(This is a edited comment I left on one of my favorite blogs.)
Wonderful post. But the comments section here – mainly B.C.’s comments — make me want to scream in frustration.
Fat Acceptance… Just what MLK, Jr was fighting for–so chubby white women could avoid lynchings,
michelin men being burned in effegies on front lawns, etc.
Fat is beautiful. Just what my family who ran like hell to get away from the lynch mobs in Mississippi was praying for–the rights of fat white people to feel good about themselves.
It’s true no one has been lynched for being fat (although fat people have died due to lousy good medical care for fat people). It’s also true that anyone who says “fat rights is just like the black civil rights movement!” is being an idiot.
But so what? Being Black is not like being fat is not like being female is not like being queer is not like being disabled is not like being Asian is not like being trans is not like being poor is not like being…
No marginalized group’s experience is exactly like any other’s. No one’s experiences are interchangeable. But the legitimacy of fat activists’ complaints doesn’t depend on us showing our experiences are exactly like the black experience, or the lesbian experience, etc..
It’s about justice.
The reason fat activists have formed a movement is that it’s unjust to be denied good medical care because we’re fat; we think it’s unjust that we can get fired for being fat; we think it’s unjust that we face job and wage discrimination because we’re fat; we think it’s unjust that we can be charged more for basic services (like insurance) because we’re fat; it’s unjust that people glance at us and assume that we’re lazy and care nothing for ourselves; and yes, although you’ll sneer at this as “the right to feel good,” it’s unjust that fat people are taught from childhood to think of themselves as deficient, wrong, and disgusting.
Anit-fat bigotry isn’t wrong because it’s the same as facing lynch mobs. It’s wrong because it’s unjust. It’s unjust because we’re human and don’t deserve to be treated as second-class people because of the shape of our bodies.
That — not the claim that being fat is at all like being black — is why fat activists fight.