I have fat allies – people who don’t personally identify as fat, but believe in, and support the fat acceptance movement – whether from an academic standpoint or a personal viewpoint. I think having these allies are important. I won’t lie – having allies within the health and academic world is extremely beneficial to the fat acceptance movement.
These people can put forward viewpoints and studies of their own, that disprove the vast majority of studies that all conclude that fat is so bad for you, that it’s worse than smoking or drinking (!) and you bad fatty fat fat fat, put down the doughnut. Man, I don’t even like doughnuts.
I feel like these allies are so necessary, in a world where fat discrimination is still rampant and ongoing.
Some people don’t even realise they are discriminating. For others, it’s not so much discriminating as just simply not thinking, not realising the privilege that they, as slimmer people exercise every day.
I got into a discussion last week that left me sleepless that night. I’d gone on another rant (surprise surprise) about costs of clothing and about how I felt guilty about wanting to buy clothing on drastic sale on Boxing Day. A slim friend didn’t understand why I wasn’t supporting the store and assumed that I would be feeling positive towards all plus sized stores. I tried to explain it (resenting the monopoly on the market that this store has, the cost of clothing versus the quality of clothing, ripping off independent designers etc etc), but it just wasn’t getting through to her.
We’re not all a homogenous group of happy fatties, willing to accept any mere morsel that the fashion industry deigns to throw to us. We demand quality. We demand difference. We cannot just walk into a straight sized store or a designer store and pick something off the rack. It frustrated me immensely that this friend just couldn’t see that. She wasn’t able to see past the privilege her body and her genes have afforded her. This doesn’t make her a bad person in the slightest; she is one of the sweetest, kindest people I’ve ever had the luck to meet. But this is something that she doesn’t get and will probably never get.
This is why I’m extra grateful for the allies that I have, that understand my viewpoint, or at least are willing to hear, check their privilege and educate themselves on their position. They’re an immense help whenever I get fatigued with explaining myself over and over again.