How fat people are like John Locke
I'm so tempted to take this post down and just pretend it never happened, but it did. See How I am like a giant ass
So I was watching the final season of LOST the other day. This particular episode focused on John Locke, a mild-mannered fellow who happens to be in a wheelchair. John had met a spinal surgeon in a previous episode and was offered a free consultation but in this episode John thought about it and decided not to call him. See, John had been through so many painful and stressful attempts to fix his spine and had experienced the heartbreak of failed attempts so many times that he figured it was time to stop putting himself through the wringer and just accept that he was never going to walk again. When he told this news to his fiancée, it was met by happy tears, a swell of music, and a romantic kiss.
Now imagine for a second that John Locke isn't a guy in a wheelchair. Imagine he's a big fat guy, one who has spent his life on a multitude of diets that didn't work and has finally decided to just accept and love his fat body as it is instead of trying to change it. I'm guessing the scene would play out a bit differently. But why is that, exactly? Why is a thin person in a wheelchair allowed to decline a painful, stressful intervention that likely won't work, but a fat person is somehow morally failing if he or she chooses to do so?
After all, folks in wheelchairs are often, rightly or wrongly, assumed to need more medical attention than the average person. Following that logic, one could
jump to draw the conclusion that their health care costs more. On top of that, they get so-called "special treatment" like their own parking spots, ramps in public places, and comfortable and accessible seating areas in most every venue. To be sure, people in wheelchairs face discrimination in the workplace just like fat people do but that discrimination is illegal in every square inch of the US.
So why is it okay that fat people get scapegoated for rising health care costs, called 'infantile' for insisting that airlines provide accommodations that are remotely workable, and told to "shut up and get on the treadmill" when we raise concerns about discrimination? Short answer: it's not.
Like people in wheelchairs, fat people are valuable and significant members of society. We contribute just as much and are just as essential to our jobs and communities as anyone else. We are not infantile or requiring of special treatment, but we do deserve the same respect given to any other member of the human race. These bodies are our bodies. We are the only ones who get to decide what is going to happen with them. This world is our world too. We deserve to be represented and accommodated just like everyone else. Anything less is simply not acceptable.
PS: not trying to hate on wheeled folks. I'm sure there are challenges and frustrations (and triumphs) of being in a wheelchair that I have no idea about. The bottom line is that we all deserve to be treated with the same respect as everyone else. xo