On Fattism and Discrimination

Let me make one thing clear before I start. I'm not a fattist: I oppose discrimination on the basis of anything other than merit and I wouldn't dream of treating someone any better or worse because of their weight. I dislike eating disorders as much as the next person and I think being too thin is arguably a worse problem than being too fat. I understand that it can be difficult to lose weight, especially permanently, and I understand that obese people may have underlying conditions. Having read a little about weightism, I do find it quite horrifying.

All the same, I don't think that it gives them any right at all to feed their kids silly or to complain about discrimination while stuffing themselves full of fast food. I can understand why people with a genetic predisposition to obesity would find it harder, and I'm willing to cut them some slack as long as they watch their diet - because if you know you're going to be predisposed to something which isn't very good for your health (serious obesity as opposed to being merely overweight increases your risk of various diseases), it's your responsibility to make sure you don't go that way and your fault if you disregard the warning and eat out at McDonald's every day. If you eat lots of fatty food, go out and exercise, or eat less if you live a sedentary lifestyle. It's basic biology. And for the love of whatever deity there is out there, feed your kids proper food - and if you can't do that, get them to exercise. Being children and not yet old enough to look after themselves, they can't choose their own food - you choose it for them. Choose well, because they can't overturn your decisions and any mistakes you make will hurt them.

I understand that individuals aren't totally to blame: social attitudes need changing and oftentimes processed food is cheaper than the proper stuff, especially for people without much money (who may be living sedentary lifestyles and not get much chance to exercise anyway). I don't know how to solve the former, but I think I have a couple of ideas for the latter: set up allotments to grow actual food, subsidise its production and/or tax the hell out of fast food so it becomes cheaper to opt for salad than burgers (might also bring in revenue for the government, although that would probably be cancelled out by the subsidies), set up exercise centres...I'm just throwing ideas around here. But, for all that I like the idea of the welfare state (and I do), I believe responsibility starts with the individual. If you don't help yourself and you just sit around complaining about how bad your life is, why should you expect any sympathy?