“I don’t mind that you’re fat. I don’t mind that you share your experiences with others. The thing that really makes me sad is that you and others like you actively promote obesity and try to convince people that it’s ok.”
First of all let’s acknowledge what a benevolent, selfless person Nick is that he doesn’t mind that I exist and that I tell my own story. I can’t say how touched I am, and when I say I can’t, that’s because I’m not touched at all. I’m not sure what kind of exaggerated sense of self-importance someone has to have to think that it’s their place to run around the internet giving other people begrudging permission to exist, but I am sure that Nick needn’t have wasted his time with all that on my account.
The second part of the comment illustrates a misrepresentation of Size Acceptance that people who don’t actually understand it often use (either on purpose or through ignorance) to incite “won’t-somebody-think-of-the-children” style hand-wringing about the idea that people, especially fat people, might actually like themselves.
The idea of “promoting obesity” is among the most ridiculous things that I’ve ever heard. As if someone will see a happy fat person and say “I want to be happy, I’ll bet the secret is that she’s fat, I’m going to get fat so I can be happy too!”. Like’s it the new V8 commercial: millions of thin people, who see the same 386,170 negative messages a year about fat people, will see one of us being successful, happy, or (heavens forfend) liking ourselves, smack their foreheads and say “I coulda been fat!”
Size Acceptance isn’t about promoting a body size, it’s about the basic right of everyone, of every size, to exist without shame, stigma, bullying, or oppression, regardless of why they are the size they are, what being that size means, and if they could or want to change their size. It’s about the fact that the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are not size dependent. Size Acceptance is not about promoting a body size, that’s actually the other guys – the dominant culture that insists that there is only one “good” way for a body to look and be.
I often wonder if the suggestion that Size Acceptance is about “promoting obesity” or “wanting everyone to be fat” is simply an expression of the fear that weight bullies have, that if we are able rise above the bullying, stigmatizing and oppression they enjoy perpetuating, fat people will treat our oppressors the way that they’ve been treating us. (Might this be why people like Nick want us to think that we should care about their approval of our existence?)
Now let’s deal with the idea that I try to convince other people that it’s ok to be fat. When I say that it’s ok to be fat, I’m not trying to convince anybody of anything – I’m simply stating a fact. It is 100% ok to be fat. I covered that in detail here, but the bottom line is that it doesn’t matter how fat someone is, or why they are that fat, or what the outcomes of being that fat may or may not be. They deserve to be treated with respect and it is completely ok for them to be that size.
Yes, even if they weigh 2000 pounds. Yes even if you think their weight is “their fault.” Yes, even if you would never ever want to be “that fat”. Yes, even if you can’t understand how they do certain things. Yes, even if they have problems that can be correlated with being fat. Yes, even if they have problems that can be causally related to being fat. Yes, even if studies show that they cost society more. Yes, even if they actually cost society more.
It is totally, completely 100% ok for someone to be fat because other people’s body sizes aren’t anybody else’s business. (And those who think it is because fat people “cost them tax dollars”, should check out this post.) Nobody requires anyone else’s justification, or permission to live in their body. Period. This is true whether or not people are able to, are trying to, or want to, achieve permanent weight loss – it is a matter of civil rights.
At the end of the day, no matter what your size, remember that you don’t need permission from Nick or anyone else to exist in the body you have now, to appreciate that body, or to make choices for yourself.
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