Fat, Media

Something Else to Be Grateful for

In a highly uncharacteristic move, The Beeb is talking some sense about fat today.

Shapeling Rebecca sent a link to this article questioning Obesity Crisis orthodoxy. The illustrations are awful — two headless fatty shots and a particularly revolting pic of a woman stuffing a burger into her mouth (with a delightful caption that totally undercuts the point of the story), and the last line leaves a lot to be desired (the very obese “are the problem”??). But still, coming from the people who brought you “fat is a public health crisis on the scale of climate change,” it’s a mighty refreshing departure from the status quo.

And it’s also available as a radio broadcast/podcast, which comes highly recommended by Bagfish.

20 thoughts on “Something Else to Be Grateful for”

  1. Bravo to the Beeb for once. And only a couple of a*hole comments there – I love the oh-so-courageously anonymous person who suggests we ‘think of the starving’, like we’re personally responsible and it’s nothing to do with failed crops or crappy government. The person I’m thinking of when I eat cake is usually whoever’s birthday it happens to be.

  2. Echo… echo… echo… ;)

    Yup, the beeb finally did a good one, although I totally agree with those last 2 sentences being out of place. Instead of it being the very obese are the problem, how about the very obese may very well have a problem, and let’s focus on that? I mean, come on… the best doctors in the world will tell you that they don’t fully understand how the body works, so it’s entirely possible that there’s some genetic or chemical thing that’s going on here. I’m not saying it is, but it’s a possibility, and medicine/science has only begun to scratch the surface of it. But the last thing they’d do is ADMIT that.

    And Emerald, no kidding! That one person sounds like a 1950’s era mother scolding a child.

  3. I’ve just listened to the broadcast again, and it is definitely worth a listen. The reporter talks an awful lot of sense (there are a couple of “very obese people are still at risk” yadda yadda comments), but in general the whole programme questions the “received wisdom” of the obesity crisis story that is constantly being pushed by the media. And although not overtly stated by the journalist, the media bias against “teh fat” is very obvious in the way he presents the story and challenges the supposed experts.

    So if you have 28 minutes spare, I would listen to the podcast, it is actually more positive than the article, and puts the other side of the story across very well.

  4. I feel like maybe, maybe we’re starting to see a backlash against the whole “OBESITY EPIDEMIC OMG WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!” thing. That would really be wonderful.

    That one person sounds like a 1950’s era mother scolding a child. – Except that the 1950’s mother scolded her children in order to get them to eat, not in order to get them to stop eating! I’ve never heard “Think of the starving people” as a reason to starve before. Solidarity, maybe?

  5. “Solidarity, maybe?” Hee! Becky, I almost choked on the food I was eating…punishment, I guess, for not being a team player.

  6. heh. Becky, you’re right, I just didn’t think of it that way. (‘Course, it’s late here AND I’m dealing with the flu, so the fact that I can think at ALL is a miracle right now. ;) )

  7. You left out the best part of that quote! It was “Think of the starving peoplebefore you put a cake in your mouth.” (Left by the brave Anon. I see.)

    With that “advice,” one would think that famine in malnourishment is actually caused by one lumbering fattie, gurgling with laughter as they stuff one cake after another in their mouths, a poor sickly child falling dead with hunger for each bite. Ridic.

    Almost more hilarious than that sentence is their entire comment could be summed up as , “Even if being fat may not be unhealthy, it’s still BAD, so don’t be fat.” They probably work as a health science reporter for any number of mainstream media outlets.

  8. I love the “think of the starving people!” argument. As if anyone who “overeats” is, personally, taking food from a starving person’s mouth. As if that box of cereal would somehow magically be transported to Starving Nation of Choice if it wasn’t bought. As if fat people are hijacking cargo planes full of rice and beans destined for famine-stricken areas and diverting them to Fatty Headquarters for maw-stuffing.

  9. Oh dear the “think of the starving people!”.

    That commentor ought to join up with the author of the article in the LA Times today that goes on about how Thanksgiving is bad for dieters and then lectures us that its a Holi-day not a Holi-week so we shouldn’t eat leftovers. Umm yeah, let me put it this way- I can’t eat everything I’ve made today and I’m going to enjoy the tastiness and affordability of my damned leftovers thank you very much.

  10. From the article (I have no idea how to format quotes): “If you look at men they have become around half a stone heavier on average than they were in 1993,” says Heather Wardle, a senior researcher at the centre.

