I often talk about how weight in this country is a “taboo” topic. But, I’m exaggerating a bit when I say “taboo.”
Technically a taboo is a norm that’s so deeply ingrained in society that to break such a norm would be considered 100% unacceptable by the rest of society. For example, not to get gross, but eating other humans would technically be a taboo.
There are less severe taboos as well, such as bad language or nudity on public access cable TV. Although, in the purest form of the word, bad language is not so much a taboo as it is breaking a norm, as you’ll see below.
The problems people have discussing weight in this country are technically more of a “norm” issue. A norm is when a specific expectation, or common rules of behavior, develop out of the values of a specific group. For example, showing up nicely dressed for a job interview is an American norm. Breaking a common norm is often seen as unfit, improper or unacceptable by a group.
In the case of deciding whether or not discussions about obesity are breaking a norm, breaking political correctness or a taboo, the United States is the group in question. Different groups in America feel differently about weight. However, the U.S., as a whole society, seems to have deemed weight, especially weight of children, as a 100% off-limit topic.
In the past I’ve felt more like weight was like the elephant in the room or just a very unacceptable issue to bring up. Nowadays though, it’s seriously starting to feel like a taboo to me. Not only do we not discuss weight issues in this country, it’s frowned upon when it’s even brought up. We rarely discuss weight with other adults and we almost never bring up weight issues with kids. I know parents who get insanely crazed if you bring up weight. Kids get very uncomfortable with weight discussions and doctors aren’t even mentioning weight.
Avoiding weight discussions has become so deeply ingrained in society that to break this discussion rule is seriously frowned upon, hence me feeling more and more like weight is not just off-limits, but almost taboo.