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"This is what they look like with their clothes off."
September 11, 2007 12:07 AM   Subscribe

Adipositivity (nsfw)
posted by Brittanie (113 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm not completely sure that these aren't all the same woman. Of course, leaving out the face probably doesn't help, either.

Still, good for her/them. Bigger ladies can definetly be hot. ;)
posted by Avenger at 12:14 AM on September 11, 2007


*paging jonmc*
posted by loquacious at 12:21 AM on September 11, 2007


Botero.
posted by chasing at 12:24 AM on September 11, 2007


*paging wendell*
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:34 AM on September 11, 2007


Oh, dear.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:43 AM on September 11, 2007


nice hair
posted by hortense at 12:55 AM on September 11, 2007


Avenger writes "Bigger ladies can definetly be hot."

Well how can they not be? I mean, the ratio of radiating surface area to 37°C volume is much smaller, so proportionately less area for heat exchange.
posted by orthogonality at 12:58 AM on September 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


Perhaps only an overfed culture could eroticize near-morbid obesity.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:03 AM on September 11, 2007


i thought fat used to be considered a sign of wealth and fertility. look at body images throughout art history. (early venus sculptures, budda images, classical painting, are some examples that come to mind.)
posted by fuzzypantalones at 1:17 AM on September 11, 2007


ha, ha, BP, you qualified it. A toothless troll-shot, since eroticization of heft is obviously a small fetish here, along with many others with no stylish and obvious causation (only an overpopulated culture could eroticize homosexuality, perhaps?) and may or may not be said to be sucessful in this project. I think there is a lot more to be considered about the exclusion of faces. It speaks to anonymity for shame, and the commodification of fat bodies doesn't work for me without the sometimes correspondingly sensual, lusty, sexual aggressiveness or gluttony caricatures of "big women" (of which category I must be a part) usually rely upon.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:18 AM on September 11, 2007


I usually like the looks of a woman who's softer than your average runway model, but this is probably what it'd look like if you dressed my living room furniture in lingerie.
posted by litfit at 1:21 AM on September 11, 2007 [5 favorites]


Substantia Jones is not the new Foxy Brown
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:28 AM on September 11, 2007


i thought fat used to be considered a sign of wealth and fertility

There seems a fundamental difference in that obesity is eroticized in these photographs, and the size features eroticized in the Venus of Willendorf are those associated specifically with fertility: swollen breasts, genitalia and pregnant belly.

A toothless troll-shot, since eroticization of heft is obviously a small fetish here

Not so small: Walk down a busy street in Anytown, USA, and find rolls of skin hanging over jeans and a belly shirt. Perhaps no culture in history is as seemingly resigned to obesity as this, and I suspect what once was a fetish is slowly becoming an aesthetic standard.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:37 AM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, tell that to an overweight woman consumed with self loathing and obsessed with being different than they are. Oh, wait, you just did.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:43 AM on September 11, 2007


*shrugs*
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:45 AM on September 11, 2007


also, leave britney alone!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:45 AM on September 11, 2007


I must say, I look at those photographs, and go ... "Damn, it must be uncomfortable living like that."

Seriously. How are those women ever truly comfortable? I've never been that big, although I have been obese, and it was, simply, out-and-out uncomfortable.
posted by ysabet at 1:58 AM on September 11, 2007


So there was this woman, let's call her "Kate".

I met Kate, who was a bartender at a local watering hole I frequented. She was my slow descent into alcoholism. Kate was... simply the most extraordinary woman I've ever met. She was so beautiful, and funny, and smart, and I was and remain utterly smitten with her. I recall the day she told me that when she was 12, she read "Sorrows of Young Werther" by Goethe... just like I had at that age! I remember how we had so similar tastes in soap, or hot chocolate, or movies... how we discussed our love of fancy-pants coffee and Russian literature, discussing the finer points of Bulgakov and how charming lolcats were. I recall how every Sunday I would frantically torrent the latest Battlestar Galactica as soon as it was available, burning it to CD, so that I could show up and when it turned slow at the bar, we could watch together on her laptop, sharing her ipod headphones with one bud in each of our ears. I remember how we seemed to be in synch about so many things- the hurt of the human animal, the sense that so few people bother to give a damn, and the wellspring of compassion from which we could both, in our own inimitable ways, draw from. I remember the glint of her eyes, the beauty of her hair and the delightful crookedness of her teeth, and the sassy way she could laugh at life.

God I loved that woman. And I love her still. And yeah... she was overweight, and when she sat, I adored the little belly that pooched out, or the way her butt had a bit more oomph than many woman's behinds.

But I tell you know, no woman was as glorious, as beautiful, as remarkable as Kate. So yeah... so what if she had a few extra pounds? Every day I feel the loss of what might have been, of what I could have been in myself and what I could have helped make in her.

And I don't think a few pounds here or there make much difference. But please- tell me how weight is the only element of our world that matters. Please, tell me this now, because as I go to bed alone, and wondering how things went so wrong... this is what I want to hear, that you think a woman like Kate was ugly or unimportant simply because a few extra calories ended up on her body, because her silhouette wasn't the same as that found in your magazines...
posted by hincandenza at 2:13 AM on September 11, 2007 [7 favorites]


It's AN element that matters, not THE element that matters. There's no such thing as THE element that matters.
posted by vbfg at 2:19 AM on September 11, 2007


I'm curious, is there a similar fetish where women desire a guy who is fat? I've known a fair number of men (almost all of them very skinny, which is noted just for interest) who would cream their jeans over the linked website, but I've never asked any women if they see a guy shaped like a pear and think "oh, yeah!"
posted by maxwelton at 2:25 AM on September 11, 2007


Equal time?
posted by 0xFCAF at 2:29 AM on September 11, 2007


I think the website is more about these women (or woman) accepting their own body type as it is now, and trying to live a relatively normal life at that size.

That's not to say they are *happy* or *unhappy* with their bodies. I interpret it as more about trying (at least) to love the skin you're in. After all, even the skinniest and healthiest of women (and men) have insecurities about the way they look.
posted by Brittanie at 2:33 AM on September 11, 2007


I like curves on a lady. I do not like these photos, because they don't show faces. There is nothing sexy about seeing a row or gallery of bodies with no face.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:48 AM on September 11, 2007


Why does the word 'fetish' come up when a thin person is attracted to a fat person? I suppose there is no possible way that anyone could find a fat girl attractive because she's clever or funny, or because she has a cute way of walking, or an amazing ass, or expressive, elegant gestures, or great taste in music, or a sad, mysterious look in her eyes. Those things only work for thin girls. The only thing that could possibly be attractive on a fat girl is her fat, and then only to someone who has an intense, abnormal desire for that fat, who can't perform sexually without it.

