Kate Harding points to an insanely frustrating article which suggests that people with fat friends are at risk of getting fat. Yes, now fat people can't even have friends for fear that we'll make them all fat like us.
I don't even know where to begin with what is horribly wrong about all of this. The study is pure conjecture portrayed as fact. The authors seem to think that they've found a "causal" relationship but they just haven't. I know they "controlled" for people who were fat to begin with (lest they merely prove that fat people are forced to "settle" for fat friends), but that doesn't mean there is anything meaningful here. I mean, maybe they've just shown that people in social groups where they are valued by virtue of their physical appearance are more likely to take extreme measures to maintain thinness. Now, I'm not saying that this is necessarily the case. Just that its as justified a conclusion as the one made. Naturally, though, its not the one made. The leap of fancy is instead firmly planted in demonizing fat people.
Which brings us to that demonizing. See, its not that fat is contagious (not that others haven't speculated that you "catch" fatness). No, no. We're just a bad influence. See, if you're friends with us, you might think of us as human beings worthy of respect. You might think gaining weight isn't the end of the world. The horror! No, no. Must not think of fat people as people, too. Must keep up the prejudices against to keep America pure and thin.
Of course, all of this is based on the notion that the existence of fat people in some way is perpetuating the continued existence of fat people. As if we really have that sort of influence. Its a popular anti-fat argument. Suitable for a future Bingo card, surely. The idea is that the more fat people that are around, the more acceptable we'll become and this is the root of the problem. News to fat acceptance, mind you. If just being were enough to advance the cause of civil rights for fat people, what need would there be for a movement? Obviously, we're not just being accepted. We need to fight for respect and claw our way to whatever nominal gains we've eeked out.
Which brings us to yet another thing to drive us crazy about this "study". This whole nonsense is predicated on the idea that the basic problem with fat people is that we have it too easy. We're fat because we are coddled and don't know that we're supposed to hate our bodies. Really. Time and again, we learn that the problem with fat people is that we've got it easy. REALLY.
Are these people that divorced from reality? They really think some alternate culture exists among fat people where we never face social pressure to lose weight. These are the people who get funding. Who get press. Who get a soapbox to push their insane agenda. I'm not surprised, but still disappointed.