Saturday, 31 August 2013

Unpopular Opinions- What is Jamie Oliver missing in his discussion of obesity and poverty?

A fucking lot! In fact the whole media is moralising about parents and weight whilst...well, not really knowing very much.

So you might have heard Jamie Oliver's comments about mothers letting their children eat cheesey chips (the devil's starchy snack) in front of a 'massive' TV. Queue liberal media producing lots of 'fat is bad but um, like poverty' articles. So, as I sit here, an obese woman, claiming benefits, writing this post from my council flat please try and suspend the absolute disgust you must feel towards me for saying- hey Jamie, shadafackap.

Now here are some points missing within the discussion on poverty an obesity-

1. Jamie Oliver is a wealthy man. Just gunna put this out there. He's not a single mother who works a full time job for 20% less than her male counterpart and then goes home to take care of her child. His children are privately educated and have two parents. He is celebrity and a chef. He can afford child care and healthy food not only that but his career allows him time to plan meals and work out their nutritional value.

2. When people are on a lower income they tend to 'stock up' on food that will last. Fresh fruit and veg isn't available geographically or financally to everyone. Also, a lot of food chefs make is high in fat, but cheesey chips is a notably working class kinda meal isn't it? So the problem isn't gormet burgers drenched in oil and creamy sauce with a side of whatever the fuck you do to your potatoes.

3. Um, it might come as a BIG surprise to you (liberal media) but not all fat people are unhealthy. I mean if we examine the 'Obesity epidemic' in America then we can see that people may be bigger, but not that much bigger. The W.H.O says that overweight people 'may' suffer from health problems caused by weight. Not will. Not do. May. And you being slim doesn't qualify you to tell them how to live.

4. Food isn't the only reason people are fat. We work longer hours than we did fifty years ago, we sleep less. That means more stress (that can mean weight gain). And sleeping less can cause weight gain too. So when people use 'health' as a way to concern troll fat people, it makes me think their concern is more about shaming people otherwise they would talk about the whole picture.

5. Poor people are allowed to have massive TVs. If people on benefits want to spend ALL their money on nachos and DVDs to watch on said massive TV, they can. It's no one's job to tell them otherwise. And before anyone starts on 'but my tax money'. No. Your taxes go on roads too, are you going to shout at people use them? Your taxes go on supporting imperialist interventions and paying MPs to fuck you over, but no, wait, someone ate a plate of fucking cheesey chips. Let's not try and lower the price of healthy food, let's not try and get ready meals that are healthier, nah, let's just cry about some poor, fat people eating cheesey bastard chips.

What the comments and the coverage shows is that people aren't really too arsed about improving life for anyone. They want to moralise about people being fat or poor or eating cheesey chips or having TVs.
Boring classism. Boring body elitism. Boring liberal media and boring Jamie Oliver with his boring, shallow opinions.


  1. "And you being slim doesn't qualify you to tell them how to live. " my favourite bit

  2. I hate having to explain this to people, "How can you afford..." is a question people ask really frequently, for instance my mother asked me how I can "afford" to get a tattoo. Things may sure as fuck cost the same amount, but saying that a TV is more expensive than a banana is an obviously farcical comparison, FINANCIAL PRIORITIZATION is how people afford things, if you buy a £300 TV that keeps you entertained and replaces entertainment that costs more in the long term, like some fucking heroin. Televisions are really fucking cheap, and seeing as owning a TV license is considered a legal obligation with the burden of proof on YOU to show you do not watch TV, it's not exactly a financial blunder.

    1. I agree. And the TV, sadly, has to replace socialising and interaction for a lot of people who can't afford to travel to see friends or get coffee or simply don't have people nearby to socialise with.
      One of my relative once questioned why I had a pet canary when I couldn't afford Heinz beans. At the time I felt guilty and irresponsible but now I just think that's a ridiculous question. You can't forgo all comforts or 'luxuries' because someone else thinks you should live your life to their standard. Fuck that.x

  3. I'm sorry, but I cannot agree with any of this.
    As a medical student, obesity almost certainly WILL cause health problems. Some LARGER people may be fit, yes, but I highly doubt any of those people are clinically obese (there is a very big difference between obese and overweight). That's like defending smoking because you may never get cancer from it.
    I'm also from a very low income background. I cook vegetables all the time - frozen ones. A big packet of pre-prepared stir fry vegetables is cheaper than a bag of chips, so I know which one I pick up. And cheese is stupidly expensive - so how can you afford that, but not veggies?!
    Your sleep argument has its evidence, that yes, less sleep does aid in weight gain, but only when the wrong foods are being eaten and no exercise is being had. I'm an insomniac, and I've never even been overweight.
    I'm 136 lbs, and I spend about £15 a week on food. Stop making excuses because somebody has said something that made you feel personally attacked.

  4. Firstly, thanks for your contribution. Secondly my main concern is the social stigma and discrimination that fat people experience because anyone slimmer than them is allowed to feel superior and automatically healthier (which is not always the case, at all). A recent study found that medical staff, particularly doctors are less sympathetic and empathetic toward people who are overweight. Lots of fat people also experience doctors disregarding their health problems vecause it's 'just because their fat'. So your attitude towards fat people could be really dangerous. For their health.
    Also there seems to be a problem here with ypu imposing your abilities on others. You may have had a better education on nutrition despite your 'low income background' esp if you're training to be a doctor. If you can design a diet where I can spend £15 a week and eat 5 fruit/veg a day I'd be really chuffed. That would kinda require you to not just have created a anon profile to comment on this, though. Also, your assumption right away is that I don't eat fruit and veg because I wrote about the fact that someone might not have access to fresh fruit and veg. That's not actually true, I eat a wide range of fruit and veg whenever I can afford to.