Fat Acceptance the Same as Animal Rights?

I saw this comment on A Terribly Important Question at Shapely Prose:

For me, the fat acceptance movement is largely about women refusing to be defined by thier bodies. When we exploit animals be eating. wearing, or otherwise using them for our entertainment/ amusement, we reduce them to the very status of objects we rail against when it comes to humans.

“Fuck em?” Hmmm… I wonder if that response would be condoned or encouraged (”hee hee”) in a discussion about any other form of exlpoitation.

(Emphasis mine.)  That last line was in direct reference to two other tongue-in-cheek comments regarding the fact that down used in parkas, comforters, pillows, and whatnot (obviously) comes from geese.

As to the ducks and geese… this is going to sound horrible, but fuck ‘em. I’m cold. *snuggles back under down comforter*

(Yes, I know, exploitation is bad and it would be much nicer if the feathers were plucked lovingly from geese and ducks who had expired of natural causes after living to a ripe old age, but I really like down. Please don’t kill me.)

and

As to the ducks and geese… this is going to sound horrible, but fuck ‘em. I’m cold. *snuggles back under down comforter*

Hee! Yeah, I mean, I eat meat and wear leather without a second thought,* so what makes the geese so special?

*one could certainly argue that I SHOULD be giving that second and third thoughts, but that’s another story.

Now I’m not trying to get into an animal rights discussion.  I will, however, state my personal opinion: animals have always been and always will be part of the food chain.  From the dawn of time, humans have used animals for food, for fuel, for tools, and for clothing.  If a person chooses to go vegetarian or vegan, that’s fine with me, but I don’t feel I should be made to feel guilty for simply acting like a normal human being.

However, what really got to me was the fact that this particular commenter was putting Fat Acceptance and Animal Rights on the same planeThat’s what I have a problem with.

Fat Acceptance is in no way the same as Animal Rights.  Fat Acceptance is simply about getting the rights and considerations that we should be getting anyway but are denied simply because we look different.  And this?

the fat acceptance movement is largely about women refusing to be defined by thier bodies

Is SO wrong.  For one, Fat Acceptance isn’t just about women (although women DO seem to be the biggest target, no pun intended).  It’s about women, men and children.  And it’s not about being defined.  It’s about being defiled.  Reviled.  Made to seem as second-class citizens.  Made to feel that we have some moral obligation to not subject the world to our fat.  Made to feel as though there’s something wrong with us just because we are fat.

I don’t have a problem with someone who chooses to take on Animal Rights as a cause, in general.  But to say that Fat Acceptance and Animal Rights are the same?  That’s just wrong.  Plain and simple.

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14 Responses

  1. Comparing fat rights and animal rights is like comparing apples and orangutans.

    They’re two entirely different things.

  2. […] Fat Acceptance the Same as Animal Rights? […]

  3. Of course you have a problem with it. Did I say fat rights and animal rights are the same? No. However, I am calling you a hypocrite. You want freedom from oppression, but refuse to examine situations in which you are the oppressor. No better than those PETA fools (hate them) who make fat-hating comments and are blind to any form of oppression other than that of animals.

  4. Um… yeah, lina, you did.

    When we exploit animals be eating. wearing, or otherwise using them for our entertainment/ amusement, we reduce them to the very status of objects we rail against when it comes to humans.

    In that sentence right there, you compared the two and found them to be the same.

    You know, I find it strange that when people come back at you with a differing opinion put forward in a respectful manner and you respond with hatred and hostility.

    Get some help. Seriously.

  5. Eh. I agree with Lindsay up yonder. Animal rights and fat acceptance are two totally different things.

    Although I’m confused. Where’s the hypocrisy? Did I miss it?

  6. […] wrote an interesting post today on Fat Acceptance the Same as Animal Rights?Here’s a quick […]

  7. :lol:

    fn, I’m confused about that one too. But I guess we don’t have the benefit of selective reading like ms. lina does.

    I guess we’re just doomed to be saddled with reading comprehension for the rest of our lives.

    *sigh*

  8. This is like a pro-wind power group flaming a pro- public transit group. Both causes really depend on the same underlying desire to fix a public ailment.

    Both sides of this argument are ignorant towards the feelings of the other. Both sides of this argument are addressing a legitimate humanitarian issue. Both antagonistic parties (regular meat eaters defending fat acceptance, size discriminators defending animal rights) are blind to how they are hurting one another, blind to why it is wrong, and blind to how they are similar.

    Fat acceptance has a big disadvantage in achieving it’s goals. Modern society has been raised on a notion that “greater that 140 pounds” means you are not looking out for your body. “Do a push up kid”. This ignorance is probably it’s biggest hurdle.

    The exact same dynamic is true for animal rights. Quickly to make my stance clear: Animals are not people, and do not deserve to be treated equally. I am in no way placing animals on the same level as a person, skinny or fat, or any other differentiator. At the same time, I’ve never been forced to live my life in a cage not big enough to turn around in, or killed so my kid can have some funtastic lime Jello after a healthy lunch made of precooked individually packaged turkey sandwich cuts, and I doubt anyone else has either. I think it is o.k. to eat animals, as long as you are aware of where your meal came from. We Did Not eat meat like this one two hundred years ago, we had to kill the animals we raised, feed, and lived with and in turn connected much more closely than we do de-thawing some hamburger from the deli. In addition, With the new ease of use in industrialized meat, we are eating vastly greater amounts of meat. More than ever in the existence of the human race.

