Saturday, May 2, 2009

Individual Accountability, Forced Equality, & "Fat People's Rights"

In our society today we are taught, by and large, not to judge. We are taught that we are all the same, and that everyone's approach to anything (within reason) is just as valid as anyone else; all of that is bogus.

Gauging the value and worth of different approaches, tact's, viewpoints, worldviews, acts, ideologies, etc, is an important and integral part of establishing and refining those things for one's self.

Believing that one thing is better than another is absolutely great, and more importantly, it is our job as humans. It is our choosing of what is right and wrong. It is the freedom of our conscious: our most vital freedom.

Conversely, on the other hand is the closed minded argument that allows no for judgements to be made. And with no judgement comes complete equality in all things; nothing is better than anything else, and nothing is any worse. Everything, everyone, every idea, every act - all of the same worth.

Forced equality is a line to be walked carefully, but the argument gets very simple when it comes to forced equality for a group of people that have no reason to deserve it...

...Fat People. I've seen many talk shows in my life with a group of fat people who didn't care that they were fat, they were happy with who they were. They felt that if they were content and happy with who they were then so should society be, and predictably, to that end, they generally were rallying for what amounts to: "Fat People's Rights".

Now, lets dismiss the obvious. "Fat People's Rights" is, on it's face, a ridiculously misguided concept. Fat people are just people that are fat. They are fat in the same way average-sized people are average-sized, teachers are teachers, doctors are doctors, drinkers are drinkers, married people are married, pet owners are pet owners, etc. They are people who, with few major biological-based exceptions, are fat because they have chosen to be. They are people who have eaten too much, exercised too little, haven't created or changed their lifestyle to a healthy one, haven't gotten the counseling if necessary, haven't gotten the regulating drugs if necessary, haven't asked for the help, haven't learned what they needed to learn, etc.

Again, the key is that it is a choice, and all the work parties, dinners with friends, sedentary jobs, rainy weather, intimidating gyms, traumatic childhoods, learned eating habits, unhappy relationships, entertaining television, etc, do not change the fact that being fat is a choice.

Okay, having established the fundamental problem with the concept, let's get specific and look at the many ridiculous issues borne out of one of the most egregious attempts, of the many attempts in modern western society, at Forced Equality: "Fat People's Rights"

1) Restaurants, theme parks, bars, hotels, bars, etc, should have to provide adequate seating options for fat people.
2) Airlines should have to provide 2 seats, at the rate of only one, to those who need more space than one seat due to their size.
3) Department stores and clothing stores that sell average sized clothes should have to sell larger clothes as well.
4) Restaurants should have to provide lower calorie/fat meal options and/or display the nutritional information of their food.

Here's the truth, any business that believes it would be a wise business decision to create larger seating options, offer low-cal food, sell big and tall clothes, or offer two airplane seats for the price of one to heavy people should go for it. Great, good for them. Truly.

But those businesses that don't? The restaurants that offer tons of fatty foods with no low-cal alternative, the clothing stores that sell exclusively small to average sized clothes, the bars that only offer small booths, the airlines that charge two seats for a fat person who needs two seats, they're doing what they as businesses have the right to do. That's their choice, and their right. These businesses will thrive or suffer or remain the same dependent on how the consumers react to whatever choice the businesses make. That's it. Capitalism in action.

I've had to walk in to and walk right out of places that I wouldn't be able to sit in because there were no chairs - only small booths, I've had to buy two tickets to fly on multiple occasions over the last few years, I've had to make the best decision I could (if I wanted to) when out with friends at restaurants with limited low-calorie options, I've had to buy clothes exclusively from big and tall stores for years. Do I feel like I'm discriminated against because of these facts?

Absolutely not.

As hard a struggle as my weight is, it's still up to me to lose, gain, or stay the same. I will eventually get to my goal weight. It's extremely challenging, for a variety of reasons, but I know that it's ultimately on me to succeed or fail, and I would have it no other way. And that's the point.

I love myself and I love my fellow man, and I wish for everyone what I wish for myself: to be healthy, happy, and successful in whatever I undertake; knowing that it was primarily my hard-work, my tenacity, my desire, my humility, my honesty, my sacrifice, etc, that caused my success. To be healthy, successful, and happy in life, in all ways, because of what I've chosen - not because some misguided soul mandated that I be treated like a victim and that the playing field be forcefully evened for me.

The Truth is that no one should be forced to provide equality for those who have earned their struggles.

