i don’t like that the body-posi community focuses so much on health
"health at any size"
"you don’t know someone’s health by looking at them"
bc those statements directly shame bodies that are not healthy
as though bodies that are unhealthy SHOULD…
Yes, yes, yes, THIS. I’m very involved in the body-positivity/fat-acceptance movement, but I’ve had to say this over and over again. Intersectionality, people — don’t forget that the focus on “health” leaves out disabled people, or diabetic people, or asthmatic people, or people who have any kind of health problem that isn’t necessarily “curable”.
I’m curvaceous, cute, busty, and I’ve also been anywhere from a US size 10/12 to a size 20, depending on the state of my health and the medications I’m taking.
I like this whole “being alive” thing, so I have to take meds that have a weight-gain side effect, and as my body has become less able, my ability to exercise has been reduced (I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a genetic disorder with degenerative effects, and I’m currently held together — poorly — by a back brace, which I’ll probably have to wear for the rest of my life, since surgery appears not to be an option.)
Now, here’s the thing. The “OMG FAT PEOPLE ARE UNHEALTHY” people would be ALL OVER my case, saying that my weight indicates poor health … but, actually, it was when I abruptly dropped 40 pounds at the beginning of my severe disease onset, became frighteningly thin for my frame, and was losing my hair — THAT’S when I was the most unhealthy. I’d been a healthy, happy size 16 for years before that — yes, I was born with this disorder, but I was holding up just fine until I contracted Epstein-Barr Virus and that triggered a number of cascading effects, which I’m still living with, ten years later.
On the other hand, the “fat people can be healthy, too! Healthy at every size!” folks, who I’m normally aligned with, often make me feel excluded … because I’m fat and UNhealthy, and that isn’t going to change. I’m fat and disabled, and I have a place in the body-positivity and HAES movement, even though I don’t fit the fat-but-fit narrative. (Some people do clarify that what they mean by HAES is “optimal health for your own body, which includes whatever conditions you may be living with,” which I appreciate.)
I’d still like to see more inclusive language used, and fewer people resorting to the “I’m fat but I can do ALL THESE THINGS, so I’m not unhealthy” tactic, which makes people who CAN’T kayak/rock climb/whatever feel kind of crappy — particularly if they’d really like to be doing those things (those were two of my favorite activities, actually), but can’t, because of health/disability issues. There’s a place in the movement for all of us, I think, as long as we remember that intersectionality is VITAL — and that includes race, class, economic situation, gender/gender presentation, ability/disability, sexual orientation, mental health, etc. Using exclusionary language doesn’t help us in the long run, and can turn away allies, as well as make people who do exist on the intersection of different axes feel uncomfortable or unwanted. Let’s fix that.