I reach the aforementioned conclusions for some very good reasons. It's not just the social networks designed to talk about hating fat people. It's not just the self-loathing freely expressed on weight loss blogs and forums over the most marginal bits of flab. It's not even my own self-hating which I'm constantly attempting to deal with and move away from as I sort out who and what I am aside from the meat sack I live in. It isn't even Michelle Obama's misguided (but likely well-meaning) anti-fat crusade.
If there is a single indication that most of America is on the fat-hating bandwagon, it's the popularity of shows like "The Biggest Loser" ("TBL" from here). (Disclaimer: I have seen clips through various web sites, but never watched a full episode.) This show is all of the projected disgust of thin people in the form of the shows haranguing host, Jillian Michaels, and all of the inward directing self-loathing of fat people manifested in the overweight people who have no self-respect and tolerate the abuse.
I can't think of any use for a show such as this except as national catharsis. It gratifies the needs of trim folks to see fat people be mistreated for what they imagine to be their laziness and weakness. Jillian Michaels is their avatar of anger. It also validates any notion that any fat person could lose weight if they just "tried hard enough." The fat folks who appear on the show are the virtual dogs the thin people get to see kicked around to help them feel better about their problems in their thin, but still unhappy and flawed, lives. If you can't oink loudly out of your car window at some fat lady walking down the street, you can tune in to TBL to make you feel better.
The fat folks are also getting what they need, and I don't mean they're losing lots of weight quickly in a dangerous and unsustainable fashion (though, you know, they get that, too). They're getting the abuse they feel they deserve for their appearance. They hate themselves and have their low self-esteem validated by being mistreated for having the audacity not to conform to society's notions of "proper bodily image". What is more, they get to embrace their utter weakness and powerlessness.
The only way they believe they can "get better" is by having someone take control of them and force them to be "fixed". Thin people must know something they don't, right, since they are thin. It couldn't be that most thin people don't happen to have issues with food, but have issues with other things like smoking, drinking alcohol, anger, sex, shopping, or utterly objectifying people based on weight and making a career out of screaming at them like some bitter, formerly-marginally-overweight sociopathic harpy.
No person with an ounce of self-esteem or self-respect would allow anyone to treat themselves the way people are treated on TBL. Even I, at my lowest self-estimation would not have put up with a second of that treatment. You wouldn't treat a dog the way those people are treated. It'd be considered inhumane. It's not only that we wouldn't treat the lowest animal to so much verbal abuse. We also wouldn't force them to lose weight at such a dangerous and rapid clip.
The worst part about the weight loss speed shown on the show is that it has made it so much easier for overweight people who try to lose weight to feel like failures in the face of perfectly reasonable and solid success. People used to lose a pound or two a week and feel absolutely great about their achievement. Now, these numbers make them sob and self-flagellate for their inability to shave off ridiculous and dangerous numbers of pounds in a short period of time. Of course, they all want to be on TBL and have a thin taskmaster help them fix themselves, too, because when they don't lose 4-7 lbs. a week, they feel more powerless than ever about mastering their issues with food.
The question is, why don't we have something which empowers overweight people to take control of their lives rather than shows them being abused, pushed, and then left without any means by which to pursue a moderate and healthy lifestyle? The reason is that this would not gratify the need for exercising the loathing of fat people, nor would it be such great "entertainment". Watching people slowly get better and improving the quality of their health is boring. Watching them be hurt and humiliated is exciting. Really fixing a major issue like disordered eating takes time, patience, compassion, and understanding. America appears to have no use for that sort of nonsense.
The bottom line is that much of America is just fine with treating fat people inhumanely. It horrifies me (literally) that TBL is a successful television show. It further depresses me that fat people are saying that they need to have their asses kicked to help them lose weight. TBL is like a modern day "bread and circuses", but this time the fat people are being thrown to the lions for the amusement of the masses instead of the Christians.