And Brandon Blatcher - I don't think this is supposed to be wank material - the pictures are an attempt to counteract the parade of clinically underweight women who populate our visual media and skew our idea of what is normal and to help average and overweight women become more comfortable with their own bodies. Sorry you don't find it 'sexy'.
posted by cilantro at 3:12 AM on September 11, 2007 [7 favorites]


I also like curves on a lady; however, as pornography consumer, I have to take issue with the term "curvy" being appropriated by the BBW fetishists. I don't see how curvy is an accurate descriptor of a body that could perhaps best be described as amorphous. To me, the term curves implies fuller hips, not a complete obliteration of any traces of the human form aside from the arrangement and number of limbs. It seems porn models typically reside exclusively on either extreme of the spectrum between walking skeleton and mountain of gelatinous flesh. Basically the only time you will find average looking people in porn is when the models are amateurs, like much of Suicide Girls.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 3:35 AM on September 11, 2007


the pictures are an attempt to counteract the parade of clinically underweight women who populate our visual media and skew our idea of what is normal and to help average and overweight women become more comfortable with their own bodies

It might help if they showed a face. A person is more than just their body.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:51 AM on September 11, 2007


cilantro, I consider it a fetish if the trait is sought before the person.
posted by maxwelton at 3:55 AM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


on preview: cilantro, while I agree that the beauty ideal is skewed very far in the direction of thin right now, and I think a fuller ideal of beauty typified by say, Marilyn Monroe would nice, there exists a definite fetish community that centers around desire for very large women. At the very least, the feederism thing is a fetish.

There is an analogous fetish for anorexic women, which seems to be rarer, or at least low profile because I think most people can agree that it's really fucking creepy.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 3:57 AM on September 11, 2007


Of course I realize there are people (male, female, straight, and gay) with actual fat fetishes. I do have the internet, after all. What I take issue with is the general idea that fat girls (and boys) can ONLY be attractive to the people who hold those fetishes. In other words, while a thin person can be attractive or unattractive for a thousand reasons, for a fat person, it all comes down to the fat. Basically, the idea that often comes across is that, if you're fat, you better find yourself a fat fetishist, because no one else is going to want you. I know that, personally, I wouldn't want to be with someone who was only interested in my fat, any more than I would want to be with someone who was only interested in my elbows or my nose or my feet. But the (rather ridiculous) message is that fat girls have to settle for a fat fetishist because no one is going to fall for her personality, or her eyes, or her smile, or a combination of those things.

And Brandon Blatcher, the photographer's own words from the very first page of the link "The photographs here are close details of the fat female form, without the inclusion of faces. One reason for this is to coax observers into imagining they're looking at the fat women in their own lives, ideally then accepting them as having aesthetic appeal which, for better or worse, often translates into more complete forms of acceptance."
posted by cilantro at 4:28 AM on September 11, 2007


Thanks, these will make great macro fodder. Soon we'll see people calling for an img because this is saying something about apples.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:03 AM on September 11, 2007


Blazecock Pileon Perhaps only an overfed culture could eroticize near-morbid obesity.

Or an underfed culture. People will eroticize all kinds of things. Rule 34, as they say.

On the subject of current skews of beauty, I take issue with the idea of the "anorexic ideal". The skew of modern actresses and models--particularly nude photo models rather than runway models--is at least as much towards fitness as to thinness; the two do go together, but women desiring to be thin are strongly encouraged, by doctors, dieticians, their friends, and the mass media generally, to exercise as well as--even instead of--dieting. Unless taken to an extreme, this seems to me to be a good thing: if we have to choose a body type to eroticize as a culture (because when free to do as we wish, we subconsciously imitate each other, and then consciously come up with justifications for it), the toned, lightly-muscled body seems the healthiest choice. Female or male.

hincandeza But I tell you know, no woman was as glorious, as beautiful, as remarkable as Kate. So yeah... so what if she had a few extra pounds? Every day I feel the loss of what might have been, of what I could have been in myself and what I could have helped make in her.

Then why didn't you? If you didn't find her physically attractive, that's not something even you yourself have much control over, let alone any of us. But if you did, why did it go wrong? If it was a case of "I love you as a person but your body does nothing for me", then that was no basis for a sexual relationship. I doubt it would have gone well, certainly not lasted past an opportunity to have both when someone who fits both criteria comes along. I'm down with Dr Ruth - your partner should be a sex object to you. Not only a sex object, obviously; but if they're not sexy to you, then accept it and just be friends, if you can, don't try to pretend it's something it's not, and don't make up regrets for something that never could have been.

cilantro But the (rather ridiculous) message is that fat girls have to settle for a fat fetishist because no one is going to fall for her personality, or her eyes, or her smile, or a combination of those things.

It certainly is a horribly ridiculous idea, but I notice that you didn't include "being fat" in the list of things the guy could appreciate and love you for, which is troubling. Some men really do like fat women and wouldn't go out with a skinny girl, but are far short of being fat fetishists; it's just something they consider a turn-on, like pretty eyes. For some men it is boniness that is the turn-off, rather than fat the turn-on.

And some men really are just plain indifferent to physique. I live with one: I've seen him go out with an extraordinary range of women over the last thirteen years, from quite fat to quite thin, and eventually marry a woman who is slightly overweight but well within the normal bounds. They have all, however, been very witty, with pretty eyes. Exactly as in your example. But these men seem to me to be rare.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:46 AM on September 11, 2007


Too much A & not enough T.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 6:08 AM on September 11, 2007


The photographer's own words from the very first page of the link "The photographs here are close details of the fat female form, without the inclusion of faces. One reason for this is to coax observers into imagining they're looking at the fat women in their own lives, ideally then accepting them as having aesthetic appeal which, for better or worse, often translates into more complete forms of acceptance."

The sheer focus on just the fat does NOT make me think "I'm looking at the women in their own lives" or "ideally accepting them" It makes the think somebody has a fat fetish and that an artist isnt' communicating well. The shots all seem posed and focused on the wrong thing as opposed to putting a face on the person, oops woman ('cause only woman need fat acceptance, right?), behind the fat.

There was a great post a while back, which I currently can't find, containing photos women in NY, going about their day, topless. It was great because rather than focusing on just breasts, it showed them in context of the woman and her everyday life. It transcended the breast fetish and put a beautiful face on the person, no matter what you she looked like.

This is just staring at fat, trying to convince you it's beautiful. That may work for some, but not for me.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:19 AM on September 11, 2007


Yeah, fat is not the only thing that matters, but it also doesn't NOT matter. It's like those boorish idiots who take the whole "I don't care what anybody thinks" concept to the point where they act like obnoxious jerks in public. Not caring what people think doesn't mean you should make everyone think you're an asshole.

Same thing with the fatness. No it's not the most important thing about a person, but as far as sexiness and relationship potential goes, nothing kills my interest like extra body fat on a girl who is still in her twenties.

Maybe I'm more superficial than most, but I recently ended a years-long on-and-off involvement with someone I was in love with at one point. There were many factors, but one of the big ones for me is she spent so much time lying around drinking that she grew a little belly and lost all the muscle tone in her ass and legs. Suddenly her bitchy little attitude was not as cute as it had been, and when I'd close my eyes and project that personality onto someone with more than ten extra pounds on her little 5'2" frame, it was intolerable. Like Henry Rollins said, "Life's too short. Go get fat on your own time." Goodbye and good ridddance!
posted by autodidact at 6:25 AM on September 11, 2007


Clever name - the cause I don't know...
posted by 2shay at 6:46 AM on September 11, 2007


Brandon Blatcher said: There was a great post a while back, which I currently can't find, containing photos women in NY, going about their day, topless. It was great because rather than focusing on just breasts, it showed them in context of the woman and her everyday life. It transcended the breast fetish and put a beautiful face on the person, no matter what you she looked like.

Something like this flickr set?
posted by knapah at 7:36 AM on September 11, 2007


I hate the way it has become a problem to say that being fat is not a good thing. Ok, I'm sorry if I hurt someone's feelings, but frankly, obesity is not good.

