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June 06, 2006

A bit more on Oppression Syndrome

Path_1 First, thanks to Ileen and Michelle - having personal conviction is good, but sometimes it's nice to know that someone reads, understands and appreciates your point of view.

Second, I want to make a point  - which is completely overlooked by those in the "war" on the "war on obesity" (i.e. those that just want the right for people of all sizes have appropriate health care, make choices based on opportunity rather than size, or in short, the right to exist!). There is a failure to recognize that we all play our part - including what everyone would consider the "bad guys". A size prejudiced doctor dismisses someone with the typical prescription "lose weight," which is a completely inappropriate response for the condition. That drives the patient to seek better answers, to take a leadership role in her own health care, resulting in a whole new lease on health and life for the patient.

Likewise, those that believe that people are people regardless of their size, that people of all sizes can be healthy and take steps to remain that way, are all playing a part too. When the debate of who is "pure" enough erupts, everyone loses. Green Mountain may be too weight loss oriented in the opinions of those that consider themselves "purer" but what about in the eyes of those seeking help, that's where opinions really matter. The first response from someone that comes across Green Mountain in cyberspace is "why don't you mention 'weight loss'"? So what's more important to HAES principles, being "pure" enough in the eyes of others in the movement, or meeting someone that is seeking answers where they are at? That's not even a contest. And yes, people want to lose weight and they have a right to want to, just like they have a right not to want to. Everyone plays their part. And I'm part of an organization that has a profound impact on women's lives, seven days a week, week after week. 

Now, third. In researching the original post, I got bits and pieces of a study (nothing that can actually be quoted or attributed) that was done with Samoan women - average weight 200 lbs which is seen by their culture as desirable - that found there were none of the high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues that are often seen in women in the US. The question asked was does the absence of size prejudice in an environment account for better overall health. What I read didn't provide a definitive answer, but it seems so in my mind. So I offer it to you as a way to help your health - consider actively rejecting the anti-fat messages of our culture. If it raises your figurative blood pressure and drives you to seek answers, fine....but don't let it sneak up on you and raise your actual blood pressure. Easier said than done, but identifing and actively denying messages that aren't helpful is the beginning of the journey.

Posted by Gina V. on June 6, 2006 | Permalink



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