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Old 08-21-2009, 10:41 AM   #1
kazbates
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Oh, The Irony!!

This is something I've thought about posting for awhile now. It's very personal for me and something I've struggled with since I was very young.

Why is it socially acceptable to ridicule or poke fun at Overweight people?

In the current trend for Political Correctness, this is one area where it seems that it is okay to NOT be PC. Using an overweight person as the bumbling sidekick in movies and television shows is very common, as is making a fat person the brunt of a joke. Even PETA has gotten in the act with it's newest ad campaign (this is an actual billboard sign in Jacksonville, FL):



A quote from PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman:
"Trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach."

Many of the comments on the PETA website have been contemptuous of the campaign, pointing to the inappropriateness of fighting against cruelty towards animals while being cruel to humans. However, there are also some who applaud the campaign, one person even commenting about how they are glad that PETA is addressing obesity because they are tired of paying higher insurance premiums thanks to all the fat people. In his defense, medical conditions directly related to obesity is one of the main factors the medical community attributes as to the high cost of health care. What amazes me is the complete lack of compassion by the posters who agreed with the campaign. Some of the comments were so derogatory that I could only think that it was thanks to the anonymity of the Internet that allowed the person to feel comfortable in making them. Unfortunately, I've heard far too many comments in real life that tell me that that's just not the case. Indeed, the negative comments I've heard and seen are frighteningly reminiscent of ethnic, racial, and lifestyle comments made (and now thankfully rejected) in our not so distant past.

Don't get me wrong, I think we should all be more healthy. I would love to be thinner, just so that I live a healthier life as I grow older. However, I think people should be allowed to live whatever lifestyle they choose without being ridiculed for it and that includes those who are weight challenged, particularly when obesity is rarely a choice.
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:50 AM   #2
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oh, I thought this would be a PETA rant.

what do you expect from the people who brought you "sea kittens"?
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Old 08-21-2009, 11:26 AM   #3
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So, looking at this campaign they are claiming that eating meat makes you fat?

Personally I don't find the advert offensive (I am technically obese but think myself just overweight and I am sensitive (sometimes overly) about my weight and the size of my belly) however, I can completely understand and appreciate why some people would find it offensive - for that reason alone I think that it is wrong (it doesn't matter what I personally think, rather what the people effected think/feel).

Unfortunately we live in a society that believes that things like this are acceptable. I still have the occasional person make fun of my weight (it's in a fun manner so it's okay! It doesn't matter how it makes me feel!) I also occasionally have people make fun of the fact that I am scouse (this doesn't bother me too much and I don't think it has ever hurt my feelings!)
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Old 08-21-2009, 11:30 AM   #4
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Old 08-21-2009, 11:41 AM   #5
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Speaking personally, I know that I'm overweight, and that the reason for it is that I eat too much and don't get enough exercise. Anything that motivates/shames/encourages me to get up off my lazy backside and do something about it is good, IMHO. Obesity is one of the leading causes of heart disease and strokes.
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Old 08-21-2009, 11:54 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by PieOPah View Post
Unfortunately we live in a society that believes that things like this are acceptable. I still have the occasional person make fun of my weight (it's in a fun manner so it's okay! It doesn't matter how it makes me feel!) I also occasionally have people make fun of the fact that I am scouse (this doesn't bother me too much and I don't think it has ever hurt my feelings!)
If it happens at work I often times end up having to file a harassment complaint. It seems a lot of people who make that kind of joke just can't grasp the concept that it's not funny.
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Old 08-21-2009, 12:20 PM   #7
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My husband wants to connect my laptop to my treadmill in such a way that only by using my treadmill can I use my laptop. (I hope he never figures that one out, but you know, it would probably work )

Just as an on topic note, my mom (I love her!) used to make the most derogatory comments about overly overweight people when I was a kid. I found it as offensive then, as I find it now.) It's not like you can go "cold turkey" on food, especially donuts and chocolate!
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Old 08-21-2009, 12:28 PM   #8
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Slightly thought here (but definately an associated peeve of mine):

How come (at least here in the UK) all men in adverts are portrayed as, well, basically, morons (whilst all women are, of course, intelligent, empowered and capable)?
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Old 08-21-2009, 12:42 PM   #9
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Old 08-21-2009, 12:42 PM   #10
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Slightly thought here (but definately an associated peeve of mine):

How come (at least here in the UK) all men in adverts are portrayed as, well, basically, morons (whilst all women are, of course, intelligent, empowered and capable)?
Examples please.
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Old 08-21-2009, 12:56 PM   #11
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Unfortunately, I've heard far too many comments in real life that tell me that that's just not the case. Indeed, the negative comments I've heard and seen are frighteningly reminiscent of ethnic, racial, and lifestyle comments made (and now thankfully rejected) in our not so distant past. Don't get me wrong, I think we should all be more healthy. I would love to be thinner, just so that I live a healthier life as I grow older. However, I think people should be allowed to live whatever lifestyle they choose without being ridiculed for it and that includes those who are weight challenged, particularly when obesity is rarely a choice.
Weight challenged? Now I've heard it all.

