I'm On The Fence With This "Fat Acceptance" Thing

Yesterday I read a post over on The Big Girl Blog that got me thinking. The author, CeCe, wrote about how she can't get those towels at the gym to completely fit around her body. She talked about how she deals with it, and made a few comments (tongue-in-cheek of course) about wanting to one day have those towels fit her. I took a look at the comments a bit later after I left my own, and I saw this very interesting comment:

Cece,

I love your blog, but there are times when I am irritated by some of your posts. For someone who is sharing her life about being plus size with her readers in hopes of inspiring or empowering them, at times it comes off more like you are enabling insecurities.

I don’t know if you are aware of the fat acceptance movement or whether you have even visited sites like fatshionista(now known as two whole cakes), the rotund, fierce free thinking fatties and etc… What bothers me about this post and your thinking is that somehow you wish your body was a smaller size in order to fit a towel. Do you not see the problem here? Rather than you going to the gym and requesting that they order towels to fit your shape and the shapes of the other larger gym members, instead you are wishing that you could alter your body to fit a freaking towel. You prefer to buy white cover ups in order to blend in and feel like one of the smaller women you long to be one of.

Why not buy a towel in a color or print you prefer? Rock it to the point that the other ladies will start asking you where you buy you great looking towels. You are complaining about having to take home towels to launder instead of having the option to leave them behind at the gym. For me personally from a sanitary perspective, I prefer my own towels. Because I would rather have a towel that has only been used by me than a towel that has wiped the asses of several people. I don’t trust that the laundry at the gym is really getting the towels clean. Also, I don’t know what they are washing the towels with and that whatever detergent it is won’t irritate my skin.

But seriously if you are that pressed about the fact that you can’t use some grungy gym towel that everybody else has wiped their personal areas with then ask the gym to order larger towels so you can share in the “fun” too.

Ok, so for those who are not well-versed, the fat acceptance movement is all about changing public/societal attitudes towards larger people, making accommodations for individuals who are "of size", and also for people to love themselves no matter what size they are.

Yeah...I'm torn with this one.

Let me start by saying that I've had my own struggles with my weight, which I've talked about on this blog. So I'm not some size 2 woman who is railing against the fatties, ok? Ok. Now, I'm all for people loving themselves no matter what size they are. You shouldn't love yourself depending on what the scale reads or what clothing size you wear. Unfortunately we live in a schizophrenic society - one which glorifies thinness but also pushes the idea of cheap,fast, salty, fatty, sugary, processed food literally down your throat.  Our culture worships the thin, supposedly "fit" people (supposedly because body size & weight aren't indicators of health or fitness) yet we super-size everything, there's a drive-thru on every corner, and portion sizes are out of control. The majority of Americans are overweight or obese, and yet shame, ridicule, embarrassment, and even discrimination are often common experiences for bigger people. That just should not happen. People shouldn't be called names, ridiculed (especially to their faces, that's just beyond rude), made to feel inferior, etc just because of their weight. Discrimination definitely shouldn't happen. So I understand the "love yourself" mantra that the fat acceptance community preaches. You shouldn't have to fit a certain size to love yourself, it should be with you no matter what.

HOWEVER...it seems like many in the fat acceptance community use the "love yourself" banner as a crutch to never make any changes to their eating or fitness. Some even go so far as to criticize others who want to get to a smaller size & are actively working towards that. Does that make any sense? You tell folks to love themselves & others no matter what size they are, but then you criticize folks who want to be smaller? HUH?

Listen folks, if a person feels like they need to change something about themselves and are actively working towards it, why is that a bad thing? That doesn't mean they don't love themselves just the way they are, it simply means that they want to make a change. If anything, working on healthy eating and fitness would be a signal that the person does love who they are, given that they are trying to get their bodies into better condition. Granted, not every person who is trying to lose weight is doing it with good intentions. Some folks may want to lose weight to get a date, or to prove something to the cheerleaders at the high school reunion, or whatever. But weight loss & fitness does not necessarily indicate that a person is not accepting of who they are.

My other issue with the fat acceptance community is that it seems to be a way to avoid even attempting to eat healthy or exercise. Just because you like being your size, that doesn't mean that it's healthy for you to consume 5000 calories a day & have a sedentary lifestyle. Accepting yourself for who you are & loving yourself no matter what are not excuses to eat whatever you want & never get any physical activity. It's not a "I can eat whatever I want & never workout" card. Self-love & acceptance is not carte blanche to just eat away & never exercise. How exactly is that self-love?

As for the particular comment above, I felt like the commenter totally missed the mark. Yeah, maybe the gym should have bigger towels. But to say that the gym should get bigger towels instead of encouraging someone who is actively attempting to lose weight? Yeah....#fail.

I'm all for people loving themselves no matter what, but some folks just take it too damn far.

Am I wrong here? Am I missing the point of the fat acceptance movement? What do you think about this movement & the acceptance of overweight people in our society?