Fat Acceptance

There’s a post at the blog MomGrind that has used up all the “sanity points” I get for the entire month. She is talking about a “very big” teenage girl eating an “extra large” ice cream cone.  In her post she shames this girl for enjoying her ice cream, accuses her of being drugged, and assumes the girl is oblivious to her surroundings. Not only that but this woman seems to think that Fat Acceptance means that she has the right to tell this girl that it is “OK to be fat” and “give her permission to continue on this destructive path.”

ice cream Tammy Green Photography

Photo Credit: Tammy Green Photography Creative Commons License

Who is she to judge this girl’s actions based on a vignette of her life? She assumes this girl eats “extra large” ice cream cones every day. How does she know what this girl eats based on her appearance, and this one sighting?  The writer of the blog post is not that girl’s mother so there no “permission” for her to give the teenager for continuing on any path.

If this girl was thin, athletic or underweight, enjoying an “extra large” ice cream cone with a seemingly drugged look on her face would this post even exist? Would this woman have thought anything about the “wrongness” of that girl’s behavior thinking she was on a “destructive path?” Just because the girl was “very large” that gave her permission to assume things and consider what she was doing as wrong in some way.

Reading through the comments on that post it sounds as if everyone assumes that fat people don’t realize they are fat. That we don’t realize what food is healthy and what food isn’t. Well, NEWSFLASH everyone, I know I’m fat! I know what food is healthy and what food isn’t. I don’t need total strangers staring at me and writing blog posts about how destructive I am with my food choices. You don’t know my eating habits, you only see this one moment of my life. And hey, who are you to judge when you’re standing in line to get ice cream yourself? If this food is so horrible, why are you buying it? Sure it’s easy to say in a blog post you’re there to buy a child size cone, but were you really buying a child sized cone? We have to take your word for it since you chose to post a photo of someone who is very obviously not you.

You know nothing about this girl, you assume she didn’t see your staring at her but I bet she did see you and she chose to ignore you. We fat people get really good at acting oblivious, because those stares are so obvious it’s hard not to notice them. It’s easier to ignore you than to acknowledge that you are so rude you have to stare at me while I eat my ice cream. You’re assuming she eats badly all the time. You’re assuming she doesn’t exercise. You’re assuming so much about her life and her choices. Maybe she’s got a medical condition? It doesn’t matter why she’s fat, what matters is that you would would not be passing judgment on her if she looked differently, and THAT is what Fat Acceptance is about.

Perhaps our goal should be to accept overweight and obese people in the sense of never, ever discriminating against them. So, we need to accept fat, but we need not accept the underlying reasons for it – partly our culture, partly the food industry’s carelessness, and partly people’s choices and actions.

Fat acceptance isn’t about “permission” it isn’t about accepting “underlying reasons” either. It’s about not discriminating against people because of their size. It’s about accepting people for the person they are and not making snap judgments based on appearance. You don’t consider “underlying reasons” for a person’s race, religion, height, gender or sexual orientation do you? Then why even mention “underlying reasons” for the size of a person? This is just your excuse to be allowed to pass judgment on other people who don’t look the way you want them to look. If being thin was an easy thing to do, do you think there would be so many fat people on this planet?

– Pattie Lee

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