This is the Weight and Healthcare newsletter! If you like what you are reading, please consider subscribing and/or sharing! I have written before about the various types of weight stigma that can impact healthcare including implicit weight stigma and bias (wherein people have negative beliefs and stereotypes about fat people and are acting on them unconsciously) and explicit bias (wherein people are fully aware that they have negative beliefs and stereotypes about fat people and are acting on them). Today we have a doctor who seemed to be going out of their way to demonstrate textbook explicit bias.
I just about fell out of my seat laughing at the reveal that this "retired physician" was an ophthalmologist. Such a perfect illustration of the unearned bravado medical professionals (and professionals in other spheres) can exhibit: why would an eye doctor have any special insight into a (to use the medical establishment's framing of fatness) complicated and nearly impossible-to-manage metabolic/endocrine disorder? Somehow I feel this doctor would say "it's not my place" if she was asked to weigh in on the best way to surgically repair a complicated pelvic injury, and I suspect she'd look askance at an oncologist trying to tell her the best way to treat a rare eye disease. But fatness, as ever, is a free-for-all.
I read this article freshly out of a deeply fatphobic doctor appointment to which I accompanied my husband for moral support. In that appointment, semaglutide was pushed to him--hard--as a way to get him thin with no supporting documentation about how it would help him specifically and no discussion of risks. I am so angry I can hardly see straight, and this article is part of what I am angry about. "Fat = bad, so let's fix you regardless of the consequences. In fact, why are you even asking about the risks? They don't matter for you. Anything is acceptable because fat people are expendable." That is the constant message, and as strong as I feel sitting in front of my computer nodding at all of your incredible research and writing, Ragen, it's harder to stay strong in these appointments. However, I am a LOT stronger--and know a lot more--than I ever have, and I want to thank you so very much for that! Now, instead of capitulating, I am able to hold my own for my sake and my husband's. Please keep doing the good work, Ragen!
Jeez, I frickin' love you, Ragen. Just keep doing what you are doing, because you are doing what we need.
What an absolute tool. "I'm a retired physician" - translation: I don't keep up on modern science Because It Will Contradict My Firm Beliefs.
"Wouldn't fit into my chair" - translation: I never updated my office equipment after 1970. FFS, I've never failed to fit in an ophthalmology chair and I doubt I am smaller than Tigress and I'm definitely not smaller than Lizzo.
Fat=diabetes is so ingrained in medical fatphobia, as if every single fat person is a walking diabetes time bomb. I swear to dog, sometimes I think you can't get out of medical school without having basic logic rubbed out of your brain.
And, hey, Regan, if you don't mind my asking, do you have a reference for where that obnoxious "morbid o---" term came from? The concept of "But it's a *medical term* so we have to use it!" is so ingrained in fatphobic rhetoric. I'm sure the fatphobes won't listen to reality any more than they accept facts about BMI, but I'd sure like to have it in my arsenal.