Over at MomGrind, the blogger is making unfounded judgements about a fat girl “overdosing on sugar” or some such nonsense. (Thanks Bri, for the pointer to the discussion). The comments on the post are now closed because some uppity fatties have been taking her to task (yay, team!) but I will not be denied my 2 cents.
Uh, this might get a bit lengthy, because I have a LOT of spare change.
Are you listening, MomGrind?
She was sitting with her back to me as I entered the ice cream place with my kids. She was very big – most likely not just medically overweight, but obese.
And her size was affecting you how exactly, MomGrind? Was she aggressively being fat at you?
As we were standing in line, contemplating our order of a kid-size, single ice cream scoop in a small waffle cone, I glanced at her.
She was young – a teenager – eating fast, holding her extra large cone in one hand, feverishly texting with the other. She looked almost drugged – drugged with sugar I guess. It was obvious that the eating and texting were giving her intense pleasure, soothing her. She was oblivious to her surroundings. When I caught myself staring, I was grateful that she hadn’t noticed.
- You don’t know her experience of eating the ice cream.
- You don’t know the circumstances surrounding her having the ice cream.
- You have no right to act as Food Police.
- You do not have the right to act as amateur psychologist
- Nor do you actually know whether she was ‘drugged’ and ‘soothed’ by food. You just assumed using your big-FAT-bias (OMG, I said THE WORD).
And the reason you were glad she didn’t see your judgmental stare? Is because you KNEW you were being a hateful bigot. You knew you had no right to judge.
That afternoon, I was thinking about the girl at the ice cream store, and it got me thinking about Fat Acceptance and about how, after what I saw, I’m not so sure anymore that it’s such a great idea.
And this is based on what, one girl eating an ice cream cone in a manner you disapproved of? Fuck that.
How do I accept that girl’s behavior when it’s wrong on so many levels? How do I tell that kid it’s OK to be fat without giving her permission to continue on this destructive path? Instead of talking about how we should accept fat, shouldn’t we do everything in our power, as a society and as a government, to educate the obese, and to tax, or otherwise punish, the food industry whenever it knowingly shoves calories, trans fats and other unhealthy ingredients down our throats?
Why exactly is it up to you to be the arbiter of whether that girl’s (as you put it) ‘behavior’ is acceptable or not? Look at your language here in this one paragraph alone. You use words like:
- ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’,
- ‘shoves calories’, and
- ‘down our throats’.
It’s a text book example of Moral Panic. You aren’t concerned about health (although that is the language you use to mask your moral outrage), you are making a moral judgement that this girl – through her body size and by eating-while-fat – is offending your value system. And you want it to STOP. Because it’s WRONG. Because all the baby kittens will DIE. And baby Jesus will cry if you suffer a fat woman to live unmolested in her own skin. And you are a GOOD GIRL who does what your doctor tells you and only eats the small cone, but SHE’S eating the big cone and it’s SO UNFAIR.
Get over it.
Perhaps our goal should be to accept overweight and obese people in the sense of never, ever discriminating against them. So, we need to accept fat, but we need not accept the underlying reasons for it – partly our culture, partly the food industry’s carelessness, and partly people’s choices and actions.
So essentially, you are saying “love the sinner, hate the sin”? See how we are back to moral judgements here?
But you know, I don’t actually see a hell of a lot of “[acceptance of] overweight and obese people in the sense of never, ever discriminating against them” going on in your post.
What I see is tut-tutting and moral judgment masked as concern. And that is both discriminatory and hateful:
It’s discriminatory to try and take away another person’s bodily autonomy, which you are doing by trying to dictate what this particular girl’s food choices should be (and by extension, the food choices of all fat people).
It’s hateful and wrong-headed to decide you know someone else’s experiences or motivations from a glance. But it is particularly hateful when you base your ‘knowledge’ just on a person’s size (as you did when you assumed a disordered relationship with food as indicated by your choice to use the words ‘drugged by sugar’).
It’s discriminatory to assume that fat people need education to make food choices you approve of. Because you assume fat people are stupid, ignorant or lazy – or all three.
It’s hateful to tut-tut someone else’s choices or behaviours. It makes you smell all Holier Than Thou. And there’s NOTHING more hateful than someone smugly patting themselves on the back for supposed moral superiority. Big fucking whoop if you had a small ice cream!
It is discriminatory to talk about punitive measures to make people not fat, regardless of whether you are framing it as ‘taxes’ or stopping the food industry from force-feeding us. Because you clearly assume fat people do not have enough self-control to make choices that YOU consider appropriate.
It’s hateful to use the stereotypical ‘anonymous random fatty’ photo (although I suppose we must be grateful that the person actually has a head). Why? Because that person is a real human being. Because once again you are placing a judgment on a person because of their size and appearance alone. Because that person’s body size is none of your god-damn business. Because that person has the right to exist in the world with dignity. Because you have no right to appropriate someone’s body to bolster your bigoted moral panic ‘concern’ rant.
And I am not even going to go into why it is both hateful and discriminatory to flagellate fat people with the it’s-for-your-own-good-can’t-you-see-I-have-your-health-at-heart stick.
How do you feel about “fat acceptance?”
If you have not bothered to read up on what Fat Acceptance actually is – why the commonly quoted health arguments are faulty – I am not going to spoon feed you.
There are plenty of resources out there if you actually want to learn.
And I suspect – if you are truthful – you actually don’t give a flying fuck about anything but your tut-tutting.
Thus endeth the lesson.