Anyone who is either overweight or obese has heard of size acceptance before. For those who are new to the term, let’s define it. “The size acceptance movement (also known as fat acceptance, fat liberation, fat activism, or fat power movement) is an effort to change societal attitudes towards fat, obese, and overweight people.” (Wikipedia)
Now, while some may dismiss Wikipedia as an information superhighway of misinformation, it’s actually a pretty decent description of what size acceptance is all about. Over the past couple of years there has been a trend to include people of all body shapes and sizes who somehow have difficulty falling in what is considered “average”, and rightfully so, in my opinion.
So, with all of the obese people living in the world, one would think that THEY hold all the cards, if this obesity epidemic that the medical community talks about is as widespread as they say. After all, based on their estimates, aren’t there more fat people than thin? With that said, why wouldn’t fat acceptance already have a foothold in our society?
I believe the reason is that we have problems accepting others within our own community.
Let me explain with a little story. This past weekend my girlfriend Lissa mentioned to me a situation involving someone she knows on Facebook. She’s a young lady who weighs about 240 pounds, and generally wears a size 20. She is certainly not “average”. This girl belongs to a Facebook group that Lissa frequents for “BBWs”. Well, lo and behold, this girl received what amounted to hate messages from other women in the group who told her she was “too small” to participate in the group. 240 pounds and other women don’t think that she belongs in a BBW group!
I suppose they would want her to gain weight in order to be of similar size. After all, you don’t fit in! Well, if she’s too big to be considered average, and too small to be considered fat (by her “peers”), can someone explain where she’s supposed to be?
These comments are things that I would expect to hear from some guys who are into weight gain, the boys/men who frequent Fantasy Feeder, where no matter how much weight you gain, you could always gain more……..a LOT more. These are women however, who are talking to their sisters, who are supposed to be on the same “team”……the team that’s supposed to be about size acceptance.
Here, let me give you another example. I participate in another forum. Recently a new person joined the forum and posted pics. Again, she wasn’t super sized. My guess is that she was around a size 14-16, which most consider “plus sized”. She posted some pics of herself on her profile page there, and then received the following private messages:
“… get off our site and go to one of the million skinny bit** sites out there!”
“YOU DON’T BELONG HERE!!!”
“You are NOT a BBW. Go eat a fu**ing cheeseburger.”
“You call yourself thick? You’re thickheaded if you think that….”
Again, all in the name of size acceptance. What none of those women who sent those messages knew was that she was bisexual and a female fat admirer, and was there to socialize with fat women, not to get ogled by any men who only preferred extra large women.
It doesn’t just happen on the boards/forums and Facebook groups where it’s safe to do so, it happens in real life as well. Anyone who has attended a BBW dance or weekend event has seen guys walk into a dance & walk past all of the “skinny” women (you know, from size 14-24) so they can take a crack at the big gals from size 26 on up. Some of you have also the experienced the opposite, where the smaller girls say nasty things to the super sized women because of the scenario that I just described. Even my own NJ Bash, while the focus for us was more on socializing, had a lot of body politics going on.
Most recently, there has been a split with the folks who run the Vegas Bash event. While I can tell you that many things can cause problems between people who run the events (and that might end up on a future blog), I’ve heard that one of the original principals in the Vegas Bash was losing weight, and one of the other principals did not want to see a “thinner” person as the face of the Vegas Bash. Again, while I can’t verify this statement, I can say that based on how the “inside” community operates, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility (and for the person who told me that Vegas Bash was drama free, look again).
It seems to me that there’s a lot at stake here. For those who run events, if they’re profit motivated, it’s about just that and how the size of the owners/operators affect that bottom line. For those who attend these events or participate in forums and groups, it’s about who gets the attention from the opposite sex.
From the noted blogger Lesley Kinzel who writes a blog called Two Whole Cakes, and is a regular contributor at XOJane:
If I am going to expect others to respect and value my body and my choices, I must value the tremendous diversity of all bodies in return. Fat acceptance isn’t just for me, or just for fat people; everyone needs fat acceptance, because this is a lesson that benefits us all.
Somehow, some fat people still look for acceptance ONLY as it pertains to them, and to hell with the rest of the fat world.