Thursday, July 02, 2009
I was watching the news and one of those yearly obesity reports came on. And once again I noticed something that news reports do which really gets me: objectification of fat. I'm being serious here, I know where the news is coming from, it stems from perhaps an attempt to be respectful to obese people filmed in public. But as is often the case with good intentions via the media, this is misguided. Instead, this cliche'd form of presentation objectifies the people filmed. It reduces the people filmed, who are people, into their jiggliest body parts. People will do anything to be on TV, getting people to be filmed isn't a problem, so either the news crews are too lazy to get consent forms signed by obese people to be filmed on the streets, eating, or in swimming pools (the locations seen in the reports I saw), or its that its easier for us as a society to look at someone's fat and pretend that's all there is; to not deal with the person who has to deal with the serious consequences of a lifestyle or the painful afflictionsof genetic determinators, psychological motivators, environmental influences, or a myriad of other issues causing this crisis that need to deal with. Our nation's health, and the conversations about it, are more serious than to be just shown in anonymous and voyeuristic parts. These attitudes and approaches just compound our very superficial attitudes toward weight, which causes so many problems in the first place. So, please, show them as you would any other person you film; as human beings.