Social Question

chelle21689's avatar

Is it a good thing if someone is proud of their size (obesity)?

Asked by chelle21689 (5086 points ) June 22nd, 2010

My sister has this good friend who is extremely obese. She’s one of the nicest people you’ll meet. She is one of those girls that posts herself in bikinis, revealing clothing, and constantly preaches about pride for fat women. She constantly puts up this site http://adipositivity.com/ for women to be proud of their size.

I know it’s a good thing to accept who you are. It’s a lot better than being depressed. But do you think it’s very unhealthy and bad to be proud of being obese? Do you think if they were given the chance to lose weight they would? I’m not talking about chubbiness, a little rolls, or being a bit overweight…I’m talking about OBESITY here.

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47 Answers

ucme's avatar

Feel good in the skin that you’re in.

cornbird's avatar

Yes it is a good thing that she is proud of her size and that is important,but she should also be concerned about her health. Try to tell her about the benifits of healthy eating.

dpworkin's avatar

Obesity, no matter what some ignorant people persist in saying, is not a matter of choice. The majority of obese people are abused in some fashion at least daily, and spend their lives suffused in shame over something uncontrollable. Far better that there are a few who can be accepting of themselves.

Facade's avatar

Being proud of being obese usually goes hand in hand with thinking it’s ok. It’s not ok. It’s not healthy. They should be working towards becoming healthy instead of basking in themselves.

dpworkin's avatar

@Facade that is a well-intentioned but ignorant point of view. You need to do some more research before you spout non-factual moral opprobrium.

Facade's avatar

@dpworkin Please, leave me alone.

dpworkin's avatar

@Facade please don’t post in a public forum if you don’t want your opinions to be subject to disagreement and/or critique.

tinyfaery's avatar

Why would you deny someone their confidence and self-worth just because you do not agree with the reasons behind it?

jfos's avatar

@ucme That sounds Buffalo Bill-esque.

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@dpworkin You make it sound like weather or galaxies or something, over which she has no control. That’s not the case. There is certainly genetic predisposal, but there are also bad diets and lack of exercise.

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It’s good that she accepts that she is obese, rather than denying it or having serious self esteem problems. It’s not good to be unhealthy and confuse laziness for pride.

Haleth's avatar

It seems like there is a flood of messages in our media about how obese people need to lose weight and get healthy. Obese people have to hear every day about how they aren’t healthy. There are very few messages like this website telling them to feel ok about their body. Going from obesity to a healthy weight is an uphill battle that takes a long time, and even if they work hard, not everybody can do it. It’s nice to see one site that says these people don’t have to feel like shit about their bodies.

ucme's avatar

@jfos She places the lotion in the basket.

dpworkin's avatar

@jfos There may be rather a good deal of willfulness in the process of becoming overweight, in which case I agree with you, but once a person is obese it is now widely accepted that there is very little to be done in more than 95% of cases.

Facade's avatar

@dpworkin You have your opinion. I have mine. Fantastic. I’m just asking you to leave me alone.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Of course being obese isn’t healthy. But having a negative self image, regardless of what your physical image actually is, is also unhealthy. I think it’s wonderful if ANY person can feel good about themselves.

dpworkin's avatar

@Facade if you post something with which I disagree, I will continue to respond. I thought I just made that clear. That precludes “leaving you alone”, so kindly do not expect that.

wundayatta's avatar

The relationship between self-esteem and body image is complicated. We want people to have positive self-esteem, and to this end, it is good for them to have a positive body image. On the other hand, we know that not only is obesity extremely unhealthy, it is also something that most people in society disapprove of.

Obesity creates high blood pressure and heart problems and joint problems and much more. It is associated with a higher use of health services.

It gets complicated because people see obesity as something people have a choice about. Many believe that if they really wanted to, they’d lose weight. It’s the same thing heard about people with depression. “They just want attention. If they really wanted to, they’d just pull themselves out of it.”

Can you have good self-esteem and good body-image and still be interested in working hard to become healthier? Probably so. In fact, I would expect people with positive body image to actually have an easier time losing weight than people who hate themselves because of their weight.

If you feel positive about yourself, then you are worth taking care of. Then you are worth pushing yourself to become healthier. If you have a bad self-image and bad self-esteem, then you easily see yourself as fat and as incapable of losing weight and undeserving of it, too.

Obesity, I’ll bet, is comorbid with depression much of the time. Depression makes it difficult to do anything. To pull oneself out of depression and to build a positive self-image is a difficult thing.

