Fat crumbles under heavier issues

The summer catalog for Lane Bryant came in the mail yesterday and I sat on my tan futon and prepared to get shop happy.

My mother always told me that the catalog was a great place to find lightweight gear for sunshine, work or play.

But when I peeled apart the thin leaflet pages, my smile shattered and drifted down to the floor.

Muumuus in black, pink and green, shapeless shirts, slacks with elastic bands around the waist and Orthopedic sandals.

I felt like I weighed 900 pounds just looking at it.

Just in time for the pools, sun and beaches it seems that every news organization has released its annual report on obesity and health risks.

Charts and diagrams of body mass index and what is considered obese bombard the pages, constantly reminding fat people like myself that this just isn’t our season.

Sure, in the winter you have your annual get-in-shape-for-the-summer push by media outlets.

But we have to let out a collective sigh of anguish when the first patch of grass pokes up through the barren earth, because the ridicule and lectures are coming.

In an April 5 article in The New York Times titled “More Children and Men Getting Fat,” the Times revealed that “The obesity rate among women – who at 33 percent are heavier as a group – held steady.”

I can say little more than thanks to the Times for being Captain Obvious.

We must ask ourselves what exactly is accomplished in coverage like this.

Certainly obese people are aware, if not by constant taunting and teasing, then at least by self-comparison to the media’s images of beauty.

Surely thin and healthy people cannot be concerned with the obesity of others. So what purpose does this article serve?

It’s just a swift kick to the downtrodden.

I know that by conventional standards, I can never be attractive.

I’m starting to believe that I can’t own any attractive clothing.

And now it’s being made obvious to me at my most self-conscious time of the year that if I don’t haul my rig into the gym soon – I’m going to die.

Certainly, the health trends of Americans must be reported to the public.

But does obesity always have to be referred to as if it were an epidemic?

Most obese people are well aware of the health risks and are making their decisions according to their lifestyles.

It’s bad enough we can’t find anything to wear; we don’t need you telling us we’re fat all the time.

Why can’t you give this kind of attention to pressing and under-covered issues such as, say, world hunger?

Robbyn Mitchell is a junior newspaper journalism student from Washington.