Real Fucking Fat Acceptance

(this post has NO TRIGGER WARNINGS, no diet ratings, or anything. It’s just FA, baby.)

There is an unavoidable plethora of diet-talk, fat-negative-talk, and pro-weightloss-intervention-speak  nearly everywhere in Western society. What actual fucking fat acceptance (FA) does is first off give you a break from all of that. Secondly, it challenges those negative, hurtful, and hateful messages. But, most importantly, it does a third thing: through discoveries and analyses of medical and sociological literature, it provides convincing evidence that:

  1. diets don’t work for the vast majority of dieters,
  2. fat is largely genetic,
  3. the correlations between fat and certain conditions haven’t yet been shown to be causative,
  4. the ‘obesity epidemic’ is a moral panic.

I personally best summed up the reality of the ‘obesity epidemic’ in my post, The Tall Epidemic. Tall people are at greater risk for certain conditions, too; tall people could be argued to cost more health-dollars that normal-height people; and tallness, though largely genetic, is not entirely so (one’s height can be stunted by means of poor nutrition during childhood, for instance). Like fatness, tallness is hard to correct, though due to the nature of the tissue only the most drastic means of correction can be undergone, like surgery (but there is also surgery to ‘correct’ fatness, mind).

Not to plug, but you should really read it if you’re teetering on the edge of uncertainty about whether, goshdarnit, perhaps certain people or populations should try to reduce their weight, or that perhaps maybe us fatties are doomed to a shorter lifespan due to our fat, and why that’s alarming and perhaps should be corrected, if not through dieting now, ultimately through the next-gen ‘safe’ anti-fatness measure that’s coming down the pipeline.

Because hiding under the veil of the concerned skeptic doesn’t wash with me. Because, ultimately, the ‘obesity epidemic’ doesn’t have a darned thing to do with actual health. If it did, other populations who arguably engage in ‘risky’ lifestyles, like being tall, or male, or an athlete, would be focused on, too. Once you accept the premise that one doesn’t choose to be fat, then giving credence to arguments that the weight of certain populations should be reduced for their own good is no different han giving credence to arguments that the height of certain populations should be reduced for their own good. Silly, no? And yet, here we are.

Real fucking fat acceptance. Riff-raff. Extremists. Those hard-liners in the community who recognize that lending credence to anti-fat arguments is not only usually at odds with more rigorous arguments and scientific reasoning, but also it is at odds with sociological realities. It doesn’t take much digging and studying to come to this conclusion: that’s why there’s a bevy of FA 101 posts floating around the ‘sphere which many of us link to religiously. Because we’ve made these arguments before. We’ve read these studies. We’ve lived our experiences. And, despite our best skeptic sensibilities (or perhaps due to them), many of us are coming to the same conclusions, namely, the four points listed above.

I always find it kind of amusing when I get the occasional troll or even attack-post on an external blog which loops back around to this argument that us riff-raff hardliners are delusional and enforce an echo-chamber precisely because we can’t handle opposition to our ideas, which to them is the veritable house of cards that blow down with a single strong whuff of anti-fat logic.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The trolls, anti-fats, and concerned skeptics tend to be the delusional ones. And lazy, to boot. See, the reason why I personally (and I’m sure many of my FA brethren) sift out these common anti-fat arguments is because we:

  1. have already heard them and responded to them earlier in our blog, or there exists an awesome FA 101 post on another blog (the trolls are too lazy to read, especially links)
  2. know that we’d be engaging in a particularly prolonged game of bash-head-on-wall if we choose to argue with these trolls (they are impervious to logic)
  3. understand that these knock-down-drag-outs in comments sections sap our energy to make more posts and tackle new subjects, which is ultimately more important (they are unreasonable)

A mentor of mine, a philosopher and economist, once told me that you have to give your opponent his best argument if you are to argue effectively. Most riff-raff hardliner FA blogs do just that: we are not burying our heads in the sand with respect to actual fucking medical research and actual fucking reality. In fact, most of these ‘skeptics’ engaging in balancing acts between calling themselves fat accepting and lending credence to the same tired old points the riff-raff have debunked years ago and over, and over, and over again are the ones burying their heads in the sand. It’s even worse than the ignorance perpetuated by the true pro-weightloss anti-fat ubiquity, because you’ve ostensibly had the opportunity to educate yourself in that you have access to challenging arguments, and still you cling to hope?– fear?– loathing?– whatever it might be to make you uncomfortable with the strong body of evidence gathered by us actual fucking fat acceptance riff-raff hardliners.

Because, your arguments? Heard them before, debunked them last weeks, probably multiple times. Our credentials? Well, I can read and understand scientific literature — logic and rigor are my two oft-used watermarks, and you know what? Most anti-fat pro-interventionists studies, they don’t measure up. From the sociological angle, there is the impeturbable elephant in the room mentioned above: all signs point to us being in a moral panic, and not just the media or the great unwashed, but the research community, as well. And we all know what great science comes out of the research community operating within a moral panic.

