This is just the latest post in this genre, but you find it all over the fatosphere:
Note the caption on the author's photo: "Morbid Obesity in Motion. Yep, that's me alright! Just two weekends ago. Being all Fat and Dancing at you with my Super Death Fat Self."
I'm sorry, but I just don't get it. Is she proud of looking like that? That attitude strikes me as the worst type of childish defiance - the worst type because it's a form of self-harm.
Compared to the truth, FA denial is as easy and comfortable as that whole pint of Ben and Jerry.
Obesity shows a lack self control, selfishness, and laziness for anyone too see. It invites discrimination and ridicule. The only way back from it is abandoning the ways that got someone there and staying aware of the bad habits creeping back in. It's difficult, a lot of work, and means self denial. For someone that size, it means months, and possibly a year or two remembering that before they're at a size that most people would consider less offensive to look at. It's so much easier to run the other way and keep acting like a food junkie, especially if you can surround yourself with other food junkies that tell you what you want to hear.
Identifying with various subcultures is just part of the American psyche. There is a lot of media pressure to be thin, especially for women, so fat women end up resenting it, and they form bands on the internet. The internet is full of crazies who band together and groupthink and give themselves legitimacy ("look at all these online people who agree with me!") based on Internet groupthink. I get it. I just think it's stupid, and the who pseudoscience frosting they put on it is really sad.
What I really don't get is what the whole thing with fat women and bellydancing is about.
I guess so - then the people who belong to those internet cliques encounter hostility in the real world, so they blog about the "haters" and get more sympathy from their peers, and that just reinforces their behaviour and isolation - and the whole viscious cycle starts again.
That part I get. Traditional bellydancing values a woman's curves - but not that many curves!
Besides, what other form of exercise can woman that big take up? Rockclimbing is out. Kayaking, cycling or boxing would be too strenuous, running would put too much strain on the joints and horseback riding is just plain cruel.
I guess swimming and hiking would be OK. But the trouble with those activities is that people may think the woman was doing it to lose weight, and we couldn't have that, could we?
rolls are not curves *puke*
I guess the other reason bellydancing is so popular with militant fatties is that it's "out there". No-one would ever assume a fat bellydancer was doing it to lose weight.
A friend once told me I was too skinny to bellydance. I think it was meant as a compliment.
See, people saying that fat rolls are required for belly dancing is a pet peeve of mine. The general philosophy that's stated in most beginner's DVDs and books is that a specific body type is not required for belly dance (unlike ballet). Any hight, bone structure and theoretically weight group can practice it successfully. There are performances out there by rather buxom ladies in their 60s and by 7 year old girls who are built like little grasshoppers. Fat acceptance took this as "Ha! It's just for us! It's an art form for JUST fat people" just because this type of dance was meant to express true femeninity. It goes back to the whole idea that only fat women are real.
I'm pretty into belly dance (especially the gothic and fusion kind) and I've taken a lot of classes with a few teachers. In Korea, I had this Canadian teacher that just moved there after 4 years in Japan. She said that even though, she had some wonderfully accomplished students and teammates in Japan, who had helped win belly dance competitions, there was always a grumble from the chubby corner of the dance studios that these dancers weren't good enough not having enough thigh, butt or boobs, all because these Japanese belly dancers were so small and thin. All my teachers, both in Korea and France, find this line of thinking ridiculous. Interestingly, they all agree that an obese woman could be a belly dancer, but they have never seen one. You see, REAL belly dancing (not just throwing on a costume and swaying a bit) requires insane muscle control. You need to be able to move each muscle individually, without moving any around it. The constant practice that is needed to advance requires a lot of stamina too. So, even though, a fat person could belly dance, she probably wouldn't be obese by the end of the initial training.
I think the fat acceptors like the idea of belly dance because they think it's easy and has no standards. Wrong.
My husband was telling me about how he saw a belly dancer about the same size as the one in the pic I posted doing a public performance. According to him, she was "moving each part of her fat around independently". He didn't find it erotic or sexy, but was deeply fascinated. She must have had incredibly strong abs. I felt sorry for her; I can't imagine training that hard - as you say it would take a lot of stamina - and not losing weight, or wanting to lose weight.
Yeah, and in doing so, they have debased an ancient art form.
No kidding . It's so ironic they take a form of dance that has its roots in fertility and claim it as their own it when obesity carries so many fertility problems like PCOS. I tried it it - I thought it might help my body tone up as I lost weight, but I think it will be a lot easier to learn when I've got less weight/ inertia to deal with. So it's on the shelf for now, along with dance lessons and fencing class.
