Thursday, August 16, 2007

An Open Letter to the Formerly Fat

Dear Formerly Fat People,
I find it very interesting that much of the criticism of the size-positive community comes from formerly fat people. You come to our blogs to curse at us, tell us we're unhealthy, tell us you don't understand us, and express anger that we are choosing not to do what you have done: Lose weight.

I could speculate that you are angry that you may have worked so hard to lose weight when it might not have been necessary for health purposes. Maybe you are furious that we ask to be treated like human beings when you had to starve and sweat to get equal treatment; you think that we should have to work as hard as you did for it. Perhaps you feel it's unfair for us to be loved, happy, or confident at our size when you were not. Or, is it that we didn't allow the fat-hatred in society to take over our lives and drive us to punish our own bodies for taking up too much space, while you couldn't resist?

I am sorry that you view us as some kind of insult or threat. You should know that our fight against the cruelty, fraud, and ignorance that we are bombarded with daily is not meant to belittle you. You should also not blame us if the things we say are inconsistent with the social programming that inspired you to lose weight. I really understand that it's difficult to come to terms with the idea that you might have been led down the wrong path. It can make you angry, and it's perfectly normal to not want to believe the new information.

However, that does not mean that the new information is wrong. Your disbelief does not mean that you haven't been deceived or shamed into losing weight, nor does it mean that you were healthier for doing so. As disturbing and frightening as this emerging evidence is, it would be wise to at least look at it with an open mind.

I do understand that it's difficult to swallow size acceptance, given the cultural climate in which we've been programmed to hate our own bodies and irrationally hate adipose tissue. However, if you absolutely cannot handle the idea, at least remember this: The size positive community, did not ask you to lose weight, and therefore, we don't admire you for doing so. We don't hate you for it, but we're not going to give you a medal. I know you're accustomed to getting kudos from everyone around you because you lost weight, but you won't get them from us.

While you don't understand why being fat isn't necessarily unhealthy, I don't understand why you expect to be treated like a hero for doing something that only benefits yourself (and even that benefit is dubious). I don't understand why you think such extreme self-obsession is a virtue. Even if being thin made you healthier (which it doesn't), the difference isn't enough to be of a larger benefit to society. A 180-pound person is not less capable of volunteer work and charity than a 115-pound person. They pay the same taxes (Well, except for the fact that fat discrimination causes the larger person to get paid less for the same work), and can serve jury duty. They can hold public office, become doctors, and otherwise contribute to society just like thin people.

So, yeah, you lost weight. If you're happy with that, then good for you. But, that doesn't mean you deserve to be treated better than other people, and it certainly doesn't mean it's okay for you to be a horse's ass to those who choose not to lose weight. Get over yourselves and find something positive to do with your time.


mumboj said...

This reminds me of years ago when I first noticed what you are talking about here. I decided to start calorie restriction, immediately I found myself looking at other fat people with disdain, I caught myself and thought hang on what's going on here? I realized then that some kind of manoeuvre of the mind occurs, to- I assume to try and aid you in your diet. It is separating you in some way from other fat people. I heard others have had the same/similar revelation.

It is based on this kind of mental defense mechanism, and other things of course, that some of this rancour is based. I think it illustrates again, what a debasing currency, WL can be. People need to note more how it affects the mind, and ask themselves why.

annaham said...

I am totally linking to this in my next post. :D