A Manifesto, of sorts

I don't oppose weight loss to be mean to dieters.

I don't oppose weight loss to be incompassionate to dieters.

I don't oppose weight loss because I ignore the health concerns of fat people.

I don't oppose weight loss because I'm stupid.

I oppose weight loss because it doesn't work. No amount of wishing, hoping, wanting, or needing will change the crap shoot that is weight loss attempts. Fat people deserve better than failed options. We deserve better than the same old answers. We deserve better than to be told our lives aren't worth living. We deserve better. That is what fat acceptance is about. Its about demanding better for the lives of fat people and honoring the useless deaths of so many anonymous fat people every year.

Fat acceptance is not about drawing lines around the unacceptably fat and living them behind. Fat acceptance is not about telling people that their health problems will go away if they lose weight. Fat acceptance is not about asserting the rightness of weight loss.

No one is obligated to agree with fat acceptance, and in case some have failed to notice, most of the world doesn't. But we're not obligated to agree with them. We're not obligated to affirm their choice to disagree. They have a right to make their decision, and we ours.

If you think sticking to our decision lacks "compassion", that's your problem because its not true. If you think sticking to our decision makes us mean, that's your problem because its not true. It just means we are sticking to our decision.

For all of the times fat acceptance communities have been beseiged by weight loss promoters, I've never wanted to turn around and confront dieters in their own space. It isn't right and it doesn't accomplish anything. And I've told people who did do that what I thought of their actions. We solve nothing by attacking individuals who want to lose weight.

But we also solve nothing if we fall prey to a false notion of politeness that requires us to affirm other people's choices. Those choices are theirs to make, not ours. They don't require our approval any more than we require theirs. Yet, it is often offered. That's not compassion. That's not laudable. If we don't believe a course of action is right, we have no reason to affirm it and no need. We shouldn't attack someone for choosing differently. We shouldn't harass them. Last I checked, very few fat activists would ever so much as think of doing that. We cannot allow ourselves to be cowed into offering affirmations because we fear it would be impolite not to to do so. We cannot throw our hands up in their air and say "who are we to judge?" We aren't judging by having our own opinions. If it is taken as such, that's the fault of that person, not us. We cannot subjugate ourselves to a one-sided notion of niceness. If someone wants to try to lose weight, we recognize its not a choice we have control over, but also reaffirm our own convicitions.

Fat acceptance is not just for the fat accepting. To withhold fat acceptance from people because they don't want it would be folly. It would enshrine a perminant stalemate with fat acceptance at an enormous disadvantage. A person wanting to lose weight isn't something we can change, but it must not be something we accept. It isn't right. We do not blame the person who wants to lose weight, even if they want to see our actions as such. We blame our culture and we blame those who promote that culture. Some people will be offended by that. They'll take it personally. We need to accept that and we need to understand that their response isn't fair. It isn't fair to us or to our beliefs and we need to remember that.

Fat acceptance is not for the acceptably fat. It is not for the acceptably healthy. It is for every fat person. At the same time, fat acceptance cannot be what every fat person wants it to be. It cannot be a weight loss support group. It cannot cloud the world in grey and lose its purpose. Fat acceptance is and will always be something a lot of people will find threatening and intolerable and wrong.


We need to threaten a culture which values a dead fat person over a live one. We shouldn't be tolerated by a system which dehumanizes us. If fat hatred is our cultural right, we damn sure want to be wrong.

I'm angry about the way fat people are treated. About the defeatist options they are given. I'm angry that criticizing this system must always be on their terms, under their rules. I'm angry.

I should be. You should be, too.

You should be angry at the emotional manipulation used to tell us to keep quiet. You should be angry about the anonymous deaths of so many. You should be angry about being told to keep in our place. You should be angry at the people who misrepresent fat acceptance to serve an agenda. You should be angry at those who do it to shut us up and you should be angry when its done in the name of niceness.

We need more anger right now. No, not at dieters. Anger about a culture of fat hatred. Anger about being told to pipe down. Anger about being told to place nice with those who treat us with disrespect and scorn. The person wanting to lose weight isn't the problem, but there are people who are and we can't be nice to everyone. When people insult us, we should be angry. When people tell us we don't have a right to be angry about being insulted, we should be angry. We cannot be afraid of anger anymore. Playing nice, playing by their rules, its not working. It won't work.

When a person tells you that you have to accept dieting, say no.

When a person claims that you're ignoring the health of fat people, tell them that they are wrong.

When a person defines you to suit their condemnation of you, resist.

And when you are told its not nice to do any of that, keep doing it.

Speak up. Speak out. Use your anger, don't bury it. You are so important and your voice is needed. Find places to speak out. Learn when you're energy is wasted and move on. Take action. Don't give up. We cannot change the world overnight. We cannot stop the tragedies. But we can make a difference. We can change things.

I oppose weight loss because I oppose a system of failure forced upon fat people. I support fat acceptance because desperately need to chart a new course and find new answers to serve the health and happiness of all fat people.

In the words of a far better manifesto than mine...

Fat people of the world unite. You have NOTHING to lose.

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