Sexuality, Health and the Welfare of Lesbians By Mrs Vera West
If I have read my notes from last year’s Cultural Studies class, which for a joke I enrolled in at the local uni., that health and sexuality are intrinsically intertwined. Thus, lesbians are eternally discriminated against in this oppressive patriarchal, racist, discriminatory, racist, bad, bad, more bad, society, so they are fatter than heterosexual women, and that leads to health problems, or so the bad, bad, racist, bad, health establishment, patriarchal, bad, bad, bad, etc., say:
“A new study reveals that sexual orientation may be an indicator of weight and health. In a report published in the Journal of Public Health, researchers at University College London and University of East Anglia in the UK say that lesbian and bisexual women are more likely to be overweight than their heterosexual female counterparts. Conversely, they also found that gay men are less likely to be overweight than straight men. Lead researcher Dr. Joanna Semlyen believes certain “psychosocial stressors” put on the homosexual community in particular make sexual identity a valid “social determinant of health.” She tells The Guardian, “These stressors include homophobia and heterosexism … and are known to be linked to health.” Results on either side of the sexual orientation spectrum are “worrying,” says Semlyen, as there are a number of health concerns associated with being overweight and underweight. This study collected data from 12 UK national health surveys consisting of 93,429 participants, and is considered the first of its kind to investigate a correlation between sexual identity and body mass index. Semlyen notes that these surveys did not record sexual orientation until 2008.”
Now, having done elementary discourse analysis in my course I am ready to deconstruct the sub-text here. Who says that being overweight is a health issue? Isn’t health, and life itself, simply a social construction? Why then assume that being weight challenged is a problem? Fat, is, after all, a feminist issue:
Wait, we need this one to get the oppression idea off the ground. Ok, this just shows that society is evil, patriarchal racist, bad, bad, bad. See, doing socialist sociology is as easy as falling of a slippery wet log, into a socially constructed river. Just ask Camille Paglia:
“A child's risk of being obese may start with genetic changes in the womb caused by their mothers diet, new research shows. Scientists found fetuses experienced 'epigenetic changes' - modifications to their DNA - when their mothers gained more weight than recommended during pregnancy. Those changes, they said, cause the unborn child to develop cells types that may affect how their body stores fat for the rest of their life. Researchers say the findings show the importance of testing fetuses, babies and young children for the tell-tale changes in order to help them manage their weight earlier rather than later.”
I have yet to sociologise that one!