I’ll bet that obese people with a positive self-image lost more weight than those who hate their bodies. So I think it is a good thing for someone to be proud of their size. It doesn’t mean they want to stay that way. It means they feel good about themselves, and believe they are worth doing good things for. Like losing weight.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Facade Relax, he can’t help it.
@dpworkin Neither can she.

Facade's avatar

@Haleth I agree they shouldn’t feel like shit about themselves, but they should also do what they can to not continue on the path they’re on.
@worriedguy I am relaxed. Don’t you see that smile? lol

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

And although I’ve already stated that I recognize the health implications that come with obesity, I’d like to say that I feel like too many people hide behind “it’s unhealthy!” as a cover for size-ism. Prejudice against people that are overweight or obese is relatively acceptable in our society.

wundayatta's avatar

I’ve always pointed out that it is a fallacy to make generalizations from one case—so don’t do it. My friend who saved my life was also depressed when she did that for me. We slowly worked our way out of depression in tandem. Once she was doing well, she started losing weight, and has lost at least forty pounds since then—slowly and steadily. I’m not sure she would have been able to do this if she hadn’t dealt with her depression and her negative feelings about herself first.

Silhouette's avatar

Yes, it’s a very good thing. Nothing is more important than being comfortable in your own skin. Nothing makes you weaker than lack of self esteem and self confidence. No self esteem, equals no dignity, no dignity equals no character. “Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-break on.”

dpworkin's avatar

@Silhouette Thanks for the thoughtful response. GA.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I think an obese person with a good self-image is better than an obese person who has trouble losing weight feeling like shit. If she is healthy and active, more power to her. If she is unhealthy and inactive, I hope she loses enough weight to be healthy but not so much as to fit our society’s narrow definition of beauty. :)

Silhouette's avatar

@dpworkin My pleasure, you should lighten up a bit, you’re actually a very pleasant person when you choose to be.

drClaw's avatar

Being proud of your body is always good, but it can be dangerous. You can love yourself and your body too much. If your weight is making you unhealthy and your pride prevents you from changing your eating/exercise habits to become healthier, that is a problem. This goes for people who count calories as well.

To me the issue is not each individual, but with our society. As an American especially it is easy to become overweight and obese and that won’t change until parents start teaching their kids healthy eating habits.

Facade's avatar

@drClaw GA. I don’t think either extreme is healthy or something to be proud of.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@drClaw while I agree with what you said, I also think we might be misreading the message. I don’t think these women are saying “I am proud that I eat too much food/don’t move around enough.”
I have NEVER heard a woman express pride about consuming, say, 4000 calories in a day. I would find that really disturbing. But being proud of yourself (your whole self, including their extra pounds.. whether they intend to lose them or not.) is a positive thing.

James_Mal's avatar

They shouldn’t be PROUD. They should look to improve their health, as there are quite a few health risks that come with being big. A healthy lifestyle.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

edit: I should have probably specified that my use of “4000 calories” was just randomly pulled out of the air as an example of over-consumption, not a generalization.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

The movement for fat acceptance is not a black or white kind of movement. There are people jumping on that bandwagon who have issues with themselves and want a way out and have tried everything to lose weight. There are people in the movement who feel those who do lose weight around them are traitors, which I think is ridiculous. Emotions are raw, understandably, because fat people are stigmatized (and no I’m not getting into whether or not they should be because we’ve had plenty of fluther questions on this already and the vitriol some people have towards fat people disgusts me and is reason enough for all of us to join the fat acceptance movement) and so I am all for positive self-esteem and for making changes towards health. What health means, though, is not the same for each person. And that’s how we should approach this, on an individual basis but not as if we we’ve got a right to tell fat people how to live – none of us have that right. Where do people get off making judgments about obesity when they themselves drink or smoke or tan or never exersize and hate themselves anyway? Where do they get off? Because they hate to see fat people happy – how dare they be happy when I’m on all of these diets and am miserable anyway…that’s the problem..And very few of us are healthy, in the way I define it, anyway, no matter your weight.

nikipedia's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: You got me curious, how do you define “healthy”?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir first, well said. Second, I agree that it’s just as bad when an overweight person judges a healthy weight (or formerly obese person) person based on their size. I recognize it’s usually an issue of jealousy, but it’s still a tragedy when someone can not accept another person’s happiness or comfort in their own skin.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life. I’ve been “obese” once. You know what? I knew I was fat, there was no escaping that. I would give anything, actually, to feel good about the body I was given (which seems to like to hang around 180).

