Monday, July 23, 2007

Fat, dumb and ugly

It seems that these ideas always go hand in hand. Fat people are assumed to be less intelligent and less attractive. Both are matters of opinion...I and plenty of fat people I know are extremely intelligent and more beautiful than we realize. But these ideas are ubiquitous in our culture.

A recent study out of the University of Texas at Austin recently found that obese girls are less likely to attend college than their non-obese peers. The article in the Science Daily is an amazing piece of obesity-reporting denial.

It reads:

Crosnoe suggests a number of mental health and behavioral issues seem to play a significant role in keeping obese girls from enrolling in college. The study found obese girls were more likely to consider committing suicide, use alcohol and marijuana and have negative self-images.

But nowhere in the following paragraphs does it discuss what could be causing these mental health and behavioral issues. We are, it seems, to believe that obesity itself (and therefore the girls who cannot control their bodies or their parents who cannot control their childrens' bodies) is to blame for these mental health issues.

Was there a call to educate parents and children about size diversity and the utter insanity of telling children to engage in behaviors which study after study has shown to be futile and potentially damaging to the bodies of young women? No.

Was there an expressed interest in looking into the types of discrimination that these girls, and their fat male peers, experience and its effect on overall health and well-being? No.

Was there even an inkling that somehow the same pressures which infuence depression and behavior problems in obese children might also be inspiring eating disorders in their thinner peers. Absolutely not.

It's absolutely maddening.

1 comment:

P'tit-Loup said...

As I read the piece you quoted, I could only think "duh." With relentless media portrayal of beauty in an illusive, unhealthy, thin body, it is no wonder that heavier young women experience these feelings of depression when they are reminded on a daily basis that in the eyes of many americans they only occupy a place of derision. Most television show aimed at teens use weight as comic relief, therefore discounting the value of these young women. In addition, teen girls, particularly white teen girls, are prone to depression because of the expectation put on them (being thin and voiceless). While some chose to starve to fit the physical stereotype, those who do not suffer from being ostracized and demeaned. Who would not feel upset and depressed by that?

Thanks for bringing this info to the forefront in the form of this blog!