Fatsronauts 101: Permission, Continued

[Content Note: Fat bias; body policing; privilege.]

Any time I write a new entry in the Fatsronauts series, the responses on Twitter and via email are interesting. Mostly, it's nice and complimentary stuff. Then there's the stuff like this:

screen cap of someone responding to a positive recommendation of my article with: 'Judging by the sky rocketing.obesity rates, there is little shaming going on. 2/3 of the pop is overweight'
Okay, player.

At which, you know, all one can do is laugh because wowee wow the amount of omglolwhut in so few words!

And then there's the stuff that is ostensibly encouraging, but is really the worst sort of condescending, policing bullshit. The stuff that goes like this: "Don't let anybody tell you that you can't love your body!" or "You love your body and no one can take that away from you!" or "If you feel good about yourself, that's all that matters!"

Now, coming from another fat person, that's solidarity. But, generally, this stuff comes from self-identified thin people who support fat advocacy. And so it's not solidarity. It's a pat on the head from a member of a privileged class.

I recognize, totally, that the people who say these things are absolutely trying to be supportive. But that doesn't feel supportive. What that feels like is an awkward expression of encouragement from someone who knows intellectually that I have every right to live fully and contentedly in this body but still has a visceral resistance to genuine fat acceptance.

What it feels like is a privileged person giving me permission to accept myself, even as they don't truly accept me.

I don't need permission from thin people to accept myself. And I sure as shit don't need sorta-allies expressing faux-enthusiasm for my self-acceptance because their lingering revulsion at fat bodies or secret suspicions I really am a lying pig or unshakable concern that they might be encouraging unhealthy habits prevents them from engaging with me in a way that doesn't position them as the benevolent arbiters of my right to love my body.

The thing is? How I feel about myself isn't actually all that matters. It also matters that how I feel about myself is worthy of comment by virtue of an entire culture built around the exhortation and expectation that I should hate myself.

I don't need gold stars and infantilizing cheers for my radical rejection of a cultural imperative that tells me and everyone else to hate my body. I need people with privilege to be as angry about the fact they're asked to hate my body as I am.

I need people with privilege to stop giving me permission to accept myself, and start giving themselves permission to accept me. Really accept me.

[Related Reading: Proposed.]

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