FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Fat Preference Versus Real Acceptance

by

The risk with any kind of binary-thinking is that there is no real room for difference. You are one or the other. The U.S. loves its binaries: black or white, man or woman, gay or straight. Such thinking misses the complexities of people, limiting us all into narrow boxes. Perhaps nowhere is binary-thinking more obvious today than in what has been called the “fat acceptance movement.”

Building on decades of legitimate concern about body image and the ways that women and girls are constantly taught that they are too heavy, the fat acceptance movement has promoted a swing of the pendulum that is equally dangerous. Websites like Upworthy and Huffington Post repeatedly feature pictures and videos of women who are exerting their right to have more ample bodies. Ad nauseam, such sites reveal photo-shopped women and their real, less toned, bodies, mothers of four who wear with pride their sagginess, or heavier women wearing bikinis to show that it is OK. These images and articles are then re-posted on Facebook, tweeted across the universe, and otherwise slammed in our faces.

Of course it is OK to wear what you want despite your size! But that’s not the point, or at least it shouldn’t be. The goal of this fat acceptance movement, at least purportedly, is acceptance. To show that it should not be our bodies that determine our character. Yet too often these images and the dialogue that surrounds them say exactly that: that it is indeed your body that matters most, and if you happen to be thin you are simply not accepted. Being skinny and fit is equated with some deep flaw. You try too hard. You are too body conscious. You are weak and thus manipulated by the beauty industry. Blah, blah, blah.

Take, for instance, the conversation surrounding Miss Indiana’s body in the 2014 Miss USA Pageant. Miss Indiana, MeKayla Diehl, who was widely praised for being “more curvy” than the other pageant contestants. She was described as having a “realistic body,” which resulted in a full-on explosion of the Twitter universe, as women denounced the 5’8”, size 4 Diehl as far from average, which they claim is 5’3” and a size 12. Enter the name-calling of skinny people, “twigs,” “toothpicks,” or “bag of bones.”

And the divide continues, focusing on her body, on our bodies, and not on what we say or do. The discussion about whether Diehl is “normal” or “average” or whether a mother is healthier because she accepts her post-baby weight or works hard to lose it prevents us from moving to a place where we truly do not care, nor judge people, based on their height, weight or dress size.

We can do better.

Laura Finley, Ph.D., teaches in the Barry University Department of Sociology & Criminology and is syndicated by PeaceVoice.

Laura Finley, Ph.D., teaches in the Barry University Department of Sociology & Criminology and is syndicated by PeaceVoice.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 22, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Good as Goldman: Hillary and Wall Street
Joseph E. Lowndes
From Silent Majority to White-Hot Rage: Observations from Cleveland
Paul Street
Political Correctness: Handle with Care
Richard Moser
Actions Express Priorities: 40 Years of Failed Lesser Evil Voting
Eric Draitser
Hillary and Tim Kaine: a Match Made on Wall Street
Conn Hallinan
The Big Boom: Nukes And NATO
Ron Jacobs
Exacerbate the Split in the Ruling Class
Jill Stein
After US Airstrikes Kill 73 in Syria, It’s Time to End Military Assaults that Breed Terrorism
Jack Rasmus
Trump, Trade and Working Class Discontent
John Feffer
Could a Military Coup Happen Here?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Late Night, Wine-Soaked Thoughts on Trump’s Jeremiad
Andrew Levine
Vice Presidents: What Are They Good For?
Michael Lukas
Law, Order, and the Disciplining of Black Bodies at the Republican National Convention
Victor Grossman
Horror News, This Time From Munich
Margaret Kimberley
Gavin Long’s Last Words
Mark Weisbrot
Confidence and the Degradation of Brazil
Brian Cloughley
Boris Johnson: Britain’s Lying Buffoon
Lawrence Reichard
A Global Crossroad
Kevin Schwartz
Beyond 28 Pages: Saudi Arabia and the West
Charles Pierson
The Courage of Kalyn Chapman James
Michael Brenner
Terrorism Redux
Bruce Lerro
Being Inconvenienced While Minding My Own Business: Liberals and the Social Contract Theory of Violence
Mark Dunbar
The Politics of Jeremy Corbyn
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Why It’s Just Fine for U.S. to Blow Up Children
Binoy Kampmark
Laura Ingraham and Trumpism
Uri Avnery
The Great Rift
Nicholas Buccola
What’s the Matter with What Ted Said?
Aidan O'Brien
Thank Allah for Western Democracy, Despondency and Defeat
Joseph Natoli
The Politics of Crazy and Stupid
Sher Ali Khan
Empirocracy
Nauman Sadiq
A House Divided: Turkey’s Failed Coup Plot
Franklin Lamb
A Roadmap for Lebanon to Grant Civil Rights for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon
Colin Todhunter
Power and the Bomb: Conducting International Relations with the Threat of Mass Murder
Michael Barker
UK Labour’s Rightwing Select Corporate Lobbyist to Oppose Jeremy Corbyn
Graham Peebles
Brexit, Trump and Lots of Anger
Anhvinh Doanvo
Civilian Deaths, Iraq, Syria, ISIS and Drones
Christopher Brauchli
Kansas and the Phantom Voters
Peter Lee
Gavin Long’s Manifesto and the Politics of “Terrorism”
Missy Comley Beattie
An Alarmingly Ignorant Fuck
Robert Koehler
Volatile America
Adam Vogal
Why Black Lives Matter To Me
Raouf Halaby
It Is Not Plagiarism, Y’all
Rev. Jeff Hood
Deliver Us From Babel
Frances Madeson
Juvenile Life Without Parole, Captured in ‘Natural Life’
Charles R. Larson
Review: Han Kang’s “The Vegetarian”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail