Big Girl, You Are Beautiful (Within Reason)

I follow a lot of blogs and websites about different causes in which I am largely a spectator, a listener, someone only peripherally related to the issue. While some are ideologies I downright don’t agree with, others make me happy just to see they’re around–even if they may not benefit me directly. One in particular, the Fat Acceptance Movement, is something I’ve always found wholly necessary to combat our culture’s extreme, often unhealthy obsession with being thin. I’ve spoken many times, both here and elsewhere, about my disdain for the fashion industry’s relentless idolizing of all things waify. Sure, some women are naturally quite svelte and that’s wonderful, but to even briefly pretend that this is a social norm or something we should unilaterally aspire to is at best, misguided, at worst, dangerous. So movements like the FAM are both necessary and quite refreshing. Yet in following the movement, it’s almost impossible to deny that if we react too harshly to our societal love of thin, we will go in an incredibly unhealthy direction.

It is absolutely true that everyone’s “stable” weight is different, and some people will just always be bigger than others. The assertion that you can know much about a person’s health strictly by their weight is untrue, within a certain range. If someone is severely underweight, for example, we can infer that their health is suffering as a result. And it has become socially acceptable to openly mock and criticize people both in the public eye and our everyday lives for being “stick thin,” “too skinny,” or — much worse — “anorexic.” We feel quite free to toss that dangerous label around, to chastise and denigrate people who err on the extremely thin side. And it’s no secret why, of course. They are what is now considered close to the “ideal” shape. They see people like themselves in magazines, on billboards, and on television every day. They are the norm, they are inherently privileged and preferred by society. They are open for unrestrained mockery, directly to their faces. I have participated in it myself, I’ve referred to models as being “grotesquely thin,” or “looking like a twelve-year-old boy.”

And it’s true that to make these same types of assertions to people who are overweight is somehow much more cruel. It carries not just the sting of personal judgement but of societal exile. If you are ridiculed for being heavy, you are reminded not only that your mocker finds you unattractive, but that you will rarely see anyone like yourself in advertising or entertainment. You are not what is considered appealing; you are what needs to change. The open ridicule of those who are overweight is incredibly wrong, and something that society must stop constantly reinforcing.

So this is where things like FAM come in, championing a love for all body shapes and sizes, encouraging people to love themselves regardless of how beautiful Maxim magazine might rate them or the cheerleader might find them. They encourage people to show photos of themselves, wear what they like, and embrace their physical form, however it may look. This, of course, is wonderful and wholly necessary. It’s disgusting to have entire generations of people growing up thinking they are ugly simply because they are an average human size. And the FAM is right on in its assertions that being overweight doesn’t necessarily imply poor health — for the most part.

Going through blogs and websites for fat acceptance, one sees endless pictures of women and men smiling and showing off a body they’ve long been told to hide and be ashamed of. It’s a beautiful thing, and a wonderful way to feel better and more comfortable about yourself, as well. But then there are some pictures — and they’re not incredibly rare — which display people of extreme, morbidly obese size: 400, 500, 600 pounds. This is riding, of course, under the same banner as a young girl in a size-16 prom dress who is active and healthy and wants a safe place to show a picture where she looks beautiful. But the former are people who share this title, who also work for fat acceptance, and are by any and all standards putting themselves in grave medical danger.

If these people are happy with the risks they take and enjoy their weight and lifestyle, more power to them. Pack-a-day smokers are able to take those same risks and laugh smokily in the face of death if they so choose. But to imply, or associate with the implication, that a judgment of health based on appearance is unwarranted or inaccurate is downright dishonest. Just as a person who is dangerously underweight can be concisely labeled as unhealthy, so can someone who is extremely, morbidly obese. And in a country where diabetes, heart disease, obesity, limited mobility, and a laundry list of other medical problems are bearing down ominously on both our children and our medical industry, do we not have some responsibility to draw a line? Just as we should not glorify (at least without some disclaimer) being dangerously underweight, telling vulnerable children and adults looking on these sites for help that being 600 pounds is beautiful and wonderful — with no serious talk of the repercussions — seems incredibly risky. If we can succinctly say that “thinspiration” blogs are dangerous and encourage things like anorexia, how are websites which glorify super-morbid obesity not deserving of similar reproach?