We should not celebrate the difference when the size someone is will end up killing them.
posted by knapah at 7:48 AM on September 11, 2007


Obesity, in my opinion, is indicative of bad health, excuse-making, and laziness. I'm talking obesity here, not overweight. There are plenty of hot girls that aren't rail thin, and a little extra weight can be fine. But I'm talking obese. These people are obese, they have a serious and ugly health problem, this site is the equivalent of a sunburn or yellow teeth fetish.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 8:10 AM on September 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


hinc, buddy, if you were torrenting BGC to impress this fine specimen of womanhood, it ain't too late unless mortality or marriage has intervened; get thee to pitchin' woo.
posted by mwhybark at 8:23 AM on September 11, 2007


aeschenkarnos: Then why didn't you? If you didn't find her physically attractive, that's not something even you yourself have much control over, let alone any of us.
Of course I found her physically attractive, you insensitive prick; that much should be plainly obvious, I thought she was ravishing. But since life is not a romantic comedy, liking someone more than as a friend doesn't mean they feel the same way about you.

That was my point in posting: I found her astonishing both inside and out, and not because I'm a fat fetishist, but simply because she was an amazing woman. That in spite of a few pounds, all I saw was how lovely she looked in the street light, how damn sexy she looked when she wore her red checked shirt, or how much joy it brought when I could make her laugh.

And as opposed to a man-child like autodidact, some of us aren't so controlling as to feel even 50 or 60 pounds of extra weight are necessarily a deal breaker, much less 10 pounds. If we take BlackLeotardFront's stance, then hating on someone for being truly obese is like hating on someone for having bad teeth or a sunburn- things that are superficial and usually fixable with help and effort... unlike say being a chronic asshole. It's like some of you take dating advice from 4chan...
posted by hincandenza at 8:28 AM on September 11, 2007


And as opposed to a man-child like autodidact, some of us aren't so controlling as to feel even 50 or 60 pounds of extra weight are necessarily a deal breaker, much less 10 pounds.

Some of you are probably pretty fat yourselves. I can run marathon distances and lift my body weight dozens of times... you can see my abs when I flex my stomach... and now I'll get called a vainglorious braggart. Despite being vain, I am aware of how vain I am and have the deep self-knowledge and self-respect to operate with respect to my personal "weaknesses."

It doesn't make me a man-child to desire a long-term significant other who will keep the same standard with regards to personal fitness, and not decide at some point to give up and turn into some kind of couch sloth. 10 extra pounds in your twenties becomes 20 to thirty extra pounds before you reach 35.... red flag... fuck that.
posted by autodidact at 8:41 AM on September 11, 2007


And as opposed to a man-child like autodidact, some of us aren't so controlling as to feel even 50 or 60 pounds of extra weight are necessarily a deal breaker, much less 10 pounds. If we take BlackLeotardFront's stance, then hating on someone for being truly obese is like hating on someone for having bad teeth or a sunburn- things that are superficial and usually fixable with help and effort... unlike say being a chronic asshole. It's like some of you take dating advice from 4chan...

I would say it's not hating someone for being obese, but for calling it out as a problem that needs to be rectified.
posted by knapah at 8:43 AM on September 11, 2007


Of course it's hating- if it were love, autodidact would never stop seeing the human being, the frail vessel that we all are, underneath the fat. Maybe he left this part out, but it sure sounds like he just saw the 10 extra pounds and said "Fuck it, you don't look like the FHM model I started dating". That's his choice, but there's simply no way that's not shallow.

If it was that critical to his still finding her attractive, he'd have found fun, seemingly non-workout related ways to spend time together and stay active so that those 10 pounds would disappear (thus rectifying the problem) without it being some weird "No woman I date can have 10 extra pounds in their 20's!!!" hang-up.
posted by hincandenza at 8:48 AM on September 11, 2007


It's a long story that started when we were 19 and ended now when we're both 31 and a half. To be honest she started telling me when we were 29 that she was genetically predisposed to become obese after bearing children and that she knew we were doomed on that basis. This caused her to become sort of a passive-agressive shithead as she tried to sour my feelings to the point where I'd bail and save us both the heartbreak of a committed involvement that was doomed from the start. So it's sort of a chicken and the egg thing. If she hadn't been so insecure about my feelings about fitness, maybe she would have remained as sweet in my eyes which would have allowed me to see past the increasingly thick outer layer of lipids. Ultimately it was her increasing craziness and the feeling of being drawn into some kind of lifelong gangbang, and not the shape or potential shape of her body, which eroded what had once been fairly simple and true love.
posted by autodidact at 8:57 AM on September 11, 2007


Something like this flickr set?

Yep, it was that exact set. Here'sthe original thread about the photos.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:01 AM on September 11, 2007


Man, people have a complex about bodyweight, and it's weird.

I mean, yes, being seriously overweight is unhealthy. But so binge drinking. So is being anorexic. So is overworking yourself. Hell, last I checked, driving is pretty damn dangerous. Yet, we don't feel the need to step in and "correct" the actions of our fellow humans when they do these other things. Only when it comes to bodyweight do we feel the need to be such kind selfless good samaritans and show people the error of their ways.

Where does all this "fat horror" comes from? As a culture, we generally don't see overweight people as attractive. We are afraid that, without shame as a social control, the people around us will become fat, thus decreasing the number of attractive people in the mating pool. We're afraid that our wives, husbands, girlfriends and boyfriends will get fat, and this become less attractive to us. There is, in fact, some evidence that obesity can spread through a social network.

However, people *are* getting fatter, and this is a trend that doesn't show any sign of reversing itself. So eventually, it's going to be a choice between grabbing a fattie or not getting laid.

And people always want to get laid.

So my guess is that "fat acceptance" is inevitable.
posted by Elmo Oxygen at 9:04 AM on September 11, 2007


I see that everyone in this thread has come together to play the roles perfectly. This production of "LOLFATTIES -- The Reckoning" will surely be a hit at the box office.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:18 AM on September 11, 2007


So eventually, it's going to be a choice between grabbing a fattie or not getting laid.

Third option: Move to cities where you don't see too many obese people.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:26 AM on September 11, 2007


I am not into "fat acceptance," but it really rubs me the wrong way when people define obesity as laziness. I tend to assume they're not speaking from experience, because it's not that simple at all.

A desire to do the right thing by your body and work hard at that project all. the. time. is required to stave off weight for many people in our culture, (everyone in my family, it seems) and it will be a lifetime struggle for me, and so many others; every day fighting to keep a special diet, stricter than everyone around me, tuning out advertising and cultural eating cues, just to try and stay under 30 BMI, which is the "obesity" number. At this time, I am not. I'm not fucking lazy. I wish everybody had to count calories and turn down food offers constantly and go to classes just to look their best and to be healthy. Then we'd hear a lot less about "lazy."
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:37 AM on September 11, 2007


Abrosia Voyeur: Oh, but we do. All of us. Some people have been fortunate enough to not been roped into the fatness that the Western world curses children with so they can struggle with their weight forever. I wasn't that fortunate but I've kept those demons at bay for a decade. It's a constant struggle. Regular exercise, watching calorie intake. But that's the way it breaks down. I've been thinner than I am, and would love to be again but that's not happening.

