We often hear about “debates” about fat rights, size acceptance, and Health at Every Size. Though I often take such opportunities to get the word out about Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size, there’s something that I want to make clear. There should be no debate.
The reason that civil rights in the United States have been and continue to be up for debate is not that they should be debated. It’s that they have been, and continue to be, stolen from groups of people through a misuse of privilege and power, and those people are forced to fight to get them back which often involves debating. When people forget or refuse to acknowledge that, you get situations in which people actually believe that they should get to vote on whether or not someone else should be allowed to get married to the person that they love, while insisting that nobody should get to vote on their marriage.
This is often reinforced by the idea that successful oppression is self-legitimizing – suggesting that because people’s rights were successfully stolen in the past, that’s a legitimate reason to keep doing it. Except, it’s absolutely not. It’s a great reason to rectify the issues as soon as possible, preferably right damn now.
The idea that it’s ok to discriminate against fat people in hiring, or college selection, or employee benefits is just wrong. The claims of the “cost” of fatties are questionable at best, but those calculations should never have been made. The idea that it’s ok to try to calculate the cost of a group of people who share a single physical characteristic and suggest that based on your calculations that group of people should be eradicated to save society some money is not ok. It. Is. Not. Ok.
It is not ok for the government to wage war against a group of people for how they look, whether or not they could look differently if they tried. The fact that fat people have to fight for our basic rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, that we have to “debate” about our right to exist, is not an interesting meeting of the minds, it is yet another gross transgression against our civil rights.
There is absolutely no outcome that justifies the oppression of fat people. As I’ve said before, fat people have the right to exist in fat bodies regardless of how we got fat, what being fat means, or if we could be thin through some means – however easy or difficult. There are no other valid opinions on this – we have the right to exist without shaming, bullying or stigmatization, period. This is not debatable.
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