I'm with you on many things, in particular that we shouldn't be intentionally cruel or hurtful to people. But I have a bit of a problem comparing people making fun of overweight people to, say, people hating on homosexuals or people being racist pricks.

There are a small number of people who have glandular or other problems which cause their obesity, however, unless the genes causing these problems have magically spread like wildfire through specific parts of the western world like the US and the UK and to a lesser degree other prosperous countries, I can't really see obesity as anything else than poor lifestyle choices with regards to eating and exercise over a long period of time (and sometimes even over generations) for the vast majority of obese people. You can't change your skin color or sexual orientation, but you do have control over what you eat and the amount of exercise your body get.

Note that I am not making any statements about which group you belong to; I don't know you. I realise this is a sensitive topic, I was a chubby in elementary school and got pestered something awful; I grew out of it. The last three years or so I have let my eating discipline slip while moving into a more and more sedentary lifestyle and I gained about 25 kg. I quit smoking half a year ago and since I didn't want to gain another 10 kg I started tracking what I was eating obsessively and took up sports and exercise again; I lost 20 kg of blubber (possibly more, I also gained quite a bit of muscle mass). Not by any kind of hardcore diet; just watching what I eat (and what was in it - chips and crisps are evil!) and moving a little more.

In case anyone is interested, here is a freeware and open source bit of cross-platform (java) software which allows you to track your eating habits and will tell you how you are doing in terms of calories, proteins, fat, vitamins, minerals. Track your habits for a few days and be honest about your food consumption; you might be surprised. I know I was. It helped me see where my eating habits were, well, wrong and helped me make some simple corrections which in turn helped me lose weight and feel better by virtue of giving my body what it needs.

http://spaz.ca/cronometer/

Last edited by acidzebra; 08-21-2009 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:03 PM   #12
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How come (at least here in the UK) all men in adverts are portrayed as, well, basically, morons (whilst all women are, of course, intelligent, empowered and capable)?
That trend is alive and well on this side of the Atlantic, too. It's actually ticked me off at times... it's like a "payback" reaction to all the women portrayed as "dumb blondes," sexual manipulators, etc. (As far as the media is concerned, 2 wrongs always make a right.) And when added to my overweight (but not obese) status, it can make for frustrating personal moments.

But mostly, I just roll my eyes and try not to trip in public.

The PETA ad: Pretty shameless. But that's PETA all over. They like to emotionally abuse people the way animals have been physically and emotionally abused, which actually makes some sense... they also subscribe to the "2 wrongs" rule. Unfortunately, they don't understand how to make that wonderfully ironic strategy clear, so it just comes off as clumsy and stupid, a lot of pointless grandstanding and PR stunts.

Mostly, I just roll my eyes and try not to trip over one of them in public.
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:07 PM   #13
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Examples please.
Advert for a Glade air freshener: woman (intelligent, empowered etc) puts Glade air freshener in room (it's activated by movement). Doofus, gormless looking husband comes home and is totally flummoxed by it. Cue hilarity at stupid male's actions trying to get the air freshener to squirt again.

Curry's home installation service advert. Doofus, gormless looking male installs flat screen TV on wall. Cue hilarity as he turns it on to an aerobics show (multiple intelligent, empowered women, natch), starts to dance and it falls off the wall.

Haribo - doofus, gormless looking dad being interrogated about eating the Haribo sweets. Is eventually forced into a confession by his daughter who is, of course, brought into proceedings by the intelligent, empowered woman who is his wife.

Sainsbury's. Doofus, gormless looking dad wanders off to look at tractors at village fete whilst intelligent, empowered wife takes daughter to do something more interesting. Later, doofus, gormless looking dad returns to eat all the sausages whilst intelligent, empowered wife looks on with toleration.

They're just the ones that spring immediately to mind!
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:10 PM   #14
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:12 PM   #15
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I'm SO glad I have a DVR and can record everything! I haven't HAD to watch a commercial in over 3 years!
But but but you are STEALING from the cable company! You should be forced to watch those ads!

Just kidding; I've built a mythtv box a couple of years ago and haven't looked back since.
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