There is no glory in overconsumption and underexertion. I applaud those, like you that are working hard to overcome those past problems that got you where you are. I am always saddened to see unhealthy behaviors glorified in this way. Other unhealthy behaviors aren't. We've effectively banned smoking, we look down on the sexually promiscuous. Because society promotes gluttony and we set up many children for a lifetime of problems we are supposed to revel in it? I don't think so....
posted by shagoth at 10:40 AM on September 11, 2007


It's weird to me - as explored in this thread, and every time something like this comes up on Metafilter - how invested a lot of men seem to be in the bodies of women they don't even know.

I can't imagine going through life being offended every time I see a man who isn't tall or burly or bearded or any of the other things I personally prefer.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 10:48 AM on September 11, 2007 [10 favorites]


Man, people have a complex about bodyweight, and it's weird.

It's not really weird at all. Culturally (and America is the vanguard but is is far from over as a worldwide phenomena), we have massive availability of food that is basically obesity packaged (high calorie versus low provision of nutrition/satiety - soda is the perfect example, high calorie, zero nutrition and nearly zero satiety of hunger), which is constantly being shoved in people's faces by advertising carefully and thoughtfully designed to encourage thoughtless and impulsive eating. This in a culture rendered increasingly sedentary by overuse of the automobile and the ever growing mediation of free time. On top of that, a predisposition to accumulate fat is simply a smart genetic play over the long term. If famine struck the world I'd be drying autodidact jerky on the hood of my car in about 2 months while I was still burning off the equivalent hundred cheeseburgers I've got unattractively strapped around my middle. Epidemic obesity is an absolutely inevitable outcome of these cultural parameters.

At the same time the presentation of the human image in media has proceeded into the territory of pure imagination. It has become so easy to manipulate images that ordinary variations and flaws and decimal points of the theoretical ideal have all but disappeared. If there's a quarter inch of flab overhanging the waistband you just make it vanish. Bulimic cocaine addicts not maintaining quite the pleasing skin tone or attractive rack you'd prefer? You can smooth out that junkie pallor and pump up those cans with a click of the mouse. This is on top of an entertainment culture that has become increasingly demanding of the appearance parameters of the majority of its professionals.

Frankly, it would be weird if we didn't have this massive, conflicted, confused complex about weight.
posted by nanojath at 10:58 AM on September 11, 2007


hmsbeagle, You are so right. I, myself, become terribly offended and righteously indignant everytime I see a man who, for no apparent reason, is not wearing a kilt. You don't know what my life is like; it's just exhausting.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:04 AM on September 11, 2007


Ooh, handy!

I know who I can ignore in text now because they would be shitty to me in real life.
posted by batmonkey at 1:02 PM on September 11, 2007


One ironic fact about obesity and exercise: exercise makes your food more satisfying and better tasting.
posted by autodidact at 1:40 PM on September 11, 2007


One ironic fact about the things people say when talking about overweight people is the ridiculous assumption that overweight people a) don't work out and b) aren't trying to improve their health.
posted by batmonkey at 1:44 PM on September 11, 2007


Oh, wait, that was more than one fact, and they might not be ironic at all.

Here's another one: overweight people don't spend all their time eating or thinking about food.

A lot of overweight people actually eat quite healthfully, know how to dress, work out, keep clean, and breathe through their noses.

And there are a LOT of healthy, attractive, brilliant, HWP folks who find overweight people romantically/intimately attractive without it approaching the level of fetishisation. That might be another shocker.

I think the biggest one of all is this one:

Overweight people are human beings.
posted by batmonkey at 1:49 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


batmonkey: Bingo, or to be blunt. The only reliable weightloss treatment is having your stomach stapled. Back when I was doing half-marathons with the intent to go to full marathon and beyond, the extra 10 around my middle stuck around no matter how many training hours I put in. Of course, I worked myself to an overtraining injury because I'm obsessive that way. About the only thing that made a dint in that spare tire was the entire week I was forced to live on an IV, and that wasn't healthy either.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:54 PM on September 11, 2007


autodidact, I have found the opposite to be true.

I run ~4 times a week. I kayak a couple times a week. I surf a couple times a week. By this country's standards I'm pretty active.

That said, (how sad that I even felt compelled to present credentials), I have nothing but contempt for proselytizing "health" evangelists.

As with most evangelists, their ideas of what is right and proper are rigid, simplistic, compassionless and dismissive of the complexities that are the strength of the human race.

/rant
posted by small_ruminant at 2:00 PM on September 11, 2007


To get back on topic, this website didn't do much for me. If I were a guy I'd definitely be a chubby-chaser, but bodies without faces leave me cold.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:02 PM on September 11, 2007


"A lot of overweight people actually eat quite healthfully, know how to dress, work out"

I've met lots of overweight people who make these claims, and to this point it has always turned out that they don't really understand what "eat quite healthfully" or "work out" means.
posted by autodidact at 2:12 PM on September 11, 2007


one ironic fact about being overweight and exercising: If you do lose a bunch of weight, say 45 pounds like I did, you're suddenly way stronger and able to endure extended cardio easily than other people your weight, because you're used to toting a bunch of fat everywhere. I'm a natural athlete under here!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:23 PM on September 11, 2007


And, autodidact, I've met lots of people like you who have their own vices, bad habits, and addictions but somehow only gave a damn when it actually had anything to do with me.

Also, not all overweight people are that way because of overeating or underexertion. Many, to be sure. Probably even most. Even percentages of those have mitigating causes that complicate their efforts/desire to lose weight and become healthy.

Maybe, just maybe, you should set down that stone and start looking around in your own glass house for stuff to smash.
posted by batmonkey at 2:26 PM on September 11, 2007


Hey I'm not claiming to be perfect and I definitely have my own vices and personal weaknesses. I just get annoyed when people try to say there's something wrong with me because I'm turned off by fat people. The political correctness of that sentiment means it will never ring true to my ears. It's like saying that retarded people can do anything they put their minds to. They just can't, and fat people are just not attractive (to me.)

If live and let live is the order of the day then let me live too damnit!
posted by autodidact at 2:32 PM on September 11, 2007


Ambrosia Voyeur:
I am looking forward to that. Having formerly been an athlete and then getting locked in this cage has been a nightmare.

I'm so glad there are folks like you providing a positive role model to those who are tempted to let the naysayers bring them down and make them feel useless/unwanted/shamed instead of letting it help them be more fierce in fighting to get free (whether again or for the first time).

small_ruminant:
I can't look at the pics yet, coz I'm at work, but I did have a friend go look and describe them to me. I'm thinking my response will be the same as yours.

I understand the artist's statement and realise some of it must be protectiveness of some of the identities, but I think there should have been *somewhere* with at least *some* of the models rejoined with their bodies.
posted by batmonkey at 2:32 PM on September 11, 2007


Those happy with themselves rarely attack others.




