I’m going to be honest. I’m not 100% sure of the Fat Acceptance Movement. In fact, I don’t believe in it.
But, before you sharpen your pitchforks, light your torches, and judge me for my stance, I at least get the right to explain myself, right, kind of like Tyrion Lannister had in the Vale? Right. God, I’m obsessed with GoT, but please, no sword fighting today.
According to Wikipedia–not the best source, I know, but the only one with a real definition for the movement–says, in short, the Fat Acceptance Movement is:
A social movement seeking to change anti-fat bias in social attitudes.
Society is harsh, when it comes to a person’s appearance, especially when you have men and women drooling over the size 0 bikini model on TV, whether they want to date her or be her. Not to mention, the new plus-size standard for women is a size 8. Next thing you know, tomorrow it could be even smaller.
And women aren’t the only targets for society’s sharp tongue; men have expectations, too. Are you bringing a six-pack of Budweiser to the pool party, or are you diving in shirtless to show off your six-pack? Do you show off your gun collection and your FOID card, or do you have tickets to the “gun shows” attached to your shoulder sockets?
Gender doesn’t matter. If your weight tips the scale, you’re a potential target. If your stomach sticks out the farthest on your body, you’re a potential target.
Then, there are the men and women who are considered toothpicks or who look like naturally skin-toned Hulks that are getting ridiculed for being too skinny, too lanky, or too fit. Honestly, can anybody win in this bipolar norm we’ve established?
I guess now would be a good time to explain myself.
For twenty-three years of my life, I have been overweight. The only time I was actually at a healthy weight was when I was born. I was bullied throughout grade school for being a rotund, rosy-cheeked girl, and, yes, at one point, I was considered obese (for my height and BMI). My biggest jeans size was a size 14, my biggest dress size was a size 12, and my biggest shirt size was a large.
My weight has always been a struggle for me, but I managed to lose a considerable amount of weight since my “biggest” point. I now am a size 8/10 in jeans, a size 6/8 dress, and small tops, and although I feel better and healthier, I’m still considered overweight or plus-sized. This concerns me, for two different reasons:
- Why am I so indecisive about how I feel at this weight? One day I feel great, and then the next I feel like a slob.
- Is this attitude I have about my weight going to be my ultimate destruction?
Family and friends say, “You’re skinny enough,” yet I still strive for a smaller waist.
There are two articles, on the Fat Acceptance Movement, that have been spreading like wildfire on my Facebook news feed.
The first was written by Carolyn Hall, “6 Things I Don’t Understand About The Fat Acceptance Movement”:
I am an American woman who is recently familiar with the Fat Acceptance movement via blogs and online articles, but who grew up in a slightly pre-internet era where such a thing didn’t really exist. I am a “normal” size, but fluctuate between about a 6 and a 10. I eat well enough, work out two or so days a week and try to walk as much as possible. I am by no means a health nut, but health has always been relatively important to me and my family. I’ve lived outside the country, and seen the way other cultures deal with weight and body, but right now I’m based in the U.S.. I wouldn’t say I’m an extremist about anything body or health-related, but there are certain things about this movement I genuinely don’t understand.
The reaction, “6 Things I Understand About the Fat Acceptance Movement,” written by Jes Baker:
I am a 27-year-old American woman who is comprehensively involved in the Body Advocacy movement and additionally works 40 hours a week as a mental health professional. I am most certainly plus-size at 5’6″ and 260 pounds; a size 18 in most stores. I’m pretty damn fat, and unabashedly so. I eat well enough, I shop at our local food co-op and I own a juicer. I’m constantly on my feet at work, attending intensive African Dance classes (which I’m really [fucking] great at), riding bicycles and having a [shit] ton of sex. My blood pressure, cholesterol and all other vitals were recently assessed and are perfectly fine according [to] my PCP. I’m a logical, intelligent and critically thinking blogger who is here to explain to Carolyn Hall and the rest of the world the six things that are often misunderstood about the “fat acceptance” movement.
Like Baker stated, both articles review the six key points of their understanding or misunderstanding of the Fat Acceptance Movement. These are:
- America is extremely accepting of fat.
- “Body positivity” should include health.
- “Health at every size” seems physically impossible.
- People are allowed to not be attracted to certain body types.
- Food addiction is a real medical problem.
- Childhood obesity is something we can’t be accepting of.
So, Ms. Hall and Ms. Baker, and anyone who has made it this far through this novel, here is my reaction to your lists (I’ll keep it short and sweet):
America is extremely accepting of fat. Coming from a woman who was bullied for being overweight in grade school, no, America isn’t extremely accepting of fat. Also, coming from a girl who has lost a significant amount of weight, America isn’t extremely accepting of skinny people, either. There really isn’t a middle ground; either you’re too skinny or too fat. “Normal” can only be defined by you, not society.
“Body positivity” should include health. Health is what you make of it, as is “body positivity.” If you’re happy with your health, whether it’s destructive or not, there’s your “body positivity.” Only you can define your own happiness.
“Health at every size” seems physically impossible. Is it healthy to be too fat? No, but it could be healthy for your height and activity level. Is it healthy to be too skinny? No, but it could be healthy for your height and activity level. Both Ms. Hall and Ms. Baker consider themselves healthy, and they’re different sizes.
People are allowed to not be attracted to certain body types. Last time I checked, humans have free will. Everyone’s attracted to a certain look, but that doesn’t mean you should bash another to gain the acceptance of your perfect mate.
Food addiction is a real medical problem. So is starving yourself. According to medical professionals, balance is key.
Childhood obesity is something we can’t be accepting of. That’s like saying we can’t be accepting of drug dealing and drug addiction, but it still happens everyday. Obesity, as well as being naturally skinny, is all based on genetics and home-life. Thinking in a 1984 mindset, the government already monitors enough of our lives, do we really want them to completely invade our privacy and monitor our refrigerators and grocery bills?
In short, I am against the Fat Acceptance Movement and the “Skinny Bitch Fitness Movement,” as one friend referred to the opposing side. I am 1001% for body positivity and acceptance of all body shapes and sizes. Worry about yourself and your happiness before trying to change somebody else’s viewpoint and stance. Are we really teaching society anything by being at this constant battle of which size is most attractive? No, because we still aren’t accepting of people who are too fat or too skinny.
End rant. Grace, out.