Fat Acceptance FAQ

If you’re new to this blog or to the concept of Fat Acceptance and body positivity, please read here before commenting.

What is Fat Acceptance?

Fat acceptance is a diverse, international movement. We are a community of advocates, many of us bloggers, who don’t always agree. No one voice represents the whole movement, although there are some basic tenets we all support. At its core fat acceptance is a social justice movement working to end weight-based discrimination and the unjust vilification of fat people.

I have listed out some of the important facets of fat acceptance, as I see them:

  • All people, regardless of shape or size, deserve to be treated with respect. No one body type is inherently better than another.
  • The relationship between fat and health is complex and nuanced. You cannot tell if someone is healthy by looking at them, or by weighing them. The health risks of being fat have been exaggerated in the media whilst any neutral or beneficial aspects are ignored. Media rhetoric around the ‘obesity epidemic’ does little to promote healthful behaviours in the community but does fuel fat-hatred and fat-phobia. It is important to think critically about the messages the media conveys about fat bodies and about health. Fat people have the right to be critical of what is being said about us; we have the right to be consulted on public health policy that concerns us.
  • Stereotyping fat people as lazy, gluttonous, smelly, stupid etc. is harmful and actively damages the mental and physical health of people in the community. Discrimination and hate-speech is never okay. Fat people face discrimination in health care settings, employment, fashion and many other aspects of every-day life. This is unacceptable.
  • Body positivity means honouring diversity: telling a thin person to ‘go eat a sandwich’ is no better than telling a fat person to ‘stop eating doughnuts’.
  • Weight loss diets or ‘lifestyle changes’ do not work in the long term (only a tiny minority of dieters ever maintain weight loss for five years or more: the vast majority, around 95%, gain back their weight and then some within a year or two). The diet industry is harmful and exists to make a profit, not to promote good health.  A Health At Every Size approach to wellness is not only more body-positive, but more effective too.
  • Health is subjective, and health status should never be grounds for discrimination, prejudice or bullying. Regardless of whether people are ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’, thin or fat, disabled or currently not disabled, they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Good health or a particular type of body is not a marker of superiority or moral virtue.
  • All human beings deserve bodily autonomy. Fat people have the right to make decisions about our own bodies. My body (including my eating and exercise habits) is not your business.

What If I Disagree?

To comment here at Spilt Milk, you don’t necessarily have to agree with all facets of fat acceptance. I only ask that you take responsibility for familiarising yourself with the basic tenets of the movement before commenting on FA-related posts. I also ask that you respect that this is a body-positive and diet-free space. Want to tell me to lose weight? Save your time: I won’t publish comments like that.

I’m Skinny, Can I Still Be Part of FA?

Yes, absolutely. As long as you are prepared to acknowledge that you experience a degree of thin privilege, you are more than welcome.

I’m On A Diet/I Hate My Body, Can I Still Be Part of FA?

Yes, you totally can. We are all at different stages of body acceptance. But just remember that like most fat-friendly spaces, Spilt Milk has a ‘no diet talk’ policy. There a millions of places you can talk about weight loss online – feel free to do that elsewhere, if that is your choice. Please be assured that whilst I am not interested in your weight loss attempts, I am interested in your efforts to be healthy and to feel good about your body and/or your struggles to resist the pressure to diet. There is no rule that you have to adore your cellulite or worship your stretchmarks before reading fat acceptance blogs! Just remember that any comments which imply that all fat bodies or body ‘flaws’ are bad, unhealthy or shameful will not be published here.

Where Can I Learn More?

Most people who are new to fat acceptance want to know more before deciding whether to support the movement. Here are a few links to get you started:

  • Introductions to Fat Acceptance

Fat Acceptance: Introducing the Self Esteem Warriors

Fat Acceptance: What It Means To Me Dr Samantha Thomas

The Tenets of Fat Acceptance Fierce, Freethinking Fatties

About Fat Acceptance Definatalie

Your Big Fat Reading List by Tasha Fierce at Bitch Media (whole post series highly recommended)

  • Fat and Health

Just So We’re Clear… Some Fat Facts Golda Poretsky

Dieting Does Not Work, Researchers Report

Don’t You Realize Fat Is Unhealthy? Shapely Prose

The BMI Project Shapely Prose

Health At Every Size: excerpts and downloads Linda Bacon

The Rules of Nutrition The Fat Nutritionist (also check out other posts and her excellent resource lists)

The Obesity Paradox Junkfood Science (all the Obesity Paradox series posts are useful)

Obesity Stigma Not Helpful and everything else at Well Rounded Mama

  • Fabulous Fat Stuff

Fat Dialogue – fat studies discussion, resource and information hub

Two Whole Cakes fatcast – Podcast with Marianne Kirby of The Rotund and Lesley Kinzel of Fatshionista

HAM RADIO Australian Fat podcast at Axis of Fat

Adipositivity Project (NSFW) Beautiful photography showcasing fat bodies.

13 responses to “Fat Acceptance FAQ

  1. An Idle Dad

    Great summary, Elizabeth. Nice work.

  2. Great wrap-up. However, you may wish to consider rephrasing “Weight loss diets or ‘lifestyle changes’ do not work in the long term for more than 5% of people”. The way I read that, it seemed to be saying that slightly more than 5% of people have difficulty dieting, implying that slightly less than 95% have no trouble – when I know that statistic should be the other way around!

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  5. Is it okay for insurance companies to discriminate against fat people? e.g., charge them higher premiums

    • Interestingly enough, that’s how the BMI became so popular: insurance companies wanted a way to divide people into body size based risk categories, and they made the categories in such a way to maximize profits (that is, low cut off points so people are classed obese long before any higher incidences of illnesses are likely to show up anyway). I have a huge problem with the idea that health insurance can be denied to people based on weight (not the case here in Aus I believe). I believe it is a human rights issue: everyone needs and deserves affordable access to good healthcare.

  6. Azalea

    I totally embrace this concept. Thanks for the information!

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  8. Jen

    Do you have any resources on weight and pregnancy through the perspective of fat acceptance?

  9. Pingback: Links & Resources. |

  10. Pingback: Fat Acceptance « Love, Ashley

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