Tuesday, 28 April 2015

THE UNITED STATES OF FATNESS


Fat Shaming vs. Fat Acceptance


by Colin Liddell

Roosh V recently made his appearance on The Dr. Oz Show, a TV doctor who got his big break on the The Oprah Winfrey Show. Oz's whole schtick is to peddle non-scientific or pseudo-scientific feel-good health Pollyannas, aimed at the kind of woman who pays undue attention to her horoscope.

For Roosh appearing on the show was a win-win, even though Oz had invited him on to reveal how "evil" he was and to signal to his audience, disproportionately made up of tubby women, how much he believed in defending their "inner beauty" (presumably kept tucked up tight somewhere between their feminist bile duct and intestinal sac of fart gas).

The thing that strikes you most about Roosh on the show is the simplicity of his message: guys, especially successful and good looking guys, don’t care much for fatties. Yes, the world really is so fucked up that you can now generate controversy and make a career out of pointing out the blindingly obvious! Roosh’s other point is that fat-shaming – actually making people feel ashamed about being fat – could motivate some people to lose weight. Sounds reasonable.

Dr. Oz’s schtick is slightly more twisted and interesting. His idea is that fat-shaming makes people comfort binge, and so the way to go is "fat acceptance" and making everybody feel loved. As he puts it at 16:20 mark:
"The way we get wonderful people to be who they want to be is to accept themselves and the weight will come off."
He does not go into specifics, such as how these "wonderful" ladies will be hooked up with desirable males, as that is obviously not going to happen, no matter how much lip service shrill feminism may extort from a mainstream media culture keen to carry commercials from fast food companies. Nor does he explore the logic that if fat acceptance is successful (fat chance!), many women will lose any remaining motivation they might have to make the serious efforts that keeping in shape require in a modern consumer society of sedentary lifestyles and readily available junk food.

One of the highlights of the show comes at the end (17:30) when Dr. Oz introduces what he describes as an "incredibly compelling" video in which four fatties make "empowered women" statements – "I don’t go to the gym to looks good for other people, I do it for myself" – while knocking over evil words like "FAT" and "OTHER," while lifting up others like "STRONG." Because words matter, dude.

Apart from the often tautological and self reflexive language, which can be boiled down to essentially nothing, what strikes me most about this genre of American TV show are the visual and emotional semantics. These hint at some greater purpose that these shows serve. 

It is noticeable that when you get a studio full of angry fat women how rapidly racial difference appears to diminish, and a kind of ersatz Black/White symmetry emerges. Dr. Oz’s empowerment video, which includes two almost equally balanced pairs of White and Black women, makes this symbolic function explicit.

Reinforced studio floor.
Fat issues, which also include gender issues, are a neat way of cutting across the main schism in American society, which is currently being showcased by the riots in Baltimore.

America’s obsession with fat – either in the negative or positive sense – might be its way of keeping itself together in one big, rolly-polly lump of lard. Even though it lies beneath, fat is a way of partially hiding "skin differences" and all the other differences that subsist between America’s problematic racial components.

America binges, diets, and emotes about the processes in order to stay united. Rioters may destroy the occasional shopping mall, but the vast majority stay in business pumping out their fatty foods, optimistic fashions, and diet cures.

This de-racifying effect of fat is even reflected by Roosh and others in the manosphere. Although willing to accept a degree of race realism, it is a relatively minor concern for them. Just as well, because if Roosh was ever as explicit about race as he was about fat, he could forget cozy gigs like the Dr. Oz show.

Connected video: Roosh's Reation to the Dr. Oz Show




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