[Content Note: Fat bias.]
It remains a radical act to be fat and happy. If you're fat, you're not only meant to be unhappy, but deeply ashamed of yourself, projecting at all times an apologetic nature, indicative of your everlasting remorse for having wrought your monstrous self upon the world. You are certainly not meant to be bold, or assertive, or confident—and should you manage to overcome the constant drumbeat of messages that you are ugly and unsexy and have earned equally society's disdain and your own self-hatred, should you forget your place and walk into the world one day with your head held high, you are to be reminded by the cow-calls and contemptuous looks of perfect strangers that you are not supposed to have self-esteem; you don't deserve it. Being publicly fat and happy is hard; being publicly, shamelessly, unshakably fat and happy is an act of both will and bravery.
Rare indeed is the fat person who manages to find contentment in hir own skin, because everything around hir is designed so that zie will not. Thusly, the idea of a culture that maintains an inclusive attitude about a spectrum of natural (and acceptable) shapes and sizes is almost impossible to imagine—and yet important enough to imagine and set as goal nevertheless, because the person who is healthy but fat is not being served by our scorn, and the person who is unhealthy but thin is not being served by our approbation.
[Updated from "Weighty Matters," January 02, 2007.]