It’s not hard to see the motivation for this kind of movement. We are, as a society, sick of being told we all have to look like Adriana Lima or Ryan Gosling to be attractive — and rightfully so. But in the quest to make everyone feel accepted, to take some of the stigma out of being bigger, we’ve created an enclave of equally unhealthy goals, models, and influences to encourage our already ballooning health problems as a society. There must be, for lack of a better term, some balance.

image – Shutterstock

Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/djfrozone Brian Frozone Smith

    let me put it this way. your average human being should not be over 260. unless your 6’3 and just built massisve. 300+? better be an athlete or have a medical condition. like wise if your over the age of 18 and under 103 pounds???? ayyyeee male or female btw ( i used to weigh 265) 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VYDVROKY4PUBOKUHB3QF42FH2Y Paul S

    It also doesn’t help when PLUS-sized models are around a size 8 while the average American female is closer to a size 14.  Not saying a 14 is “fat”, but when an 8 is considered “plus-size”, it’s just an unfair situation.

    • http://dirtyyoungmen.wordpress.com Maxwell Chance

      The average American female is also fat.

      • tea m

        So?

    • Guest

      a size 8 or 14 can be considered overweight depending on the person’s height. like if you are 5 foot3 and a size 14, then that’s too heavy..however if you are taller, it may be a normal weight..so you have to take height into account, always.

      • Guest

        “too heavy” for who? for you? like i give a shit.

    • Guest

      the
      fashion world is all kinds of fucked up, so no wonder so many girls are
      anorexic. they worship fashion and abide by the fashion rules of what is normal.  this results in low self esteem and undereating. fortunately there is this little thing called “individuality” where you base your appearance on what is healthy for you, instead of what “looks good” in the fashion industry. frankly i think all these girls that aspire to be underweight are pathetic and extremely lost.  they need to get a grip on reality.

  • Alison

    Very well written, gets the point across without stepping on any toes- that is to say, you wrote this in a very considerate manner, and I applaud you. I also wholeheartedly agree. Where do we draw the line?

  • Michelle

    I completely agree, and thank you for posting this. There is a movement of sorts going around, where heavier girls are saying “Men like curves; dogs like bones.” Although I am all for a healthy body image, when did it become acceptable to attack those who are naturally thin? Especially those who take the time to take care of themselves, eat right, and maintain a healthy weight? Just as exercise can become an extreme and lead to eating disorders, so can a warped view of being “curvy” and accepting every part of you. Am I an advocate for restricted eating and excessive thinness? No, but I am also not an advocate for unhealthy habits and obesity and masking it as “curves” and self love. It’s a dangerous thing to back, especially with the onslaught of obesity problems in this country. As with everything else, there needs to be a balance, which centers on self love: loving yourself enough to take care of yourself, minus over eating and under eating. 

  • Ellenshalane

    Well said.  And eating healthy food and being active are vital, regardless of the outward results.

    • Guest

      eating healthy food and being active, for the majority of people, will result in an average weight, maybe even underweight.  people shouldn’t use the excuse “i’m beautiful no matter how big i am” to be unhealthy and eat too much.  being obese is not a good thing..

  • shana

    I think your assertions are really black and white here. You have made an acceptable cut-off point, even the title smacks of it. Why would there be a cut-off point on beauty? You tend to speak with some kind of authority, that you clearly don’t have, in this article… “do we not have some responsibility to draw a line” No, ‘we’ don’t. The people whose body it is? Yes.

    • John

      You missed the point. The author was saying that although FAM is a worthy cause because people naturally come in all different sizes, one shouldn’t glorify the morbidly obese as part of that movement. This is not a question of beauty; this is a question of health. Do you think weighing 400 lbs. as a sedentary person should ever be socially acceptable?

  • Anonymous

    Being called ‘too skinny’ has never made me feel like the ideal or the norm. It’s made me feel alienated, gross, unattractive. 

    • hrfe

      Truth. I used to burst into tears whenever anyone said I “looked anorexic” because I was eating 4+ meals a day. It just reminded me that I had absolutely no curves whatsoever and that boys didn’t like me (these things were linked in my mind). And it stayed with me- even though I am much more proportional now I am unable to go out without certain “enhancements” (push up bra- even though I’m a high B) because it’s been so ingrained in my head that I look awful without them.

      • Guest

        uh..ok? there are plenty of guys that like skinny girls. it’s not like you have to be curvy to get a boyfriend…  i wouldn’t cry over it..

      • hrfe

        You’re kidding, right? I’ve never met a guy who liked an A-cup

      • Guest

        then go on the pill. that will fatten you right up for sure.

