And when I think about the fat acceptance movement, I am filled with an overwhelming split personality about it. I think it’s great. And I think it’s stupid as hell.
Fittingly, this could make me hated by a whole slew of people and praised by others, but let me explain a bit more because I think I’m bringing a balanced and sane look at things.
My biggest problem with “fat acceptance” is the number of people who say things like, “Sure I’m 300 (or 400 or 500) pounds but that’s my natural weight” or “Being overweight isn’t being unhealthy.”
I call bullshit on both lines of thinking.
First, there is nothing natural about being very overweight. It is not the natural state of the human body to be in a state of putting strain on bones and joints by the mere act of standing, nor to have significantly messed-up blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and the like. Sure, the average American is overweight, but that doesn’t make it natural or proper. It may be “normal” to some degree now, but that’s a measure of how much crap like corn syrup is in so many foods, how reliant we are on driving, how little exercise we get, how convenience foods are loaded with fat and salt, and so on.
Even in that environment, though, we can typically make choices. It’s just that we don't choose the right path very often. I’m guilty of this as well, and have the potbelly to show for it. It’s modest size now, but it shouldn’t be there at all.
Second...well, I guess I’ve already handled the “second” part in my rant above, because I was going to say that being overweight does tend to be unhealthy.
Now, none of this means that I think overweight folks should be ridiculed, shamed, abused, insulted or anything else. “Fat” people should be accepted and embraced (literally or figuratively). But the state of being fat isn’t something I’m willing to accept as something that is right and proper. If it works for YOU, great, but don't make it out to be a normal condition that we should cheer people toward achieving or even maintaining.
Let me give you an analogy.
Smoking isn’t natural. And it isn’t healthy. People do it, though. I don’t think they should be shamed and marginalized, either (even though, sadly, that’s pretty much what’s happened in recent decades). It would be ridiculous to promote a “smoking acceptance” movement (though I’d like to see people stop trying to make every damn space in the world non-smoking ... we’re adults; let us make our choices and let us have the vices we desire).
The fact is that smoking is a choice. It can be a terrible choice or an OK choice (depending on your health status and how much of it you do). But it’s never going to be a good choice. Same with being overweight.
Maybe part of the reason for the fat acceptance movement is that people who are overweight realize on some level how much we’ve dehumanized and demonized smokers and blamed them for every health problem under the sun. Maybe overweight folks realize they are the next-most-likely target of the Nanny State and the Health Nazis who keep taking away our ability to make grown-up decisions and enjoy life even when that enjoyment comes at a cost.
To the people who promote “fat acceptance” from the standpoint of the individual people—that is, they want others to accept people for who they are and not abuse them because they’re not the way you think they should be—well, bravo! I agree.
Fat people should not be made the butt of jokes and discriminated against, but that’s different from a lot of what I hear, with people trying to make out like being overweight is no big deal and we shouldn’t ever have to consider whether it’s a good choice. Educating people about the downfalls of obesity is something that should happen, just as people should be told the risks of smoking, or drinking too much, or tanning or whatever.
So, to make it clear: I applaud any overweight person who is comfortable in their skin; it’s the promotion of being fat that I find repulsive, just as I would find it repulsive to promote smoking as a wonderful choice in life – and I say that as a person with a smoking fetish.
This is the point at which some people reading this might say, “Great, that’s like the ‘love the sinner but hate the sin’ mode of thinking. You tolerate people who are heavy but you don’t truly accept them.”
Not true at all. To be honest, as my wife and I try to move toward an open marriage and consensual non-monogamy, some of the women in our circles I see as attractive and whom I wouldn’t mind sharing some intimate time are not exactly svelte. One is packing a few extra pounds, and another is very much Rubenesque. Some might say rotund or fat. I think she’s cute and sexy as hell, though.
That’s because she looks good the way she looks (some people do look better heavy), she dresses in a way that flatters her round figure, and she’s got a fantastic and winning personality.
To me, sexy isn’t about a certain “type.” Sure, I’ll tend to find average – or only slightly-above-average-weight women more attractive overall. That's because a lot of people when they gain a lot of weight don’t do so in a cute way. Or they dress and groom in ways that accentuate their weight in a unflattering manner.
Bottom line: If you want to be heavy, go for it. Don’t be shamed into losing weight because other people think you should.
Similarly, if you don’t want to be overweight or your health is suffering for it, don’t let people on a fat acceptance kick convince you that you should keep all that weight because it’s “natural” or because losing weight means you’re caving into society’s expectations.
In short, be yourself.
If you do that, you’re going to be sexy to someone. The more you like yourself—whether thin, fat or in-between—the more sexy that you’re going to radiate. And that will draw people to you as friends and sometimes as lovers.
Size matters, folks. It doesn’t define you and it shouldn’t be a be-all/end-all issue. But it does matter. The key is to figure out how it matters to you and what you want to be. Then figure out how to be the best (and possibly even best-looking) person you can be within the confines of that decision and the body type you choose.
It’s not about FAT acceptance and it never should be.
It’s about accepting other PEOPLE as they are and respecting that, and letting them make their own choices, without massive peer pressure from either side.
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