The Truth is that, though I have compassion, and empathy, and sadness, and hope, and love in my heart for people that struggle with weight issues, it is still up to them, as it is for me, to create the change they desire.

And if I live a joyful, healthy life staying true to my beliefs of not looking for forced help or forced accommodation, but instead owning the fact that I create my reality, that I get out of life what I put in, then I will someday die a happy man.

"Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values." -Ayn Rand, "Atlas Shrugged"

11 comments:

  1. If a drunk driver crashed his car, lost both of his legs and ended up in a wheelchair he would still be granted access to handicap ramps. Just because weight isn't always about genes doesn't mean that it doesn't affect a portion of the population. Should those people who can't help it be punished because there are those that can?

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  2. Natasha,

    My focus in this post was a response to the fat people on talk shows or other such fat rights activists who are simply fat people who think they are discriminated against, not people biologically unable to lose weight. I believe the amount of fat or obese people who are completely incapable of losing weight is extremely, ridiculously low.

    I have obesity in my family’s genes going back generations. Many people in my genealogy have died from heart disease and other complications arising from weighing hundreds of pounds more than they should have. However, neither I, nor any physician I've ever worked with, have ever felt that I was unable to lose weight. I, like my relatives who passed too early, absolutely have the ability to lose weight; regardless of the unfortunate genetic hand we were dealt. It is STILL on me to create change in my life, and it is STILL not on society to enable me, and others like me, at our current size by being forced to provide suitable alternative options in all situations. I am a morbidly obese man who has horrible genes, and yet, when I've worked hard, I've lost hundreds of pounds. The fact that I have to be more vigilant regarding my weight if I want to be healthy and stay that way, does not, in any way, remove the responsibility I have to do so. And it certainly does not put that responsibility on anyone else, and CERTAINLY not by force as many of those “Fat Peoples Rights” folks advocate.

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  3. Hey dude. That was a very powerful post. I definitely agree that it is up to the individual to lose weight. Glad to have you back :).

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  4. Truth is truth and Thank you for such an empowering post.

    When I tried to recruit my best friend, to join me in my quest for a healthier weight, she instead tried to get me to accept my obesity, in the guise of Self Acceptance.
    Now I am 80lbs lighter, guess who is now chumping at the bits, to join me in getting our weight to healthier numbers.
    You hit the nail on the head....My Obesity, was a choice I made. One mouthful at a time.

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  5. I love all your posts. I love it when people tell it like they see it. For me, I agree to a point, but I really do love it when restaurants make their nutritional information available. This is because sometimes stuff you think is too high isn't, and vice-versa. If they have to be forced to do it, let's just say I'm not going to complain about it. ;o)

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  6. Right now I feel so happy to have found you on here. You my friend are an inspiration! You are as real as it gets and the way you write your journey out is amazing. I will be checking back regulary to see how you are doing and get a dose of hope and inspiration. You are absolutely amazing! Keep it up you will win this battle :)
    Shannon

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  7. Wow! That was an incredible post. I love reading your stuff. If you get a chance, look up my blog - http://learningtobeless.blogspot.com/ - I gave you an award today. Keep it up, we all enjoy your blog.

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  8. First time here. What an important post. I have never blamed being fat on anything other than myself. So many fat people are professional "victims". The deit blogsphere needs more articulate intelligent post like this one. cheers and good luck to you.

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  9. What a thought provoking and deeply thought out post. I tend to agree with you. Our culture lacks a general concept of personal responsibility and its time to take it back and empower ourselves--thanks!

    jen
    http://www.bodaweightloss.com/blog

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  10. I don't know about the frivolous stuff they spout about on day time talk shows, but this is the one real reason to fight for equality for overweight (ALL) people:

    MISSISSIPPI HOUSE BILL NO. 282:
    Title: AN ACT TO PROHIBIT CERTAIN FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS FROM SERVING FOOD TO ANY PERSON WHO IS OBESE, BASED ON CRITERIA PRESCRIBED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH; TO DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT TO PREPARE WRITTEN MATERIALS THAT DESCRIBE AND EXPLAIN THE CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING WHETHER A PERSON IS OBESE AND TO PROVIDE THOSE MATERIALS TO THE FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS; TO DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT TO MONITOR THE FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS FOR COMPLIANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

    okay, where's the working of capitalism there? if an obese person wants to PAY for food with thier hard earned money, shouldn't they be able to? isn't this actually REAL discrimination... not just fluffy, day time talk show stuff?

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