There is no escaping the fact that being overweight is unhealthy. No one who is overweight is deluded into thinking so. Therefore, I say that if you are happy how you are, despite the health risks and whatnot, more power to you. And, also, I am somewhat envious.

Oh, and I would also like to say that everyone who has a problem with it can F off. Why should it be anyone’s business if someone offends your aesthetic senses? Deal with it, much like you might deal with someone you find highly unattractive. It’s truly none of your business, you have no idea what the person’s story is, and if it offends you so much, you should find something more important to entertain your brain. PM me if you need suggestions for such diversions, i.e. starving children, the current oil spill crisis, the ongoing war in the Middle East, female circumcision, etc.

/stepping off soapbox.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@nikipeda – let’s just say most people would have to drastically change their diets for me to consider them healthy

Fernspider's avatar

I don’t eat as healthily as I should and am a healthy weight by medical chart measurements. For this reason, I am not outwardly judged by others for my lifestyle choices because I am not overweight/obese. This seems incredibly unfair in comparison. In fact, I almost get complemented by people… “I can’t believe you can eat so much and such bad foods without gaining weight, you are so lucky.” I should not be complemented on my unhealthy food choices just because they don’t affect my body shape.

It seems deeply unfair for those individuals who eat the same way that I do, or even eat healthier than I do but through genes or other reasons put on weight.

jca's avatar

I am overweight, and i used to go out with this guy who was so into me, he wanted me to wear all kinds of sexy clothes (which was fine) but he wanted me to wear revealing clothes in public, which to me was not fine. he would want me to show my stomach by wearing low waist jeans and bare midriff tops, and he wanted to go to the beach with me in a bikini. i was not ashamed of myself, but nor was i willing to flaunt my body in a way that i felt was inappropriate. i am very aware of the attitude people have toward overweight, and i did not want to be ridiculed (even silently) or have people look at me and think “just what does she think she is, dressing like that?” he and i had many arguments and discussions about this issue. he used to say to me “be proud, show off your body” and i just thought he was bizarre. he was persistent, and we never went to the beach for that reason – it was not worth the argument, to me. i don’t feel that wearing low cut jeans with a stomach hanging over them is sexy. we ended up breaking up, for a host of reasons.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I recall a childhood when seeing a fat adult was a rarity and seeing an obese one was the stuff of supermarket tabloid covers. When I look around now, I see fat people who make fun of the morbidly obese as being the fat ones. None of it is right or healthy and these people and even children didn’t get fat and obese by societal abuse, they ate crap and a whole hell of a lot of it.

I refuse to be made to feel there’s something wrong with me because I’m not fat and never want to be. I gained weight before to where I was “chubby” and the way I was treated was awful to the point I’ll never let myself slip up again, there’s too much I can do to control that from happening. Fat/obese self love? Good for them but I don’t buy into it. I won’t bother preaching or making any kind of suggestions of health to a fat/obese person, it’s not my place to support their unhealthy lifestyle but I also don’t say anything negative to them to add to whatever drives then to self destructiveness.

AmWiser's avatar

We are all at risk of dying from something other then old age or natural causes. I say lets live and be happy and at peace in whatever skin you’re in.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I don’t believe anybody is really happy being fat. I think inside, theyr’e really not. They might post this and that and act crazy happy, but I think deep inside they’re lying to themselves. Just my humble opinion nothing more.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@trailsillustrated I don’t think skinny people are happy either, by that extrapolation.

tinyfaery's avatar

@trailsillustrated What an ASSumption.

bellusfemina's avatar

So does the term “shake what your momma gave you” apply to these people??

mattbrowne's avatar

No. Real obesity is a disease, i.e. a severe and dangerous medical condition. It damages the body slowly. Same as nicotine addition, alcohol addiction and so forth. People had a choice long before they became obese or addicted to cigarettes. But once it gets out of hand we can’t blame anyone anymore. We should always show respect and never show any disrespect, especially if people are willing to get help. They need our support, not our ridicule.

