Obesity in the News… is it becoming a civil rights issue?

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The news media can’t seem to get enough of fat people.

Just look at what I’ve found in the last few days:

Copious amounts of news. The last one is an article that caught my eye – it talks about how people have shyness and confidence issues when they get older, because they were teased when they were young. While I think it may be somewhat true, I don’t think it’s a confidence issue when you’ve actually worked closely with hiring managers who have admitted ‘insider secrets’ of the Human Resources mindset.

After the interviews are over and hiring managers consider multiple candidates for a job, the question often comes to mind “if they can’t help themselves, how will they help my company?” I’ve heard these words, spoken aloud, by someone who would generally be in a hiring position. They explained to me that they try to shake that feeling off and examine the candidate on their experience and merits, but that this question continues to nag at them on a nearly subconscious level.

As an obese American with the ability to feign an unnatural level confidence, I’m still concerned about the existence of “weight-ism” being the next for civil rights. I’m very interested to see what happens next in the country, as the number of obese Americans continues to grow. Stay tuned, America!

Update: I wrote the above in 2012 – starting in March, updating it in July and August, but never publishing it. I just keep adding to it, because articles keep appearing… and I suppose the latest few include things like some pundits saying that being rude to smokers was effective so they should try it with the overweight. Being rude to smokers didn’t make them quit. It made you assholes. Putting pictures of blackened lungs didn’t make people quit. What made people quit was the outrageous taxes on cigarettes throughout much of the United States. Then something similar is attempted with drinks, making them less available, rather than just taxed, and people fight back. So which is it? This week, another article about Celebrity Fat-Shaming appeared. And, although I’ve been making small changes to live a little healthier since December, I’m still, as a friend once reminded me, “a substantially sized individual.”

Maybe we need to “get’em while they’re young.” So there was an ad shaming fat kids “for good reason”, and some immediately said the ads were too harsh. As you can see, it’s a very contentious issue.

You can’t draw a direct comparison between any civil rights movement. Black people are still struggling for true equality, and the Emancipation Proclamation was signed over 150 years ago. Women still struggle for equal wages. LGBT citizens can’t get married. Every time I hear about some pretty girl from the suburbs committing suicide because of cyber-bullying, I’m saddened – but I also wonder why these kids aren’t tougher skinned? Screw “cyber” bullying, I was picked on, to my face, every single day of my childhood. And yes, it continued over the internet after I got home – so the “cyber” part still applied. It was relentless, but I learned to ignore it. You can be the kid who gets picked last in gym class, the last one done when running a mile, the kid made fun of for buying a Rice Crispy Treat, even though the skinny kid next to you just ate three slices of pizza, or maybe even the adult who has to deal with judgmental eye rolls of grocery store cashiers when you buy a head of lettuce, and they mockingly ask if “we’re eating healthy this week? It doesn’t really stop, and us big, fat, American types – we just got used to it. It’s a part of our reality. But I genuinely suspect it’s going to become something, well, bigger in the not-too-distant future.

Update: Chris Christie’s surgery.
Update: AMA Calls Obesity a Disease.
Update: Obese Boyscouts not welcome at Jamboree.

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