic, and Asian students I teach every day. I have been pushed out of economic inequality discussions because I have "middle-class privilege," even though I grew up in poverty and was working Saturdays and summers on my neighbor's dairy farm when I was 12 years old.   In short, because I am a white middle-class male, I am so "privileged" that I can't have empathy for others and I don't have anything of value to say. (I believe that's why President Trump has such support from white men. He refuses to be sidelined. Everybody listens to him, whether they like it or not.)

I was thin, once. I ran track and cross country. I'm 6' tall and when I was 22 years old, I weighed 145 lbs. I've always maintained the appetite of a 20 year-old, but now I have the metabolism and the activity level of a 50 year-old. And I'm 60 pounds heavier. I'm starting to experience the high blood pressure and other health concerns which come with it. I don't like the way my profile looks in the mirror--how my belly sticks out. I feel self-conscious when a 7-year-old student pats my stomach and says "You look like Santa!" I'm embarrassed when it takes me a long time to pull my granddaughter's sled to the top of the hill because I'm out of breath.

I'm overweight precisely because of lifestyle choices I've made. I anticipate I'll be pushed out of the conversation because I once enjoyed "thin privilege" and therefore can't understand other people's life-long experiences.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2020, 12:00:16 pm by Roper »
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 
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kazbert

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Re: Fat-shaming in modern culture
« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2020, 01:42:44 pm »
I was thin, once. I ran track and cross country. I'm 6' tall and when I was 22 years old, I weighed 145 lbs.

Yep. I was in the military and met my future wife when I was 25. 6'3" tall, 186 pounds, 44" chest, 33" waist. I'm very much looking forward to the resurrection.
If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.
Ronald Reagan
 
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TurkeyLurker

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Re: Fat-shaming in modern culture
« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2020, 02:32:56 pm »
I don't think the following constitutes weight loss advice, but here goes:

Kazbert and Roper, I would encourage you to join the Strenuous Life club on the Art of Manliness web site.  It has helped me to improve myself physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.  It has, almost as a by product, helped me to improve myself socially.   :)

Plus, I've earned some fun "merit" badges along the way.
 
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Roper

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Re: Fat-shaming in modern culture
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2020, 03:20:11 pm »
Thanks, TurkeyLurker. I used to visit AOM on a regular basis, but that was a few years ago. Haven't been there in a while. I'll go check out the Strenuous Life Club.
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 

kazbert

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Re: Fat-shaming in modern culture
« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2020, 05:51:14 pm »
My brain keeps spinning this around and slicing it in different ways trying to get at the root of fat shaming. It is hard to get at exactly what we’re striving to accomplish here without spinning off onto distracting, unhelpful tangents.

It is a profound cultural shift to assert that any and all shaming (fat shaming or other shaming), public and private, overt and covert, should now all be taboo. Is that basically what we’re saying here?

Or are some observed consequences of life style choices still deserving of social stigma (such as cigarette smoking leading to cancer), but being overweight is not one of them? Not all lung cancers are caused by tobacco, so should we cease warning of the dangers of tobacco use?

Where are we trying to go with this?
If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.
Ronald Reagan
 
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dyany

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Re: Fat-shaming in modern culture
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2020, 07:21:03 pm »
Quote
a registry that seeks out individuals who lost a significant amount of weight and kept that weight off for a significant amount of time. They do not promote any specific plan. They ask those individuals to answer a survey, and use that survey to look for common factors.
The very important but overlooked part of this is that it is people who lost the weight and kept it off--which means that it is a very biased sample set because it is people who WERE ABLE to lose the weight and WERE ABLE to keep it off!  See the issue?

And it kind of surprises me that you compare this to smoking. Smoking is 100% a choice. There is not a human on earth that ever 'needed' tobacco in any way, shape, or form. Food, however, is absolutely essential and has been emotionally laden and high priority throughout all of the history of life on earth. For most life forms, and honestly humans throughout all our history until the last 100 years or so, the vast majority of our effort had to go towards trying to find or grow enough food to survive. And then that doesn't take into account the genetic, congenital, environmental, and other differences in each person (including, but not limited to, disorders and diseases) which are complex and impactful because the human process of digestion, adsorption, utilizing of nutrients, etc., is extremely complex and still very poorly understood. Sure, we don't understand everything about how the SINGLE plant called tobacco affects human bodies, but since it isn't remotely needed, just knowing that it can contribute to issues like cancer and COPD, that is honestly enough.