    I think these two issues do draw comparison, Lindsay, at least in how people from either camp wrongly justify attacking one another.

    p.s.
    “I don’t think I should feel guilty acting like a normal human being”.

    Think about how that statement would sound to you coming from an anti-fat acceptance advocate.

  9. For the record, I was not flaming ANYBODY. As a matter of fact, if you’ll notice, I named no names. I took lina’s words, not her name. She decided to come over here and shout out to the whole world that it was her that said it. I didn’t flame anybody, I simply stated that putting Fat Acceptance and Animal Rights on the same plane was wrong.

    And actually, Pat, I agree with everything you said from “Quickly to make my stance clear”. But, as I said in my post, that wasn’t the PURPOSE of the post. If I wanted to make a diatribe on what my position on Animal Rights was, I would have said that in the beginning of the post. But that wasn’t the point, and I didn’t want to derail myself.

    And about how I would feel if an anti-fat acceptance advocate said something about acting like a “normal human being”?

    I’d tell them to go take an art history class and count how many of the models had a BMI under 20, and THEN get back to me. The fact is that fat people have always been around, and until fairly recently, fat has been a normal thing. Now people are exhausting themselves to live up to a ridiculous ideal that we normal human beings have NEVER in the course of RECORDED HISTORY been able to maintain.

  10. I don’t get this post. Really, I’m not trying to flame, but I cannot figure out why you feel that comment says that Fat Rights and Animal Rights are the same thing. I mean, I get the disagreement that fat rights is about refusing to be objectified. Hell, one of my issues with some Fat activists is that they seem to feel objectification is a good thing so long as it happens to fat women, but I digress.

    But saying that we turn animals into objects- ignoring their capacity for suffering- without thought while we rally against turning fat people into headless abstractions without any thought to their feelings or personhood…I don’t see how that’s trying to make the two equivalent.

  11. Well, attrice, I can only assume that you get something else out of that comment entirely. But I can tell from the other comments I’ve gotten that I’m not the only one that read it as the commenter saying that they were the same thing.

  12. I was honestly only looking for more insight into your thought process. I know, from lots of experience, that sometimes barriers between the animal rights paradigm and the non-animal rights paradigm absolutely cannot be overcome, but sometimes it is just a misunderstanding. I was just trying to figure out which this was, not at all trying to say that your interpretation wasn’t valid.

  13. To be honest, there was no “thought process.” I read what she wrote, and immediately I was struck at how she was trying to equate the two (animal rights and fat acceptance). I’m sure there are certain aspects of both movements that are the same, but from what she wrote, it seemed to me (and some others) that she was trying to say that they were exactly the same.

    And that’s what I took issue with.

  14. (I know this post is old, but I just found it and cannot resist tossing in my two cents, or rather, two hundred cents, because I’m wordy.)

    There is a reason I am for animal WELFARE as opposed to animal RIGHTS.

    Animals do not have rights. Why? The entire concept of “rights” is a CULTURAL idea specific to humans.

    In thinking of animals as the same as humans, most animal rights activists forget the flip side of that, which is to understand that humans are also animals. Which is one of a zillion reasons why PETA is so full of shit, but I’m not going to get into them right now except to say that you cannot cease all human-animal interaction in the world, because we are all just animals coexisting in a shared environment, and so we are going to interact.

    Anyhow. Food chain. Animals eat other animals. Humans are animals and have a biology that supports both animal and plant matter as sources of fuel. Ergo, we are capable of eating other animals, and many of us choose to do so. In the same way, bears are omnivorous, but many of them get the bulk of their diet from plant sources, especially during such times of the year that certain plant food sources are widely available.

    There are birds that will pluck fur off a living, walking Ox for their nests. I do not think the Ox considers this a form of exploitation.

    I am against abuses, wanton killing, practices that are wasteful or inhumane or harmful to the environment, and on and on. I think our current factory farming is an attempt to recreate a particularly nasty vision of Hell right here on this plane of existence.

    That said, I’m NOT against hunting, farming, or eating meat. I’m NOT against pets. I’m NOT against humans and animals working together in service functions such as search and rescue. I’m NOT against the greater honeyguide, a bird who, of his own accord, seeks out humans and leads them to beehives so the humans get some tasty honey and the honeyguide gets some tasty comb and bee grubs. And I’m NOT against using the fur, feathers, bones, or what have you of an animal you’ve killed to eat, in fact I’d argue it’s wasteful and disrespectful to kill and animal and only use a single part of it.

    So, in both cases we’re arguing for natural balance, live and let live, and recognizing the life and happiness of others as valid. Still, equating animal “rights” to fat rights is problematic and I don’t think it works. The scope and scale of the whole “human animal and our role in a world full of fellow animals” problem is too large, for starters. Also, again the very important consideration that “rights” are a uniquely human thing. The legendary crow courts aside, animals do not need to debate whether something is an infringement of rights. They do as they do and they act according to a code of conduct that exists not only outside of human understanding, but outside of the human idea of a code of conduct. Animals have no jails that I am aware of, and I’ve never seen a Star-Nosed Mole Pride Parade, nor yet a Rabbits Take Back the Night vigil.

    They don’t need them. They’re too busy just being and living and doing what they do and making the best of what life hands ‘em.

    We owe it to them and to each other to reach out and make life on this planet sweet for everyone. That doesn’t guarantee a long life of course, because nothing does. I might fall out of bed and break my neck tomorrow, a deer might get eaten or hit by a car, etc. But wouldn’t it be cool if the lives we do have, however short are long, were nice ones?

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