Another boring post on dieting and FA
This post is in response to a comment to FillyJonk’s awesome post at Shapely Prose. The comment actually has nothing to do with the post, and this topic has been addressed a zillion times by people smarter than me. Still, I posted a response there but then realized that I want to keep on rambling on and on as I tend to do. So I thought I would do my rambling here, because that is what it is for.
So Janet says:
I’m kind of new to all this, and I am wondering if there is a good explanation anywhere of why it is incongruent to be a fat activist while wanting to lose weight yourself?
I would champion hard for other people to feel good at whatever weight is natural for them, and to stop the criticism by the medical community and by culture of those weights, and for people to be exercising and feel comfortable exercising no matter their weight, but I really do want to lose that fifteen pounds (which would, just by chance, put me into a different “BMI category”)
I liked the way I looked fifteen years ago, when I look at photos a couple years old. It really seemed to suit me better, and I absolutely love the clothes I have from that period (and I don’t want to have to buy all new nice clothes).
So I can’t be a fat activist? It didn’t make sense to me, but that is what a lot of the fatosphere seems to imply. And that makes me kinda sad.
And here is my response:
Being a fat activist on a diet is like being a blond activist who dies their hair brown. You are telling other people it is okay to be a certain way while simultaneously altering yourself so that you aren’t like them.
If you think Fat Acceptance sounds like a great idea, but still feel like “you personally” want to go on a diet (that wont really work anyway) then you aren’t ready for fat acceptance. I don’t want you to accept my fat if you can’t accept your own.
As I see it this community is really about both political and personal activism. The political elements, obesity’s treatment in the media, discrimination against fat people, and worst of all the disgusting anti obesity laws, are very important to the quality of life of fat and not really fat but think they are people everywhere. Those elements are are the very reason that we need the personal activism as well.
The media has been telling us that fat is bad for so long that we have really internalized that message. It is a basic part of our culture’s values. It permeates society to the point where it affects not only how others view and treat us but more importantly how we feel about ourselves. That is why it seems like everyone in the FA community has gone on some kind of “journey” to accepting themselves.
Fat acceptance is not just about empowerment at a political and social level, it is also empowerment at a personal level. We all started out with a disordered relationship with food, our bodies and the world because of the anti-fat prejudice that has been imbued in our culture. We all have our own stories about how we found the idea of fat acceptance and health at every size and how it has helped us and changed our lives.
Learning to accept and love ourselves as we are gives us the power and the confidence to do what we need to on a daily basis as individuals. It allows us to realize our fantasies, and it gives us the confidence to fight.
It is a journey and a struggle for all of us to learn to accept ourselves and others as they are despite the prejudice we are faced with every day. And it is a challenge for each of us to speak out and fight back against it. But, I just don’t see how you can fight that prejudice without first believing that you, as you are, are worth fighting for.