"Fat Pig" was one of the plays we saw this past week-end, that challenged the social value of a sleek and lean body. But, it also revealed another value that was disturbing. What one would sacrifice for success.
Our country values success, as defined by rising up the corporate ladder. Social climbing is one way of doing this and unfortunately, since we are animals that make judgment based on our first impressions, one's appearance can "make" or break further interaction.
The cultural norm of appearing "in control " works out to be a judgement regarding a person's weight and their ability to manage that weight. Over-weight people are viewed as careless, lazy, and undisciplined. In reality, this judgement may or may not be the case.
I have read where research has been done that reveals society's value of the appearance of a wife. A wife who is considered attractive is an assest to her husband. People judge him as more intelligent, if he has chosen an attractive wife. I'm sure there is a reason in evolutionary science that would reveal the reasons behind such a value.
What would be the better alternative for society? Society should value healthy choices because it is in the better interests of one's future health, as well as present well-being. But, the question is not whether a fat person should be healthy or unhealthy, but what should be our attitude toward the obese? Is obesity a social taboo such that one would "shun" and obese person.
Helen's boyfriend understood the "costs" to such of crossing such a taboo. HE would be judged as careless, and undisciplined if he chose to marry Hellen by those he might need to impress to rise up the corporate ladder to success. He had a choice to make, and he chose what would be the best for himself.
Aren't we all prone to choose the easier path when it comes to social convention? Don't we ignore the possibility that the social convention needs changing? Do we question our motives or are we aware of the reasons why we choose what we do?
Helen "got the message", a fat wife equalled a bad life for her boyfriend. And he was unwilling to take the leap to change her, himself or his social environment.