Starvation vs Gluttony

mielikki55

Member
Nov 21, 2006
1,395
2
I'm sure many of us have read the thread about the NJ woman whose goal in life is to be 1000 lbs. Many of you (and I echo this sentiment) believe that she is eating herself to death. And the media, instead of being of horrified, is sort of celebritizing (I know - it's not a word let's pretend it is for now) this situation. So my question to you ladies is this: How is this different than someone starving themselves to death? Is it different?

How are the individuals in these two scenarios treated differently? IMO, it seems that we are more aware/concerned about anorexia than obesity. We are more willing to force someone to eat than force someone to stop eating. What are your thoughts?
 

TheDivineWithin

Om Namah Shivayah
Nov 7, 2009
274
0
Chi-city
I think it's different insofar as somehow obesity becomes a morality issue, that and the fact that women's bodies and what we do with them is always up for commentary. A person with anorexia doesn't really receive the kind of snide remarks as fat people often do. It's an actual disease, so it's really not about forcing anyone to do anything. So I really think society is far more concerned with obesity than w/anorexia. But you are right that people are more aware of anorexia because the medical community is still learning about fat bodies and still research is so heavily biased against those who are heavier. How many times do you see magazines, tv shows, etc about shedding fat, losing fat, ZOMG! Teh bad fat? We are bombarded with those messages every single day. And imo, it has a lot to do with the fact that there are few images of fat and healthy individuals, but we are out there. So...the lack of knowledge to the masses is really hurting us. "When you believe in things you don't understand then you suffer..." - Stevie Wonder

I will say - I think she is excellent at marketing. She has a website. It certainly can't hurt. Unlike a lot of people, if she is going to do it anyway she isn't trying to nickle and dime it. She's not doing it in a secretive sort of way away from family and friends with an assumed name. I kind of admire that she isn't a walking contradiction in those terms. And, there is more than a little parody in what she is doing. Is she really going to gain 1,000lbs? Is she really sickly or inpenetrable where health issues are concerned? Or is she really poking fun at ALL OF OUR preconceived notions and closely held stereotypes? After all we only get to see what we think is her life. We don't see her doctors visits or her intimate homelife. Is she playing into your own prejudice that fat people are not only stupid but wrong? It is kind of in your face. She has cojones if nothing else. Whether her attempt is real or not it gets discussions about obesity going. I know I've had a lot of opportunities to educate people, both friends and strangers, since this started and I was glad for the opportunity. It got them thinking about their attitudes about fat people and why they have them. It also helped me to review some of my own. And it also makes me wonder if people who are fat are really any different than the public at large when it comes to their attitudes about fat or is it that they just pretend to be more enlightened when it benefits them? She is an interesting funhouse mirror to look into for everyone if nothing else.

What she does has never bothered me because I don't feel every fat person is a reflection on me. I'm an individual. I don't feel that people think of Donna when they know me. So whether I agree with her or not I don't think of her as a threat to size acceptance. She does her and I do me. The way that a lot of people approach this reminds me of when black people say or used to say that they were embarrassed by certain black people doing what was considered to be stereotypical things. IMO real personal liberation comes when you don't attach yourself to every negative assumption other people can make about the group you happen to belong to. You know what the truth is. You don't need to prove yourself to anyone.
 
Last edited:

Tangerine

Layered.Like nachos.
O.G.
Jan 16, 2007
4,211
0
36
California
I think it's different insofar as somehow obesity becomes a morality issue, that and the fact that women's bodies and what we do with them is always up for commentary. A person with anorexia doesn't really receive the kind of snide remarks as fat people often do. It's an actual disease, so it's really not about forcing anyone to do anything. So I really think society is far more concerned with obesity than w/anorexia.
There is far more at work here than just an issue of health... there is a fierce element of personal politics too.

Thin is a beauty standard, prized, revered, rewarded, strived for. No question. The gray area that starts to become 'too thin' is often ignored in favor of the positive connotations that go with thinness (look at the fashion industry! the movies!), unless it gets really, really bad. This makes it NO LESS of a dangerous health issue, absolutely. BUT the thin RARELY have to fight the overwhelming crush of stigma, even in their health issues, that fat people face. Thinness is not seen as a character flaw, even in its most extreme state.

Fat is (hear me out, this isnt MY personal words, but can be agreed upon as a long held societal standard) not attractive, lazy, stared at, looked down on, almost a character flaw. People try to hide it, fight it, all matter of combat because frankly, they need to. Society does not favor the fat. So fat people have it extra hard. Not only do they probably want to lose some weight, they also have the weather a constant shame that goes with being fat.

The hesitation, in my opinion, sometimes to address health issues when it comes to fat people is that, in some sense... fat people KNOW they are fat, they get it every single day. They cannot be totally ignorant to the consequences. To some extent it is natural to react in a way like 'hey, maybe we should back off of these people for once,' I am not saying this is the way to help people become healthier, but I can almost understand the attitude.

As for me personally, I will ALWAYS stand by the idea that, no matter WHAT, the only person that has to live with your body is you. You are the only person your body should concern, good, bad, everything. You have no responsibility to your family, your friends, society, in regards to your body in any way shape or form. It should never concern anyone else and you shouldn't have to answer for it.

