I’ve spent a lot of time hating the Fat Acceptance movement, and making fun of it, and though entertaining it’s admittedly not very useful.
But I found myself pondering the fact that even apart from that the movement is just an obvious corporate propaganda operation, what moral basis is there for its existence, and what basis is there for opposition to such a movement? Even assuming best intentions and separating it from corporate propaganda, why should such a movement be embraced, or be shunned?
In the larger sense, the doctrine of the FA movement and related beliefs around fatness is a symptom of the separation of the individual from the community, the sundering of all notions of moral or civic duty to any larger polity. That’s all well and good for its time and it matches the rest of the 19th and 20th Century character of building and then dissolution of community structures. This Rousseauvian, Hobbesian, Lockean synthesis and unstable resolution got us to democracy, and the panoply of rights that we now enjoy but is sclerotic and decaying. That rot is quite obviously accelerating.
The Fat Acceptance belief system is one firmly based in the above and its perversions under and by neoliberalism. I wish to move beyond all of that, and to step around that philosophy altogether, and transition to something drastically different that has not really existed before in a form recognizable by most. Without trampling on individual rights utterly, as such movements have in the past, I wish to ask in a purely constructive way what duty do we owe to our current civilization, to each other, and to our own selves.
That’s such a large question that even in part it’d take an entire set of books to elucidate. I don’t have the time nor the inclination for that. I even wish to move beyond Thomas Pogge’s ideas of what we owe society, of course, as they are too limited. What do we owe to those in the future not yet born? What do we owe in maintaining our own dignity and how is this related to others doing the same? What do we owe aesthetically? And to claim that the aesthetic should not be important, as many do…well, let me assure you that it’s always important to humans and I argue that it should be.
Even just glancing across these various bits of philosophy, and keeping in my mind my ambition of moving to some post-liberal synthesis, it should be obvious that the philosophy of fatness and the Fat Acceptance movement (again, even ignoring its roots in corporate propaganda) is at heart a philosophy born of the idea of separation from and avoidance of community, no different than libertarianism or market fundamentalism — i.e., they believe they owe their own community nothing, and the community owes them acceptance of their harm to the commonality and to their own futures, to our collective future, and to the future of their own children (similar to Boomer beliefs as well, now that I think of it).
Again, I am not casting blame here. There is a reason they came to be like this. But I want to utterly eviscerate their philosophy and its raison d’être, just as I wish to do so for libertarianism and laissez-faire capitalism. As with the other two, morally, fat acceptance and its related non-corporate manifestations is bankrupt and of a particular kind of bankruptcy that seems natural now because it’s firmly embedded in the law and in the nous, but permits no possible future of excellence. For this reason, it is immoral and is so for all the reasons I listed above: it is destructive to collective and individual dignity; it is harmful to the future and all who dwell there; it is a claim on the community with any inverse claims being disallowed; and, it is aesthetically debased.
This is why its assertions are invalid and its ideas incoherent.