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Some "Debate"

Check out this clip from the BBC. The "debate" is laughable. Fatima Parker tries to insert some common sense, but in the end there are two thin guys arguing about whether or not it's fat people's fault that we eat too much and eat the wrong way. They're both making the same bullshit assumption.

In reality, not all fat people overeat, and some thin people overeat. "Fat" does not equal "glutton". I've never heard of a scientific study that indicates that fat people eat more on average than thin people - and even if we did, that says nothing about a given individual's habits.

If the guests were referring to actual binge eating (the 20,000 calories a day that "Briton's fattest man" says he used to eat, for example) when they were talking about gluttony... well, calling an eating disorder "gluttony" is pretty ignorant. But, the vast majority of fat people are not binge eaters.

Fat people don't necessarily eat a lot of junk food. That's more about social class than size. Healthy food is always what middle and upper class people eat, isn't it?

Let's face it. Vast quantities of junk food? Mostly eaten by thin young men.

Reporting like this is just so frustrating.

'Free market' causes obesity? | Lonie McMichael: Internalization

richie79's picture
richie79
January 14th, 2011 | Link | I saw this excuse for a

I watched this pathetic excuse for a 'studio debate' when it aired on Sunday morning, and posted about it on the Forums. Typical BBC treatment of the issue unfortunately, from a show (and presenter) which have lots of previous where fat hate is concerned, and complete with the sort of deliberately provocative segment title which no BBC producer would even countenance sanctioning if it used an equally pejorative term to refer to any other group of people.

I think your comment about various skinny 'experts' fighting it out about how best to deal with 'the problem' of fat folk, whilst sidelining and excluding the one person in the room with actual, lived experience of the topic, is absolutely spot on. Why even make the token gesture of inviing someone from the movement if they're just going to use strength of numbers to drown out her arguments? It seems that 'nothing about us without us' is just one more social justice soundbite which applies to everyone but 'the obese'.

I'm not even going to visit the YouTube post and read the comments - those on the Big Questions messageboard were plenty awful enough. I don't know if Fatima Parker reads BFB, but if so I want to say very well done for a top effort to inject some sanity and our routinely overlooked opposing viewpoint into a 'debate' that was only ever going to reach one (foregone) conclusion.

"What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right" - Albert Einstein

richie79's picture
richie79
January 21st, 2011 | Link | Agreed about the throwaway

Agreed about the throwaway nature of the piece (turns out the link above is from Fatima's own YouTube stream, which links to other media appearances she's made, and so probably won't contain too many nasty comments) and the BBC's contribution to the reinforcement of fat stereotypes through carefully-worded questions and endless repetition within its output.

However I'd be careful about falling into the 'heirarchy of oppressions' trap or using phrases like 'last acceptable prejudice'. Baroness Warsi beleives that title should be applied to Islamophobia, you yourself state that Christians are seen as fair game, especially in an increasingly secular UK. I wouldn't disagree that either group are the victims of sets of pervasive stereotypes and face deep-rooted stigma from those who now have their ignorance and closed-mindedness validated daily by a divisive media.

It seems to me that for all its pretensions otherwise, mainstream Western society remains deeply intolerant of any form of difference although the depth of discrimination and how it is experienced by members of specific groups depends on many factors. I think Lonie McMichael summed it up perfectly in the second paragraph of her abstract - it's probably the clearest and most succinct summary of the unique way in which fat people experience societal prejudice that I've seen to date.

"What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right" - Albert Einstein

DeeLeigh's picture
DeeLeigh
January 22nd, 2011 | Link | Thanks, Richie. I was

Thanks, Richie. I was thinking about saying something. In the UK, Christians are outnumbered by secular people and they may feel a bit marginalized (however, it should be noted that the UK has a Christian state religion). To say that Christians are marginalized in the US... to me, that seems like an unsupportable statement. The majority of Americans identify as Christian, and conservative Christians certainly have a bigger influence on US politics than I think is ideal; it's always felt to me as if they want to impose their religious morals on everyone else. I mean, could a non-Christian even be voted in as president in the US? I really doubt it.

But, hey. I figure that when someone makes a statement like that, it just reflects the rhetoric they've been exposed to. Conservative talk radio, perhaps? Fat acceptance doesn't need to be chained to center-to-left politics, but we don't need to let things we disagree with pass by without debate, either.

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