I often hear people say that they disagree with Size Acceptance – meaning that either they want to try to manipulate their body size, or they support other people in trying to manipulate their body size. While our personal practice of Size Acceptance is certainly a part of it, that’s not actually the main point of Size Acceptance.
Size Acceptance is a civil rights movement that asserts that fat people have the right to exist in fat bodies (regardless of why we are fat, what the so-called “consequences” of being fat might be, or if we could become thin,) without shame, stigma, bullying, or oppression. Size Acceptance says that the rights to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and basic human respect are NOT size dependent.
You either agree with that, or you are wrong. Those are the only two choices. Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to practice Size Acceptance for your own body. People are allowed to do whatever they want with their own bodies – try to manipulate their size, amputate their stomach, whatever. To be clear, making the choice to be involved in diet culture doesn’t happen in a vacuum and the idea that fat people can/should lose weight is harmful to fat people, and thus, so is the decision to engage in diet culture. But that doesn’t mean that people can’t still do it.
Size Acceptance doesn’t require someone to stop trying to manipulate their size, keep their digestive system intact, take a pass on swallowing a deadly balloon, decline dangerous diet drugs that could kill them, or abandon their internalized oppression (though if they do choose to participate in diet culture then they aren’t practicing Size Acceptance in their own lives and they, rightly, will not be welcome in many Size Acceptance spaces.)
When it comes to Size Acceptance, you don’t have to practice it for yourself, but you do have to practice it towards others.
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9 thoughts on “Size Acceptance Is Not Optional”
It should also mean we have the right to the same medical treatment and surgeries as everyone else without you can’t have the surgery until you lose so much or be told it is a weight issue without looking at the true problem
Well said, as usual. The thought that it is perfectly OK to not accept your own size, yet believe in size acceptance principles for others, is a very important point. So is the thought that a person trying to lose weight yet is supportive of other people’s right to not do the same thing is hard for lots of us to swallow–but why is it any different than my being of one religious faith, but respecting or even loving others who adhere to a different faith?
It is a complex issue. In my group for DBT(Dialectical Behavior Therapy), the concept is considered a dialectic. You can both be fine the way you are, AND O.K. with wanting to change, improve, fix, and otherwise alter aspects of yourself. Meaning you can hold two diametrically opposed thoughts at once. It is complex and annoying. It is more than annoying in a group setting where one is surrounded by people with varying degrees of mental illness, addiction issues, relationship issues, domestic violence, criminality et, and yet the one thing they all seem to regard as a fate worse than death is being fat.
I kid you not, in this group, where we have all been told there is no tolerance for racial, spiritual, religious, political, economic, cultural, sexual, bias allowed, people are quite openly derisive of fat people, terrified of becoming fat, actively engaged or inactively but insistently engaged in not becoming fat or squirmy touchy about fat when they look over at me, (390). Funny thing is, I judge them too, not as bad but as terrifying. I can’t imagine drug addiction, incarceration, violently abusive coupling, CPS involved child rearing or the punitive religious background that tells them they are going to burn and suffer after a lifetime of burning and suffering. Oh, this behavior and belief system is also shared by our “evolved”, compassionate, well meaning, informed therapist staff who are all, “careful of what they eat” not an piazza day, drink dietetic tea during class, diet sodas, smoke, disparage them selves and their bodies for “misbehavior, imperfections, willfulness… I can’t tell you , no I will. Part of DBT is willfulness and learning NOT to think you can read minds in any setting. Don’t Assume you KNOW what anyone is thinking, believes, etc. So I sit back and wait for it, smug in my assurance of knowing that these educated, informed, well meaning people who are trying to help us to help our selves struggle to find ANY OTHER EXAMPLE for behavioral issues regarding long term and short term goals that DOESN’T involved Not eating something NOW, so you won’t be fatter LATER. I swear to GOD! It does not occur to them that other examples exist, not buying a dress now because you want to save for a vacation, not using now because you need to be sober for a job interview, not arguing with in-laws because you will see these people at the holidays. No, it has to be the caloric restriction way to mental, moral and physical health.
I just sit there. Sometimes I squirm a little. Sometimes I look at my personal therapist and try to do kind-face, and be understanding that this is one of her issues and the common “go to” for short term gain vs long term value subjects.
She knows I know, and I know she knows I know she knows I know… I let it go. Maybe they feel it would be too personal, too pointed, too invasive to use drug use, or illegal activity or something else as an example.
S’funny. Diet culture is so ingrained it is almost thoughtless. I watch these “dieters” eat cupcakes and chips, pizza and snack foods every week then consciously wash them down with “Crystal Light”. Something crazy making about the conversation EVERY WEEK. “Is it sugar free?” “It’s the Crystal Light.” “It’s the one I bought.” (Just for group). “Do you want the last cupcake?”
I drink water. If I have to have some kind of fruit drink, I’d rather have sugar than the rat killing, man made non-caloric substitute. Group is on Thursday. Anyone wanna come?
I cannot imagine why anyone would subject themselves to the torture of being in Jen’s group–unless participation is court-mandated.
Well, it isn’t for me anyhow. But I’d lose my food stamps if I didn’t attend. It is sort of like sifting, I have to pick and choose the useful bits and try to overlook the useless crap. And humor the therapists who haven’t got a clue.
Plus I get the smug benefit of being right all the time. I kid you not. I can sit and wait for it, the same stupid example, the off hand in considered comment. it is down to math formula now it is so predictable. Sides part of DBT is handling uncomfortable emotions, here I get a Thurs-daily litmus test of how uncomfortable it can be to be fat in a society that wants to annihilate you entirely.
Bill, is this THE Bill Fabray? Coool!
I’m sorry you have to experience those shitty attitudes. Hopefully with time it is changing. X
This sounds a little like being pro-choice. Being pro-choice means you support the availability of abortions and don’t want laws against them; it doesn’t mean you have to get an abortion yourself. People can be dead set against abortions for themselves and still be pro-choice.
It still baffles me how anyone can be against the civil rights of other people.