Last week I blogged about Laila Pedro’s stunning mischaracterization of the Fat Acceptance Movement. I often speak of it as the Size Acceptance movement because I think that fat oppression ends up hurting people of all sizes, and I would prefer to include as many people as possible in the fight against size and weight-based oppression. Ms. Pedro is not the first, and unfortunately not likely the last, to mischaracterize the movement. She appears to have done it to bolster an argument, though of course I don’t know if she did it purposefully or because she simply didn’t bother to do her research. Jess Weiner appears to me to have done it for profit. Many others do it for many other reasons. Today I thought I would try to clear things up. As always, the Movement is not a monolith and so these are my beliefs, and they may vary with others in the Movement.
The Size Acceptance Movement is NOT asking people to please treat us with basic courtesy and give us our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. What we are saying is that those rights are not size, health, or healthy habit dependent and as such people need to stop trying to keep our rights from us through an inappropriate use of power and privilege including, but not limited to, creating campaigns and wars with the purpose of eradicating us against our will.
The Size Acceptance Movement is NOT about giving people permission to “ignore their health” by any definitions of ignore and health. That’s because people don’t need permission to make choices about the prioritization of their health and the path that they choose within their prioritization. If they did, we would need a “Skeleton Acceptance Movement” to give people permission to travel down an icy shoot at 85 miles an hour on a tiny sled face first in the Olympics, which surely ignores some aspects of health and the prioritization thereof. People get to make choices for themselves, period, and it doesn’t matter what size they are. A fat body is not an indication that someone needs policing of their choices or some kind of permission to make them.
The Size Acceptance Movement is NOT saying that fat bodies are healthy. The Size Acceptance movement is not about making declarations about health and size at all. What we are saying is that people of all sizes, including fat people, have the right to exist in bodies of all sizes, including fat bodies, without shame, stigma, bullying, or oppression. And it doesn’t matter why they are that size, what being that size means (including as it may or may not pertain to their health), or if they could be a different size by some means however easy or difficult. For a discussion of size and health you might want to consider the Health at Every Size paradigm which I give my take on here and here.
The Size Acceptance Movement is NOT telling people not to diet or exercise That’s because the Size Acceptance Movement isn’t about telling people what to do except as it relates to infringing on the civil rights of others. We are about demanding basic civil rights for people of all sizes, not telling people what choices to make for themselves. As a member of the Size Acceptance Movement I believe in fighting against the infrastructure, for example the medical establishment and government’s pesky habit of prescribing (and even attempting to require) treatment that is not evidence based and without informed consent. I’m not, however, about fighting individuals and the choices that they make for themselves because I believe that my rights to make choices for me are predicated on other people’s rights to make choices with which I disagree.
As long as people insist on using size as a reason to withhold the rights and respectful treatement, as long as there are wars in our country with the goal of eradicating everyone of a certain size – against our wills if necessary – there will be a Size Acceptance Movement. And I imagine that as long as it helps people win arguments and make money, there will be mischaracterizations of the Movement. As far as I’m concerned all there is to do is to keep telling the truth, calling out the lies, and pushing forward in our demands of our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
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