Maybe it’s the caffeine speaking, but I feel compelled to address an issue that’s been going around for a while. Today, this Salon piece called “Is the Fat Acceptance Movement Losing?” came across my Twitter feed and I feel like it’s missing one huge point.
I’ve addressed this in the past (see here for the best example) and I’ll repeat it, but a bit differently.
I’ve noticed armchair folks pointing their fingers at others, usually while swilling a soda and smoking a cigarette. The disinformation our culture is swimming in is so thick that even folks who think they’re doing the right things for their health like to talk about those lazy, gluttonous fat people. If only they could control themselves! (Do I need to indicate sarcasm there?)
Here’s the deal, folks. NOT A SINGLE ONE OF US IS FREE FROM THIS PHENOMENON. If you think your switch from regular soda to diet soda is helping you, you’re lost. If you think you can order a healthy salad at a fast food joint, you’re lost. You think grains and vegetable matter are somehow “cleaner” and morally superior to meat? Lost. Your daily 30 minutes on the elliptical? Lost.
We’re all goldfish swimming in the same toxic waters. It’s hard to tell because it affects each of us differently.
How does that saying go? “He among you without sin shouldn’t throw stones in glass houses?” Problem is, we all live in glass houses. If you think you don’t, I would highly suggest you talk with an anthropologist who can point out all the flaws in your physiology. Trust me, even the most physically fit among us would be reduced to tears.
In fact, the next time I hear someone giving fat people a hard time, I’m going to ask them to remove their shirt and give me a list of their dental problems. And then I’ll instruct them to watch a marathon and take note of all the people heavier than they are that cross the finish line far faster than they could.
But this isn’t about fat acceptance. We should NOT accept fat, the same way we should not accept any other affliction that didn’t exist until recently in human history. (I try to avoid shoulds these days, but…) Instead, we might want to trade condemnation of fat for compassion, because that’s an acknowledgement that we’re all in the same boat, that we all suffer in different ways, some visible and some not. Maybe it’s depression or acne or physical degeneration of a million different types or chronic stress or an eating disorder or IBS or cancer or Alzheimer’s or diabetes or just struggling with the nagging feeling that something just isn’t right with your world. And you would be right.
To accept fat is to tell industrialized food corporations that what they’re doing is okay. It’s not okay. Why? Because instead of Wheat Thins, they’ll offer you reduced-fat Wheat Thins. Know what else isn’t okay? GMOs are not okay. The axis of our government, industrialized ag, nationalized healthcare, and the pharmaceutical industry is not okay. This life that we’ve been swept up in to play according to someone else’s rules…not okay. Especially when those people directly profit from our misery and have no interest in our well-being.
Until each of us understands how the deck is stacked against us, we’ll remain frustrated and powerless. Do us all a favor and don’t accept anything that makes you tired, sick, or unhappy. Get mad! And get mad at the right people. And then DO SOMETHING to change it. Put every intention, every dollar, every thought, every action into the new direction.
Before I launch into yet another bad metaphor, let’s keep it simple: We’re all victims. Since going Paleo over 2 years ago, it’s been my full-time job to unravel myself, to attempt to understand why I think and feel the way I do. It’s been scary and I’m truly only beginning to scratch the surface. This journey has taken me through politics, economics, psychology, interpersonal relationships, parenting, environmentalism, and shows no signs of stopping. From my perspective, unless you understand the bigger picture, you just can’t be pointing fingers because—oh, okay! One more bad metaphor!—there are three pointing back at you.
Those who don’t understand this are dangerous, irresponsible, and simply shouldn’t be driving the conversation.