Thursday, September 09, 2010

More stuff that I think I should have already posted about but haven't: Fat Hate

More in this impromptu series...
[For previous editions see: More stuff that I think I should have already posted about but haven't: Racism and Stuff I think about differently now; children, feminism and more]

Did you know that I'm (generally speaking) down with fat acceptance?

To me, this seems like an especially obvious thing, but, given posts I've read, especially recently, I guess it's not as widely held as I thought!

What often goes against fat acceptance, in both feminist and non-feminist conversations, is that "fat" is inherently unhealthy.  And of course, health is important and it's something we should be talking about, right? Well, if you haven't heard this before now I am just going to say, that premise is bullshit.  (Not about "health" being important, that IS important...but more on that later...)

I have a precisely healthy BMI (right in the middle) and am by most people’s definitions “thin,” if definitely not “skinny,” and after three flights of stairs I’m breathing pretty damn heavy.

That's not really that healthy for a TAB (temporarily able bodied) person!

Which is the whole problem with equating weight ("fat") with health: because it’s quite simply NOT AN EFFECTIVE MEASUREMENT TO GENERALIZE FROM.

Quite simply, our bodies are unique and an unhealthy amount of weight on one body is not going to be an unhealthy amount of weight on another body.

If we really want to talk about health, weight shouldn’t even come into it.


Because if a person has healthy habits, and their body is carrying weight it considers “extra,” that it doesn't need, that weight will go away. If that person with healthy habits’ weight DOESN’T go away then their body thinks it needs it, so let’s assume that’s correct!  Instead of assuming we know better...than that person's own body...what they person should look like and what they need to be healthy.  Fat, for some people, is a by product of unhealthy habits.  But as with so much Western thought, we attack that by-product instead of looking to the ROOT of the issue.

The far more important question when discussing health, imo, is: do we as individuals and as a population have access to healthy habits?

Cuz what I see is that MOST of us don’t. Really don’t. We’re too goddamned tired to put in the WORK (and it is work) to make 3 healthy meals a day. We’ve not got any time (or money) to spare to "just take a walk" or go to the gym.  And we’re too goddamned poor to go to the co-op or the locavore restaurant instead of McDonald’s.  Or there are literally NO grocery stores in our neighborhood to even TRY to get healthy food.  (Just for a start... I'm sure I could come up with many more examples).

These are STRUCTURAL issues working against our health, and aren't structural issues what we as social justice people are supposed to be concerned with? Wouldn't that be a more effective strategy in the pursuit of healthier communities?  Instead of just class and/or fat shaming individuals for “letting themselves go” or whatever?

So yeah, let's get on with talking about health but let's leave the fat hate at the door, folks.