“I want to break free
I want to break free
I want to break free from your lies
You're so self-satisfied I don't need you
I got to break free
God knows, God knows I want to break free”
Over at Fat Heffalump, Kath has written a provocative article about her epiphany regarding “Fat Acceptance”. Go read, I’ll wait.
I want to add my voice to Kath’s chorus. I won’t reiterate what Kath blogged, because I think she said it very articulately the first time. I am exhausted by much of what I encounter online in the FA/Body Acceptance movement. There are brilliant people doing amazing work, fighting against the so called “War on Obesity”, and I will forever be grateful for the courage and stamina it takes to face the mass public. I, on the other hand, do not have the stamina or bravery to face very much of the internet; hence, my gratitude toward Fat Heffalump, for putting her foot down and creating a place of respite.
Here’s the thing, a few months ago, I realized that my daily reading of the HAES / FA blogs was making me sick. Literally. Past readers know that I have chronic depression and Fibromyalgia, along with various other health issues. You also know that I am 5’9 inches tall and around 365 lbs. I have blogged before about my issues with feeling like I fall outside of the normal “acceptable” fatty range. So I quit the FA community. I whittled my Facebook friends, remodeled my daily reading, and actively avoided the news and media reports. Some may know that Fibromyalgia is exacerbated by stress; and let me tell you what, stress is exactly what I was serving myself, every single morning.
I am tired of clawing to eek out a place for myself. Where I can “break free” from the constant exposure to healthism and body prejudice. Some may be saying to themselves: “But Fat Fox! You can just choose not to read things online!” And while that is true for the extent of my online habits, that still doesn’t allow me to escape from the constant barrage of fat hating bullshit. Case in point:
One photo was taken from my College Algebra Textbook (Blitzer) and one photo was taken from my Human Biology Textbook (Mader, Windelspecht, & Preston). While I am not surprised to find the picture in my biology book, I was furious to find it in my math book. This photo could have easily been left out, or substituted with a different photo. Hell, for that matter so could the one in the biology book! By the very composition, they are inflammatory in nature. Perpetuating the stereotype of lazy, gluttonous, fatties, who could easily be ripped, six-pack having, bicycle riding, morally virtuous citizens if only they would get off their asses. I wrote a letter to the publisher, the University, and to the teachers. I received no response from the publisher, a form letter from the University, and anti-fat rhetoric from the biology teacher. (Standard “Yes but you can’t deny that fat is bad blah blah blah”).
As Kath said, reductionists get the whole damn world. I can’t even do my homework without fat-hate rhetoric. I am all for body autonomy, so by all means, if you feel that weight loss is right for you, then knock yourself out. What I am looking for is the autonomy and respect to create & participate in an environment that does not oppress me, and ideally, would not exacerbate the issues I already face. I support what Fat Heffalump has created, and plan to participate in that community as much as possible.
Blitzer, Robert. College Algebra Essentials. 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2010. Print.
Mader, Sylvia S., Michael Windelspecht, and Lynn Preston. Human Biology. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. Print.