General chatter - Got into a massive argument/debate about Fat Acceptance.




ArtyKay
12-20-2011, 12:18 PM
There's a commercial that's airing right now that has women in a mall riding an escalator and singing. There are a couple of larger women in the commercial, and at one point it shows a bigger black woman by herself singing.

This person (a thin male person) commented on it in front of me, saying that the commercial makes him mad because it singles her out. He also has said before he doesn't like Adele because she's "fat" and she sets a bad example according to him.

I asked him why he thinks its acceptable to publicly critisize fat people, especially in front of a fat person. His answer?

"I wasn't talking about you. I'm talking about those super obese people...they set a bad example and they don't need to go around thinking that its okay to be fat."

me: "Do you honestly think that its ever going to be glamorized to be fat? And if you're coming from a health perspective, being overweight is a health risk, but its the same as anything else. Risk doesn't mean that health problems will occur, and its not your job to try and control other people's health in the first place."

Anyway, we went back and forth for a while, me telling him that fat people are people with feelings like anything else, him comparing being fat to smoking, ect...

My general feeling is that he considers being fat to be unacceptable, and thinks its his place to do his part to end obesity. And that if fat people are allowed feel good about themselves (I know that this is a big assumption on my part) they won't be motivated to change. He just thinks the FA movement in general is detrimental to the general public and that its going to make people think that its okay to be unhealthy or "stay fat." Basically speading complacence.

I tried really hard not to get mad and turn a debate into an argument...and mainly the conversation stayed on discussing our difference in logic, but it made me so mad and makes me mad just thinking about it.

I really think that his total unacceptance of fat is based on the fact that he finds fat unattractive and unacceptable, and just flat out doesn't want to look at it because the appearance of fat bothers him. :mad:

I'm pretty sure I said nothing that changed his mind, and that he probably just won't say anything in front of me again.

I know I shouldn't let it bother me too much, but it just infuriates me to know that a lot of people, even a majority, think this way.


krampus
12-20-2011, 12:38 PM
Oh gosh I change my mind constantly on this topic. It's a big one.

On the one hand I think people should remember that it's not healthy to be fat - and remember that being averse to large amounts of fat is natural, because most people want a healthy partner. I believe many people who are overweight or obese are that way because it is so difficult to resist "tempting" food and sweet stuff - that it's a symptom of an addiction, however mild to severe. Our culture throws tantalizing images of burgers and giant ice cream sundaes and chicken wings and beer and margaritas at us all day every day. If everyone exercised regularly and ate healthfully and moderately, we'd be much better off as a whole. I struggle with this and haven't had a "good" day in quite some time - and I have no children and only work part-time during the day, so what's my excuse? I see people at restaurants where everyone at the table is too big to fit and I feel immediately repulsed and disgusted at how they look, but why do I get to judge when I'm sitting there mowing through a huge dessert hating myself all the while?

If people can truly be happy and accept themselves as they are, that in itself is rare enough that I don't think only healthy-weight or thin people should have the privilege to feel comfortable and happy in their skin. Being fat is not a permanent state of being, and I find it disgusting and cruel when people belittle the efforts of folks who have lost tremendous amounts of weight but still have a ways to go. It's disgusting and cruel, period, to judge someone's entire character simply by the way they look. No one is perfect and I think human nature tends to get judgey from first looks at someone, but it's still not right, and we need to move upward and onward beyond that.

kaplods
12-20-2011, 12:45 PM
That very argument has ocurred here, and even some very obese people have the same views as this guy.

It's apparently quite controversial to suggest that a fat person doesn't need to hate or have contempt for themselves every single aspect of their lives every moment of their lives. Anything less than 100% maximum self-hatred is inadequate punishment for the crime against themselves and society that their fat represents.

I tried hating myself thin. It never worked. I tried hating my self. It never worked. I even tried hating the fat, and that really didn't work either. I guess I just never could muster up enough hate to do the job.

I tried to follow the majority opinion about what I was supposed to do. And I got the results that the majority of dieters get - failure.

I had to learn to go about this in a very unpopular way, and it's worked tremendously. The most I ever lost before was 60 - 70 lbs and that was usually by extreme methods or extreme motives - prescription diet pills, meal delivery, and once after a severe herniated disc (part of that success was spending the first few weeks unable to prepare my own meals).

In the past it was all about the number (and that's really how we're taught to look at weight. You can be a junk food eating couch potato as long as you look normal). This time, I started with the numbers being completely unimportant to me. I decided I was going to make healthy changes and commit to them forever, whether or not weight loss resulted.

