Fat hating

My first encounter with fat phobia, or the concept of it, was in a conversation with the devastatingly biyutiful moonfirestarshine. She was kind enough to first call me out on my fat hating. She was even more kind to be persistent enough to actually cut through all of my thin-privilege denying and fat shaming. I really admire and appreciate that she was willing to engage on this, considering how awful I was about it.

Why was I so fat hating? Partially because we live in a culture that hates fat people and loves to shame them. It is one of the most socially acceptable isms. It was also a product of being raised by my Filipino dad. One of his (many) bigoted stereotypes in our house was that white people were fat and lazy. Of course they were fat *because* they were lazy. So I always associated laziness with fatness (I also still equate whiteness with laziness).

Not that it makes any of the above excusable. It doesn’t.

Recognizing my thin-privilege was a little easier to do, since I was already in the place when I was seeing the serious error in being a fat hater. A major thin privilege is being able to readily find clothes that fit (well, okay, I may not have *quite* this privilege since I’m short and slim enough in my Asian-ness that I often can’t fit into most clothes. Smalls are often too big for me). A bit of privilege I do have is the ease in which I fit into airplane seats. Those things are tiny! I barely fit in them, but I do have a bit of wiggle room. I remember reading a story once of a fat person trying to get accommodation for their weight, but it being quite clear that they have to buy two seats. I remember thinking, ‘yeah, of course they should.’ Because fat people should never be allowed to travel.

There are many reasons that fat hate is wrong. The principle one is the shaming that goes along with it. I’m a big fan of empathy based ethics. Not a single human being alive enjoys the feeling of shame (not even S&M peeople enjoy this outside of carefully negotiated contexts). Diminishing a hhuman being for their body is wrong. No one deserves to feel shame over their body. Over taking up space. Over needing accommodations to live a comfortable and happy life.

Living shame-free shouldn’t be a privilege but a basic state of being every human being is entitled to. Even fat people.

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