I've mentioned the fat acceptance movement in passing many times--I'm kinda fat, they say nice things about people like me, sounds great--but I don't think I've ever really dedicated a post to it. There's some things they say that I agree with, and some I don't.
There is no excuse to be uncivil or discriminatory against someone because they are fat.
Completely, 100% agree, and the main reason I read Shapely Prose. The level of schoolyard bullying that fat people are subject to, from grown adults who should seriously know better, is insane. And the media is fully in the "ha ha, fatty" dogpile--when they're not leading it. Professional news sources that bite their nails about using the proper "-American" for every other group post articles about obesity with hilarious "a rapidly expanding problem" puns and undisguised disgust. Even if you disagree with every other thing on this list, even if you think every fat person can and should diet down to a BMI of 20, at least don't be a dick.
Fat people are people and deserve respect, ditto fat people who don't diet or exercise, ditto really super-fat people, et cetera.
Fat hatred is a feminist issue.
Yes. Women are held to far more stringent skinniness standards and subject to far more shit when they don't meet them. Hell, women who aren't even fat are still expected to be obsessed with their weight! And it's all because of the idea that a woman's attractiveness to men is her worth, because what else are broads good for?
The BMI standards are screwed up.
Reserved agree. BMI itself is just a way of generating a number, but the "25 is overweight, 30 is obese" rule is too simplified and too stringent. The ideal weight is way too low for tall people--6' and 185 is considered overweight!--and for muscular people. That said, when I'm 5'1" and *cough* pounds and not a champion bodybuilder, the fact that my BMI is over 30 is a pretty good indicator that I really am fat. BMI is screwy, but that doesn't mean that overweight simply doesn't exist. You can't draw the "this is okay, this is too fat" line with a single equation for everyone--but wide and fuzzy though it may be, there is a line.
Weight loss shouldn't be a moral issue.
Completely agree. Talk about good and bad foods, about being sinful or naughty when you eat, about how exercise is a virtue and cake a vice, is bullshit and makes weight loss way too much of a crazy-making emotional issue. (As does the idea that virtuous food has to taste bad--I realize that I've dropped out of a lot of diets because they demanded I eat bland health foods or horrible food replacement substances. I would rather eat smaller amounts of delicious food.) Nor is being fat a sign that you've committed the Sin of Gluttony--or the related Sin of Needing Healthcare--and should be subject to guilt and shame.
Weight loss isn't easy.
Completely agree. Saying "calories in, calories out, it's simple!" ignores the fact that some people's bodies really screw them over with a tremendous hunger for calories in and a tremendous miserliness about letting calories out. It'll work at extremes, if you starve yourself and run all day you'll lose weight, but you'll also hate your life and possibly end up in the hospital. Figuring out a lifestyle that leads to a healthy rate of loss, doesn't make you intolerably uncomfortable, and that you can maintain for years--not simple.
And saying "just stop eating so many donuts"--dude, you have no idea how few donuts (or cake, or cheeseburgers, or bacon, or whatever) I eat. Like most fat people, I have a problem with chronically eating a little more ordinary food than I burn, not with indulging myself with super-rich reward foods all the time.
Weight loss is impossible.
This is where I start disagreeing. It seems to be an article of faith in the fat acceptance community that it's not possible to lose weight, that your set point is genetically coded and that practically no one loses weight and keeps it off. But I personally know people who've done just that. I think most people do.
Saying "diets don't work" also smacks of an excuse, when not-dieting ought to be, in a fat acceptance framework, something that requires no excuse.
Eating disorders are a serious risk of weight loss attempts.
No. Eating disorders are a risk of self-hating and perfectionist attempts at weight loss, and of pressuring children or teens to lose weight before they're fully developed. But I don't think that an emotionally stable adult following a reasonable diet and exercise plan is likely to accidentally slip into anorexia or bulimia.
Being fat isn't unhealthy.
This is the big one. And I disagree. I agree that being a little fat isn't a big deal and the research is inconclusive, but I think that significant fat--even the amount I have--can lead to health problems. I don't think I'm guaranteed to get diabetes and a heart attack at fifty, but I'm convinced it's a higher risk than if I were at my ideal weight.
And I think the fat acceptance movement really drops the ball when it comes to people who are at very high weights. There's a lot of people out there claiming that "health at every size" encompasses literally every size, and it really doesn't. In my job I saw people who were very overweight and had severe joint, cardiovascular, and blood-sugar problems at very young ages.
It shouldn't matter on the decent-person level, there is no weight that makes a person fair game for mockery, and a 200-pound person going "well, at least I'm not one of those 400-pound freaks" is being a jerk. But physically it does matter how fat you are.
Fat isn't a disease.
I wish fat was treated like a disease. No one hates people with diseases or rubs their nose in how unsexy the disease makes them. Very few people yell "sicky!" at coughing strangers or write articles on how the flu epidemic is all the fault of those fucking stupid flu sufferers who were too lazy to wash their damn hands. Doctors try to help people with diseases, they don't resignedly tsk at them to "be less sick and you wouldn't have all these problems." It's not a good idea to go around with an untreated (noncontagious) disease, but it's not a selfish or antisocial thing to do.
There's no good reason to lose weight.
Disagree. I know that even within the relatively modest weight fluctuations I've been through, I just felt worse at 190 pounds than I do at 170. I tired out faster and I was physically uncomfortable. I like to sleep on my stomach and that's hard to do with a big belly; I like to hike and that's hard to do with extra weight. The sex was worse and--accursed Society and all that--I felt embarrassed of my body more often.
These are all valid reasons, but there's a bigger one: I want to. I want to do something with my body and it's my decision. End of discussion.