I had to learn to stop trying to hate myself, because it didn't work. And to be honest, I don't think it ever works very well (or at least it would have worked better without the hate. Loving yourself thin makes a lot more sense, and is a lot less miserable).


cherrypie
12-20-2011, 12:45 PM
people don't owe it to you to be healthy. There are plenty of skinny unhealthy people. And being bigger isn't the instant passport to bad health many people assume it to be.

Sinoia
12-20-2011, 01:29 PM
I just get mad that people think it is acceptable to comment about another person's weight, or appearance, at all. It is extremely rude. presumptious and prejudiced.

The moment you start to make any sort of `hate' statement about the appearance of another person you enter `ism' territory and no one should allow that.

I hope your friend, who thinks Adele is a bad ambassador, is as condemnatory about size 0 models, or is as critical about alcohol advertising or holidays that promote tanning on the beach ... if his argument is that this is about health.

If it is simply that he does not find fat people attractive well then that is his thing and to grandstand about it is inappropriate and promotes hate.

Jonsgurl0531
12-20-2011, 02:28 PM
I find it sad that we can look at people who are so thin it is unhealthy as being beautiful and socially acceptable, while someone on the other side of the spectrum is unattractive and unacceptable. I Am far more concerned with how the media portrays that super thin is in than having one larger girl in a commercial.

Chubbykins
12-20-2011, 03:52 PM
I was never the meddling type. Unless a person does something major unethical before me I don't poke my nose in and keep my opinion.

Imo that is the way most people should act, but since being judgemental isn't something major unethical I could not care less. Let intolerant people stay that way. I don't care.

If they actually start bullying, hitting, tormenting or taking away legal rights because of fat then I speak up. Someone just having a nasty opinion is none of my business...

fatferretfanatic
12-20-2011, 09:04 PM
Hating myself never did the trick. Oh, I tried that for five or six years. "You're ugly, unworthy and stupid to boot because you can't beat this". But I was beating myself, and I was tired, hurt, and out of love with my life. The day I started really making progress, I have been celebrating any and every success. Everyday, I do something worth celebrating, and if I had to wait to be thin for that, I honestly might not be here to tell the tale. I hated myself so much that I often considered suicide. But, I knew that wouldn't do anything to benefit anyone, especially not me. So here I am 64 pounds later. I love who I am. Am I thin? No. Who cares? I will be the weight I want to be someday, but until then, I love myself as I am, warts and all. Shame on that man for suggesting that people should do anything less.

ArtyKay
12-20-2011, 10:04 PM
I was never the meddling type. Unless a person does something major unethical before me I don't poke my nose in and keep my opinion.

Imo that is the way most people should act, but since being judgemental isn't something major unethical I could not care less. Let intolerant people stay that way. I don't care.

If they actually start bullying, hitting, tormenting or taking away legal rights because of fat then I speak up. Someone just having a nasty opinion is none of my business...

I don't consider voicing my opinion or standing up for myself/other people when somebody makes an ignorant comment to be meddling. Everybody deserves a voice, and people should not be allowed to abuse any group of people. If all I achieved was keeping his mouth shut around me, that's fine.

His nasty opinion isn't any of my business...which is why I don't want to hear it. :)

Unna
12-21-2011, 05:42 AM
He must be part of an 'underground police' whose job is to regulate fat.

I've found this behavior typically occurs when one does not have enough emotional intelligence to empathize with others. Learning to empathize is a skill that is acquired by many at an early age, other learn later, and some never learn.

It is a skill that can ultimately make or break civilization. If the majority do not know how to empathize or identify with another person's pain, then acts of violence are easily justified - leading to civil war, etc. Luckily, most have evolved and most have developed the ability to empathize.

Unfortunately we sometimes have to run across people that, for some reason or other, never were able to develop empathy. And you are right - what you said to him went in one ear and out the other because he cannot identify with another's pain. However, it is super that you did not let him think his idea is okay, but rather wrong and hurtful, causing him to maybe (unconcsiously) realize that if he continues to perpetuate this idea to others, he will probably be rejected by the group.

Another example of someone I ran across that didn't have the emotional intelligence to develop empathy: One time a work colleague started talking about an aquaintance we both shared. Apparently, the acquaintance had recently discovered she had breast cancer. My work colleage, who was not fond of the acquaintance, started telling me how she got what she deserved. I was quite startled. She continued to tell me that *apparently* the people who are evil and unenjoyable to be around are more likely to get cancer. How so? Their hate and evilness literally puts them at a higher risk for developing cancer - the cancer is the physical manifestation of the bad consequences of their hate/badness.

