Come on, really?

This afternoon I was bored at home and with nothing else to do, I turned on the TV and watched The Doctors. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s an hour-long show featuring a team of medical professionals who respond to themed health concerns such as diabetes or flu prevention or healthy foods.

Usually these guys are pretty reasonable and accurate with their advice (at least in my opinion). But today’s show, which was focused on weight loss (“Six Ways to Weigh Less;” I’ll critique this theme in a minute), opened with an overweight young man talking about how his partner always cooked for him. This wouldn’t be a bad thing, he said, except for the fact that the foods she cooked were always high in calories and fat and she made him feel like he “had” to eat everything she prepared for him. He felt like he had pressure to finish everything she made for him and therefore felt like she was pressuring him into being overweight.

Yeah, okay, I can respect his concerns. However, I did have issues with how the doctors interpreted the situation following the clip. They basically said that the sole reason a partner/spouse would “make” or “keep” their significant other overweight is due to insecurity. Basically, they make their significant other overweight and thus decrease their desirability to others, insuring the already existing relationship against possible outside threats.



I have several problems with this statement. Actually, I have several problems with this episode. Bullet point time!

  • The Doctors emphasize multiple times that the episode is focused on making people healthier, and yet it is explicitly titled and referred to as “Six Ways to Weigh Less.” Because we all know that weighing less = increased health. Always. Totally. Except it doesn’t. YES, for those people carrying about a significant amount of weight, the loss of this weight can improve overall health. But it has been shown in several studies (that just links to like a summary) that people who are slightly heavier than “average” using the BMI as a gauge (which is screwy anyway) actually live longer than those of low, average, or obesity-level weight. But since we’ve all been told that weighing less = being healthier no matter what, I guess that’s what we’ll have to believe.
  • I don’t like the implication that the woman who is supposedly over-feeding her partner is doing so deliberately. Maybe she’s of a background where food = caring. Maybe she is positively reinforced when her partner finishes the large meals and therefore continues to make them large. Maybe she just likes to cook. Who knows? I think it’s pretty bad to assume she has some sort of ulterior motive here.
  • Speaking of the idea of an ulterior motive, how about that idea that the motive is as sinister as keeping her partner “unattractive” to others in order to preserve their relationship? I think jumping to this conclusion puts every fat admirer (or anyone who just doesn’t have a problem with larger people) in a bad light. Most of us who like heavier people do not have this insecurity-driven reason for our preferences. If I had a partner, I wouldn’t want him to be heavy unless he wanted to be heavy or didn’t mind being heavy. Like, I’d be all on board with that if that’s what he wanted, but I certainly wouldn’t purposely try to make him fat with the intention of making him “unappealing” to others in order to preserve our relationship. I wouldn’t try to make him fat at all if that’s not what he wanted, because that’s manipulative and wrong. Saying that’s what’s going on in this case is super insulting to the woman and really just irks the hell out of me.

Okay I’m done.

30-Day Meme – Day 13: How do you think others view you?
Haha, who knows after reading the above rant. I think other people think I’m weird, I really do. I’m short, I wear weird stuff, I’m quiet unless you get me all riled up about something (see above), I like stats, and I’m a band geek. Weirdness is my forte.
Though I could be completely wrong.


2 responses

  1. Matt Farnsworth | Reply

    I remember one of my classes got on a discussion about how even the best scientific minds can be blindsided into false conclusions by the accepted norms of society. Recall that in the ’50’s homosexuality was treated as a mental illness. I think that the doctors reaction above is a case of this. Science is just starting to recognize that overweight doesn’t necessarily mean unhealthy. As for correcting the overweight = unattractive thing, that is going to take a bit longer.


  2. […] every once and awhile I used to watch The Doctors on TV if I happened to catch them. Then they did this nonsense so they lost a lot of credit with me and I’d never stopped to watch them […]


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