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.

More articles by:

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

February 22, 2018
Mark Schuller
Haiti’s Latest Indignity at the Hands of Dogooders, Oxfam’s Sex Scandal
Jeffrey Sommers
Bond Villain in the World Economy: Latvia’s Offshore Banking Sector
Mark Schuller
Haiti’s Latest Indignity at the Hands of Dogooders, Oxfam’s Sex Scandal
T.J. Coles
How the US Bullies North Korea, 1945-Present
Ipek S. Burnett
Rethinking Freedom in the Era of Mass Shootings
Manuel E. Yepe
Fire and Fury: More Than a Publishing Hit
Patrick Bobilin
Caught in a Trap: Being a Latino Democrat is Being in an Abusive Relationship
Laurel Krause
From Kent State to Parkland High: Will America Ever Learn?
Terry Simons
Congress and the AR-15: One NRA Stooge Too Many
George Wuerthner
Border Wall Delusions
Manuel García, Jr.
The Anthropocene’s Birthday, or the Birth-Year of Human-Accelerated Climate Change
Thomas Knapp
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Russiagate
February 21, 2018
Cecil Bothwell
Billy Graham and the Gospel of Fear
Ajamu Baraka
Venezuela: Revenge of the Mad-Dog Empire
Edward Hunt
Treating North Korea Rough
Binoy Kampmark
Meddling for Empire: the CIA Comes Clean
Ron Jacobs
Stamping Out Hunger
Ammar Kourany – Martha Myers
So, You Think You Are My Partner? International NGOs and National NGOs, Costs of Asymmetrical Relationships
Michael Welton
1980s: From Star Wars to the End of the Cold War
Judith Deutsch
Finkelstein on Gaza: Who or What Has a Right to Exist? 
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
War Preparations on Venezuela as Election Nears
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Military Realities
Steve Early
Refinery Safety Campaign Frays Blue-Green Alliance
Ali Mohsin
Muslims Face Increasing Discrimination, State Surveillance Under Trump
Julian Vigo
UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal
Peter Crowley
Revisiting ‘Make America Great Again’
Andrew Stewart
Black Panther: Afrofuturism Gets a Superb Film, Marvel Grows Up and I Don’t Know How to Review It
CounterPunch News Service
A Call to Celebrate 2018 as the Year of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois by the Saturday Free School
February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail