The new bigotry: overweight, obese, ostracized

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By Corina Cuevas / Staff Writer


By Corina Cuevas / Staff Writer

Obesity has become America’s No. 1 enemy.

America has no shame in openly picking on people who are overweight.

Take for instance Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin.

As surgeon general she must set a good example in terms of health and wellness but by being overweight, she wipes out the portrayal of a healthy America.

Laziness and poor food choices are stereotypes that have been engraved in people who are overweight.

Even plus-size mannequins in a JC Penny cannot hide from the wave of criticism that targets overweight people in America.

The idea that being overweight is disgraceful and shameful has no difference, whether it is on the streets or online.

News articles found online about being overweight also create serious amounts of negative comments.

Comments that are posted online give people a certain sense of anonymity.

The anonymity that people acquire from the internet allows them to express what they feel even though the comments are not courteous.

According to Newsweek, the rise of “fat-hatred” is often seen as the connection between the changes in the American workplace.

As the American industry began evolving with the news jobs that flourished, less people exercised and thus, the problem of the overweight began.

Since being thin became rarer, fatness has become a threat to American society. Being thin was the way of life and the overweight phenomenon came to break that mold and standard of living.

Another instance that shows that America openly picks on people who are overweight is the MeMe Roth and Jordin Sparks incident.

Roth, a health expert, publicly suggested that American Idol contestant Sparks needed to lose weight.

This action was over the top because Sparks is a singer and not a beauty pageant contestant.

Even cartoons imply that being overweight makes a person lazy and dumb.

Take for example Peter Griffin, a character on “Family Guy.” Most of the time, Peter is portrayed as an ignorant and lazy person that just hangs around the house doing nothing and when he actually does something it is unrealistic.

Also, no matter who or what it is, the idea of plus-size models seems indignant to some. Regardless, magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar have started to embrace the idea that being plus size is beautiful.

Some models and celebrities may weigh more than the average size zero model, but their beauty and potential is equally the same.

What does this say about our culture? It says that America is an intolerant nation.

It is difficult for Americans to understand that being overweight is much more than poor food choices.

Some people actually try to lose weight by going to the gym and exercise but others cannot lose the weight because it is simply very difficult.

Losing weight isn’t an easy process; it takes hard work and determination if it’s medically permissible.

Most people that are overweight eventually lose the desire to lose weight because they are constantly criticized about their weight.

Even going to the doctor is difficult to do for people because the doctor will also get on their case in terms of losing those extra pounds.

Not many Americans see obesity as a disability where one can sympathize toward the one who is overweight.

Rather, they see obesity as a way to blame an individual for their excessive weight and lack of willpower.

The latter creates frustration and anger among those who try to lose weight but can’t.

People are caught in between the bias that surrounds the ones who are overweight but do not do anything about it.

Apparently, people enjoy being angry because it makes them feel powerful and more controlling.

The fact that many people are overweight makes way for transforming the obese as targets of rage that, for some, produces and ego-boost.

That is why Americans openly pick on people who are overweight because it boosts their ego and gives them a sense of confidence that those who are overweight do not have. It is a subtle form of discrimination.

What can we change about it?

The only way Americans can change the way they view the overweight is by having an open mind.

People should take the time to understand the complications of being over weight, and not generalize it.

Sometimes, those who have a few extra pounds are actually healthier than their thin counterparts.

Medical conditions such as thyroid diseases make the body use energy more slowly or quickly than it should.

This makes the person gain weight, feel fatigued, and have difficulty dealing with cold temperature.

The person could be healthy but because they have a thyroid disease they could end up being stereotyped as overweight.

Genetics should also be taken into consideration in the war against obesity.

Picking on people who are overweight is rude and disrespectful.

Obesity must be taken seriously as a medical problem, and not as something to laugh at or ridicule.

The moment the veil of ignorance is removed from those who pick on people because they are overweight is the moment America will realize that obesity is more than a laughing matter.

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