The Martyrs for the Status Quo

I usually don't repost my comments on other blogs, but this rant felt appropriate. These are my comments to here, (sorry, the actual post was lost when Bri's blog crashed last year) but in truth are more in response to the phenomenon on display than this particular instance. It is the all too common sight of people opposed to fat acceptance who act very righteously offended at being denied a seat at fat acceptance's table. This has been happening for years and for much of that time, I have been sorely disappointed with the way fat acceptance leaders have opted to act with far too much deference to those who disagree with fat acceptance. There is a difference, however, between resepecting an opposing opinion and advantaging it. All to often, those who oppose fat acceptance demand we advantage their opinion. An act which in itself is disrespectful to ours.
Now, this is not a unique problem to fat acceptance. Feminist sites regularly have to deal with anti-feminists who feign outrage that their oppositional beliefs aren't given safe haven. The ex-gay movement is no stranger to trying to masquerade as a gay rights body. What I have seen from other communities though is a sharp lack of tolerance for this and I have often found it inspiring. I'm pleased that the tide has turned in fat acceptance as well, so let this be my call to action to keep up that fight. We have a right to our beliefs and to a space to learn from each other. Fat acceptance spaces need not be battlegrounds where we must constantly justify ourselves to everyone who decides they just don't agree with us. Here is what I have to say:
Ugh. A new round of people feeling they are being edgy and innovative by talking about weight loss. Yeah, dieters are so put upon in our society. What meanies Fat Activists are by oppressing the dieters! Lets all rebel and do exactly as we’re told! Fight the system! The completely powerless and marginalized “system” in the name of the overwhelming status quo.
I swear, its the back-patting over this that drives me nuts. Every time someone decides to agree with practically everyone in the world, they act like they are Martin Luther nailing a note onto the Cathedral. You aren’t martyrs. You’re the majority. You don’t agree with fat acceptance? Fine. LOTS of support out there for you. Just spare me the self-righteous nonsense about how this is “your” fat acceptance. No its not. Fat acceptance is what it is. Respect it enough to just disagree with it. Don’t pretend you can redefine it just because you’ve decided to side with the majority that doesn’t think we have a right to our opinions. And that’s precisely what you do when you think you can fashion a “your” fat acceptance. Fat acceptance has a right to exist and to have its own spaces for expression. Everything in the world doesn’t need to be promoting weight loss.
Really, do they all honestly think they are the first person to ever "stand up" to fat acceptance? Every time we have to endure these wanna-be martyrs they all act this same way. Like they had a revelation they just had to share. No wonder they can't seem to get the fact that we've heard this all before. People have been attacking fat acceptance for decades. How can one seriously think they are the first to pipe up with "Yeah, but what about the fact that you're all so FAT!" and think they are really bringing something new to the discussion? They all prove very practices are playing victim of course, but its a joke.

Seriously, fat acceptance is not oppressing dieting. If you think that, your perception of the world is so severely impaired that I worry for you. Your certaintude of your rightness has warped your mind into seeing things which do not exist. The plain reality is that fat acceptance is severely marginalized. You have a right to disagree with fat acceptance, but acting like martyrs at its hand is just a perversion of truth and I'm fed up with it.

Any perspective has a right to its own space. A right to a space where its ideas can incubate and its activists to converge. It is especially vital for a movement still so powerless in the face of enormous opposition. The notion these wanna-be martyrs have is that fat acceptance doesn't deserve such a space. That they are righteous in making our house a battleground for their opposing views. And that we are overbearing for resisting their calls for us to be in a constant state of justification.

It is sick. It is sad. And at this point, it is positively boring because its happened again and again and again. Fat acceptance is not respected by these people. That's what it all comes down to. Not some joker semantics. Its about respect. And their lack of respect for us. They seem to have these fantasies that we're all so insulated from their point of view. They are being heroes by bringing the fight to us! As if the fight wasn't brought to us every day. By newspapers, TV, magazines, and yes even the part of ourselves that still repeats the mantras of fat bigotry. They seem to think we have isolated ourselves from that. With what? An RSS feed? Are you that invested in your prejudice that you'd ignore reality?

We deal with fat stigmatization almost every moment of our lives. We deal with friends, co-workers, family who have no respect for our beliefs. We are told we are wrong day in and day out. You aren't being unique by telling us you are wrong. You are being positively ordinary. We need to claim a space to express ourselves and to learn about ourselves. We need to try to form the bonds of community that are so scarce in our day to day lives. We need a bulwark against hatred and stigmatization where we can try to forge a different path in pursuit of our health and happiness. We need a place to say NO.

Shame on anyone with such little respect for us to say we don't deserve that because they don't like us saying no.

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