The concept of normalizing obesity is used to justify practices including only showing fat people as a collection of negative stereotypes, only showing fat people as being miserable unless they are succeeding at weight loss, only promoting the voices of fat people who have succeeded at weight loss, and actively silencing the voices of fat people who speak out against the idea that the only positive fat identity is a self-loathing dieter. Any media outlet, television show, movie etc. that shows fat people being successful at anything other than weight loss will be immediately criticized for normalizing obesity.
The theory that we are apparently currently working under,is that fat people will all get thin based on the “motivation” that we will never get to see anyone who looks like us shown in a positive light until we are thin. I hate to have a Dr. Phil moment here, but hey how’s that workin for ya? Based on a preponderance of the evidence, not very damn well. I get e-mails all the time from people who are new fat acceptance blogs or the Fit Fatties Forum, and they are so excited because they just found out that there are fat people doing whatever it was they thought they couldn’t do because they were fat.
It turns out that most people aren’t motivated by seeing everyone who looks like them portrayed as tired and worn out stereotypes. But heavens forfend we have a fat role model or we’ll be accused of the (completely ridiculous) crime of “promoting obesity“ or its evil cousin “normalizing obesity”.
Who is anybody kidding, this is not about our health. So what is it about? Maybe that if we stop shaming fat people then they might stop pouring money into the diet industry for a solution that almost never works, and then they’d lose our sixty billion dollars a year.
That’s not a good enough reason for me. I don’t buy the idea that showing fat people in a positive light will make other people want to be fat (because I don’t think this is a V8 commercial where people see a happy fatty, slap their forehead and say “I coulda been fat”), and I don’t think that a ceaseless stream of shame is doing anything good for fat people, and oppression for fun and profit is not ok.
So let’s try a new experiment. Let’s normalize bodies of all sizes. Can you imagine if size was not an issue. Movies with fat leading ladies, magazines filled with people of all sizes, billboards with fat people selling dish soap, a world without fat jokes, a world without articles about how Santa Claus promotes an unhealthy body image.
Take a minute to realize that everything fat people accomplish today – starting with finding the courage to leave our homes in fat bodies – is done in spite of the fact that we live under the crushing weight of constant social stigma. Imagine what fat people could do if we didn’t have to live with a, ceaseless stream of societal stigma and shame -if the government wasn’t waging war on us and enlisting our friends, families, and employers to help.
Research from Columbia shows that stigma is correlated with many of the same diseases as obesity and that women who are concerned about their weight have more physical and mental health issues regardless of their weight. Imagine how positively the health of fat people would be affected if we took away the stigma.
Hey wait, you don’t have to imagine… just admit that the current plan of making us feel like crap about ourselves is not working, stop shaming and stigmatizing us, normalize obesity, and see what happens!
Announcing the Fit Fatties Virtual Events!
Are you looking for a movement challenge that’s fun and flexible with fabulous prizes? Well wait no longer, because the Fit Fatties Forum is excited to announce the Fit Fatties Virtual Events. I’m super excited about this! Set goals and celebrate achievements in a way that works just for you. Train for and complete virtual events any way you like (in the gym, in your neighborhood, alone or with friends.) Traditional events like 5k’s and triathlons, not-so-tradition events like “Toddle Baby Toddle,” “Drama, Drama, Drama” and “Shop Til You Drop”! You can even create your own event and have it added to the list. Win fabulous prizes and bragging rights!
Like my blog? Here’s more of my stuff!
The Book: Fat: The Owner’s Manual The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details
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Dance Classes: Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details
Interviews with Amazing Activists!! Help Activists tell our movement’s history in their own words. Support In Our Own Words: A Fat Activist History Project!
If my selling things on the blog makes you uncomfortable, you might want to check out this post. Thanks for reading! ~Ragen