Recently I seem to be seeing a lot of coverage surrounding the movement of pro-fat activists. Whether it is from bigger models wanting to make waves in the fashion industry to offensive adverts either “objectifying” women by forcing “unrealistic” versions of beauty upon them. With all the PR backlashes and public outrages, this has reached a point where the Pressure Groups are slowly starting to have an impact.
- Key figures are calling for fat shaming to be made illegal
- Obesity could soon be considered a disability according to EU law
- Health experts must tread carefully when notifying parents that their child is obese
On the other side of the coin, how are we doing in terms of dealing with the underlying problem? We – in the western world – are essentially becoming unhealthy.
In the UK:
- We are amongst the fattest in Europe
- Have a declining life expectancy
- Our kids are feared to be addicted to sugar
- Our NHS on top of other pressing problems is feeling the strain from the rise in diabetes cases
We have responded to these issues quite feebly in my opinion. Good old Jamie Oliver has been fighting the cause heroically for a few years now, by promoting better eating. Once in a while, we’ll have the odd campaign encouraging a healthier lifestyle but it hasn’t been enough. So here’s the dilemma. We are asking obese people to feel comfortable with their body shape while at the same time making subtle attempts to encourage them to lose weight. I don’t think this is working, actually I think we could be creating even more problems for ourselves.
The Fat Model
There was already enough coverage and fruitless discussion on this issue but then I saw this:
She claims she wants to challenge the beauty standards in the fashion industry and I find nothing wrong with her pursuing something she believes in. If the clothes she models in sell then she’ll be a success. If not? Then society simply isn’t ready for obese models of that size yet.
Now let’s imagine that this picture was the face of another company, saying “Are you Beach Body Ready?” What would the reaction be?
- Would that make 50,000 people feel so uncomfortable to sign a petition to get it removed?
- Would a parent want their kids thinking that it is okay to look like that?
- What message are we sending out by removing adverts like Protein World and allowing something like this instead?
I look at her and I fear for her health. She may look and feel comfortable in her body right now but will this be the case in her late 50s? I’m no health expert but this is not sustainable, probably less so than a skinny model’s body shape but feel free to call me up on that assumption. This is probably in the same lane or in my opinion worst than anorexic models sending out the opposite message of not eating. So where do we strike the balance?
The Protein World advert
In this advert, I would say her body shape is neither anorexic nor obese so why was it banned? Her body shape is not “unrealistic” unless it was heavily photoshopped which doesn’t seem to be the case. And nowadays the “objectifying women” argument is getting tiresome when there is clearly a double standard when concerning men. According to many sources, the petition claims it was down to the wording. You can even scroll through the comments section of the news articles reporting these issues and see that maybe the offence has been misplaced. Here are few gems I liked in particular:
“The kind of women who mind the implication that losing weight and toning up is a good thing are the kind of women who aren’t planning on losing weight or getting toned anyway.”
“So, I guess in England anyone that looks good will not be in ads anymore, they will be filled with the fat, ugly and unhealthy”
“I do wonder if a version of the ad with a fit man would have gotten the same treatment from the ASA? (I would bet not.)”
“Since banning stuff and getting easily offended seems to be the new norm these days (as opposed to simply ignoring stuff and differentiating reality) I propose the following: 1.) Ban all elite sports and movies showing sexy or fit bodies as it only makes us feel like crap rather than move our butts to get fit! 2.) Ban all exotic product/holiday/car adverts as it makes us feel poor and jealous of the rich! 3.) People who are good looking or fit should be forced out of public places esp. gyms during daylight hours.”
One side of events you see a petition campaign that got the advert removed. The other side of events, you see Protein World’s sales increase massively.
Quitting Essex Tinder
Hopefully you are familiar with Tinder. An app that allows people to matchmake and meet up with strangers based on a few photos and a short profile description. As a London commuter, I frequent between London – where I work – and my hometown in Essex. As the app matches you with people within a short proximity of you I would get certain matches depending on where I am.
Now recently I quit using Tinder in Essex. I was tired of seeing close ups of fat girls drowning in make-up. There were so many. It had reached the point where if there wasn’t a full body shot, I didn’t risk it. Some may call me shallow but most women – even the modern feminist – want the same thing as men, they are just less direct about it. No strings attached sex with people you find attractive and everyone has their preferences on what they find sexy which mainly tends to be young, healthy individuals with slim/ well defined body shapes.
For me it’s not just newspaper quoting statistics, I’m personally seeing more unhealthy people in society, particularly in my age range. Not a good precedent for my future relationships.
The Soft touch or Tough love?
Activists are coming across as too radical but then health businesses like Protein World are too commercially driven to solve the root of the problem. That leaves us (and unfortunately the government) to find the fix. And that starts with being open about obesity without bias or agendas to cloud our judgement.
“But we want people to feel comfortable in their own skin”
And where do we draw the line on this? Developing diabetes isn’t convenient to them or for the NHS we are trying to keep afloat. In some cases it feels like we could be reinforcing their bad habits and giving them permission to not improve themselves. I don’t believe in fat shaming but the soft approach isn’t a viable alternative either. We should not let political correctness get in the way of dealing with something that’s putting our health at risk.
I’m not here to ridicule fat people. I’m here to try address the obesity crisis constructively with no bias. I want not only the UK but the human race to be healthy, to live long fruitful lives and not waste our productivity and resources on our own gluttony, greed and laziness. So, anyone got any ideas how to solve this?