Again with obesity

For those who are also interested in whether we should wage a war on obesity, two interesting articles arguing against it by Daniel Engber here and here. I will add, as someone who has been a both a size 6 and a size 24, that the difference in treatment received from everyone, from shopkeepers to strangers on the street to colleagues to doctors to loved ones (even family members) is drastic - far more so than skinny people, I think, suspect. Interestingly, the difference in treatment received is MUCH greater between, say, size 14 and 24 than it is between 6 and 14.


  1. Guys don't have that problem. I was treated the same when I had a 30 inch waist as I did when I had a 40 inch waist. In fact, the only guy I know who was treated differently is a friend who has become very skinny (scarily so), because he is obviously anorexic.

    By the way, I know this is a side issue but I just read it. Here is the response from the actress from that Family Guy episode that was controversial: My name is Andrea Fay Friedman. I was born with Down syndrome. I played the role of Ellen on the "Extra Large Medium" episode of Family Guy that was broadcast on Valentine's day. Although they gave me red hair on the show, I am really a blonde. I also wore a red wig for my role in " Smudge" but I was a blonde in "Life Goes On". I guess former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor. I thought the line "I am the daughter of the former governor of Alaska" was very funny. I think the word is "sarcasm".

    In my family we think laughing is good. My parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life. My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes.

    Kind of makes gj's comment of how the episode was "beyond despicable" look more and more idiotic.

    As I mentioned on that other thread, there are highly functioning people with Downs and while I don't think the episode was funny this information does put a new light on it. I am happy the show gave her the chance to act, and now I know the motivation behind that infamous line.


  2. Again, I didn't see the show. I just didn't want to deal with hitting any raw nerves, if it happens to hit a raw nerve.

    I do think it would be nice if cognitive disability were better understood. I see people with Down syndrome on Sesame Street and nowhere else.

  3. elizabeth, I agree but we have had a lot more Aspergers syndrome (Boston Legal, Big Bang) lately. Downs syndrome is inherently easier to show due to their generally sunny nature (wide open smiles, loving and innocent hearts). I am sure you have seen the commercial at the Special Olympics where one girl falls, the other stops, then they all link arms together and finish the race. It is sweet and affecting, but as you allude only a very, very small part.
    I don't recall ever seeing a severe and profoundly retarded person in movies or TV in anywhere but an asylum or ward (and then they are all actors) The real thing Hollywood won't touch.


  4. Since we're apparently continuing the Trig Palin conversation over here, I'll chime in briefly.

    I caught much of the episode in question on Hulu, and I still think it's in poor taste. Ms. Friedman is entitled to her opinion (and seems to be very high-functioning indeed, if she wrote the above statement herself) and to defend her participation in the show. But the butt of the particular joke I mentioned was Trig Palin (and, by extension, his mother), and cracking jokes about family members is a lamentable way of scoring points against people we don't like.

    And Elizabeth, I remember your discussing how sales clerks treat women who are a size 24 back when we lived in New York. It made the issue much more clear to me than I would have otherwise been able to.

  5. charo, I didn't say the episode was beyond despicable, I said the writer was beyond despicable. I see nothing here to make me change my mind. Decent humans don't use a child's disability to be "sarcastic" to the parents.