So Maura Kelly of Marie Claire posted this the other day and stirred up a lot of anger.
These are my thoughts on the whole thing.
Here’s the thing, for me. (and I will articulate this poorly, I’m sure)
I’m fattish. Medically anyway. size 14 sometimes size 16 others, right now i’m in a 12. Medically obese, but not necessarily unhappy with my weight or how I look, most of the time.. If i pay attention to my weight its because I feel like it. Sometimes I do, and I enjoy losing then. And sometimes I don’t feel like it. Like right now. don’t get me wrong, I used to be obsessed with it, and one day I woke up and just didn’t care anymore. It didn’t seem important. Best thing that ever happened to me, that.
So the arguments that this kind of thing provokes bother me because they buy into the social obsession/importance of weight.
Stupid woman at Marie Claire claims fat is unhealthy. Many justifiably angry people argue that fat and health are not necessarily related. They’re right, but what does it matter if its healthy or unhealthy? Whether it is or not isn’t the point. I’m under no moral obligation to pursue health if I don’t want to. My body, my choice. Does it cost other people money? possibly.. so does driving, and smoking, and industrial pollution and a lot of other things. What level of attention I give it is a personal one, decided between me, my spouse and if I feel like involving them, my cats. And is no one’s business but ours.
The problem with her being hurtful isn’t specifically that fatter folks have suffered enough with attempts to lose weight. Granted many have, and they shouldn’t have to. But some of us don’t suffer at all. Some people (and this is horribly scary to the weight obsessed), don’t actually give a shit about their weight.
(Imagine what it feels like to have people youv’e spent your whole life trying ‘not to be like’ or looking down on, telling you that how you’ve spent your life (trying to be thin) is unimportant.)
For many people it isn’t a choice. But for those for whom it is a choice, its a choice we have a right to make. Just like being unmarried, or choosing not to be parents, or, for that matter choosing to be parents or choosing to get married. I can choose to be fat because I am too busy with things I care about to make it a priority and there isn’t a damned thing wrong with that.
What Ms. Kelly did ts not wrong on the basis of what individuals experience, or because she has the science wrong. Its wrong becuase it marginalizes an entire group of people based on arbitrary criteria.