Journalism is Unreadable and Fat Journalism is Unconscionable
The BBC has it in for fat people.
It’s not that the new organization merely reports on the findings of various studies purporting to explain obesity; nor that they pass on this information without question or challenge. They do those things, certainly, but it’s the way these articles are written the show such incredibly smug bias against fat people.
Here, look at the headlines alone:
- Fat stars ‘make obesity normal’
- ‘Keep slim friends’ to stay trim
- Fat friends ‘can boost your size’ (Different article, different study from a year earlier.)
- Obesity ‘contagious’, experts say
Here’s the first paragraph from the “Keep Slim Friends” article:
If you want to stay slim, don’t hang out with fat friends as they can make you obese, mounting evidence suggests.
The study concerns “imitative obesity” revealed in data from 5,000 teens in the United States. Here is their stunning conclusion:
From this the researchers found friendships between the adolescents tended to cluster according to weight, meaning overweight children tended to hang out together.
When they looked at weight changes over time, they found having a fat friend could lead to weight gain for a child.
Golly, why are all these fat kids flocking together? Could it be, mmmmmmm, I dunno, rejection by body conscious peers? Open mockery, silent shunning, a childhood of repeated taunts that instills shame and fear? Do they want to hang out with other kids who won’t punish them for their body size?
And, hey, I wonder if anorexia is “contagious” or if there is evidence of “imitative bulemia.”
I don’t doubt that peers can reinforce bad habits. I was a teen once (for almost a decade, in fact!) and can cite that period as the start of a smoking habit that I still struggle with.
But the combined effect of these articles — no fat role models, no fat friends, they might get their icky fat germs on you — appalls me. I’m glad my daughter doesn’t read the BBC. Of course, she doesn’t need them to feel ugly and fat; at eleven years old, she has already received the message from other kids, from the media environment we live in, and probably from all the other social and developmental influences that tell young girls to feel ashamed and nervous about their looks. Only now (or really, building up over the past decade) the medical establishment and health news media reinforce the social ostracism with scary stories of obesity epidemics that require harsh measures.
Oh, and bad writing:
Two-thirds of American adults are obese or overweight — or shaped more like the bulbous Orangina bottle than the hourglass classic Coca-Cola bottle — and obesity-related illnesses cost the United States nearly 150 billion dollars a year, health officials at the conference were told.
From a story on a proposal to tax soda pop. Everyone guffaw. Let us chortle. Oh, that clever journalist with the cheeky analogy. You went to school for that, didn’t you! You got high marks in similes and metaphors, yes, you did. Say, when you graduated, did they store your soul in a jar? “You’ll need this when you get old and fill up with regret.”