Every month (or so), I help my wonderful husband do the news roundup for the NAAFA E-newsletter (if you don’t subscribe, you might want to check it out – it’s free; and includes the links to the various articles and studies). And every month (or so), I get kind of depressed at all the unmitigated bullshit that is propagated regarding fat people.
I understand why there are so many studies “proving” that being fat is a terrible thing. That’s where the money is. Since our government has declared “war” on us, you know that any studies that support that declaration are more apt to receive government funding. And if not government funding, then these studies help prop up the diet industry and big pharmaco’s vested interest in making fat people feel bad about themselves (and convincing everybody else that fat people are bad people).
On the other hand, I also get to see what some of the leaders of the fat community have to say about these subjects in Yahoo Groups such as ShowMeTheData and FatStudies. And I get to read the articles and studies that acknowledge that fat is a complex issue (and dare I say it, possibly simply a part of the diversity of nature?), and that most problems fat people face come not from being fat, but rather from the fat bigotry and phobia condoned by society.
Having read these articles, when I go out into that big fat-hating world, I feel better armed and ready (as well as locked and loaded) to deal with the disinformation, ignorance, and outright lies that may be waiting for me. As I’ve said before, just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me.
I am often told that the reason I don’t run into a whole lot of fataphobic treatment is because I come across as a person who won’t stand for it. Well, that’s true – to an extent; although I consider myself as mostly a non-confrontational type of person. I think one reason I come across this way is the confidence I have in my knowledge that I don’t deserve to be treated poorly and that 99.9% of the time I know more about being fat than the person who is trying to oppress me. Just having the knowledge makes me surer and braver when I go out into the world.
When I say “F*ck you” to someone, I think they know (somewhere in their heart of hearts) that my “f*ck you” is coming from a place of confidence and knowledge – and that I am prepared to whip out my knowledge and use it.
So this is why I encourage fat people to educate themselves about fat issues. You may never need the knowledge but you’ll feel better for having it. Be a fat scout – always be prepared!