What *I* want for Fat Acceptance.

Quite a few blog posts have had me thinking about this.  One of which I have to admit, I sparked And because we’re not a monolithic group, because we’re made up of many different people from many different walks of life who have many different personal goals regarding FA, I decided I needed to be completely clear about my wishes for FA.  These are my opinions only and do no reflect on FA as a whole.  Please do not read this as me speaking for the whole group.  This is just me, one person in that group, saying what I want to happen.

I want Fat Persons to be given the basic human rights they deserve. No one should have to worry about discrimination or harassment.  No one should have to be fed fatphobia in such quantities that it makes their lives miserable.  The bullying, emotional torture, and harassment needs to stop.

I want this for every fat person alive. Able-bodied and not.  Black, white, and every color and shade of color in between.  Neurologically normal or not.  Whether you exercise every day or prefer to spend your days reading (as an example).  Whether you eat a “good, balanced” diet or you eat junk food.  Whether or not you have an ED of any kind.  There is no reason on earth that you should be subjected to having your basic human rights taken away from you just because you happen to be fat.

I want to dispel the misconceptions and unfair stereotypes of fat people. That doesn’t mean that if you are lazy and do over eat that you don’t have a place in “my” movement.  Not at all.  But just because _______ fat person overeats and doesn’t exercise doesn’t mean it’s true for all fat people.  But those of you that do overeat? Don’t exercise? Are lazy?  You all deserve respect, too.

I want the world to wake up to the realization that thin =/= healthy and fat =/= unhealthy. Being fat in and of itself does not make one unhealthy.  There is a wide spectrum of fat and health, just as there is with thin and health.  But being healthy is not a moral obligation.  Whether you are fat and healthy or fat and unhealthy, it is no reason for you not to be treated like a human being.  It simply does not matter.

I also want the world to wake up to the realization that diets do not work. Even when you don’t call them “diets.”  Telling me to call Jenny Craig is not going to magically make me thin.  Assuming I eat like a glutton all day and telling me “just try eating less, fatty” isn’t going to work either.  There is absolutely nothing on this earth that is guaranteed to work in making a fat person permanently thin.  The key word here is permanently.  Sure, some diets work in the short-term.  I personally have known quite a few people that went from VERY fat to thin on a diet – I’ll use my Aunt D’s best friend K as an example.  Guess where her body size is now?  Yep, you guessed it – even fatter than before.  I honestly believe, had this woman never dieted in the first place, she’d probably be fat, but she’d probably be around the size I am now (which I admit is on the smaller end of the fat scale).  As it is now, the last time I saw her she was somewhere near the vicinity of 500 lbs.  I truly believe all the dieting she’s done is what has brought her to this point.  I’ve known her all of my life and have seen her go up and down and up and down.  Diets don’t work.  And she’s a great example of that.

Saying that I want all fat people to be accepted as human beings is not the same thing as saying I want the rest of the world to find us all attractive. You don’t have to be attracted to me, or any other fat person.  A person’s level of attractiveness should not factor in to whether or not you treat them with basic dignity and respect.  You don’t have to like me to be respectful to me.  Shit, I can’t stand my mother-in-law, and yet I still treat her with respect and courtesy.  Why?  Because she’s a person.  I don’t have to like her to be polite to her.

However, beauty and attractiveness are two different things. You can find the beauty in a person without wanting to jump their bones.  It might not even be physical beauty.  And you know what?  That’s okay!  It’s okay to say that you can find a person beautiful for one reason or another and not find them attractive.  It’s a good thing, even.

I want the world’s governments to stop trying to “regulate” our bodies. People are designed to come in all shapes and sizes.  And if you bureaucratic anal-retentives would get your collective cranium removed from your collective colon, you’d realize that what you’re being spoon-fed by the mainstream media is being dispelled left and right.  It’s just not being advertised as much as the bullshit you’re swallowing.  Obesity is not a disease, and there is no epidemic.  You can’t catch it, and you can’t “cure” it.  It doesn’t need to be cured.  All the regulations you could come up with are not going to get you the results you want.  It’s just not going to happen.

I want BMI thrown out with the bath water. BMI is an antiquated, arbitrary, ridiculous standard to which no one should be accountable.  It simply doesn’t measure anything except for height and weight.  Human bodies are much more complicated than that.

