Round Reporting

So now, according to an NPR story, there’s a concern that folks who have done what the culture insisted (or in the case of the guy in their article, his real health issues insisted he do) on in order to feel lovable or worth their planet space are faced with the fact that nobody believes they’ll keep it off, has faith in them, or wants to date them–not least because major weight loss marks the body pretty seriously (stretchmarks and loose skin, the latter being something most insurers will not agree to pay for plastic surgery on, even though that skin is harvest-able for burn victims). And, apparently, having been fat is widely regarded as as much of a character flaw as being fat.

This is me being motivated. Wait for it. But don’t hold your breath.

Here’s the story:

It’s depressing. But the tiny bit about it being based on the research in a book on how the obesity epidemic is mucking up the romantic life of America is even more depressing. Like we need another thing to be blamed for?

The book is  “reporter Sarah Varney’s new book “XL Love: How the Obesity Crisis Is Complicating America’s Love Life.“”

A. America, as in the nation, does not have a love life. A nation, journalistic metaphors aside, cannot have a love life. And if we did, it wouldn’t be the fat people who were screwing it up.

B. I know I haven’t read the book (and will very likely NOT buy it, if I do read/skim it), but the title is so much WTF all by itself that I hardly know what to say. Why is this worth an NPR story, much less the dead trees required to print it?

Why are fat people part of the news cycle at all, FLOTUS aside (I am so glad that, having shone a little light on the very real problem of urban food deserts, she’s moved on to working on caring for wounded soldiers). I AM NOT NEWS. I AM NOT A STATISTIC. I AM NOT A MORAL PROBLEM. MY FAT IS NOT A CHARACTER FLAW OR A FUNCTION OF SPINELESSNESS.

News is the enormous wildfires in Alaska this summer that we never heard anything about here in the lower 48. News is pretty much nothing covered by Fox or CNN. News of real value is mostly half-covered in US media, at best. But fat people, well, we’re all over the news one way or another. It’s not like my respect for NPR hasn’t been taking a lot of hits in the past few years (their weird insistence on “balanced” coverage has given an awful lot of air time to wingnuts no one needs to hear from, for one thing), but they have jumped whole-heartedly onto the fat-hating (usually cloaked in “concerned” or “medical news” or “human interest” approaches) bandwagon, and we will pass over in enraged silence how much of my local PBS station’s programming is one or another doctor’s infomercial for his (why are they always men?) salvific weight loss program. Hours and hours of it.

I accept that there are medical issues associated with weight–though not to the extent, and not as consistently as we are constantly told. It’s all too individual–the complex of genetics, circumstance, hormones, psychology, biochemistry–the things that make any one person fat. Another person with different genetics and a different personality might have grown up in my family and not been fat. The fact that I am, by nature (at this point), a fairly sedentary human is, just by itself, a pretty complicated issue.

But the point isn’t anything about me, except that I am not news-fodder by virtue of being fat any more than people who are short are news-fodder by virtue of being short–except that harassing short people by turning them into a near-constant subject of public conversation does not make them get shorter. So, Ms. Varney, if you have the energy and focus to research and write a book, please go do it about something that matters and that doesn’t add itself to the chorus of loathing a group of human beings have to process and cope with.

round pumpkin.4


3 thoughts on “Round Reporting

  1. evilyntent says:

    Excess skin produced by massive weight loss is not usable for burn victims or any other purpose.

  2. Miriam Sagan says:

    I thought America had a love life because for a while we were dating…but now that I think about I don’t think it was love, I think America was just using me…

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