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Friday, October 31, 2014

Column: The importance of accepting fat acceptance

Blogger Carolyn Hall doesn’t like the fat acceptance movement, and that’s a big problem

Abigail Fisher

April 28, 2014

The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.

Human bodies are strange things. They’re the only medium we have of expressing thoughts into the physical world, and yet we sure do talk a lot of shit about them.

I am confident that there are people in the world, reading this column, who believe that with my small frame I have no place harping on about this topic. However, after seeing an article from Thought Catalog titled “6 Things I Don’t Understand About the Fat Acceptance Movement” shared on my Facebook feed, I decided it was time to shut some idiots up, because regardless of my size, I am in fact a reasonable human being.

To start from the beginning: the fat acceptance movement. Carolyn Hall, the article’s author, refers to the progressive idea that people should be accepted, and treated fairly and with respect, regardless of their size. Hall has a big problem with this. “This” being common courtesies that every human has a right to.

In this atrocity, Hall makes a concise list à la Buzzfeed, carefully spelling out her own moronic misunderstanding of a movement based on kindness and acceptance of others regardless of their physical appearance.

”1. America is extremely accepting of fat.”

Hall thinks people are just too damn nice to them. She thinks it’s America’s fault that plus-size clothing is becoming more easily accessible. She thinks that the bullying, stereotypes, and hate that those with a larger-than-typically-ideal weight deal with on a daily basis is an insignificant social nuisance compared to the tolerance of so-called unhealthy lifestyles. Suicide is a daily phenomenon, but who cares — America perpetuates too much self-acceptance!

”2. ‘Body positivity’ should include health.”

Unfortunately, our dear Carolyn just doesn’t possess the mental capacity to understand how those who wear a larger size sometimes actually feel positive about their own bodies. Not only should you feel positive about the way you look, you should feel positively absolutely certain that it needs to be in medically tip-top shape in order to be loved.

“3. ‘Health at every size’ seems physically impossible.”

Sorry girl, let me know when you quit your day job to become a physicist and then I’ll stop scrutinizing your use of the phrase “physically impossible.” As you say yourself, HAES focuses on health over image, and you’ve proven to be perversely interested in the health of others. If a large person decides that he or she wants to pursue a healthy lifestyle without regard for appearance, they should be commended for looking past the assholes out there writing articles saying fat people don’t have a chance at health.

“4. People are allowed to not be attracted to certain body types.”

And I am allowed to not be attracted to close-minded Internet writers.

“5. Food addiction is a real medical problem.”

So stop shaming people for it. Stop treating it like it’s a crime that deserves utmost ostracism. Submitting a badly written article to Thought Catalog defending your personal vendetta against accepting those larger than you doesn’t exactly do much for America’s collective mental health, does it?

“6. Childhood obesity is something we can’t be accepting of.”

But should we really tell young, innocent and impressionable minds that they are not as good as their thinner counterparts? Let’s try promoting nutrition education or easier access to healthy food rather than shaking with rage and ranting about how there are too many fat kids on the playground.

But maybe I_ am the one with a misunderstanding here. Maybe _I’m the idiot here. Maybe I’m just a dumb hippie with a John Lennon dream of society morphing into something a little less hostile than it is. But until Carolyn Hall understands the fat acceptance movement, I’ll be starting my own movement supporting telling those with prejudice to shut the hell up.

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Article comments

Oct. 20, 2014 at 12:45 a.m.

tina: Okay, I read her article and you are putting words in her mouth. While I don't agree with all her points, never did she say that fat people "aren't deserving of love" or that we should tell fat kids that they "aren't as good" as thin kids. You're just being ridiculous. Please stop pandering. There is a big difference between believing that fat people are just as worthy of love and dignity as thinner people, and actively cheerleading fatness as some kind of accomplishment. It disturbs me greatly that I see morbidly obese parents encouraging their own children's morbid obesity rather that teaching healthy choices and restraint. These kids are being set up to live shorter lives beset by health problems, and meanwhile the parents will hear only the rah-rah "Fat is just as healthy as thin!" "Why try to lose weight, I hear it's not an achievable goal anyway!" "My kids aren't fat because they ate an entire bucket of KFC for dinner, it's just genes!" etc, etc. This mentality is getting damn near Orwellian in its absurdity.

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