NaturallyMe's avatar

Well if they’re happy with themselves the way they look and their health, then who are we to say they should not be proud of themselves?
Personally, i don’t feel being unhealthily obese is anything to be proud of – what’s to be proud of? An unhealthy diet and lifestyle? Getting fat is no accomplishment and so i would never be proud of the fact that i’m obese.
And yes, one can be proud of the person they are, but to be specifically proud of the fact that you’re hugely obese is not something in itself to be proud of in my opinion. She’s sweet in wanting to make other obese people feel better about themselves, but one should rather help people in losing this weight instead – losing weight is something to be proud of because that is more often than not no easy task. One shouldn’t encourange unhealthy lifestyles by promoting obesity and saying it’s ok and that you should feel fine with how you are no matter what – sometime things need to change for the better. If you want to be obese, that’s your choice, but don’t make it ok for others, it’s just not a good role model in my opinion. Ending up really unhealthy because you choose to be so is also not a fair burden to place on your loved ones.
So there. That’s what i think. And that’s what i’d still think if i were to become obese.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from diction, truth from diction. I would think they should be confident in themselves but going to the point of actually being proud? That to me is like a person with a very offensive odor being proud of that. But simply being happy that you are fat (and I seriously doubt if a fairy with a magic wand said that she could make them any size other than that, they would choose to remain obese) doesn’t make it any more healthy.

I believe people create and come up with Web sites like that because they have given up and resigned themselves that they can’t or don’t want to make the commitment and sacrifice it takes to get and remain thin so they cobble with fellow kindred spirits to try to convince themselves and others that fat is good and fit.

People want to say that obese people do not have a choice. To me obesity if not a choice only hits Americans in great numbers because the rest of the world do not seem to have that big of a problem with it (as any tourist next time you see one). There are nations who’s regular diet includes many of the food items here we are told to avoid because they make you overweight, but they are not? Either they are doing something or preparing their meals better or fat just hates Americans and causes Americans to become fat eating it. Pound for pound you won’t find as many obese Japanese and they eat a lot of rice and I don’t think most of it is brown rice either. Along the Mediterranean they eat lots of pasta (another US no-no) why are they not porking out like Americans? Obesity is not a disability that just afflicts someone no matter what. Maybe if we stop expecting super-sized everything generations from now we won’t have 280lb 7th graders (we didn’t when I was in the 7th grade). IMO instead of trying to make peace with the blubber they need to get mad and bring on the thunder.

MissAnthrope's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central – Based on your post here and other questions/answers in the past, it would appear to me that you have an issue with overweight people. Feel free to hold whatever opinions you want, but you really should be more sensitive when airing these views in public, particularly when they’re not incredibly thought out, researched, or well-formed. Must be nice to be a skinny bean pole, which I assume you are, because you know what they say about people living in glass houses and casting stones…

To address your above post specifically, more research should be done before you make such claims. Obesity is not just a problem in the US. Over the 15 years my mom has lived in Italy, I went from never seeing overweight people to seeing overweight people all the time. Scotland and the UK have huge issues with obesity and childhood obesity right now, as well. There are other differences that are more about being more active on a daily basis (if you’ve been to Europe, you’ve probably walked a lot and climbed a shit ton of stairs), than about diet. There’s more of a culture of walking instead of driving, at least in Italy.

Anyway, obesity is becoming a global issue in developed countries. America doesn’t hold all the stock in that.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@MissAnthrope Based on your post here and other questions/answers in the past, it would appear to me that you have an issue with overweight people. I have good friends who are fat, and I am not dumping on them just because they are fat, I was fat once, but I will call it if they don’t take ownership of it and make excuses for not doing anything about it. Same as I get on my smoking friends that they aren’t doing themselves any good.

Feel free to hold whatever opinions you want, but you really should be more sensitive when airing these views in public, particularly when they’re not incredibly thought out, researched, or well-formed. Must be nice to be a skinny bean pole, which I assume you are, because you know what they say about people living in glass houses and casting stones… Believe me, I am being kind. I was in that house until I wised up, kicked the door down, and escaped. For a long while I put up with it. Ignored the comments but then I got out of the shower one day looked down and could not see my Robert Earl or my toes because there was too much of me in the way. I did not know diet from shinola but if I could figure out how to shed the pounds it isn’t rocket science.

Over the 15 years my mom has lived in Italy, I went from never seeing overweight people to seeing overweight people all the time. In the past 15 years I wonder how many Burger Kings, McDonalds, T.G.I.F., Jack in The Box, and other American eateries invaded Europe. The other industrialized are entering the game but as you say, if you are not a sedimentary slug you can eat all you want and whatever, you just won’t keep the calories.

By the way anorexics don’t get kid gloves either and bulimics even less.

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