Monday, November 02, 2009

Fat is another one of those wimmin problems

Why do we never see the flip-side of this coin?

Why are these articles always focused at females? Why is there a huge gender divide between the blame game when it comes to weight?

We're bombarded with articles of late telling us that we've got it all wrong. We shouldn't be telling girls it's okay to be overweight.

Let's not get into that, because - leaving aside the fact that there's a healthy middle ground between morbidly obese and a stick-thin size 6 called NORMAL - we should absolutely be encouraging people to be healthy. Not thin. HEALTHY.

Instead, it struck me (whacked me round the head with the rage stick more like) that we never see these articles aimed at men. I asked the question on twitter - why are these things always written about women? And someone replied in jest that it was because "men don't listen"

Well, from my experience in having to repeat myself, that's probably true. But why is the societal pressure so much stronger on women than men to be thin? Why do we perpetuate the myth that "men carry excess weight better"? They don't. And the proclivity of men to carry weight around the middle makes them MORE at risk for health-related weight problems than women.

So why are we shouting down the women who point at the chuppa-chup sticks on catwalks with the "we shouldn't be telling you fatties it's okay to be fat anyway"?

When that patently, obviously, isn't.the.point.

The point is that there is a point in between. There are a group of women, who make up the majority of the female population in fact, that fall in between morbidly obese and stick-thin models. Why are these women not represented on the catwalk? When they are, why does it provoke a backlash of Op-Ed - mainly from women, I might add - saying we're setting a "bad example" for women by showcasing real women with real tits and real arses?

Why does the debate fall two ways? "Unhealthily stick women are giving our daughters eating disorders!!!11!!" and pejorative terms aplenty for the naturally thin woman, regardless of how healthy or fit they are and "normal people on catwalks are giving our daughters fatness!!!11!!" and pejorative terms aplenty for the naturally bigger person, regardless of how healthy and fit they are.

Here's a thought: Stop making fatness a sin, and a sin that only women are responsible for. Men are just as responsible for their own health issues, and I don't see an article every bloody day about how fat men are and how they're ruining society.


18 comments:

Jeremy said...

Alright! I'll go for a walk!

Captain Suburbia said...

Further to my tweeting, and unencumbered by tweet limits, it makes me wonder (rather self-centredly, I must admit) if any kind of strategy could be based on my experience.

I'm 6'0", and before I started losing weight I was just under 100 kg, which, according to BMI, whatever you may think of that scale, just scrapes in as obese.

I didn't decide to start losing weight because i'd seen lots of pictures of people like David Beckham with no shirt on and got all depressed. I decided to start losing weight because of all the baggage that comes with obesity, specifically: waking up sore and tired every morning, a bad back, diabetes precursors, irregular heartbeat, what libido?, etc, etc. It really wasn't a body image thing (although I see old photos now and cringe, probably a good thing), I was just sick of feeling like shit.

It was sort of linked to something else that happened around that time - there was a full page picture of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard striding down some corridor in the Saturday Age the weekend before they won the leader & deputy ballot with "Bring It On" written next to them.

Anyway, as Kevin and Julia's numbers got better and better, so did mine, and after about 9 months of looking at eating patterns, finding lots of habit eating and empty kilojoules, a lot less drinking and a metric shirtload of exercise biking (that midnight oil cd almost disintegrated!) I'd made it to 75 Kg just before election day, which was a damn fine day in our house, let me tell you.

And all the health problems got rid of themseves. So there you are. Target blokes with assorted health issues and tie it in with a federal election and you might just have a strategy.

Andrew said...

Easy to make a post like this from behind a computer huh.

Keri said...

Excuse me, Andrew?

It's very easy for the Mainstream media to target one particular gender out for the blame in the "Fatness Epidemic".

And it's very, very easy to make snarky comments like that one from behind not only a computer - gasp! - but behind a locked blogger profile.

Andrew said...

Keri, the article wasn't 'targeting' women. Once again you have completely missed the point. it was a comment on the fact that there is a lot of media pressure on girls to be thin (which is true). But if you really think that the article was part of some sort of patriachial conspiracy then you have rocks in your head.

Quick response, BTW. Sit on your profile waiting for comments much?

Keri said...

