Anyone who knows me won’t be in the least bit surprised that I’m compelled to weigh in (pun intended) on the debate around the Cancer Research obesity campaign, so here goes….
I’m fat. People are also thin, tall, short and lots of other things. I’m not actually going to give ‘obese’ the time of day, seeing as it’s a medical term based on a BMI calculation which is increasingly accepted as being pretty inaccurate as a measure of health.
As a fat woman, I’m already hated by the medical industry; mass media; clothing industry; fitness industry – and of course, by sheeple on social media who claim to be concerned for my health. People basically bullying fat people using ‘IT’S A FACT’ as justification. So this is my first beef with the campaign…. It’s a platform from which bullies can further justify their bullying. Thanks for that.
Never mind that many of the links between cancer and it’s causes are complex and little understood – hence the fact that there’s still no ‘cure’! Never mind that Cancer Research themselves say: ‘It’s very clear that there is a link between cancer and obesity. But it’s still not completely understood how exactly obesity causes cancer.’
In other words, there’s definitely correlation between being fat and having cancer, but no FACTS as to why this is. Correlation is known, but causation is not.
Fat people are already stigmatised enough – we’re labelled, stereotyped, and discriminated against based on the amount of fat on our bodies. This campaign is only feeding (pun intended again) into the vitriol already spewed towards fat people simply for existing. And, frighteningly, it could COST lives rather than save them. Because, as if fat people aren’t already reluctant to access healthcare… here’s just another barrier. Feeling worried about something? Let me see if I can lose a few stone before going to the GP because the likelihood is, I’ll just be told to lose weight – seriously, practically everything is attributed to weight when you’re fat.
And apart from not going in the first place, inevitably symptoms of cancer will be misdiagnosed as fat symptoms until it’s too late. Despite early diagnosis being pretty fucking important for cancer.
Hey, maybe the STIGMA and SHAME of being fat contributes to the correlation between being fat and having cancer? Maybe fat people are less likely to be diagnosed and treated effectively in a timely way because of these things?
And why is everyone so obsessed with fat people anyway? So repulsed by fat people? Why can’t we look at health in a holistic non-weight centric way? We can look at nutrition, physical activity, emotional resilience, coronary health, genetics etc. without it being all about WEIGHT.
I’m not going to justify my existence or defend my body shape – I shouldn’t have to and nor should anyone! But what I will say is that the reasons that people might make unhealthy lifestyle choices are hugely complex. Saying ‘Just’ eating less or exercise more is trivialising the complexity of human psychology and behaviours.
And as well as being a pleasure, food is a powerful and necessary drug. The world we live in is no longer one where food is cultivated or hunted purely for survival. We live in a capitalist hell hole where food is used to control and entice and there’s big money in the food industry regardless of whether it’s nutritionally dense or completely lacking in nutrients. Nutrition is NOT something that everyone understands, and saying that anyone can make healthy meals for a family cheaply is ignorant. (Two large chips and four sausages in batter with bread and butter is likely to work out a hell of a lot cheaper than a nutritionally balanced meal for a family of four.)
And Christ, look around any urban school – it’s not a coincidence that you’ll see a chippy or a bakery close by. Look at how sugary food for children is marketed. Look at the BIGGER PICTURE (Yes, all these fucking puns are intended.)
And as for the tired old ‘fat people are a strain on the health service’ – well to be fair, ILL people are a strain on the health service, no matter what size their bodies are. Everyone takes risks with their health. Even – gasp! – UNFAT people!!! Hello stress, steroids, smoking, drinking, speeding, STI’s, tanning, fighting, drug use, sporting injuries, oh and…. Shit, yeah… just diseases in general like EVERY OTHER HUMAN! Oh, and fat people also pay tax to fund the NHS just like every other fucker! Mad I know!
No, I’m not going to pretend that being fat doesn’t contribute to poor physical health. Not many people deny this, really. And fat people who are disabled by their weight in any way aren’t robots – they are human beings with insight and awareness (and plenty of shame usually – more than you could imagine!). Do you REALLY think that if it was as easy as ‘eat less’ there would be a single person living in any other body than the one they feel most at ease in?? Seriously??? The fact that fat people who hate themselves and their lives exist at all should in itself be enough proof of how much more complicated the issue of weight is! (Obviously this isn’t how all fat people feel – calm down!)
And while we’re on the subject of the NHS, what are all the ‘it’s just FACT’ ranters actually doing about saving this service? How actively are they campaigning and petitioning? To what degree are they making it a priority to educate themselves about the crisis facing the NHS? Or, as I suspect is the case, does their concern only stretch to being mean to fat people on the internet under the guise of concern? 🤔
So yeah… Personally I’m not a fan of this campaign, in case it wasn’t obvious 🤣 And I have SOOO much more to say, but the bottom line is that this is NOT going to make fat people lose weight. So, it’s mission unaccomplished.