- Megan: An economist recently pointed out that we don’t encourage people to move to the country, even though rural people live more than three years longer than urban people, and the difference in their healthy life expectancy is even more outsized. Nor do we encourage people to find Jesus or get married. We target “unhealthy” behaviors that are already stigmatized.
- Paul: Right, as Mary Douglas the anthropologist has pointed out, we focus on risks not on the basis of “rational” cost-benefit analysis, but because of the symbolic work focusing on those risks does — most particularly signalling disapproval of certain groups and behaviors. In this culture fatness is a metaphor for poverty, lack of self-control, and other stuff that freaks out the new Puritans all across the ideological spectrum, which is why the war on fat is so ferocious — it appeals very strongly to both the right and the left, for related if different reasons. -
- Humans clearly attend closely to status, an important part of status is dominance, and a key way we show dominance is to tell others what to do. -
- it is completely crazy to imagine that fat folks have not yet heard that fat might be unhealthy or unattractive. Believe me, they’ve heard! If they are choosing to be fat, they are doing so reasonably informed of the consequences. Our constant anti-fat “public health” messages are not at all kind – such messages just serve to put fat folks down, and lift the rest of us up. If anyone is so clueless as to need constant reminders, it is those who can’t see their own over-bearing domination, such as putting down fat folks to lift themselves up -
See more at: http://www.overcomingbias.com/2009/10/denying-dominance.html#.dpuf
See more at: http://www.overcomingbias.com/2009/07/is-obesity-policy-about-health.html#.dpuf