Of course everyone in the office, upon hearing this froze. The director told her she literally cannot say such things at work - hurtful and bogus. No one backed her up. This lady was a renowned curator - doctorate and all - somehow she only had the emotional intelligence of a small child. But, the bad reactions of all informed her that her behavior was not acceptable at all in the group.

In every circumstance such as this, we must say something - that their utterance and behavior is unacceptable must be enforced by all. I do think it is a very serious thing.

serendipity907
12-21-2011, 07:29 AM
I am definitely of the opinion that to change something about yourself (Long term, sustainable changes), you need to accept it first.

There are a lot of weight bigots in my family, and I agree with Unna. It is because they lack empathy and insight. My family are very educated and well informed on other matters in life, but emotionally devoid when it comes down to feelings etc. I'm sorry to sound mean, but it is ultimately true.

sacha
12-21-2011, 08:23 AM
I find some of the worst 'fat haters' are actually those who were recently 'fat' themselves. "Well, I figured it out, why the **** can't you?" - this is human nature and can apply to a myriad of things (ie. the ex-smoker, etc). Empathy/insight often comes with time too.

Steph7409
12-21-2011, 08:35 PM
There are real consequences of prejudice against fat people, just like prejudice against gay people or people of color. Studies have shown that fat people are less likely to get hired, for example. One of my motivations for losing weight has been that I'm worried about losing my job and don't want to be looking for a new one being middle-aged and overweight. I'm afraid potential employers would be concerned about their insurance premiums going up, even though I've had no weight-related illnesses.

Anyway, good for you for speaking up, ArtyKay. I think people need to be called out when their behavior is unacceptable.

Chubbykins
12-22-2011, 08:56 AM
I don't consider voicing my opinion or standing up for myself/other people when somebody makes an ignorant comment to be meddling. Everybody deserves a voice, and people should not be allowed to abuse any group of people. If all I achieved was keeping his mouth shut around me, that's fine.

His nasty opinion isn't any of my business...which is why I don't want to hear it. :)

Sorry, I did not mean to offend you.

I simply mean that it's best not to get into arguments about opinions.

There are too many opinions out there and too little facts.

My phrasing was wrong and obviously insulting.

I honestly apologize

ArtyKay
12-22-2011, 09:56 AM
Sorry, I did not mean to offend you.

I simply mean that it's best not to get into arguments about opinions.

There are too many opinions out there and too little facts.

My phrasing was wrong and obviously insulting.

I honestly apologize

:hug: You didn't offend me at all. I have a different view than you, but you didn't offend of insult me.

ennay
12-22-2011, 10:24 AM
I think one of the side effects of fat phobia is how loaded the word is. The other day I made what to me is a statement of fact. I. am. fat. It was not emotionally loaded. It is not self hatred or self shame. I am currently overweight by medical standards. I am doing something about it.

Instantly people rushed to my defense. The most common one I got was "You aren't fat, you are gorgeous". To which I replied. "I AM gorgeous. AND fat. They are not mutually exclusive." To me the reaction is such a proof of how ingrained fat prejudice has become. The word has become dirty by association.

When I reach healthy weight I never call myself fat. Merely not at racing weight.

dragonwoman64
12-23-2011, 02:25 PM
I don't think an aversion to large amounts of fat is natural, I think it's cultural. There are present and past cultures who see large sized women as more attractive.

No one should have to hate herself or her body. I don't see how a large women in the media is a bad example and influence, but an extremely thin one is ok. Obviously it's prejudice. I've posted elsewhere here that it's easy to couch that prejudice in health terms, when, I believe, the core of the reaction stems from a cultural/social prejudice over health concerns.

That said, obesity does pose many health risks that shouldn't be just ignored. diabetes is serious. and high weight can lead to depression, which can be a serious mental health problem. too much excess weight can seriously affect quality of life.

it's the core of truth about health that gets mixed in with the prejudice. it lets people feel ok to be prejudiced and self righteous.

loved the post on empathy, totally agree with that too

mgruce
12-24-2011, 10:29 AM
Society tells us "fat" is gross and everyone must be thin. I am obese, I know it. My nephews are gym freaks and only like extremely thin girls. We have these conversations all the time. You have to love who you are, whether you are going through a weight lost regime or not. Society shouldnt tell us there is something wrong with us. My friend is morbidly obese and is very comfortable in how big she is is open to discuss in public if people look at her or comment..