Quick Hit: Moral Panics and the Obesity Folkdevil

If you do nothing else today, please read Bilt4Cmft’s post “Stepping Forward Looking Back” and the comments which follow. It is a great setup and discussion about fat people as ‘obesity folkdevils’ in the current obesity epipanic moral panic in which we find ourselves.

A quote from my favorite comment, by Miriam Heddy:

We see, again and again, statements like:
“Fat people are draining our economic resources.”
“Fat people are contagious.”
“Fat people corrupt the young.”
“Fat people aren’t as smart as thin people.”
“Fat people are lazy.”

These should seem familiar to anyone who’s looked at antisemitism in Europe, or racism in America.

As for whether there’s violence, already, we’re seeing street harassment, job discrimination, a desire to label fat people and mark them as “other,” studies being done at the genetic label (with a hope of “correcting” fat or eliminating it from the gene pool), a focus on how fat people are stealing money (health care) and space (airplanes) from thin people, fat parents having newborn children seized from them by social services (in Dundee Scotland), propoganda films aimed at kids like “”Wall-E and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” that link unchecked fat people and the degredation of the human race, and governmental initiatives aimed at looking at the “problem” of fat people.

I wish I had time to write more thoughts on this. But please, zip over and read the post, if you get a chance!


2 comments on “Quick Hit: Moral Panics and the Obesity Folkdevil

  1. bilt4cmfrt says:

    Thank you for the shout-out. The past few weeks have been real interesting on the feeds. What with all the dissenting viewpoints about dieting and such ; )

    F/A has really come a long way. Especially for a cause that NOBODY respected or took seriously, not to long ago. But when I see the mainstream press quoting directly from the Feeds and dropping whole F/A concepts into articles, I see movement. When I see diet companies, DIET COMPANIES, ripping off F/A slogans or trying to mold their products around ideas copped directly from Fat Acceptance? Well, I smell fear }; >

    We’ve still got a lot to do and so much to figure out but we are moving, and that’s nothing but a good thing.

  2. deannac says:

    I get so discouraged about this “moral panic.” And now I hear from Michelle Obama that obese people are a threat to our national security! That’s right, according to our first lady, “This epidemic also impacts the nation’s security, as obesity is now one of the most common disqualifiers for military service.”

    Silly me, I thought I was just a fat, almost 50-year-0ld Mom, working as an RN, volunteering as a Girl Scout leader, being a good citizen. But now I find out my fatness threatens our nation! Forget terrorists! Let’s go after those dangerous fatties!! Could this get any more ridiculous? (sadly, probably so.) I think am even more angered by this campaign than I normally would be (which would be pretty angry!) because I have a daughter who is on the heavier side. She’s 10 years old, and frequently asks me why she is heavier than her class mates. I try to reassure her that she is fine the way she is, encourage her to eat healthy foods, and gets lots of exercise. I absolutely refuse to ever tell her to diet. I just pray she can grow up with this type of hysteria and survive with her self-esteem relatively intact.

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