*Disclaimer – This is boring, philosophical ranting and more of me thinking aloud from exhaustion from school studies than an actual, cogent argument of any sort*
As my first semester as a master’s student comes to a close, I’m drowning in a sea of literary theory and criticism. It’s in my nature to seek the interconnectedness of everything I learn in every aspect of my life. I have always found that all avenues of my life have connected in magnificent ways and that the more I push myself in the academic arena, the more I get out of life in general. Yea yea, I’m a nerd.
Anyhow. I’ve recently read theory in the schools of feminism, Queer Theory and disability studies. All three participate in a larger context of “identity politics” in which communities (either self-designated or socially constructed – though both are kinda one in the same) “combat” with what is presumed to be the homogeneous social norm.
I can’t help wonder when we will be reading about “Obesity Studies” not from a health perspective, but from a perspective of normalcy and artistic portrayal. How are those deemed “fat” presented in literature? In film? In art? How have we categorized them?
I’m sure some will argue that “obesity” has become the norm. I think we have to realize that “norm” is more than a statistical presumption (i.e. more than 50% of the U.S. is fat, therefore “fat is the norm.”). Norms have to do more with what a society deems is important. Look at all of the magazines in the grocery store and what do you see? It’s not chubby girls gracing the covers, is it? Look at architecture and the fact that United Airlines is now charging “obese” persons an extra seat charge.
This isn’t purely a health issue either, folks. You will tell me – “thin is the norm because thin is healthy.” At one point I would have bowed in acknowledgement and defeat. Now, I simply shrug. If health hadn’t become so political, I might actually know what is and what is not healthy. But the more I learn, the more confused I get! Ahh, Annabel, but isn’t leaning this beautiful thing you just wrote about where it fulfills you? Yes, yes it is. But it can also drive a person mad.
How is health political?
I have read (link coming once I can retrace my steps) that since our U.S. govt. is full of pro-agrarian self-interested politicians, it’s no wonder that our USDA Food Pyramid puts grains as the most necessary category for “good health.” If you read JunkFoodScience’s latest blog on BMI Studies and their lack of true correlatives between obesity and increased health risk compared to “thin, healthy” people, you will also start to wonder: What is and is not truly “healthy?” From an anthropological perspective, why have some cultures that consume high amounts of saturated fats had fewer diseases per equal ratio than the U.S.’s population?
Why don’t we stop so much on the numbers game! The categorical and the categorical definitive are what really drive us all further away from answering these fundamental questions.
If you are technically 5 pounds over the BMI healthy category per the governmental guidelines, don’t starve yourself for “health’s sake.” Don’t be a moron. We all know that there are a multitude of factors and variables that play into our health and fitting some governmental category of health isn’t an insurance policy, folks. Ask yourself: Do I feel good? And don’t do yourself a disservice and sugar coat everything. And equally important, don’t be too harsh on yourself.
When I was 280 pounds I didn’t feel good physically. I could list the gamut of issues, but why bother? It sucked. End of story. Do I feel miraculously healed and amazing now? No. But I feel way freakin’ better from a physical standpoint. Is losing 15 more pounds going to immortalize me and somehow allow me to escape disease? No. But I will be a total mirror-whore (haha) and hopefully able to increase my running speed which, for me, is fun and mentally liberating.
Maybe focusing more on intuition and our own research skills would benefit us all. Be your own news source and news interpreter, people!
Like I said earlier, I’m not sure where my point is or if I had one. But hopefully I at least amused you. A more practical blog with product reviews is to follow later! (I promise rants won’t be a recurring thing on here!)