Please Be Kind to Fat People

 

I’ve been critical of the “Fat Acceptance” movement because I think rising obesity worldwide is a health crisis we should do more to address. I won’t “accept” soaring rates of obesity and diabetes, but I’ve come to understand that there’s another dimension of this movement that really does warrant support.

It seems many people are cruel to fat people and this needs to stop.

Sometimes people are openly cruel, but more often why they are trying to help. Or at least think they are trying to help.

I was touched by an article I read yesterday, and some excerpts are below.

Empathizing with this woman nearly brought me to tears. The Golden Rule–treating others as you would like to be treated–means empathizing with others. How can I know how I would want to be treated if I were a fat person if I’ve never considered what it’s like to be fat? Well, I ‘m considering it now.

I don’t even like calling her “fat,” but that’s the word she uses to describe herself. This woman (and others like her) should not be subjected to these humiliations. If we see someone denigrating a fat person in public, I think we should gently say something in his or her defense.

This treatment of fat people is just wrong, and her account is a painful read.

There are no right answers for your fat friend.

Scenes from a thinterrogation.

by Your Fat Friend

…In my 34 years in a fat body, I have become accustomed to the blinding floodlights of interrogation from thinner people. I am asked what I eat, whether I exercise, when I wake up, how I sleep, where I work out, whether I cook. Is it local? Is it organic? Have you tried Atkins? Clean eating? Weight watchers? It’s not that complicated. You probably did it wrong.

Once the questioning begins, it cannot be stopped. Its only end comes when I have been fully dominated, wrestled to the ground, pinned beneath the superior authority and achievements of a thinner person. Because, in a thinterrogation, a fat person can offer no right answers. Nothing will get us free. Every action, every choice becomes evidence in the unending trial of your body. Thin people’s judgment, their dogged investigation, make every choice a loaded one.

When you go to the gym, you may be faced with the patronizing “good for you!”s from smaller members, or the open snickering of young, thin people. When you don’t go to the gym, you give into a stereotype of the lazy, willfully fat person. You manifest all the images used so often to hurt you.

When you order a salad or vegetables at a restaurant, servers and strangers may offer more condescending congratulations — keep it up! — reminders that you are forever being watched, monitored closely by the investigators in your midst, forever collecting evidence. Everyone, it seems, is a double agent…

…34 years of my life have been spent at the hands of thin people’s interrogations. They are merciless and unending. No proof satisfies their questions, no evidence strong enough to excuse the body they are forced to look at momentarily, but that I live with every day.

Thin people’s entitlement to know, their relentless questions, leave me hungry to learn why. Why do they demand to know so much? Why does the sight of me insist upon an assertion of their supremacy? But no matter how much I learn, no matter how much insight I gain, I still live the grim reality of facing the same questions, the same force, the same thirst for dominance from the thin people around me. I become the mat on which they prove their strength; the battlefield upon which they triumph; the canvass on which they paint their superiority. I long to find insight that will free us both. But no matter how much I study the past, I remain doomed to repeat it.
I search for ways out of thin people’s relentless questioning, but there are none. Like a lab rat, I am trapped in a maze made entirely of labyrinthine turns and dead ends. There is no escape, no respite, no ingenuity or tenacity that will deliver me from that cage of a maze. I am forever wrong, and forever captive…”

***

What she experienced on a routine flight may make you cry. Please read the rest here .

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