Friday, July 17, 2009

Must Read Article

There's a great article at Pandagon called "The Dangers of Imbuing Moral Danger on Health Concerns" which deals with all this "concern" journalism about how fat Dr. Regina Benjamin is (probably size 16-18) and how no person struggling with weight could possibly ever be a good Surgeon General. Amanda Marcotte talks about how dangerous it is in general to relate negative health results (cancer diagnosis for example) with moral weakness or failure. This is so often done for a couple of reasons, 1. health insurance companies want to get out of covering chronic conditions and 2. people don't want to think that these health problems could happen to them, so if they think "hey, I'm a good person, I don't smoke, I'll never get cancer" they can blame the fatties and the smokers for all ills and feel safe (even though they are not).

There's also a great quote she offers from Frances Kissling that I'd like to share:

We need more mature, holistic views about these things. Frances Kissling gets at it in this comment:

This country is full of above-average weight women and children struggling for dignity as well as to lose weight. Achieving either of these is not easy. (Never mind that none of these criticisms have mentioned any actual health concerns Benjamin might or might not have, instead presuming “obesity” as a catch-all for bad health.) Having a confident, big-bodied and big-spirited woman as America’s family doctor could do more to improve their health than skinny HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius. It’s good to know that even doctors struggle with their weight—and lead full and active lives in spite of adversity.

Can I get an Amen?

1 comment:

  1. I am happy to know that I wasn't the only one being superficial about the Surgeron General pick.