Sp!ked | Achtung: if you’re fat, you’re anti-social
By focusing on private matters such as health and weight, the German government is trying to develop new points of contact with people’s everyday concerns and fears. It is turning personal lifestyle into a political issue. Where in the past sports campaigns were designed to engage people, and make them join sports activities voluntarily or out of personal interest and enthusiasm, the current health plan puts the economic and social necessity of slimming at the centre of the debate.
Government-endorsed slimming and health awareness are no longer about increasing the quality of our personal lives; rather they are about instilling in us a new sense of social duty and even conformity. Indeed, we should remember that for all today’s talk about having the ‘right’ Body Mass Index, there is in fact no scientific and enduring definition of what ‘overweight’ is. In the past (and in some cultures even today) being ‘overweight’ was seen as an enviable condition because as it was an indicator of social wealth and economic success.
An isolated government is using the issue of what foodstuff we put in our mouths to ‘make a connection’ and to enforce new forms of authority and standards of responsibility. The German people should tell it to get stuffed.