Can someone please explain “fat acceptance” to me?
I totally understand loving the body you have and wanting to live your best life in your body. My mom carries a few extra pounds and is in her 50s, and she accepts that she will never be as slim as she was before she had kids, but she still does hot yoga 4 days a week, runs with my dog everyday and eats a healthy diet. She wants to be as healthy as she can and accepts and loves the body that her lifestyle will provide her with.
To me, a lot of fat acceptance seems like just ignoring health. I think it’s great to be happy with yor body but should it be at the expense of your health?
I’d love to civilly discuss this.
Someone else’s health is none of your business and people do unhealthy things all the time without the same policing (think of the last time you knew someone who drank too much caffeine, drank a bit too much booze, etc.), I would contend that people do have a right to choose to be unhealthy as well as a right to love their unhealthy bodies (more on this later) though I would also not concede that being fat is automatically doing this. Thin people can be unhealthy too. And the links between fat and bad health are extremely overblown based on a small amount of often very contradictory evidence. Here’s a few links debunking the fat=unhealthy claims:
Also, as a seriously disabled person who is fat because of my health conditions I can personally testify as to how very little most anti-fat stuff has to do with health. I have never, ever actually encountered a person going on about my weight and my health who was interested in actually talking about my health. Years ago, when I was more ashamed of my size, I used to try and explain my health issues to people who claimed their comments about my life were about my health-they didn’t care. I mean, seriously, I’ve had an upper GI, an MRI, a dozen blood tests, several shots, and a medication change in just about the past month or so and I have another specialist appointment coming up in a few weeks. I only sometimes use a cane. I am not supposed to restrict my diet because I already have serious digestive issues and multiple vitamin deficiencies. The idea that a stranger knows the smallest thing about my health based on my weight is absurd and I’m an incredibly unhealthy person who is also fat.
My body will always be unhealthy. My mind will always be and has always been “unhealthy” by many standards (I’m autistic). The suggestion that only healthy people have a right to love their bodies and themselves denies any possibly body acceptance and self love for most disabled people.
The lives and needs of unhealthy people are not of less value than those of healthy people, and very few people would find it acceptable to treat people with most actually “unhealthy” habits the way fat people are treated.
I’m actually one of the people for whom being fat is pretty closely related with the onset of medical conditions that can pretty much directly make you fat as well as chronic pain/mobility issues that worsen with excercise.
This has not protected me from fatphobia, including fatphobia from the medical system. My life was literally put in danger due to medical system fatphobia and it delayed my diagnoses for years.
Anti-fat haters didn’t give me a pass in their hate, and that includes ones who claim to exempt those fat for medical reasons. I mention my hormonal condition, serious thyroid condition, mobility issues, etc. and get called a liar directly or indirectly, because fat people can’t actually have disabilities that aren’t a result of our being fat and must be just “making excuses” for being fat. I’ve actually had thin people say “you know that’s not true” when explaining how my health conditions affect my weight, affect how my eating affects my weight, affect how much I can exercise, etc.
Fat acceptance advocates on the other hand taught me that fat isn’t awful, that I could work on loving a fat body, that I didn’t need to make excuses for my eating and exercise habits or make excuses for my body, that disabled fat people still matter, that my experiences with anti-fat hatred were real…
It’s always been really fucking obvious to which group is better for a person like me, who is fat because of disabilities/health conditions, it’s fat acceptance people, regardless of how or why they are fat, not thin people lying and saying they only target the “lazy fat people”, we’re all lazy fat people to anti-fat people. I’m still fat regardless of how I got here, and people treat me as a fat person from the moment they see me, not everyone has an instant description of my medical history (not that they always believe it when they do).
we don’t base discrimination laws off immutable characteristics alone in the UK
age and marital status are not immutable. gender is not immutable (since you can get your marker changed). ability isn’t immutable either since a person can become disabled (indeed, this is tied to age). so I don’t…
As a practical matter, neither does the US, as religion is obviously mutable. People change religions both for voluntary and involuntary reasons. And people can also change “veteran status” by joining the military/retiring/being discharged and that’s a protected class. And “pregnancy discrimination” counts as sex discrimination even though it’s obviously a mutable state.
"Suspect classes" designations, where mutability comes in, applies to 14th Amendment litigation. And there women aren’t actually a fully protected class in the US, they’re not a "suspect class" but rather a "semi-suspect class" or "intermediate class".
Also, some of this only applies to certain areas, non-discrimination acts may not restrict other government agencies or activities (immigration, for example, is historically immune from such laws).
It’s not actually at all ridiculous to change the way things are built to accommodate an increase in people’s average sizes. Ever been in a building built in the 1700 and 1800s? A lot of them have low, low ceilings. An average height white or black cis man now has to slouch to avoid bonking his head. Higher ceilings to accommodate greater height are the norm, not an absurdity. The reason that changing things to fit taller people is seen as normal but changing things to fit fatter people is outrageous is because in western culture tall is seen as good but fat as bad.
