What some currently see as the most distressing assault on their dignity is first lady Michelle Obama with her fight against childhood obesity.Bacon. Great name. No seriously.
"I'm really appalled at the first lady's campaign. I think it will do more harm than good," says Linda Bacon, author of "Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight." "I applaud her for some of the specific programs, but when it's done in the name of obesity, it's going to backfire on her."
Bacon was one of about a dozen researchers and authors who signed a letter to Obama voicing concern that her emphasis on weight was stigmatizing a population rather than dealing with the broader health issues. "I think it's great for kids to have a better connection to their food," Bacon says.
A grand and lustrous name. And if you thought a joke was in order, you should be ashamed of yourself... of your mind. Not your body, of course. Love your glorious, ample body.
Back to Linda Bacon:
But by focusing on weight, "you're teaching kids that they did something wrong to get the body they have."Givhan has the access to extract a response from Michelle Obama. The questions I'd ask: How can you talk about taking personal responsibility when what people hear is blame? If people are saying they feel good about themselves, do you really want to make them feel bad? Even those of us who don't favor inspiring self-esteem all the time want to know why you want to tear people down in the effort to get them to do something they'll probably never be able to do very well? But Michelle Obama is someone who's big on promoting self-esteem, so she's got a particularly difficult problem achieving coherence. You can't just be for everything that's good. Everyone must feel good and be virtuous. How does that work?
The women do not dismiss decades of scientific research on obesity, but they are distrustful of the conclusions as well as the methodology. They know they exercise; they feel healthy. One young woman shared that she was a vegan and has always been a big girl. Mostly, however, they argue that everyone should eat better and move more -- not just the overweight. So why point a finger at fat people?
I assume Givhan will get back to us with the First Lady's response. Until then, let's speculate. I predict she'll go on about her garden and how delicious vegetables can be: If only these women would taste vegetables — really taste her most excellent vegetables — then they will love eating right and all the incoherence will melt away. You can love yourself, love your body, love all your food and eat right and be healthy — feel healthy and be healthy. Of course, that's emphatically not true, but one feels so pretty saying it. And that is what we want — to feel pretty.