December 15, 2016
I’ve recently encountered the phenomenon of fat acceptance and thin privilege. From videos I’ve seen on the topic, this seems to be largely an American issue. The United States has a major problem with its obesity rate, and until recently, was the fattest nation in the world (we are currently #2 now, only beaten by Mexico). In addition to our 33% obesity rate, 2/3 of Americans are overweight. The idea of glorifying obesity and also shaming thin/healthy people in turn not only perplexes me, it disgusts me.
Health isn’t black and white, but the lies spread by the so called “fat activists” needs to stop. The most perpetuated one is that “health comes at all sizes”. It really doesn’t. The more overweight you are, the more pressure the extra fat puts on the body’s skeletal structure, hence why morbidly obese people have difficulties walking, get out of breath while climbing a single flight of stairs, etc. That is not healthy and no amount of protesting or social media presence will change that. Now, just because someone is skinny, that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily healthy, either. What’s especially notable concerning skinny people that eat unhealthy diets is what’s known as skinny-fat. Basically, they appear as healthy enough, but fat actually builds up around their organs due to their unhealthy, inactive lifestyle. Skinny-fat isn’t something people should strive for, but there are terrible diseases and conditions associated with obesity like high cholesterol, type II diabetes, stroke, and heart attacks; all of these will only accelerate your eventual death.
Like with everything in life, extremes are often not good. No one wants to be anorexic or bulimic, and no one should want to be morbidly obese. No one should take pride in that you’re killing your body. The body is your personal temple and must be respected. Being underweight is okay, being at your ideal weight is what’s wanted most, and being overweight is also acceptable. No matter where you lie in that scale, it’s important to strive for the best version of yourself possible, so that you can live to see your kids, your grandchildren, and so that you’re not in constant pain.
Thin and physically fit people do not have privileges for their body shape. I’ve seen complaints from obese people from having to buy two airplane seats, to not being able to be on top during sexual intercourse in fear of crushing their partner. The ability to do those things is not privilege. Privilege is something you’re born into. An example of privilege I have is being born an American citizen. I’m far from rich, but I never undervalue the privilege and blessing it is being American. I know had I been born in the Caribbean, like my parents were, that I would most certainly not be from a privileged background, and that my life would have been filled with significantly more strife. You’re not born fat. Even while your parents provide food for you, you have a voice to decide on what you choose to eat. When you’re in high school, college, and then fully immersed into the adult world, the decisions you make and the life you choose to live determines your figure, not “privilege”.
You shouldn’t be treated as less than human just because you’re obese. However, you shouldn’t demand for people to find you attractive, to cater to you, or any of the nonsense this movement stands for. You also shouldn’t feel the need to put down skinny and fit people in order to feel better about yourself, either. Love yourself, but recognize where you can improve.