Author’s note: The issue of lionizing obesity is a problem in and of itself, but in light of entire countries having recently mandated additional insurance costs for unvaccinated individuals, it is even more incensing. If the unvaccinated are leading to more crowded hospitals and more healthcare expenses, then the statistics on obesity-related costs should provoke even more outrage. Where is their surcharge? Where is the alleged concern for health outcomes? Once more, both common sense and The Science™ are failing us.
Adopting phrases like “don’t fat shame” and focusing on “body positivity” leads to known and quantifiable health risks. So why do we do it?
As with a larger awareness of the pharmaceutical overlords and our collective ruling class in general, Covid has really exposed some of the worst characteristics of modern society and given us a chance to start over. From the worst times, then, we had the best chance to wipe the slate clean, with a focus on proper diet, exercise, and supplementation. When we talk about reimagining society, what better way than to start with reimagining a healthy individual?
Heck, even outlets like CNN and the CDC are having to acknowledge some basic truths now: Overweight people are more likely to suffer adverse reactions to the virus. It’s two years too late, but at least it’s a start, and of course it only adds to the extensive literature that unhealthiness, particularly when there is added weight, is terrible across the board.
The bigger issue is not so much the basic medical knowledge of metabolic health, but rather the cultural taboos around naming them. Is it fat shaming to observe that larger, unhealthier people suffer from worse health outcomes? In an age when rotundity is healthy, men give birth, and the pandemic is of the unvaccinated, it isn’t out of the ordinary to invent new sciences. However, in so doing, rather than helping anyone with their medical struggles they only exacerbate the underlying problems. We can celebrate obesity, but we only encourage premature deaths. Likewise, we can delight in transgenderism, but then we only exacerbate the issue of mental illness.
Though there is no shortage of catalysts, I was initially prompted to comment on obesity after viewing the latest Lizzo video, which I only found because a deranged friend of mine sent it to me. After watching it, I decided we are no longer friends. For those unwilling or unable to stomach such grotesqueness, let me just narrate. (For those that insist on requiring an eye gouge, click here.) Lizzo is extremely overweight but nevertheless twirls and dances as if she were a lithe, slender maiden. She has made a fortune by exposing her elephantine buttocks to anyone willing to toirture themselves. By any definition in human history, she is neither attrractive nor healthy. However, rather than master her lifestyle choices that led to such tonnage, she leaned into it. And make no mistake, there is nothing lean about her.
Sports Illustrated and Victoria’s Secret have, in recent years, hopped on the bold-is-beautiful wagon as well. Of note, this wagon must be pulled by more Clydesdales than the Budweiser carriage. In 2016, the issue of perhaps one of the most renowned single magazine releases – the swimsuit edition – featured plus-sized model Ashley Graham on its cover. Adding to the mayhem is that Graham considers herself not plus-sized but rather “my-sized.” Not helping. For all intents and purposes, to be fair, Graham is not particularly hard to look at, and she certainly has some weight in the right places. Still, the trend of condoning, encouraging, and celebrating additional body fat takes place along a spectrum. Graham’s was a figure meant to ease into the larger body positivity movement. Yes, she’s pretty enough, but that doesn’t mean she has to be that big or that all larger women are inherently pretty.
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As if this body positivity movement couldn’t get worse, the most recent swimsuit edition intentionally featured an array of “diverse” models, which included its standard-fare plus-sized women as well as moms and entrepreneurs. Although, these ladies ultimately got replaced on the cover by a male masquerading as one of them. Look, Sports Illustrated can be as inclusive as it wants. That being said, beauty is still going to discriminate. The target market of the swimsuit edition is not interested in larger ans older models. I wish I didn’t have to say that this target market is especially not interested in looking at a man’s face or at swimsuit bottoms with something tucked away
Victoria Secret joined the buffet-style party by inaugurating its first plus-sized model in 2019. Again, like Graham, she isn’t unusually size, so it isn’t terrible for them or us. However, the larger issue is that they are normalizing it and telling us to be attracted to it. The messaging that attempts to rewire literally our entire species’ evolution is no small plight. And like SI, they also took it a step further and made purple-haired hater and all-around miserable human being Megan Raopinoe a face of their program. The only conclusion to be reached is that they must hate money.
Now, I get the reason why stouter women are gracing magazine covers; no healthy human being is a size zero on a 6’1’’ frame. It makes women, who are particularly vulnerable to trying to reach impossible societal standards, more comfortable with who they are. That all makes sense.
But that misses the whole point of modeling. Models, like film actors, are meant to be enjoyable to look at. Watching Brad Pitt on the big screen doesn’t demean turgid, balding, middle-aged men anymore than Kate Upton minimizes what a typical housewife or average teenage girl should obsess over. Or maybe it does, but that’s not Pitt’s fault you feel bad about yourself. That’s your fault. Like every other facet of human complexity, beauty is but one of the infinite ways to measure a person. It certainly isn’t the most important.
The main takeaway is that all of the worries over weight are taken seriously only when the pendulum swings to the sleek and slender. No doubt, eating disorders destroy a person’s physical and mental wellbeing, but isn’t it obvious the same can be said of swinging in the other direction? We have no dearth of data.
By looking at CDC numbers from 2020 (2021 has not yet been released), the table of the top ten causes of mortality make it pretty obvious that senescence alone isn’t killing people. Almost 700,000 Americans died from heart disease. This is the perennial leader in cause of death, and much of a heart’s health can be traced back to lifestyle choices that include diet and exercise. Medical journals say obesity alone is the second-leading preventable cause of death.
Covid was allegedly the third leading cause of death in 2020, and as Rochelle Walensky of the CDC shared last week, fully 75% of all Covid deaths were in individuals with at least four comorbidities. It is almost impossible to think that obesity didn’t factor into those deaths as well as the remaining 25%. After all, in a report dated February 2021, the World Obesity Federation attributed weight-related health factors to fully 2.2 of the 2.5 million worldwide recorded deaths at the time. That is fully 90% of all Covid deaths. After that report was released, even CNN had to acknowledge that countries whose populations were over 50% overweight faced risks ten times greater for death than in countries who did not have such an obese citizenry.
Stroke, diabetes, flu (wait, we had the flu in 2020???), and kidney disease feature prominently in the top ten list of all-cause mortality. This is not to say obesity factored into all of them, but it doesn’t take much to think that a world of supermodels would fare a lot better in these categories than the present world we inhabit.
I suppose Lizzo and her plus-sized friends will be fine, though, as long as they’re vaccinated. That’s the only problem we face right now, right Fauci?
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