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Hobbyhorse Watch

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I’ve been meaning to comment on the odious comments of MeMe Roth (see Lindsay and zuzu), but Professor B. beats me to it, cutting to the heart of the issue:

This whole “I’m so concerned for her health!! And the health of all the impressionable girls who watch American Idol!”

Uh huh. Gosh, MeMe, that’s mighty white of you. Funny how your concern doesn’t extend to any of the health issues that don’t make people . . . aesthetically displeasing.

Here’s the thing: anyone dissing fat people? Who concern trolls it by wringing their hands over the health of perfect strangers? Is a big fat liar.

I could repeat again that (with the possible exception of diabetes) the independent effects of weight on health are negligible, but in some sense it’s beside the point. These arguments aren’t about health; they’re about using health as a pretext to dress up aesthetic reactions. (And there’s nothing wrong with these aesthetic reactions per se, although they hardly justify the kind of systematic shaming that the health smokescreen seems to justify.) And this is not merely harmless; conflating weight with health quite clearly has a net negative impact on health, creating psychological problems and providing all kinds of incentives for behaviors that are considerably more unhealthy than being overweight. A White Bear is especially good on this point.

Obviously, the bad faith is particularly transparent when your gimmick is a “wedding dress challenge,” but it’s a problem that goes far beyond one Fox News crank.

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