One in seven women would rather be blind than obese. That’s what researchers at Arizona State University (ASU) found when, in a study of how “obesity spreads socially,” they asked 100 women to choose — hypothetically — between obesity and other socially stigmatized conditions like alcoholism and herpes.
One in four would rather suffer from depression. Severe depression. It’s a sick question, really. But the responses say a lot about our culture — and the ways in which we’re unfathomably stupid.
It’s interesting that it comes down to a comparison between body proportions and eyesight, when it’s our society’s fixation on looks that fuels the great Fear of Fatness. And it’s funny to me that these imaginary scenarios, if rendered real, would leave us obese but not depressed about it, or svelte but unable to admire ourselves in a mirror.
Let’s remember that “obese” doesn’t necessarily mean “Biggest Loser”-sized. A full third of adult Americans fit the definition; many are your friends and family members. You may fit it yourself: 5’4″ and 174 pounds, 5’9″ and 203. Six feet, 221. Sound familiar?
Obese people are not starring in big-screen rom-coms, not modeling Victoria’s Secret’s new Sexy Little Things Supersmooth Cheekinis (yes, they’re real). But they’re everywhere else. And they’re doing just fine.