Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Why The Fat Movement Has to Stop

The fat acceptance movement (also known as the size acceptance, fat liberation, fat activism, fativism, or fat power movement) is a social movement seeking to change anti-fat bias in social attitudes. There's even a non-profit organization for it called the NAAFA.

According to their site, NAAFA was founded in 1969, and is a non-profit civil rights organization dedicated to ending size discrimination in all of its forms. NAAFA's goal is to help build a society in which people of every size are accepted with dignity and equality in all aspects of life. NAAFA will pursue this goal through advocacy, public education, and support.

However, there is a HUGE difference between body-pride and flaunting obesity, as some people would argue. The statistics say it all.


It is no surprise why obesity is on the rise in America. According to the CDC, it is only getting and going to get worse. You can also see from the chart above that there is a crucial rise in obestity amongst children.

According to blogger Maria Mae Stevens,

"Now being overweight is one thing. It is understandable, considering our environment (which is strongly structured to promote fat), that this happens. The majority of us are overweight. We get it. We know why. This is not news. There’s time for change. Let’s make it!

But being inordinately fat–that is obese–is another thing. It is up there with the most unhealthy things you can choose for yourself. In the end, I believe obesity-related illnesses will bankrupt our health care system."

I came across this article called 6 Things I Don't Understand About the Fat Acceptance Movement in which the author states her thoughts of the movement itself. 

In the article, her 6 things are:
  1. America is extremely accepting of fat.
  2. "Body positivity" should include health.
  3. "Health at every size" seems physically impossible.
  4. People are allowed to not be attracted to certain body types.
  5. Food addiction is a real medical problem.
  6. Childhood obesity is something we can't be accepting of.
Everything above totally makes sense. But let's dig into the bigger picture here of the fat acceptance movement, and what's really going on with NAAFA. There's much more to it than just "flaunting" or being proud of the fat body that you are in. It is to create an awareness that bigger sizes do exist and are highly discriminated in today's society. This sounds totally plausible.

BUT... what isn't right is when obesity is held up on a pedestal and when an obsese woman is considered a "real woman" or a "healthy woman."

Here are some facts:
  • Fat discrimination is the 4th most prevalent form of discrimination (Midus, 1995-1996)
  • AND there has been a 50+ increase in size discrimination between 1996 and 2006. (Puhl et all, 2006)
  • According to CSWD.org, "Workers who are heavier than average are paid $1.25 less an hour. Over a 40-year career, they will earn up to $100,000 less before taxes than their thinner counterparts." (Baum, 2004)
  • Also according to CSWD.org, "Of people who were 50% or more above their ideal weight on the height-weight charts, 26% reported they were denied benefits such as health insurance because of their weight, and 17% reported being fired or being pressured to resign because of their weight." (Rothblum, 1990)
  • For more statistics, click here for an awesome PDF.
Obesity is not healthy. However, being extremely skinny is not healthy either. Size really does not determine one's health... but on the flip side, it certainly could in some cases. See why this issue is so rebutted??

Want to know what isn't healthy? Weight cycling and yo-yo dieting.

According to a 2007 UCLA study:

"Increased all-cause mortality and to increased mortality from cardiovascular disease. Increased risk for myocardial infarction, stroke, and diabetes, increased high density lipoprotein cholesterol, increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and even suppressed immune function."

Would you believe it if I were to tell you that the symptoms above have zero to do with obesity and has everything to do with weight cycling and yo-yo dieting? As a society, we love to shame larger bodies without knowing their health status and then we are so quick to praise the ones who are constantly dieting without knowing how dangerous that can be.

On the other side of the fence, there is something undoubtedly wrong with the way that some individuals flaunt their obesity loud and proud. Some would argue that they are sending the wrong messages to society, especially their kids. After all, studies have shown that children of obese parents often become obese later in life.

If you are a bigger lady and are proud of your body, that is awesome-more power to you! Confidence is way sexier than what the tag on the back of your jeans says. Being comfortable in your own skin is absolutely amazing. If you are taking care of yourself, then even more power to you. But it's when preaching unhealthy habits to the world and forcing us to accept that-that, quite frankly, isn't okay.


The "fat acceptance movement" praising their fat is no different than the "thinspo movement' in which thigh gaps, collarbones, and hip bones are praised. Both are giving the wrong messages. Why? 

Here's why.

According to Huffington Post's reponse to the article, "All bodies, large, small and everything in between, pay dearly for the negativity in which fat bodies are perceived. Because as long as we demonize a body shape (any body shape) there will always be a fearful comparison. And the fearful comparison will inevitably breed all forms of hatred; both internally and externally. We will never be able to embrace our bodies as a diverse society as long as negative body messages exist. So yeah, we're going to be talking about the "social deviants" of the body world, but this discussion is applicable to us all."

Stop praising being fat.
Stop praising being skinny.
Start praising being healthy. Whatever size that may be for you.


Instead of focusing on pushing a certain body type (fat or skinny), let's embrace individuality and healthiness. 

People shouldn't be told to look a certain way. If we were all supposed to look the same, we would have been made to look as if we stepped off of an assembly line: dull, boring, and ordinary. 

Let's face it: no one body size can honestly determine one's health... or so could it?

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