Lately, I’ve come across some material about a campaign begun in recent years, urging society to embrace the concept of being overweight, by eliminating the ideals of beauty and health our culture has always had – a culture which today some claim imposes impossible standards through the flawless image of celebrities . As far as I’m aware, it was started by feminists and only centres on women.
There are, as expected, two extremes to the issue. Social justice warriors claim it’s about time we moved beyond conventional beauty; upholding the perfectly proportionate body is offensive to overweight people (and that causing offence is of course a crime). In the UK, someone went as far as calling the police for a comment made on television by a female celebrity.
At the time of writing this post, I had no idea who the celebrity in question was, which meant I was slightly better off in life. Of course, calling the police was ridiculous regardless.)
Their opponents, many of them male, argue that since attraction is a natural instinct, it is governed by immutable laws which should not be artificially redefined for the sake of political correctness. They argue this is a bid for encouraging a lack of discipline (though the words laziness and gluttony are used more often), that being overweight causes a multitude of health conditions which take resources from health care systems needlessly etc.
Each side has some valid points, and yet, both forget one important issue: the difference between the notions of PUBLIC and PRIVATE, in every sense that they apply to this situation.
So here are my observations, which I dare think make sense.
- The difference between harassment/ bullying and opinions
Whereas SJWs see the need for adding a human right to already existing ones, namely the right not to be offended by anything ever, publicly expressing an idea such as the fact that being overweight is unhealthy or unsightly cannot be seen as harassment directed towards a particular individual. If so, 95% (a rough estimate) of what people say on a daily basis would fall into that category, as it offends some group or another, and therefore offends the individuals in it.
That said, some health fanatics are just as irrational. I’ve come across confessions of a strange impetus some feel when they’re in a public place near a bigger person – to stare at them and the meals or drinks they order, especially if they’re underage, accompanied by parents. Someone should say something to these people, they should have ordered less, they should change their habits. Now that qualifies as bullying. Targeting random strangers in the street or in cafes with an unjustified sense of entitlement, tearing into them for private choices which don’t affect you, doesn’t exactly shed a positive light on how healthy you are. That is anti-social behaviour at its best.
2. Speaking of entitlement…
There’s probably no point repeating that SJWs by definition feel justified to want their ears protected against any criticism, which creates a weak and sickly society, full of people who constantly whine for privileges. But I’ll do it anyway. If I were to draw a caricature of the typical SJW, it would be a student, possibly vegan, wearing a rainbow-coloured poncho and a pair of jackboots, pointing a loaded gun, spitting with ire, eyes bulging out of their head and their face distorted with rage, as they shout at the top of their voice: “LIIIIIIKE MEEEE…..!”
On the other side of the debate, there is a very different, equally disturbing sense of entitlement. In some hedonistic delusion, certain people think the world was created for their delight and those they deem unattractive visually pollute it. Because, of course, the rest of their surroundings are so delightful. There’s no point telling such characters they can only have a neighbourhood to their complete liking when they can afford to buy one and that they don’t own the streets they walk down. Staring at strangers, finger-pointing, mocking them in public is inexcusable regardless of the trait you dislike.
There is no logical reason one should care how a complete stranger looks. None at all. They can issue a non-requested opinion, preferably behind the person’s back, yet are not justified to feel that person owes them, anyone else or even themselves to look a certain way.
So why do people nowadays comment so ceaselessly, rudely and mercilessly about other people’s bodies, male or female? My best guess is the next point.
It’s not the beauty of models, actresses and celebrities in general which causes other women to feel (and be) scrutinised at all times. It’s the culture of everyone being invited to explore the naked bodies of others down to their finest details; what was for thousands of years hidden from public view is suddenly on display now. And it’s not just in magazines or films one needs to be 18 to access; it’s everywhere. If you watch a documentary called “Sellebrity”, you’ll hear how rags such as gossip magazines pay famous women to put on weight and lose it over a period of weeks or months, for them to document every change. The money isn’t half bad, yet the public obsession with imperfections is being fueled. It leads to objectification and comments which in other times were reserved for very intimate gatherings (about the private parts of so&so) are now commonplace in the street, for all to hear.
People suddenly stop differentiating between those who want their bodies scrutinised (who sell their image) and the ordinary person, who has not invited such analyses and should by all means be left alone.
If feminists really were against the use of women’s bodies to sell everything from cars to alcohol, they would advocate more modesty, which in turn would mean more protection for women in general. But what do they do instead? They call on big women to pose naked and flaunt their bodies in front of the crowds, engaging in the exact behaviour which contributed to their negative image.
4. Cognitive dissonance
Having dealt with social anxiety for many years, I have utter respect for those who manage not to give a fuck about what others think of them. Also, I am in favour of seeing the human body as nothing more than a temporary vessel, therefore I don’t understand the obsession with spending half of this short life on Earth perfecting something which will ultimately be consumed by flames or maggots. But each to their own.
Anyhow, that is not the case here.
Those involved in this campaign cannot honestly claim they don’t care what others think while they are so desperately seeking general validation. This goes for SJWs in general. Personally, I don’t care how others look, who they sleep with, how many people they sleep with etc; it’s lobbying groups who continually shove their private issues in everyone else’s face, looking for cheering and applause.
Self-acceptance it tacit; it’s only when you want others to acknowledge your conclusion about yourself that you take to the streets with a megaphone.
5. Let’s stop kidding ourselves.
It is an undesired physical trait. It doesn’t make anyone inferior or less capable, it doesn’t change who people are on the inside, yet no one can honestly tell me that if they had a choice between being fat and slim they would choose to be fat, because it’s all the same.