I’m not sure exactly what I’d term this new pro-FA-while-skeptical-of-FA-while-ignoring-the-body-of-evidence-FA-has-built community, but I know what it’s not: real fucking fat acceptance.

Note for the comments: I famously have little patience for bullshit I’ve already argued seven thousand times. New angles are interesting, but old stuff? Boring. And arguing old stuff already debunked because it’s some kind of chesnut you fear to abandon? Trolling, and will be moderated into the ether. Because I’m not here to hold your hand through FA 101. And if you’re too lazy to do your homework or too delusional/irrational to understand it, that’s not my fucking problem.

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15 comments on “Real Fucking Fat Acceptance

  1. jenincanada says:

    “Because, your arguments? Heard them before, debunked them last week, probably multiple times. Our credentials? Well, I can read and understand scientific literature — logic and rigor are my two oft-used watermarks, and you know what? Most anti-fat pro-interventionists studies, they don’t measure up. From the sociological angle, there is the impeturbable elephant in the room mentioned above: all signs point to us being in a moral panic, and not just the media or the great unwashed, but the research community, as well.”

    Rock the hell on, BigLiberty. 🙂

  2. Katie says:

    YES. I am still irritated to see some of the concern troll type stuff occasionally coming up on various FA feeds. fuck that noise.

  3. synna1 says:

    /Thunderous Applause.

  4. meowser says:

    What’s really interesting is the people like Paul Campos, J. Eric Oliver, and the Freakonomics guys, who started out believing all the typical tropes about fat, then changed their minds as they started to do their homework about it (Campos and Oliver while they were writing their books, the Freakonomics guys later). I always wonder about the people who complain that we have no “medical doctors” in this movement; do they think Campos et al are pulling those numbers out of their asses? No, they come from peer-reviewed studies in medical and scientific journals, thank you very much. (Plus the trolls have never heard of Paul Ernsberger, William Bennett, etc.)

    And no, I don’t ever see sports fans complaining about the vast amounts of medical care that professional athletes need (multiple surgeries before the age of 30 are not uncommon, and let’s not even discuss how much care they need after age 30), unless it’s keeping their favorite players off the field/court/ice/etc.

  5. silentbeep says:

    Love it!

  6. atchka says:

    Okay, so in order to be “real fucking fat acceptance” I have to believe everything you say, read everything you write and agree with everything you propose, or else I’m just “fake” FA or FA Lite?

    You know what, you may be tired of arguing the same old things over and over, but YOU ARE THE FUCKING CHOIR.

    We’re not trying to convince Big Liberty that your opinions are correct. We’re trying to convince THE REST OF THE FUCKING COUNTRY that fat is not a death sentence.

    You act like you’re a scientist, yet you have a problem with skepticism of Fat Acceptance? Like questioning aspects of Fat Acceptance is somehow heresy.

    If Fat Acceptance is so air tight, then why does skepticism bother you so much? What the hell is your problem with people asking questions? Because you’re annoyed that you have to answer them? THEN DON’T ANSWER THEM.

    I’m really, REALLY sick of people dividing Fat Acceptance into “real” and “other.” Not everyone has been studying this for years and not everyone is going to keep their mouths shut until they agree with you.

    If you want to have a strict interpretation of Fat Acceptance, cool. I have no problem with that. We need hardliners in Fat Acceptance.

    Where I have a problem is when you tell other people what is and isn’t Fat Acceptance. Or what is and isn’t the correct way to learn about Fat Acceptance.

    I learn through skepticism. If my skeptical questioning is wrong, then I learn from that. If it’s right, then I learn from that too.

    You talk about how long Fat Acceptance has been around and how solid and sound it’s arguments are. And yet, where as it gotten us? Where does Fat Acceptance stand today as a movement? Pretty much the same place it stood five years ago, ten years ago: a socially rejected theory.

    The people who bring movements, such as Fat Acceptance, to the mainstream are the moderates, not the extremists. Moderates bridge the gap between extremist beliefs and mainstream doubt.

    This post, in my opinion, is 25% ridiculous. You want to talk about the trouble with addressing trolls? Fine. You want to talk about the trouble with addressing newbies and skeptics of Fat Acceptance? Fine.

    But the minute you start telling me what is and isn’t “real” Fat Acceptance, you’ve lost all credibility. Who made you President of Fat Acceptance (along with Prime Minister silentbeep of “FA Lite” fame)?

    Seriously, what the fuck? What is this meant to achieve? Is your goal to push out people like me who approach all issues with a skeptical mind? Is it to convince others to ignore moderates and go for the gusto and fully embrace every single one of your arguments? Just what the hell is this supposed to accomplish?

