The Greens hate fat people, too

I was trying to summon the willpower to really engage with and critique the Greens’ food policy, but really, I’ve said enough about our demonisation of fatties and I just lack the spoons to point out in detail how the science around nutrition and diet is so far from settled it’s a joke, or to explain with pretty diagrams just how utterly corrupt a lot of the science around nutrition is.

Let’s just say, I think we should be thankful no large proportion of the NZ agriculture industry is dependent on corn.  And now, I ramble a little.

Seriously, @thelemonofpink was entirely on the money:

I… Am not sure how I feel re Greens’ unhealthy food labelling policy. Gut reaction: food policing bullshit.

And … yeah, pretty much.  The policy is a paint-by-numbers “fat is bad, sugar is bad, sodium is bad, kids don’t know where apples come from” bullshit.

It’s really disappointing to me because the Greens are simultaneously pushing a “people deserve to be informed” policy, yet ignoring the fact that study after study shows that pushing “healthy” foods and “lifestyles” on kids does fuck all to change their weight.  Ignoring the fact that any policy which treats weight as a symptom of poor choice not only doesn’t work but invariably leads to bullying and stigmatisation.  Ignoring the fact that in a culture as weight- and lifestyle-obsessed as ours, it’s really hard to fucking fathom how anyone could not have heard a million times before breakfast that they need to eat less, move more, buy whole foods, learn to cook, count calories, cut the fat, 5+ a day.

It comes down – as it always comes down – to the idea that being fat is a moral failing and if only the poor stupid fatties could be told that bacon is a sin and apples are a virtue then they’d just stop being fat!

We reject this kind of bullshit when we’re talking about poverty, and the Right insist that the poor just make bad choices and thus deserve to live in damp, dark homes, or that people choose to live on the dole because it’s so much money, or solo parents on the DPB just don’t want to look for work.  When it’s food, and fatness?  Suddenly personal responsibility is everyone’s favourite card to play.

And all of you queuing up to tell me that this kind of discussion isn’t eliminationist?

The Green Party envisions an organic nature where:

… New Zealand is a healthier nation without epidemics of obesity, type 2 diabetes or other food-related chronic health problems.

Yep, there we go again labelling people’s bodies as a disease.

I expect the Green Party to be better than this.  But they’re not.  Because fatness is certainly not “the last” acceptable form of prejudice, but it’s certainly one of the last where otherwise-liberal, anti-discrimination people drink the “but it’s scientific!!!” Flavor Aid.


  1. Chris Miller

    Disappointing. Really disappointing. Science shows that weight, once determined, is incredibly hard if not impossible to significantly change long term. You can’t eliminate obesity without eliminating obese people – or by taking a look at what we consider “normal” and re-aligning it to fit reality. If being “overweight” is safer than being “normal” but being “underweight” is less safe, that just says that what we think is normal is too low. If you want to improve health, look at what improves health, not advice aimed at weight loss.

    • QoT

      I hate how otherwise-good policies – look at food access, ensure there are options for fruit and milk at schools, promote organic, community gardens, climate change, self-sufficiency – apparently just cannot be promoted without also focusing on how much fat people are gross.

  2. rimu123

    I tried and failed to find a food policy on Labour and National’s web site.

    Which is worse? Having a policy you don’t like, or completely ignoring the issue?

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