"Fatosphere"- NY Times Talks Up the Fat Acceptance Movement
So the New York Times comes out with an article and links to web sites entitled, “In the Fatosphere, Big is In, Or at Least Accepted...”
Imagine for a moment if that title read, “In the Thinosphere, Skinny is In, Or at Least Accepted” and linked to pro-Ana and pro-Mia sites? It’d never happen. But in an era of obesity, where fat is the new black and Gen-O is the overwhelming majority, expect more rationalizing as to why “Big is In.” (Pls keep in mind that any loss of life is tragic. Anorexia steals approx. 200 lives a year, while obesity claims hundreds of lives EVERY DAY.)
When I first heard about the “Fat Acceptance Movement,” I thought it meant equal rights for all and no bullying of anyone of any size. Those are ideals we can all rally around. But spend a couple of minutes on these sites, and you quickly realize you’ve entered an ANTI-everything other than overweight zone. There’s loads of denial, derogatory comments and violence fantasies against those of healthy weight, and food fetishizing. Most worrisome is the idea that overweight is healthy. Sure, if you strictly define physical fitness as strength, endurance and flexibility, certainly, people of all sizes could meet those standards. However, health? Excess adiposity isn’t an inert substance clinging to ones body. Instead it’s a marker for cellular inflammation (a precursor to stroke, heart disease, diabetes, etc.), it’s a strain from an orthopedic standpoint, and finally, adipose tissue acts as its own gland, secreting excess estrogen throughout the body in both females and males, (Can I say man boobs? Can I say 8-year-olds getting their period?).
A person doesn’t have to be morbidly obese to raise his or her risk for chronic disease and premature death. Being overweight should not be the new beauty ideal--it’s a red flag the body is in distress.
That doesn’t reflect one iota on the value of the person though. Self-worth cannot be measured on a bathroom scale. And until we separate body weight from self-value, we cannot conduct a rational discussion about obesity.
One upside to the Fat Acceptance Movement. We do have some common ground. We all believe in daily exercise to reduce the risk of disease, know fad diets are a scam and dangerous, and are opposed to self-mutilating surgery as a quick-fix to obesity.
MeMe Roth
National Action Against Obesity
Tuesday, January 22, 2008