Andrew, if you'd read my post instead of jumping to the comments for your snarkattack, you'd have noticed that I point out that this article is PART of a continuing campaign by the media to paint obesity as an issue that is a problem for women and not for men.

And if I "sat in my profile" I'd be none the wiser as to comments. And considering the very small amount of comments I get, I'd be waiting a while even if sitting in my profile yielded comments.

Like most people who use blogger, I have my comments e-mailed to me. Additionally, I have comment moderation on, so I try and publish comments in a timely manner.

Andrew said...

Superfastkeriresponse FTW!

I read your article Keri. I completely disagree that the article is PART OF this 'campaign' of which you speak. That was my point. Maybe you should have read my post properly.

Keri said...

Part of your comment, you mean?

"I completely disagree that the article is PART OF this 'campaign' of which you speak."

It's an article referring to obesity and doesn't mention men - except that wanker Lagerfeld once. It refers to the obesity statistics for women and not for men. It perpetuates the myth that there are skinny women who we should think of as "freaks" and fat women who are "ugly women sitting in front of the TV" and nothing in between.

And your first "post" was a snarky one-liner with no point apart from being an arse. Exactly what was I supposed to take from that?

Keri said...

Ah. "Andrew"

Wasn't your name Mark last time if memory serves? And I notice you still haven't learned how to use an IP Blocker.

Andrew said...

"It's an article referring to obesity and doesn't mention men - except that wanker Lagerfeld once. It refers to the obesity statistics for women and not for men."

It was an article about the recent phenomenon of plus-size female models. It was not an article about obesity issues in general - it was a specific article about female plus size models. That's why it didn't mention males or male obesity - because it wasn't part of the issue. Male models are, for the most parts, healthy specimens. Female models on the other hand, are now either stick-thin or overweight - neither of which are healthy. That is the point that the article was trying to make - and the point which you (very conveniently) missed.

You contended that if you are not stick thin and not hyper-obese then you are normal. This means by implication that you are saying that obese and overweight people are normal. In in a way, that's true. If you are overweight or obese then yes, by 2009 standards you are 'normal'. But being overweight or obese is not healthy and its not something that should be encouraged. Using models who are not stick thin is a great idea. Using models who are overweight is not.

If you see the world through obesity-coloured-glasses then that's fine, but don't impose your anger onto a journalist who was trying to make a perfectly legitimate point about health.

My name is not Mark, and I have no idea what you're talking about, but I couldn't give two hoots if you have my IP address or my email address.

Toodles

Keri said...

"It was an article about the recent phenomenon of plus-size female models"

Actually, it was an article about how thin catwalk models were "freaks" but we shouldn't be "telling chubby people it's okay to be chubby"

And, as I've said before, it was PART of a growing media coverage on models and how 'plus-size" models are making kids fat, or thin models are making us bulemic. I don't agree with EITHER position. It's derogatory to people in both categories. Additionally, Obese people do NOT make up the majority of the population. The best the article can do is say that less than 50% of women - women, not men - of a certain age are categorised as obese. I'd be interested to see where they got these statistics from, given there's hardly a Fat Census happening.

That's my problem. How hard is that to understand?

Your IP is the same as the last troll who had that IP. They called themselves Dave - my mistake. It's so hard to keep up with trolls these days! Are you saying you aren't that person?

Andrew said...

You've demonstrated from your last post that have not understood my point, even slightly. Whether this is deliberate or unintentional is debatable. Let's hope for your sake it was deliberate.

You are reading articles about obesity and health issues with a massive chip on your shoulder. You managed to read an article about female health issues and immediately take offense to it, when no reasonably person would have. I think that's pretty interesting.

My name is not Dave. I told you, I have no problems with you having my IP address, my name, or my email address.

Go, on, have the last word. You know you want to...

Keri said...

It's my blog, arsewipe. You comment here because I LET you, not because you have any right to. Remember that next time you're making snarky "last word" comments.

And I find it very hard to believe there are two people working in the same building for the same Department who troll the same blog in the same way and aren't the same person.

I don't have your e-mail, and I have only the name of your blogger profile. Why would I give a shit about either? I just find it interesting you're trying to say that "Dave" has nothing to do with you.

Keri said...

"You are reading articles about obesity and health issues with a massive chip on your shoulder. You managed to read an article about female health issues and immediately take offense to it, when no reasonably person would have. I think that's pretty interesting."

