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Fat Acceptance

Let's meditate on the word "fat". It has all sorts of negative connotations. The opposite of it is "skinny". Between "skinny" and "fat", obviously "skinny" has the more desirable - possibly because being skinny means you have an excuse to consume more, but being fat means you consume too much, you greedy little bitchstickwhoresuckingourplanetdryrarr. When we grow up, we get this a lot. We internalize the message that if we're fat, somehow, it's our own fucking fault, and we're worthless, stupid, lazy, if we're fat. Being fat is BAD.

I'm still not sure of what the parameters of "fat" are. I assume it has to do with numbers. I personally feel that it depends on general physical health. If your body has too much mass to handle and isn't functioning well as a result, then yes, you could probably stand to lose as many pounds as you should to get it to function efficiently. "Overweight" is really the mass that your body can't handle.

However, if you're "fat" (quote-unquote, mind you), as in, the numbers say so, well, keep what I said in mind earlier above.

Obviously, like all the movies say, we should think that what's on the outside shouldn't matter, and that it's the beauty within that counts.

I would like to reiterate what a load of crap that is. Because pretty much every single fairytale that has the hero see the love interest's beauty within, s/he is rewarded with the love interest changing into something more physically desirable instead. Shit, even Fiona (of Shrek fame) is cute, for crying out loud.

So, from this sentence on, the word "fat" will now be used to describe a person with more body mass - in actual body fat - than average. It's not a word to be used to describe a person who is unhealthy, unfit, or unacceptable due to their body size.

I'm not a fat person, not by most people's standards. I feel unhealthy when I'm over my normal weight. That's when I start eating less and start moving around more. It just also saves me a shopping trip.

Just because a person is fat doesn't mean they're not happy or healthy.

To all my non-fat friends: before you judge a person as somehow less as what they are or what they could be because of their size, first look at their eyes.

Why? Simple.

I find that no matter how big or small you are, your eyes will be the first indicator of how healthy you are, mentally and physically. I've seen thin people with sad, sunken, watery eyes that indicate that they just haven't been taking care of themselves. I've seen average size people with the same. And of course, fat people. (There're, of course, more indicators, and certainly plenty of people have these features without actually being unhealthy. This is simply in my experience. You just know who has been smiling more and who hasn't.)

Different people will have different shapes and sizes. We know this. We try to tell this to our kids. But we don't practise what we preach. Look at the amount of 'fat jokes' in the world today. Look at how much we pile on people for being fat. Listen to the kind of shit they say about fat people: they're lazy, they're stupid, they consume too much resources. All without considering whether or not they really are lazy, or stupid, or consuming too much of something because they can't afford healthier alternatives. Or maybe, they ARE just above-average in body shape, size and weight.

That's one of the reasons why I haven't gone to see Kung Fu Panda. I thought about going. But I'm just not a huge fan of Jack Black, and besides which, it's, well, it's fucking kung fu, and a white man is voicing the main character. Gimme a break. The only good thing about this culture appropriation is that we get to appropriate yours, and I think we do a far more kick-ass job at it.

Me not being fat, I couldn't express to you how I empathize with the problems of the film, but Melissa of Shakespeare's Sister puts it best:

This "fat acceptance" film doesn't seem to have successfully countered internalized associations with fat as a failing, but, in fact, reinforced them.

Wait, I know, the film may have fat jokes, but it also makes people feel bad for laughing the next few minutes or so! Melissa has that covered too:

Imagine being a fat kid being in that theater—s/he hears everyone around her/him laughing at the fat jokes, but doesn't "hear" everyone feeling ashamed of themselves in the next moment. Do the fat kids—the ones about whom everyone in the theater is supposedly learning an important message about acceptance—leave with a feeling of self-acceptance, or is that overwhelmed by the sound of laughter at fat jokes ringing in their ears?

So, all you funky non-fat people, before you start judging, look your fat friends in the eye, and see if you think they got problems.

If their eyes are bright, clear, and active... you can bet that if they have problems, it ain't going to be because of their weight. Maybe they could stand to lose a few pounds. Maybe they DO look sad, and it could be because of their weight. Not directly, per se, but maybe people giving them grief because of something they cannot help.

But you know what?

It is not your place to tell these people what they should do with their lives.

It is, even less, your right to reduce these people, humiliate them, and hurt them with your thoughtless words, simply because they don't conform to your idea of the perfect weight.

It's not your fucking place to make them feel lesser or worthless simply because you think they should lose some pounds.

Fat people are not public property that you can dismiss as things, as objects, with stereotypes and assumptions.

Fat people are NOT a zone for public insults. No more than women are, no more than gays are, no more than anybody who doesn't conform to your singular standards are.

Just because "you have fat friends" doesn't mean you're not a fat-hater. When you make a fat joke, don't assume your fat friends know they're not included in your fat joke. When we laugh at a fat joke, we're secretly laughing at the fatty fat fat in it, and we know it, so just come clean and face what a cruddy mean sense of humour you have.

Fat people?

Are, well, people.

No more, no less.

And if you think you're fat, if you're crying because you've put on weight despite your best efforts, if you feel bad because you're not a "standard" size... to be honest, I can't help how you feel, and you're completely entitled to your feelings. I, too, find it annoying when my complaint of "I'm fat!" is immediately dismissed with "You're NOT fat".

But like Joy Nash says, fat hatred is the only kind of discrimination in which the recipient feels like it really is their fault. When really, it's society that's doing the dissing.

What, really, have you done to deserve your own self-hatred on account of a number?

What's more important is how you feel, inside. Can you move without getting out of breath? Can you function as a member of human society?

Can you dance?

The following image is taken from Leonard Nimoy's Full Body Project, in which he photographs large women, to make fat people an acceptable part of the nude art world. I realize that this is the far extreme end of fatness, but I love it, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

p.s. This is a fat-acceptance post. Any anti-fat comments will be deleted. =) Fankyoo.