Worth pondering.
posted by SaintCynr at 2:37 PM on September 11, 2007


Just for the record.... I'm not attacking anyone, just expressing the rationale behind a personal preference. More power to you if you're happy with your body.
posted by autodidact at 2:38 PM on September 11, 2007


I just got back from the Mexican Rainforest, where we went to hike through the jungles and climb Mayan pyramids in 90 degree heat and 100% humidity. It really made me appreciate having learned what my body should be able to do. One of our companions is heavier than I am, and her acceptance of her limitations chilled me. I remember that suffocating feeling of being so fat in the heat from my heavier days; I know how miserable and paralyzed she must have felt before all the giving in and missing out she did, and how just going there was really a feat for her. But I don't share that fate. It made me really want to attack life and experience all of it, at a jog. I was the first up every pyramid.

on preview: batmonkey: I'm not down 45 anymore, but I will be, and more. I'm sexy and confident at any weight, but when I'm trim it's gonna be off the hook. Beautiful and terrible as the dawn! Tempestuous as the sea, and stronger than the foundations of the earth! All shall love me and despair! You can do it!! feel free to email me on your journey!!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:46 PM on September 11, 2007


I'm 6'2", 190. Quite fit, thanks. But a person doesn't need to share someone's appearance to have empathy for them as a fellow human who is worthy of respect.
posted by SaintCynr at 2:47 PM on September 11, 2007


As with most evangelists, their ideas of what is right and proper are rigid, simplistic, compassionless and dismissive of the complexities that are the strength of the human race.

Regarding these photographs, we're not talking about people with a few extra pounds, but rather people who have put themselves at risk of grave harm.

The facts remain that 1) obesity is an indicator in a number of lethal ailments, particularly diabetes and heart disease; and, 2) obesity is most prevalent in industrialized nations with an overabundance of food with low nutritional value.

The photographer is irresponsible for promoting poor lifestyle choices as acceptable or normal, even inevitable, or beautiful. Others are irresponsible who buy into this.

This "art" celebrates obesity as an inviolate ideal — despite it being an unsustainable, unmanageable health disorder of now epidemic scale — and is about as morally uplifting as a tracheotomy art gallery funded by cigarette corporations.

To me, true compassion comes from honesty: Morbid obesity almost entirely is due to calorie consumption to metabolic excess.

Those who choose to remain morbidly obese, who are this way because of choices they made, are not only lazy, but also selfish for encouraging society to value poor decision-making at the expense of their own health and — more tragically — their dependents and loved ones.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:51 PM on September 11, 2007


Tragic, sure, unhealthy, duh, but they still need to be loved and get laid. It's one of the better therapies I know of. We need to accept ourselves as we are before we can make radical changes that stick. You can't loathe yourself thin. Wagging your finger at fat people is a waste of time; they know they're fat and the vast majority of them the vast majority of the time feel BAD about it, not good. So bad they just shut down, become depressed and, well, die. It's okay to try and shine a different light on it now and again ans say "Well, I am snuggly at least," It's not pathological to enjoy the now, it's the first step to gaining perspective.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:02 PM on September 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


Those who choose to remain morbidly obese, who are this way because of choices they made, are not only lazy, but also selfish for encouraging society to value poor decision-making at the expense of their own health and — more tragically — their dependents and loved ones.

And yet I never hear the same level of vitriol towards very underweight women, or even, very overweight men. I don't hear it about people who sleep around without condoms, or people who drink or use heavily, unless it's a drug people consider low class, like crack or meth.

Obese women, especially ones who dare to come out in public unashamed and stylish, bring out such strong reactions in people, (well demonstrated in this thread), that there must be an element of fear involved. Maybe it's a fear of someone so detached from the mainstream ideal of feminine beauty that caters to a particular male audience that's threatening.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:32 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


true compassion comes from honesty

How much ugliness and cruelty have I heard justified by this!
posted by small_ruminant at 3:34 PM on September 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


What really gets me is this tendency to refer to women such as the photographed as carrying 'a few extra pounds'. My God, I was never that overweight, and I had to drop 60 pounds to get to my current (slightly overweight) size. 60 pounds is not a few, it's a lot. And these women are not a few pounds overweight, they are at least 100, if not more.

I struggle with my weight. I work out on days I'm not recovering. I have a relatively active lifestyle. I can't (quite) lift my own bodyweight, yet, but I'm getting there.

And yet, I'm overweight. Only a matter of about 20 pounds from my ideal, but I've been trying since January to shift those. I've gotten stronger, and fitter - but haven't really managed to shift that weight. I'm currently, if you will, carrying a few extra pounds.

Sure, I've met women who are absolutely gorgeous when they're quite seriously overwieght. I'm told that I'm quite a looker when I'm carrying those 60 extra pounds. But that doesn't change the fact that it's a profoundly unhealthy state - as unhealthy, at least, as those anorexic models so idolized.
posted by ysabet at 3:50 PM on September 11, 2007


Perhaps only an overfed culture could eroticize near-morbid obesity.

Our culture is eating-disordered. It's not overfed or underfed.

Only an eating-disordered culture would tell all fat people that they are "morbidly" overweight, regardless of their health.

Only an eating-disordered culture will tell young women that it's preferable to smoke cigarettes to "stay thin" than it is to be of normal weight, or even overweight, and healthy.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 4:06 PM on September 11, 2007


Only an eating-disordered culture would tell all fat people that they are "morbidly" overweight, regardless of their health.

While I agree with the feeling behind this statement, I think the problem is not exactly that we generally tell everyone who's fat that they're "morbidly obese" but that we seem to delight in espousing medical terminology about others' bodies when we aren't really informed to do so.

However, there are definitions of obesity and morbid obesity, based on guidelines I don't agree with anyway. I don't look "obese" to me, but at 5'9" and 204, I am according to the charts. c'mon - I'm big boned!!! aww...
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:20 PM on September 11, 2007


Denial about obesity is going to be the death of y'all.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:24 PM on September 11, 2007


A little monkey lead me to The Big Fat Facts: The Truth About Fat, Obesity, Gastric Bypass, and Weightloss.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:26 PM on September 11, 2007


>>Denial about obesity is going to be the death of y'all.

The cause of your demise is perhaps murkier, but that you will die is also certain.

That you'll live longer than another appears to be of some solace to you, though.
posted by SaintCynr at 5:42 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I recently discovered a nice example of why this country is fat. Recently, I purchased a bicycle for transportation. This is actually quite common around here as it's a big college in the middle of nowhere. There's a system of bike routes that actually go places, for example.

But, I've seen, several times in under a week, a very interesting method of bicycle riding. This is that when you encounter a hill, you should dismount, walk your bike up the hill, and coast down the other side so that you never have to perform any exertion. Now I'll admit my cardiovasculars are in horrible shape with regards to uphill exertion, but I'm capable of getting up all these hills though I'm huffing and puffing on some. I even see people doing it on tiny uphills that leave me no more winded than a couple flights of stairs. For me, walking my bike up a hill would be an embarrassing minor personal failure, but for these people the attitude seems to be that they're doing it wrong if they use the pedals for anything besides resting their feet.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:46 PM on September 11, 2007


Or you know, they don't want to show up to a class full of attractive people looking all sweaty.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:10 PM on September 11, 2007


Here's what ~tehloki has to say about it:

But how do to improve their chances of acquiring that condition, is it a crime for those over 300 pounds!", the black market for french fries and hamburgers? We need unisex bathrooms. The concept of living on a friend's couch, he did not write.
posted by tehloki at 6:23 PM on September 11, 2007


Seen the movie "Shallow Hal"? Good concept, actually: a guy obsessed with women's physical appearance only, and really jerky about it, is hypnotized/drugged...something, I forget...into thinking that fatso Gwyneth Paltrow (in a fat suit) is beautiful. When Jack Black (Hal) looks at her, he sees the real Gwyneth, but the audience only sees her in the suit. And she's morbidly obese. Not pleasantly plump, not chubby, but dangerously close to a heart attack and death. And we as an audience were supposed to feel shallow ourselves and see how superficial we are and how much like Hal our views are and how beautiful fat people are and--

There is chubby. There is "slightly" overweight. There's having a big ass or having a spare tire. Then there's being obese, which is a whole other kettle of fish. It's not good, it's not healthy, and for this guy, not sexy in the least.
posted by zardoz at 6:34 PM on September 11, 2007


Those who choose to remain morbidly obese, who are this way because of choices they made, are not only lazy, but also selfish...