I know this is an old post but.... I personally know this belly dancer. She is a fabulous, generous, wonderful person who makes beautiful costumes, dances fluidly and entertains people. So why does is matter if she's fat? Tribal belly dance is not *supposed* to be sexy or erotic- it is supposed to be powerful and entertaining.
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Yes, I know its an old post, and I apologize for resurrecting it, but when I saw my friend's picture there I had to say something.
"No one ever said the belly dancer was a bad person or could not sew."
No shit. I mentioned that to add to her character, since she was being judged badly purely because she's fat.
Fat acceptance is important because people are still passed over for jobs and housing because they are fat. People are still treated like second class citizens because they are fat. People are denied health care because they are fat. YES, that could all be said for smokers as well.
Smokers aren't charged more to fly.
Smokers don't pay more for their clothes.
Smokers aren't made fun of or teased because they smoke.
Smokers don't get spit on in public places.
Smokers can hide who they are for periods of time, if necessary.
Smokers don't commit suicide because they are made fun of and are "hopeless".
I'm also not sure why it got side tracked on belly dancing and, while it was an interesting read, its pretty rotten to post someone's picture so she pops up in a Google image search on "fat belly dancer". I'm sure everyone thinks this is hilarious, but its not. She is a beloved wife, a daughter, a friend and a real person.
I'm just responding to the post. Let the mods lock it if they want old posts to be dead.
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This is why FA fatties are so proud of BEING WHO THEY ARE, not of being obese:
From the fat belly dancer's website (By the way, this is TRIBAL FUSION DANCING, not even actually belly dancing. But whatever. Y'all hate fatties and that's all you care about).
"It always seems that no matter what a proponent of size or fat acceptance may post on their own blog, there are always those who feel the need and/or RIGHT to argue against a fat person loving themselves and bucking the media-craze fear-mongering in regards to the Obesity Crisis.
Anytime that I try to address some of the issues that are brought up it seems that I always forget to touch upon or address each of the particular arguments. I wanted to try and get ONE post out which addresses or at least touches upon all of the arguments that get tossed out by those concerned or “concerned” with the health and existence of fat people; particularly with fat people who accept and love themselves as they are.
This is a long post; one which I hope will show where I’m coming from and where I would like to see the dialogue lead.
Obesity: What it is
Obese vs. Overweight
Aside from the reality that there are SEVERAL BMI cutoff schemes in the world; it is generally viewed that Overweight and Obese are both categories from the ever-changing BMI (Body-Mass Index) calculators and are used to indicate a person’s relative position on the spectrum of weight from “Underweight” to “Obese”.
Underweight = <18.5
Normal weight = 18.5-24.9
Overweight = 25-29.9
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
So when people reference the “War on Obesity” they are indicating that they are fighting a category of weight. Obesity is not a person. It is a CATEGORY of a weight-range spectrum.
Aribitrary measurement relating height to weight. Does NOT measure fat. It measures only your weight divided by you height in meters squared.
Limits for each of the categories have changed, so using it as a definitive measure of ANYTHING is laughable; akin to declaring that dividing your arm length by your nose size tells you how well you can smell.
No one really understands what a particular range of a BMI actually LOOKS like.
*Edited to Add* Also, the assumption is that BMI measures fat and that FAT is bad. However, as Sandy points out in the comments, “FAT is not bad – adipose tissue is actually surprisingly benign.”
The simple belief that people are at-fault (and to be blamed) for their fat is hinged on the idea that you BECOME fat by overeating.
Yet, evidence points to the simple truth that fat or thin, most people eat roughly the SAME amount of food regardless of size.
Anecdotal evidence or media portrayals of what an overweight or obese individual eats does not a proof-in-concept make. So, saying you’ve seen your fat aunt “pack it away” doesn’t PROVE that this is WHY she is fat or that this is a behavior that she exhibits EVERY DAY or that by extrapolation if SHE does it, so does EVERY fat person.
The general perception, especially from those looking for a fight, is that being overweight or obese is directly related to the amount of exercise a person lacks. We all watch too much TV, and fat people must be fat from watching WAAAAY too much TV.
Contrary to the above cited belief, fat and thin people all spend the same amount of time engaged in physical activity; whose levels haven’t actually dropped drastically across the globe as proponents of the Obesity Epidemic would have you believe. In fact, physical activity levels may have actually increased over the decades.
