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Thread: The Fat Acceptance Movement

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Chiharu's Avatar
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    Default The Fat Acceptance Movement

    This is a loaded topic for a lot of people. Let's try to keep this on an even keel. I'd like everyone to express their honest opinions and I encourage you all to read views you don't agree with or may find offensive with an open mind.

    That being said, what are your thoughts about this current trend?

    Everything that follows is said in regards to people who do not have disorders and are not on medication that causes weight gain.

    For me, while I agree that body-positive messages are essential for the well-being of everyone, I have many bones to pick with this movement. In my own life, these messages prevented me from realizing that I had a problem with my weight and talk of size diversity made me think that I could never change my weight or size. In the long run, it did me much more harm than fat shaming did (which is saying A LOT).

    The misuse of of size diversity in general annoys me. I have larger bones compared to most women of a similar height, so my healthy weight range is a bit higher than, say, BMI allows. But my healthy body fat percentage is the same. The number on the scale or the size tag on your clothes should not be indicators of health within reason. But the mitigating effects of size diversity does not extend to 250 lb+ people at 40%+ body fat.

    Moreover, many perpetuators of this movement cite that 95% of people who lose weight through diet gain it all back within 3-5 years. However, it is never stated that these continue with the same eating habits. To me, this is like saying that 95% of alcoholics fall off the wagon when they start drinking again. Well, duh. How many people site negative statistics when they talk about people quitting smoking or drinking or doing drugs? The evidence is there that most addicts fail to quit, but you wouldn't tell someone not to quit these vices. Why is overeating, or eating very unhealthy, processed food, any different?

    And despite all of the vague allusions that fat acceptance speakers make, will someone please find me the person of average height who weighs 300 lbs (at 30%+ body fat) and only eats proper portions of healthy, whole foods. Find me the 300 lb person who becomes a 150 lb person over an appropriate span of time through a healthy diet and exercise, continues eating the same way with enough food to maintain their weight, and continues to exercise and still gains all of that weight back.

    Fat acceptance speakers say that stigma attached to obesity is not a concern for health, but one of appearance. There is some truth to this, but a layman's concerns do not overrule the actual medical risks of obesity, from the strain on joints to the increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. Moreover, I do not think that fat people are unhappy solely because of society. And most the really outspoken people about body positivity achieve that by putting down thin people, glorifying dependence on sugary, processed foods, and are still depressed, anyway.

    The flaws I see in the Fat Acceptance Movement do not negate the validity of the issues it raises, but I'm troubled by the rise of this trend. think the focus should be educating the public on nutrition and healthy weight ranges (not just BMI) and encouraging an end to sedentary lifestyles whenever possible. We owe it to ourself to create a healthy nation with all of the resources we are fortunate enough to possess.
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  2. #2


    Yeah it's very dicey territory.

    There's obviously a diversity of natural shapes and sizes, and people shouldn't feel shame about who they are because of how they appear on the outside. In an ideal world, we would look at people's hearts and actions, their efforts and results, rather than their exterior. But it's simply not the case. So I see the need for a body acceptance movement, esp because, like you say, even at their healthiest and most fit, people's bodies will vary in shape and proportion.

    But that doesn't necessarily translate to mean that any weight is healthy on a given person. There are stresses to the body's systems (for example, to your joints) which come with being too much overweight, but I guess that needs to be between and individual and his/her doctor.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Array Tiltyred's Avatar
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    I think it's a bit absurd to even think about "fat acceptance," or "skinny acceptance" or "short people acceptance" or "tall people acceptance" or "disabled people acceptance" or "vegan acceptance" or "mentally retarded people acceptance" ... would you even have a discussion about any of those things? Since when is someone else's weight even something to talk about, much less decide as a group whether to accept it or not accept it? It's no one else's business. I don't think it should be so much about Fat Acceptance as it should be about Mind Your Own Business. :-D I won't judge you for your weight, whatever it is, or your body flaws, whatever they are, or your character flaws, whatever they are, how about that? And you don't judge me for mine?

  4. #4
    Emperor/Dictator Array kyuuei's Avatar
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    I honestly would rather have people more accepting of others being fat than not, socially speaking. I don't know how many people look at my parents and their obesity with absolute disgust. Like there's not more to life than health. Being healthy is important to me, and a lot of people.. but not everyone gets the chance to be healthy. Some people have problems with seizures when their body temperature reaches a certain point. Some people eat healthy, beautiful meals every day and are overweight. I'm not saying majority of obese people are obese because they can't help it. I'm saying no one knows anyone else's story, and shaming someone into conforming when you don't is just wrong no matter how you color it. You should not look at anyone with disgust just because they're fatter than you want them to be. With the amount of eating disorders out there, and women that genuinely think they are fat or ugly because they aren't bone thin... I'd much rather have too many people proud of being bigger. Health is NOT all of life. It helps you live longer, and maybe even happier.. sure. But everyone's priorities are different. And I don't think discrediting those priority differences means shaming them into conforming.

    .. Health IS important to me though. and I hope it is important to the people I care about, because I want to see them around longer if it's at all possible.