      • hrfe

        That’s not exactly the answer to having such a fucked up view of femininity. Because the breasts stand for “womanhood” in society those of us who are less endowed will literally feel like less of women.

        Besides, I lost weight when I went on the pill (although, true, my boobs did get bigger. I went from a 32B to a 36B)

      • dbsd

        That’s incredibly rude. I’m an A-cup and noticed that most men just prefer if you have a vagina. 

      • John

        A lot of TV/movie actresses are A cups and B cups, but they’re still deemed attractive. It’s more about facial structure than any one part of the body.

      • Iletitshine

        Well, let’s give credit where credit is due: the push-up bra is an amazing thing. I wouldn’t see that as a reason to consider yourself holding on to past neurosis.

    • Guest

      dude get over it, average sized people feel gross too

  • http://twitter.com/meghan_ash Meghan Frick

    You made your point so well, and so sensitively, here. I’m overweight myself, and I really appreciated reading this. 

  • Sophia

    This is very tactfully written, and I agree wholeheartedly. I’m sick of feeling bigger than society’s standards because I’m 5’10 and a size 8. While 500 or 600 pounds is just downright unhealthy and dangerous to set as an acceptable and healthy role model, the narrow norm right now is downright out of control.

    • Timothylamore

      If you are 5’10” and a size 8 no offense and I will be blunt: you’re probably sexy as hell. Skinny rail thin girls are gross unnatural looking

      • Guest

        yes…
        unless all of her weight is concentrated in her stomach. hehheh! jk.jk…(not)

      • eb

        WHO CARES if it is?! You will never have a chance with her, so why criticize a woman with a round belly? She might have legs to die for or breasts that science and medicine can only HOPE to achieve. 

        How very short-sighted of you.

      • http://www.nicholeexplainsitall.com EarthToNichole

        “Skinny rail thin girls are gross unnatural looking” is just as bad as saying naturally overweight people are gross looking. Ugh.

      • Guest

        Seriously dude? Keep it to yourself.

    • Sophia Zee

      How is being 5’10 and a size 8 big at all?

  • http://twitter.com/notjohnlee Mark

    This makes a lot of sense. Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/MorningTempest Morning Tempest

    I just wonder who’s business is it to “draw the line” for anyone else? I think that we have grown into a society where everyone seems to think their opinion matters, and it really shouldn’t. I have never given permission for anyone to look at my body and tell me how I should eat, dress, or behave. It’s mine, and the choices I make for myself are mine to make.  I don’t need anyone to “draw the line” for me no matter what my weight is. Why don’t we start paying more attention to the real unhealthy issues like food contamination, lack of basic education about nutrition, and polution, instead of which model is too thin and how much weight the woman in the grocery store is with the cookies in her basket.

  • HATee

    I think you’ve entirely missed the point of fat acceptance. The point isn’t that these “morbidly-obese” people are arguing that they are as healthy as a “normal-sized” person, they are instead arguing that despite their allegedly morbid weight, they STILL deserve to call themselves beautiful. Many people who find themselves so dramatically obese have a whole host of medical issues that have put them there, and they, like anyone else who experiences an illness, have a right to call themselves attractive and to exhibit pride in their appearance despite the effects of medical adversity. Do you look at pictures of the singer Adele and say who is she to call herself beautiful because she smokes, for example? Of course not (or at least, I hope not). It’s the same thing here. 

    • Michelle


      Many people who find themselves so dramatically obese have a whole host of medical issues that have put them there, and they, like anyone else who experiences an illness, have a right to call themselves attractive and to exhibit pride in their appearance despite the effects of medical adversity.”

      So you agree, then, that those who starve themselves and are bulimic have the same right? They are at the other end of the spectrum and probably have a host of medical issues as well. However, our society looks at them with absolute disgust and is up in arms whenever a source supports how they look. Their disease is just as real as morbid obesity, yet, according to you, they still have the right to be called beautiful. Do you see where this makes no sense? There needs to be a balance. 

    • http://dirtyyoungmen.wordpress.com Maxwell Chance

      But morbid people don’t deserve to call themselves beautiful. They are gross and represent genetic problems that lead to a whole host of medical issues. Ew.

