As another poster said, there are all kinds of negative attitudes about people's physical appearance. Everyone has someone that they feel "better" than. Even an obese person can look at someone a little bigger and say "well, at least I'm not that fat". This isn't really about someone else's attitude towards you.....it is about your attitude about yourself. If you have low self esteem than any attitude can be taken as an insult. You can't "cure" an attitude. The change has to come from within the person who holds that attitude. Parents....begin modeling the values that you want your children to have. That's where it starts.
Guess I have been expressing this pet peeve a lot lately lol, but I believe there are negative attitudes toward many groups of people, not only the obese. Regarding physicality there are negative attitudes towards people who are thin, tall, short, long haired, short haired, shade of eyes, shade of skin, old, young, etc.
People on spiritual paths often have negative attitudes towards people on different spiritual paths or no spiritual path.
People with children often look down on people with no children and vice versa.
People with differing kinds and levels of education often feel negative towards people whose kind or level of education is different from their own.
People who do one kind of job or no job look down on people with different kinds of jobs.
People of different genders in some settings around the world look down on and seek to control each other.
The list goes on and on and wars have been fought over these negative attitudes.
There have been mini wars of words even in such a benign place as the sparkety spark café over the negative attitudes of people about each other (notably people of different sizes and beliefs about how that impacts them).
I don't think there is a cure, just a hope that awareness can be brought to all and if one feels a certain way about people who are different from themselves, trying to remember that in more ways than we are different, we are alike.
Fitness Minutes: (60,593)
46,003 10/5/13 6:43 A
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My parents taught me to do unto others so...................this would be something I would share!
Edited by: SUNSET09 at: 10/5/2013 (06:43)
Fitness Minutes: (200,056)
21,311 10/5/13 5:48 A
I say dress them up in a fat suit and walk in our shoes, so they can see how we are treated by some ignorance by society. If it change their attitudes then maybe it will make them more aware and become a little more sensitive.
Fitness Minutes: (30,178)
1,841 10/5/13 1:56 A
I don't think you can cure anyone's attitudes about much of anything.
If you have negative ideas about any group of people the only way to possibly change those attitudes is to disprove whatever caused the negativity.
Can you prove that fat people aren't lazy? Nope because some are. Can you prove that fat people have self control when it comes to food? Nope, because some do not. Can you prove that all fat people are jolly old souls? Nope, some are mean, miserable people.
The point is that as long as there is a grain of truth in any belief then you can't disprove it which means you can't change attitudes.
Even if you could disprove an idea there will always be groups that do not want to believe the truth. So they wont. And you can't make them. Think about the people who do not believe that we have landed on the moon.
I think our best hope is teach people that rudeness is unacceptable. You do not need to comment on anyone's weight, food choices or activity level unless you are their health care provider or caretaker. Learning to mind our manners won't change any ones attitude but it would make the world a nicer place for all of us.
There has been a big campaign in this country against bullying. You see it on Dr. Phil all the time. He talks if girls being slut shamed, shamed for being foreign, shammed for being gay etc etc. He shows the stories of children hanging themselves amoung other things because of that bullying . Many many people think that it is wrong to bully someone to the point that they can't bare to live another day but often bullying fat people is not considered bullying at all. Often its considered helping the person see they have a problem, as if they didn't. know. Bullying of any kind is wrong. How do we fix it? We stop making excuses for the bad behaviors . You don't want me making excuses for being fat so don't make excuses. for your obnoxious behavior. ( you being the in general fat basher.) I think it was said well in a childhood movie called the war. " I may be fat but at least I can diet, but you'll always. be ugggly!" I define ugly as your attitude and how you treat others. Who's to judge anyway. what size a person. should. be. What gives one the right to infringe on my right to live in peace?
Fitness Minutes: (86,160)
5,368 10/4/13 9:55 P
There seems to be a mean feeling going throughout our society, I don't know when it began, but it isn't just the obese that are made fun of, anyone who is not stylish is made fun of, magazines like People, or web sites that show photos of celebs every single day and point out "right" and "wrong" looks, etc., this goes on and on, it's become a business on it's own. I don't know if there is a cure for it.
Fitness Minutes: (21,181)
563 10/4/13 9:41 P
We can't control the attitudes of others, but we can certainly influence them. I can (and do) teach my children that degrading speech about any human being is unacceptable. I can speak up for others who are being mocked or bullied. I can speak up for myself when I feel like I am being treated unfairly.
Many people just are thoughtless. Some are jerks, but most I really think are just not thinking about the hurtfulness that is coming out of their mouths. If we just take it-- suffer in silence, or allow others to do so-- we are contributing to the problem.
Not to pick on AlbertJon, but that type of comparison-- to alcoholism, tobacco use, illegal drugs, or long hair-- is part of the problem. We use those analogies, but they're totally false.
The main problem with those comparisons is that the minute you stop drinking, nobody knows you're an alcoholic. Quit smoking and you're an instant non-smoker. Cut your hair, and in ten seconds you're not a long-hair.
With obesity, on the other hand, you can't just stop overeating and not be obese. You have to *undereat,* and you have to do it for months or years. A recovering alcoholic with his 6-month chip doesn't have to deal with strangers looking at him and snarling, "stupid lush." An obese person who's been on 1200 calories for a year and lost 80 pounds still gets people throwing coffee on her from their car as she jogs to lose more weight.
I really think that if you could decide not to be obese, if you could say, "Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Today I quit overeating and start exercising," and within a week no one could look at you and know you used to be obese, we would have a lot fewer obese people. (And, perversely, probably a lot less prejudice against the obese.)
