At first glance, the two items sent to me today for Body Impolitic don’t seem to have much in common:
First, Jessica Simpson (who, as near as I can tell, is a small-time talent who is now famous for being famous) has pulled out of an agreement to release a workout DVD. She’s been in litigation with Speedfit, the workout company, for some time, and the refusal to release the tape seems to be about the history between her and Speedfit.
Why is this Body Impolitic material? Because of the owner of Speedfit is saying that Jessica (and her manager father) … “are hurting millions of fat people in America.”
Now, jump the pond to England, where the National Health Service is limiting weight-loss surgery (WLS) to people whose BMI is over 40. “In the past five years, there has been a 650% rise in referrals for obesity surgery in some areas,’” the article in British magazine Pulse says.
Obesity surgeons are shocked and dismayed. Although the NHS has not given reasons, many assume that the cost of the surgeries is the issue: “”It’s a completely false economy. To limit on the grounds of cost is disgraceful,” said the clinical director of the National Obesity Forum, a special interest anti-obesity group whose website claims to agree with the “BMI over 40″ guideline for WLS. “People will be dropping down dead because of it.” He fails to mention that 1.5% of WLS patients die, and somewhere between 30 and 50% have major side effects. (One source for that information is here, buried about halfway down a very positive article about the surgery.
So, you see the connection. Us poor fat people aren’t being given the celebrity exercise tapes we need, and we aren’t getting the surgeries we need. And who says so? People who make money, not off our being fat, but off the social hatred of fat.
The world is full of real barriers to good lives for fat people, but what do we hear and read about? Crap like this, where false interest in our health is used as a club to beat us with.