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ipsen

Fat Acceptance - A Social Movement

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I'm not sure how many of us here are aware of "fat acceptance" movement, but a this was brought to my attention sometime last year. Curiosity got the better of me so I looked a little more into it. I'm wondering if anyone else here has heard of it, and if so, what are your thoughts? 

In a nutshell, the Fat Acceptance Movements posits that people of size, mostly due to a high body fat percentage, are discriminated against in society and liken it to racism and homophobia. Actions that shed bodies of size in an undesirable light are labeled as "fat-phobic"; this includes ads for diet and exercise, progress pictures, even posting selfies of oneself on social media if the individual is within a socially acceptable weight range. "Thin people" have privilege that needs to be checked, to make our society one that is more accepting of people of size. I use quotation marks because this label is applied to both underweight, and fit individuals. Here's the wikipedia summary: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_acceptance_movement

My thoughts (outside of the muscle growth narrative of this forum) is that it shouldn't matter what anyone looks like. We need to promote healthy habits, not body types. Eating whole foods, daily exercise, getting adequate rest. Shaming others for their appearance should be discouraged, and so should letting one's appearance define them. Thin, fit, or fat - our body types don't define us as people; our actions do. 

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I can see this from both sides of the discussion. From their side I can see the argument that, given the diet industry is worth $64 billion (as of 2014), the only people who are getting rich are the CEO's of companies who produce goods for that market and in this day and age where most people have nothing and a few have everything that is unfair and needs to be addressed. However from the health service side, it can be said that being fat, obese and overweight costs the health service in the UK £16 billion as of 2016 ($22 billion) and that therefore as the health service is funded through national taxation, it is in everyone's best interests to lose weight and see their tax bill reduce.

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As with any movement/community, there are always going to be various viewpoints and measures of radicality.

I view combatting fat shaming (direct or indirect) as very good, as it's very often more of a hindrace to getting thinner. And the impact (stress) applies to non-fat people as well.

From what I've heard, being fat can also get in the way of getting medical help, as some doctors will blame any- and everything on the extra fat, even if the person came with something unrelated (such as a cold).

Depictions of fat people more varied from comic relief, food-obsessed, or 'the farting warrior' (in videogames) also wouldn't hurt.

And as a (rather brutal, imo) counterpoint to @CardiMuscleman, I think caring for thin people that live into their nineties costs a bit more than caring for fat people that generally have lower life expectancy.

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6 hours ago, flamedelft said:

From what I've heard, being fat can also get in the way of getting medical help, as some doctors will blame any- and everything on the extra fat, even if the person came with something unrelated (such as a cold).

I can attest that I've personally experienced this. I went to my GP to get something checked out and we were going over the possible causes based on the test results from the lab. Halfway through the conversation she looked at me and said, "Well you don't look like you've got any weight to lose." I'm 5'7" / 145 lbs for the record. And I was like "That's great, can we go back to talking about the possibility of me having anything from a minor infection, to cancer?" 

But doctors have a duty to the health of their patients. Before reaching a diagnosis, they're going to go through probable causes in a process of elimination and will start with the most noticeable thing. Discolored skin or a tumor, or yes, excess body fat. 

 

6 hours ago, flamedelft said:

And as a (rather brutal, imo) counterpoint to @CardiMuscleman, I think caring for thin people that live into their nineties costs a bit more than caring for fat people that generally have lower life expectancy.

Not necessarily. Consider the added cost of caring for the excessively large (350 lbs and up) while they are alive - and I'm not counting the cost of care a senior citizen would also receive.

     - Reinforced furniture, wheel-chairs and scooters.
     - Larger vehicles that burn more gas to travel the same distance. 
     - Widening doorways in buildings, especially hospitals
     - Widening seats on airplanes, lowering capacity and increasing fuel consumption (at the cost of the airline)
     - More fabric required to make garments
     - Larger coffins for when they inevitably perish before their time
     - Last but not least - the cost it takes to feed them

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My thoughts basically align with what flamedelft said. As someone who constantly battles with my weight, I think fat shaming is horrible. However, I think before and after pictures and pictures of fit, muscular bodies are inspiring (as well as hot of course). To say someone shouldn't post a picture of themselves because their thinness or fitness is as bad as shaming someone for being overweight. I'm all for an increased awareness among people that many people are not overweight solely due to bad habits, or if it is due to bad habits, they are so ingrained as to be subconscious. Most thin people I know do not consciously try to keep their weight down. It's just the weight they are. That doesn't apply to people who are weight lifting, really into exercise and in exceptional shape. I exercise and watch what I eat. I'm far from perfect, but even when I am perfect, weight loss is slow and arduous.

