This post really could be an indictment of the way that fat always equals bad in the symbolism of progressive movements, including Occupy, but it isn’t. And as much as I wish that fellow Lefties would take up the call of fat acceptance rather than fatphobia, for now it’s a dream deferred.
But I do think that the Occupy movement and the fat acceptance movement have a lot in common. In essence, the Occupy movement is trying to break down a prevailing myth. The myth is that with enough smarts and fortitude and hard work, the American dream of prosperity will be realized. People have been led to believe that it just takes hard work, dedication, putting your nose to the grindstone, and various other clichÃ©s and you too can make it in America. When the reality is endemic income disparity, high unemployment, lost homes, hunger, poverty, and discrimination and all the while huge multinational corporations are in cahoots with much of the government to keep things that way.
The reality could not be more different than the myth. And yet, the Right’s only response is, “Get a job, ya hippies!” The Right continues to attempt to discredit Occupy’s argument by insisting that the myth is real. If the Occupy folks would just work harder and do things right and stop being so lazy, they’d all be living the American dream, the Right argues.
Does this sound familiar? Have you ever been told that if you just worked harder at it and did things right, you’d lose weight and keep it off? It’s pretty much the argument of every diet pusher when their diet fails. It’s the argument of every doctor who, despite supposedly having a knowledge of the way the body and metabolism works, insists that diet and exercise will work if you just work hard enough. It’s the argument that supports continued discrimination against fat people because if fat people really are just lazy and not working hard enough, then it’s their fault, and the diet companies, and pharmaceutical companies, and doctors, and the AMA etc. don’t have to do the work of realizing that the whole system is based on a lie and that it’s dangerous and needs to change.
According to the Lancet, based upon the (utterly bogus) BMI, 68% of Americans are overweight or heavier. That’s more than two-thirds! Imagine if all of these people had a new awareness. Imagine if all of these people (and their thin allies) began to see that fat wasn’t bad, that diets don’t work, that discrimination against fat people is wrong, and that people having a diversity of bodies is beautiful. Imagine the healing that could happen for all of us.
I think it would be exciting for some of us to share our fat stories of being one of the 68%. I shared mine above, and I’d love for you to share yours here, on the Body Love Wellness Facebook page, and anywhere else you desire!
Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/free to get your free download – Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining!