Is Fat Acceptance A Good Thing?!

Are you overweight? Maybe. Maybe not. But no matter what the scale says, you’re probably still sick of hearing about body image, right? Your own body image may be influenced by the constant barrage of impossible standards of physical beauty in magazines, movies, and on runways. It can make you feel like you’re not good enough (even though you’re freakin’ awesome).

Thing is, body image issues may be taking a swift, heavy pendulum swing the other way–and that’s not necessarily healthy, either. “Fat pride” (more commonly referred to as “fat acceptance“) is becoming more and more popular in terms of a “positive” body image, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe, healthy, or actually beneficial in any way to be overweight.

One proponent of fat acceptance, a woman named Cat Pause, argues, “When people look at a fat body like mine, it tells them I’m unhealthy and that this is a diseased body. It tells them I don’t ever exercise and eat nothing but junk.” Of course, that’s not necessarily true.Β Are you overweight? Obviously, that doesn’t mean you’re lazy, stupid, or slovenly. Most of us have a set weight point that we fluctuate around, and obesity is often (at least in part) genetic. Just because someone is thin doesn’t mean that they’re healthy nor that they’re necessarily in shape (we bet you can think of a lot of skinny girls who have a tough time in gym class, right?), and, conversely, just because someone appears overweight doesn’t mean that they’re sick. Labels, stereotypes, and assumptions are only damaging to your body image, and that’s not good–which is actually something we agree with Ms. Pause on. “It’s illegal in most countries to discriminate based on someone’s sex or race, sexual orientation is becoming more protected too,” she said. ‘I’d like size to become a protected class.” So fat acceptance is fair enough, right?

While we applaud Ms. Pause’s efforts to combat sizeism and bullying via fat acceptance, we need to point out a lot of problems with her thinking in terms of physical health. In terms of being physically healthy, fat acceptance lacks fact acceptance. Ms. Pause (and many other fat acceptance advocates) disagrees with years of documented medical studies showing that obesity is deadly (it’s linked to heart disease, cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and a slew of other scary stuff). And while we’re stoked that more people are embracing themselves as they are, fat acceptance may be a dangerous message if you’re severely overweight, because it may prevent people who actually are sick from getting help that they need to lose weight and get healthier. Plus, it might be sending a bad message to kids who still have time to create lifelong healthy habits.

An ideal body image isn’t necessarily thin, nor is it super sized. In a perfect world, the ideal body image would be of your body at its healthiest. And that’s not something Cat Pause, the fat acceptance movement, nor any fashion mag can determine for you. It’s something you need to talk over with your doctor. Your ideal body image isn’t determined by a number on a scale nor by how your jeans fit. Your body image should be determined how you feel, inside and out.

Are you overweight? Do you think the fat acceptance movement is healthy or damaging? Do you deal with body image issues? Tell us in the comments!

Fat or Skinny, People Judge You for Your Weight!

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  • Alice

    My dad’s side of the family has always had this overweight trend, while my mother’s side is tall and stick-thin. That’s why my mother is constantly fretting over me, probably mentally comparing me to my sister. (My sister is GORGEOUS btw-tall, thin, and confident.) Even though I’m curvy, let’s face it-I could probably outsprint half of the people in my school. I did competitive swimming for 4 years, which might add to my weight issue, but it has also given me strength and stamina. I know I’m never going to be thin, but I do want to keep being healthy. Honestly though, I have a lot of muscle left from those days, and muscle weighs more than fat. Therefore, I feel like being overweight is a bit more justifiable.

    • Chloe

      I can’t believe I have finally found someone who actually has pretty much the exact same situation as me! My mom’s side of the family is tall and almost deathly-skinny, while my dad’s side of the family has always been overweight/obese and has had health issues because of it. I have two brothers with very fast metabolisms, the oldest scarfing down up to 4000 calories a day, and the youngest constantly eating all of the junk food he can get his hands on. On the other hand, I am 5’4, weigh 145-150 pounds depending on the day, and hit puberty when I was 11. My mom is constantly worried about my weight, although less so than when I was younger, because that was before I started competitive swimming, and since then I have lost a couple of BMI points. I have been swimming now for 3 1/2 years, and I practice six times a week, year round. Like you, I could probably outsprint all of the skinny, unathletic girls (and guys!) at my school. So maybe it’s not OK to be overweight, but I have come a long way from when I was obese in 5th grade, and I hope to go even farther along the path to being in a healthy weight range. And although I am classified as overweight, I feel as though most of the muscle I have also contributes to that. Well, thanks for listening to me ramble, and have a nice day! πŸ™‚

  • Emily

    Lots of people think of healthy as being ‘skinny’. That is about as untrue as anything. When people think healthy, they think those stick-thin models with bug boobs prancing around in their size -4 swimsuits. Healthy is both mental and physical. You have to love your body, and in order to love your body, you have to take care of it. i’m really happy people are learning to love themselves, but is loving yourself keeping yourself at high-risk for heart-failure and other ghastly diseases? no, its not.

  • TheMusicNerd

    Okay, this is just my opinion, but why has it that over-weight people are constantly being bashed for being unhealthy. I distinctly remember being able to out run and out lift plenty of “healthier” girls in my gym class. I would walk or jog around the gym, usually a mile or more, when we had a free day while they sat on their butts and listened to their iPods. Just because someone is “fat” does NOT mean that they are lazier than the other girl that is “skinny”. As a society we need to stop seeing pound-age. We need to stop putting this idea in people’s heads that thin is healthy, and yes gURL did is address this in the article, but nearly as much as they pushed for over-weight girls to loose weight. Health is what’s important, regardless of what the number on the scale is. I’m over-weight, quite a bit actually, but I walk practically every night for at least a half hour, I’d choose a salad over a cheese burger nine times out of ten, and I’m proud of who I am. I’m a teenage girl who likes to go out for ice-cream with my friends, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Noone would even think twice about it if I weighed 120 pounds, would they?

  • Anna

    Finally I have found a post about this! Many overweight women simply scoff at people who tell them to lose weight because they think they’re simply embracing their body – newsflash losing weight will make you healthy! Don’t give this crap about self acceptance and “I can’t lose weight I’m just naturally bigger” how about you actually get some motivation and work out – do you have a proper exercise regime? If you’re severely overweight you will lose weight if you combine a healthy appetite with a vigilant exercise routine. Simple. Cut the excuses and just do it.

    • Blankk

      There are also many overweight girls who ARE heathly. Just because someone is oveweight DOES NOT automatically mean that they are unhealthy. It simply means that their body stucture is different than yours. Yes. Obviously excercising does make you healthier,but it might also be harder for someone else than it is for you. And YES. There ARE MANY big girls out there that are PROUD to embrace their weight and there’s nothing wrong with that. In my oppinion unless their doctor comes to them and tells them that they need to loose weight or they’ll die…I personally encourage them to EMBRACE their weight. And if they’re truly not content with it then they have a right to do something about it! Because honestly big girls DO NOT have a weight problem ..people like you just have a PROBLEM with their weight. And with all that being said I respectfully say to you… build a bridge and GET.OVER.IT. No ones crittic’ing you about your weight telling you to “Cut the excueses and just do it”… so dont do them like that. They are still human beingss with rights πŸ™‚ . What they do with THEIR lives doesn’t concern you AT ALL. Kayy? πŸ™‚

      With No Dissrespect,

      -a FAT girl

      andd PROUD πŸ™‚

      thnxss πŸ™‚

      • Blankk

        My post was ment for Ms. “Anna” πŸ™‚

      • kiyah

        I completly agree with you! I’m a FAT girl too and I lovee the way i look !:)

  • twisted_sister

    i will admit i am obese and i do want to loose weight but not because of what people say i just want to be healthy but no matter what i will love my body no matter what πŸ™‚ <3

    • TheMusicNerd

      I personally love your comment twisted_sister, it’s exactly how people should be!

  • idallis washington

    im 13 and overweight i weigh 180 or maybe more but its all on my thighs and arms i need to lose weight idk why but my granparents and most of my family say lose weight like a broken record i know im fat but its not easy i cant just say a magical word like “abracadabra lose weightit cus” i want to lose weight i get bullied for it as well its hard ive always eaten alot but its my hormones and i just need to recognize time to grow up and be my age

  • Rebecca

    You know what really isn’t healthy? Hate. I don’t think the body shaming of overweight people is about health. I don’t think we as a society care about an individual’s health. If we did, there’s so much that we would do differently. Let’s be real with ourselves. It isn’t the weight, it’s all the other things that we attach to the word fat. The term fat apparently “means” that a person is lazy, gross, smelly, repulsive, unhealthy, etc. Look at how we talk about and treat overweight people, it’s not just some flippant comment about weight. It’s a hate attack. It’s body shaming hate based on multiple unfounded assumptions. Plus it’s ridiculous to assume that weight is a direct correlation between weight and health. Skinny or average does not really mean that a person is healthy. I see skinny people eating junk food, playing video games all day, drinking/smoking and see overweight people eating healthy and running 5Ks. I think we need to quit taking out our personal self esteem issues out on others, which means stop with the hate and body shaming. Let the doctors, who do have the education, training and patients’ best interest, do their jobs. We can’t look at a person and see their medical history or current medical stats, diet or physical activity level. I think health is very important, but I know that includes mental health so every time we’re ugly to someone, we’re actually possibly negatively impacting their mental health and compounding the problems. Love your body, love yourself, take care of yourself and be good and kind to others.

  • Smallfrye98ga

    I think it’s funny how the world & society contradict themselves. They say “You’re fat. You need to lose weight.” (not necessarily in those exact words) But then say “You’re fat. Accept it.” Everyones always saying you need confidence & self-esteem, yet, when someone tries to help with building that self esteem up (fat acceptance), its questioned on if its good or bad. Now, I agree if you’re so far overweight, then yeahh tell a doctor. I myself am almost 70 lbs over the average weight. But, my body is healthy. How is that possible? I dunno, but it is. I’ve had doctors tell me I’m overweight. Yes, I know that. I’ve tried (doctor recommended) diets, like taking white bread out of my diet, instead of eating dressing on,my salad, use salsa, which is really good. But the point is, it didnt work.,i’ve tried diet pills that worked for my mom, sister, & aunt but didnt work for me. I’ve tried exercise, suprisingly, it didnt really work. I dony eat a lot of sugary things, I love fruits & veggies.. I know, weird huh, an overweight 13 year old girl loves healthy food? The point is, unless I just stop eating, im probably gonna be this weight for a long while.

  • Abby

    I’ll admit- I’m overweight, but I am accepting it. I am 100% on the inside, so I’m not worried about that, but- I agree- if you are severley overweight- YOU NEED TO TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR. If you fine with how you look, GREAT, but like it said earlier, obesity may lead to health issues, so need to do your best fix those problems to the best of your ability. So, make sure that your happy with your body image NO MATER WHAT, but if that can cause major health issues, you need to do something.