Frances White, co-chair of the NAAFA says no:
We in the fat acceptance movement believe that people of all sizes and shapes should strive for fitness and good health. Even though I’m fat, I make healthy food choices and get movement into my life. There is too much blame placed at the door of fat people in the war on obesity. Fat people are blamed for increased health care costs, even though people who are not fat also get heart attacks, have high blood pressure, and develop diabetes. The fat acceptance movement promotes health at every size. This means that everyone should pursue optimum mental and physical health regardless of physical appearance, obesity, or size.
But at least one blogger, Stuart McDonald, disagrees:
I know that gluttony can apply to all sizes of people, not just fat ones. I also know that it would be very hard to become obese or overweight without being, at some point, gluttonous. Now, go ahead, make the excuse that it’s not your fault you’re fat. I’ll wait… Done? Ok. Here’s the thing — ultimately, it is your body, is it not? You live in it? Move in it? Keep it alive? Every day? So how is it not your responsibility?
I think it’s pretty funny that some people think being plus-sized is like saying its OK to be unhealthy—the two have nothing to do with one another. Being plus-sized doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy, just like being thin doesn’t mean you’re healthy. Many thin people are not healthy at all, and by constantly harping on the fact that we need to be thin we send the message that people need to do whatever it takes to be thin, even if its unhealthy like dieting, plastic surgery, etc..
As for people who are clinically obese and at-risk for being unhealthy, Silverman agrees that extremes may have something going on health-wise. A good lesson is to separate health from appearance. If our health is being compromised, we need to do whatever we can to get healthy. We can still love ourselves and who we are, but it may mean we need to change our bodies because our insides are suffering.
The important takeaway here is that loving your curves doesn’t mean saying you don’t respect your health. It’s simply saying: This is my body, and I think I’m beautiful.
When asked about plus-sized models like the one in the photo here, Silverman said they portray the typical female size:
It’s a common misconception that plus-sized models are overweight, because they’re not. They’re beautiful women. To say that putting them in magazines makes us think being heavy is acceptable is pretty absurd. What’s absurd is putting extremely thin models in magazines and saying that’s what the typical American female looks like when 95% of women will never achieve that.
We agree. We also agree with her final point that too many of us equate being fat, overweight or obese with negative personality traits and unfounded health assessments: We assume that someone is out of control, unhealthy, ugly or not worthy solely on the basis of their looks. It’s time we see people for who they are instead of what they look like.
Photo: Huffington Post, V Magazine