It must be wonderful to have nothing about yourself that you need to change, and know what you have to do to change, and yet are unable to change. When is your book coming out, it's sure to be a fucking bestseller.
posted by nanojath at 7:07 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


zardoz: Well, yeah. I have a close relative that a really worry about, because she is extremely overweight, and diabetic. But I was forced to realize something recently. For about 30+ years her weight was a huge issue in our family, and the result was something that can be characterized as chronic emotional abuse. 30+ years of "she would be pretty if," and "have you tried..." in all of its infinite variations didn't help her manage her health any better. All it did was add clinical depression to the list of health problems she has to juggle.

This has given me a different perspective in regards to how we approach obesity in the Untied States. Badgering people doesn't work. And treating them like shit because they are fat doesn't work. It hasn't worked for the previous 30 years, there is no reason to suspect that it will work in the future. Those who argue that the obesity epidemic can be effectively changed by shaming people into exercise and diet programs are in the same handbasket as young-earth creationists. It's magical thinking. It's bullshit.

What does have a chance? Systematic cultural change. Abandon the car culture which has dramatically reduced walking. Even public transit is healthier than subruban car ownership. Deep changes in our dietary culture and economics. Changing the nature of work in our culture to accomodate slow food.

And there are connections with other oppressions. U.S. Citizens need to quit patting themeselves on the back for ending legal Jim Crow, while still living in horribly segregated cities where Black and Hispanic neighborhoods have substantially reduced access to full-service grocery stores. Universal health care access and education may also help.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:24 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


FYI, zardoz, the obesity cutoff isn't where you think it is; you could weigh literally hundreds of pounds less than that Shallow Hal actress and still be morbidly obese. A girl about whom you'd say "well, she's definitely fat, but it's not like she spills over into my bus seat," or a guy about whom you'd say "that's a spare tire, but it's not like he needs a scooter," might easily be obese, even morbidly obese, if you could run the numbers.

"Obese" sounds like a technical, clinical term, so people tend to believe it only applies to super-fatties who can barely stagger up a flight of stairs, but that's wrong. Ambrosia Voyeur's already mentioned similar stuff: she said she's currently obese, linked to a picture of herself, and was the first to race up pyramids in ninety-degree weather.
posted by booksandlibretti at 7:35 PM on September 11, 2007


Ah, so nanojath uses the "he who is without sin may cast the first stone" argument. To wit, just because one is not morbidly obese, one can not state things like "people who choose to remain morbidly obese are lazy, selfish fucks."

Myself, I suspect this "everyone's a special snowflake, everyone's a winner!" idiocy is a contributing factor to the problem.

in truth, i think the bulk of the problem is due to people choosing to eat processed foods.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:37 PM on September 11, 2007


Okay. Having seen the pics, I've got more to say (yet another shocker ;])...

People who are at this stage of obesity fascinate regular people. Absolutely fascinate them. I know this because I am close a close friend of more than one person who could have been a model for this. No matter where we go, no matter what they do, no matter how well dressed or quiet or avoidant of food they are in the presence of those people, they get stares. And comments. And, sometimes, worse.

These photographs show everyone what they really want to know about the morbidly obese, but I would hope that at least a few will come away with the understanding that they are seeing a person. An incredibly unwell person, likely, but a person nonetheless.

Not some ...thing to gawk at, nor throw the remainders of drinks at, nor even to whisper excitedly and pointedly about. People*. They can see and hear all of this (honestly, we sometimes wonder if people think they're invisible or something when doing these things), and it doesn't make anyone a better person to make them feel even worse about their situation.

And what's the point, really, of mocking and glaring and even presumptuously (and often incorrectly) instructing strangers who are clearly very unwell?

I'll never understand it. It doesn't help the person it's directed at, it doesn't help their friends encourage them in better choice-making, and it just makes the world that much more frightening a place for them to be out in and doing things. Which are, of course, the best way to lose weight.

A lot of them do know they're vastly shortening their expected lifespans, that they will have fewer experiences in their lives at that threshold of size, that they will be in pain for that much longer. For whatever reason, the alternative is far more terrifying for them, and there they are. If they are lucky enough to recognise their problem and then decide to do something about it, they should be able to do those things without being singled out for public criticism and mockery simply by dint of having more visible symptoms/damage.

After all, even thin people can be obese...it's just that they've got the more socially acceptable genes.

*i can't stop hearing "solyent green is...", now. dangit.

on preview:
Pretty much an illustration of what KirkJobSluder up is saying, above, with a little venting thrown in, I guess.
Eep.

Ambrosia Voyeur, that is incredibly well said. Incredibly. Joyfully. I may well take you up on that email offer. Thank you.
posted by batmonkey at 8:22 PM on September 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't know, five fresh fish, I don't think you're really grasping my point. Maybe, like Blazecock you never struggled really hard to change something about yourself and failed. In that case I can see where this incredibly judgmental, sanctimonious attitude comes from. My issue is that because I am not morbidly obese, perhaps I have no fucking clue what it is like, what the real motivations are that drive a person to destructive behavior, how bad it it makes them feel to try to maintain the behavior necessary to lose that weight. My issue is, knowing how hard it was and remains to, for example, give up the cigarette smoking habit I stupidly and thoughtlessly burned into my synapses in my early teens, I find I am not so quick to brand active smokers as lazy, or selfish, or "fucks" because they haven't managed to do what I have.

Every expert on this topic I have read or seen acknowledges first and above all that it is extraordinarily difficult, particularly for the most extremely obese, to reverse obesity and attain a permanent, healthy lifestyle. Again, perhaps you have never failed at something extraordinarily difficult. Like I said to Alex, get to work on that book. The rest of us are dying to be perfect like you.
posted by nanojath at 8:26 PM on September 11, 2007


Dude, I've struggled really hard to change all things about myself and failed at many of them.

That doesn't mean I shouldn't be criticized for things I do that are self-destructive. Indeed, sometimes the best criticisms come from people who don't share the same issue.

This is not in any way to defend whoever wrote the "lazy and selfish" bit you'd quoted. I'm defending the right to be critical of others regardless how much one share's in that person's experiences. Whether one chooses to be a schmuck about it is another issue entirely.

'cause for one thing, everyone's experiences are wholly unique, so in the end, no one would ever be allowed to be critical of anything
posted by five fresh fish at 8:39 PM on September 11, 2007


Like a lot of people have said, there will be no quick solution to the problem. I think one of the best things would be to teach more cooking in school. For reals.
posted by autodidact at 9:17 PM on September 11, 2007


How much ugliness and cruelty have I heard justified by this!

Better, then, to spare feelings and live in a fantasy land, than to address what will kill you in a particularly ugly and cruel fashion!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:34 PM on September 11, 2007


autodidact: on that we can agree. cooking and basic nutrition should be taught in schools. Exercise and all of the cool stuff you learn in physical therapy should be taught, too. Our bodies need as much development as our minds, and knowledge about how to start, attain, and maintain that health should have more focus in many areas of our lives.

More generally...