    Why does everything in life have to be so extreme? Either you're proud of being overweight, or you're struggling to stay under weight? Why can't people just be happy with a healthy range within their grasp and that works with their life goals and priorities? And why can't other people be satisfied with that?
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  5. #5
    Temporal Mechanic. Array Lexicon's Avatar
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    I don't see the point in shaming people for having poor impulse control, as it won't help them in any way. Or harassing them if they're content with their unhealthy bodies. Their lives, not mine. Will I go out of my way to tell one of my best friends (obese ESFP) that yeah, it's totally ok to go for that rich dessert/fast food? Fuck no. I care about her. I can't force her to be healthier (actually to her credit, she does try a lot, & has kept off a lot)- but I'd never help her or anyone else dig an early grave with a fork, spoon, or vapid PC encouragement/flattery.

    :edit: just gonna leave my previous post to a similar thread 'neath the spoiler.

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  6. #6


    I share the OP's concern about the "fat acceptance movement". In short, I'm a fat person who thinks that the fat acceptance movement overreaches.

    To the extent that it helps people gain self-esteem by telling them that their size is not the whole of them, I think it's good. I think it becomes damaging when it veers off into shaky scientific territory to suggest that being fat isn't unhealthy. Certainly there are people who are generally healthy while maintaining excessive weight, and certainly there are people who have a medical reason for their obesity. Certainly also, it is a tiny minority of obese people who fall into these categories. Obesity has exploded in the first world over the last couple of decades, and it's certainly not because of some kind of genetic mutation that keeps people fat. Let's be real.

    Certain biological and genetic factors do make it harder for some people to maintain a healthy weight than others. But that's not to say that they can't be overcome, and I think the fat acceptance movement looks to use these factors to excuse people from making that effort. I think the food industry bears a fair bit of responsibility here because of the fat- and sugar-laden convenience foods we're inundated with. But not everyone winds up fat, and it's still a personal responsibility to decide what goes in your mouth. The food industry also doesn't keep you at home watching TV while you could be exercising.

    So yeah, it's fair to say I'm conflicted. I don't hold anyone but myself responsible for my obesity. But that doesn't mean it's easy. I just don't think we should be telling people they're healthy when they're not.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Array Lark's Avatar
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    Cruelty is unacceptable, you're not validating bullying or similar behaviour if you're honest about fat.

    The idea of an alcoholism or addictions acceptance movement would be totally and utterly absurd and I think its similar. You might make a practical or pragmatic acceptance of addiction or alcoholism and operate in a harm reduction or palliative way but fundamentally no one is going to deny those are unhealthy states, for the individual labelled or behaving that way and others around them, no one would, at the point at which they are reasonable, want that for themselves or others.

    I'm overweight but I'm not in denial about it being unhealthy, undesirable to be that way. I dont want to accept it myself too much so I dont expect others to either.

    A lot of this has deeper roots than are discussed though, oral fixation, maximal rather than optimal consumerism, even public safety all tie into this, I read about how societies in which fears of crime, individualisation, gym memberships as opposed to running, walking or socialising in public spaces are actually correlated with obsecity and unhealthy weight. Those things are largely undiscussed and unreported.

  8. #8
    Intriguing.... Array Quinlan's Avatar
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    I think obesity/overweight should be treated by society/the medical establishment as about on par with having allergies. The incidence of allergies has increased dramatically over the last few decades but we don't shame and bully people with asthma if they aren't eating or exercising perfectly. I have read a lot of opinions from people at the top of their fields that suggests a lot of our "conventional wisdom" about obesity is in many ways just plain wrong. So I'm inclined towards the fat acceptance view, at least in the sense that weight maintenance would be a much more pragmatic goal than weight loss.
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  9. #9
    He pronks, too! Array Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    There's a difference between telling someone something isn't a problem, and someone is not a bad person because of a problem. It goes without saying that overweight people don't necessarily have poor character but it even goes further that they don't necessarily have much culpability in their own body weight (the causes vary from person to person). But I hate when this sort of thing approaches a tone where people are just shrugging off obesity like it's no big deal. It is a big deal.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Array Bamboo's Avatar
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    I'm against bullying fat people. I think that the focus on healthy is a copout that lets people treat other people poorly. I think that it's annoying that fat people are sometimes seen as nothing more than fat.

    As a personal note I've found been with girls from 95-170 in the under 5'8" range (most around 5'5"), but I have to admit I don't find much larger people physically attractive - with a few exceptions, and tend to find thinner to 'thick" most attractive rather than the other way around. There is probably a conditioning element to that, but I don't know how much of one.

    But it's important to realize that beauty isn't everything.
    @Lark you say an addictions acceptance movement would be absurd, but I'm curious if you've heard about this:

    I can't say I'd call it the opposite of fat acceptance, because 'fat' has a lot of variation from healthy to mildly psychologically unsound to deliberately (and uncontrollably) gluttonous, but there is such thing as so called "Pro-Ana" blogs and websites - that is, Pro-Anorexia. They vary...some seem to advocate anorexia as a "lifestyle" while others function more as support groups for people with eating disorders.

    If you're curious like I am I found poking around this forum pretty interesting. It seems (though I didn't read everything) more of a support group than anything else where people acknowledge that anorexia and "mia" (bulimia) are pathologies/diseases. (Also EDNOS - eating disorders not otherwise specified).

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