That’s all I can think of right now.  This is, by no means, a complete list.  This is just what I’ve come up with in one sitting.  I may decide to edit this later on, I don’t know.


Fat Family: an Observation

Yesterday was my best friend’s (May) daughter’s (Hayley) birthday.  As I’ve said before, my best friend and her family are like my own second family.  And apparently the feeling is mutual, because Charlene (May’s 2nd daughter) said practically the same thing to me the other night.

While we were all out together, we ran into her cousin, Adam, and it got the gears rolling.  I was just too drunk to be able to make heads or tails of it until today.  😉

I’ve met pretty much every member of their extended family.  There’s my best friend May, and her sisters Joan, Celia, and Carol.  All of them are fat.  All of them started out relatively thin.  As far as May’s children go, they’re about half and half.  She has 4 kids: one boy and three girls.  Danny, momma’s boy (and I mean that affectionately – he’s very close to his mother) and Charlene are both on the fat side.  Hayley is what I would consider thin (she wears a UK size 8 ) and Tiffany is downright skinny – a UK size 2.  She’s so skinny that when we first met, I asked May if Tiff was anorexic.  But she isn’t – this girl can EAT.  She’s just naturally skinny.  But Charlie, May’s ex and the father of her children, is also very thin.

But looking at her sisters and their children, I see something similar happening.  I met (Joan’s son) Adam when he was still in school, somewhere around 15 or 16.  Now he’s old enough to be working in a bar (which is what he was doing last night when we ran into him).  When I first met him?  Definitely in the thin – average range.  Now?  Yup, the boy’s fat.  Joan’s daughter Lindsay was the same way.  Thin all the way through school and then got fat as an adult.  And I see the same things happening with Celia’s and Carol’s kids.  They all seem pretty thin until they hit adulthood, and then about half of them get fat.

But all of these women have (or have had, in some cases) thin – average partners.

While there might be a lot of dissention from the “medical community” on the validity of the nature v.s. lifestyle debate on fat, I personally think it’s a lot more valid than they would like to admit.  (And lord knows there’s never been an actual objective study done on this subject.)  Mostly from my own experiences, but the more I observe others, the more convinced I become.

Not every single fat person in my best friend’s family could possibly have the same sort of lifestyle.  They can’t all be eating McDonald’s every day and laying on the couch until they begin to become one with it.  Shit, I know that May herself was NEVER what I would consider an inactive person.  Not even now that she’s battling terminal leukemia is she inactive.  Sure, she’s not as active as before, but her stamina never ceases to amaze me.  And she doesn’t over eat.  Hell, she doesn’t eat ENOUGH.  Her 3-year old grandson eats more than she does.  So all these stereotypes about fat people?  Are bullshit.  (Although I really don’t have to tell most of you that, but I wanted to put it in there anyway.)

Why is it that I – a person with only a high school education, no degrees of any kind, and no real skills above being able to type like a madwoman – can see the validity of the “naturally fat” theory and these so-called professionals, who went to school literally TWICE as long as I did, cannot?

What the hell kind of “professionals” do we have conducting these studies anyway???

Sexism sells. Are YOU buying it?

I am so mind-blowingly horrified right now that I’m having a hard time stringing together a coherent sentence.  So bear with me, please.

As an American woman living in the UK, I will be the first one to admit that I’m way out of touch with the American media.  I see snippets of it here and there, but not enough to get a real feel of what’s going on.  What I’ve seen in that video horrifies and sickens me.  How could they – in 2008 – say those types of things and still think it’s okay?  How could they possibly think that talking about Hillary Clinton on television and equating her with the stereotype of the “nagging, bitchy wife” would be acceptable?  And I don’t say this just because it’s Hillary Clinton.  Take her out of the picture and substitute ANY woman – you, your mother, your sister, your friend, your spouse – and the result would be the same.  Narcissistic, misogynistic men completely ignoring the woman as a person and simply bringing out every stereotype in their arsenal and equating said woman with that.  It’s disgusting to think that it would even happen in the modern age.

But obviously, it does.

It sickens me.  It sickens me to think that the women close to me that still live in the U.S. have been subject to this kind of indirect abuse from the media.  Because it doesn’t matter which woman they happen to be talking about at a particular time – when they say things like that, it affects all women.

