Moderate Fat Acceptance

So, after grousing about the ways radical fat acceptance is marginalized, I find myself actually reigniting my dissatisfaction with radical fat acceptance. There are problems on both extremes and a lot of it comes down to how one extreme deals with the other. Essentially, both are trying to define the other out of the movement. And while I sympathize with the radical end more, that doesn't mean I think its ultimately been very productive.

The issue with radical fat activists is that they want fat acceptance to mean something. So do I, and I know I've hit that point over the head with a shovel about a hundred times. The difference for me is that I've tried to focus on talking about that rather than trying to enforce it. I want there to be a sense of a line more than I want to be responsible for actually drawing that line and enforcing those boundaries. Radicals, in my experience, have been more eager to clarify that identity. I get that, but I know its ultimately a counterproductive strategy. Inevitably, they fall into personalizing the debate, and that is something that the radicals will never win on. I know from experience that even talking in broad terms that one is bound to be confronted as making personal attacks. Actually making personal attacks isn't going to serve anything. This is tough, because one of the go-to strategies of anti-fat acceptance is to personalize the issue. Individualize it so it seems that fat acceptance is personally attacking each individual dieter. But I think its important to recognize that this is done because it advantages fat hatred. It isn't even something that's always consciously done because we're talking about a huge cultural force. Which is why I think broad themes need to be stressed. Personalizing it is done because it serves the purpose of fat hatred. Its a no-win for fat acceptance most of the time and we need to be very careful about picking our fights.

Which is hard. Restraint on issues of deep personal import isn't easy. I'd say it isn't even natural. But I think its something that has to be done to some degree. As cathartic as a full-frontal assault is, its something we're often manipulated into. I've fought this long enough to know that are times when we will need to speak out, but we undermine ourselves by being too quick to pull that trigger. At its worst, this frustration just keeps building, and radical activists become prone to attacking people who are allies and this ends up being just the reverse of those who try to push radical activists (or those who agree with them too much) out of the movement.

So, I shouldn't be mistaken from thinking there are problems on both ends. There are. I pulled back because I really wasn't happy with either. We need more "moderate" voices, but often those moderate voices want to shut out radical ones. And vice versa. Its important to remember that on the spectrum of fat acceptance, "moderate" isn't the center and it can't act like the center in the movement. And likewise, the radical end could stand to use a lot more strategy in advocating for a more progressive fat acceptance. I don't know how to solve it, obviously, since all I've managed getting in the middle of it is to have both sides attacking me, but it is a problem.

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