What do we want, anyhow?
What Do Fat People Want?
- WE WANT fat children to grow up safe from ridicule and physical violence. Such hate crimes rob fat children of their self-esteem and their hope for the future. To this end, we want schools, social service agencies, and courts to recognize, and help alleviate, the socially condoned mistreatment of fat children.
- WE WANT to be healthy. We also want people to understand that being healthy does not necessarily mean being thin.
- WE WANT doctors who focus on our health and well-being, not on weight loss.
- WE WANT doctors to stop pushing dangerous treatments: diets, diet pills, liposuction, and weight-loss surgery. As the New England Journal of Medicine said January 1, 1998, "The cure for obesity [sic] may be worse than the condition."
- WE WANT diagnostic equipment that will accommodate us: MRIs, CAT scans, ultrasound machines, some X-ray machines, etc.
- WE WANT health insurance companies to stop denying coverage based on weight.
- WE WANT surgeons to stop refusing to operate on us unless we lose weight, just because they do not have the skill, the tools, or the technique to work with large bodies. (Ironically, sometimes the only surgery a fat person can obtain is mutilating weight-loss surgery.)
- WE WANT the media to stop quoting inaccurate and spurious statistics about fat mortality rates. This practice only reinforces the prejudice we face.
For example, the oft-quoted figure of 300,000 fat-related deaths in America is based on a study (McGinnis and Foege, JAMA, Nov. 10, 1993) that linked these deaths to sedentary lifestyle and poor diet, not to weight!
- WE WANT the FDA to test weight-loss drugs thoroughly for safety before approving them for use by millions of consumers who are all-too-eager for a miracle pill, even when it is life-threatening. Beyond that, we question the value or wisdom of seeking medical cures for social problems in the first place.
- WE WANT doctors and health professionals to heed the New England Journal of Medicine's January 1, 1998 editorial, "Losing Weight -`An Ill-Fated New Year's Resolution," when it says:
"Doctors should do their part to help end discrimination against overweight [sic] people in schools and workplaces. We should also speak out against the public's excessive infatuation with being thin and the extreme, expensive, and potentially dangerous measures taken to attain that goal. Many Americans are sacrificing their appreciation of one of the great pleasure of life - eating - in an attempt to look like our semi-starved celebrities. Countless numbers of our daughters and increasingly many of our sons are suffering immeasurable torment in fruitless weight-loss schemes and scams, and some are losing their lives."
We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
We invite people of good conscience to join with us in decrying the last acceptable prejudice in our culture -`the prejudice against fat people. Help us create a world that celebrates diversity of size!
FAT!SO? - the zine for people who don't apologize for their size: 1-800-OH-FATSO
National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance: 1-800-442-1214
NAAFA Feminist Caucus: 510.836.1153
SF/Bay Area NAAFA chapter: 510.524.6470
This literature was produced to hand out at the end of the Marlene Corrigan case.