As size acceptance activists we often get asked the same questions over and over. Typically, in my experience, they are asked respectfully by people who are new to the movement and trying to wrap their heads around what we are about. I thought I would take a stab at creating some answers to frequently asked questions. To be clear I am not speaking for the movement, or for anyone but myself with my answers. I got us started with a few that I hear a lot, if you have ideas about questions that aren’t here leave them in the comments and I’ll add them to the post. If you have answers other than what I’ve given feel free to leave those in the comments as well:
Isn’t fat unhealthy?
No. Weight and health are two separate things – there are healthy and unhealthy fat people and healthy and unhealthy thin people. The confusion of weight and health does a disservice to fat people because people (often including doctors) think that they can look at us and determine our health, it also does a disservice to thin people who are told that they are healthy simply because of their weight and that isn’t what the evidence shows. In fact, the evidence shows that people’s habits are a much better determinant of health than their size is. Body size is not a diagnosis. I call this a Galileo issue – “everybody knew” that the sun revolved around the Earth and so Galileo’s statement that the evidence showed that the Earth revolved around the sun was considered heresy. Now “everybody knows” that fat is unhealthy and so statements to the contrary, even though they are fully supported by evidence, are considered heresy. That doesn’t make them any less true.
Isn’t Health at Every Size just giving up?
Health at Every Size is a choice to focus on healthy habits as a way to improve health rather than focusing on body size as a way to improve health. Studies on long term dieting show that the vast majority of people regain their weight after 5 years, many regaining more weight than they lost – dieting does not meet the criteria for evidence based healthcare. Health at Every Size is about opting out of a social construct, perpetuated by a 60 Billion dollar a year diet industry, that takes our money to solve a problem that nobody has proven is valid with a solution that nobody has proven is effective or even possible for most people. Health at Every Size does involve giving up on some things, including the hope of getting the societal approval that comes with being thin. But the cure for social stigma isn’t weight loss, the cure for social stigma is ending social stigma. Health is a very personal thing – each person gets to choose how highly they want to prioritize their health and the path that they take to get there. For me it’s about the best I can do with the amazing and unique body I have which just happens to be a fat body.
How is it fair that my tax dollars pay for the healthcare of fat people?
While people may not realize it, this argument is thinly veiled bigotry. Tax dollars pay for all kinds of things and unless someone has a list of everything that their tax dollars pay for broken down by what they do and do not want to pay for, then this is just about prejudice against fat people. This is a very slippery slope – should those of us who don’t drink get to opt out of our tax dollars paying for any alcohol-related health problems? Should vegans get to opt out of their tax dollars paying for the healthcare of non-vegans? There are some military projects that I’m not thrilled to pay for. This whole argument collapes under scrutiny. Also, just to bring some facts to the table, the Congressional Budget Office, and anyone who has actually looked at the numbers has concluded that fat people are barely a blip on the healthcare cost radar.
How can you say it’s ok to be fat?
Because nobody needs anyone else’s permission or approval to live in, and be happy with, their body. Fat people have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and that includes the right to live life in the bodies we have without our government waging war on us or having other people tell us that we need to do what they think we should do until we look the way they think we should look. It is absolutely, positively, completely ok to be fat.
Remember if you have questions that you would like me to answer, you can leave them in the comments!
Get Special Deals from Size Positive Businesses
I do size acceptance activism full time. A lot what I do, like answering over 5,000 e-mails from readers each month and giving talks to groups who can’t afford to pay, and running projects like the Georgia Billboard Campaign etc. is unpaid, so I created a membership program so that people who read the blog and feel they get value out of it and/or who just want to support the work that I do can become members for ten bucks a month To make that even cooler, I’ve now added a component called “DancesWithFat Deals” which are special deals to my members from size positive merchants. Once you are a member I send out an e-mail once a month with the various deals and how to redeem them and your contact info always stays completely private. (If you are a size positive merchant who wants to do a member deal just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org and we’ll get it set up)
The regular e-mail blog subscription (available at the top right hand side of this page) is always completely free. If you’re curious or uncomfortable about any of this, you might want to check out this post. Thanks for reading! ~Ragen
Like the blog? Check Out the Book. The E-Book is “Name Your Own Price”!
I wanted everyone to be able to afford Fat: The Owner’s Manual – Surviving a Thin-Obsessed World with your Health, Happiness, and Sense of Humor Intact so it is now available in soft cover and e-book which is “name your own price