One of the annoying things about being a liberal is being associated with a particular brand of liberal that wants to eliminate personal resposibility. To me, being a liberal is all about personal responsibility – being responsible for the planet, what our bombs do, how we treat minorities, etc. I also believe in acceptance – we should accept people’s traits that they cannot control – like gay people, even harmful things like disability, insanity, and predisposition to criminality, where it cannot be controlled. We should treat each person how we ourselves would want to be treated.
But, I have to admit, there is a species of (usually temporary) liberal that wants to push acceptance even further, to the point of accepting what can and should be changed. To ignore the personal responsibility side of liberalism, and instead accept irresponsibility that harms society and even the person we’re accepting. That’s where I draw the line.
First and foremost is the “fat acceptance” movement. It has been justified as a response to eating disorders like anorexia, and it seems to have taken its cues from the gay rights movement, suggesting that fat is simply a lifestyle choice that is not harmful. Recently, an online women’s magazine even posted pictures of women in “fatkinis,” suggesting that they are “hot.” It would go without saying that very few people that are attracted to women would actually think that fat=sexy, although there are probably a two or three out there somewhere.
But more importantly, fat causes many health and life problems. The notion that you can be just as healthy and happy while being fat is a lie. Obesity kills 400,000 Americans a year (some dispute this statistic, but it’s been cited in other places too). That’s 133 9/11 attacks every year. Anorexia, by contrast, kills 145 Americans each year. Undoubtedly many millions are also crippled by obesity, but due to the lack of a good definition for “crippled” in this context, putting a figure on it is impossible. So when you tell people that being obese is healthy or acceptable, it’s no different from cigarette companies that fund studies saying smoking is healthy or non-harmful. The result is that people die because of the misinformation.
So it’s time to stop spreading the lie that fat is healthy. Fat is not healthy or acceptable, and it is not a lifestyle choice, but is a very preventable cause of death and suffering. Here’s a few reasons to be at a healthy, non-obese weight.
Of course, most fat people already know the costs of obesity, but the urge to tell them what goes against common sense is destructive. A fat person’s waistline is no more attractive or acceptable than a smoker’s black lung. We should be finding out what causes obesity and working to eliminate it, not accepting the havoc it wreaks on people’s lives.