So yesterday I posted a link to this Paul Compos article on my facebook yesterday. I've been posting more and more interesting counter "obesity war" articles lately and they largely go ignored or I get the odd like.
Well yesterday it caught the attention of someone I must have added at some point due to Roller Derby (thankfully I don't actually know personally). He repeatedly insisted that weight can be controlled by diet and exercise by 99% of the population. And despite my very careful reasoning, and explanation of WHY I have have come to the conclusions I have, he repeatedly insisted his point.
What got me was he had the gall to question me about my sources when I said I held PERSONAL belief about set point theory (based on my own experience) and that dieting messes with it, yet kept throwing the stupid weight registry study at me, which is skewed, ambiguous and badly reported, but of course he wouldn't accept that either. Once I gave it my best shot I deleted him but he messaged me and said I was being uncivil!
He had no response to my general comments about it being non of his concern whether people were fat or not or the fact that whether they could indeed control their weight was irrelevant - or the blatant ableist paths this pointless argument inevitably takes anyway. Basically he was a total douche canoe and I don't know why I even engaged with him as he wasn't open to discussion. But you know, since it was something I posted in public and he came to my page to tell me that I'm wrong (and to be honest I'm a sucker for an argument), I had to defend myself. My point after all with posting those kind of articles on my FB profile is to provide people with alternative messages in the hope that it will at least give them something to think about. So what right does he have to come along and just flat out say that I'm full of shit? Disagree by all means, but don't just dismiss my opinions and harass me.
As my first little proper run-in with a weight bigot determined to derail me, I was fairly pleased with how I handled it. My own mother even stepped in mid flow to say she was proud of me, bless her (I wish she would take more stock of the things I'm saying because I know she's unhappy about her body and wants to lose weight, but thats another story entirely). As a mere hatchling HAES advocate I did OK - although in the end it achieved nothing.
However it did get me thinking about my beliefs which is a good thing, not in what he was saying, because its NOTHING I haven't already heard, but in the fact that even if I woke up in a world tomorrow where HAES & FA were utterly dismissed as complete tripe with no support, (which is simply not true) then I would still see great positives in the movement and would still chose to believe and support it.
This is what I don't understand about people who try and aggressively debunk HAES supporters specifically. Its offering a kind, healthful approach to eating, encouraging people to love and take care of their bodies. No one has to believe in it, or follow it for themselves, not even fat activists (as many don't) - but what harm is anyone doing by believing in it and adopting it? The way fatophobes talk about it, you'd think it was about killing babies and puppies. Why not live and let live? I guess that answer comes down to the role of privilege and how much people have invested in the idea that they are morally better. To just let the fatties be, is to relinquish their own superiority.
I'm an atheist. I don't follow a religion, I don't agree with it, its not my choice, but I don't go around trying to disprove the existence of God to Christians or tell them their beliefs are harmful. Its none of my business!
Except HAES isn't a religion, it does have science behind it, plus something much more valuable than ANY study - the experiences of real live people! People living fat lives who are worthy of respect.
So even if people think (and I know many do, even my friends) think that body acceptance, HAES and fat acceptance is all hippys, rainbows and unicorns then tough shit, because I see the positivity it brings and the affect it has on peoples lives, (including my own) everyday. I also see the terrible, disgusting, detrimental effects that the flip side has and for me there is no going back.