Is Peer Pressure the Answer to Global Fat Acceptance?
So, I’ve got some HGTV home-makeover show on in the background while I’m working. It’s white noise, just keeping me company. And then I hear this:
Home-buying Lady: I’m never going to go out anywhere. I’m just going to stay at home all the time.
Contractor: Well, you won’t be able to leave, you’ll be so fat from all the pastries we put in here.
(Start at minute 39.)
Have you ever watched some old movie or television show and been taken aback by… oh, Judy Garland in black face, for instance (yes, that really is her)?
Something that is so not acceptable today that it seems shocking that it ever was? Something that, when you’re faced with it, just feels very, very wrong. That’s where we need to get with anti-fat antics. To the place where, even if someone wanted to do the size-ism equivalent of black face, it just wouldn’t be accepted outside of satire.
Clearly, we aren’t there yet.
Nearly every time I catch Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on Food Network, I hear him making some sort of self-depreciating, fat-phobic remark. A few days ago he was in some little hole in the wall somewhere, and the chef made a cheese-based appetizer. Guy took a bite, looked properly orgasmic, and then said something like, “You’re trying to ruin everything for everyone.” The meaning being, of course, that food that tastes good (and has cheese?) is designed to make people fat, which is life-ruining.
I feel like this is similar to how any time almost anyone not connected with the Fat Acceptance movement mentions really good food on my Facebook feed, it’s followed by a disclaimer about either A) guilt or B) a tale of self-denial of said yumminess. Only these shows are on a broad, national-TV scale.
It seems to me that things will start to change, rapidly, as soon as people stop accepting derogatory statements based on weight. Maybe then the average person can stop feeling guilty for being hungry or enjoying cooking or letting chocolate pass their lips. For instance, I couldn’t find anything on Google about Fieri making comments about fat, but he said something a while back about being “weirded out” by gay people and the interwebs are full of negative response to that. We need to foster the same kind of peer pressure toward body acceptance.
I admit to being a major optimist, but I think that we’re getting there. Slowly.