What Is The Ideal Body Type?

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In Jacqueline Clark’s blog post Fat shaming. It’s a thing.,Clark analyzes Nicole Arbout’s youtube video “Dear Fat People” on the merits of whether or not fat shaming is an actual issue with society or if it is something that fat people just made up in order to make themselves feel better.  Arbout states that “Fat shaming is not a thing. Fat people made that up.” and that it is playing the “race card with no race”.

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Clark goes on to explain how wrong Arbout’s claim is. Research has been conducted by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University . In the 2012 policy brief on weight bias, Rudd researched the effects that weight discrimination has on people. They found that the consequences of weight bias include serious medical and psychological consequences, reduces earning potential, affects hiring and promotion opportunities, and affects academic opportunities and achievement. Arbout declared that being overweight is not a discrimination because being overweight is a choice that people make. This belief is how weight bias was started and has continued to rise.

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Who’s right? Should weight bias be considered a discrimination as Clark states or should we continue to shame people for their choice to be fat as per Arbout’s video rant? I agree with Clark’s scientifically backed argument rather than a video claim without any corroboration.

Why should this matter? People come in all shapes and sizes. It can be argued that the way that people have gotten there takes many different paths. Some of those paths may have been the results of free will while others may have been unavoidable circumstances. Regardless of the ways that individuals got to the end result doesn’t matter. It’s how society treats these people that matter. We have laws and policies that protect many people from a variety of discrimination. Some of these protected classes are because of choice (religion, marital status, veteran status, pregnancy) and others are because of nature (race, color, natural origin, disability, age). Why shouldn’t discrimination of body type be included in the list of protected classes? It should be!

In 2013, The American Medical Association declared obesity as a recognized disease. The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) is a nearly 50,000 member-strong 501(c)(3) national non-profit organization dedicated to giving a voice to the individuals affected by the disease of obesity and helping individuals along their journey toward better health through education, advocacy and support. The OAC states on their site that there are nearly 93 millions Americans who are affected with the disease of obesity. Obesity is not something that people consciously choose just for attention!

Research shows that a very large percentage of discussions about obesity on social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, are of a fat shaming nature. This often turns into downright harassment and cyberbullying – especially against women. Do you think people are happy that they are overweight? No! The Rudd Report showed that fifteen percent of respondents would be willing to give up 10 years of their lives to avoid being fat. Nearly one-half of respondents would give up one year of their lives to do the same. About eight percent of these same survey respondents also indicated they would rather have a learning-disabled child than an obese child. Such findings illuminate clearly the stigma associated with being obese as well as the fear that people have of being targets of the prejudice and discrimination stemming from it. (Clark)

Bottom line is – stop shaming people for being overweight. It is doing more hard than good. Follow the old adage “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say it at all!”

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Arour, Nicole. “Dear Fat People.” YouTube. YouTube, 3 Sept. 2015. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.

Chou, Wen-ying Sylvia, Abby Prestin, and Stephen Kunath. “Obesity in Social Media: A Mixed Methods Analysis.” Translational Behavioral Medicine 4.3 (2014): 314–323. PMC. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.

Clark, Jacqueline, PhD. “Fat Shaming. It’s a Thing. – Sociological Images.” Sociological Images Fat Shaming Its a Thing Comments. N.p., 7 Oct. 2015. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.

Friedman, Roberta and Puhl, Rebecca, “Weight Bias, A Social Justice Issues.” Rudd Report. N.p., 2012.

http://www.obesityaction.org/

When I was Young

Old white people are everywhere!  When I Was Young I51M4QygPHNL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_n The Mountains, a Caldecott Honor book written by Cynthia Rylant and published in 1982, is a story about a young girl and her time living in the mountains with her grandparents and younger brother. There are several sociological institutions that this children’s book addresses: race, family, gender and religion.

The illustrations throughout the book depict a very non-diverse community. Everyone is white. The children and grandparents are white, Mr. and Mrs. Crawford (the shopkeepers) are white, even the entire church congregation is white! Surprisingly, the only dark illustration happens on the first page when the grandfather first comes home covered in soot from working all day in the coal mines. It’s interesting to consider why there are no other races shown. Good children’s books these days are praised for their use of diversity. Was race not that important in the early 1980’s? Or maybe race was too important?

This book shows children a good example of what the typical power dynamic of a family back a couple of decades ago was like. The powerful person in this family was the grandmother. One would like to think that the grandfather has the power role because he is the man, head of the household and breadwinner; however, the grandmother is the one that does everything and keeps the household and family running. The grandmother is shown to be the person who cares for the house and family. She is depicted as the protector when she takes the young girl to the outhouse at night and is charged with scaring, and sometimes killing, snakes. The grandmother is finally shown as the nurturing member by crying when cousin Peter is baptized. The only real actions that the reader sees the grandfather do is working at the coal mine at the beginning of the book and sharpening pencils at the end of the book. This family dynamic is not something typically observed in society’s today. Today’s view would either show the man as the power person or both of the grandparents with equal responsibilities.

Looking at the illustrations in this book, it also shows the sister (and the other woman) in a typical female role. The book shows this initially with the cover of the book. The young girl is standing with her brother in a protective motherly manner. The first page has the young girl welcoming her grandfather very demurely. The next page shows the girl going to the outhouse under the protection of her grandmother. In the middle of the book, the illustration shows the girl warming up her brother by towel drying him in the kitchen resembling a mothering type role. In the picture of the baptism, the girl has her arm around her younger brother. And finally in a page towards the very end, the illustrator has drawn the young girl helping her grandmother with shelling beans while the brother sits on the ground and plays with the dogs. The young girl (and all of the females in the book) are always shown in long dresses with their hair pulled back.

This book also touches on religion. It illustrates the importance that religion plays in that environment. The only time that the rest of the community was shown was on the page illustrating the church service. The author lets the reader know that the family attends church on a weekly basis (on Sunday’s at the schoolhouse). It also shows the act of baptizism by immersion rather than other ways such as anointing the head with holy water. I find these two pages on religion an important underlying factor of the book.
Rylant, Cynthia. When I Was Young in the Mountains. New York: Penguin Group, 1982. Print.