      • eb

        I can’t believe you or anyone would SAY this!! Where is the respect for HUMAN BEINGS? Do you really think you are helping ANYONE with these close-minded, hateful thoughts? You’re not, YOU ARE THE PROBLEM. Everyone deserves to call themselves beautiful. Beauty is not a thing we know from an outside perspective, it is WHO we are that makes us beautiful. 

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VYDVROKY4PUBOKUHB3QF42FH2Y Paul S

        Shut up, Fatty!

      • Guest

        external beauty is external. sexual attraction and beauty are subjective, but there are generally certain things that people find more attractive than others.  unless someone has a obese or fat fetish, then uh, fat people are not beautiful. sorry.

      • Anonymous

        Also, not everyone is beautiful. On the outside OR on the inside. Some people are awful mean human beings. Being beautiful is not a like a participation ribbon you get for showing up to the human race. You’re actually aiding the problem, because being so obsessed with the word beauty is dangerous, no matter how many people you apply it to. Let me point you to GG’s comment at the top of the page… maybe everyone doesn’t have to or even want to be beautiful. Maybe they can do something useful like being intelligent and creative instead. 

      • Guest

        It’s not about being beautiful. It’s about FEELING beautiful, feeling okay with yourself. There’s a difference.

      • http://dirtyyoungmen.wordpress.com Maxwell Chance

        By definition, obese people aren’t beautiful:
        beau·ti·ful
        Pleasing the senses or mind aesthetically.Of a very high standard; excellent.

        Everyone can’t be special.

        And no, I don’t think I’m helping anyone. I don’t care. Do you think you’re helping anyone?

  • Domino

    This article was very tastefully written. I feel like sometimes there is no way to talk about the subject without offending someone! In my family I am 5’9 and a size 8 roughly, and my sister is about 5’4 and a size zero! Everyone is always worrying about how tiny and thin she is, but to tell you the truth she eats as much as anyone else. She even eats more than me sometimes! In comparison, I look like a giant and that’s always made me feel so self-conscious. She always tells me she would kill for a body like mine but every time I see her at the beach prancing around in her tiny bikini without a care in the world I kinda feel like shit ahahaha. I do feel proud of my body but I often feel huuuuge after flipping through Vogue or fashion blogs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

    It’s 12:00, and I’m ready for lunch, and I’m hungry.  This article didn’t help.

  • A L Dunne

    I hear this all the time, but I can’t help but feel that it is an entirely false threat. Does anyone really think morbidly obese people are becoming role models, or that allowing them to be displayed without attached criticism is going to make our society aspire to obesity? Anyone? These counterpoints are just a drop in the bucket against a tidal wave of fat-shaming and messages that bigger bodies are not okay. Is allowing these people to feel beautiful in one moment or context really creating a problem for anyone at all? Shame doesn’t help anybody’s health.

  • Guest

    being obese is not healthy or beautiful.. it is unnatural. the amount of calories that people have to consume to become obese is frankly disgusting. have you seen the diets of obese people? not very good. being bulimic or anorexic is unnatural as well. human beings are meant to average shapes, not stick thin or grossly huge.

    Natural is eating a normal, healthy amount of food. moderation is natural. being a normal weight and active. to say ALL body types are beautiful is a double edged sword.  you think obese people are healthy? most likely, they are very unhealthy. just as those that are bulimic and anorexic are unhealthy as well.

    • eb

      Technically obese and super-obese are two very different things. You don’t even have to be in the plus-sizes to be technically considered “obese.” The super-obese are those who weight 300+ bls and eat a extremely high calorie diet. Even they don’t deserve to be called disgusting though, they are PEOPLE just like the rest of us. A person’s weight does not suddenly make them inhuman, or lacking the general respect all humans deserve and enjoy.

    • Juniper

      Did you read the article? She just pointed out that obese morbidly obese people are unhealthy.

    • http://twitter.com/thehollyqueen Hedda Wilson

      There is quite a lot of research that actually shows that calories are processed differently by EVERY body.  That means that there is no ‘set’ amount of calories that can be determined to be ‘acceptable’ for every person alive.  One person can eat the same amount of calories as another and one can be fat, the other thin.  They have even showed this occurring in twins!

      Have *you* seen the diets of obese people? All of them? Every single one?!

      Generally it is just assumed that because a person is obese, they obviously eat more than what the person judging them deems acceptable.  You cannot determine that someone’s diet is not very good based on whether they appear ‘unnatural’, fat or thin or even ‘average’. 

      Read some studies, there are many, and leave health determinations to those in the know.