Also, using cis men as a standard and making things not fit a large number of cis women has also been a longstanding issue-what size is considered deserving of the default accommodation is highly social status/value based.
i’m actually really tired of the fat=greed (capitalism) portrait that goes on in radical leftist spaces
stop portraying people you don’t like as fat just to give someone else a reason not to like them
In political cartoons, overweight people are used to represent…
Fat people are not a political tool
For any reason
Not only do fat poor people exist, in the US mindset poor and fat are linked.*
There’s a reason that things like “fat people at walmart” exist so often. And MSN publishes articles about “Does Being Poor Make You Fat”.
Google “fat” and “poverty” and you’ll instantly find thousands of articles and discussions of how fat people are poor and whether our fatness is because of our bad moral habits and “poor eating choices”. If you google “fat” and “classism” what you find is a bunch of fat acceptance advocates discussing how anti-fat hate is often targeted at the poor.
A fat body marks you as poor in the US in the majority of situations and never, ever have I experienced more vicious anti-fat hate than when I went to university with rich kids (I’m poor now and grew up poor). It’s so much more comfortable for me to exist as a fat person in poor spaces than rich ones (not that poor people are never anti-fat but rich people are HOLY FUCK) and I’m always super conscious of my size when around rich people. When I go to public events and public spaces dominated by the poor, I’m rarely the fatest person or the only fat person in the room, but in rich spaces that’s not the case. I don’t know if rich people are just less fat, if they take more expensive/extreme/dangerous dieting options, or if they hide their fat people somewhere out of sight.
Using fat bodies to represent greed and over consumption when fat bodies are already associated with the poor not only pushes anti-fat hate, it pushes classism.
*I know also that white people link fatness with poor black bodies a lot too, and in unique ways, but I’m not black and don’t feel confident trying to give a full discussion of that, but, yeah, it exists. The whole black=poor poor=black stereotype racism thing is a…yeah, complicated major thing with US classism.
"Are you sure it’s not a self esteem thing?"
[content note: cissexism, dysphoria, body image, disability, anti-fat hate]
It’s so fucking presumptuous when cis people feel the need to splain at me about dysphoria and body image.
I’ve spent years and years of my life dealing with how I feel about my gendered body, my dysphoria (part of that was trying to suppress it), my fat body, my disabled body, a cis person can’t show up for five fucking minutes and know it better than me.
Dealing with loving a fat body when that fatness is so entwined with your disability, your diagnosis (and lack thereof) and sickness is no small task in an of itself.
Loving your disabled body is no small task, dealing with the contradictions of loving your body when your body hurts every day is no small task.
Sorting out dysphoria from sexist body standards from cissexist body standards is no small task. Knowing that your body and its parts would be fine on someone else even though trying to force yourself not to hate them has been devastating is no small thing to build.
I have asked myself questions like “how do I feel about my thighs? Is that a dysphoria thing? Is that a desire to be “passing” as cis thing? Is it about internalized fathate? Is it about how I relate to my legs as a thing of pain and limitation?” thousands of times in thousands of different ways.
The last thing I need is a cis person showing up and declaring what must be behind my feelings about my body. I’ve practically got my Ph.D. on my own body shit by this point and cis people are showing up to 101 acting like they know everything.
My response to the AMA’s decision that “obesity” is a disease.
No, you aren’t. You deserve as much respect as a member of the human race as anyone else. No one is a disease.
If they think it’s a disease, time to game to system. Demand accommodations for bigger bodies in classrooms, buses, etc. by citing the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you face hiring or housing discrimination, sue the fuck out of them. Demand that poor fat people get disability payments.
What, if “obesity” is a real disease, there’s no reason it should only be treated as such when it means not giving stuff to fat people.
Though, of course, it will.
Disability rights laws are grossly under-enforced, but if fat is a disease there’s no fucking reason that fat people can’t demand it be treated legally as a disease.
Rebloggable by request
A normal diet is 1200 calories… They’re not starving themselves.
A normal sized diet is NOT 1200 calories. For anyone. and yes they were starving them. You really need to do some research if you think 1200 calories is normal to eat every day. That’s not enough even for the average female looking to maintain their weight.
Any of my followers want to add to this, feel free. I can’t believe this 1200 magic number BS is still around.
It’s not bullshit actually. Are you a personal trainer? Did you study the human body and the way it works and what requirements you need for a healthy diet?
The biggest loser is also on TV if you didnt notice most shows ARE dramatised.
goodness me! 1200 calories is actually considered the LOWEST anyone should take their daily intake and then only to intentionally lose weight.
To maintain weight, it is considered you should be on no less than 1500 per day.
But, OBVIOUSLY, this number should change (upwards) according to lifestyle, body size, type of employment, activity level and so on. Bigger, more active people OBVIOUSLY need more calories. Some male pro athletes MUST be on in excess of 2500 calories a day in order to keep up with the demands on their bodies and energy. and what about full time labourers?? demanding they subsist on 1500 is cruel and unusual.
