I’ve stated before that I believe it’s theoretically possible for a dieter to be pro-fat rights. People accept all sorts of contradictions in their lives with seeming ease; one can be a proponent for the rights of a group without wanting to be a member of that group, sure.
However, there’s a bigger picture that I’m beginning to realize with this whole “I’m for fat rights but personally want to lose X lbs.” The Not-In-My-Backyard (NIMBY) argument.
Most people are familiar with NIMBY arguments: one realistic model is pro-alternative energy activists not wanting the view from their summer beachhouse marred by off-shore windmills.
When a dieter says, “I’m for fat rights but personally want to lose X lbs,” it’s a variation of the NIMBY argument. They’re for fat rights, sure, but they’re going to impose a restrictive lifestyle on themselves and possibly their family because, personally, they don’t want to be fat(ter). Rationalize it any way you want — “Even though I want to lose X lbs I’ll still be considered fat by society’s current standards,” or “I don’t want to be thin, I just want to be a size healthier!” or what have you, it’s simply a Not-In-My-Backyard argument.
And many, many other civil rights activists more experienced and eloquent than I can tell you why the NIMBY argument is a fallacy and will only ultimately hobble any civil rights movement.
For those who aren’t quite clear on it, the prevailing science is this: fat fit people are as healthy as normal-weight fit people, on average; by far the greatest risk factor for heart disease/tII diabetes is genetics; it is a rare anti-obesity study that is *not* backed by a self-interested Pharma company, or power-player orgs like the RWJF; starving a fat child thin will *not* make him eternally healthful and youthful and will in fact likely make him shorter and stupider as well as thinner; the causal relationship between human adipose tissue and any of its so-called comorbities has not been established over nearly 100 years of obesity studies; significant weight loss is impossible to maintain for virtually all people; the correlation between weight loss and increasing health has not been extricated from the correlation between greater fitness and increasing health, or the temporary effects of weight loss itself; every since the creation of the childhood obesity epidemic, the prevalence of childhood eating disorders has soared, and keeps rising even as average weight gain is plateauing; a certain amount of fat is needed for proper brain/gallbladder functioning, and low-fat diets put these organs in danger; there’s a strong correlation between crash dieting/WLS and gallbladder problems, anemia, nutritional deficiences, as well as a whole other host of serious health issues which pale in comparison to most fat-related comorbities, including ED/WLS-related death; WLS and other similar stomach-reshaping/mutilating procedures are for many just forced bulimia; diet foods themselves are not necessarily “healthy,” and the idea of a human being living on no-fat veggies and empty fiber is nutritionally absurd (vegetarian/vegans/raw foodists need fats and proteins in their diets from “bad” foods like bean-types and nuts, and do not live on leafy greens and wheat germ alone), though these are food which are categorized as “healthy” to children, all other foods being lumped into the “bad” category upon which are imposed various levels of “moderation” and restriction; …. ad nauseam. REFERENCES: Search the Junkfood Science website for links to the proper articles, they’re all there.
Considering what we know about the science, the deep hypocrisy of the Fat NIMBY Argument becomes painfully apparent. Dieting for long-term weight loss is virtually impossible and can lead to serious physical and mental health problems: so the “I need to be a size healthier, though I won’t discriminate against you because you’re fat” means you do not accept that fat is not a choice for virtually all people, and you feed into the corrupt diet industry’s mantras and likely also feed their bloated coffers. And that is not fat acceptance, nor is it, in the long-term, good for the fat rights movement as a whole.
EDIT: I’ve included my comment on Attrice’s “Question about dieting and fat activism” post here:
I started writing a response about how dieting and being pro-fat rights can be paralleled to a “Not In My Backyard” (NIMBY) point of view, but it went very long and so I just made a post about it on my blog: https://bigliberty.wordpress.com/2008/05/12/the-fat-nimby-argument/
Summary: The “I support fat rights but personally want to lose X lbs” is similar to alternative energy activists petitioning to not have windmills mar the view from their summer beachhouses. Perhaps they are great alternative energy activists, and do wonderful things for their community, donate money to great charitable causes promoting alternative energy, go to marches and protests &etc.
But certainly one can see how the NIMBY argument is ultimately hypocrisy and thus ultimately harmful to the alternative energy movement as a whole. Those windmills have to go somewhere. Similarly, to state in one breath that for virtually all people fat is not a choice, therefore they should not be treated as moral outcasts and share equal rights with thinner individuals, and in the next breath engage in diet-talk, is ultimately hypocrisy and does *not* ultimately help the FA/FR movement.
Those fat people have to go somewhere. They’re not getting anywhere on good intentions; your dollars further bloating the coffers of the diet industry, your support of anti-obesity initiatives in what has been turned into the experimental laboratory of public school, your desire to shed fat from your own body for whatever reason, are all silent judgments as fat(ter) people as disgusting/unhealthy/morally inferior to thin(ner) people.
That’s why diet talk is incompatible with FA/FR, and why dieters cannot ultimately help further the fat rights movement. Quite simply, one cannot allow that kind of hypocrisy in a movement and expect it to survive.
That’s not to say that dieters shouldn’t read FA blogs, or comment, as long as they understand the purpose of the blogs and each blog’s individual rules. In fact, I wish every dieter that exists read FA blogs. But a dieter cannot be a fat rights activist, in the true sense, and though well-intentioned they have the potential to harm the movement to a far greater degree than whatever they’re doing to ostensibly further it.