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Fat Liberation

January 3, 2012

I’ve been a member of this movement for almost five years now, and in that time I’ve heard our activism called a number of things (some of them not so favorable… lol). Some people call it Fat Acceptance, some call it Size Acceptance, some call it Body Acceptance, and some call it Self Acceptance, just to name a few.

I prefer Fat Liberation, and I’ll explain why. To me, liberation is being free from the things that make me feel bad about myself; being free from the things that make me not want to take care of myself; being free of the discrimination I face on a daily basis simply because I’m fat; but most of all, it’s being free of caring what other people think about my fatness.Finding this movement has freed me from being a sheep and following everyone who says, “Thin is in, thin is where it’s at, and to be worthy, you have to be thin.” This movement has freed me from worrying about every bite of food that goes into my mouth on an hourly basis and on a daily basis. Now all I worry about is if I’m eating to satisfy my hunger and not eating until I’m uncomfortably full (and I’ve learned how long it takes me to eat a meal, when my hunger is satisfied and I haven’t eaten past that point).

I’m free to ignore the exhortations to exercise like a hamster on speed, and free to find the type of movement that I like and will continue to do on a regular basis; the type of movement that makes me feel good, rather than worrying about whether it makes that number on the scale go up or down.

I’m free to tell my doctor that I don’t want to be weighed every time I see her, and I’m free to tell her that I don’t want dieting advice from her. I’m also free to walk out on her if she insists on giving me dieting advice or to fire her if she doesn’t look past the fat for the true cause of problems. I’m free to refuse weight loss advice, whether diets or weight loss surgery, from anyone and not explain why. A simple, “Sorry, I don’t believe in that” will suffice, although I do have the links to studies to back up why I don’t believe in dieting anymore, apart from my personal experience.

I’m free to tell the random stranger who cat-calls me to suck it (or other various comments I’ve used in the past that aren’t so nice). I’m free to wear the clothes that I like, in the colors and prints that I like, and tell those who don’t like it to look the other way. I’m free to flaunt my fat ass in public in a bathing suit if it suits me (pun fully intended). I’m free to live my life fat at the world and let other fat women know that they, too, can be free to do the same things.

I’m free to advocate for an end to the discrimination fat people face on a daily basis, and it’s all because of this movement of ours. I wish I had found it when I was a teenager — I can’t imagine how different my life would have been.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2012 10:06 am

    I love this term. It reminds me of the Judean People’s Front (or the People’s Front of Judea). It takes the emphasis off “acceptance” which seems kind of begrudging, and turns it into a proactive movement that is fighting for something (namely, freedom).

    It also reminds me of the Fat Underground, another term I really like. But I love the emphasis on freedom. I think that is its greatest strength. We are fighting for the freedom to exist without interference from society, so it seems to capture that essence. Thanks for presenting, vesta!


  2. January 3, 2012 11:01 am

    Ah, yes, as a “child” of the late fifties, the term liberation rings true with me as well. I also wish I had been able to generalize the women’s lib movement over to how I felt about my body as a young girl. For some reason, I could be o.k. with not shaving my legs, but still humiliated about my thighs…Thanks Vesta, great post!

  3. January 3, 2012 12:05 pm

    I like this term as well. And I like how you described it as your choice not to care what society thinks of your body. This means that you refuse to be a victim and implies that you realize (I hope I m not assuming too much or putting words in your mouth when I say this) that while fat activism is well and good and has a purpose, that we will never live in a perfect world where everyone will love fat bodies. Even today as thin is the ideal for the most part, there is still a part of society that judges and hates them too. And this doesn’t stop with body sizes. There is discrimination and judgments made about people based on gender, race, religion, hair color, etc, etc. But rather than obsessing over how you can change the minds of every individual to be kind and open minded to people of all sizes, races, religion, etc, you are making a choice to *liberate* yourself from those negative comments affecting your sense of self worth. At that point, you stop being a victim and start taking responsibility over your self esteem and taking back the control over it, and I think that is very admirable.

  4. Mulberry permalink
    January 3, 2012 3:08 pm

    Yeah! Let’s keep the word FAT in there. I also like how the term shortens to FAT LIB. Bring on the t-shirts!

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