So the "fat acceptance" movement shouldn't go too far as to shame people who are thin or in shape or discourage people from healthy eating and exercise. Healthy living and self acceptance should be the goal for everyone. 

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On 5/2/2018 at 9:53 PM, Kymuscleboy said:

So the "fat acceptance" movement shouldn't go too far as to shame people who are thin or in shape or discourage people from healthy eating and exercise. Healthy living and self acceptance should be the goal for everyone. 

I'd say my thoughts are congruent with yours. Except that if those who love and accept themselves being obese are happy that way, and are willing to accept the health risks that come with it, then all the power to them. Everyone deserves to love themselves without anyone else's opinion being factored in. What I'm uncomfortable with is the indoctrination of those who are most vulnerable - the young ones who have yet to form a sense of self-identity. 

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17 minutes ago, ipsen said:

I'd say my thoughts are congruent with yours. Except that if those who love and accept themselves being obese are happy that way, and are willing to accept the health risks that come with it, then all the power to them. Everyone deserves to love themselves without anyone else's opinion being factored in. What I'm uncomfortable with is the indoctrination of those who are most vulnerable - the young ones who have yet to form a sense of self-identity. 

I agree with you too. I guess I should clarify to say that people should be encouraged, in a positive non shaming way, to eat healthy and get some exercise for health reasons, even if it isn't for the goal of being in perfect shape. There have been several studies that have shown over weight people who get some exercise and eat well can be as healthy or more so than people who are naturally thin but eat like crap and don't exercise at all. I do think that healthy living, without a focus on appearance or size, is an admirable goal from a public health standpoint. However, I hope that people see that differently from fat shaming or saying everyone has to have a perfect gym body. I am far from having one of those myself. 

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On the one hand my heart goes out to anyone who has to deal with what fat people do in society. On the other, this "movement" goes way too far. We can't pretend it's healthy that so many people nowadays are obese and furthermore, I'm really sorry but I will never find it attractive and I ~really~ hate how somehow I have to feel guilty about what I am or am not attracted to (seriously I thought the whole "it's okay to be gay" thing should've put the nail in that coffin........). Yes I have actually heard people ranting (usually women) about why can't men just be attracted to fat. Well, sorry, we cant help it, wish we could. I mean there are guys who go for that, and all power to them. But overall it's better as a society to spend time reexamining how it is (hint: non-consumerist capitalism) that we ended up with more than 10% of the population clinically obese, and how to help fix the problem, rather than throwing in the towel and trying to normalize what is very much a health hazard.

As for the "heavy" sorts--- honestly I think that's more a problem for women only but there are both guys and girls (not me) who are quite into that, and they're just quiet about it. I do agree that women who are naturally slightly heavy (not obese which is unnatural) really get a crap deal from society. Well, I'm gonna sound like a college kid despite my earlier non-pc comment, but capitalism and patriarchy are kind of real.

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Also, this sounds ranty but it's always seemed rather absurd to me that "fit privilege" is a thing we have to check ourselves for -- yet the elephant in the room of things like height (where it's women who are the more shallow ones not men, typically-- but no diet fixes this one!) are rarely ever discussed.

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On 5/8/2018 at 1:25 AM, kutam said:

But overall it's better as a society to spend time reexamining how it is (hint: non-consumerist capitalism) that we ended up with more than 10% of the population clinically obese, and how to help fix the problem, rather than throwing in the towel and trying to normalize what is very much a health hazard.

^ This. Again if an individual is happy being obese and is aware of the health risks that go with it, then do your thing. But never go up to an impressionable fat kid and tell them it's okay to eat themselves to death. 

On 5/8/2018 at 1:29 AM, kutam said:

Also, this sounds ranty but it's always seemed rather absurd to me that "fit privilege" is a thing we have to check ourselves for -- yet the elephant in the room of things like height (where it's women who are the more shallow ones not men, typically-- but no diet fixes this one!) are rarely ever discussed.

Thin privilege is the trending term for this one, as the fat acceptance movement does not seem to differentiate between fit people and anorexics as they are group and applied the label "thin people". That's right, my 5'7" skinny 145 lbs ass falls in the same category as the dudes whose pictures and videos grace the media sub-forum.

The argument here is that people of both these body-types are privileged because they are able to do things like, walk through doorways, sit in chairs, maintain walking pace for an extended period of time, buy clothes off the rack, eat whatever they want without being judged (actually I think this one is legit). But I can't warp my mind to think of these examples as thin privilege, so much as not being able to take part in those activities as a disability. Fat consequences, if you will. 

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