Friday, March 21, 2014

Thoughs on fat acceptance from a fat guy's perspective

Perhaps it's because I'm located near a big college town, or perhaps it's some areas of the internet I frequent, perhaps it's even some of the people I know, but it seems there is a big movement towards "fat acceptance" these days.

What do I mean by that?  Well, we all know that obesity is widespread in America, to the point that the First Lady erroneously likes to call it an "epidemic."  Then, on the other end of the spectrum, there is a high proportion of advertising, entertainment, fashion, the arts, ect, that is so obsessed with thinness that it can be equally unhealthy and many times, completely unrealistic.

Now, of course there is a wide diversity in body types.  Everyone is going to be genetically inclined to a certain body type, and we will always be physically different in some way or another.  So, because of the reasons I mentioned earlier, we end up with people that are very unsatisfied with their looks and give themselves massive cuts to their own self esteem because they don't have the figure of whatever model, dancer, actor, singer, ect.

In response, there is a "body acceptance" movement that tries (and somewhat succeeds) to promote a higher self esteem through self acceptance and acceptance of one's own body to the point of taking pride in it.  That you should be proud of the 'curves' you have and no one should tell you differently.  Sound pretty good so far, eh?

So why do I bring all this up?  Well, I can't help but notice a few small problems with this movement.  One is, that although I find it reprehensible/irresponsible/wasteful that advert companies photoshop models to a ridiculous degree, thereby exacerbating unrealistic expectations; I also find it funny that these same people in this "acceptance movement" seem to decry the use of tall, thin, attractive models to begin with.  If they truly believed that all bodies are special and that we should be proud of what we have, why would they attack those who simply have that thinner body type?  Not only that, but in addition to attacking these people simply because they have different bodies, are they actually doing something to add variety into the market and change it?  No, they just sit on their fat butts and complain.

My second problem is that although it's important to have good self esteem, why is it that this movement seems to ask people to take pride in overweight/obese bodies?  I know there are people with medical conditions that would make it far more difficult to maintain a thinner body, in fact, I know a few people like that personally.  However, the disappointment the average person feels for not being more healthy than they are, is a natural and proper response.  It is our reaction to those feelings that are incorrect.  We cannot afford to slump into a depression over not having a healthier body type, rather we should just be motivated to to action and change.  Knowing you are overweight is a good thing.  Without it we would all be dying of heart attacks from pounding twinkies all day.

Third is that this movement is full of rampant sexism/feminazi elitism because men are not allowed to participate (not that I think men should anyways).  If a woman is overweight because "exercise is hard" or "OMG I just love chocolate too much," she's encouraged and told that men aren't accepting her because they are all evil pigs and she should feel proud about who she is.  However, if a man is overweight he's still a disgusting lazy slob that isn't worth knowing.  Even worse are the friends, family, and acquaintances that suggest to the person they lose weight because those people care about the person's well being.  Suddenly they are labeled insensitive jerks who don't care about the person's feelings and are demonized by this culture of "acceptance."

Did they stop to think that yeah, it is unhealthy you are overweight?  That maybe this person thinks that you are so important to them and they care about your physical well being enough that they are willing to tell you the hard truth?  That maybe they are willing to help?

In fairness, there a good number of people who are so diametrically opposed to this movement that they are in favor of fat shaming.  Berating and belittling those who have this problem and buy in to the whole crappy fat acceptance movement, which I don't approve of either.

I simply submit that feelings are not the end all be all reasons for life the universe and everything.  I submit that if someone truly cares about you they are willing to breach the hard subject with you.  Not only that, but if it is a hard subject with you, it's just about a guarantee that you already know is is a problem and need to change.  So don't buy in to this bull-crap movement that simply makes you feel better about being unhealthy and defy those who obviously care about you.   Being a fat guy myself, I don't blame my present condition on anyone but myself.  It's not the fault of food, bad genes, parenting, advertising, or privilege that I'm overweight, it my fault and mine alone.  So suck it up and deal with the fact that you're fat and just admit that its your own damn fault, and/or motivate yourself and change it if it makes you that unhappy otherwise. 

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