Onely and Overweight August 19, 2008Posted by Onely in Food for Thought.
Tags: cocktail party, leptin, obese, overweight, racism, sexism, single, singlism, weightism
Although I am not overweight right now, I take some medicine that can make me overweight, given the right circumstances.
So I got to thinking about the similarities between singlism and weightism. They are the last “isms” that won’t get you shunned in a cocktail party. Racism and sexism are looked on with disgust. Ageism will get you some dirty looks. But it’s still ok to make fun of fat people and to ask Onelies when they are going to change their (implied inferior) single state.
Both singles and overweight people are widely assumed to be:
1) in an inferior status and
2) at fault for their status and
3) unhappy with their status
(God forbid you should be both Onely and overweight.)
1) We know that obesity, or even some excess belly fat, does contribute to poor health. From that perspective, being overweight can be said to be inferior to being thin. No, actually, that’s a logical fallacy: the correct argument is that being overweight is inferior to being healthy. However, our world today interprets this to mean that being overweight is inferior to being thin. If we stop and think, we realize that an average thin person snatched off the street may or may not be healthier than an overweight person snatched off the street. Similar logical fallacies pervade the practice of singlism.
2) Someone might argue against my point one by saying, “but the thin person didn’t cause their poor health, whereas the fat person did.” Remember those palm-sized scanners that the doctor on Star Trek had, for diagnosing people in one sweep of the palm? I think that people who take this argument must have one of those! How do they know that the thin person didn’t gorge on diet pills or shoot up? How do they know that the overweight person doesn’t have a stubborn, medication-resistant thyroid problem or a neurological disconnect in the feedback loop between their stomach and brain that indicates when they have eaten enough (this condition is rare, but it does exist)? In a similar vein, people often assume that singles are somehow “at fault” for being single. These onlookers don’t consider the myriad of life events that could lead to a person being Onely, many of which are out of out of the Onely’s control.
3) Are overweight people unhappy? Some probably are, sure. But are they unhappy because they are overweight, or are they unhappy because of other, non-related life circumstances? And what about heavy people who are happy? Maybe they have great jobs, hobbies, friends, and families that more than make up for any possible health issues or side glances on the street. Maybe their weight doesn’t bother them enough so that they want to invest the energy to change it. Similar with singles. Lots of us are fine with our status.
Are Singlism and Weightism more similar than different?