Saturday, October 25, 2014

"Why We Shouldn't Accept Fat Acceptance"

"Why We Shouldn't Accept Fat Acceptance"

This article makes some good points, some I made years ago too on this blog.
One reason fat acceptance has not become mainstream and sadly remains too
much on the fringes is the extremity of the movement and focusing on the "fat"
instead of the people.

"The very name of the “Fat Acceptance” movement is exemplary of what’s wrong with identity-politics rhetoric: it muddles dispassionate conceptual arguments with overtones of personal, emotional stuff.  In other words, if you say “I don’t support the Fat Acceptance movement,” and what you mean is “I believe obesity is not genetic and it’s possible for fat people to lose weight,” it’s going to be heard as “I think it’s okay to be mean to fat people.”  And this is by design: the aim of the movement’s rhetoric is to render scientific arguments culturally unstable, so that they instantly degenerate into arguments about personal prejudice.  As a general rule, you should stay away from movements that make a habit of this sort of thing.
Look at it this way: suppose there’s a town where some stereotypically evil corporation is dumping toxic waste in the drinking water, and suddenly people are developing cancer right and left.  A few people notice that cancer rates shouldn’t naturally be this high, figure out the connection to the drinking water, and start encouraging everyone to boycott the corporation and drink bottled water instead.  But then, instead of listening, the rest of the townspeople accuse them of hating people with cancer, call them elitists because not everyone can afford to drink bottled water, and start a “cancer acceptance” movement based on the idea that everyone is supposed to get cancer and that everyone who doesn’t has a “drinking disorder.”  The bottom line is not only that lots of people get cancer who didn’t have to, but also that the evil corporation gets away with dumping toxic waste.  This is A) self-evidently ridiculous, and B) absolutely no different from what we are currently saying about obesity."
I've pretty much have said the same thing he has written here. That while I fully support fat acceptance groups that focus on fat people and them not being discriminated against, this weird idea that fat itself should be "accepted" as we get more and more ill and poisoned by bad food, is something I have always said, has served the failed diet industrial complex in the inverse and those profiting off fat people.
"Not a day goes by that I don’t see someone so fat they have to ride around on one of those little fat-person scooters.  How can it possibly be genetic that a significant portion of the population is fat enough to be immobile under their own power?  That’s not just “looking different” — it’s a crippling handicap that would doom someone in a state of nature, like blindness.  But whereas blindness has always existed, people have only suddenly and recently become this fat in such large numbers.  Something bad is causing this, we need to do something about it, and pretending it’s genetic is preventing us from doing whatever that thing is.  I understand sympathy, but this essay isn’t arguing that is should be okay to make jokes about these people or whatever — it’s arguing that we need to proactively address the problem.  The short-term impulse to “be nice at all costs” is actually anything but “nice” in the long term.  Suppose there was something in our food that was suddenly making lots of people go blind.  By pretending that all these people were genetically predestined to go blind, all you’d be doing is sentencing countless individuals in the future to go blind who didn’t have to.  Would it make any sense to rebuke the people trying to fix that problem by telling them that they just “hate blind people?”

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