Frank Skinner’s says Make Fat Uncool Again

Frank Skinner, writing in The Times, has a new theory on the causes of the obesity epidemic. It is simply because being fat is no longer uncool. As little as 20 years ago fat children were ridiculed in school, often referred to as fatty or fatso, and always left tagging along, striving to be part of the gang, but always left out in favour of more athletic kids.

However, all this has changed. Caused by a combination of political correctness and increasing numbers of morbidly obese celebrities, the message to children seems to now be that it is OK to be fat (sorry, I mean overweight). With comedians such as Jo Brand, Dawn French, Matt Lucas and James Cordon all making their own fat jokes, rather than being the victim of others’ jokes, fat seems to be getting a cool image. Recently American singer Beth Ditto has been named an ‘icon of our generation’ and has bared all on advertising boards across America.


But how does this fit with the current message that is coming from the government that being overweight is unhealthy? Recent research has shown that being obese is actually as bad for you as a lifetime of smoking. In fact, being obese is likely to shorten your life by a decade. 10 whole years lost due to eating too much. Approximately 25% of the adult population is now obese, and far more merely overweight (which is still fat by the way).

On both sides of the pond governments have adopted non-smoking laws to encourage smokers to quit, for the goos of their own health. However it is still wrong to tell an obese person that they need to lose weight. Family doctors may hint towards weight loss, but seeing that so many people now live in denial, believing that it is healthy to carry ‘a little extra weight’, how are we ever going to reverse this trend?

Frank Skinners answer to this is simple. Start telling people they are fat. Calling an overweight kid fatty may actually encourage them to lose weight, get active. They may suffer hurt feelings for a while, but if calling them fatso adds 10 years to their lives, and allows them to have a much more fulfilling life to boot, then why don’t we do this? We bullied and nagged smokers, and already have seen reductions in smoking related deaths. Maybe one simple solution would be to send Gordon Ramsey into schools instead of Jamie Oliver. Rather than try to change what the kids eat, just stand in the playground and shout, ‘Oi, you’re f**king fat!’.

Source: The Times, Friday 20 March.

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  7 comments for “Frank Skinner’s says Make Fat Uncool Again

  1. lulu
    March 22, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    I totally agree! Fattys are totally in denial not without the help of political groups and the media. Having fatsos in the world does help the economy in so many ways, with the obvious first – over consumption of food. But also with the increase in the cost of healthcare due to all the problems manifested from being overweight. Add to that the fat celebs constantly emphasizing that “a few exrta pounds” is okay – I give you Tyra, Byonce, the Fadishians, I mean Kardishians…….

  2. Alexia
    March 25, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    I agree that society has made being fat the normal. They are always critising thin people they make it seem abnormal not to be a fatty. Even the Dove real Women campaign instead of helping women have a healthier lifestlye told them that the excess fat was a curve.. Am not saying to be gaunt but not being a beached whale does really help.

    Tell them they are fat not curvy and thick set fat it a word use it and quit making excuses and using euphesims

  3. MotleyHealth
    March 25, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    The problem has actually been around for a long time. I recall as a child people referring to overweight children as “big boned”. But the fact that you cannot even call someone fat, to save hurting their feelings, is really just a sign the world has gone mad. It really is not healthy to be overweight, and telling someone they are fat is a pretty effective way of encouraging them to lose weight.

  4. James
    March 30, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    I totally agree with Frank, whilst its not nice to be mean to people and call them fat, it is a deterent. What annoys me most is that fat people have no problem calling thin people ‘skinny’. Its terrible double standards. Being lazy is not cool. Being unhealthy is not cool. Being fat is not cool. Lazy lifestyles that include too much car use, too little walking and too much TV all contribute. The same issue applies to single mothers, the stigma of being a single mum disappeared and suddenly there are single mums everywhere, are claiming benefit which the rest of us hard working people have to pay for.

  5. MotleyHealth
    March 30, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    James, a majority of single mothers are not in their position through choice. One of the wonders of a welfare state is that families in such conditions are not left to live in absolute poverty. Being overweight and being a single mother are two completely different issues.

  6. Wellokay
    April 9, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Calling someone fat is not a good motivator. Putting so much pressure on weight can have negative side effects as well is. Anorexia. Helping and encouraging someone to lose weight is a lot better. In society today you are either To Fat, To Thin, or ripped. I think we need to find a healthy middle. I don’t have the time or the will power to dedicate myself 200% to getting ripped but I do have the time to get at a healthy weight. Weight is a personal choice just like smoking or drinking. Not everyone is a bodybuilder or has the metabilisom of a 10 year old kid either. So, take that into account that what might work for you might not work for someone else. I’m 19 and I don’t think I have ever really believed that being fat is cool. Fat people are no longer just being laughed at but being laughed with which is a good thing. People are different so lets embrace it. Worry about your weight and your health and if you’re really worried for someone you care about work with them to lose the weight don’t make them feel bad, because chances are they are aware their fat and just need a helping hand.

  7. MotleyHealth
    April 19, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    This idea would not work for adults, however for children life is a little bit simpler, and also role models are exceptionally important. Children look up to adults and mimic and idolise them too. With so many overweight celebrities, children do get the message that overweight is OK. But it is not. Embracing diversity is one thing, but saying it is OK to chose to suffer a condition (obesity) that will ultimately kill you is not OK. For children, the question of whether or not it is OK to be overweight requires a short answer – either YES or NO.

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