This isn't shaming, to me

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This website, Sociological Images, says that this campaign that purports to fight childhood obesity is shaming to fat kids.

I think they have it wrong.

What I see are short statements by four fat kids who are telling the truth about what it's like to be fat.

Bobby says, "I love donuts, especially when the hot donuts sign is lit. My favorite is glazed. ..." "Hi, I'm Tamika. I'm 12 years old and I have diabetes. Having diabetes really sucks. ..." "Hi, I'm Tina, and I'm 7 years old. I don't like going to school because all the other kids pick on me. ..." Carlos says he doesn't like to go outside to play because "...all the kids pick on me, and it hurts my feelings."

Now, yes, I've only reported parts of each child's comments, but I didn't edit so as to leave out the shaming parts. These are true facts about what it's like to be young and fat. Or, what I should say is, not much appears to have changed since I was a fat kid decades ago.

This assertion that kids' telling the truth is shaming to them or to other kids is absurd, and reminds me of a similar trope that faults doctors for using the word "obese" because it has a bad connotation.

Sorry, but it's obesity that has a bad connotation, not the word. Doesn't make a person who is obese bad, but obesity, itself, is not a healthful condition, for the individual, for society, for the planet. That's the truth.

I have significant experience with shame, and I don't find it a motivating influence. I don't endorse it for anything, really. And, I concede that people can use truth, or even "truth," with intent to shame.

But I see none of that in any of these examples. Obesity is unhealthful, and it does no one any good to pretend it's otherwise. How can one get well if the nature of the unhealthful condition (yes, I'm stopping short of calling obesity a disease, but the comparison remains valid) is not disclosed?

Being fat sucks. I know very, very few people who like it (though I will introduce you to one of them in one of my next posts). Many people will defend being fat because they feel defensive about it, which I can relate to, but that's merely situational.

Just to be clear: I don't say that obese people are bad. But that doesn't make obesity good, or more to the point, healthful.

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