What Do We Mean By Fat Civil Rights?

Stand up speak up fight backI sometimes get asked what I mean by fat rights.  Here are what I consider to be the basic tenets (obviously, it gets much more complicated than than this and there’s lots more to talk about, these are just some of the basics.)

Fat people have a right to exist in our fat bodies.  We have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and those rights are inalienable – they are not size, health, or healthy habit dependent.  Those rights include not living under ceaseless institutional stigma, bullying and oppression, or being made combatants in a war waged upon us by our government, which is also trying to recruit our friends, family, co-workers, companies and anyone else they can get to engage in combat against us for how we look.

You cannot have a war on obesity without having a war against obese people.  You cannot have a war on childhood obesity without having a war on fat kids.  Wars have casualties.  So when you use words like “war” and “eradicate”, when you say that you want to eliminate obesity and suggest that fat people should do extremely dangerous things like have our stomachs amputated, or eating 500 calories a day and getting injected with  urine, all in the pursuit of thinness, it starts to sound like “eliminate obesity” means that they want us either thin or dead, and they don’t much care which.

The research about weight and health upon which this goal of eradicating fat people for the good of society is built does not meet the basic criteria for competent research.

The methods used to calculate the “cost” of obese people are at best incredibly poorly done and, at worst  biased and profit driven,

Even if the studies did meet basic requirements for competent research, it is not ok to choose a group of people who are identifiable by a single visible physical characteristic, attempt to calculate their cost on society, and based on those numbers suggest that they should be eradicated to make things cheaper for everyone else.

If you are fat, you have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the body you have now.  You have the right to stand up and say that the war being fought against you is not only based upon faulty intel, but is unjust in every way. You have the right to fight back, to say that if they want a war, you will damn well give them one. Those are basic fat civil rights.

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6 thoughts on “What Do We Mean By Fat Civil Rights?

  1. Better watch out, Ragen: people might think you believe that being fat and being entirely human are not mutually exclusive concepts, and then what will become of us allllllll?????????

    IOW, right on, sister Fatty!

  2. The “war” rhetoric seems very similar to the war on poverty and the war on drugs, where the rhetoric of “war” has also been very harmful.

    1. The war on drugs is about as effective as the war on alcohol. Remember that? Prohibition? Yeah, that REALLY cut down on alcohol consumption and all the crime that went along with it. What’s that? There wasn’t a lot of crime that went along with alcohol until it became illegal, and people started smuggling, and murdering, to keep their alcohol flowing?


  3. Thanks so much for a list of the basics. I’m 100% in agreement.

    I will never understand why anyone would care more about how people look than how people *feel* (emotionally, physically, etc.).

  4. Thank you. I often struggle to define fat acceptance in my own mind and just end up feeling conflicted about it. I’m bookmarking this page so I can read this every time I start feeling conflicted or confused about how I am treated (and sometimes treat myself) as a fat human.

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