I’m sometimes – completely unfairly, of course – accused of being provocative for the sake of it. So I think it’s important, from time to time, to show that there’s just as much substance to me as there is style (well perhaps not just as much, but close).
I wrote recently about J.C Penney’s disgusting attempt to pander to the unhealthily overweight, in which the clothing store showcased a number of lumbering landwhales urging viewers to “love themselves,” regardless of their size.
Read the piece, it’s really great.
My view, of course, is that if you are obese, you should hate yourself. At least until you get better. Because fatness is a health problem, and shame works.
Although the media loves to mollycoddle the obese, I see anecdotal evidence in favour of fat-shaming all the time. Stories about people being called fat, being bullied, and being inspired to change their lives as a result. Here’s a trove of them.
Today, I’m going to show you the substance behind those claims, so that you, dear reader, can go out into the world armed with the facts. And also armed with the knowledge that you can hurl all manner of abuse at fat people with a clean conscience — really, you’ll genuinely be helping them!
Firstly, if people feel shit about themselves, they’re more likely to change. A landmark study by obesity experts in 2014 found that a “desire to improve self-worth” was one of the most important motivating factors encouraging people to lose weight. What does this tell us? That encouraging fatties to “love themselves,” as the fat acceptance movement does, is the worst possible message you could send people if you want them to lose weight.
The same study found that obese people were more likely to lose weight around “life transitions,” like starting high school. In other words, people start to worry about how others will see them, especially when they need to make a good first impression. Fear of social judgement is key. So keep judging them.
A study from UCLA’s dedicated eating research institute concurred, explicitly recommending social pressure on the overweight as a remedy to America’s obesity crisis. Sorry Lindy West, but the experts agree: fat-shaming is good for you.
There’s another danger in our society’s perennial niceness and reluctance to offend. You see, if a fatty isn’t shamed immediately, it’s likely that the hambeast’s self-destructive behaviour might spread to its friends.
Why? Because people change their health and dietary habits to mimic that of their friends and loved ones, especially if they spend lots of time around them. Peer pressure encourages people to look like the people they admire and whose company they enjoy. Unless there’s a more powerful source of social pressure (say, fat shaming) from the rest of society, of course.
There is only one serious study, from University College London, that suggests fat-shaming doesn’t work, and it’s hopelessly flawed. Firstly, it’s based on survey data — relying on fat people to be honest about their weight and diets. Pardon the pun, but … fat chance!
This is a group that thinks anything ending in “salad” is health food. A pound of taco beef and a huge scoop of guac? It’s fine as long as it’s called a “taco salad”! Greens smothered in 700 calories of oily dressing? SOD OFF YOU STICK INSECT, IT’S A SALAD!
Moreover, the study defines “weight discrimination” much like feminists define “misogyny,” extending it to a dubiously wide range of behaviours, including “being treated poorly in shops.” The study also takes survey answers from 50-year olds and tries to apply them to all adults. But in what world do 20-year-olds behave the same way as older people?
I expect we’ll see more of these pseudo-studies, and not just because academics tend to be lefties. Like climate scientists before them, I suspect a substantial number of “fat researchers” will simply choose to follow the political winds, and the grant money that follows them, rather than seeking the truth.
And the truth is, we shame fat people for a reason. It’s not just cruelty; it’s for their benefit, our benefit, and the good of the species. In 2007, a team of researchers from the University of British Columbia found that fatness can trigger feelings of disgust and nausea in healthy people — age-old evolutionary signals of a threat to human health, like bacteria, viruses, or illnesses. The same instincts that protect us from plagues protect us from lardbuckets too.
The reverse is also true. Just being around attractive women raises a man’s testosterone. (Even mine! Probably.) The same is also true for women who gaze at attractive men. We know that testosterone is health-promoting, energizing, and generally good.
Though it would be to un-PC to conduct an experiment proving it, it stands to reason that looking at fat, ugly people depresses testosterone. This is certainly how any red-blooded man feels when looking at a hamplanet.
Depressed testosterone is associated with many negative health outcomes, and thus the mere presence of fat people is actively harming the population’s health — particularly men’s, since we’re more visual. We ban public smoking based on the minuscule effects of “passive” intake, so why aren’t the same lefty, public-health aware politicians clamouring for a ban on fat people being seen in public?
Not to mention how offensively repellent fat people look in the gym and in Starbucks.
Instead, the same lefties who want to stop us having fags or drinking too much in public (and even alcoholics and chain smokers are healthier than the obese) are the same ones urging the authorities to treat “fat-shaming” as a crime and investigate it. Insane!
Why are we fine with shaming and peer pressuring smokers, deluging them with ads and facts about smoking-related illnesses, when obesity is just as deadly, if not more so? Why is it OK to show cancerous lungs on fag packets, but not an enlarged heart on a carton of ice cream?
Not only that, but smokers are forced to pay higher insurance premiums to offset the cost of their health problems. Smokers sometimes have to pay up to 50 per cent more than normal for health coverage. Yet fatties, despite being more prone to health problems than smokers, get a pass. The rest of us have to subsidize their poor lifestyle choices.
Much like smoking, it is important to cut off the unhealthy behaviours early in life. A 50 year old fatty has done a lot of damage to themselves and will find it harder to become thin — that’s another reason why the UCL study, which focused on the over-50s, just isn’t good enough.
A 20-year-old has their entire life ahead of them, and those are the people we should focus on shaming into shape. They’re precisely the people feminists are telling to gain weight if they want to.
As shown in that 2014 study, young people in particular are concerned about what their peers think about them, especially when they start high school. That’s why it’s so critical to let them know that their instincts are correct, and that they can’t be “healthy at any size.”
And no, Twitter. Every size is not beautiful and feminism makes women ugly.
Daniel Callahan, president emeritus of America’s oldest bioethics research institute, agrees with me. “Safe and slow incrementalism that strives never to stigmatise obesity has not and cannot do the necessary work,” wrote Callahan, a former smoker, in 2014. “The force of being shamed and beat upon socially was as persuasive for me to stop smoking as the threats to my health.”
With a little effort, we can help fat people help themselves. But first we have to make sure that “fat acceptance,” perhaps the most alarming and irresponsible idea to come out of leftist victimhood and grievancean politics, is given the heart attack it deserves.