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Woman: 6 Things I Don’t Understand About The Fat Acceptance Movement
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kaotic Offline
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Woman: 6 Things I Don’t Understand About The Fat Acceptance Movement
6 Things I Don’t Understand About The Fat Acceptance Movement

Of course there was immediate backlash, the female author wrote a follow up piece
8 Things I Learned From Writing An Article Critical Of Fat Acceptance



Quote: 1.America is extremely accepting of fat.

I have not lived in many other countries in my life, but I have done it enough to know that America is exceptional in its general permissiveness about obesity and ill health. Though there may be negative stereotypes, staring, bullying, or crude comments, the environment we live in is one that is incredibly tolerant of unhealthy lifestyles. There are enormous portions, extreme levels of convenience, and a low priority put on physical activity (even in our schools). While treating someone differently because of how they look is not okay, with upwards of 60 percent obesity in certain cities, you can’t say that America is not accepting of fat people. We basically ensure that people will be fat, and are tolerant of the lifestyle choices that surround it. If anything, we need to be cracking down on it more.
2. “Body positivity” should include health.

The idea of “body positivity” when used to refer to people who are hundreds of pounds overweight has always confused me. How could you be positive about something when you are, at the same time, actively damaging it? Being positive about the way you look is not enough, you also have to be positive (and proactive) about your health and well-being. And the obvious ill effects of obesity — on organs, joints, energy levels, and mood — go totally against the idea of being positive. There is nothing more negative than treating your body with disregard.
3. “Health at every size” seems physically impossible.

A big part of the Fat Acceptance Movement seems to be the idea of Health At Every Size, which advocates for a focus on healthy living, and not on body image. And in theory, this works, but its application is totally inconsistent. We acknowledge that someone who is anorexic is clearly not healthy at their size, and needs medical intervention, but we perpetuate the idea that a morbidly obese person could pursue an active lifestyle and remain at their size, and that saying otherwise would be “shaming” them. The truth is that weight extremes on either end are not healthy, and using rhetoric to cover up their real danger is not helping anyone. Physically, you cannot be healthy at literally any size, and sparing someone’s feelings on the matter is not going to address their immediate medical concerns.
4. People are allowed to not be attracted to certain body types.

Another weird part of the movement seems to be the idea that not being attracted to, or put off by, a large body is in some way shaming or internalized hatred of fat people. I know that there are many people who aren’t attracted to my body type (I don’t have much in the way of curves), but in the same vein, I’m not attracted to lots of other body types. And the focus on getting obese people to be seen as attractive seems misguided, when everyone has a preference, and whether or not someone is attracted to you shouldn’t mean anything to you. If someone wants to say “no fatties” in their online dating profile, isn’t it just their loss?
5. Food addiction is a real medical problem.

Just as much as we would hold an intervention on someone who is suffering from a heroin addiction, or drinking themselves to death, should we not give the same attention to someone who is clearly eating themselves into ill health? Obviously there are going to be exceptions, when it’s caused by a medical condition or extenuating circumstances, but the Fat Acceptance Movement seems to rely too much on these outliers and not focus on the very real problem that a huge number of people in our country overeat in a dangerous way. The constant consumption of junk food, fast food, and preservative-filled snacks (especially if it’s soothing an emotional wound) is putting the body in real danger. And a lot of people are consuming these foods on more than a daily basis, which makes sense, as many of these foods are constructed to make us addicted. Should we not address these underlying issues?
6. Childhood obesity is something we can’t be accepting of.

Regardless of whether or not a consenting adult wants to participate in the FAM or HAES, we can’t say that it is safe for children. There is a reason people get so upset at seeing obese children, and it’s because it is condemning them to a life of health problems that they are not choosing themselves. Feeding children constant junk food, letting them be sedentary, or giving them sugary sodas instead of water is something that we need to be judging harshly as a society. Choosing to be obese and wanting that acceptance as an adult is one thing, but putting it on a child is another, and some of these movements’ rhetoric edges dangerously into the latter category. Regardless of where you stand politically, seeing a toddler weigh as much as a normal 10-year-old should make us all very angry.

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07-31-2014 12:32 PM
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Dusty Offline
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RE: Woman: 6 Things I Don’t Understand About The Fat Acceptance Movement
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07-31-2014 01:01 PM
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DJ-Matt Offline
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RE: Woman: 6 Things I Don’t Understand About The Fat Acceptance Movement
Quote:In case you missed it, I wrote an article last week titled “6 Things I Don’t Understand About The Fat Acceptance Movement.” Needless to say, it sparked a discussion. I am glad that it inspired a passionate conversation, because it’s clearly something that’s on a lot of people’s minds. Here, the 8 things I learned from writing the article (and reading the response).



1. If you criticize the movement, people will think you are trolling. When I wrote my article, I felt like it was pretty reasonable and rational, and reading it now, I still do. My intention was never to troll or to “concern-shame” someone by “pretending” to care about their health. It seems like conversations on this issue are somewhat ruined from the beginning, because people don’t want to believe that anyone could be genuinely concerned, and not trying to troll.

