In that super questionable video I posted about, one of the “I’m fat but” statements was “I’m fat but I’m not glorifying obesity.” No shit. Because “glorifying obesity” is not really a thing. Fat people being happy, doing stuff, living our lives, achieving things, being in the spotlight etc. are just being happy, doing stuff, living our lives, achieving things, and being in the spotlight.
I’ve been accused of “glorifying obesity” many times. Oddly, I am also short with curly hair and yet I have never been accused of glorifying shortness, or glorifying refusal to straighten my hair. That’s because this is about fat-phobia. It doesn’t matter if it’s perpetuated by people because it’s their goal to create a fat phobic society, or if it’s their sincerely held personal belief that fat people should never be (or see any fat person be) anything but miserable and desperate to be thin – because if we’re not constantly full of state-sanctioned, community perpetuated self-loathing, we’ll never look “right” or be “healthy” (depending on whether or not they are trying to make some bullshit “it’s for your health” justification.
It doesn’t matter which, because the only outcome of such a culture is that fat people aren’t allowed to do anything with our lives except try to lose weight, and that’s unacceptable. Not just because almost nobody loses weight long term, but because people shouldn’t be required to look a certain way or have a certain level of health as a prerequisite to live their lives and pursue their dreams.
If you see a fat person being happy, achieving something, being talented in public or on television and that makes you uncomfortable/angry/disgusted etc. then you know that you are dealing with size bigotry. If you believe that your feelings of discomfort/anger/disgust are due to this person’s health status, then you know that you are dealing with size bigotry as well as healthism. The good news is there’s hope.
The first step is to realize that the problem lies with you, and not the fat person. Resist the urge to accuse the fat person of having done something “wrong”, like “glorifying obesity” Not only will this make you sound embarrassingly foolish, but it will never help you overcome your prejudice. Remember, the fat person is simply existing, and going about their lives. Absent your size bigotry and/or healthism there is no actual problem here.
You can choose to change – you can start looking at where your ideas and attitudes about fat people come from, you can become conscious of your thoughts about fat people, interrupt them and change them. You can decide that you no longer want to be part of perpetuating stigma, shame, bullying, harassment, and oppression of people based on how they look or how healthy you think you are. You can stop making that utterly ridiculous “Muh tax dollarz!” argument.
But whether you do or don’t, please understand that your opinion of fat people doesn’t matter and that your perpetuation of oppression – regardless of your reason for it – is wrong. Fat people’s rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should never be contingent upon whether or not weight bigots think that we are ugly, unhealthy, or glorifying obesity. What I am doing is loving and appreciating the body that I have, rejecting bullshit diet culture, and pursuing my dreams in this big fat amazing body. If that seems like “glorifying obesity: to you, then count me in, and If you’re looking for me you’ll find me somewhere hanging out, glorifying obesity.
Like the blog? More Cool Stuff!
Book and Dance Class Sale! I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!
Like my work? Want to help me keep doing it? Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you. Click here for details
Book Me! I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!
I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com
A movie about my time as a dancer is in active development, you can follow the progress on Facebook!