Fat Acceptance?

Fat Acceptance? January 4, 2012

Have you heard of Fat Acceptance? It’s a perspective pushed by activists like Joy Nash, and artists like Beth Ditto.

Here are a couple of videos made by Joy Nash on Fat Acceptance:

I have to admit, I’m on the fence. On one hand, I know that taking care of my health is important. I have a family history that includes diabetes and heart disease. My ticker has already been in the shop, due to a birth defect. I want to feel healthy. I want to feel good.

On the other hand, I have only been below 200 lbs once in my adult life, and it required me to spend a year of my life exclusively to obsessively monitoring my weight, my calorie intake and exercising constantly. I lost a lot of weight, but I didn’t gain anything that year. I had no lover. No hobbies. No friends. I don’t recall reading any good books or writing anything beyond dieting diaries. I didn’t work on any projects beyond calorie calculators and divining prescisely how few calories I could eat without permanently harming my body.

I’m told I looked good. I think I felt ok, but all in all it was a lost year. I may have made it to 180 lbs, but I didn’t gain anything that year. I certainly didn’t gain any self-esteem. People only told me how good I looked after I gained the weight back, in an attempt to coax me back to my obsessive habits. That certainly did nothing to improve my self worth.

I am always going to be fat. Even the thinnest of my female relatives are overweight, except for a niece who inherited the genes of her father when it comes to weight and metabolism. I was a fat teenager and I have been a fat adult. As I begin to round the corner to my 30th birthday, I consider how one of my goals to reach by then was to achieve a certain weight. I’ve actually gone in the opposite direction. A few years of being chained to a computer desk have done wonders for my body, and not in a good way. I am at my heaviest weight ever. Unlike Joy Nash, I’m not comfortable giving the exact number, but it’s well above my “happy place” of 230-240.

For me, 2012 is going to be about taking honest stock of my life, my limitations, my talents, my desires and my needs. Taking a good hard look at the reality of your life, at who you really are, instead of how you want things to be, is not easy. Some of the realities about myself have been difficult to face. Taking a good hard look at my emotional, cognitive, intellectual, physical, social and spiritual abilities and limitations has been hard work, and I’d be lying if I said that no tears were shed. Yet, of all the issues I’ve analyzed over the past few months, including my solitary Yuletide, my weight was one that didn’t bother me.

I’m not going to pretend I am completely comfortable with being fat. After all, If I were able to pick a body size and shape from a rack, I would not pick the one I have. Yet, I don’t think I would pick a skinny model’s body either. While not exactly advocating Fat Acceptance, being a large woman, a woman of size and softness, has become an integral part of my identity. It just slipped into my idea of myself some night when I wasn’t looking.

I’m beginning to wonder if it’s because I’m Pagan? Our Goddesses are large and in charge. From the Venus of Willendorf to big-hipped Hindu Goddesses to the ample curves of Ruebens’ Venus. I picture Demeter with large and shapely thighs, I imagine Danu with a softly rounded belly, I think Freya has love handles and I perceive Oya with her swirling skirts to be an ample woman with strength to spin the storms.–Ng

Not only am I blessed to have a faith and worldview in which there is divinity that is fat like me, but that my sister co-religionists also embrace this. What better blessing beyond that than to see my brother co-religionists creating Goddess artwork featuring big hips, ample bosoms and round bellies!

Maybe I’m not altogether comfortable identifying with Fat Acceptance yet, after all, losing enough weight to get back to my still-overweight “happy place” is a goal of mine this year, but I did have an epiphany of sorts recently. Recently a man told me he preferred large women, and for the first time in my life I didn’t find that repulsive. I accepted it as natural to have a size preference in romantic partners.

After all, I may drool over Johnny Depp as much as the next woman, but in reality I prefer large men, and have drooled over Meatloaf and Jack Black on occasion. In fact, Zach Quinto coming out as gay was a personal disappointment for me, but Eric Stonestreet, “Cameron” from Modern Family, turning out to be straight set my little heart aflutter. I like my Hollywood fantasies to be grounded in reality, and finding out the sexy new Spock wouldn’t be interested in me even if we were trapped in an elevator, just doesn’t do it for me. Just as fantasizing I’m thin enough to catch supermodel-lover Depp’s attention doesn’t do it for me.

I’m fat. It’s likely I will be for the rest of my life. It doesn’t mean I can’t be healthy, happy and attractive. Facing up to that reality isn’t “giving up” on myself. It’s loving myself for who I am and appreciating the life I have rather than wasting it by being dissatisfied. That’s a good thing. I’ve got the love handles of Aphrodite, the booty of Erzulie Freda, the hips of mighty Inanna and the plumpness of Ixchel.

And if Eric Stonestreet reads this, I’m single! *exaggerated and inappropriate wink*

What do you think about Fat Acceptance? And have you seen these NSFW fat-positive images by Leonard Nimoy? (He’s the original sexy Spock!)

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