Perhaps one reason we are so quick to deride anyone overweight is because we know it could be us.
There aren’t many groups that are massively discriminated against that we could suddenly, unexpectedly find ourselves a part of. You will not wake up in the morning and find you have a different skin color. Regardless of what they say at the RNC, you will not wake up to find that you have a different sexual orientation. But anyone can get fat. Just look at Jessica Simpson. (I feel, too, that the number of magazine articles about stars who have put on maybe 5 pounds, appeals to us precisely because this is something we are all afraid of).
Perhaps we think that if we shout loudly enough about how we would never put dressing on our salad, or loudly inquire as to whether other people know how many calories are in their cheeseburger this will never happen to us. But at the same time we know, we always know, that it can happen to anyone.
And the more people discriminate against the obese, the more terrifying that prospect seems. And the more people want to shout that the obesity epidemic is sweeping America and everyone should eat kale, only kale, precisely to indicate that they, themselves, are not a part of that epidemic. No, sir, it can never happen to them!
But, of course, it can. There are plenty of reasons for weight gain that have nothing to do with people being awful and undisciplined. The onset of menopause. Childbirth. The natural aging process. I remember once reading some piece that began “do you know why the 90210 cast is so skinny?” and feeling strongly tempted to reply “because they are teenagers.”
And really, what’s the benefit to constantly reminding people they have to be skinny all the time? Yes, they would live longer if everyone were in optimal health. But I bet a lot of people would trade off a few years to live without people constantly reminding them that they needed to be sent to a treatment center for existing in their body. And perhaps, if we all sort of let this go for… a year, say, if we existed without any public shaming of the obese for a year… maybe we’d stop encouraging people to try the kind of crazy yo-yo diets that only cause people to gain more weight.
Maybe that would be effective. Or maybe not. Hell, lets try it either way.
Incidentally, I ate the ice cream cake. I put a piece in a cup and mashed it all up together so the ice cream and cake and frosting were perfectly mixed. I ate it and it tasted as good as skinny feels.