Health care should also be much more affordable and attainable, as that helps prevent/cure obesity, as well.

And communities should be waaaaay more encouraging of people in that state...a lot of obese people would really love it to have people be nice to them when they go swimming, ride bikes, go for walks, join gyms, visit parks, and other habits of healthy people. That's the best way you can help, if you're not a friend, relative, or authority figure.

Friends, relatives, and authority figures should create/encourage opportunities to do active things, helping them to overcome their fears and misperceptions about movement and exertion. They can also be helpful role models in making healthy eating habits, or provide exposure to how to produce nutritional, tasty meals. There are so many ways for loved ones to help those who are trapped by their bodies, compulsions, and fears.

Also, everyone can help by making plans with their obese friends and being willing to suggest great things to do together when certain milestones are reached, like being able to fit in rides at amusement parks or visiting a museum that requires a lot of walking.

Help them us. Don't humiliate them us.

[on preview]
Blazecock Pileon:
They know. You don't need to tell them. They know.
posted by batmonkey at 9:45 PM on September 11, 2007


Maybe, like Blazecock you never struggled really hard to change something about yourself and failed.

I am 5' 6", went down from 190 to 130 over eighteen months, and am back up to 160, partially due to a few months of inactivity (accident), but mostly due to falling off the wagon where my predilection for sweets goes.

It's fucking hard to maintain a reasonably healthy weight, but it's gotta be done. I have no desire be in my 30s and injecting my stomach with insulin while nursing an amputated foot, or waiting for a heart transplant, or sitting in a wheelchair, paralyzed on the left side from a nasty stroke. No, thank you.

That would be unfair not only to myself, to basically commit suicide at such an early age, but it would be unfair to my SO and other loved ones. I have a lot to live for. I hope to share a full, good, quality life with those I care about, and choosing to be morbidly obese is incompatible with that value.

No, thanks, I'll just struggle to learn a little self-control in a consumerist culture where being out of control is not only okay, but encouraged. Not only encouraged by the likes of snack food corporations that put the motto "Get your own bag!" on potato chips, but by self-esteem coaches and photographers who say its okay to make avoidably poor lifestyle choices.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:55 PM on September 11, 2007


five fresh fish: Criticism is only effective if it is constructive. If the advice given is actually effective at changing the situation. If the advice given is not effective, then all you are doing is engaging in pointless abuse.

Multiple studies regarding the long-term efficacy of diet and exercise programs show that they simply do not work, with failure rates measuring from 80%-95%. It is easier to quit heroin and smoking than it is to drop 10% of your body mass, and keep it off after five years.

In addition, it is simply not the case that the obesity epidemic can be blamed on either grotesque excess or sloth. The vision of obese people scarfing down twinkies by the score does not match the reality that subtle changes in lifestyle extended over years has led to increasing obesity rates.

At some point, people who really want to deal with this problem need to abandon ideology for reality. We have tried your "criticism" approach. It has been the dominant dogma for two generations, and what has happened with obesity rates in that time?

Blazecock Pileon: I am 5' 6", went down from 190 to 130 over eighteen months, and am back up to 160, partially due to a few months of inactivity (accident), but mostly due to falling off the wagon where my predilection for sweets goes.

Congratulations. That puts you about two standard devations out from the mean in regards to success rates for people who have seriously tried to loose weight.

Anecdote is not data, and the data that we have is a dismal refutation of your "self control" model. And just to provide a counter-anecdote, I found that even when I was overtraining, and logging 25-30 miles a week, I never could drop below 185. Of course, I didn't mind that much, because each week I was increasing my endurance and speed. But still as a secondary goal it was frustrating to plateau at that level.

I have no desire be in my 30s...

My goodness, talk about throwing away what little credibility you had in this discussion. Yes, not only are those of us pushing 40 with a higher than ideal BMI all diabetic cripples, we also have poor eyesight and hairy palms. Managed to miss the genetic bullet on diabetes so far. Even worse, I'm told that by age 50, I can expect that my hair will migrate from my head to my ears. The horror!
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:16 PM on September 11, 2007


BP's history and youthful naivete suddenly brings this discussion into focus. It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that the "cold turkey" types are the biggest assholes with the worst tin-plated ears when it comes to these things. Sticky issues like facts and reality are less important than the need to crow about what macho spartans they are.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:24 PM on September 11, 2007


I struggle with weight and managing it. It's a long uphill battle, with no end in sight.

I went from 95kg to 60kg a few years back. I'm currently sitting on 70kg, and really want to get down to about 55kg. But the weight, it isn't shifting. And every time stress happens, or injury, or illness, I slip. It's got nothing to do with self-control, either; I decrease my food intake in accordance with my lack of activity, but my metabolic rate slows whenever I'm under stress, it seems, which results in me gaining weight rather quick when anything untoward happens.

There are very real issues with being overweight in my family; at 40, for example, my mother had crush fractures in her spine from osteoporosis. My bone density is already low, for various reasons; and I already have issues in the exact same vertebrae.

Medically, I have no choice, if I wish to enjoy my late youth and middle age, let alone anything beyond.
posted by ysabet at 10:45 PM on September 11, 2007


Oh dear, more ranting:
fff: To wit, just because one is not morbidly obese, one can not state things like "people who choose to remain morbidly obese are lazy, selfish fucks."

Oh, one can state anything that one likes. However, one should expect that one's statements of ill-informed prejudice will be challenged.

The success rates for medically supervised diet and exercise programs are so dismal that you really can't say that one "chooses" to be morbidly obese. This is where reality kicks in with a vengeance. It is much easier to gain weight than to lose it, and while doctors and nutritionists can put you on a diet, and send you to physical therapy, etc. etc., success is likely to be %10-20, not a magic 20BMI.

in truth, i think the bulk of the problem is due to people choosing to eat processed foods.

Oh, I forget the exact figure, but someone crunched the economic geography of U.S. cities, mapped access to services, and found that if you lived near the poverty line, the closest grocery was something like a mean of 40 minutes travel time away. That was likely to be public transit where two bags is difficult to manage, and getting a cab into those neighborhoods is even more tricky. The higher your income, the smaller the travel time and more choices available to you. I suspect things are even worse for the rural poor. But to put it simply, access to fresh foods is a luxury correlated with socio-economic status. In under a century we've flipped the correlation between fresh/processed food and socio-economic status on its ear. The upper class have fresh food delivered, the middle class browse produce at the megamart, the poor get spaghettios at the 7-11 or VP.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:57 PM on September 11, 2007


Anecdote is not data

The only one who said anecdote-is-data is you, when you made the ironic comment about your personal health. In any case, I was clearly responding to nanojath's uninformed comment that I had never struggled with weight gain, which is evidently false.

Obesity is at epidemic levels and is a pretty well-established cause of chronic health problems. Making positive changes in diet, specifically in caloric intake and food quality, does help manage weight.

I'm really not interested in arguing these facts, much for the same reason that I would have no interest in debating a creationist or Holocaust revisionist.

Sticky issues like facts and reality are less important than the need to crow about what macho spartans they are.

It's hard to say which is more dangerous, the harmful value system promoted by "lipipositivity", or the denial that obesity is one of those epidemics that could be avoided. Certainly these are two of the really, incredibly stupid ideas in the history of sloppy thinking, anyway.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:55 PM on September 11, 2007


There is one big benefit to the obesity epidemic: as people start dropping like flies, the survivors will accumulate their wealth (through inheritance).

