Feederism is not fat acceptance

I missed blogging last month for the first time ever. I was getting married, so I excused myself. Was going to skip this month, too, actually. I was writing a blog post in May. Got pretty far in drafting it before I abandoned it. I was ranting about feederism and basically why it has nothing at all to do with fat acceptance, fat pride, fat politics, etc. I decided I was getting worked up about something that is so "Inside Politics" that most fat-o-sphere denizens don't even know a thing about it. At the time, there were some dust-ups around some media-hogging feederists getting attention and fat blogs wrestling with what to do with it. My point, in general, was going to counsel staying the fuck out of it. Its been a dead-weight on fat acceptance in the past and we'd do well to not even bother condemning it and just generally pretending it doesn't exist. In the end I decided to take my own advice for once, and shut up.

Naturally, I was wrong.

See, I guess all that media attention really did confuse people about what's fat acceptance and what's feederism. Given that the New York Times, of all people, couldn't get it right when talking about something which frankly doesn't have much to do with either: the new show Huge dealing with a weight loss camp. Yeah, I know some people are getting their hopes up about Huge, and while I'd be thrilled to have my cynicism prove wrong, I can't help but find it all suspect. Bottom line, being cynical about Hollywood's portrayal of fat people is rarely a losing proposition and when the premise of a show invites a character arc of converting to fat stigmatization, I'm just not optimistic. Frankly, just that it gives equal time to fat stigmatization strikes me as problematic. I don't see Biggest Loser giving reality equal time in its fat hate fantasy creation. Fat acceptance is NEVER given equal time, so I'm getting sick of the cost of admission for our views getting any airing being contradicting them immediately. Its going to be so easy to sketch out a storyline where the character standing up to fat stigmatization comes upon a horribly false "compromise" that will be portrayed as really moderate and even handed while being nothing of the sort. Its precisely the sort of compromise offer always offered fat activists. If we agree to hate our bodies, they agree to stop telling us to hate our bodies. Yes, that's glib, but I still think its fair. Its "moderation" that concedes one side entirely in substance and merely moderates tone from the opposing side. That's not meeting half-way. But we'll get to that in a bit.

ANYWAY, so while A character on the show, I guess, questions fat stigmatization to some degree, I don't believe it actually has squat to do with feederists, people who pursue (or more likely pressure others into pursuing) fatness for sexual gratification. So why on Earth was the NYT even drifting into a discussion of gainer blogs, much less conflating them with fat acceptance? Even comparing the weight gain fetish with diet culture as opposites doesn't work. In theory, feederists are sexually aroused by their efforts to manipulate their weight. That's a pretty sharp departure from the moralizing and conforming pressures of the diet industry. Its not even a good comparison with Pro-Anorexia/Bulimia movements, either, since they aren't about sexual gratification in any way like feederism is.

It really just exposes the shallow nature in which fat is considered in our culture. No one is really listening to anything fat acceptance has to say before dismissing it. Sure, feederism must be like fat acceptance. Both are about fat people, right? They want to reduce this to a simple black and white issue. The diet industry wants people to lose weight, so fat acceptance must want them to gain weight, right? This, in turn, justifies their notion of kinder, gentler weight loss being a compromise. If they actually considered feederism as the opposite end of the spectrum from fat stigmatization, they might be forced to admit that fat acceptance itself was already occupying a middle ground. This is easy to do when they ignore feederism. When they don't, they just act like there is no distinction between feederism and fat acceptance.

They don't care about knowing what we are saying. If Huge actually stays genuine in having someone express fat acceptance, that can definitely be a boon because some people will find themselves listening. Maybe they can learn that fat acceptance is not about stuffing ourselves. Its not about excuses. Its not about laziness or gluttony. Its about living our lives and owning our lives. Its about believe our bodies aren't mistakes. They aren't wrong. They don't need to be fixed. We can live our lives as we see fit and be respected for who we are. Be it fat or thin, athletic or not, hungry or full. THAT is what fat acceptance is. Being what we are, not what we think we should be instead. This shouldn't be too hard to understand. That it is so often misunderstood says more about the unwillingness for others to listen than anything about what we are saying.

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