Sunday, December 8, 2013

Doctors Past

If I had to ask doctors whose patients we were -the poets who contributed to Fat Poets Speak- what they were so afraid of when they looked at our rampaging, healthy (fat) selves when we were younger, they would probably reply, "You were more at risk for diabetes and cancer."

This is not strictly true, and actually fat people are less at risk for many cancers than slimmer people. But it is the only statement they could have made that held even a grain of truth. For if they had made any other statements, such as "It's not attractive" or "You won't be able to get husbands," they would have been not only wrong, but they would have been acting irresponsibly as health professionals. Health professionals are supposed to diagnose and treat on the basis of evidence-based medicine. And to date, there is no evidence-based medicine that suggests that anyone should try to base any approach to health on criteria pertaining to aesthetics or ability to attract potential marriage partners.

I look at the poets who wrote for Fat Poets Speak. Some are married. Some are in relationships. Some are not. I want to tell those doctors of our youth, "Here we have strong, brilliant, healthy and even at times happy fat women who are making major contributions to their fiields and bringing happiness to the lives of those around them. They have written some incredibly sensitive, moving, insightful poetry on the subject of being and living and loving as fat people in a world that still worships thinness. Tell me again what you were trying to do and prove by telling them to diet and starve themselves."

Oh, I hear their answer, all right. "It's better for them to keep trying to reduce their weight, even if it doesn't work."

And I ask, "Why? Is it better for someone to keep trying to be a doctor if he has no interest or aptitude for the profession?"

Hmm. I can hear a pin drop..

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