“honestly, I am happy to see that you love your body no matter the size…..but… being fat puts alot of extra pressure on your joints…so you might not be “unhealthy” but you won’t be able to walk when you’re older….”
Her concern for me is staggering, bless her heart (and I say that in the true Southern tradition.) You know, so many ableist psychics leave comments here but none of them ever give me lottery numbers. Jerks.
So even if this was a forgone conclusion, the worst thing that I could do is attempt weight loss since the vast majority of weight loss attempts (including all of mine) end in weight gain. In fact, it was only when I stopped trying to lose weight that my weight finally stabilized. But to me the way that this is most messed up has nothing to do with that.
It’s possible that I won’t be able to walk when I’m older. It’s possible that I won’t be able to walk tomorrow. If that happens, I’ll join a number of people who currently can’t walk.
People using the possibility of disability as a way to try to threaten/manipulate the behavior of fat people is ableist, it’s totally fucked up, and it needs to stop. People with disabilities/disabled people (there are people who identify as one, the other or both) are not cautionary tales. (To be clear, while I do want to look at the intersections of these oppressions, I am not trying to compare the oppressions that are faced by each.)
At the intersection of ableism and fatphobia lies a mountain of bullshit. Whether it’s suggesting that fat people shouldn’t want to be fat because then they might become disabled, or suggesting that the world should be made more difficult to navigate for fat people with disabilities, the idea is that there is only one “good” body and any deviation from that is something that is bad and to be avoided. The truth is that it’s not people’s bodies that disable or other them, it’s a society that is built to accommodate only one type of body and that treats other bodies like some kind of aberration or inconvenience, refusing to accommodate them. So essentially people who “threaten” fat people with disability are saying “We’re going to continue to oppress disabled people/people with disabilities, so you don’t want to become one.” So. Fucked. Up.
This is the faulty logic that leads to a culture where it’s ok to make seats that businesses know don’t accommodate everyone, and then blame the people they chose not to accommodate – and encourage others to blame them – sometimes going so far as to charge them more to access the same service. This is the big steaming pile of bullshit that leads to people suggesting that fat people with disabilities/disabled fat people don’t “deserve” mobility devices because it’s “their own fault” – as if the idea that people should have to prove that their disabilities aren’t their fault in order to be accommodated isn’t abjectly horrifying. This is what leads to the terrible treatment of disabled fat people/fat people with disabilities (taking pictures of them without their consent, making fun of them, yelling at them as they pass etc.) that causes fat people whose lives could be improved by mobility aids to choose not to use them to avoid shaming and stigma.
People of different sizes and abilities exist and it doesn’t matter why. To me it is far more important to create a world that accommodates as many people as possible, than to try to pit us against each other, or justify lack of accommodation as something that is for “our own good.”
Like this blog? Here’s more cool stuff:
Become a Member For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you. Click here for details
Buy my book: Fat: The Owner’s Manual The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details
Book Me! I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!
Dance Classes: Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details
I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com