Sunday, July 11, 2010

Today in "Check Your Privilege".

So I was watching the CBS Evening News last night, and they closed the show out with a segment about "Iron Kids", a program that has kids as young as seven or eight beginning to train for and compete in triathlons. Of course, the distances required aren't as massive as grown-up triathlons, but the essential elements remain - you swim, you bike, you run. Of course, it was framed as a STRONG VOLLEY in the BATTLE against CHILDHOOD OBEEEEEESITY with that sniffy underlying theme of "you're a bad parent if you don't have your child training for triathlons"/"nothing's worse in the whole wide world than being fat or having fat children".

What I find endlessly interesting in all the media coverage of fat is the absolute disinterest by ANYONE that has an ass attached to a media outlet regarding the concept of privilege. The particular Iron Kids group that they profiled was a festival of white faces and undoubtedly, serious cash money, and it was presented as simply the default state for all of us. Never a moment is taken to acknowledge that a goodly part of this country doesn't exist in a lush suburb of two-parent families where there's plenty of time in one's day to make homemade meals and shop the local organic coop and the farmer's market and enroll the kids in 1,498 different activities that will all magically make one's child into a slim, attractive, fit, intelligent, courteous, clever, and delightful human. And if you bring up the concept of privilege in, let's say, an internet message board forum about how folks aren't exactly made of money, there's always the ONE person who insists they managed to be unemployed and still eat fresh organic hoo-hah and there's no reason why other people can't do the same on a limited budget...and you know, that one person always seems to be single, no kids, and living in an area that actually has access to fresh organic hoo-hah. But zie's not privileged, no sirree!

When is someone, ANYONE in the mainstream media going to summon up enough courage to fully address the gigantor issues of privilege and how it affects people in this country and around the globe? Until that day comes, I have no choice but to regard every single hand-wringing story produced by the mainstream media as, essentially, a concern troll writ large, a concern troll that doesn't really give a rat's ass about health or fitness or wellbeing but instead is really, really miffed that fat people exist. And I have to admit that the idea that my existence causes such handwringing is kind of entertaining, because it's simply fuel for my fire.

"No matter how hard you try you can't stop us now."


O.C. said...

Amen, sister. Not to mention that there's no medical evidence that eating organic makes a whit of difference in health measures.

Meowser said...

Not to mention that the "unemployed" person probably had oodles of cash in the bank and/or money from home and/or an employed partner. But they're not going to tell you that, of course.

silentbeep said...

Right, and usually that same person will say something like "if you really, really cared you'd try really damn hard to find and make that organic hoo-ha no matter what! you just have to try harder!!" It makes me sick.

Syd said...

It's totally socio-economic. I work, make a decent salary, and I still find buying ethical food hard. (By ethical, I do try to avoid a lot of the general supermarket meat/chicken because I've read too many bad stories about those farms) but free range/organic comes at a pretty steep cost.

The lower income neighborhoods don't have access to the same things that the more middle class neighborhoods do, it's just fact. And if the cheapest food to eat is the meal deal at whatever fast food place, then what are the parents supposed to do? I know you don't like to define foods as "good" or "bad" but I do think consistently eating mcdonalds isn't good for the system, strictly from the sodium/sugar content. But anyway, poor kids are screwed. And when schools make cuts, health and gym always take a hit.

inge said...

F*** that. I could have done a kid's triathlon before school at 11, and then puberty happened and brought the boobs from hell and OMG fat. I pity every kid who is told that doing triathlons (or just being really active without being carted through the whole trademarked three-ring-circus) will save them from fatness. And privilege will only buy a more *expensive* variant of "you are wrong".

Lori Watts said...

If there's one thing people hate, it's hearing their own privelege mentioned. Me, too. I had to learn (still learning!) to suppress the defensiveness and listen when the subject comes up.

You have a clear eye. Rock on.