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Writer Is Living Proof That Body Positivity Matters
By Kate Hickey
Editor's Note: The following is a direct response to writer Carolyn Hall's Thought Catalog piece, "6 Things I Don't Understand About the Fat Acceptance Movement." Read that piece first, please. Danke.
First, a little information about how your personal information is worthless. The fact that you admit to only recently finding the Body Positivity movement tells me that you haven’t done much reading about it and are still very much ingrained with the notion that fatness as a lived experience is bad. You also seem to blame the Internet for people trying to not hate themselves. Along with this, you say you fluctuate between a size 6 and a size 10, but that means absolutely nothing to anybody because 1) sizing of women’s clothes in this country is meaningless and arbitrary and 2) you could be six feet tall and underweight for all I know. Finally, I will explain to you things about this movement that you don’t understand, and hopefully at the end of reading this, you will be less of a judgmental person.
(P.S. Your need to set up your article with biographical information points out that you want us, the readers, to remember that you’re just a person with some thoughts, and you don’t want any of the backlash you rightfully deserve for writing an article which boils down to “fat people are gross and should lose some weight.” You want us to humanize you while you go right ahead and dehumanize the fatties. Not cool.)
1. America is not accepting of fatness.
You pointed out yourself that fat people are bullied, harassed, and negatively stereotyped for existing. That is not acceptance. Just because McDonalds is a successful company doesn’t mean that fatness is something that we, as a culture, find acceptable. Claiming that the United States has embraced fatness, or “tolerates” fat people and in the same sentence stating that people react negatively to fat people existing tells me that you actually already know that fatness somewhere deep down in the bottomless pit you call a soul is not acceptable in America.
2. Body positivity does include health, which you’d know if you had done some actual research before writing your shitty article.
You also do not understand that health and weight are not the same. Skinny is not necessarily healthy. Fat is not necessarily healthy. But unfortunately for you, we aren’t talking about physical health most of the time when we talk about body positivity and fat acceptance. We’re talking about mental health and self esteem. Fat people don’t hate themselves because they sit around and eat; they hate themselves because society tells them they’re ugly, hideous, worthless, and unlovable because they are fat.
So, what you seem to logically argue, is that we should continue to tell these people that they are worthless unless they lose some weight? Hmm. That really sounds like a great strategy to get obese people up and at ‘em!
Or, perhaps we could say something a little less…douchey.
We could say, “You are a person, and therefore you have inherent worth.” We could remind them that there are people who love them, and not “despite” the fact that they are fat. They just love them. We could encourage fat people to make decisions that will make them happy and healthy, rather than just healthy.
3. “Health at every size” promotes healthy living. At every size.
You, unsurprisingly, are focused on the “at every size” because you are a judgmental asshole. You seem to want some magic “cure” that will make all the fatties skinny (because you think skinny and healthy are inherently more probable than…any other size and healthy) in an instant so everyone else doesn’t have to worry about fatties taking up extra space anymore. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.
Even obese people have to start somewhere. If they want to change their lifestyle to be healthier and more active, why the fuck are you criticizing the method they use (or the method anybody uses) to keep morale up during their difficult transition into a healthy lifestyle? Point: Healthy life, both mind and body. But that doesn’t matter to you because you’re fixated on their gross fat bodies.
And funny, one of the big reasons obese people don’t choose to get active or healthy is because of the intense social pressure to miraculously lose a hundred pounds overnight. Or because when they do go to the gym, people stare and judge and laugh at them for even bothering.
P.S. Your “sarcastic air quotes” around the word shame point out to me that you participate in fat shaming, by the way.
4. People are allowed to be attracted to certain body types, but maybe you should think about why an overwhelming number of Americans put “no fatties” on their OKCupid profiles.
Let’s think about the actually fat popular actors and actresses. And I’m not talking about Jennifer Lawrence fat. I mean Melissa McCarthy fat. Melissa McCarthy, an Oscar nominated actress, couldn’t find a designer who would make her a dress for the Academy Awards in 2012. Want to have a guess why? Because she’s fat. I’m going to throw out a big word here, and I’ll define it for you because I doubt you know what it means:
Discrimination: (noun) The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things.
Hmm, almost like how six different top designers wouldn’t make a rich, famous, talented, smart woman a custom dress for the Academy freaking Awards because they only make dresses for skinny girls.
We, as a culture, have been told for decades that pretty means skinny. Period. People learn about attraction by watching movies and television, by looking at magazines, and in essence by being told what attractive “should” mean. We’re told every single day that fat people are gross because of how few of them we let onto our screens, even though, as you rightly point out, there is a high population of fat people in the United States.
But for some reason, your response to this notion is just to agree with it and pretend to care about how healthy these strangers are. When really you’re just grossed out by fat bodies.
5. Of course addiction is a Real Medical Problem. Congratulations, you have average intelligence.
Somehow, however, having both a mental disorder and being fat at the same time means you are not allowed to accept and love yourself, in your opinion. Fat people with addictions should probably just hate themselves forever instead of getting help or living their lives.
So, if fat people have Real Medical Problems, as you say, should they doubly not accept or love themselves? Because, I mean, they’re already fat and they shouldn’t ever look in the mirror and think, “I like myself!” already. If they’re fat and they have Real Medical Problems, should they make a concerted effort to look in the mirror and think, “I’m worthless and disgusting”?
Or, perhaps, to you, being fat on its own is a Real Medical Problem. Now there’s a thought.
6. Childhood obesity is a result of poor education and poverty, not the Fat Acceptance or Body Positivity movement.
You seem to think that the Fat Acceptance and Body Positivity Movements are like mid-century gym class anti-gay movies. Watch out! The homo is trying to convert you! Only now, it’s fat people who are trying to convert you with their disgusting, depraved fatty cheeseburgers and mayonnaise!
Newsflash. Childhood obesity isn’t because parents want their kids to grow up with health problems and just learn to accept themselves. Childhood obesity and body positivity have almost no intersections whatsoever, except that body positivity doesn’t want those obese children to hate themselves for a condition that wasn’t their fault or their responsibility.
If you really care (which I doubt), what you should be critiquing are the programs for school lunches, food stamps, and youth exercise groups. Not the parents. Not the children. They are the victims. You need to attack the institutions that have made childhood obesity so widespread.
But see, you don’t actually care about fat people. Because you spend your time being utterly baffled about why a fat person might actually like themselves. Such a thing boggles your puny little mind so thoroughly that you can’t even get past it. You write multiple articles about how incomprehensible it is to you that a fat person might actually dare to love what they see in the mirror.
No. What you care about is calling your own weight “normal” and judging someone else’s as “unhealthy.”
Feel free to fuck off at the first available opportunity.
#Real #BodyPositivity #Rant #Fat #Obesity #HealthyLiving
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