“The important lesson from size acceptance — arguably the MOST important lesson — is that you should not feel compelled toward self-loathing over these things. Maybe you just hate exercise. That’s not a reason to hate yourself. Maybe your doctor tells you you’re prediabetic. Again, not a reason to hate yourself. Body acceptance is about ACCEPTANCE, and the idea that anything you do with your body in your life should come from a place of self-care and self-love, not from guilt and judgment and punishment.”—
It also takes an enormous amount of forbearance. The hatred directed at fat people is astounding; often, it borders on dehumanizing. Hating people for being fat, whether out of malice or supposed concern for people’s health, is considered perfectly acceptable in our society. Recently, we demonstrated just how potent our hatred for fat people can be: Objections to Dr. Regina Benjamin’s nomination were cloaked in faux concern about the example that a fat Surgeon General might set for the American people. And yet, there can be little doubt that it was because of our hatred of fat people that this country was left without a Surgeon General for many months—during a deadly swine flu outbreak. Talk about unhealthy. The vitriol of fat-shaming that occurs in our culture, from seemingly trivial throwaways like “no fat chicks” jokes, to the very real financial discrimination, like United Airline’s decision last year to charge fat people double for their plane seats, is astonishing. And in most circles, it’s considered acceptable.
Some might argue that the obesity epidemic (or as fat acceptance blogger Kate Harding calls it, the “obesity! epidemic!”) puts an untenable strain on our healthcare system and our economy. But I would argue that what really endangers our society, what really strains our long-term health as a culture, is the unfounded, discriminatory and corrosive hatred for an entire subsection of our population.
Ok, in light of the whole Kevin Smith debacle, as well as a little tiff I got involved with on Pandagon, I would like to say something.
Fat Acceptance does NOT mean that one is against better diets (as in way of eating as a whole) for everyone, including increasing access to healthier and less processed foods.
Fat Acceptance does NOT mean that one is against exercise, or that one thinks kids getting exercise is a bad thing.
Fat Acceptance does NOT mean that I think you need to find me fuckable, or even likable. I probably don’t like you, either.
What Fat Acceptance means is that you have to treat me like a human being, with courtesy and observing the bounds of civil interaction. That’s it.
No one in Fat Acceptance land is advocating that everyone sit on their ass in front of the tv and mainline lard and cornstarch, washing it down with Jolt cola.
No one in Fat Acceptance land says kids shouldn’t go outside and play.
NO ONE. Hear that, douchefucking assheads?
What people in Fat Acceptance land are saying is that YOU don’t know why someone is fat just by looking at them. You don’t. You don’t know if they’re on meds, if they fucked up their joints running triathalons and hold a world record from before their joints went south, or if they really do mainline jelly bellies while snorting pure confectioner’s sugar, and throwing darts at pictures of that asshole Jillian Michaels. YOU DON’T KNOW THAT.
So, do me a favor and quit pretending you do. Ok, Karnack?
And while we’re at it, if airlines want to throw fat people off for impinging on other passengers’ space, and comfort, I have an additional list: People who wear cheap perfume, and too much of it (guys, too) Men who sprawl and take up all your leg room People who won’t shut the fuck up about their sports team/children/religion/surgery/politics Screaming children People with headphones so loud I can hear them over my own. Seatkickers People who lay their seat back without asking you if it’s ok and crush you and your laptop
Well, none of that is a risk to safety, you say snidely… fat people could get stuck… Oh, spare me. I have yet to get stuck anywhere and I have a huge fat ass.
But the perfume people are a risk to safety. I happen to be incredibly allergic to a lot of perfumes, as in it starts with sneezing and watery eyes, then moves on to severe asthma attacks. If I can’t get to my inhaler because some asshole has his seat down in front of me and the guy next to me is sprawled into my space… THEN it is a safety fucking issue and a whole lot more likely to cause issues than my fat would in the unlikely event we were to plummet to earth like a fucking stone. Got that?
So, here’s the deal. You pretend you think we’re people, and I’ll pretend that you guys who sit with your legs all splayed really “need” to.* *wink wink*
Oh, and I have another request. If my fat ass is out there working out, walking, you know all that shit you guys keep telling me I need to do, shut the fuck up. If the goal were really to get us exercising, then my sister wouldn’t have had that one asshead follow her around at the gym and tell her she didn’t belong there every time she went. I also wouldn’t have had to drop a free weight on the foot of some asshole who called me a whale (fat people, we’re so weak and clumsy, you know).
There are worse things in life than you having to see or even, heavens forfend, brush up against my fat. Like missing your mother’s dying moments as nearly happened with Kate Harding’s sister, or not being able to go to a friend or family member’s wedding, or being humiliated in front of a plane load of people.
Trust me, fat shaming doesn’t work. If it did, we’d all be skinny. But it doesn’t. And you know what? It doesn’t cost you shit to be polite.
Besides, if sitting next to fat me really is a problem, next time YOU volunteer to sit between the screaming toddler and the evangelical.
*Someone somewhere referred to “Phantom Gigantic Schlong Syndrome,” which does not happen only on planes, but also on buses, and pisses me off there, too.
There is a deference between overweight & beautiful, than obese and trying to flaunt it.
There’s a difference between ‘difference’ and ‘deference’. Also, I think you should have used the word ‘and’ instead of ‘than’. If you’re going to attempt to insult me in English, at least try to use the English language correctly.