This has been a particularly acerbic media week, hasn’t it? From the report that a couple in Yorkshire aren’t being allowed to adopt because the husband is “too fat,” to the peak of January self-loathing fervor, to new shows where it is acceptable to psychologically break down and physically torture fat human beings.
Sometimes it feels like fat acceptance is a lost cause, isn’t it? That the tide of hate is too high, and we can’t keep our heads above water (and it will get deeper yet: mark my words, our children’s generation will be when fat hate peaks).
Top levels of government are being filled with individuals whose public mission is to eradicate fat people, especially fat children. Already, programs with big price tags have been initiated in several countries (and some states and many school districts) which aim to do just this, and other countries are either making plans to unveil their own (once they either get into power, or scare enough cash out of the citizenry), or are investigating laws or penalties for being fat.
Children have already been or threatened to have been taken away from their parents or embroiled in custody battles, because they are ‘too’ fat and the parents ‘won’t’ restrict or run them ‘enough’ so that they become permanently thin.
Such a climate has already led to unprecedented levels of size-related bullying, not to mention a plethora of ignorant, hateful, discriminatory, obviously nonfactual, and condescending statements from entertainment, media, political, business, and ‘scientific‘ big-wigs and attention whores.
But, despite the fear and loss of hope we feel with each new anti-fat development, we must keep our heads above water. We need to keep talking. We need to reach out to individuals who identify with as many different groups as possible, since anyone can be fat, so fat activism encompasses us all. We need to stand our ground, and keep repeating solid messages in the hope that someone, somewhere, eventually listens, even just once.
We need to become more visible.
Don’t hide your body anymore. Wear what they don’t want you to wear.
Act out. Show yourself.
Speak for yourself. Speak for fat rights.
Protect yourself against fat hate in its more violent forms by learning how to defend yourelf physically.
Post flyers around your campus or workplace. Don’t let your employer push you into that Wellness program, and don’t put up with the fat-hate of colleagues.
Don’t put up with fat hate from anyone. Not friends. Not family. There’s no such thing as someone who is absolved of prejudice. Whatever their excuse, whatever their intent, they must be told that there is a line they cannot cross, otherwise you can no longer associate with them.
Like most successful movements, the strength comes from individual commitment. You must be first committed to your own rights, before you can fight for the rights of others. You must first be very sure of your own message, before you can advise others.
Each of us has the strength to ride out the tide, and to find dry land again. We each have the power to go beyond, and to save others while we’re at it. Don’t let yourself be swallowed by hate. Even if you must from time to time be silent as you gasp for air in a swell of injustice, do not let that swell drown you for good.