December 6, 2002 10:14 PM

I almost didn't notice this recent explosion of discussion around fat acceptance. See, a while ago Big Fat Blog posted a bit about Anita Roddick's stint in a fat suit. And then interviewed her. And since then, I've seen references to fat and size acceptance all over the place.

People are puzzling it out. That's exciting. Exciting.

I say I didn't notice. By that, I do not mean I didn't notice the discussion. Rather, I chimed in so early in it that it didn't occur to me to see the reoccurrence of the discussion as unusual. And it's not, exactly (unusual).

On a slightly related note, Hypocrisy started talking about fat in terms of gluttony (or rather, gluttony in terms of not-fat). And this made me think about what gluttony really is in a cardinal sin sense.

What is it?

As with all sins, it can have a literal or a spiritual implication and can be an action or merely a thought. Literally, gluttony is consuming, or wishing to consume, more than one needs. It can also be consuming (literally or spiritually) that which is empty. It can be - and this is the fun part - dieting, because dieting implies a fixation on food beyond an appreciation of and sharing the bounty of God. If you believe gluttony is a sin, then disrespecting what God provides for you (spiritually or in the form of food) by hoarding or discarding it is wrong. You could argue that the proscriptions against gluttony are, in fact, a command to obey your body's natural needs.

That's right. Even making more food than you can eat, then throwing it away, is gluttony.

Given that, it's pretty obvious that gluttony is not the domain of the fat. Oh, no. It's the domain of America. Maybe the domain of industrialized nations, period. We throw so much away. Even the way we eat in common restaurants (calories filled with fat but empty, portions too big for us to consume) is, in essence, sin. Of course, you don't have to be Christian, or even religious at all, to recognize our societal sickness.

Perhaps the reason we fear fat so much is that we've demonized it by association with what we know is a failing of our society.

And with that, I end tonight's preaching. If you'd like to know more of what I think on the Roddick fat-suit issue, read the rest of this entry below.

From Big Fat Blog (the original post):
I'm always amused that people who wear fat suits seem to lack (or forget upon donning the suit) a basic knowledge of how the body works. Yes, of course their smaller frames feel the addition of the fat suit as a huge burden, lots of heavy weight... but whatever one weighs, a large portion of that is always muscle. Some people gain muscle weight in proportion to fat weight, others gain more or less muscle - but anyone who went from 120 to 280 lbs naturally would also develop the muscle and balance to handle that weight. Shouldn't that be obvious?

Do thinner people actually think that being fat is anything physically like wearing a heavy jumpsuit? I'm serious - are celebrities who do this representative of the general population of thin people? I can't imagine it.

From the second BFB post (the interview):
It's interesting to hear people like Roddick contend with their squeamishness about fat while trying to live their intellectual beliefs that all bodies are beautiful. I think there's a lot we can learn there - because it's the Roddicks who are the non-fat people most likely to come to our side when our world domination begins - they're the ones who are waiting for the rest of us to change the world, essentially.

I don't think most people are even aware that there is a fat activist movement at all, and very few would be inclined to research it. I'm not surprised that Roddick didn't go out and learn more before she tried on the fat thing, because fat activism isn't a message that people are clamoring to hear. The notion that women come in sizes as large as 14 is still something not everyone understands.

Her fixation on the fat suit as physically encumbering also finally makes [very sad] sense to me: it's that "thin person inside" thinking. After all, we fat folk are just thin people inside, aren't we? So, of course, being a thin person inside a fat suit can't be much different physically from being fat, period.

From Blog Sisters
I'm inclined to forgive Roddick to a degree. Yes, she does lack understanding and empathy, she didn't do her research, and she's obviously unqualified to speak effectively on the experience of being fat.

BUT. I do appreciate that she's squirmy about the idea of fat, yet is still trying to resolve that against this ideal that all bodies are good. Her attempt to promote awareness is admirable in that, at least. We have to allow people to transition from the conventional wisdom that fat=bad to real size acceptance, and Roddick is clearly at a stop along the way. Social change is slow, even on an individual level.

Yes, she said some things that I felt were just plain stupid. But they were important to say.

I posted a lot elsewhere, too. But these are the posts that express things you haven't necessarily heard from me before.

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Oops, had a braindead moment there; love the new colors on your site, especially the front splash (is it even?) page.

these are the thoughts of Prue on December 7, 2002 05:39 AM

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