A person can be fat and fit JUST as easily as they could be thin and un-fit. The assumption that a person’s size indicates fit or not does a disservice to EVERYONE by overly focusing exercise initiatives on the overweight while ignoring thinner folks who might not be getting physical activity; all based on the ASSUMPTION that you can know a person’s level of activity based on appearances alone.
Exercise CAN BE FUN. You do not have to run like a gerbil in a wheel for physical activity to “count”.
Anecdotal evidence of overweight or obese individuals exercising or NOT exercising does not a proof-in-concept make.
Stupid or liars:
The perception is that the categories of obese and overweight are not understood by those who ARE overweight and/or obese; that if ONLY the message were loud enough, clear enough, filled with enough shameful guilt, maybe the fatties would “Get it” and see that they are fat. In reality, we know. Trust me. Delusion does not somehow run rampant in those who are “overweight”.
Even if a person KNOWS their size and where they fit into the BMI standards, they can still be accused of being a stupid liar.
Since fat is vilified as the “harbinger of doom” or “bringer of untimely death”; those found to be overweight or obese (which, as seen above, is NOT a true indication of their level of fatness) are told to diet.
This “prescription” is doled out again and again despite the fact that diets DO NOT WORK. No, not even if you call it a “life-style change”. No, not even if you call it “Eating in Moderation and increasing exercise.” Anything that focuses on increased physical activity and decreased calorie consumption is buying into the ”Body as a Bunsen Burner” theory and IS STILL A DIET. Any adult can feel free to join the dieting band-wagons but I urge you not to take it as personal failure when the wait does not remain off and returns with a few friends.
Your body is NOT a simple machine in which “Calories IN Calories OUT” works in a straight-line calculation.
NOTHING will work to permanently lower your body’s weight below your own body’s set weight-range. Genetics take far more control of your body size than any amount of calorie restriction.
In fact, diets may ONLY work to do the complete OPPOSITE of what they are intended to do. Evidence suggests that diets work to make sure you GAIN weight.
Studies show a correlation as well between improved health and non-dieters.
FAILING a diet is also not a demonstration of a “lack of willpower”. I don’t care if you have “Worked Hard” to get the weight loss you might have now. Chances are it won’t last and it won’t be because you don’t WANT it enough.
Calorie counting is NOT part of a normal and “healthy” relationship with food.
I personally feel that people of any size should consider a more relaxed and normalized relationship with food and physical activity; but learning to eat intuitively when all you’ve known all your life is DIET and NOT ON A DIET eating habits is difficult to say the least; far more difficult than it would be had dieting not occurred in the first place. However, that DOESN’T mean that the moment you try to eat the way that your body wants that you will devour the world!
Saying you’re ON a diet does not make you somehow intrinsically better than someone who ISN’T altering their daily intake of vital nutrients.
Since even some of the diet-pushers are starting to acknowledge that diets don’t work, Weight Loss Surgery is seeing more and more screen time of late as The Way to CURE Obesity!
Yet the risks of WLS are pushed under the carpets as it is “obvious” that having a BMI of 43 is FAR WORSE than the multitude of health troubles that patients experience post-surgery; from an inability to eat without throwing up to in increased risk of premature death.
Obesity: Why we Care
Obesity kills/Contributes to all manner of disease or Ill Health:
Even the best experiment, done with the most stringent test methods and following the most rigid adherence to proper scientific procedures, can never “Prove” anything; it can merely show correlations. Yet proponents of “Obesity Kills” (ie. Pharmaceutical companies which fund a majority of these studies or those marketing expensive weight loss schemes) will use even the tiniest hint of a CORRELATION (a possible relationship) to claim that there is really a CAUSATION effect between obesity and the latest health issue to which the studies wish to link “fat”.
The arbitrary BMI categories of “Overweight” and “Obese” are actually linked with IMPROVED health benefits. “Fatness isn’t the only “paradoxical” association among favorable clinical outcomes.”
Fat people are not a New Invention. Fat has been around forever so saying “There were no fat people ‘Before’” is completely silly. Before what? Before Industrialization? Before the Renaissance? Before Jesus???
Obesity is NOT a disease; it is a CATEGORY of weight ranges which have been arbitrarily decided upon. You can not SOLVE a category. You can not “FIX” a category; unless by “Fix” you mean “do away with the SYSTEM by which these categories exist”.
