“Fat Positive” is Heading for “Health Negative”

Can we talk for a minute, woman to world? I spotted a list of “fat positive” tattoos on Facebook that made me gag. Yes, my feelings were that strong and I’ll tell you why in a moment. The idea of fat positive is now in our vocabulary and personal responsibility has been ousted. “Live fat, die yum”? Seriously?

Growing up I was obese. I hit my top weight at thirteen. I was 209lbs on something like a 5′ frame. I was every fat stereotype: self loathing, hiding food, praying I could wake up thin and happy, physically and emotionally hurting. I was a fat girl in a skinny-hungry world and I did it to myself. Today I’m not skinny, but I’m healthier than ever.

My road to recovery has been tumultuous to say the least. I took small steps as a kid, cutting out candy and soda. As an adult, my brother helped me discover Primal health. Did you know there are faces to the Paleo/Primal movement who aren’t just slim size 4, but also strong size who-cares? It’s beautiful! To touch on all levels of health, I have also never loved myself as much as I do today. I’m happier in every respect.

Now with radical feminist interjection in our modern world and a hyped up sense of both entitlement and egalitarianism–both completely absurd–loving yourself has taken a turn for the worse. Body positive has become “fat positive”. Let’s understand what this “positive” idea is.

It's like Where's Waldo, but trying to find yourself. I'm not good at this game.
It’s like Where’s Waldo, but trying to find yourself.

Being positive towards something is accepting it, maybe even embracing it. It is an encouraging nature towards something. Body positive is wonderful. It only started coming to light for me when I saw burlesque ladies’ posts popping up on Facebook. Beautiful men and women of every size, height, race, and creed scrolled across my computer. I discovered Ms. Tess Holliday, a plus sized model and founder of #effyourbeautystandards. I stopped thinking of their supposed flaws and started pointing out attractive features. Well styled hair, bright eyes, laughing smiles, sexy poses, flattering clothes, charisma for days.

With that idea of positive in mind, fat positive is harmful. Let’s use the word fat according to advocates: it’s a word, a harmless adjective. Being fat is not something to hate, but it is also not to be embraced whereas being healthy or health oriented is despite your current size. Everyone knows the health risks of being overweight. Perhaps the risks are so recognized that concern over the health of fat people has now been demonized, and so someone like me won’t be taken seriously. It’s now discriminatory to mention health to them. They would probably even say I fat shame myself for living health consciously!

Feelings must be defended at all costs.
Feelings must be defended at all costs.

I understand. I am ignored by people who have found a scapegoat to let them pretend to love themselves and not necessarily strive for change. Personal responsibility is out the window, but it will haunt you. Yes, you can strut now, but at what cost to your later years? (I also understand that this unhealthy mindset applies to svelte people too, but something the fat positive advocates got right, based on the body positive idea, is that there is indeed a particular stigma against fat.)

Fat positive advocates expect the world to change for them instead of changing themselves. Public transport is discriminatory because standard seating is too small? *No, unfortunately your girth is too wide despite your sexy style. The insurance industry is discriminatory for charging more to those with obvious health risks? **No, your weight is an obvious risk. The workplace is discriminatory for considering your weight when hiring? No, if you struggle with tasks because of your weight, then your weight may be a liability. (By the way, if I’m defending public ANYTHING, you’re doing something wrong.)

Maggie and the Bedazzled Sleep Apnea Mask. She loves herself.
Maggie and the Bedazzled Sleep Apnea Mask. She loves herself.

Role models like Ms. Tess Holliday are fat and beautiful, at least in my eyes. According to her Instagram account, she incorporates physical fitness into her life, and that is awesome! The problem is asking to face the consequences of being fat (topped with entitlement). I worry that people look at such role models and think, “I don’t need to push myself towards health because women like Tess show me fat is beautiful.” Then they wind up with cupcake tattoos saying “Fat girl/boy”. I also worry people really believe the world needs to change for them instead of the other way around or paving their own path. Okay, let’s raise taxes to spend more money on material to widen all airplane seats. Uh huh. We’ll see how that flies…see what I did there?

This isn’t an attack on Ms. Tess Holliday or anyone really. This is a warning to the people who are paving the road to hell with their best intentions. The world owes you nothing just for being alive. Living, not stressing, with health and happiness in mind is what makes men and women beautiful. If anything is deserving of a “____ positive” following, it isn’t the fact that you’re fat, but rather your strength to be well.

*This is why everything should be privatized. Then the incentive may be there to accommodate fat passengers.

**Again, private insurance companies not impeded by federal law would have incentive to get you as a customer.