Fat Acceptance 101
- Stop using the “o” words to describe fat people. The O words “obese” and “overweight” are clinical terms that reinforce the idea that human bodies should all fall into a narrow range of weight in order to be considered healthy. This is problematic on many levels.
- Stop using the word “fit” as a description for a thin body type. Fit simply means “in good health”. Using the word fit to describe thin people implies two things: that all thin people are in good health, and that those without that body type are in bad health. Fit is not a body size, it is a state of health. And those who are fat can be fit just as those who are thin can be unfit.
- Stop using the word fat as an insult. It is not ok to use my body type as an insult. Fat is simply a word to describe a body type. It does not mean ugly, unhealthy, lazy, gross, unintelligent, (enter in all the other disgusting words that our fat phobic society likes to link with the word fat), etc. Even saying things like “big fat jerk” “big fat ____” as an insult links the word fat with that insult. Again, not cool. Stop doing it.
- Stop assuming you know someone’s health, eating habits, exercise habits, and life based on their body size (this includes fat and thin people alike). Thin people shouldn’t be assumed to be anorexic and fat people shouldn’t be assumed to eat massive quantities of food. Thin people shouldn’t be assumed to exercise all the time, only eat “rabbit food”, and have severe and disciplined lives. Fat people shouldn’t be assumed to never exercise, only eat junk food, and have lazy and undisciplined lives. Don’t assume you know anything about a person based on their body size. The only thing you can tell by looking at a thin person is that they are thin. The only thing you can tell by looking at a fat person is that they are fat.
- Stop assuming that fat people would rather be thin. There are many fat people who absolutely love their bodies (I am one of them) and wouldn’t change it if given the choice. Assuming that a fat person would rather be thin says a lot about your warped perception of thinness and is highly insulting to the fat people who do love their fat bodies.
- Stop complimenting people on their “weight loss”. This is problematic for many reasons. The most obvious is the assumption that weight loss is always a good thing. As well is the assumption that a thin body type is better than any other body type. There are other problems with complimenting weight loss that I won’t get into at this point.
- Realize that a healthy body isn’t required for someone to be treated with human dignity and respect. All people have a right to respect and to be treated like a human being. Everyone has a right to be treated with dignity regardless of their body size or their health. You have no right to shame someone based on your ideal of health. And it doesn’t matter if someone is doing something that YOU feel is not healthy, if it’s an adult and if it’s their body, then it’s their business and their business alone. Again, someone else’s health is not your business.
(It is nearly 2 am and I’m on cold meds as I write this, so if I get anything wrong or left things out (likely) then please feel free to correct me or add things that are important in the Fat Acceptance movement.)