Not to mention this important factor: it isn't the adipose tissue that receives all the hate with fat-shaming. Heck no. I mean, we all hate that tissue to an irrational degree (it's NEEDED for health, and is another factor we are still studying), but people who are perceived to have "too much" of that tissue (which is, absolutely, an arbitrary and inexact guess with the best science, which is rarely used, and IMPOSSIBLE for the vast majority of humans to judge) are considered less intelligent, less active, less disciplined, less valid and worthy than people who are perceived to be more "healthy."  And the correlations with additional fat and certain health issues then prompts skinnier (and generally luckier) people to feel completely justified in their derision and generally gormless, uninvited, and unwanted advice. Smokers honestly receive more respect (though I know they aren't always respected) than overweight people, despite that being 100% a conscious choice.

Then there is the fact that there is a significant amount of research that shows that eating disorders (which are very bad and even lethal) are rooted in our society's delusional attitude towards "fat," and fat-shaming, though purported by the detractors to be 'only trying to help,' actually results in more problems (including, but not limited to, less weight loss and often more weight GAIN), and rarely, if ever leads to any good or permanent effects. The derisive attitude perpetuated by the shame also leads to prejudiced ideas of the personalities and intelligence of those considered "fat" (as mentioned earlier), which results in severe job discrimination, which then raises the stress (research cortisol levels and metabolism) and limits the resources for those overweight persons to eat better, engage in healthy activities, and access health care which is necessary for any hope of discovering and treating underlying health issues.

When it comes to real change, if you think I'm saying "it's all okay," there are some things you need to understand:
1. Guilt is not the same as shame. Guilt is something an INDIVIDUAL feels over something they did wrong. Shame is feeling that they themselves are bad, which may be rooted in something they did, but is blown out of proportion. Guilt can lead to positive change. Shame leads to self-hate, hopelessness, rebellion, and desperation.
2. Look at how Christ encourages change. The ONLY time he EVER got angry with anyone was with the money changers, who KNEW they were defiling the purpose of the temple. The only times he talked with anything close to derision was with the Pharisees and Sadducees, who were also purposefully corrupting the law. Every other adulterer, thief, tax collector, and other sinner he dealt with with LOVE and COMPASSION. He INVITES us to change, to find the happiness for us. And he does that by making ABSOLUTE SURE that the main thing we feel from him is love. Not shame.  He doesn't back down on the commandments. He just knows that shame DOESN'T WORK.

If you doubt this, then look up some of the studies on addiction in the last 10-20 years. They have found that most addictions have nothing to do with physical dependency, and are almost completely rooted in the being having a deep need that is not being met.  For instance, they have found that, if a rat is in an isolated box with nothing but sugar pellets and is given a choice between cocaine-laced water and good water, it will drink that coke water until it dies. BUT! If it is in a communal group (rats are community animals), with good food and entertainment and company and its other needs met, and it has a choice between cocaine water and clean water, the rats generally try the cocaine ONCE and then never go back. BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO HOLES TO FILL.

Now, this is a harder path. Because it requires a) more research to know what we're talking about, b) admitting that THERE ARE THINGS WE DON'T KNOW ABOUT OUR BODIES AND THE COMPLEX FACTORS IN WEIGHT AND HEALTH, c) shutting our nasty little mouths when we want to cast judgments or control others, and most importantly, d) loving people UNCONDITIONALLY and helping them fill the real and legitimate holes that help lead to addictive and other damaging behaviors.
We still have boundaries, of course. We don't enable. But one of those boundaries is recognizing that other people have the right to choose their paths, and shutting our mouths.  We inform without judgment as needed and under our stewardship. That's it.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2020, 08:03:10 pm by dyany »
 
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JLM

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Re: Fat-shaming in modern culture
« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2020, 08:17:32 pm »
I'm not as thin as I used to be.  My wife reassures me that it is normal, and perhaps a little bit healthy to have a few reserve calories in middle age.  She has always stayed thin, but she struggles with arthritis and anxiety.  She often struggles to even have an appetite.  Everyone has challenges with their bodies, some of which are the result of lifestyle choices, some of which are genetic, some are due to drug or disease side effects, and some are just results if bad luck.  Wherever we find our bodies, we should take care of it the best we can.

My wife has recently been certified to teach yoga.  She finds practicing yoga builda mental, physical and spiritual strength.  She has started a YouTube channel teaching yoga.  If any of you are interested, I can send you a link.
 
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dyany

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Re: Fat-shaming in modern culture
« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2020, 08:44:52 pm »
I used to LOVE yoga, even though it was super hard. But after some surgeries and injuries and the exacerbation of a lot of scar tissue in my lungs, I just haven't been able to do it for years.  :-[ :'(
 
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JLM

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Re: Fat-shaming in modern culture
« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2020, 10:26:11 pm »
My wife has posted quite a variety of yoga styles from fast paced power yoga to chair yoga.  Interestingly enough, she is getting the most views with the yoga practices designed for people with mobility limitations.  I think there is a missing need there.  Would you like the link to her channel?
 