And you're proving my point, right there. Obesity is NOT a "female health issue"

There are more male obese people than female. Males who are obese are MORE at risk of weight-related cancer than females.

Yet we still portray it in the media - and you just did in your comment too - as a "female health issue"

It isn't. It's an issue that effects ALL of us. That was my point in the first place.

Got it?

Andrew said...

lolz. You had to have not one, but TWO lat words! That's pretty funny.

I know that obesity is an issue for both sexes. However, the article was about female health and body image specifically and that's why I referred to it as an 'article about female health issues' - because it was, actually, an article about female health issues. Duh.

To try and infer anything else from my comments is classic straw man argumentation.

Keri said...

Your first sentence contradicts that:

"You are reading articles about obesity and health issues with a massive chip on your shoulder"

No, I am reading articles that obesity and health issues when in reality they are about female obesity and health issues.

I was pointing out in the post - in fact I ask the question - why we never see these articles aimed as men? And no-one, anywhere, can give me a better answer than the one someone on twitter gave me - because men don't listen. So it isn't link bait. It doesn't guilt them, and it doesn't make them more money when the next article is equally link-baity.

And you still haven't answered my question. Are you telling me you aren't the same person who last year commented on this blog under the name "Dave"?

Andrew said...

I thought I'd make it clear about this Dave thing - I don't know any Dave's, and I have no idea WTF you're talking about. You seem to be quite obsessed though.

Anyway, back to the issue. Sorry to be the one to tell you, but your argumentative technique is terrible. You continue to take individual statements and take them out of context rather than dealing with the actual point. Straw man argumentation might wash with most but you can't fool me.

I'll explain again (for the last time, I hope).

I was pointing out in the post - in fact I ask the question - why we never see these articles aimed as men?

The article was about female plus size models. That's why it discussed female obesity and not males. It was not an article about obesity in general (which is why it didn't mention males). It wasn't an article about health issues in general. It was an article about whether using overweight female models has a positive or negative effect on female health. That's it.

The reason why you haven't seen an article about male plus size models is because male plus size models don't exist.

It wasn't intended to be the magnum opus on the obesity epidemic. It was a comment on a particular segment of the issue, and nothing else.

If you want to read an article about obesity in general, maybe you could read this one - http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/contributors/obesity-is-not-a-right-20090926-g75j.html . Its from 27 September this year, from the exact paper that you criticse for not tacking the issue properly. And its complete with an unflattering cartoon of an obese male, right up the top.

I look forward to your response, where no doubt you will take one line of what i've said, take it completely out of context, and try to use it to try and prove that I am arguing the opposite of what I am actually arguing. But I won't be responding to this anymore - it would have been good to have an actual, intelligent, debate, but this is just boring.

Toodles

Keri said...

"I thought I'd make it clear about this Dave thing - I don't know any Dave's, and I have no idea WTF you're talking about. You seem to be quite obsessed though."

Weird. There's someone who works in the same Department who trolls this blog under an assumed name and sounds exactly like you. What are the odds?

"Anyway, back to the issue. Sorry to be the one to tell you, but your argumentative technique is terrible. You continue to take individual statements and take them out of context rather than dealing with the actual point."

Given your point has vacillated so wildly from comment to comment, it seemed easier to deal with one of your assumptions per comment. My patience is limited with trolls.

By the by, The S word is banned round these parts. Use it again and your comment won't get through.

"The article was about female plus size models. That's why it discussed female obesity and not males. It was not an article about obesity in general (which is why it didn't mention males)."

I'm aware of that.

" It was an article about whether using overweight female models has a positive or negative effect on female health. That's it."

Jesus christ in a frying pan. That's my POINT, you fool. My issue is the fact that this is one of only two ways this debate is EVER defined. The fact that this article focuses solely on that IS my point, it doesn't contradict it!

" Its from 27 September this year, from the exact paper that you criticse for not tacking the issue properly"

I have never done so. I criticized the media for not showing ALL sides of the issue, not just two extremes. Unless you're claiming that The Age IS the media now?

"it would have been good to have an actual, intelligent, debate, but this is just boring. "

You expected an intelligent debate from a starting position of "Easy to make a post like this from behind a computer"?

No, you expected a response. You're a troll. Your first comment was typical troll.