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Saturday, 3 January 2009

Fat V Thin

Two contrasting articles in the online papers today - this from the Telegraph about Ricky Gervais and his views on plastic surgery and fat people:

The second is from the Mail about a young woman who is seriously anorexic and glories in weighing under 6st at the age of 23 and having the body of 'a 12 year old':

The comments on the anorexia story make interesting reading. The majority are sympathetic and feel the girl needs help because she obviously has serious mental problems - with which I agree as regards her current situation.

But then I went on to think about the public reaction if she'd been grossly obese. There'd have been a lot of comments about fat slobs and it's her own fault and she needs to diet and exercise etc. So being obese is always self-inflicted according to popular opinion but anorexia nervosa is an illness and people can't help it and are more to be pitied than blamed?

From all I've read about anorexia it seems to start off - and in many cases continues to be - a lifestyle choice. You don't suddenly wake up one morning and you're anorexic any more than you wake up one morning and your eating is out of control.

The point I'm trying to make - not very coherently - is about the double standards at work here. Fat=stupid, own fault etc; Anorexic=poor you. need help, illness. Why the difference?

Ricky Gervais I find offensive and the 'humour' is on a par with the Johnathan Ross and Russell Brand affair - just appallingly bad taste. Not all fat people eat unhealthy food and not all fat people fail to exercise - you can't generalise any more than you can over people' cholesterol level by looking at them.

What also seems to be overlooked is the fact that extreme diets - less than 1000 calories - are seriously damaging to your health regardless of your weight.

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