In response to my post about how we can and should have spaces that don’t allow diet or weight-loss talk -a question I got a lot is “Who are these people who blatantly break the rules?
I think they fall into four basic groups:
These are people who are trying to do harm. Sometimes it’s because they personally hate fat people for whatever twisted reason, sometimes it’s because they are desperate for approval and they are trying get it from other trolls. There are options to deal with them – I wrote an entire guide about it.
Fully Bought-In and Over-Entitled
These are people whose buy-in to the weightloss paradigm is so complete that they believe they should be entitled to talk about weight-loss wherever and whenever they want. They like to start their post with phrases like “It’s ok to love your body but…” and “Except, I mean, you can’t deny that…” etc. They’ll defend Weight Watchers like you bad- mouthed their mother and often weaponize their internalized fatphobia, saying things like “Well, I’m fat but I still think [insert anti-fat belief here]”
The Specialist Special Who Ever Specialed
These are people who think that their weight loss talk is such a special case that they deserve to break all the rules. Their posts often talk about health issues or disabilities or age. This is a double issue because not only are they breaking the rules, but they are adding healthism, ableism and/or ageism to their fatphobia. Weight loss doesn’t get any more likely to succeed because someone has a health issue, disability, or is aging, but people in those categories can face even more pressure to give up on their Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size practice, which makes this rule-breaking even more harmful. People are allowed to attempt weight loss for whatever their reasons might be, but there is no reason that justifies breaking a group’s rules of no weightloss or diet talk.
But The Group Had Fat In The Name
These are people who saw fat in the name of the group, assumed that the group would be anti-fat, didn’t bother to read the rules, and then charged into the posts and comments with their bullshit. It’s not even that they were trying to harm fat people, as much as that they’ve literally never considered that there might be a space where fat isn’t vilified. When called out they are likely to morph into a member of the Troll or Fully Bought In Group.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, we have a right to safe spaces – to create them, to maintain them, to participate in them. We do not owe anyone a debate on our right to exist. We deserve spaces safe from the people and beliefs that oppress us, and we have every right to create and protect them.
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