  • Guestropod

    I agree, and I think the FAM has a lot to offer, especially through promoting concepts like Health At Every Size and pointing out the grim statistics of dieting and unhealthiness of weight-cycling.

    • lerrato

      What is FAM?

  • A-W

    First off, I completely support FAM. But  here in the comments,  it is only “naturally” thin people who keep being defended. What about  “unnaturally” thin people? Why are we targeting the eating- DISORDERED as the root of this evil? It’s a mental illness. I’m not saying we should support this, but it’s not as if it’s a choice. Not all, but many models have eating issues, and it is the industry (where they make money to support themselves) that perpetuates this idea as the standard of beauty, which models and celebrities are part of, but are certainly not in CONTROL of. Blame the designers, or the editors, blame the consumers, they all continue to purchase or create product that endorses an unhealthy lifestyle and mindset. 

    • A-W

      And stop calling human beings gross. 

      • Anonymous

        Some human beings are icky (for whatever reason). I wish people would stop acting like being born makes you super special no matter what you do or whether or not you’re completely awful.

    • Anonymous

      I do agree with your main point, however, that both those people who are put down for being fat and those who are put down as being too thin deserve understanding and respect, since they’re both victims. 

  • Juniper

    I agree with everyone who says that this article is well written, though I do doubt that obese will ever be a role model.
    I used to weigh 150kg (330lb) at 5 foot 6. I was morbidly obese and terribly unhealthy. I’m now 70kg and can run a 10k without blinking, yet according to society (and my ex) I am fat and ugly. It’s time to start showing some diversity in the media!

  • Yael

    “I have participated in it myself, I’ve referred to models as being ‘grotesquely thin,’ or ‘looking like a twelve-year-old boy.’

    I personally like referring to them as Auschwitz inmates with melons duct-taped to their chests. I feel like that really gets my message across at how serious this movement is.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jess.hurst1 Jess Hurst

    If everyone is beautiful, no one is beautiful. It’s a value judgment about aesthetics, not a human right.

  • NC

    The “norm” from what I’ve seen living in NC is fat. It’s rare that I see people that are actually lean, munching on apples and avoiding McDonalds. The norm is more like, embracing McDonalds, avoiding apples and obese.

    • http://twitter.com/sophiakiona Sophia Anderson

      So, all fat people only eat McDonalds and all fit people only eat apples. Good to know, thanks.

      PS they sell apple slices at McDonalds.

  • gg

    i’m a 16 year old. i weight 90kg, i’m 5 ft 6, and i genuinely cannot remember a time at which i have felt comfortable in my own body. i hate myself. my thighs are too big, my shoulders too broad, my calves too muscley, my stomach has too many rolls.  for me, it is not a case of wanting to cut yourself, or feeling depressed, or eating so little or so much that i make myself seriously ill – it is worse. it is a case of doubting EVERYTHING about myself – all my talents and skills – simply because i do not fit in with what i have been conditioned to think is beauty, perfection. it’s not good getting A* if i people look at me and feel repulsed or feel that i’m some sort of charity case that they should like, just prove they don’t judge by weight. so, believe me, i understand why people feel the need to do this – to make themselves feel beautiful. and i also understand why it is important that we try to make the media less focused on skinny meaning beautiful.
    but we put too much focus on  feeling beautiful – it is not something we can measure or declare, it is not fact – it is relative, to who you are, to who you’re talking to – and it always will be. you think that starting a movement to make fat people feel better is going to do much? no, personally, it just makes me feel like we are being pitied – pitied for not fitting in, for being fat. i do not WANT to be an acceptance movement – accepted by who? the very people who have made me feel like an outsider? so, i don’t think we should make special allowances to make everyone feel they look beautiful – it should not BE about looking beautiful. we shouldn’t be telling people we can ALL be stunningly attractive and that the media is lying to us – we should be telling people, hey, you know what, you might not have perfect bone structure or hair or body fat composition, but you’ve got brains or talent or laughter or love or kindness – which are just as important, if not more. we shouldn’t be saying it’s ok to be fat or to be thin or that everyone should just all be treated equal – this makes people think that your weight, how you look is the most important as to making yourself feel comfortable. instead of putting all our focus onto making people feel that their weight is ok, we should be putting focus on the other things that people need to realise make them important – the things that the media tend to miss out on. 

