I know I’ve written about this a bunch of times before, and I don’t really have any new scintillating analysis. I’m just pissed off.
In the past week, I’ve seen the following headlines from the two major environmental blogs I read: Lose weight faster with the transit diet (Treehugger) and Just living close to Walmart makes you fat (Grist).
I’m so, so sick of environmentalists using fat bodies as a shorthand for everything that’s wrong with the capitalist, earth-destroying, people-destroying system we live in. I’m so sick of seeing people who care deeply about the same things I do treating bodies like mine as a symptom (or sometimes even a cause) of everything that’s wrong with the world.
There have always been fat people–since long before cars, suburban sprawl, or WalMart were invented–and there always will be. There are fat people who live in cities and get around by walking and public transit (ahem…*raises hand*). There are thin people who live in exurbs and drive everywhere. Fatness is neither a moral failing nor a metaphor for the ills of late capitalism.
Critique the system, not people’s bodies.
Promote good urban design and walkability on their own merits, not by scaring people with the threat of–gasp!–becoming fat, as if fatness is some terrible thing.
Let me tell you, it isn’t.
I can’t even begin to describe how frustrated I am, how long I’ve watched sizeism crop up time and time again among people who can critique almost any other kind of oppression.
I wish I could shake the entire environmental movement and somehow get it through their heads: all bodies are good bodies. “Obesity” is not a disease. Weight =! health. Fat people don’t consume more resources than anyone else. Our bodies aren’t a symptom or a metaphor–they’re just our bodies. Fat people belong in the environmental movement too, and we’re sick of being treated as victims, oppressors, or scapegoats rather than comrades.
We can hear what you’re saying about us, and we’re sick of it. We’re especially sick of it because we can see what’s happening to our planet and its people, and it makes us heartsick and terrified. We’re fighting like hell against the forces of greed and destruction, and for a vision of a better world.
We’re fighting alongside you–and instead of solidarity, we find our bodies used as punchlines.
I’m here to say: enough. We demand respect. We demand that you acknowledge our full humanity, nothing less.