If the economy collapses, this may prove an important thing. Same thing happened at the end of the Plague: because so many people had died, everyone had more of everything: farms, money, wealth. This kicked off the European economy in a huge way.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:12 AM on September 12, 2007


And yet I never hear the same level of vitriol towards very underweight women, or even, very overweight men. I don't hear it about people who sleep around without condoms, or people who drink or use heavily, unless it's a drug people consider low class, like crack or meth - small_ruminant

Then you're not listening to the right people. Everything you have just mentioned deserves comment.

Not direct intervention - which I don't advocate for obese people either - but constructive criticism and advice.

Most definitely not the attitude I have heard a lot recently that we should celebrate obesity as part of what a wonderfully diverse species we are.
posted by knapah at 4:31 AM on September 12, 2007


Good for them. Be as fat as you want, be as thin as you want. As long as you're not blaming others for the consequences of your lifestyle (or expecting them to pay for it), do whatever you like.

Can fat be beautiful? Yeah, IMHO.
posted by hjo3 at 4:51 AM on September 12, 2007


Blazecock Pileon: Obesity is at epidemic levels and is a pretty well-established cause of chronic health problems. Making positive changes in diet, specifically in caloric intake and food quality, does help manage weight.

I'm really not interested in arguing these facts, much for the same reason that I would have no interest in debating a creationist or Holocaust revisionist


Certainly, and on this issue, you are in exactly the same boat as those who promote abstinence-only approaches as a solution for HIV. Yes, abstinence does dramatically reduce your chances of contracting HIV, but the facts are that when you look over entire populations and communities, trying to shame people into practicing abstinence just does not work. Likewise, medical researchers have perfomed study after study on diet and exercise interventions for weight loss. The conclusion of study after study is that they do not work.

The facts are not on your side, and you are peddling lies just as dangerous as holocaust revisionism.

It's hard to say which is more dangerous, the harmful value system promoted by "lipipositivity", or the denial that obesity is one of those epidemics that could be avoided.

So again, the "shame shame" approach to dealing with obesity has been the standard practice for multiple generations. How well has that worked so far?

If you consider this to be such an important issue, why are you defending a treatment and prevention strategy that is a proven failure?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:27 AM on September 12, 2007


So, KJS, the morbidly obese are stuck with their condition and might as well do nothing about it, eh?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:47 AM on September 12, 2007


I'm reading back through here and I see absolutely *no one* advocating obesity.

No one.

I see people saying people can still be beautiful when overweight. I see people saying they'd like to be treated like human beings regardless of what weight they're at. I see absolutely nothing saying people should encourage other people to be overweight.

In fact, even the self-identified overweight in the thread made it clear they not happy with their situation and are working to change it.

So, knapah, Blazecock Pileon, and five fresh fish, just who are you talking to?
posted by batmonkey at 7:51 AM on September 12, 2007


Certainly, and on this issue, you are in exactly the same boat as those who promote abstinence-only approaches as a solution for HIV

Before you make wild claims, cite them. Before you say something stupid, check your facts.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:17 AM on September 12, 2007


batmonkey: I was initially referring to the increasingly noticeable suggestion that it is wrong to say that obesity is a bad thing.

I was not referring directly to anything in this thread. The problem is that if someone says "obesity is bad." then, in my experience, the person is often shouted down because they might hurt someone's feelings.

Tough. Obesity is bad. So is smoking, alcoholism, anorexia, bulimia etc. etc. I don't care if people already know it, it shouldn't mean the topic should be avoided.
posted by knapah at 8:37 AM on September 12, 2007


and in response to KirkJobSluder. I, for one, am not advocating a "shame shame" approach to obesity treatment.
posted by knapah at 8:39 AM on September 12, 2007


Uh... did you just make KirkJobSluder's point? You basically quoted yourself taking the opposite philosophical side as this on a different issue, thus effectively highlighting your own hypocrisy. That was KJS's point, no? That your approach would be akin to saying abstinence only should work... yet you quote yourself vehemently disagreeing with that notion, making all of us rational people wonder... what the hell does Blazecock Pileon have against fat people?
posted by hincandenza at 8:50 AM on September 12, 2007


five fresh fish: So, KJS, the morbidly obese are stuck with their condition and might as well do nothing about it, eh?

Certainly not. A 5-10 percent success rate is still better than nothing, and changes in diet and exercise may have other benefits beyond weight loss.

But, looking at the facts, you can't conclude from the appearance that a person is obese very much about if or how they are managing their diet.

Blazecock Pileon: But it is both morally and ethically inconsistant for you to consider the peer-reviewed research to be important in HIV prevention, and ignore the peer-reviewed research on obesity. One of the more optimistic studies is Wing and Phelan who found %20 success rates by defining success as %10 for more than a year. Note that 10% for many morbidly obese persons is not enough to drop one out of the high risk category.

knpath: I was initially referring to the increasingly noticeable suggestion that it is wrong to say that obesity is a bad thing.

What I've noticed is that a small quantity of people who suggest this are quickly shouted down. The position isn't "obesity is good," the position is that fat people shouldn't be subjected to harassment and discrimination because of their weight.

Or to propose a related anecdote. One of the most memorable experiences I had at the 1994 March on Washington was meeting a very nice topless dyke who proudly bore mastectomy scars. Now I certainly would not kid anyone that breast cancer is a good thing. But at the same time, I think she had a right just like hundreds of other women to claim that space as hers, and not hide in shame.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:07 AM on September 12, 2007


batmonkey: I was initially referring to the increasingly noticeable suggestion that it is wrong to say that obesity is a bad thing.

Ditto.

It's not wrong to beef about the way someone has said it, but it is wrong to say there is no place for criticism or commentary.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:31 PM on September 12, 2007


I'm not saying you can't dialogue on the subject, folks.

I'm saying it is wrong to do so in such a way as if the people you are talking about are not generally otherwise reasonable people or are somehow not able to comprehend what you're saying.

Just because their issue is obvious doesn't give anyone the right to treat them as less than human, as deserving less dignity and respect as any other person.

There is no such thing as a perfect person. None. Unless you're going to walk around with a badge giving other people permission to comment/criticise you for your non-obvious flaws, failures, imperfections, problems, diseases, traumas, issues, injuries, or miscellaneous "bad" what-have-you, then you are basically just being a jerk.

Again: THEY KNOW. It is never a surprise to any overweight person that a) they're flawed b) people don't like this particular flaw c) they got to that point by messing up somewhere.

And, again, if they DON'T know, or don't appear to know (reality), it's honestly none of your business.

So, if you're going to start that "criticism or commentary", do so in the same way you'd approach someone you care about those things.
posted by batmonkey at 2:19 PM on September 13, 2007


Iterestingly enough, Scientific American just hit my library shelf this week, with articles talking about how to fight growing obesity rates in developing nations, and the complexities of fat metabolism. The latter article also echoed the conclusion I posted above: diet success is often just 10% with serious problems avoiding weight regain. Simply put, once your body stabilizes at a given weight, it resists efforts to change weight.

I didn't have time to do more than skim the article on looking at obesity as a problem connected to poverty and food policy, but one of its conclusions is that the U.S. could curb obesity by shifting crop subisides away from animal feed grain and soya and towards fruits and vegetables. The inteded effect would be to reduce the cost of fruits and vegetables and increase the cost of meat.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:52 PM on September 13, 2007


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