I guess I’ve been spoiled.  The British media aren’t nearly as bad.  That’s not to say that sexism has been completely eradicated from the British media, but it isn’t nearly as rampant as what the above video shows.  More often than not, when talking about women – and especially women politicians – the media treats them just the same as they would treat a man.  I don’t ever remember a woman politician here (at least in the last five years) being criticized on what makeup she’s wearing.  Maybe it’s because Britain has already had one woman leader.  Whatever the reason, it just seems to me that the American media could learn something from that.

Because I live here in the UK, I don’t know that there’s much of anything I can do to make a difference.  But I thought that spreading the word – even if it’s just a few paragraphs on my personal blog – would be better than sitting here, furious and horrified, doing absolutely nothing.

Found via Shakesville, and pointed to The Women’s Media Center and their blog.

Hypocrisy in Action

You know what really pisses me off?  When I read other people’s blogs and see the trolls saying things like “of course it’s your fault you’re fat – you absolutely have to be stuffing your face incessantly all day long.”

Here’s an example:

[name deleted] wrote I’m fat, and its really not my fault…

On November 5 she wrote on her blog I ate till I was stuffed, and there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I shouldn’t have eaten so much.

Sure it’s “really not your fault” sweetheart, sure it’s not…

And then somebody pointed out how hypocritical the troll was being:

[name deleted]….because she ate til she was stuffed once? Have you ever eaten a lot? Come on.

So the troll comes back with this:

Well sure I have [name deleted], but as [name deleted] got up to over 400 pounds something tells me that she ate til she was stuffed more than once.

Like only us fatties are the ones that have eaten to the point of being stuffed more than once.  I can tell you from my own experience that it’s actually the thin people (that I personally know) that eat the most.  There have been many discussions in my own house about the disparity between people of size and what they actually eat.  I am the biggest one in the house; my husband is skinny as a rail, three of my 4 girls are “normal” sized, and one of my girls is just like her father: a stick figure. 

My children have seen what I eat, and a lot of the time I eat less than my youngest child.  They eat 3 meals a day – as they should – and a lot of the time, I eat only one meal a day.  Oh sure, sometimes I actually eat like a “normal” person, but I have to admit that more often than not, I don’t eat anything until dinner time.  My children have seen this, and have realized that what the media and society tries to portray us fatties as being is a damned lie.  As my 7 y.o. says: “fat people are busy all the time, and skinny people are lazy.”

Now obviously that’s not true for everybody; my daughter is simply going by what she sees.  But it is true for the people that I have personally known in my life.  My best friend, as I have mentioned before on this blog, is bigger than I am, in more ways than one (if she were American, she’d make a good linebacker, let’s put it that way).  And she, like me, is the busiest person in the house.  She does most of the cleaning (now that her kids are older, they’re starting to help out more, but they still leave the bulk of the work up to her), she’s constantly running here, there, and everywhere, and she’s the only one out of her siblings that helps her mother and stepfather, who are elderly and need a lot of things done for them.  On top of that, her eating habits are much the same as mine: the majority of the time, she eats but one meal a day.  And yet she’s the biggest one in her house, as well.

I have a hard time believing that my best friend and I are the exception to the rule.

But you get these trolls – and most blogs have them (I think the only reason I don’t is because I moderate all my comments, and a troll will know that I’m just going to delete their ass) – who perpetuate the stereotype that we all sit around watching tv all day stuffing our faces.  Which is simply not true.  Of course you will have a small minority that do sit around stuffing their faces all day, but that doesn’t hold true for all of us.  And on the other side of the same coin, you have skinny people who sit around all day and stuff their faces (my husband, for example: he plays computer games all day long, while I take care of the house, the laundry, the children, etc.).  The only difference is the size of our bodies.

And they hold this “holier than thou” attitude, portraying us fatties as gluttonous, lazy pigs, while they are the ones always on the go, they “never” overeat, etc., etc.  But let’s get real here: everybody overeats occasionally.  EVERYBODY.  Underweight, normal weight, overweight, obese, morbidly obese – we ALL do it.  (The only people who would never overeat are anorexics – and they’ve got a whole different set of problems altogether.)

But to hear these trolls, you’d think us fat people are the only ones who do.  And that?  Is hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy: the practice of claiming to have higher standards or beliefs than is the case.
**taken from the Oxford Online Dictionary

I may be a lot of things, but if there’s one thing I’m not, it’s a hypocrite.