The fat acceptance movement is certainly a lot more than one would think it might be. It means that all body types (especially those of the larger size) are inherently worthy. So who are the fat people? Every individual has a set height and weight is usually determined as per the height, for example, the weight of a person whose height is 5’1 would be 50 kilograms. Likewise when a person presumably exceeds this determined pattern of weight they are termed to be ‘overweight ‘or ‘fat’. In the modern-day, being skinny or overweight is heavily lashed out at. There is this notion of a ‘perfect’ body type which nobody really knows the definition to. Body types are extremely individualistic to every person. The fat acceptance movement is an idea that will be handed down to generations for the better living of the human race. Any individual carrying a huge weight of fat-shaming, the crisis of not fitting in that is coupled with bully, guilt and embarrassment for how their body types are, would combust and feel disturbed all the time. It’s hard to let go of societal opinions that are deemed to be the ultimate source of validation in our community. The fat acceptance movement does not necessarily have to bawl our eyes rather it is to generate a portrayal of acceptance, love, and kindness towards all body types. The movement should draw everyone’s attention to the heaviness of the everlasting conflicts that fat people have to undergo between their body shape and the nonacceptance of the same in the outer world. This movement has a revolutionary intensity letting out the types of comments that infuriates those with a bigger body type. It runs its course among generations gracefully and it feels existential to a large number of people, running deep in their self-conscious thoughts.
INITIATION OF THE MOVEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES
The fat acceptance movement dates back to a rebellious history. It goes back to 1967 where 500 people came together in Central Park of New York to protest heavily against the biased attitude of the mass against fat people. They portrayed the fat power to the world with signs that said ‘FAT POWER’ ‘THINK FAT’ & ‘BUDDHA WAS FAT’, etc. Furthermore, in 1970 Llewelyn Loundrback wrote a book in relation to the movement named as ‘Fat power: whatever you weigh is right’. This movement slowly gathered attention across different schools, colleges, workplaces and families in different parts of the world. Unfortunately, the flame burned down towards 1983 but it’s importance in the lives of millions of people has made the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) work tirelessly each day to celebrate the liberation of all body types and to free the fat people of the societal oppression. It aligns deeply with the sparkling subject of body positivity where individuals are enlightened to accept their body scars, marks, shape, height, and all other features. It empowers people to love and accept themselves for who they are and breaks the chain of fat-shaming. It is very much a political movement as it goes to establish the ‘fat acceptance’ opinion amongst the masses and there is no social change without a political uprising.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CULTURAL FAT AND MEDICAL FAT
Social approval upon an individual often becomes a source of power and authority. That is exactly why at times the priest can hold sway over common people greater than the magistrate. Certain body types are approved by society as perfect and those remain as the models for others to follow. Culturally people have degraded fat people even to the extent of them facing harsh treatments in offices, hospitals, schools, colleges, family gatherings and in almost every social gathering. This can at most times develop a fear among them to attend such occasions, classes, or even go to offices which can be extremely traumatising. The cultural understanding of ‘thin is beautiful’ has affected many people in ways we can’t imagine. The mishap is that there is no scale to determine what exactly is the perfect body type. It’s simply a thought directed by traditional beliefs of idealism that discriminates people on the basis of how they look. The fat resistance movement stands strong for this very purpose.
Now this definitely does not mean that obesity is alright. Obesity is a medical abnormality that results from poor diet, physical inactivity, psychological factors, medications and excessive consumption of kilojoules which has no nutritional benefits. Excessive fat accumulation that results in the Body Mass Index (BMI) rising above 30 is considered to be obese. To misunderstand the fat resistance movement and encourage obesity would be disastrous. Obesity has many health effects such as prone to cholesterol, hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, coronary heart diseases and osteoarthritis. It can also make them a victim of heart attacks. This by no means can be encouraged rather one should sensibly approach such individuals and suggest them to make a lifestyle change or to visit the doctor for medical assistance. Obesity is not normal but a fat body type is very normal. People who accept that ‘fat is beautiful’ is not a saint or an open-minded person, they are simply normalizing the idea of equality in all body spheres.
THE BEAUTY OF ALL BODY TYPES
Many people get influenced by the pictures they see online or the opinions they hear offline and try to change how they look. It’s not a bad thing, the motive is extremely positive and there is no harm to want to look a certain way. However what is wrong is the stigma that can often dominate over our willpower and make us believe that we are not beautiful enough. Self love is therapy, it reveals our real version and that’s what each of us should bring to the table. Self love reminiscences oneself above the notions of the world. One should know that maybe we can’t make the community think differently in a short course of time but we can definitely change the way we think of ourselves and of others. Beauty and fitness are very individualistic words. The collective mass should stop treating a certain shape superior in terms of beautification and acceptance than the other. Every shape and size should be valued, loved and respected.
IS SOCIETAL VALIDATION THE ULTIMATE FORM OF APPROVAL?
Recently during the coronavirus pandemic, the notion that fat is unfit has become very dominant. People have assumed that fat people are more prone to demise from the virus than thinner people who are called as fit. Well that is a sad reality for survival from the virus does not depend on our body type rather on our immunity and the antibodies that our bodies can produce. Again diseases assigned to obesity are an exception. The community should learn to identify the difference between fatness and obesity. As individuals, one should remember that societal validation is not the ultimate form of approval. Movements, one like the fat resistance movement can only provide a base for transformative change. However, acceptance is on each one of us. A community can only grow when we live in harmony while embracing the differences in each person.