It’s pretty shocking to believe the source of this proposal. The co-founder of a non-profit center dedicated to bioethics research and public policy is promoting “fat shaming” as a solution to the obesity problem. And yes, he actually calls his proposal “Stigmatization.” In his paper “Obesity: Chasing an Elusive Epidemic” Daniel Callahan PhD, co-founder of the Hastings Center, calls for “Stigmatization Lite” claiming
The social pressure will aim to push the public to accept strong interventions, just as it could induce them to change the way they eat, work, and exercise.
Dr. Callahan has clearly never met any actual fat people. I read his paper carefully and he seems to draw the extremely bizarre conclusion that there are so many fat people now that they all think they are simply normal, like everybody else. Yes, Dr. Callahan’s genius conclusion is that the real problem is that fat people don’t know they’re fat. His proposal is that
…public social pressure is likely to awaken them to the reality of their condition. They have been lulled into oblivious-ness about their problem because they look no different from many others around them.
The actual plan would be to ask fat people “uncomfortable questions” such as “Are you happy with the way you look?” “Would you prefer to lessen your risk of heart disease and diabetes?” and “Do you know that many people look down upon those excessively overweight or obese?”
What’s most shocking here is not actually this utterly ridiculous plan. It’s the paradigm that assumes people are fat because they are oblivious to reality. They have no clue they’re fat, they can’t comprehend that it’s unhealthy. Essentially Dr. Callahan IS saying that people get fat because they are ignorant dolts who haven’t the vaguest idea how to take care of themselves and they have to be “awakened” to reality. Like Jillian Michaels screaming at fatties, it also fuels the whole “eat out of self-loathing” argument that if fat people had an ounce of self-respect they wouldn’t be fat.
This kind of thinking has to end. Because it’s more than ignorant. It’s viciously hateful. It’s misinformation, it’s misconception, it’s bias, it’s prejudice. It’s not a solution to anything.