  • gg

    i’m a 16 year old. i weight 90kg, i’m 5 ft 6, and i genuinely cannot remember a time at which i have felt comfortable in my own body. i hate myself. my thighs are too big, my shoulders too broad, my calves too muscley, my stomach has too many rolls.  for me, it is not a case of wanting to cut yourself, or feeling depressed, or eating so little or so much that i make myself seriously ill – it is worse. it is a case of doubting EVERYTHING about myself – all my talents and skills – simply because i do not fit in with what i have been conditioned to think is beauty, perfection. it’s not good getting A* if i people look at me and feel repulsed or feel that i’m some sort of charity case that they should like, just prove they don’t judge by weight. so, believe me, i understand why people feel the need to do this – to make themselves feel beautiful. and i also understand why it is important that we try to make the media less focused on skinny meaning beautiful.
    but we put too much focus on  feeling beautiful – it is not something we can measure or declare, it is not fact – it is relative, to who you are, to who you’re talking to – and it always will be. you think that starting a movement to make fat people feel better is going to do much? no, personally, it just makes me feel like we are being pitied – pitied for not fitting in, for being fat. i do not WANT to be an acceptance movement – accepted by who? the very people who have made me feel like an outsider? so, i don’t think we should make special allowances to make everyone feel they look beautiful – it should not BE about looking beautiful. we shouldn’t be telling people we can ALL be stunningly attractive and that the media is lying to us – we should be telling people, hey, you know what, you might not have perfect bone structure or hair or body fat composition, but you’ve got brains or talent or laughter or love or kindness – which are just as important, if not more. we shouldn’t be saying it’s ok to be fat or to be thin or that everyone should just all be treated equal – this makes people think that your weight, how you look is the most important as to making yourself feel comfortable. instead of putting all our focus onto making people feel that their weight is ok, we should be putting focus on the other things that people need to realise make them important – the things that the media tend to miss out on. 

    • Anonymous

      I completely agree with what you’re saying. Beauty is special, and it’s in the eye of the beholder and all that… which means people don’t have to agree that every bigger or smaller person is beautiful just because some group, which is coming from a good place, tells them they should just to make people feel better (OR just because society favors that group). That just devalues the word beauty when you want to tell it someone who you really mean it about, aka you find your friends beautiful and your family beautiful and your partner beautiful. No one is a bad person for only finding certain people beautiful, any more than finding a painting more beautiful than another makes you a crappy person. 

      And you’re completely right when you say your other accomplishments are much more important than some label of beautiful. Women did not fight for this long just so we could be universally recognized as attractive. We fought so we could run businesses and vote and become writers and artists and scientists. So let’s do more of that, yeah? It’s what will make us feel fulfilled at the end of our lives anyway. 

      • Andrea Dunne

        But why is your not personally finding someone beautiful relevant to anybody else? You’re missing the point. No one is saying “you must be attracted to this person!” they’re just emphasizing that beauty is subjective and comes in all shapes and sizes. Everyone is not beautiful to you, but everyone is beautiful to someone and hopefully to themselves. You’re not obligated to find anyone to be anything.

    • http://twitter.com/thehollyqueen Hedda Wilson

      I have read your comment over and over, remembering being 16 years old and feeling the way you describe.  And you are right, how people are perceived should be about more than just an exterior.  But it saddens me that somewhere along the line you have come to the conclusion that HAES and the FAM are about pity. Quite the opposite, in fact.  The FAM and other forms of body positive activism are not only against judging a person by their exterior, they are against passing judgment at ALL. 

      The point is that we are all people, regardless of our size, our race, our intelligence, our talents, our strengths, our compassions, etc.  The point is to not judge, but to ACCEPT.  Beauty takes so many forms – words, music, dance, art, scientific discovery… what I hope the FAM achieves is that the world learns that we ALL are capable of beauty and that beauty cannot be encapsulated solely by the human body. 

      Speak to some fat activists and I think you will find that none of them pity you – because that is, in essence, against the fundamentals that we are all fighting for.  I was a fat, brainy, musical, sporty and artsy 16 year old.  Few people saw the whole package and I eventually realized that when I focused on what they were focused on, I only saw the fat, too.  What I hope is that through FA or Size Acceptance, or HAES, we can become a society of people, not a society of stigmas.

  • http://twitter.com/Melissa_Messer Melissa Messer

    I finished reading the article, felt a great peace, scrolled down to look at the comments and BAM. Nearly naked waifish American Apparel ad. Sigh.

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