24 September 2012
A Critique of Mary Ray Worley’s article “Fat and Happy”
In the article “Fat and Happy: In Defense of Fat Acceptance,” the author Mary Ray Worley, a member of National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, attempts to persuade her audience to become more accepting and open-minded to people that are overweight or obese. She claims society is too judgmental of the larger people of our nation, and they should be accepted for who they are and not what they eat. However, Worley’s words throughout this article contradict themselves and by the end of the article, it begins to sound exceedingly hypocritical to be accepted as a larger American. Worley fails to provide credible evidence supporting her case and indicates discrimination as an excuse for obesity, when in reality, it is the individuals job to take responsibility for their own body.
According to Worley, our society believes thinness signals self-discipline and self-respect, whereas fatness signals self-contempt and lack of resolve (291). An annual convention held by NAAFA in San Diego for larger Americans to come and experience what it is like to be free of discrimination against their bodies (291). She says larger people feel they cannot wear shorts or sleeveless t-shirts or swimsuits for fear of offending others (293). Fat people are reluctant to seek medical attention because health professionals are among the most prejudiced people around (293). In most cases, people make the effort to lose weight, only to gain it back and then some (293). Worley concludes that when she gave up the notion to exercise to lose weight, and started exercising for fun, it became much easier for her to continue her work out routine (294). Now that she is becoming healthy, she is finding it more fun and exciting to go places and do things.
Worley’s article is based on the conception that fat people in America are discriminated against (291). She wants people to be happy with their bodies and be confident enough to go places and try new things. She promotes self-confidence no matter what an individual’s appearance may be, yet she develops a habit of vegetarianism and hiking. Her entire article contradicts itself. Worley fails to do the very thing she attempts to influence upon her audience. She shows that she cannot even accept herself for who she is. She preaches something that she does not believe. If people are suppose to be “fat and happy”, why is she making the effort to change her weight?
Worley states there is an absence of scientific proof that specifies dieting and exercising will enhance a person’s life over a long period of time (294). She also addresses that obese people are reluctant to seek medical attention because health professionals are among the most discriminatory against them that exist (293). What Worley neglects to acknowledge, is that there are actually an abundance of medical problems and health risks that are an exact and precise result of obesity. According to the American Heart Association, obesity can cause high blood pressure, diabetes, and even cardiovascular complications (“Obesity Information” n.pg.). There are clearly severe risks of being obese.
“Our society believes that thinness signals self-discipline and self-respect, whereas fatness signals self-contempt and lack of resolve” (291). This statement is simply untrue. Being nothing but skin and bones is not at attractive feature, yet obese people tend to think that` is what society wants. Healthiness is the key to living long life. It just so happens that being healthy usually requires you to be on the thinner side. Worley states in the article that people cannot wear shorts or short-sleeves in public, for fear of offending others (293). This is simply and excuse people use. If obese people honestly feel insecure about them selves and were willing to try anything and everything to change their appearance, then that is specifically what they should do! They need to stop wasting time complaining about every look they get and everything they feel they are discriminated against. If they don’t like it, change! There is nothing wrong with being overweight and healthy, but they should not complain about something they have every power to change. If obese people are not motivated enough to change what they can about their problem, how can the discriminators be motivated to stop?
Through out this article Worley makes arguments after arguments that simply hold no water. Whether it was a lack of statistics, making and excuse for a certain behavior, or completely doing a one eighty with her thinking, Worley’s article does not do the obese world any justice. It clearly shows that Worley has failed to do her research. In the end, all Worley’s article is doing, is taking the eye off of the ball. The problem at hand is obesity in America. Should we not be collaborating a plan to help and solve obesity, instead of ridiculing the people who simply identify the problem?
Worley, Ray Mary. “Fat and Happy: In Defense of Fat Acceptance.” Writing and Reading for ACP Composition. Eds. Thomas E. Leahey and Christine R. Farris. New York: Pearson Custom Publishing, 2009. 291-295. Print. “Obesity Information.” American Heart Association. N.p., 13 Sept. 2012. Web. 24 Sept. 2012.