Preaching to the choir

I have been thinking for a while now about fat acceptance and what it accomplishes. It is no small feat for a woman, fat or not, to make peace with her body and accept it no matter her size or weight. For a fat woman, peace often, perhaps usually comes only after years of struggle and failed diets and internalized shame and feelings of self-loathing. There is no denying that accomplishing this, that coming to accept and hopefully cherish one's body is not only desirable but far more healthy than living with the daily stress that self-loathing and the other accompaniments of hating one's body create. I support and embrace this goal wholeheartedly, having worked hard to get to that point myself.

But, it seems to me to be at best an uphill battle if I look outside myself and my very small circle. I am open about having long ago stepped off the diet train and about my embrace of HAES and of fat acceptance. I can say that I have made small differences in the people close to me because as I have changed in relationship with my body and with fat and body acceptance, those closest to me have also. But no matter what I do, no matter how open I am, have to face the reality that I and people like me make up the tiniest part of my culture. And I cannot see right now how to make significant impact on those whose attitudes need to be changed -- doctors and other health care providers, insurance companies, media outlets, airlines, stores and on and on. Because the bias is massive and pervasive and supported day in and day out with a constant drumbeat about how bad fat is and how much a drain on resources fat people are.


... the fat body is ... always visible: the only people they are trying to persuade to accept fatness are themselves. While constructing a visible “body of acceptance” does prove that it is possible for fat bodies to be beautiful, it does not directly address the audience who needs to be persuaded: the public who construct and consume norms of beauty.*


A person could get discouraged now and again. Really.


*  Mack, Ashley Noel Closely Closeted: The Fat Acceptance Movement and Embodied Closets of Power p.16 http://www.allacademic.com//meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/1/9/3/9/5/pages193951/p193951-1.php

© CHERYL FULLER, 2010. ALL  RIGHTS RESERVED.