Revisiting Use of the Word “Obese”
A while ago, Kim wrote a post about using the word “obese.” The gist of it was that although the definition of the word as it is commonly used is based on shaky ground — the body mass index (BMI) — why can’t we reclaim the word and use it the way we want. (Hope I stated that correctly — if not, I’m sure everyone will tell me!) A lively conversation ensued, which I joined in, saying it seems wrong somehow to give people permission to own a word and use it for negative purposes.
In reviewing an article today, however, I read another reason why not to use the word. The authors repeated some of the familiar arguments, but also said something I had never heard before: the etymology of word “obese” implies a large appetite is the cause. Which is a mistaken notion.
I spent a little time checking out the etymology of the word (read: surfed the net), and it does seem to be about overeating. So my question is have you ever heard this? If so, does it change your opinion about using the word? Check back on Kim’s post for a refresher on opinions already expressed on the subject.