Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 13: Taboo


Write about something taboo.

When I first looked at this prompt I figured I’d go off topic because I couldn’t think of something to write about.  Sure, there’s the “taboo of sugar” for people with diabetes (What Ever) and there are other things that are thought to be taboo for those of us who are “sugar challenged”, but nothing really caught my interest, until I went to my handy Funk and Wagnalls.  “Taboo: proscribed by society as improper or unacceptable.”

Let’s talk about weight, not in relation to health necessarily, but in how it is perceived by society.  Overweight people are thought to be “unacceptable” by so many.  The media holds up ultra-thin models as the “perfect woman” and young girls have been striving to be that perfect woman for decades; causing many to develop eating disorders.  All you have to do is cruise the internet and you will see a myriad of comments that indicate what our society thinks of obesity: no respect, little sympathy and zero tolerance.  “Look at that fat slob!  Why don’t they just eat less and lose some weight?”  I think that’s so sad.  We’re so quick to judge others even when we don’t have a clue what might be going on in their lives.  “As obesity rates continue to rise in the U.S., so might our acceptance of those who are overweight. But a new study from Yale University suggests the converse trend: rather than feeling tolerance in our society, the overweight and obese say they feel more heavily discriminated against now than they did a decade ago.”  From Time, April 2008

We’re getting fatter, as a society; there is no doubt about that.  Statistics are in our face showing us that currently 1/3 of Americans are considered to be obese and that’s growing, and yet instead of showing some compassion for these people, there is a lot of scorn.  Who wants to sit next to the “fat guy” on the plane?  Obese people are often thought of as less intelligent. Discrimination against overweight people in the workplace is on the rise.  What is being done about this?

Clothes are getting bigger.  I’d like to think that I’m fitting into a smaller size because I’ve done so well at losing weight, but the reality is that a size 12 of today is much bigger than a size 12 of the 1970’s.  (We have stretch fabrics to thank for that.)  Airlines are considering widening their seats to accommodate larger passengers.  Our world is up-sizing.  Instead of focusing on why this is happening and finding ways to “fix it”, our society is just making it easier to be fat.  What’s wrong with this picture?

One of the problems is people’s perception of their weight.  Studies have shown that people tend to think that their weight is just fine, even though their BMI indicates that they are obese.  If people don’t feel the need to lose weight then it makes it more difficult to make healthy lifestyle changes.  It’s a fine mess, isn’t it?

Obesity is taboo in our society.  Obesity is on the rise.  Serious changes need to be made in order to stop this runaway train.  Somehow people need to be shown how to live healthier lives.  Our food sources need to move away from convenience and longer shelf-life and focus more on health.  Our society needs to “park at the far end of the lot” instead of “searching for the closest parking space”.  Above all, we need a large dose of compassion folks. 

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