The other thing is that you can stop drinking or smoking and never touch alcohol or tobacco again. You can even choose not to be around anyone else who does, forbid your children to do it, go live in a dry county, be in the non-smoking section everywhere you go. It's not like you have to have two drinks a day to stay alive, but three makes you a disgusting pig of a drunk. The obese have to take a certain amount of the substance that causes their disease, and find the restraint to take exactly that much and not one gram more.
It's also pretty unusual for someone to become an alcoholic or smoker before the age of consent and responsibility and then have to deal with the consequences. Nobody ever says to their three-year-old, "Bottoms up, now. I want to see that vodka bottle sucked dry or you don't get to go watch TV. Be a good girl now and finish your martini." But that's the case with an awful lot of obese people. I was obese by the time I was eight years old, and spent my adult life trying to recover from a "lifestyle" that had already taken its toll on my body long before I made any conscious choices about it.
There are a lot of serious health conditions that are a result of bad choices. But we don't accept that it's all right for everyone to abuse the people who have those conditions. Take lung cancer or oral cancer, for instance. The vast majority of the time, it's the result of someone's adult-- or at least late adolescent-- decision to start smoking. But how would you respond if you heard someone say, "A smoker with cancer has every right to get a hole cut in her throat or get her jaw cut away and have to drag around an oxygen tank. It is NOT against the law. But he/she must learn to accept that there is a likelihood of his/her suffering verbal or some other "abuse."
AlbertJon is presumably a nice, normal guy, not some monster, but our society is at a place where nice, normal guys think it's fine to say something about people with one self-inflicted health condition that would be monstrous if they said it about people with another.
One day in our shoes, with all the associated memories and awarenesses of how *most of us* have, indeed, adhered to recommended guidelines. See that it isn't simply a matter of gluttony and sloth for those who are sensitive to certain food groups.
Experience always prevails over opinion. But then, reality prevails over magic, too... which is what it would take for this approach to work.
Fitness Minutes: (21,181)
563 10/4/13 2:46 P
I think that a person who loves him or herself is still able to look in the mirror and say "I'd like to be more toned" or "I'm not a fan of those love handles" or whatever.
If we take it away from weight, if I say that I'm not content with my level of education, so I'm going to go back to college, nobody is going to say "oh, man, she must not love herself." In fact, a sign of caring about yourself is trying to be better and to keep growing.
As far as attitudes toward weight, I think we need to just mind our own business. It is NOT MY BUSINESS if someone else is skinny or fat or anywhere in between. Every person has intrinsic value that has nothing to do with their appearance.
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1,299 10/4/13 1:52 P
Assuming that the obese person (note: obese and not just overweight) is obese from poor lifestyle choices and not from some disease or medical condition, I don't think he/she deserves any more slack than a person addicted to tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs. If the obesity is caused by one's decision to make bad choices, then he/she needs to live with it. If obese people don't like being unfairly singled-out, they should make healthy changes in their lives.
I remember back in the 60's having what was at that time called "long hair." After college I moved to a one-horse town and endured the insults by being called "girl" and "hairy" and "gay" and "commie." I even came close to getting beaten up. OK, I had a choice. I could get my hair cut (which I didn't) or I could move (which I didn't -- I liked having a job), or I could just tolerate the verbal abuse. It was my decision. An obese person has every right to be obese. It is NOT against the law. But he/she must learn to accept that there is a likelihood of his/her suffering verbal or some other "abuse."
I certainly don't think someone should be told things like "You are fat!" or "You are Miss Piggy" or "Your belly looks like a beer key." That is rude and unfairly insulting. Few of us like to be insulted, and few of us will change our bad behaviors if someone uses that approach on us.
However, all this making excuses and looking for some "soft" solution to the epidemic of obesity in our country is not solving the problem either. In fact, of course, it is making it worse.
I think there is a big difference between being overweight, which many of us are, especially including myself, and being obese. Some overweight people are much healthier than some skinny (underweight) people.
A key (maybe not "the key") is for people to begin the hard work of identifying their assumptions as such.
I have personally witnessed people wrongly assume that a person who is fat is: -lazy, -not physically strong, -incapable of doing certain things (like running), -single/alone, -unhappy with their body, -on a diet, -a binge eater or compulsive overeater, -not involved in sports, -can't dance, -self-conscious about their body, -unable to find clothes, -stupid, -lacking in self control / will power.
If people could just appreciate that these assumptions are NOT facts, then they will take the first step toward disentangling themselves from the discriminatory mindset.
How to go about it? Fat people need to be more vocal. Now, I'm sure the immediate response of everyone reading this will be "but... it's never the job of the oppressed to school the oppressor!" and that is of course true. But fat people have gone in the opposite direction -- allowing themselves to be silenced, not speaking up even to other fat people, about their experiences. The more fat people talk to each other and non-fat people about their experiences, and the more visible they become at pushing back at these stereotypes, the more people (fat and non) will realize that they are just stereotypes.
And yes, some people appear to "fit" the stereotypes -- but not necessarily BECAUSE they are fat. There are loads of people who are fat AND lazy, but not lazy because they are fat, and not fat because they are lazy. Just like there are loads of people who are thin and lazy, and fat and not lazy.
All these assumptions need to be recognized for what they are so we can start to appreciate each other for the individuals that we are. Fat people are just people with fat. Maybe more fat than you have at this particular moment in time. Or not.
I honestly have no thoughts about the specific question. I don't really think you can cure negative attitudes or make people change what they believe.
If we look at it directly in a microcosm such as spark, which when I first joined it many long years ago was not only about losing weight but about a healthy lifestyle at any weight (which, maybe wrongly, was how I perceived it when I started), I have noticed negative attitudes directed at folks for all sorts of reasons, including being at a low but not unhealthy weight.
So, I don't know, there are discriminatory attitudes of all kinds in the world. Sounds kind of harsh to say it, I know. I don't think anyone can cure it.
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