You might be surprised to learn that the fat acceptance movement is actually a thing since the 60’s trend of identity politics, when a demonstration in New York’s Central Park gave birth to the first wave of campaigns against fat-phobic attitudes in the society. And then the “Fat Underground” emerged, a militant feminist-allied arm of the movement that called for violence against the oppressors of the fat people. Yup, that really happened. And their motto? “A diet is a cure that doesn’t work, for a disease that doesn’t exist”.
The fat acceptance movement is currently experiencing its third wave, mostly fueled by online activism on popular social media.
The request of the fat people to be accepted and treated as equal is a valid one, yet that is not the only thing they demand. As it happens with all identity struggles, they actually demand to be perceived as healthy, beautiful individuals. You’re not supposed to criticize their life choices or question their overall health. They claim to be as healthy as anyone else and don’t have to change a thing in their lifestyle because, anyway, „diets and exercising don’t even work“. In the context of the American society, where over a third of Americans are now obese and many of them are suffering health problems related to being overweight, this is kind of a mind-boggling statement.
On the positive side, it’s truly important to spread the message of accepting and loving yourself, no matter your flaws. Body shaming and all prejudices based on appearance are just plain wrong and can have devastating effects on the individuals who don’t fit the beauty standards aggressively fed to both men and women by the big businesses. But on the dark side, pressuring others to support and cherish the unhealthy life choices of some people and passively discouraging self improvement is unjustifiable and only reveals the narcissistic tendencies of a self-troubled minority.
Why do we say this? Read the text below to find out.
1. Messed up double standards: being fat is cool while being fit is abnormal
Scientific research has proven over and over again that being obese increases the risk of many health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and many types of cancers. This is not something that the “fat-hating“ people make up in order to screw up the lives of fat people; this are solid facts that you can discuss with any doctor. Too much fat is not healthy for anyone, by any standard. It’s ok to accept yourself as a fat person – after all, there are a lot of medical issues that make losing weight for some people a ton harder and you might have given it all up, but promoting fat as good and beautiful is another thing.
Would you tell your children that it’s perfectly fine not to take care of their bodies?
That they should stuff themselves with whatever they feel like, simply because they feel like it? Children and adolescents who are obese are at even greater risk for adult health problems. Would you let people who believe that obesity is a normal life choice to create national health policies?
Some of the people who are in this movement claim that although they weigh 300 lbs, they are eating quality food, are perfectly healthy and their quality of life hasn’t suffered very much. How is that possible will remain a mystery to all of us. Whatever the reasons for a person to continue living like that, there are people who don’t want to live in a world where being very fat is not only normal, but kind of encouraged as well.
At the same time, we face a growing tendency of mocking people who strive to be fit and healthy, especially online. Somewhere along the road, the fat body became “normal“ and the well defined muscular physique became a freakish thing – working out and watching what you eat is a total waste of time and energy, done by stupid and shallow people who have an unhealthy obsession with their appearance. A lot of guys and girls from the fitness community are getting accused of using steroids, their diets are being called “starvation techniques“ and they are being perceived as having miserable lifes in general. Turns out, being fit and healthy is only a trend with an expiry date.
Is this the real face of the fat acceptance movement – you have to love my fat but i get to make fun of your hard work to achieve your fitness goals? What an ingenious way to eliminate all stereotypes and promote acceptance in the society.
People who are in good shape are usually not born that way. They have put a lot of willpower, determination and hard work in shaping their bodies and many of them do it to simply improve their health. It’s not that they should get more privileges or have the right to insult others for not making the same choices, but if nothing else, they deserve a lot more admiration for the self-discipline they own compared to these fat people who have the “i don’t give a fuck enough to make any changes, just love me as i am“ attitude towards life.