But when a clearly morbidly obese woman posted pictures of herself some of the same commentators exclaimed that her curves were cute and applauded her declaration that she felt really good about herself. Given that she was so obese she needed to use a ventilator at night I was stunned by their response. I suspect I am in the minority because I find sites like this one just as disturbing as the pro-ana sites, and found the obese woman's claim to beauty as warped and spurious as those who starve themselves. Both groups are placing serious and widely documented (though very different) strains on their health and boths groups make the 'this isn't a disease, it's a lifestyle choice' claim.
It's a view I've encountered professionally. I have taught in colleges and unis where staff have had special directives about spotting students who may be suffering from eating disorders and referring them to the support services within the institution. My suggestion that I refer a boy who was chronically obese for similar support was rejected as insensitive, even though special chairs had to be purchased for him because he couldn't fit in the normal ones. Far more of us overeat than undereat, of course, so there is far less of a stigma (or perhaps a different kind of stigma) to being overweight than underweight.
It is the double standard that I find troubling; surely if a morbidly obese woman can be congratulated for loving herself as she is and not wanting to change, one who is delighted with her own skeletal appearance deserves the same acceptance?