    Peace,
    Shannon

  7. silentbeep says:

    Big Liberty,

    It’s amazing the amount of power that Athcka think you have wow! You want to join my parliament? Or perhaps we can be co-queens together! Kate Harding and The Rotund won’t know what happened once WE get a hold of this movement!!

    😉

  8. bigliberty says:

    Shannon,

    Your all-too-predictable comment is intellectually titillating, reflective, and contemplative. One really gets the sense that you truly spent time thoughtfully combing through my post, absorbing the point that I repeat over, and over, and over again.

    Oh wait, no it’s not. In fact, it fits quite nicely into my comments note at the bottom of the post.

    What was my point, anyway? Since it has eluded you, yet again, I’ll make sure to spell it out for you:

    Your ‘brand’ of FA is no FA at all. It’s not fat accepting. It’s not Fat Accepting. And, finally, it’s not Really Fucking Fat Accepting.

    You can argue that all you want, but I’ve given my reasons in this and other posts. And yes, a movement does have to have a clear-cut, discernable set of values and body of evidence in order to make any kind of reasonable difference. Your wishy-washy fake-skeptical big-tent version of FA waters down the message to the point of meaninglessness.

    Your version of FA is an anti-fat troll’s dream. I’d think on that a little bit if I were you, to understand why that’s precisely the kind of FA that’s not going make much of a difference to fat people in their struggle against pervasive fatphobia.

    But don’t take my word for it. You’ve got a community of your own that you founded (making your claim that *I* am attempting to own FA rather hypocritically laughable, don’t you think?). Make an angry post, two, or five about this. Comment on other people’s blogs about me. Please. I’d love the traffic.

    And, furthermore, welcome to the ether.

  9. silentbeep says:

    “Make an angry post, two, or five about this. Comment on other people’s blogs about me. Please. I’d love the traffic. ”

    Yeah, the above happened to me, and evidenced by his above comment (Shannon thinks I’m infamous! Wow!) it continues to happen to me. Yes and I got a lot of traffic from it.

  10. Fat Academic says:

    OMG. YES. THIS.

    THANKYOU!!!!

    Bri

  11. presq-t'j says:

    Thanks so much BigLiberty for this refreshing glass of real, true, bone fide fat acceptance.

    Delicious.

  12. […] However, one cannot be pro-dieting and anti-dieting without contradiction. And one certainly can’t be fat accepting while weakly arguing the other side’s case without necessary logical and evidential caveats, […]

  13. bigliberty says:

    @all,

    Cheers. I’m a really bad replier to comments, so I just wanted to make sure I let you all know that I’m grateful you enjoyed the post. It was lots of fun to write.

    @meowser,

    I think the effect of educated, more generally informed people changing their minds when really digging into the research on fat is more widespread — I consider myself one of those people, and I’ve changed a few minds of liberal-minded, educated friends and colleagues (not saying less-educated can’t have minds changed, but in the context of the educated, like those individuals you cited). It’s much harder to change hearts; the educated and well-informed who resist the strong evidence in favor of a less extreme fat-health relationship than advertised, fat as possibly aesthetically pleasing, and fatphobia as not ‘good for’ fat people, tend to be biased against fat in some kind of irrational way. At least, in my experience.

    @silentbeep,

    When’s my coronation? 😛

  14. Snuffycup says:

    Man oh man, I’m a reader of Kate Harding, Marianne Kirby, BigLiberty, Zaftig Chicks and anybody else that strikes my fancy. I really like and respect all these women (and any men whose work I read), but it makes me seriously sad when simple misunderstandings get completely blown out of proportion and feelings get hurt and then all hell breaks loose!

    As outsiders, I think some readers can sometimes tell when a particular post is going to piss another blogger off, but unfortunately there’s nothing any reader can do about it. In the coolest of all worlds, we readers would have some sort of “time out!” we could use so everyone could take a minute and talk and actually explain their words before fire starts raining from the sky.

    Of course in the best of all worlds, misunderstandings like these wouldn’t happen in the first place. Like if one FA post pisses off another FA blogger, the angry blogger could message directly with the author of the post to find out the real meaning behind those words instead of just flying into a blind rage. And FA bloggers who are attacked by other FA bloggers could directly message their attacker and find out why they were attacked to begin with, rather than reacting with more anger and ugliness themselves.

    Of course it’s tempting to “bring the pain” when you feel you’ve been wronged, but posting ugly and hurtful things about each other, regardless of “who started it”, is what really gets the movement nowhere and it’s a total shame. Every voice in FA has worth and merit, every writer, every reader, but we need to have a level of basic respect for one another, even if our opinions differ, or our movement really won’t get anywhere.

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