While writing a response to a comment on Hello-reality’s recent post about the new show on TLC called Big Sexy about plus-size models, I realized that it had gotten quite long so I decided to post it separately. The original post about Big Sexy accused the fat acceptance movement, and the TLC show, of “promoting an unhealthy lifestyle.” Two commenters responded, both expressing opinions I disagreed with, mainly stemming from what I believe to be a misconception of what the fat acceptance movement is really about. Here’s what I have to say:
First, you are absolutely right that it is just as insulting and just as inappropriate for someone to say "You’re too skinny." It happens a lot, and it shouldn’t. People often assume that thinner people are always happy with the way they look, but that is not always the case in reality. You’re also right that there is a large number of people in this country who are not living a healthy lifestyle which can become quite costly when it comes to medical care.
However—the fat acceptance movement is NOT equivalent to promoting smoking. That is an all too common misconception. Fat acceptance is NOT about wanting people to be fat or become fat or stay fat, it’s just about people being. IF someone who is fat is living an unhealthy lifestyle, fat acceptance will actually HELP them live healthier. A person who feels badly about themselves from constantly hearing from their peers and seeing from media images that what they look like is not acceptable or desirable, they will have a harder time feeling good enough about themselves to want to become healthier. Telling someone they look bad will not make them want to look good. Helping someone believe that they- as the strong, beautiful, capable person they are- have the power to live healthier is what the fat acceptance movement is about. You have to accept yourself as you are before you can love yourself enough to live healthy.
BUT healthy does not only mean "thin." Healthy is not just a number. It is more than a mindset, but it starts with FEELING good about ourselves. Fat acceptance tells people that they are worth being healthy. It says that there is more to beauty and being desirable than the 95% of our narrow media images.
Also, it is extremely rude to call fat people “freaks.” That is over the line, and as someone who said you have been harassed for being “too skinny,” you should know.
Anyone who knows anything about the fat acceptance movement would know that they care about the health and well-being of fat people. If you doubt that, then please take a little time to learn something and expand your understanding.