Fierce Freethinking Fatties posted on a rather worrisome article in the Daily Nightly. Not surprising, but worrisome if anyone is actually reading the subtext contained within. The basic boil-down, as FFF deftly unwraps, is that all this hand-wringing over Fatness has made people In Charge even more inclined to move the goalposts of fitness so that even FEWER people qualify as Not Fatties.
The entire article is full of actual quote-gems along the lines of “without knowing how much fat you have, you can’t really save people from illness. It is the number one predictor of who’s going to live or die.” and is certainly far from one of the more encouraging small-steps towards sanity that I hunt for so desperately amongst the chaff of shitty articles like this.
The part that really pulled at me and makes me want to shake my head and poke those who continue to think bullying Fatties is a good idea with a gentle: “Uh…they’re coming for YOU next!*” reminder:
Of the 1,393 people studied, 26 percent were classified as obese when body fat was measured with BMI, whereas 64 percent of them were considered obese when measured with DXA. The misclassification was observed more often in women and increased with advancing age: 48 percent more women between the ages of 50 to 59 were classified as obese when measured with DXA instead of BMI, and among women ages 70 and above, 59 percent more were considered obese after getting a DXA scan. (Emphasis is mine)
Do you catch the significance there folks? These people are advocating for new means of measuring for Fatness because now only 26% of us are counted as fat whereas this NEW method would show that nearly TWO THIRDS of us are all fat. Anyone else feeling this is just a tad good for those folks in the business of selling weight-loss promises? Also of note? The “misclassification” was more often found to be true for women. Le Gasp! You mean people want to make more people, more WOMEN, qualify as Fat And In Need Of Weight-Loss For Their Own Good? DOES NO ONE SEE THE PROBLEM HERE?!? *headdesk repeatedly*
Instead of researching other factors related to the illnesses correlated with fatness (or, not if even the currently “normal” sized folks are still getting them, hence the hand-wringing about redefining who is “fat”) these people are more interested in just taking a big old brush to repaint the image of What Is Fat. How about, instead, you look into actual measures of HEALTH? Consider that Fats and Non-Fats alike get these diseases and figure out what ELSE is correlated. Perhaps the reason that fatness as it is defined now isn’t showing who is going to be ill because that is a PISS POOR WAY TO DETERMINE FITNESS!! By basing everything on a simplistic calculation of Fat you do ALL of us a disservice. As so well put by FFF:
This really was the perfect opportunity for Dr. Braverman and Dr. Shah to make a dramatic u-turn and say “Hey, instead of focusing on fat and weight as a predictor of health, because let’s face it, those are pretty bad predictors, let’s work on this cool idea we heard about called Health at Every Size. Instead of stigmatizing certain numbers as good or bad, we focus on overall behaviours and attitudes towards food and health. Yeah! Great idea!”
But no. Seems that lowing limits of what is an acceptable weight in a human body (no diversity allowed!) is so much more logical. And if you can’t make your body fit the ever-narrowing image of healthy perfection? Then why it is our right to bully humanity and its individuals to the point where they magically become thinner! Yay! *sarcasm*
I came across an article in an older issue of the journal Science (Feb 10, 2006, page 759) in the course of my normal working day. The article is about mice and bullying. The results of the observations described indicate that:
“after being bullied by a bigger mouse, mice experience brain changes that increase their fear of unfamiliar mice. Unlike typical mice, the cowed mice act frightened even when caged with an unfamiliar, non-bully mouse. The changes were long-lasting: the ‘defeated’ mice maintained their phobic reactions even 4 weeks after exposure to the aggressors.”
It got me thinking about how much people seem eager to increase the pressure to bully fatties “for our own good”. If the observations of bullied mice is at all translatable to humans (which these scientists seem to think it is in some way as they are excited about the potential for certain brain chemistry of these mice to help research new drugs for treating mood disorders), then as in bullied mice, so too in bullied humans: you remain feeling “defeated” and worthless long after the initial bullying event has passed.
Being bullied for your weight will certainly help if the end-goal is to make nearly 2/3rds of the population (with emphasis on us women) completely defeated, mentally paralyzed with fear of being seen in public, ashamed of existing and even more depression and illness-prone. But as a means of actually increasing the health of our world’s citizens these folks are definitely barking up the WRONG tree. Honestly, between things like this and the many ways that politicians are doing their darndest to remove rights from the female half of the population, I feel like I’m living in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and it is really making me fearful for our future as a nation and a planet.
*First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.
Martin Niemöller (1892-1984)