I've been curious about the wider reaction to learning that *gasp* some fat people don't apologize for their size. Scanning the Google Blogs listing for "fatosphere", its illuminating. Here is my response to what some people are saying about us. I'm loathe to give most of these sites hit counts, so you'll indulge me if I generalize the reactions to avoid linking to sites that are insulting us.
One diet blog is dismayed at the article. It takes what I think is meant to be the "moderate" total condemnation of fat acceptance by insisting that self-esteem is something they do believe in. We just shouldn't have it. Fat acceptance is, instead, an act of "fear, loathing, and sacrifice."
Nope. Really isn't. I really am happy with my body. All of the time? Of course not. But enough of the time. Most of the time. Am I afraid to be fat? Well, I guess I'm a little afraid of where fat hatred may take our society. I'm afraid of the Orwellian suggestions being seriously made about how to deal with fat people. I'm not afraid of being fat. Is being fat a sacrifice? Absolutely not. It hasn't kept me from doing anything.
When you are dedicated to losing weight, you are dedicated to the notion that you are RIGHT. That what you are doing is the right choice. Any false toleration always fades under that certainty. You are right. We are wrong. A challenge to the rightness is why so many dieters see fat people as a personal threat. Because accepting fat people DO threaten their personal world view and challenge their priorities. Its also why the diet industry is disproportionately hostile to the small and disorganized band of fat activists. Because while dieters could lash out at us for challenge their world-view, they could also respond by lashing out at the purvayors of that world-view.
Another site sees fat acceptance blogging as kin to pro-anorexia blogs. While this isn't an uncommon reaction, its always aided by people never actually bothering to read what fat acceptance actually says. Which this blog betrays by assuming its all about fat kids teen about how much they are eating. So certain is this blogger that fat people are a product of their wanton eating and sloth that it never occurs to him that fat acceptance could be anything but a feeding trough where people talk about how great it is to eat themselves to death. The notion that fat people hike, run marathons, compete in triathelons, or dance is quite literally unthinkable. These people will never think of that. If presented with evidence of such things they'll deny it or dismiss it. All we will every be to them is a pack of gluttons. We can argue all day long, but they'll still think we're trying to justify an unhealthy lifestyle.
Several sites seem quite proud with their retort to fat acceptance. I'm not sure this got into Bingo, but it should have. Essentially, their reasoned reaction to all we could ever say will always be: "Yeah, but have you seen all the fatties around?" They simply know that there are too many fat people. They simply know there is visual evidence which proves we are wrong. I mean, have you seen all the fatties? In the malls? At Walmart? At McDonalds? On the evening news below the neck? Haven't you seen them? How can you argue with such logic?
Well, there are more fat people than there used to. Not as much as we've been led to believe, but sure there are more. No sense denying it, because it hardly proves any of their point. The existence of more fat people doesn't preclude a genetic component. Genetics could be part of WHY there are more. But the truth is, that for all the "Video games!", "Fast Food!", "TV!" blame gaming going on, there is a simple explanation. There is something that our population has been exposed to for the last few decades which has been shown to induce weight gain.
Dieting. Nearly every fat person in this country has been on a diet. Most probably have dieted for most of their life. Not only do most people on diets gain the weight back, most gain back more than they lost. As our diet culture has expanded, its gripped more and more people who'd have never dieted before. And at younger and younger ages. I can't tell you how many fat people I've seen bemoan how they thought they were huge when they were young, but looking back realize they weren't much more than average. As fat has been hyper-stigmatized, its directed people into a system which has only ever proven useful for making people GAIN weight. You want to know why there are so many fat people around? How about blaming diets for once instead of doing everything possible to blame everything else.
A few sites offered the mathematical proof of our wrongness. You know how our lives can be measured purely by functions of calories in/calories out in spite of there being no reason to think that the human metabolism is remotely that simplistic? Yeah, that's out in force.
Did you know fat people like to eat? Some folks on the internet seem to. We seem to be second only to cats in our desire for cheeseburgers. But, I forget that this kind of taunting is accepted as reasonable discourse on the fatosphere, so I guess no reason to bring it up.
One site doesn't like fat acceptance, but also doesn't like the diet industry. So it somehow twists fat acceptance into really just being the first step towards losing weight without diets. Yeah, not the point.
Another site, I think compared fat people to gays. Not as a means of showing our shared experiences and unity, but rather to show why we're both burning in hell. Does that mean Carson is Satan?
And a bunch of sites, were actually open-minded. Some very much so, some still clinging to negative beliefs but clearly being open to changing their views. Which was nice to see. But also a reminder of why we shouldn't keep treating those who aren't like they are. See, some sites were introduced to fat acceptance and were just open-minded. They didn't need to be humored while they mocked us incessantly. They didn't demand concessions before they listened to us. The were willing to just listen. That's open-mindedness. That's a good thing. All of the hostile reactions, though, are nothing I haven't seen a million times when someone stumbles onto fat acceptance on their own and posts that hostility here. We can spend a life-time suffering those fools, or we can cut the crap and talk with people who are willing to listen. Letting the fools run rough-shod over us accomplishes nothing. Its not winning open-mindedness. Its not being open and tolerant. People don't need to bargained with to have an open-mind. People don't need to be coddled to have an open mind. There are people who just do, and we'd do more if we spent time with those people instead of wasting it on the "You're wrong, and here's why" crowd.