2. People actually argue that being obese is okay. I don’t know how this happened, but a lot of the comments were along the lines of “You can’t understand how healthy someone is by looking at them.” And this can be true, but common sense dictates that extremes on any end of the body spectrum are dangerous. Unless you’re being totally disingenuous, you know this on some level. We can see the kind of staggering effects obesity has on individuals by typing a few words into Google. Arguing that morbid obesity is not automatically unhealthy seems like an impossible task, and yet so many commenters tried.

3. And yet, no one tried to argue that anorexic people were healthy, or that you can’t decide their health by looking at them. Funny how that works.

4. Many of the responses to criticism are “but it doesn’t affect you!” Essentially trying to say that someone else’s health is none of your business. But if you look at the study I cited above, not only does it detail the kind of effects obesity has on the individual body, but the kind of cost it implies for society. Hundreds of thousands of people are dying of obesity-related illness in a very real way, or living with chronic medical help, and this costs money. It costs money to employers, to people paying insurance premiums, and to the taxpayers who subsidize those who cannot pay for themselves. It affects all of us.

5. And it effects us emotionally. I didn’t mention it in my article, because it seemed too personal, but I have lost a close family member due to obesity-related illness. And this is not a rare thing at all. Many people in the comments shared their own story about losing a parent, a sibling, even a child, to obesity-related illness. And the frustrating thing about it is that it feels so unnecessary, like when someone dies from drugs or alcohol — a preventable, unfortunate loss. This pain is very real, and touches many people outside of the person in the unhealthy body.

6. People think if you are anti-FAM, you are anti-body positivity. On the contrary, I am just as repulsed by photoshopped models and unrealistic beauty standards as the next person, and I don’t think the solution to someone being unhealthy is for them to hate themselves. But just like anyone else who is sick, it’s important to understand that while you are not your body, you have to live in it. When I don’t take care of myself for a week or so, and I feel terrible as a result, I know that eating a salad and going for a walk and taking some vitamins has nothing to do with not being positive about myself. It has to do with making the body I live in a better place. Making someone feel beautiful does not help them in the long run, if it’s at the expense of their health. The same is true of extremely thin models.

7. A lot of people believe their doctors are fat-shaming. I don’t know how to address this one, honestly, because it seems futile. While there have undoubtedly been cases of doctors holding prejudice against fat people, to take every instance of a doctor telling you you need to lose weight for your health as “shaming” is so unproductive. It is a doctor’s responsibility to do the best he or she can to help you get healthy. Sometimes the truth isn’t pleasant, but that’s literally what a doctor’s job consists of.

8. But after addressing the subject, I understand the awkward position they are in. Obesity in America, whether we like it or not, is a growing, crippling problem. It’s infiltrating so many aspects of our lives and our relationships with our bodies, and unless we begin addressing it in an uncomfortable, real way, it’s not going to get any better. It sucks hearing that you’re not treating your body well, or eating boring, healthy food when all you want is a burger, or working out when you are really tired at the end of the work day. Health isn’t glamorous, or easy, or always immediately rewarding. But we have let ourselves go so far as a society — insane food portions, almost no physical education in school, and over a third of the country classified as obese — that the only option is to confront reality. And while there were a lot of responses that shared their own journeys, and responded in an open way, and participated in the conversation, a lot of people weren’t interested. They wrote me off as “concern trolling” just to upset them, even though I have nothing to gain from doing so, and refuse to acknowledge any of the points I made. And that’s okay, I guess, but in the end, we all have to live in the world we create together. Even if it’s a really unhealthy one.

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07-31-2014 03:19 PM
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Tytalus Offline
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RE: Woman: 6 Things I Don’t Understand About The Fat Acceptance Movement
Seems pretty reasonable to me.
08-01-2014 01:41 AM
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Surreyman Offline
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RE: Woman: 6 Things I Don’t Understand About The Fat Acceptance Movement
Fat Acceptance: Yet another case of 'whatever makes me feel bad is bad'.

I don't think anyone is brazen enough to talk this shit IRL though, I've never heard it. It's just an internet thing, I think.

Whilst people may become more accepting of body types that are within the healthy range (ie genuinely curvy or big boned women, not lard arses), I don't see fat acceptance kicking off any time soon. It's just too far away from reality, even further than modern feminist claims.
08-01-2014 02:40 AM
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poledaddy Offline
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RE: Woman: 6 Things I Don’t Understand About The Fat Acceptance Movement
Here's one to think about: how would the reaction be different if the same article had been written by a man?
08-01-2014 09:25 AM
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poledaddy Offline
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RE: Woman: 6 Things I Don’t Understand About The Fat Acceptance Movement
(08-01-2014 02:40 AM)Surreyman Wrote:  I don't see fat acceptance kicking off any time soon. It's just too far away from reality, even further than modern feminist claims.

How would you define "kicking off"? Morbid obesity is prevalent in children and not taken seriously by parents. Obese and overweight women flaunt their sexuality on the regular and act entitled to a good looking in-shape man. What real life examples are you looking for?

At minimum, it's pretty clear that being fat is not taken seriously, and can no longer be criticized. If you do criticize it, you are labeled a nazi. Thus fat is "accepted" in society in 2014 by definition.
08-01-2014 09:34 AM
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