Thursday, May 06, 2004

Weight a Minute...

Is this a contradiction?

1. The nannies tell us that overweightness and obesity are on the rise. More than 60% of Americans are overweight or obese, they say.

2. The nannies (perhaps a different group of nannies) also tell us that the media have distorted the American vision of a desirable body. While the average model is 5’ 11” and 117 pounds, the average American woman is 5’ 4” and weighs 140 pounds.

Obviously, the height of models – and hence the height to weight ratio – is far out of reach for most people. But if the nannies are correct about overweightness, then the average weight for American women must be too high – so what business do they have using it as the appropriate benchmark when talking about body images?

On a related note, are these the same nannies who get huffy about fat jokes and consider it discrimination to charge fat people for two seats on an airplane? I try not to make fat jokes myself (though I admit that I’ve occasionally succumbed) because I consider other people’s eating and exercise choices their own damn business. But the food-nazis have been pressing the line that your weight is not your own business, but a pressing social issue. If they really believe that, shouldn’t they be encouraging more fat jokes, and higher airfares for fat people, as a means of increasing the psychological and economic costs associated with overweightness?

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