Fat Acceptance Movement creates confidence, change

By Managing Editor

As a plus-size fashion blogger, I have encountered several obstacles regarding my curves, especially in an industry obsessed with skinniness and bodies that are not the norm.

Although challenging, all of my endeavors have made me appreciate all of  the things that set me apart from other fashion bloggers—my hips included—even if it means I cannot always wear the trends or brands I am fascinated by. 

Recently, more women like me have become less tolerant of the pressures to be thin and fit into the unrealistic beauty standards that the media impresses on society. 

Jenny Trout, a plus-size woman, wrote a blog post titled, “I Wore a Bikini and Nothing Happened,” on July 3 for the Huffington Post when she noticed that she was not gawked at or treated differently when she wore a bikini to the beach for the first time. 

Women like Trout are setting an example for other women to exude a healthy self-esteem and a body-positive attitude, which means celebrating and embracing a woman’s curves rather than shaming them. The recent increase of women becoming more accepting of their own bodies on social media and blogs is seen in the Fat Acceptance Movement.

However, in an April 22 article from Thought Catalog titled “Six Things I Do Not Understand About The Fat Acceptance Movement,” author Carolyn Hall said she does not understand why fat people have been glorified for having a personal positive body image on blogs, social media and the Fat Acceptance Movement. 

The article could have been titled, “Six Things I Do Not Understand About Obesity in America,” instead of “Six Things I Do Not Understand About The Fat Acceptance Movement,” which implies that fat people should not be accepted.

Hall stated valid points in the article such as the health concerns that are associated with being overweight, which deserve recognition because diabetes, cancer and sleep apnea are detrimental to a person’s health. 

The article failed to acknowledge the benefits of having positive self-esteem. It has an underlying message: Stop celebrating who you are because you are fat, not special.

While I agree that a significant percentage of the U.S. population is obese and being overweight does come with health risks, I also believe while physical health is a priority, mental health and self-esteem also need to be more than an afterthought.

A February 2012 study from New York University titled “Searching Out the Ideal” found that the percentage of women in the U.S. who are dissatisfied with their bodies has increased from 23 to 56 percent in the last 30 years. The most prevalent contributions to a negative body image and dissatisfaction among young women are the unrealistic societal standards for perfection that women see in the media, which often lead to chronic depression and anxiety, according to the study. 

This feeling is nothing new. The Fat Acceptance Movement began in the late 1960s and officially banded together with the 1970 publication of “Fat Power” by Llewellyn Louderback, which called for society to quit stigmatizing overweight people. The Fat Acceptance Movement exists because women like me are content with their curves and choose not to be subjected to the photoshopped beauty standards that consume Americans and society as a whole. 

I am considered plus-size. However, I do work out regularly and I am very cautious about what I eat. The article did not mention that overweight people exercise too and that a person’s weight can be affected by various health issues. 

A March 2013 article in American Fitness said personal trainers should not assume that if people are overweight, they do not work out or that they are lazy, unhealthy or weak because many obese individuals have stronger muscles because carrying extra weight requires their muscles to adapt and strengthen. 

I have no desire to be skinny, but you will never catch me shaming the size-two girl next to me at the gym. No matter what size you are, I believe in loving your body. If this attitude is the cause of a movement that stands for loving yourself more, then people have a right to feel confident and be a part of any movement they want. 

Body positivity is meant to support all body types. Women should stand together, fight unrealistic beauty standards and support each other regardless of their shape or size.