Women and men tend to value very different physical traits when searching for a potential partner. A common motif among opinion polls, dating sites and anecdotal evidence is that women prefer taller guys. Many times, it’s relative. A 5’2” girl might be happy with a guy who’s 5’8”. Other times, a girl sets the specific and arbitrary baseline of 6 ft., as if it’s somehow the magic number after which every guy becomes an Adonis. Men, on the other hand, will often discriminate based on weight. There is a whole line of products emblazoned with the phrase “No fat chicks.” But, while height preferences continue be accepted and embraced by the female community, the lingering taboo against discussing obesity has reduced male proclivities to “anti-feminist,” “misogynistic” and “supporting the patriarchy.”
How fair is that, though? Height is one of those variables a person can’t change without some very horrific procedures. It is not a predictor of health problems nor does it inform on the personality or tendencies of an individual. Aside from playing certain sports professionally, there aren’t any limitations on short person’s ability to live a normal life.
However, society constantly places a premium on taller men. Celebrities notoriously inflate their heights or wear lifts. Men often embellish by an inch or two when asked their heights. The stereotypical Napoleon Complex is a disparaging description of the inadequacy short men must feel. We project an inherent deficiency in someone based solely on an irrelevant genetic variance.
When women openly declare a preference for tall men, there’s no backlash. No social justice warriors step in and argue against these biases. Everyone seems to understand. It’s biological, right? An innate attraction to what’s perceived as more virile and better able to protect the herd. An entire group of men are relegated to second class.
Try saying you aren’t attracted to an overweight woman and you’ll suddenly understand the double standard we’ve accepted. Men who want a fit woman are shallow and perpetuate an unfair image of female beauty.
People can control weight, though. In theory. In the 1950s, 33% of Americans were overweight and only 9.7% were clinically obese. This was a decade of American prosperity. We had won WWII and climbed out of the Great Depression. Industry was booming and people had more income and more free time. By 2014, the obesity rate had skyrocketed to 27.7%, with an additional 35.3% listed as overweight. That’s 63% of the population over the normal BMI range.
Genetics is a common excuse for obesity but how does that make any sense? Every person alive was birthed from those before him or her. Did we have a mass mutation whereby everyone’s metabolism suddenly slowed? Or is it because of the 20% increase in caloric consumption between 1970 and 2010? Combine that with less overall physical activity and you’ve got a very fat populace.
It’s the same with the medical conditions people like to cite as reasons for gaining weight. The blame is never on lifestyle and decisions, but on every other excuse.
For these reasons, it’s fair to make assumptions about a person’s mental and emotional fitness when they’re obese. I would never suggest a fat person can not be “nice” or “charitable” or “funny,” but you can certainly raise questions about self control and emotional stability. If someone can’t manage something as simple as calories in vs. calories expended, are they fit to manage other areas of life? Obesity is also precursor for several serious ailments.
Consciously destroying your body for temporary gratification is not attractive. Of course everyone has the right to consume as much food as their bodies can handle. This liberty doesn’t absolve you of the responsibility not to do it. Consuming too many calories extends resources unnecessarily, forcing more food production and ensuring a larger environmental impact and worse treatment of livestock. There are also documented economic costs related to healthcare and decreased productivity.
There are cases where people do have medical conditions that may slow metabolism, but these are relatively rare and still don’t explain poor choices. A person predisposed to heart disease shouldn’t indulge in red meat. A diabetic must monitor sugar intake. A family history of cancer means you should avoid carcinogenic substances. Some people need to sacrifice more for good health. Leading a life filled with hobbies and interests makes you a more interesting person. Whether these are active or sedentary, drawing satisfaction from other activities can preclude you from overindulgence in harmful substances. There are so many explorable avenues beyond the most primal and basic.
Returning to the original topic, the issue isn’t feminist, it’s realist. Being attracted to a fit women is embracing someone who makes responsible decisions and takes control of her life. “Fat Acceptance” operates under the false assumption that a person can be “Healthy at Every Size.” It has gained traction among those who would rather move the goalposts instead of centering their shots. The movement perpetuates dangerous myths about obesity and encourages people to deny widely regarded science in favor of emotion. If a school changes the passing grade to 50%, more students would pass. They’d move from grade to grade, never questioning their choices until it came time to graduate. Then, real life would teach them that knowing half of a subject is not good enough. Why change age old standards so a select group of irresponsible people can feel better about themselves?
Just because you fall into a group of people on the other side of an argument, doesn’t mean your argument is valid. Citing exceptions of unhealthy thin people and healthy obese supports fat acceptance like throwing a snowball in congress denies climate change. It’s fallacious reasoning based on outliers. Additionally, asserting something repeatedly doesn’t make it true.
Let’s stop criticizing individuals for uncontrollable criteria and start questioning those who knowingly refuse to improve their lives. Or at the very least, let’s not suggest a person is shallow for appreciating physical fitness while failing to point out the double standard in requiring 1.83 meters of human flesh just to knock on the dating door. One of those is adjustable, the other is not.