Who Gets to Condone?

In my jaunts around internet discussions of size acceptance I often hear the following troubling questions:

  • What about fashion models who are underweight, should we accept them?
  • What about people who are so fat that can’t get out of their beds, should we accept that?
  • Being fat is ok unless someone has problems with daily life activities, then those people have to do something
  • Being fat is one thing but when you’re morbidly obese it’s time to lose the weight.
  • We shouldn’t give acceptance to fat people, it will just encourage them to be [insert wild judgments about what all fat people do here]
  • How fat is too fat?  How thin is too thin?
  • Fat people cost tax payers money – I shouldn’t have to accept that, I should have a say in them doing something about it.

And to all of these I say (as politely as possible):

Who died and made them the underpants overlord?

Maybe it makes them feel important and superior to run around doling out acceptance to those who they deem “worthy”  – it’s a heady thing to feel that you are the person who gets to decide if someone else gets condoned –  but I remain unimpressed.   I would much rather see people choose to respect the choices, bodies, and lives of others than wonder out loud about who deserves their acceptance.

How exaggerated must their sense of self-importance be to think that it should be their job not only to decide that someone else’s life activities are made “difficult” by their size, but also what they should do about it?

As for tax dollars, this is seriously questionable but even if it wasn’t I’m going to suggest that even if fat people do cost the tax payer’s money, those who don’t like it are probably going to have to learn to live with disappointment – our tax money pays for things that we don’t like, and unless someone has a list of all the things that their tax dollars pay for broken down into what they do and don’t want to pay for with the interventions that they are engaging in for all of the items on the “don’t want” list, then they are using this argument to justify their fat bigotry.

When it comes to telling other people how to live their lives, I think it’s a bad idea.  I thank that at the most we should confine ourselves to saying, when asked “This is what works for me.  Your mileage may vary, I’ll be happy to show you how I do it if you want”.  And then we can shut up and respect other people’s right to make choices just like we want our choices respected. [Edited because I somehow deleted most of a sentence between proofreading and publishing, thanks for letting me know commenters!]

I don’t particularly care if people accept me, but I do require respect or they simply don’t get to interact with me – not because it punishes them, but because it means not punishing myself.

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20 thoughts on “Who Gets to Condone?

  1. The week of the food police are upon us. I appreciate you posting this article! Perfect reminder! I also ROFLOL at “underpants overlords”! I hadn’t heard you put it exactly like that before! Again, thank you for the humor and information. It helps me deal with overlords of the dinner table.

  2. Good morning. This is confusing – I think you may have left a line out (?). Just wanted you to know in case you wanted to edit it.


    When it comes to telling other people how to live their lives, I think its a bad what works for me. Your mileage may vary, Ill be happy to show you how I do it if you want.

  3. Great post. Particularly love “I’m going to suggest that even if fat people do cost the tax payer’s money, those who don’t like it are probably going to have to learn to live with disappointment – our tax money pays for things that we don’t like”.

    I’m completely going to use that. I haven’t thought about it that way before, but it’s much like the general healthcare/insurance argument. Someone may not want to pay for others’ birth control. But we do, because the money we willingly pay for private insurance or not-so-willingly pay as taxes is going into a big pool of money that will inevitably cover that.

    Same go with our dollars paying for people who smoke and get lung cancer, or have a horrible, debilitating motorcycle accident, or get hit by a bus just because they had the temerity to try and cross a busy street on foot. I may or may not agree with those choices, but I don’t bitch about the fact that people making everyday life choices like smoking, riding a motorcycle, or just plain walking around is inevitably going to cause the occasional bad outcome.

    So, in return, I feel like instead of sitting around casting the first stone, all those people can just shut up and deal with it if I want to eat a damn doughnut every so often.

    1. Yeah, really. And heaven forbid we live in a society where people all contribute so that everyone can have a higher quality of life and be taken care of, at least to some extent. We wouldn’t want that!

  4. I love this!
    I think paragraph 7, which starts “When it comes to telling other people how to live their lives…” is missing some words. Help?
    PS Congratulations again on the marathon!!

  5. I think tis missing words too, but I could garner the meaning.

    Yesterday I was looking at plus-size dresses on-line at Land’s End. Their sales are good, and generally the fabric is quite sturdy. I always look through the comments before making a choice, however.

    One caught me, and I reported it as being offensive. The lady wrote, “Lovely dress. PLEASE make it in a REGULAR size for me!”

    Yeah. Reported her straight to admin, although I’m pretty sure f*ck-all will happen. I wrote, “REGULAR size? Plus-size IS a regular size. Get a clue, woman. That’s pretty bloody offensive.”

  6. I get particularly tired of the ‘but you’re costing me tax dollars!’ argument.

    I don’t have children, but my taxes pay for schools. I don’t drive, but my taxes pay for road upkeep and building. If your uninsured child gets shot, my taxes pay for the treatment even though I don’t own a gun. My taxes support wars I have protested against. They support museums, monuments, and parks that I will never visit.

    But you know what? I’m actually glad to pay for schools, hospitals, roads, a military, museums, monuments, and parks. Whether or not I am directly using the service or approve the specific use of one of them, these are all things we need for society to function smoothly.

    So I’m paying for your gunshot wounds, motorcycle accidents, skiing disasters (Hey, I don’t live where it snows and I have no interest in falling down a hillside on a pair of skinny planks longer than I am tall!), etc. If I need health services, you can repay the favor, thank you very much, whether I need them because I’m fat, because I’m reckless, or because someone else attacks me for no particular reason.

    It’s called taking care of one another because it’s better for EVERYONE.

    1. This. So much this.

      (I also want to remind people who complain along these lines that fat people pay taxes, too… >.< The logic and understanding fail in that argument is unending, I think.)

    2. You covered a few things I hadn’t thought of such as shootings, and that sparked the realization that if I’m paying for health insurance, MY taxes are going to pay for the health of those who can’t, NOT vice versa.

  7. There certainly is a belief that nobody should have to go out of their way for someone else. It’s foolish, since community is what makes humans so successful, but there it is.

    I’ve noticed in TV shows and movies that scenes involving meals are sometimes used to put down the ‘bad’ character by making fun of them for not eating gluten or otherwise being difficult to cook for. No consideration of whether it might be an actual health issue.

    Of course, the fact that whoever isn’t following the mainstream is expected to go out of their way to fit in isn’t even considered. If you are not part of what’s considered mainstream, you are the one that has to change.

    This gets up my nose since most people are an exception to the mainstream at some point in their lives. A fact that is usually conveniently forgotten.

    Or maybe I’m far enough out of the ‘mainstream’ that I just notice it more. 🙂

  8. ” I do require respect- or they simply don’t get to interact with me-not because it punishes them, but because it means not punishing myself.”


    People who can’t show basic civility, who fat shame us or play power games that leave us feeling “less than” shouldn’t take it personally when we avoid their company.

  9. I didn’t know where to leave this comment – but I just needed to vent. I was quite ill this week with some kind of stomach virus, and my sister (who I love dearly) said to me, “well, think of the weight you will lose”. I responded that it wasn’t worth it. I’ve gained a significant amount of weight in the past couple of years, and my skinny sister just doesn’t seem to “get it”. I just wish she would say – you look great (and not within the same breath say – have you lost weight?).

  10. I also hear that providing adolescents with information regarding birth control and the ways and means of contracting STDs, not to mention the actual dissemination of prophylactics “encourages” teens to engage in sexual activity and/or (cover your eyes and ears), gives them the idea that we condone promiscuity! PROMISCUITY, I tell you!!!
    We certainly would not want to encourage body size acceptance! Gasp! Who knows where it will all end!

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