The only way people as a whole will get healthy in decades to come is also the only way anything is going to get done in this country: by embracing personal responsibility. So I say, lets just leave people to find their personal responsibility and worry about our own.
 

bethany

O.G.
Dec 29, 2005
726
1
Obesity (and I'm not talking just people who carry a few extra pounds and are perfectly healthy - I mean obesity) is seen as a moral failure/character flaw because in our society it's typically the path of least resistance.

The sheer population of obese people (in every income bracket) are unlike anything that human biology has ever had to deal with before. And that, in no uncertain terms, is largely the fault of our U.S. food policies and social structure, but it's ultimately up to each person to watch themselves. And those who don't are seen as lazy and apathetic about their health.

In this country, if you pay zero attention, eat when you feel like it, and simply eat the most affordable sources of calories around you, you will almost certainly get fat, unless you are one of those few metabolically extreme people (and even then - wait until middle age).

It used to be that being fat took work - you had to put money and other resources into seeking out the rare and calorie dense foods like sugar, meat, etc., and people respected the plump social elite for their effort. Now being thin takes work - you have to pay attention to what you eat, deprive yourself of things that your body naturally craves, and in most cases you also have to exercise, and people respect the thin social elite for their effort.

I know people blame their genetics, their medications, their thyroid, their upbringing, their bad knees, etc. and sometimes it's true that their lifestyle isn't 100% the cause of their fat, but the fact remains that the vast majority of fat people ARE able to be skinny if they discipline their eating and their exercise.

I think that's the source of our cultural disdain for obese people. We're just big fat hypocrites.
 

TheDivineWithin

Om Namah Shivayah
Nov 7, 2009
274
0
Chi-city
I agree with you on a lot of points. Especially about food policy in the US. I heard something about Jamie Oliver trying to do something about changing the way children eat in schools. I'm glad someone is bringng more attention to how we eat as americans and how we feed our children. Our food is horrible. I'm really happy that he said that there are thin unhealthy people as well. We are all unhealthy for the same reason--processed foods suck!

Overall though, I think there is a problem in people determining whether people who are fat are SA or not based on how they are fat. IMO fat people have the right to determine how they manage their own bodies. So, who are you (the general, societal you) to say some of those fat folks don't actually WANT to be fat? They also have the right to create any image they like about how they manage their own bodies. There is no one particular way to be acceptably fat. Believe it or not, there are a lot of fat people who aren't at war with themselves or with their bodies.
 

sjunky13

Dreaming............
O.G.
Dec 17, 2006
14,931
802
Marcel's
There are many people that gain massive amounts of weight. They WANT to be fat. It pleases them and feels right. There are very very hot attractive men that like very obese women. I think its soo taboo, thats why people dont understand it. Look how long it took for older women/younger men to hit the media. It took Demi and Aston as its role models and now its hot to be a cougar. I say what ever pleases you as long as no children are involved. I dont condone or like what Donna is doing, I hate the submissive part of it all. The whole issue is really complex and isnt as simple as fat and skinny.
 

mielikki55

Member
Nov 21, 2006
1,395
2
I guess my question needs clarification because I wasn't really asking about society's perception of fat vs skinny. We all realize that there are healthy happy heavier people and unhealthy unhappy lighter people. When you starve yourself to death, you become morbidly emaciated. When you eat yourself to death, you become morbidly obese. Either way, you aren't healthy or it doesn't look attractive. But are we more likely to speak up and force an emaciated person to eat than to speak up and force an obese person to diet? It just seems that we are willing to watch someone like Donna eat herself to death but we would not be willing to watch some who looks like a skeleton starve herself to death. (Or would we?)
 

MACsarah

BB+leather
O.G.
Sep 13, 2008
7,683
1
I have been told that people want to shove a big mac down my troat, but it will never be okay for me to tell a obese person to go to the gym. Nothing new, but total stupid double standard.
 

mielikki55

Member
Nov 21, 2006
1,395
2
I have been told that people want to shove a big mac down my troat, but it will never be okay for me to tell a obese person to go to the gym. Nothing new, but total stupid double standard.
Right! That's exactly what I'm wondering about. Why the double standard?
 

sjunky13

Dreaming............
O.G.
Dec 17, 2006
14,931
802
Marcel's
I dont see anyone supporting that woman. Extecpt the men who gain sexual pleasure from it. I am sure there are men who like anorexic looking women and would pay to see her get deathly thin. Its a sexual fetish. I dont see anyone rallying around Donna saying Yo go girl!
 

Tangerine

Layered.Like nachos.
O.G.
Jan 16, 2007
4,211
0
36
California
I dont see anyone supporting that woman. Extecpt the men who gain sexual pleasure from it. I am sure there are men who like anorexic looking women and would pay to see her get deathly thin. Its a sexual fetish. I dont see anyone rallying around Donna saying Yo go girl!

I agree with this. This story is catching on because most people are morbidly fascinated, and lets face it - disgusted. I think many, many are much quicker to be disgusted with extreme fatness vs. extreme thinness. Like I said in my post, extreme thinness is just a valued, prized thing taken a little too far. Fat on the other hand, well, standards are so awful today that ANY extra ounce of fat, esp on celebrities, is greeted with a degree of shame.
 

Bradysmum

Carter and Evan too!
Interestingly enough, in many religions (hope this isn't taboo here..) gluttony is considered a sin, however fasting almot to the peak of starvation sometimes; is considered righteous and holy.

I believe both are equal ended problems.