Thursday, November 29, 2007

Riot, don't diet!

Queers have a stake in the war against fat people
PERSONAL POLITICAL / Riot, don't diet

Ariel Troster / Xtra.ca / Thursday, November 29, 2007

My ass has never been so politically unpopular. The fashion industry has despised my rounded belly and curvy thighs for at least 40 years, but it's only recently that politicians have been weighing in, so to say.

If you read the news, you've no doubt heard about the obesity "epidemic" that's been gripping the Western world. The hysteria alone could be enough to convince you that chubby girls like me will be single-handedly responsible for destroying Canada's health care system, creating a future backlog of medical ailments triggered by my inability to resist the urge to eat that second cupcake.

Chubby kids have always had it hard, but the vitriol being directed at fat people these days seems unprecedented. The US Surgeon General has called obesity "a greater threat than weapons of mass destruction," and the British Health Secretary called it a "potential crisis on the scale of climate change."

After a plus-sized model won a recent season of American Idol, pundits lined up on network TV to debate whether or not size-12 Jordin Sparks was too fat to serve as a role model for young women.

Nothing makes me want to dive into a bathtub of pad thai more than the way this debate seems to be placing the blame for a whole series of societal problems — including poverty and lack of food security — squarely on the shoulders of curvy kids. And as queers, we have a stake in the war on fat people, whether or not we wear jeans with elasticized waists.

If you look closely at how discussions of obesity have been framed in the media, you'll notice a faint echo of the way the HIV/AIDS debate played out in the 1980s. Fat people are painted as lazy slobs who are placing an undue burden on the medical system, due to their "unhealthy" choices.

This sounds awfully like the way HIV-positive people were castigated in the media several years ago for sexual promiscuity and drug use — suggesting that they somehow deserved to be sick.

Read the rest over at Xtra.ca.

1 comment:

Demirep said...

I have noticed that fat activism is becoming prominent at the Trent Campus. Thanks for the post.