Monday, May 18, 2015

Dieters and Fatphobia

Why is it that so many fat activists and people within the fat activist community have been turning their backs on FA in favor of The Fantasy Of Thin? I'm so tired of seeing fat role models decide to lose weight. Rosie Mercado comes to mind, but she's only one of many. I've seen many bloggers embark on a "weight loss journey". The 95% probability that they'll gain it back and then some doesn't seem to bother them, they're too caught up in dropping pant sizes. What really bothers me is the damage that this does to the fat acceptance community. Yes, it often damages individuals too, but so do a lot of things. Usually I say something's not my business... unless it's promoting oppression. As the old saying goes, your right to swing your fist stops at my nose.

Now, I'm a queer woman. I've fallen in love with men and women and had my heart broken by both. It's a pretty common belief that queerphobia is harmful and that people just, you know, shouldn't be assholes. They should be tolerant and accepting and, heck, even happy for us when we manage to find happiness, regardless of whom that's with. I don't hear a lot of people saying that it's someone else's choice to be queerphobic and we should walk on eggshells to not offend them or hurt their feelings because, you guuuuuuys, it's THEIR choice to hate people. Never mind that it results in anything from job discrimination, to suicide and murder. Oh no no, let's let them be. Live and let live, right? Except they're not really letting us live are they?

I feel the same way about fatphobes really. Even people with internalized fatphobia. It does so much damage to the rest of the fat community and it literally can cost people their lives.. yes, from job discrimination to suicide, being fat in a fatphobic society sucks, and when you give into that fatphobia, you're making it worse for the rest of us.

Now, this doesn't mean that I don't understand where they're coming from. I wasn't always a fat activist, I hated myself, I dieted, I was suicidal, I was extremely fatphobic. But I also didn't go around saying I was a part of the FA community and totally on board with fat acceptance as I'm starving myself. Meaning that if you're going to decide to lose weight, you need to recognize that you're no longer body positive and that you're harming your fellow fatties. And don't be surprised when people call you out, because people will definitely call you out.

I'm pretty tired of tip toeing around dieters in order to avoid offense. I'm not going to put up with queerphobes, sexists, or fatphobes (or any other kind of bigotry for that matter, but those are a few that apply to me). Just because something is normalized in our culture doesn't make it okay or protected.

I have a couple of people in the FA community that I still look up to. People who haven't given in. People who are still fighting for equality. But every time I see a friend or blogger or activist fall prey to this misogynistic beauty ideal, a little piece of me dies. It makes me so sad and angry and disheartened. This means that I just have to fight harder I guess.


1 comment:

  1. I absolutely agree. Being a fatphobic asshat or concern troll is a choice, and when people make shitty choices, especially choices that involve sanctimonious cruelty, they should be called out.
    Like you, I wasn't always enlightened. I was actively bulimic in my teens and up until I got pregnant at 24. I was bulimic on and off through my 20s after my son was born, up through my mid forties. I was a yo yo dieter the whole time, always pursuing the holiness of being a body type that my body really doesn't want to be and despising myself the whole time. I would look in the mirror at myself and call myself horrible names. I would tell myself that I didn't deserve love or even basic kindness because I was such a "fat pig."
    People always claim they're dieting "for my health." Horseshit. There's no tangible proof that losing weight is actually particularly "healthy," and there is proof that yo-yo dieting isn't.
    I somewhat fell into the trap again when I was diagnosed with diabetes last year. Since I now have to police my carbohydrate intake for actual health reasons (my body doesn't process carbohydrates properly because I don't have a normally functioning pancreas) I ended up going on a low carb diet (Atkins, and then Nutri System) with weight loss in the back of my mind.
    The one thing I didn't do was shove this in everyone's face. I realized that I would likely never become the glorious coveted Slim Hot Thing that we're all supposed to want to be, and I realized that there was a fair chance that I would gain at least some of the weight back. In any case, I also realized that weighing less didn't make me a better person, but some part of me wanted to have one last chance to be accepted. Hint: I didn't lose enough weight to make myself "acceptable," and when the initial weight loss plateaued, I quit playing that losing game.
    One thing I've started doing which I didn't quite have the courage to do when I first discovered size acceptance is to call out straight up douchebag behavior and concern trolling. I used to worry about losing "friends." I now realize that an actual friend wouldn't think that hating people with a certain body type was okay.

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