Let me start out by saying that I’m not trying to harsh anyone else’s fat acceptance vibe, this is just about how I feel. Plus, I’ll own up to being a bit of a word nerd so I may be splitting hairs, but hear me out on this and then tell me what you think.
Every time I hear (or try to use) the term “fat acceptance”, it gives me a moment of pause. In my mind, the idea of accepting something comes with at best a little, and at worst a lot, of compromise. For example: My favorite thing about owning my own business is not that I sometimes work 20 hour days. It turns out that I actually like to sleep (at least I have a vague recollection that I do). But I accept working 20 hour days because I love what I do and it’s worth it to me. My mom is really unhappy that I choose to live so far away, but she accepts it because she loves me.
To me Fat Acceptance feels more like resignation… “Well, I’ll accept it but I don’t have to like it.”
That just doesn’t make me feel all fat pride empowered and ready to face the world with high self-esteem and healthy body image. But maybe that’s just my own sense of the word…
Next stop the dictionary (because, as previously mentioned, I’m a big nerd), where I found:
Wow, that didn’t make me feel better about this at all. The idea that I would sit around and hope someone would choose to offer acceptance of my body is abhorrent to me, and the thought that I should hope to receive “approval” or “favor” from others to feel good about myself is antithetical to everything I believe about self-esteem.
Being a good former spelling bee nerd, I clicked the button that said “use ‘acceptance’ in a sentence” and got: “You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.”
Yikes, this is getting murkier all the time. Does that mean I just “accept” my body in the same way that I “accept” rejection – that doesn’t seem like the best call. I get the idea of rejecting acceptance I guess, but there again is the idea that acceptance is something that is offered to you by someone else at their discretion. I’m not putting my body up for evaluation and an acceptance decision – I’m not applying to college and hoping for the thick letter. My body is. Others can think whatever they want about my body but I’m certainly not going to base my self-esteem or the way I feel about my body on what someone else thinks.
At the end of the day, I feel that asking for fat acceptance is giving other people power that shouldn’t belong to them.
As for me, I choose to do more than just accept my body. I choose to love and celebrate it.
When it comes to others I’m not asking for acceptance. I’m expecting, and if necessary demanding, respect.