FAT PREJUDICE

It seems in most books on fat issues that I read, the most damaging thing about being fat is how fat people are treated by society as a whole.  This is fat prejudice. 

prej·u·dice   (pr j -d s)

NOUN:

1.         a.         An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts.

            b.         A preconceived preference or idea.

2.         The act or state of holding unreasonable preconceived judgments or convictions.

3.         Irrational suspicion or hatred of a particular group, race, or religion.

4.         Detriment or injury caused to a person by the preconceived, unfavorable conviction of another or others.

What seems clear in the above definition is prejudice is irrational ignorance. 

So how come fat people are blamed?  Why are we supposed to change?  Not only does society support fat prejudice, it wants fat people to buy into it too!  To join in on the irrationality of it!  WTF?

 Then you get the argument, “Well you can change.”  Even if that were true, it doesn’t give anyone the right to discriminate against fat people.  Why do I have to change my fatness because you hate fat people?  And most of the evidence seems to show, that no, we cannot change – at least not in the long term.  Most fat people are naturally fat.  It’s called diversity folks.  Some fat people may not be “naturally” fat, but are fat because of medical conditions – again, no choice. 

 The whole “you can change” argument reminds me of the early arguments about homosexuality.  Finally, most people have come to recognize (if not accept) that being gay is a natural occurrence.  It is not a choice.  You are what you are. 

 And I really HATE books that go on and on about how being fat is natural, and being fat is not a mandatory early death sentence, etc.; and then the focus turns to how to win the battle against yourself to be the person you naturally are.  Arghhhhhhhh. 

 It reminds me of Margaret Cho in her one-woman show, I’m the One that I Want – when she talks about having to lose weight to play herself in her own TV show.  I can so relate, only people want me to lose weight to be myself in my own life.

 So I don’t want to hear about how being fat is okay, BUT …   There is no BUT.  Please spare me your “concern” about my health.  You don’t know me, and my health is none of your beeswax!  (where did that phrase originate? oh well, it works) 

 I just want to know how long before we can turn the fat discrimination discussion around so that the focus is on the real problem – prejudice.

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8 thoughts on “FAT PREJUDICE

  1. I actually totally agree with this post, the problem isnt that being fat is ok its that NO ONE Should be judged for the size of their body, and that there is no normal. No normal size, no normal shape, and that no one can really designated a recommended lifestyle when its comes to ones health, we are all different and what is important is that we are happy with ourselves!
    Good post!

  2. Amen! Great post! There is nothing wrong with being fat…period! There is no need to risk killing ourselves to fit in or to constantly apologize & feel ashamed of who we are. Diversity is a GOOD thing…in gender, race, sexuality, physical abilities, & BODY SIZE. And, one more thing…we deserve equal rights, access, & respect because we are human beings, not because we try to change who we are OR because we jump through hoops to prove how good we are IN SPITE OF our fat or that we live ‘right’ & do all the ‘right’ things so that it is not our ‘fault’ we are fat. It is indeed mostly genetic, natural body diversity, as well as a natural side effect of aging for most of us, but, whatever ’causes’ a person’s size, it does not need to be explained or apologized for or compensated for.

  3. I agree with you.

    I grew up with this American idea of Personal Liberty. As long as I’m not doing something illegal or something that actively hurts another person, my life is my business.

    And I think that should be true about my fat. Personally, I think this whole “you can change, so you should change” is a tactic of persecution.

    The LGBT community and the Jewish community and other groups have historically experienced this same kind of demand that they either conform or be punished.

    And fat people are being punished. I count being denied services or being charged double for services as an outright act of discrimination. That’s not even going into the part where us fat people get treated unfairly by physicians and employers and the public in general.

    We’ve crossed the line from that time where people just thought I look ugly because I’m fat, into a world where people think they have the right to demand I become thin.

    Which is why I’ve become so vocal about the matter.

  4. Elizebeth, I agree with you but the problem is that other people think they ARE being actively hurt by us being fat. I call bullshit to that but they believe it with everything they have. They have to look at us, they have to pay taxes that contribute to our health care yada yada yada. You know the rhetoric as well as I do. How do we get past that? I don’t know. I wish I did.

    • Bri-

      The argument of how much us our fat cost and how much of a burden we are on society and our families is a hard one to crack.

      Your right when you say some people “believe it with everything they have.” And I think there is a small percent of really bigoted people that we will never be able to reason with.

      As for everyone else, of late I’ve been warming to the idea that the way to convince people is by appealing to their humanity.

      Instead of taking the stance of “your wrong,” I think it’s more effective to take the stance of “could you think about it this way instead.”

      I’ve been drafting a batch of elevator pitches, in the process of writing episodes for my podcast, and the follow are question I have about the “cost of my fat.”

      *How would you feel if someone called you a burden? Or trivialized your rights by equating them with what you cost?

      *When did health-care become a luxury? Something for the wealthy, who can afford to be fat.

      *Or something we have to earn? By becoming thin.

      *Or something only the moral deserve? Only if you are willing to become thin.

      *When did it become okay to single out a group and say society shouldn’t have to take care of them? Fatties don’t deserve it because they don’t take “personal responsibility.”

      *When did it become okay to police our behaviors? You either participate in a wellness program (ie loose the fat) or get punished through a higher cost for insurance.

      This is a work in progress but it’s the way I’m battling that perception.

      I am certainly not saying I know the RIGHT way to argue for fat acceptance. But this is the way I’m doing it. And my goal is to actively support and encourage ANYONE that is willing to fight for my rights.

  5. Hey people….I have been both….I don’t overeat- I exercise- I take vitamins…I do far more for health than my naturally skinny friends who eat junk food and drink. Just be glad if you have never had to struggle with metabolism and health issues that impact your weight. I have been svelte and trim most of my life- and I never treated fat people, tall people, skinny people, old people, any people with less respect. if you do – shame on you.

  6. THANK YOU! I argue about prejudice and discrimination all the time and for some reason people CAN NOT seem to separate what they think the health factors are. Like it’s okay to discriminate if you’re being unhealthy! BAH! >.<

    Also… about the beeswax thing. My boyfriend speaks often in Cockney Rhyming Slang and the whole "beeswax" thing reminds me of that.

    Business, beeswax.

    I dunno. Just a guess! ❤

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