Most strangers only take a fleeting, superficial peek at us and go by what they see. Many overweight people I know approach others’ superficiality with humour; they don’t make an issue of pride versus oppression out of it. It’s unrealistic and if anything, it will only draw more antipathy form others.
Aesthetics and health were designed by nature in a manner recognisable to all through natural instincts; whilst we can in no way say the body is the most important aspect of a human being – as previously mentioned, it is, ultimately, devoured by flames or maggots – there is no denying that these are biological facts and not abstract social constructs. You can call an unhealthy person a hundred positive things which reflect their true qualities; what you can’t call them is healthy. And there’s no need to; it should be fine to admit no one is perfect.
On the other hand, those who bully overweight people or make sarcastic remarks in order to humiliate them should stop kidding themselves that they’re doing it because they care about their well-being. A well intended thought is never expressed in a deliberately hurtful way.
6. You address bullying by addressing bullying, not by reinterpreting the object of it.
Fat pride is not the answer to bullying. Neither is any other kind of pride of this sort.
Kids and young adults should be educated about what it means to be civilised, respectful to others, empathetic, not how wonderful it is to be overweight (any overweight person knows it’s anything but). They should be educated to not assume the causes of differences between people and to not be superficial, label, call names and so forth. In other words, to not bully.
I’ve always seen it as sheer idiocy to teach people to identify themselves with a single trait they have, be it race, ethnicity, sexual orientation etc. People are far more complex than that. Of course, asking them to identify with a physical defect, and a potentially temporary one, is much worse. They become stuck in this constrictive paradigm in which everything can be linked to that specific trait. People, youngsters in particular, are also bullied for reasons such as stuttering or wearing glasses, yet we don’t see anyone glorifying eye conditions or speech impediments.
By pushing notions such as “fat pride”, society at large only becomes more antisocial. We no longer only have people who bully a specific group; we have that group bullying everyone else; the opposition becomes radicalised and tensions increase.
7. Self-acceptance is beneficial; taking pride in every defect isn’t
It’s often pointed out by SJWs that people commit suicide because they are bullied over one trait or another; prior to that they become isolated and depressed. That is true and terrible. And it’s also true the media pushes an unrealistic ideal of perfection, which would be fine if remaining an ideal, yet is embraced by the masses as a mandate, especially among younger people.
Accepting oneself, as opposed to self loathing, is necessary for an individual to function, to be motivated; without the hope for a better tomorrow and the belief they can improve their lives, people become demoralised; they lose that motivation. Without any joy there is little point to life, some would say. But acceptance entails balance and realism, it entails knowing oneself and one’s possibilities. What these people are proposing is self deceit by calling black white and vice versa, and what is more, by rejoicing in aspects which are potentially detrimental to them.
If we go by previous experiences with SJW fads, overweight people who want to change their appearance or criticise the “fat acceptance” movement will probably be classed as self-hating by these radical feminists, and as a danger to those who want to embrace the movement.
8. Society understood backwards
At times I’ve heard fitness fanatics say that the tendency towards becoming bigger is not a societal problem, that it’s a hundred per cent the responsibility of each individual. It’s a no-brainer that their assessment is false. Compared to a few decades ago, life has turned on its rear end. Social isolation causes people to watch mindless entertainment and thus be sedentary; the market is laden with unhealthy foods which are constantly being advertised; people who work long hours are in no mood (and have no energy left) to exercise etc.
I’ve heard people say overweight kids should be taken from parents and that such families are irresponsible or uncaring for not being able to say “no” when youngsters throw a fit over the latest junk advertised on TV. It is the most idiotic approach to always blame the impressionable consumer instead of the devious retailer and advertiser of such junk.
If the leadership of affected states really wanted to address this issue, they would clamp down on the toxic junk being labeled as food and the freedom to advertise it everywhere, particularly to children. But of course governments don’t want that since they are in bed with the corporations lining their bank accounts from the enormous sale of said junk. Hence they have no interest in the sales of unhealthy (even toxic) products declining.
Health Nazis expect them to allow the hypnotising and poisoning of the population and simultaneously punish individuals for falling into that trap. It’s obvious that people won’t perceive junk as threatening when they’re surrounded by ads and hear them constantly on TV, on the radio etc. They grow up that way; those products are part of their daily existence.
Western societies are sick as a whole, on so many levels. Life nowadays is quite demoralising; psychological and emotional health have declined, yet we expect to be disciplined enough to maintain our physical health.
9. My conclusion
In a normal world, people wouldn’t require public validation for the way they look – they would not receive feedback without having asked for it and would certainly not demand endorsement from others.
It’s our culture of overexposure and objectification that needs changing.
We are gradually being trained to see people as no more than animals. There are naked bodies everywhere, of all shapes and ages and for any given purpose, from health documentaries to porn, and millions of strangers gawking behind television screens.
Call me a puritan – though I am not, by any standards – yet we have no respect or love for each other and each other’s privacy anymore. Many see slabs of meat when they look at another human being, as the success of the exhibition of plastinated bodies has proven. We have no love for our own dignity when we plaster our social media profiles with duck face selfies and skimpy outfits. And no, I am not Muslim or with the WBC.
Leaving health aside (as that is relevant to others such as one’s doctor or employer) and those who make a living from their image, a person’s appearance has no business being of interest to anyone else but themselves and the one they are intimately involved with. Unless one has a legion of demons inhabiting their body (which is of course a joke), that only makes two altogether.