When They Say We’re “Glorifying Obesity”

I typically avoid using the O-words on this site, except in the glossary, but I’m making an exception so that we can talk about the oft-made assertion that those of us who dare to live our fat lives rejecting diet culture and weight stigma are “glorifying obesity.” As in, if we’re fat and happy (or even trying to be), then we’re making fat and happy okay. And hell yeah we are, because they are!

Any way you want to play it is absolutely up to you, but I encourage you to interrogate the language of the assertion/question, not your body or your joy.

Here’s how I’d categorize the themes of the primary responses I’ve seen:

  • Pointing out that the questioner or accuser telling someone they’re “glorifying obesity” is usually ill-intended and insincere.
    • Some people point out how the terms “obese” and “overweight” exist only to pathologize fatness via the very dysfunctional and unscientific BMI, and so to even use the terms “obesity,” “obese,” and “overweight” are slurs against fat people. So, when someone says some shit like, “I’m fine with body positivity, but you’re glorifying obesity,” they’re not only not actually fine with body positivity, they’re actively oppressing and insulting fatness by using the term “obesity.”
    • Asking the “glorifying obesity” commenter, “What do you have against happy fat people? Why does my existence bother you so damn much?”
    • There’s also a “So what?” response.
  • Some people lean in to the term “glorifying obesity.” Like, “fuck yeah, I’m glorifying my body because it deserves to be celebrated, and if that looks glorious, that’s awesome.”
  • Some people lean in to good fatty archetypes, proclaiming they exercise and eat healthy and whatnot. This response is likely from someone earlier in their fat liberation journey, not having learned that this is a diet-culture-esque defensiveness.
  • Some people lean in to All Bodies Are Valid or Health At Every Size kind of language, which is totally valid.

Keep building tools in your tool box to deal with fatphobic people and systems you encounter! I’ve assembled several links to existing responses to this assertion, so check ’em out.

Why I Glorify Obesity by Marie Southard Ospina at Bustle

GLORIFYING OBESITY by Corissa Enneking at Fat Girl Flow

Just Hanging Out, Glorifying Obesity by Ragen Chastain at Dances With Fat

Bodies: Glorifying, Demonizing, Pathologizing by Ragen Chastain at Dances With Fat

#GLORIFYHAPPINESS: ALL BODIES. ALL PEOPLE. by Jes Baker at The Militant Baker

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