Vancouver
3 min

Check your fat head

There's a new movement afoot and it's called fat positivity

I wasn’t brought up with religion, so I may be misquoting slightly, but wasn’t there something in the Bible along the lines of: “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” and “judge not lest ye be judged” and “stop being such a dick to fat people”?

I am continually amazed at the number of genuinely nice people, people who don’t think twice about standing up to racism or sexism or homophobia, who don’t think once about saying absolutely terrible things about fat people. And I’m tired of it.

In case you hadn’t heard, there is a movement afoot. Call it fat positivity, call it fat acceptance, call it big-fat-fatty-fatterson-fat-people-are-awesome-yippee, I don’t care, just know that it exists and that its time has come.

Fat positivity suggests the radical notion that people love and take care of their bodies at any size. As with any movement, there’s a lot more to it but I’ll leave it up to you to Google it or Wiki it or look it up at the library all old-school like if you’re interested, but that’s the crux of it. Sounds good, right? Well, oddly enough it’s at this point that people start to have a problem.

“But being overweight just isn’t healthy,” they’ll state categorically. “I just worry about fat people’s health.”

Lies.

Okay, maybe not lies, but delusion.

Disregarding for a moment that what passes for “overweight” in our society would be considered “starving” in others, if we were really so all-fired concerned about health, North America would be a very different place.

We’re not. We’re concerned with buying things and having things and getting things and showing off our things and having more things than our friends have things. We are using up and destroying our planet at a terrifying rate with few signs of slowing down. We are greedy gluttons and we don’t care.

Or do we? Do we feel guilty somewhere deep down inside? Do we kind of hate what we’re doing even though we don’t want to give it up? I think so. I also think that we see fat people as a symbol of gluttony and spew our disgust at them instead of facing ourselves.

See, we didn’t always despise fat people. In many eras we envied them. Since being thin was a sign that you had to work hard and couldn’t afford much in the way of food, and being fat meant that you had the money to eat and eat well, roundness was the standard for beauty. It was a sign of prosperity and health.

In our time, however, things have done a bit of a dipsy doodle and big-bodied folks are considered neither happy nor healthy. To be fat now means you are slovenly, greedy, depressed, disgusting, stupid and unhealthy, among other fun things. Well, unless you’re Santa — then you’re golden for some reason. That man is untouchable!

We do not live in a healthy society. We live in a society of jackasses. And although it may be simpler to find people who represent everything we hate about ourselves, rather than actually giving up anything, this fatty, for one, is not taking that on.

Stop blaming us for airfares going up and start looking at the greedy bastards who run the airlines and take home huge salaries.

And the next time you’re in McDonald’s look around and tell me if everyone in there is fat and then rethink the idea that thin people are inherently healthy. Before you start citing statistics about the rise in childhood obesity rates, ask yourself if perhaps there are bigger societal factors at work, such as poverty and lack of access to childcare, coupled with the inability to support a family on the average wage. It’s harder, I know, but it makes you much less of a dick.

Am I healthy? Well, I’m a hell of a lot healthier now than when I was binging and barfing 10 times a day.

When I was bulimic no one cared about my health because they didn’t know I was unhealthy. They were too busy telling me how great I looked, how healthy, how sexy. When I was puking up blood, when my body was starving for nutrients and the enamel was eroding from my teeth, I appeared to represent health and happiness. Now that I’m fat, people continually express concern for my health. Gee, thanks.

Fat people don’t need your pity. We need to be able to walk into a store and buy clothes that aren’t polyester and have some semblance of style. (The fact that this is a tall order for anyone over size eight should tell you that fatphobia is alive and thriving.)

We need access to proper health care instead of being told to lose weight without so much as being examined — that is if we aren’t too ashamed of our bodies to go to the doctor in the first place.

We need to be able to get through a single movie or TV show or magazine without being represented as objects of disgust or jokes, rather than human beings. Does that make us greedy?

It’s time we all started checking our heads about fat. Where do our ideas come from? Are they accurate? Are they biased? Are they downright hateful?