We’re all fat here… Except not.
I think it is time to stop letting the angry shouty man dictate the conversation and change the parameters of it on a whim - *coughtrolltacticcough* because a lot of people seem to be missing the point.
The thing I dig about Tumblr is that conversations grow and change and expand in scope. What started out as a lot of anger from some people about a very specific picture turned into a much larger conceptual discourse about whether or not thin people should be welcome in explicitly fat spaces. At that point, the discussion was no longer limited to the rigid parameters of the original post.
That is the amazing thing about conversation, you know? It grows! It spreads ideas!
I may not be the Queen of the Fatosphere (because, you know, we don’t have one) but here is what I try to acknowledge in my corner of it - and, yes, it is my blog (or tumblr or twitter or etc), but it counts as a space because multiple people contribute and interact even when I’m the only one posting:
There is no size limit on feeling good about yourself. EVERYONE should know that their body size is acceptable - no one should be made to feel lesser because of their body. (That isn’t a directive to love your body - it’s a statement that your body is okay; that goes for trans bodies too - not because trans people have to be okay with the biological sex of their body but because CIS PEOPLE do not get to fucking judge their bodies for any reason. Their bodies are worthy of respect, too.)
FAT people - which includes smaller fats and larger fats and fat people who exist in the middle and aren’t sure where they belong - have a particular issue in that body positive messages are often EXPLICITLY EXCLUSIONARY OF THEM. FOR OUR HEALTH. Or for what fucking ever. Fat Acceptance is, to a whole lot of people, an incredibly radical notion because it requires dismantling a huge backlog of societal prejudice. There are often shared experiences based on this. In addition, fat is an actual descriptor of people, not just a noun signifying adipose tissue. Words mean things, so when you aren’t something, you don’t get to claim that word. This shouldn’t be a big deal.
Any one of any size can participate in fat activism. If you weigh 105 pounds soaking wet and you speak up against fat hate, you are participating in fat activism! That is awesome! Generally, fat people will appreciate it as long as you are not condescending about it.
There ARE spaces and experiences that can be more specific. This does not mean someone is trying to oust you from the movement. It means some people walk to talk shit out and feel a little bit safer while doing it.
Defending that concept is not the same as saying people are not fat enough for fat acceptance. Defending that concept is not the same as saying thin people aren’t welcome at all. Defending that concept is nothing more than defending that space - whatever that space happens to be, even if it is just the concept itself.
This includes defending the identity of fat. I know I’ve talked about fat as fat and fat as FEELING before; they are both important things to address but they are not the same. Fat identity is built around being fat. It’s kind of a prerequisite. If you aren’t fat - which can be determined by a lot of things, including cultural surroundings, doctors, retail clothing stores…. - then trying to claim fat identity is wrong. That does not invalidate body issues or imply those body issues are not important.
I often think that Fat Acceptance is, in large part, about finding ways in which we can be kinder to ourselves, less unfathomably cruel. Finding that is important for everyone, of course. And it’s important to apply that to other people, too.
But kindness does not equal the abandonment of boundaries. Good fences make good neighbors, like the man named Frost said.
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- rosewater-sailor said: Very, very well said. Though I don’t doubt the angry shouty man will continue to deliberately misinterpret what you say and prolong the whole argument… *sigh* You’ve really said it all with this post. Bravo.
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