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Onely and Overweight August 19, 2008

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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?



1. Shannon - August 20, 2008

i really hate the fat vs thin debate. I am lucky to be a size 10 here in Australia (I think that’s a 6 in the US.. maybe an 8) and I have tiny narrow hips, no waist and big boobs (which makes me a lollipop according to Trinny and Susannah). This is thankfully my natural shape – I eat healthy and I exercise only a little, just walking each day.
I think the problems arise when people try and be different from what they are naturally. If you exercised every day and ate well and found yourself to be still large, be happy. But if you are obese because someone in highschool stole your lunch money and beat you up, maybe you need to work on something there.
Same with skinny people – if you are naturally twig thin (like my mother) and you are happy in yourself, great. But if you are skinny because you smoke crack all day and only eat if you’re going to burn off twice as many calories as you consume then there are some issues.
It’s the same with being single. If you are single because you’re quite happy like that, then boo yeah, welcome in! But if you are single because you are some creepy stalker whose trying desperately to NOT be single, well you’re gonna be single for a very long time and please stop eyeing off my brother.
What people need to learn though, whether regarding single-dom or weight, is that social pressures are NOT the be all and end all. If you listen to people who say “Oh my god, she’s fat and single” and you go work your butt off and start dating this lovely guy you’re going to come back to those people and go “Hey, look at me now! I’m skinny and I have a boyfriend” and they are going to say “Oh my god, she’s got ugly shoes..” It’s a never ending cycle. You can only ever please yourself. And that’s the only person who really matters anyway.

Wow. another 50 words and I’d have a novel… sorry 🙂

2. Being Happy. « A beautiful dream - August 20, 2008

[…] was reading this Onely post (as you can see by my mega-comment) and thinking about what it takes to be happy. […]

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