Quote of the Day

There are good questions about Fat Acceptance and Health At Every Size, such as the ones asked in the panels I attended at Norwescon.  (This led to me updating my FAQ, even.)

On the other hand, there’s the recent Thought Catalog article Carolyn Hall wrote on “6 Things I Don’t Understand About The Fat Acceptance Movement,” which really betrays a misunderstanding of what fat acceptance IS.  There’s been rebuttals to it published. But I’m going to quote from the rather more general response of Marianne Kirby on XOJane:

Hall’s article is about her own lack of fundamental understanding. But it’s also about her discomfort with a tool (that’d be fat acceptance) lots of fat people use to feel good about themselves — or even to just not hate themselves 24/7, which is — honestly and tragically — a very real challenge for many fat folks. She doesn’t understand it because she can’t conceive of fat people who don’t hate themselves. And she probably wishes we’d stop with the self-esteem and get back to loathing ourselves for our own good.  […]

Hall has 6 points that she raises, and so many people have answered those points. But I only have one response: Fat acceptance does not have to be for Carolyn Hall. She does not have to understand it for it to have value. Her inability to process why fat people might need something to help them leave the house and go out in public doesn’t change that fat acceptance does help and it helps people of all sizes who are looking for a way to have some hope of loving themselves.

Not everything has to be for every person. And perhaps this movement simply isn’t for her at this point. That’s fine. I hope she’s very happy. But I am tired as anything of people who want me to be miserable in my own physical form. Her article is nothing new; it’s old and played out. Move along, Carolyn Hall. If you ever need it, fat acceptance will still be here. And you’ll be welcome then. But for now? There is nothing for you here.

…yeah.  I’m not sure why my existence really pisses people off, but it definitely does.

6 thoughts on “Quote of the Day

  1. I don’t know that I agree with Marianne Kirby. The fact that fitness celebrities don’t “get” Fat Acceptance is a problem. Of course, the fact that the medical industry has celebrities in any sense except maybe for famous medical researchers is a problem.

    The ultimate goal is a longer life span with lower medical costs, and a higher quality of living (though of course that’s more difficult to define). The problem with all of these people who think we fatties should loathe ourselves until we’re thin is that it ignores all of the solid evidence (pardon the pun). Sustained fat loss fails far more often than it succeeds and the evidence up to this point is that even the people who lose the fat and manage to keep it off – let alone the ones that gain it back – don’t live longer than fat people who adopt HAES.

    Carolyn Hall is demanding that we do something contrary to our own health.

    • Health is nobody’s obligation. I agree that an improved quality of life is universally desired. However, the manner in which people go about achieving such improvements is inherently unique and individual. It is a shame that most people cannot recognize the real, tangible benefits associated with FA and HAES. But I frankly agree with Marianne. Hall does not need to acknowledge HAES for it to be a viable, reasonable, sane option.

    • Hi Mike –

      I’m not sure the “ultimate goal” for everyone is a longer life span. Yes, a lot of people want that, and it’s a good thing for society in general. But I don’t think that’s the goal of fat acceptance per se. Reducing fat discrimination and stress works fine for me.

      :)

  2. yeah. I’m not sure why my existence really pisses people off, but it definitely does

    I’m very happy you exist. I find your blog fascinating.

    I’m not going to speak for all people who are “anti-FA” or “anti HAES.” But I will say that a LOT of people who post this stuff aren’t doing it maliciously. I think most people who haven’t read a lot about HAES/FA really don’t understand it. I remember my reaction when I first learned about it. I was confused that anyone would think that it’s possible to be fat & fit.

    Speaking from my own experience – I was 5’2 and 186 at my fattest. I underwent a serious lifestyle change and lost a lot of weight and kept it off for about 9 years now. However, when I really thought about it, I underwent a radical lifestyle change when I gained the weight in the first place. It came on in my junior year of college. Prior to that, I had always had a sport, I ate A LOT less, I NEVER watched TV. Within 4 years, I had gained 65 pounds, and I was miserable. I was happy, and I was entertained, but I was completely out of shape, I was unhealthy, it hurt to move, I was depressed (and not from stigma, but because I couldn’t find a job and I couldn’t walk very far without sweating and I was physically uncomfortable). My roommates were much fatter than I was (I was the “thin” one) and they were much more comfortable and able to walk further and talk at the same time. Basically I didn’t move for 4 years.

    After I moved to a new town and gained more weight and was dumped by a man with a BMI of 46 for “being too fat and lazy” I learned about HAES and laughed my ass off. I mean, it seemed obvious it’s not possible to be fat and fit – clearly me being fat and unfit meant everyone was the same. And that’s why I “changed my lifestyle.” Even though I was really just going back to the way I was before the depression. I am MUCH more comfortable and fit now.

    All of this to say that I have changed my mind about HAES when I learned what it was actually about and to try and explain why some people are really opposed to it. So I think some of the people speaking out against it are really just unable to separate their own experience from other people’s.

    I think some of the more radical FA/HAES bloggers are assholes and if I didn’t believe that all people deserve to be treated like people I probably would go back to just reading fitness blogs. If I hadn’t found your blog, I probably would be on Reddit mocking people; especially after my experience asking questions on fatheffalump & TiTP and being told to fuck myself. I think that could explain some of the anger and hostility that some people feel reading FA blogs. Anyway, I really like that you were willing to share the minutiae of your life, and I think that a HAES approach is great!

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