Just a friendly reminder that obesity is a construct—as is the “obesity epidemic.”
Being a construct doesn’t mean it’s not real—all of our bodies are real, valid bodies—it just means that the dividing lines between “healthy weight,” “overweight,” “obese,” and “morbidly/supermorbidly obese” aren’t inherent to our bodies—they’re concepts created by people. They are invented categories to divide up bodies and assert a hierarchy of health.
Being a construct ALSO doesn’t mean that being classified as “obese” doesn’t have any real-world impacts. As many of my fellow fats (especially superfats) know, having a body that’s categorized as “obese” has all kinds of impacts for the kind of health care we’re able to access, the jobs we can get, and the cultural attitudes we’re faced with every day.
But often, even in body positive spaces, people will fall back on “I’m body positive as long as you’re not obese” or “the obesity epidemic is still a real problem,” as if ‘obesity’ exists somehow in a vacuum, exempt from social values and mores. It doesn’t. This is just your friendly reminder that, while being classified as “obese” has real consequences, it is just as much a product of social attitudes as anything else. .
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