Posted on November 17th, 2011 in Uncategorized
*this post could be triggering as it contains images and descriptions of emaciated, starving children*
When I, as a privileged white person living in a First World country, think of starving children this is the image that comes to mind
photo from http://news.bbc.co.uk
We have all seen these images. At different times we are exposed to more or less of such pictures, depending on the current famine situation in the African continent and depending on whatever else of ‘importance’ is happening in the Western world.
When we think of starving children we do not tend to think of images like this
And even when we do think of emaciated, starving children that are outside of the African arena, even on the rare occasion that we do see images of these children, they tend to be historical pictures from Holocaust collections or photographs taken in Eastern European orphanages. Or we assume that is where they are from. We are not routinely exposed to images of starving children from First World countries. And so we are conditioned to believe that there are no emaciated, starving, rib protruding children, particularly no emaciated, starving, rib protruding white children, in countries like the US, or Australia or the UK.
But these children do exist.
They exist here and here and here. (warning, the stories behind these links are graphic and disturbing)
There are parents who are starving their children simply because they do not want their children to become fat. These adults fear fat to such an extent that they willingly withhold food from their offspring in an attempt to circumvent obesity. There are parents killing their children because they fear them getting fat.
That does my head in.
The idea that fat is so bad, so abhorrent, that starving your child is a viable alternative? What sort of world do we live in that would allow this sort of misguided thinking to occur?
A world that says this and this and this and this. (warning: fat hatred behind the links)
Until people stop believing that fat equals unhealthy, that fat costs society billions, that fat equals a shorter life span, that fat is ugly and that fat is bad bad bad and to be avoided at all costs, well until then there will continue to be parents who starve their children. Until then there will be parents who advocate disordered eating habits. Until then there will be parents who encourage their children to hate their own bodies. Not all of those parents will starve their children to death. Many of them will institute the so-called ‘lifestyle’ changes promoted by people like Michelle Obama. Many of them will simply continue to criticise fat people in front of their children, or to bemoan their own ‘fat ass’ in front of their kids – the same kids who will then twist around in front of the bathroom mirror to see if their own ass is fat and who will then start skipping breakfast and lunch in order to combat what they now believe is their own fat butt.
Until society undergoes a dramatic paradigm shift there will be parents who starve their kid, who teach their kids disordered eating habits, who endorse their children hating themselves. There will be parents who put their kids on diets. There will be children with eating disorders before they are 8 years old and there will be children who die from starvation or eating disorders. There will be children who hate themselves because they are fat. There will be children who are bullied by other children who have been indoctrinated to hate fat. There will continue to be hatred of fat and thus, hatred of fat people.
The world needs to change.
We need to change it.