Fat Pride: Cultural Fad or the New Norm?

 

The Fat Acceptance Movement has been gaining popularity among social media outlets for the past few years.  Photos and selfies with pro-fat acceptance slogans and hashtags can be found in many corners of the internet.  However, is this new movement glorifying obesity? The body positivity campaign was started to shed light on the fact that models were portraying an unrealistic image for America’s to live by. This campaign was trying to prove that people of any size can, and should, love their bodies just the way they are.  However, the body positivity campaign took a radical turn and it is now used by many obese and overweight people as a platform for fat acceptance and encouragement in society.

Obesity is a disease that is characterized by a high Body-Mass-Index (a ratio of height and weight) which is often accompanied by high blood pressure, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, sleep apnea – all of which attribute to a high mortality rate among the obese in America. Glorifying a fairly controllable disease such as obesity sends the message to society that it’s okay to mistreat your body.  Children then see these messages and believe that it’s okay to be overweight – that it’s just who they are.  It is due to these reasons that support to the fat-acceptance movement might not be in the highest interest of society.

The fat acceptance movement is an attempt to normalize an acceptance for obesity.  Those who are obese are seeking to change stereotypes and bias against overweightness – it’s an attempt to overcome a form of oppression in many aspects of life.  The movement’s goals of overcoming oppression are just, however their claims that you can be obese and healthy are not.  Many members of this movement attempt to claim that despite their high Body-Mass-Index, they are just as fit as their “normal weighted” counterparts.  According to the study by Alexandra Sifferlin, no matter if you’re fit and fat or unfit and fat, your chances of dying from heart disease complications  are on average ten years earlier than your thin and unhealthy counterparts.

I am in support of body positivity.  I am not in support of the hyper-thin or hyper-fat movements.  There are two sides of the spectrum and the extremes at both ends are unhealthy. The use of social media to glorify obese and underweight people promotes unhealthy lifestyles in society.  The promotion of this unhealthy lifestyle would radically change the course of our lives, our children’s lives, and our species future.

2011, Copyright Health Magazine. “Is the Fat Acceptance Movement Bad for Our Health?” CNN. Cable News Network, 06 Jan. 2010. Web. 20 Feb. 2016.

“Fat Acceptance Is Hazardous to US Health – The Boston Globe.”BostonGlobe.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2016.

Sifferlin, Alexandra, and Alexandra Sifferlin. “You Can’t Be Fit and Fat.”Time. Time, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2016.

 

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3 thoughts on “Fat Pride: Cultural Fad or the New Norm?”

  1. In your comment when you say, “The fat acceptance movement is an attempt to normalize an acceptance for obesity.” I disagree. First, because The Body positivity Movement, not fat acceptance is not about trying to normalize an acceptance for obesity. It is about telling young girls and women that they shouldn’t starve themselves, cut themselves, throw up their meals, let calorie counting or their appearance consume their lives, make them believe they are less than because they don’t look like what society tells them is hot, and desirable. Yes, obese and over weight women encourage body positivity. And yes, maybe some of those people are physically unhealthy and are at risk of many diseases in the future. But that doesn’t mean that they are less deserving of using body positivity to love themselves. And because they are allow to use body positivity doesn’t mean that they will never decide to live a healthier lifestyle.
    I also think it’s important to take into consideration that many times, people who are obese and overweight aren’t this way because they are just lazy. Some people went through terrible experiences that caused them to turn to food. For some, it’s a medical condition (the most recent one I have seen on social media being Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). My point here is, Body positivity should be for all bodies, thin, regurlar, fat, obese, because everyone is fighting a fight you may know nothing about. Some of these fat, obese people maybe were suicidal because they hate themselves, or because they have been severly bullied, ect… Body Positivity Movement maybe the only thing that gave them hope to live, to realize that they are more than just their bodies. So yea, maybe being overweight and obese isn’t the greatest thing health wise, but neither is body image dysmorphia, being suicidal or eating disorders. Many of those overweight and obese people you mentioned could have choose to be anorexic or bulimic among other things, in a society that promotes those things everywhere all the times, they choose to self love instead and to me that’s something to admire. It’s certainly is no a glorification of obesity.

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    1. Hi Nancy, thanks for the comments.
      To respond to the first part of your comment, I just wanted to share with you the two different movements and their goals. I am pro-body positivity and the goals outlined in the movements webpage, which can be found here: http://thebodypositive.org/about-us.html. I am however, in disagreement with the pro-fat acceptance movement which is a separate group from the Body Positivity group. The fat-acceptance movement goals can be found here: http://www.naafaonline.com/dev2/about/index.html, and more detailed in their wiki page here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_acceptance_movement. I am in total agreement that everyone should love themselves and I am in no way advocating for people to self-harm or turn to anorexia (pro-thinness in culture is a whole issue in itself that is a separate argument from mine entirely) but I do believe that everyone can love themselves and also be health-conscious and a in a healthy weight range. Obesity is considered to be a BMI of over 30, and extreme obesity, which many members of the pro-fat acceptance fall under, is a BMI of over 40. With the aid of doctors, psychologists, dietitians and trainers I believe that everyone can be within a healthy BMI range and still love their bodies.

      As for the second part of your comment, nowhere in my blog post did I accuse or suggest why these people have become obese or overweight. I am aware that there are many reasons as to why a person could have become obese in their lifetime. Again, I am not advocating for anti-body positivity, or for more people to be diagnosed with anorexia or bulimia. I am advocating for healthy lifestyles for everyone. I outline these thoughts in paragraph three of my blog post above. My major concern for the pro-fat acceptance movement is regarding its presence in social media and its effect on the future generations of humans on Earth. I am more concerned with how the acceptance of obesity as a seemingly unchangeable fact for people is becoming more widely accepted, as opposed to the fact that obesity is a fairly controllable disease that can be tackled through a series of doctor’s appointments and serious effort by the individual it effects.

      Thanks again for your feedback. I understand that my thoughts and opinions were not shared as well as I would have liked due to the word count constraints placed on the assignment. If you have any more comments or questions, please feel free to respond.

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      1. Hello Becca, thank you for your response. I have actually never heard of the pro-fat movement. I understand your point.

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