It’s an EPIDEMIC/CRISIS!:
Contrary to the popular common belief that somehow obesity rates are skyrocketing; the reality is just the opposite. When taking into account the lowered BMI category limits; the actual average weight gain over the decades has been steady: at zero. “Obesity Among Adults in the United States — No Change Since 2003–2004.”
An epidemic is useful to those who stand to profit from it; NOT to those who would be a part of it.
There has NOT been a drastic increase in Childhood obesity either.
The health costs of overweight and obese patients are not somehow “magically lifted” if a person loses weight; no, not even if they get Weight Loss Surgery.
Poor nutrition (which is NOT THE SAME AS overeating) and sedentary lifestyles are not optimal for people of ANY size. Declaring that only people who fall into the categories of Overweight and Obese need to worry about nutrition and physical activity is counterproductive.
Rather than focus on FAT as unhealthy, the focus should be turned to activities and behaviors that ALL people could benefit from. Governments could work on providing safe parks or sidewalks for pedestrians or recreation instead of focusing on calorie consumption reduction weight-loss programs as the be-all, end all solution to “Obesity”.
Assuming the level of a person’s health based upon appearances is not only prejudiced but detrimental to those who are overweight or obese but also to those falling into the categories of “Normal” and “Underweight”.
“Healthy” is not even a term that is universally defined; so to try and hold only two categories of people to a wobbly list of what “healthy” means is silly to say the least. So when someone claims to be “concerned” with someone else’s health, I call shenanigans.
Waiting until you have reached some size deemed as “Optimal” for your height is NOT a good excuse for avoiding doing things you like. You don’t need to reach some ubiquitous level of “Healthy” (read: THIN) to dress as you want or to be who you are.
10% of your body weight is an ever moving target. Saying that losing “Just 10% of your current body weight will make you healthier” is a VERY TRICKY and nasty way to say that you will NEVER be good enough.
Judging a person, before they even open their mouth, by ANY physical characteristic is wrong. You know NOTHING about a person’s life, lifestyle, habits or health simply by looking at them. NOTHING gives a person the right to make judgements about another person based on perceived ideas of their health based on size.
Size-ism is by NO MEANS the “Last Acceptable form of Prejudice”. Yet I find that many of the “isms” do overlap: size-ism, sexism, racism, class-ism, able-ism, age-ism; none of them are mutually exclusive. And yes, they are all still WRONG.
You have no more right to judge a person based on their size than you do to judge a person for the shape of their eyes or the tilt of their nose or the width of their feet.
Acting towards all people with common courtesy; treating ALL people with basic human respect is not a bad idea.
EVEN IF a person actually fits into every nasty stereotype you have ever heard about them, that STILL does NOT give you permission to judge or harass them. No, it doesn’t.
No one who declares that they feel you have NO RIGHT to judge their life by their body is trying to say that you MUST find a particular sized body attractive. No one is saying you have to find any particular physical size (or shape or appearance) attractive and worthy of your sexual attentions; we are not all here on this planet solely as fodder for your sexual desires. Rather, focus instead on treating everyone as human beings, regardless of your personal desire for a particular person as an object of your sexual appetite.
Attraction is subjective and attraction is NOT the same as basic human respect.
NO ONE, regardless of size or any other attributes, owes it to ANYONE ELSE to be pretty.
Studies have found that having children diet works to make them GAIN weight.
It has also been found that no identifiable dietary patterns during childhood or adolescence could explain their BMIs; meaning that fat children aren’t just donut-hording little monsters hoping to become the next fat Santa.
Forcing programs upon children that encourage dieting behaviors at younger and younger ages is NOT going to remove the non-existent Obesity Epidemic.
Dirty, Smelly, TAKING UP TOO MUCH SPACE:
Not all overweight or obese persons are dirty or smelly. Not all “normal” or underweight persons are starved anorexics waiting to lecture you on their diets. Making absolute statements just makes you look ignorant of the reality that we are ALL different.
Public transportation is not a pleasant experience for anyone. But to insist that people are the ones who should change their BODIES rather than to insist on larger accommodations for a population which IS NOT actually getting larger (see “It’s an Epidemic” above) is asinine.
Similarly, forcing anyone over an equally arbitrary size of clothing to shop in “specialty shops” or on-line, as if that will SHAME a fat person into taking the drastic measures to fit into the current society trend of acceptable size and shape, is completely inane. Also inane is charging $3 dollars extra for a larger size that amounts to a total of a few extra inches of material.
The size of your pants has NOTHING to do with your worth as a human being.
No one has the right to tell someone that they are taking up “too much space” in the world. None one should ever feel that they are supposed to “disappear” from the planet in order to appease the world.
