The Metro’s recent headline (10th October) was again angering. A British health minister wants to ban eating on public transport to combat obesity!! As a swansong, this former chief medical officer for England – worryingly dubbed Dame – has obviously used her leverage to get a front page of Britain’s most seen free rag to make her campaign. Is this what we should be knighting people for?
Sally Davies is concerned that ‘excess weight’ is now accepted as normal. What she means is that yes, bigger sizes are catered for in clothes shops; that advertising campaigns show curvy people as beautiful; that artists depict them in celebratory defiance to combat fatism and body fascism, for men and women.
And I say – amen! Who decides what’s normal and attractive?! It has varied over time and place.
The Body Mass Index is a tool to allow health services to back the attack on aesthetics that’s arbitrary and actually, modelling thinness is unhealthy. Many of us find larger figures appealing.
What is your real problem with big people, Sally? What size are you, and would I find you attractive? Would I want to sit next to you on a bus, with or without permissible snacking?
My concern is that Fat Policing has also become normalised. Zoom lenses capture the ‘muffin tops’ of flesh sticking out of jeans by journalists to illustrate their point – which is against the diversity movement, against the anti abuse movement, against privacy. It’s not OK to rib and tell people off for their size, to make them so unhappy that they’ll conform to a standard set out by… who?….and why?
I say we call in the cards to allow citizens arrests of those whom we deem too large – and that especially means health professionals, who often don’t live up to their own didactic advice.
And the suggested snacking ban is more evidence of the Nanny State that we’re increasingly fed up with.
Eating on public transport is a good use of otherwise wasted time. For those on the go in all senses, this might be our best or only time to eat – and, as any good health chief would know – eating properly and regularly important. Only litter can possibly be a reason to curtail public eating. Curtail the mess – not the food. And the Dame’s not even wanting to ban just messy, smelly fatty foods on public transport – but everything save bottled water!
Many people eat to abate travel sickness. Do we want greater nausea to clear up, instead of food mess?
Many people have eat little and often metabolisms. Is a swaying, green, faint person more desirable?
You don’t know what people have also eaten, what their metabolism is, or their needs.
And no, don’t even start thinking of monitoring this and deciding who can eat on buses.
The Dame – now sounding very pantomime – went on to wish to push greater taxes on sugar and ban many adverts for foods she considers ‘fatty’.
I question the real issue behind sugar war and suspect this is about something somewhat darker.
I’m more concerned about purity of food, of added chemicals and modification. And that health foods and toiletry products are often not as pure as they’d claim. That’s where my concern lies.
Real health is about balance, and also natural foods. I support local, where possible, organic, unmodified with minimal ingredients and no chemicals. It’s more than what we eat: real health requires freedom.
The Metro – not the most balanced or progressive newspaper – did cede that Boris Johnson (not my favourite man) had for once made a good point: that ‘stealth sin taxes’ are counterproductive and controlling; the Food and Drink Federation worried that their work to promote health will be undone by these proposals.
I query amassing more for the treasury under the guise of what’s really a fine (thus continuing the ‘sin’ is in government interest), and that this very narrow view of ‘health’ is against more progressive and broader values, and the ‘life limiting’ that Davies speaks of is found in her own policies.
Rolling out these ‘punitive’ measures will also not attract people to work as bus drivers and train conductors.
So not a sensible legacy at all, Dame Davies – or one you would have to pick the pieces up of.
I’m off to the supermarket to buy unapproved foods for my next journey…