1200 is a diet and a demanding one, generally considered appropriate only for women (1500-1700 is diet level for men, though again this is variable for both genders depending on body size and lifestyle). anything less than 1200 is definitely starvation so how you can fail to recognise 1200 itself is pretty extreme is beyond me.
I once had a doctor suggest that, since I can’t exercise due to my pain, that I starve myself in order to lose weight. They suggested I start at 1000 calories a day and “work [my] way down” to 500 until I lost weight.
When I refused to see that doctor (who was a specialist) ever again, I was refused a referral to a different specialist in the same field so that I could get treatment for my conditions by someone actually interested in treating my symptoms and who gave the smallest of fucks about my health.
When I then did not see a specialist at all and tried to manage what I could from clinics and other doctors, this was seen as making me irresponsible and a bad patient who does not obey treatment recommendations.
Because demanding a fat disabled person starve themselves was treated as more valid than steadfastly refusing to submit oneself to daily starvation simply to make others find your body more acceptable.
Thinking that any health risk and suffering is better than being fat is a common problem with people in general and with the medical system in particular.
[content note: fat shaming, food restriction/starvation]
What the holy fuck is up with fat haters who bring up places with mass starvation as a reason that fat bodies can’t be anyone’s default? Or as a reason that society could theoretically have no fat people?
These fuckers seriously think mass starvation is more “normal” (in the normative and not the average sense) and more socially desirable than just having some fat people around.
What. The. Fuck.
Being the Resident Bad Fat Person (content note: food restriction)
Older Sister (who is fat): My boyfriend said we should have less soda in the house because of his kidney stones, but now that we only have tea, he keeps whining about it. He's the one who said he'd like to give it up.
Mother (who is also fat): Well, we'd all like to give up sweets, but it's hard.
Older Sister: Oh, yeah, that's true.
Me (also fat): Fuck no I don't want to give up sweets. I love sweets. They're delicious. I need more of them.
[content note: discussion of fatphobia, ableism, sexism, and rape/molestation]
I’ve been wondering lately how much of fatphobia is dependent on a cultural* hatred of weakness and the coding of fat bodies as weak. Because we do live with this cultural hatred of weakness and bodies perceived to be weak and an attitude that the weak do lack/should lack agency. Disable bodies are seen as weak bodies and therefore less valuable and deserving less agency. Women’s bodies are seen as weaker than men’s and therefore seen as less valuable and their agency, opinions, etc. of less worth. Queer bodies are often seen as weak (not always, but often, for example the notion of “sissy boys”) and that is seen as warranting hate. This doesn’t apply to all oppressed groups, but it does appear in some contructions.
There is a hatred of weakness and a notion that might makes right and that right makes might. In the US cultural ethos there is this notion that if you are the “just” side then you’ll be the winning side and that is not only fallacious but also deeply wrapped in US imperialism, racism, and colonialism.
Even groups that are seen as in need of protection for their weakness, such as children or (privileged, white) women are seen as having less agency and less meaning to their experiences. The protection is a useful tool to display the prowess of the (white, privileged) man.
We are taught to see the word victim as a negative descriptor, because victim means weak and weak means bad. To be traumatized is to be weak and therefore it’s bad. Victims of rape and molestation are expected to call ourselves survivors instead of victims to strip away vulnerability and weakness from our descriptions (the survivor model is useful and valuable to some, it’s okay to use it, the problem I’m talking about is a pressure to not use terms and frameworks of victimhood). “Don’t be a victim” essentially means “don’t be weak”.
We are taught that the victim’s weakness justifies the violence and hate, but it doesn’t. Even if all fat bodies were weak (de facto, not all fat bodies are), it wouldn’t justify fat hating bullshit.
*I’m mostly referring to white/white dominated western culture for the purposes of this post. I don’t think all cultures do this.
[content note: discussions of body size, body image, fat phobia, etc.]
Far more often than wishing I was thin, I wish I my body was just fat by default, or even that I was fat via hedonistic gluttony like some fat hater’s wet dream. Because fatness as a result of disability makes my fat body be wrapped up in my head with all kinds of other shit. It’s hard to break the association my brain makes between fat and sick in regards to my own body (I don’t really do it w/the bodies of others, this tends to be a self targeted thing). If I just defaulted towards having a fat body, like plenty of people do, I wouldn’t have to deal with that association. And if I actually did get fat via the mostly entirely fictional fat hating notion of hedonistic overeating, I could associate every bit of my fat body with pleasure and deciding to do pleasurable things, which would be so much more wonderful than associations of pain and loss of control of my body and life.
[TW: Discussion of ableism, eating disorders, mental illness]
Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts in the thin privilege tag pertaining to ability and perceived ability. A few particular posts attempted to rebuke the idea of thin privilege by pointing out that some…
Also, really, really big one-thin privilege is not having your doctor dismiss all of your serious symptoms in order to passive aggressively focus on you being fat. I have some serious issues going on that aren’t adequately explained by my existing diagnosis, and it’s so fucking hard to find a doctor that will listen to my symptoms and try to figure out what is wrong instead of just ignoring my pain and exhaustion in favor of whining about me being fat.