“If fat people accept themselves for who and what they are, they might NEVER lose weight!” And then what? You might have to SEE a happy fat person once in a while? You might have to recognize someone you don’t find attractive as a human being? You won’t be able to feel superior without a fatty to lord it over? What?
Self acceptance is vital to people of any size; and it is NOT a right or privilege owed only to those fitting into the current media trends.
Finally, there is no straight path to self-acceptance either. There ARE days when yes, you might WISH you were the size/shape/color/age/etc of the current ideal. That doesn’t mean you hate yourself; just that you might imagine yourself as something else. “Wishing for something doesn’t make it an IMPERATIVE. Nor does it make it an objective good.”
This is all a lot to take in but perhaps just for my own understanding of things I needed to get it all down on “paper”. What we believe is always shaped by our own life experiences and it is possible that some of what I’ve stated is tinted by my own levels of privilege in the world.
However, until we can get a dialogue going between those who follow the panic (whipped up by the media and those who stand to profit from our “concern”) and those of us who are trying to fight against the overlapping effects of “ism”s; then I feel that the myths of obesity and weight loss will CONTINUE to be perpetuated; to ALL of our detriment.
I wasn't going to respond to this, but I lost a terrific coworker to diabetes today. She left behind a husband and little boy. I lost my uncle to the same disease at the end of last year, and I worry my best friend is headed the same way.
I understand that fat and health problems don't always go together - I could be the poster girl for that. My last physical came back with the only issue being low vitamin d (winter in Oregon, go figure). I don't often see it lasting though other than the anecdotal story, which is pretty much like George burns and his cigar smoking.
I accepted my friend for what she was, and now she's gone.
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Omg, you would bring in diabetes, here is another fact. Ok, so my whole family is obese, its genetic. Now stop and hang on to your closed mind and FA judgment and really read my post. My whole family have all changed their lifestyles, have eaten the right foods, avoided sugar substitutes and sugar, exercised at the optimal level and it still haunts them everyday. They feel the need to be perfect at all times, or they are putting themselves in their graves. After losing all the weight, and keeping it off for years, the doctors required of my family to be healthy, they still got Diabetes, they still had high cholesterol, and they still had acid reflux, sleeping disorders, and panic disorders. Not one single positive change came from all that struggle other than acceptance by their peers. Wtf? The only health correlation I saw out of all of this, was the health conditions worsened with menopause, and guess what, all women are subject to that. I have done everything in my power to do right by myself and be healthy, because I want to live long, I want to be able to be accepted in society, I want to be considered attractive, and I want to feel physically capable of playing the sports I love. Quit blaming us for our size, its stupid and naive, and your treatment of others who were undeserving of your disdain will come back, its called karma.
Lmao - That's sad about your family, but have you ever considered that if they hadn't lost weight, their diabetes and other health problems would have been far worse?
"Not one single positive change came from all that struggle other than acceptance by their peers" I wouldn't discount societal acceptance so quickly - it can make a massive difference to a person's emotional health.
There must have been other positive changes - what about the ability to move freely, to climb stairs without huffing and puffing, to walk long distances without tiring?
I can't speak for everyone, but when I was at my highest weight of 211 at 5'7 (I'm a guy) I was shocked at how virulent some people could be at the sight of my body, as if being fat was like smearing yourself with dog doo. I was shocked but I found some people's reactions almost comical, and there were times, I admit, when I would go out of my way to do PDF (Public Displays Of Fatness.)
This meant going shirtless at picnics, for one, and just walking around not bothering to try and hold in my 44-inch belly. Or wearing a t-shirt two sizes too small and walking into GNC centers for my vitamins but also asking the clerk where I could find the weight gain powder as I was in the middle of training. I wish I'd gotten some of their reactions on video!
Bottom line, I've been proud of my body when I was lean and fit at 160 lbs and a 31-inch waist, and beyond as well. Guess I'm just a ham...
I think that beautiful women, no matter their size, do feel proud of how they look. I do not think the OW should hide themselves, but I worry about the health issues. She looks vigorous now, but wait until her kidneys go into shock from diabetes or her joints collapse....then, no more belly dancing for her. I am in my 50s and I do not see anyone of my age who is OW (esp obese) who isn't beginning to have issues with their health. Many of them tire out easy at the very least. Your body is so unforgiving as you age, and why give it more reason to resent you? Losing weight can only be a good thing for any past about age 40 (if they are OW). LIATS
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