Unstructured Fat Bashing

There is a story out about how some schools are eliminating recess due to the demands of recent legislation. (Click here to read the story) I certainly think its a shame that "unstructured play time" is starting to become a thing of the past. Its not hard to see its value in developing social skills and friendships as well as encouraging creativity and imagination. A lot of kids just don't get that after school and need the time to play with children their age during the school day. You'd think all that would be a reason to bemoan the loss of recess.

Nope. What's the final point made in the story? And on a radio mention of the story I heard this morning? "What about the fat children?" Thankfully, I see that others are understanding the more important issues, but can it be any surprise that some see this as an opening to bemoan the existance of chubby kids and condemn schools for contributing to their fatness?

"What about the fat children?" is an increasing cry from fat bashers and its one I fear many in fat acceptance don't care to confront. Due to failures to educate people about the key points of fat acceptance, I've seen a number of people who claim to believe in fat acceptance, but who don't think that acceptance should extend to children. The continue to hold onto the notion that fat is bad, and while its okay for them to ignore that, they can hardly suggest that children should be subjected to it. It is a double shame because increasingly, children are the primary target for public fat bashing. As if they didn't get enough of that at recess?

Of course, its a wonderful self-fufilling prophecy for the anti-fat crusaders. Start going after children. Frame every issue in terms of its effects on childhood "obesity". Encourage intervention for "at risk" kids. As in, kids who ARE NOT FAT but who apparently need to diet and have issues about their bodies and eating anyway. Even if there wasn't anything remotely resembling a crisis to begin with, they create it by forcing weight loss diets on younger and younger kids. After all, not only do most diets fail, the overwhelming majority of diets result in more weight being gained than was lost in the first place. If there were increasing rates of fat children, there will be thanks to the intervention of the fat bashers.

Everyone should grow up free to let their body be what it will be without hysterical fits over the fact that some kid has a belly. They are children. They should be able to have fun and enjoy themselves. That's why we should preserve recess and its why we should oppose this latest front in the "war" on fatness.


Fat and Health: A Rant

In the comments to my last post, Patsy complains about the healthism seen in institutional fat acceptance and I at least partly agree with her. While, I don't have a problem with encouraging a fat person to be healthy, we cannot do so with a language so infested with fat bigotry. The reality is "eating right", "staying active", "being healthy", are all terminology that has been used as thinly veiled fat hatred and we cannot hope to create a world where fat people are free to be healthy without confronting the ways these terms have been warped and corrupted to fit an anti-fat agenda.

Fact is, I think most fat people are a lot healthier than they give themselves credit for and what problems may exist have FAR less to do with our lifestyles than with a fat-negative culture which stigmatizes our very existance. You can promote an authenticly healthy lifestyle within fat acceptance, but the reality out there is that most who are pushing for that are active opponents of fat acceptance who are preying on some fat activists fears of being labeled as anti-health so as to promote their own anti-fat agenda. They've gnawing around the edges of fat acceptance, destroying it bit by bit rather than the broad strokes their allies seek. Persuit of weight loss has been an intensely destructive force on the health of fat people for decades. It must end. We cannot protect the health and well-being of fat people, of all people, without confronting a system which is frighteningly unproven and dangerously harmful. Health at any size should mean something. ANY being the word that so many are eager to diminish and ignore, but it is the most important word. No one should be abandoned because they are "too fat". Outreach to a broader fat community should never come at the expense of people deemed unfashionably fat.

Unfortunetly, its even worse than this. Not only does institutional fat acceptance not put up much of fight against this war of inches, they've actively sought to appease far more agressive fat bigots. The eagerness exhibited by NAAFA and Big Fat Blog to reach out to a violent fat hate group founded on a bitter and personal hatred of fat acceptance and fat activists was outrageous. Naturally, the hate group faded into nothingness very rapidly, making the stain left on fat acceptance from its embrace of a group which harbored murderous fantasies towards fat activists all the more pronounced. I have trouble fighting for a movement that is so intrinsicly linked to such so-called crusaders who'd happily acceptance violent death threats from people who want the movement destroyed but who will bully and censor people who believe in the movement just to curry favor with those hate mongers. I have no trust in institutional fat acceptance. Its proven itself completely undeserving of any faith.