As I have moved from accepting to at times selling fat acceptance one thing I have realized to my own utter astonishment is that “normal” BMI people are actually more open to discussing and listening to anti-diet and fat acceptance dialogue.
The fat people I run into in my life tend to be the most closed minded to what I am saying. They nod politely, then continue their diet talk or body shaming soliloquies as if they are utterly incapable of even hearing, much less considering, and the radical ideology I am offering up to them. Now, why would a fat person refuse to hear or consider an ideology that accepts who they are in their reality now?
A fat person considering to diet or currently dieting often ignores their own life long proof that dieting has failed them. They have bought into the cultural belief that this time they will lose the weight for good. This time, they will be good and not cheat, not slip and certainly not eat like before. To consider the idea that they are “trapped” in their fat body forever and ever is so terrifying to them, so abhorrent that they cannot even consider a life living in their body… even though they have and are currently living in that fat body and most likely will do so for the rest of their lives.
A fat person who is dieting and losing weight also receives a lot of attention from family, friends and society at large. For many of them, this may be the only time they have ever received positive attention about their bodies or their looks. Fat people who are losing weight from dieting (or any other method including illness) allow themselves to be patronized, their heads patted by their thinner friends and dieting cohorts at the ongoing cost of their own self dignity and respect in the bodies they have now. Asking a fat person to consider fat acceptance is asking them to deny standard social approval and accolades and while fat acceptance and body image would improve their self worth and respect; they are often unwilling to give up what morsels of positive tidbits thrown their way by others. It’s all so terribly Pavlovian.
Lastly, the fat person has this shining, golden dream called the Fantasy of Being Thin. Constantly striving, reaching and crashing upon the shore of hostile territory the fat person nevertheless believes despite clear evidence in their own lives that this is not their island. They live on equally wonderful, luscious fruitful Fat Island but believing the grass is greener they starve themselves over and over again to reach that far shore. For the fat person, being told that they must give up trying to reach Thin created a sense of loss with the fat person living in the dominant cultural paradigm. They will get thin or die trying… they will get thin or hate themselves, loathe themselves every moment of every waking day until they do.
And so when someone like me, a fat advocate happens upon the scene… I am not welcomed with open arms; I am their worst nightmare. They Fatty Who Let Themselves Go. The Fatty Telling Them To Just Accept Their Body.
When I meet fat people who are still hooked into the dominant attitude towards their fat, still hating, still loathing still chasing after the mirage that never quite materializes. Embracing fat acceptance has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I feel so much better about myself and my relationship with my body is the best it has ever been. The only thing I had to do was let go… it’s all rather Zen, really. Just Be… Being, here now and allowing is to flow. I wish I could give this gift, this glimmer of relief to everyone so I will keep selling it and hope a few seeds germinate.