    Seriously, THIS is the big scary problem they’re worried about? Half a stone is, what, six, seven pounds? Come ON people!!!

    I can’t deal with western society’s neuroses anymore.

  11. I can’t deal with western society’s neuroses anymore.

    Fuckin’ A. Shit like this makes me want to go live in India. I understand a transcriptionist can live like royalty there.

  12. Seriously, THIS is the big scary problem they’re worried about? Half a stone is, what, six, seven pounds? Come ON people!!!

    I don’t think I’d notice if someone put on seven pounds. I mean, call me fat-blind, but I tend not to notice weight loss or gain on anyone unless it’s a LOT. I know I’ve had people, women usually, say to me in triumph “I’ve lost ten pounds!” and had to overcome the urge to say “Um…where?” Bathroom scales have a lot to answer for.

  13. I know I’ve had people, women usually, say to me in triumph “I’ve lost ten pounds!” and had to overcome the urge to say “Um…where?”

    Hehehe, Emerald… to be honest, before now, I’ve never even bothered to OVERCOME that urge – especially if it happened to be somebody that I didn’t think needed to lose weight in the first place. I usually said something along the lines of “Where? In your HEAD?” (to illustrate the point that they didn’t need to lose weight in the first place). It’s only since I’ve found fat acceptance and started reading more about it and realized that THIN PEOPLE HAVE BODY ISSUES TOO that I’ve started trying to bite my tongue. But the whole “I’ve lost X pounds” thing hasn’t come up yet. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep quiet without biting my tongue OFF. ;)

  14. I don’t feel any sense of gratitude. The BBC is supposed to unbiased and should have been doing this all along. It is funded directly through a fee that is effectively a tax, if you do not pay it, you can be prosecuted for it. This license fee is the same even if you are in receipt of benefits, equivalent to being on welfare. Fat people do not get a reduction, yet again we pay to facillitate fat hate, financially and in other ways also.

    I also think this documentary illustrates the way that the obesity crisis wallahs have overplayed their hand, it was really about the ‘overweight’ and how their treatment was unjust, it spoke mostly about inflated figures, fine, but the number inflation is so obvious that addressing it is not in the slightest bit radical, they want to believe those figures, they think it justifies their hate, until it impinges on them, then suddenly they ‘discover’ the wild figure inflation, bully for them.

    I also find it upsetting that those on the fatter end of the spectrum are yet again singled out as somehow deserving of the vile ‘obesity crisis cult’.

    This seems to me to be the true division of fat people into deserving and undeserving fatties, the finger has been recently pointed at fat broccoli lovers, unjustly.

  15. Ok… Got my box of doughnuts… addressed it to:

    The Starving
    Third World Country

    Now that I’ve solved world hunger, can I eat my cake?

    Seriously … That same comment stood out to me, as well. My first thought was, “and what, skinny people shouldn’t think of the starving before eating their cake?” As if denying oneself the already prepared food sitting in front of them is going to even TOUCH the issue.


    New poster here, by the way – I’ve been reading for a few weeks, but hadn’t yet commented. Really glad to have stumbled upon this place!

  16. There was an AP article in my local paper yesterday about how eating competitions are being canceled or modified because some people think ZOMG COMPETITIVE EATING ENCOURAGES OBESITY. Seriously:


    The good thing is that most of the sound bites come from people who say the ZOMG COMPETITIVE EATING ENCOURAGES OBESITY fearmanglers are full of shit, but still.

  17. The BBC is supposed to unbiased and should have been doing this all along.

    As should all journalists. I have a colleague who is quite fat and is getting all kinds of shit from primary care physicians and specialists. Her leg hurts because she’s fat, see, athough it didn’t hurt before she was jostled down a flight of stairs, but it must be the fat, because fat, um, pushes people down stairs.

    Anyway, she was nearly in tears when she told me how her latest doctor was polite and respectful and treated her like an intelligent human being! Which she is! It’s a revolutionary concept, apparently.

  18. I liked this:

    I think I failed to spot the overweight kids because we are so used to seeing overweight kids these days.

    Because SOCIETY HAS BLINDED US TO TEH FAT! We are no longer capable of telling whether someone is fat or skinny because fat is so widespread! The horror!

    Seriously, what kind of sick woman looks at a classroom full of normal children and says “Well, I can’t tell if any of them are fat, therefore ALL OF THEM ARE.” This is the worst sort of science. If you don’t get conclusive results from your study, you examine your study, you don’t just assume that your hypothesis is correct.

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