About Fat Acceptance
Ask a person what "fat acceptance" means and you're bound to get different answers. There are a few
basic tenets everyone in the movement agrees upon and things vary from there. In 2004 I asked BFB readers
to define fat acceptance, and here are their answers.
The essence of fat acceptance, for me, is that normal, healthy people come in a variety of sizes. As a large size
person, I should be able to pursue my educational dreams, have romances, fly in airplanes, visit theme parks, go
to school, change careers, be promoted.... in other words - live! I have the same rights to life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness as thin people. It is bigotry and prejudice to try to interfere in civil rights because someone
is "too big".
Fat acceptance also involves recognizing the deceitful practices of the weight-loss industry and countering them.
Fat acceptance involves accepting our friends, co-workers and family at the size they are now. It involves recognizing
the way advertising and media reports have skewed our ideas about size and health, and size and beauty - and recognizing
that many of us have internalized those attitudes and ideas.
Fat acceptance is a dedication to the idea that worth is based on character, decency, dependabiity and integrity. We accept
ourselves, fat or not; we accept our fellow human beings, fat or not. We recognize that beauty has to do both with outer
appearance and inner joy and peace. Size is a simple description of our appearance, not who we are!
Fat acceptance [is] a political, cultural, and personal advocacy movement in North America which seeks to identify,
redress, and prevent discrimination against people defined as fat.
Examples of discrimination include physical inaccessibility (e.g. airplane seats unusable to the 'bigger than average'),
social malice (e.g. fat jokes, aesthetic barriers to employment), and medical misinformation (e.g. assumptions that all
fat is pathological, or that slimming diets are effective and reasonable preconditions of treatment).
Also called size acceptance.
I want fat people to be able to claim our full fledged (and in no way "2nd class") personhood in the world. I want more
than the absence of discrimination. I want fat to be a non-issue in the social and political realms, and a neutral
- but not ignored - issue in the medical realm.
To me, that is more than "fat acceptance" -- I don't want non-fat people to offer me mere "acceptance" (as though it
were a hand-out of some kind). I want to be valued according to my ideas, my work, my contributions to society, my
spirit, my ethics, and how I live within the human community, but not according to the size of my body or
people's erroneous assumptions about "how it got that way."
It's telling the truth to yourself and others: diets don't work, you can be healthy and beautiful at any size, and you
deserve love and respect.
Fat acceptance is the total surrender to the truth of your body.
In addition, there's a bit of debate on the term "fat acceptance" itself. Other terms you might see to describe this
include "size acceptance," "fat liberation," and "fat revolution." I personally like all of these terms - the latter
two go well beyond "just" acceptance and encourage a stronger, more positive image.
If you have any thoughts on what fat acceptance means to you, send them in!