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Jason

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Re: Fat-shaming in modern culture
« Reply #28 on: February 15, 2020, 10:53:52 pm »
For years I had prayed every night that God would help me lose weight. I prayed for this because I thought it would help me in my desire to get married and be accepted in society at large. I believe that my prayer was answered in quite a different way. God sent me someone who genuinely loved me and my body. When I got married I had a BMI of about 38 at the time. I was quite insecure about my body. However, my wife believed that I was the most handsome man ever. At first I thought she was just saying nice things to me, but soon I came to realize that she believed it. It is quite liberating to be considered a desirable person. And I try to return the favor by reminding her how beautiful she is. Even when I got up to a BMI of 44, she still thought I was very good looking. I have now lost around 70 pounds and my BMI is down to 34. While she has been supportive of these efforts, it seems to me that her love of me and my body has NOT increased as I have lost weight. This sounds like a strange thing, except it emphasizes that the previous love she had for me was true and genuine. To me her love for me was the opposite of fat shaming.

While accepting the morbidly obese me, at no time did she try and minimize any of the health consequences that were related to my weight. And there are health consequences for me. Gout. Joint issues. Hypertension. Obstructive sleep apnea. Lack of energy due to sleep apnea. And potentially diabetes in the near future. All of which have improved with the weight loss. Obesity is a cause or exacerbating factor in many chronic disease processes, and that should not be minimized.

I have no doubt that the vast majority of Americans who are obese would not be obese if they lived in America 150 years ago. I think our culture, access to abundant food, marketing, and evolutionary biology make obesity a much greater threat today than it ever was in the past. I think we need to figure out a way for our species to live in our type of society.

I have said in my 1 True Diet thread that the first time I went grocery shopping on my new diet, it was as if I had another person's shopping cart. I knew what that food was, I had purchased some of it in the past. But the combination that I was buying was completely different than I had done before. I think obesity is a problem that needs to be fixed. But I see it more of a societal problem, rather than individual failings. Individuals do have choices, but it is extremely difficult without guidance and education. I hope that obesity will be something that decreases through the next several generations.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2020, 12:27:19 am by Jason »
 
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Curelom

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Re: Fat-shaming in modern culture
« Reply #29 on: February 16, 2020, 12:24:14 am »
I have no doubt that the vast majority of Americans who are obese would not be obese if they lived in America 150 years ago. I think our culture, access to abundant food, marketing, and evolutionary biology make obesity a much greater threat today than it ever was in the past.
IMO it’s about more than marketing or fast food or individual choices (or where applicable, failings), but also about the overall lifestyles most of us lead. Once upon a time, actual physical activity was built into most people’s daily lives. The average person with a job did some kind of physical work, whether it was in manufacturing, clerical, transportation, or whatever. If Walmart or Target had existed in 1900, the employees would have taken inventory by walking the aisles, not by sitting at a screen tracking the barcodes on shipments received or items that the cashiers scanned.

More people had farms or small family businesses, so they had all the responsibility of being employers & employees, did all the hiring, firing, purchasing, bookkeeping, etc.

If someone didn’t have a job, the household kept her (usually) busy into much of the 20th century. There were few labor-saving devices to do our work. When did you last see a manual lawn mower that you had to push (or have your kids do it, which is what my parents did)? You stood at the sink to wash your dishes (or had your kids do it, which is what my parents did). Think how recently we’ve had microwave ovens, remote controls, cordless phones, Roomba. Before we had a washing machine (I was 8 ), someone had to stand at the sink & wash, rinse, & wring the laundry by hand, then walk it to the clothesline. Easy-care synthetics weren't common, so ironing was another source of exercise, one that I detested & rarely do even to this day – I’d rather wear a few wrinkles. So were mops, brooms, rakes, & shovels. What about something as simple & universal in today's America as cars with automatic transmission, power steering, & power windows? Half a century ago, you couldn’t drive a car without both hands & both feet.

My parents loved each other, so my mom would say, “You worked hard all day. Why should you do it when they [the kids] can?” And Dad would say, “You take it easy, let them [the kids] take care of that.” If we balked, they’d say, “You don’t look crippled to me.” Not very PC by today’s standards, but we got the point. LOL. With all everyone had to do, nobody had the energy to spend hours at a health club, fitness studio, yoga, spinning, or Zumba class. And nobody had the leisure time to do so. I never heard of a public fitness center until I was a young adult.

Not to say “things were better” when folks wore themselves to exhaustion to earn a living or keep up a home. I’m sure more people got sick or injured just from the physical exertions of daily life, & just gave out earlier in life. Life was especially difficult for those with disabilities. Few of us, given a choice, would want our kids to do the back-breaking work required of men & women of the 19th century or even the 1930s. But along with the benefits for some areas of our physical health, I wonder if there’s been a price to pay in others. And don’t even get me started on the loss of personal communication skills with all the electronic stuff that everyone is dependent on!
 
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