There has been some discussion about this recently, about whether society (or the people/institutions in it) are more tolerant and accepting of an obese person than they are of a vegan. Since the the controversy It’s strange being in the eye of a media storm exploded regarding celebrity blogger Mia Freedman.
As a former fashion magazine editor and columnist, she caused a furor recently on a blog post about “gainers” Gainer blogs: Meet the people who think bigger is better.
Gainers deliberately gain weight, a lot of weight, super morbidly obese, not just lumpy, dumpy, chubby, but skin-melds-with-the-couch obese (so large that they can’t move, because their skin has fused with whatever bed or sofa they are sitting on).
Watching the attacks on Mia Freedman for her totally innocuous comments, from obese people who are offended by their choice to eat themselves to death questioned by someone who looks like she takes care of her health.
The critics went from defending an obese persons lifestyle choice to attacking the writer, Mia Freedman, not what she wrote. These Gainers defended their lifestyle like a mama lion defending her babies.
However as a friend noticed, where are the defenders of Veganism. Vegan get their children removed by government agencies for not feeding children animal products, equating veganism with child abuse, yet the woman at the centre of Mia’s article, is eating herself to death in front of her children.
Which raises the question, in our western society, it’s more acceptable to be Obese than Vegan? (side bar: is there such a thing as obese vegan?)
Vegans tend to be not overweight, I have never met a long term vegan who was over-weight, though some people take up a vegan diet (more correctly termed “strict vegetarian”) for weight-loss, and other are large to start with but gradually the weight comes down. The unofficial theory that has come up in talking with other vegan females about body image is: when you eat proper nutritious food your body settles at the weight it was always suppose to be.
Of course, if someone is super morbidly obese, their eating patterns have become disconnected from what their body is telling them it needs for nutritional requirements. For someone – especially a mother with young children (such as Donna Simpson, the woman at the centre of the article) – to set out to become 700 kilos probably needs some sort of therapy. This woman knows her eating will very likely kill her, leaving her children without a mother, yet, she goes on the internet, and allows strangers to pay to watch her eat.
What I found interesting about the whole Gainers controversy was the overwhelming numbers of fat people, obese people, mostly women, who attacked Mia Freedman for her comments, without taking the time to understand them. They have some kind of Obesity Pride movement going on. Size acceptance. Forcing society to treat people who set out to gain weight as a minority group who have been deprived of their rights. The effect is that super morbidly obese becomes normal. (And the effect this will have on a generation of children obese from birth will be disastrous in terms of health consequences.)
If an obese person is told to buy two plane tickets because they take up two seats, they raise hell like their civil rights have been denied. Hey, people! if you take up two seats, the airline can’t sell the second seat, you are depriving them of income and you act like that is equal to having your right to vote or free speech taken away? And, if you think that is bad, try getting a vegan meal on a flight. Last time I did that, despite ordering and checking, and then double checking, the best I got was “we seem to have misplaced the vegan meal, would kosher do?” well, looking at some kosher slaughtered meat (which causes intense suffering because to the animal, pre-stunning is not allowed) on my vegan tray, I would have to say No! It will not do! And yet the super morbidly obese person two rows ahead of me got full on pampering because they would not shut up about being made to pay for two seats.
Let’s talk about clothes shopping – my local chain store starts their sizes at 10 (Australian 10 = UK 12 = USA 8). All the media focus on is the super morbidly obese complaining they can not find clothes that fit. Not in my experience. I shop in the children’s department to find something that fits, because large chain fashion stores are more interested in catering to their obese customers. Far from not having options, obese people have more options than non-obese.
Yet, when it comes to clothes shopping some obese people act like they are being discriminated against because they have to pay more. If their clothes use up twice the amount of material as average sized clothing, why should they not pay more to reflect that.
Eaten out recently? Plate sizes that banquet sized. Meals that could feed a family of four served to one individual. Meals that contain a weeks worth of salt, sugar, saturated fat. And yes, everything has Fries with That. It’s not Small-Medium-Large anymore, it’s now Large-Extra Large-Super Extra Large. With extra cheese. Ok, now try finding a vegan meal at a chain restaurant.
Vegans are called extreme, have their food choices question, have their motives attacked, compared to “Peta terrorists” (as I heard recently), meanwhile society is being Super-sized, we have given up on the war on obesity. We seem to have accepted that obese is the new normal and instead of looking at ways for people to reach an acceptable healthy weight, we are just making everything bigger.
However, as Adventures Being Vegan shows, vegan is slowly getting the message across. Things are being to change.
Obese-defenders will say that being morbidly obese is a health issue while being vegan is a choice. I’m sorry, but to me it is not a choice. Faced with causing the slaughter of billions of animals for food, clothes, entertainment, porn, Mengeler science “experiments”, cleaning products or personal care products. I don’t see it as a choice.
“If you don’t look after your body, where are you going to live?” Donna Aston
- Veganism and Fat-Phobia (animals.change.org)