Lessons from Feminism?

One difficulty facing size acceptance is the large number of people who try to twist the meaning of "size acceptance" to represent a fundamentally opposing view point. That is, instead of representing acceptance for whatever size a person is, they claim it is advocating for acceptance of whatever size a person thinks they should be. They are eager to insist that this is a minor adjustment, but in truth it is a sea change. Now, the diet industry and feederism both fall under the umbrella of "size acceptance". Indeed, the only thing which doesn't is what had always been Size Acceptance. Its a false inclusion. By adjusting the message to be more "inclusive", the true intent is to exclude those who believed in the message to begin with. It neuters Size Acceptance into a diet acceptance movement, something profoundly unnecessary in our society. The people engaged in these distortions are usually nominally against size discrimination, but it is telling that they don't really do anything about it. Indeed, when faced with real instances of size discrimination, this crew usually lies down, such as I've seen with the discriminatory policies of Southwest Airlines. Only the most heinous of discrimination is worth concern, and you rarely come across easily identifiable examples of such. The truth is, though, that they wouldn't do anything anyway. Their energy is exclusively directed towards Size Acceptance advocates. Its illuminating that while they think Size Acceptance advocates should not argue for alternatives to weight loss culture, they've never shown any indication that they feel weight loss advocates should similiarly give up their advocacy. Its only the views they don't like that need to shut up.

When pondering this circumstance, I've often thought it was a unique disadvantage to Size Acceptance. After all, you never see anti-gay rights advocates claiming their position is "Gay Rights". While sometimes anti-civil rights crusaders will claim they represent civil rights, it is always with the provision that it is "civil rights for white people." It did finally occur to me, however, that there is an instance of an oppositional viewpoint attempting to usurp a "radical" movement's vocabulary. The example is feminism.

There are significant examples of anti-feminists who label themselves as feminists while representing none of the views or goals of those who originated and championed the ideology of feminism. Rather than reject the philosophy openly, they seek to subvert it and make it mean the opposite of what it means. While there is genuinely a wider ground of ideas that fall under feminism, there are still bounds with which to reasonably identify the movement. Yet some maintain the title for the purpose of advocating against gender equality and for male patriarchy. The key difference between this and Size Acceptance is the willingness on the part of feminists to reject such redefinitions of feminism. They don't relent to the message shift, they confront it. This is something Size Acceptance will need to do. The world doesn't need a movement that will support "dieters rights" and never questions the wisdom of the weight loss culture. That is the status quo. It doesn't require a movement.

I will confess that I don't know much about the issues that come from anti-feminism wrapped in feminist titles. Perhaps some readers can offer some insight into how feminism really does deal with the usurping of the identity that goes on. Am I romanticising it as a easy refutal when actually there is a lot of hemming and hawing from feminists about being inclusive towards anti-feminism in feminist clothing? Or if I am correct in my assessment, why is it that feminism is so willing to stand up to this tactic? I suspect there is much to learn from feminism on this issue. Quite proper since Size Acceptance was an outgrowth of feminism to begin with.

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