There is no way that you can name a group ‘Project Harpoon’ and not be immediately labeled a hate group. This kind of bullshit, bullying behavior is just moving the street harassment and body-shaming online.
Now, I do agree that some fat-acceptance activists can do a certain amount of body-shaming towards those who are thinner and that is just as inappropriate as fat-shaming. No one should be shamed for whatever shape or size they are – no matter if they are large or small.
Body acceptance is NOT about glorifying obesity. Nor is it about ignoring health issues. What it is really about is teaching people to accept the body they were given by the Divine, even if it is outside of the ‘accepted cultural norm.’
The problem with this quote taken from the article above, because both Facebook and Instagram have deleted this so-called project from their websites (however Twitter has not as of yet deleted their account, nor has Reddit), is that it uses a logical fallacy that unfortunately is becoming more and more rampant in our current society.
That logical fallacy is called false equivalence. In essence, this says A = B, but A and B are only equal if one ignores important data about A or B or if one is oversimplifying A or B.
When a thin woman is stigmatized for her size, it is because she is often considered skeleton-like or ‘straight as a board’ both of which are the same kind of judgment call that calling someone who is only 20 or 30 pounds heavier than the accepted weight (found on insurance actuarial tables – yes, even doctors tend to use those tables as a guide) a fat person.
Those of us who are considered ‘morbidly obese’ by both the medical community our society as a whole, are not always that size due to a lack of discipline, a lack of self-respect, a lack of willingness to exercise or any other superficial judgment someone else wishes to make about us.
Do you remember that old saw about ‘judging a book by its cover?’ You cannot judge the actual health of a person by just looking at them.
I know people of assorted ages who are considered a ‘socially acceptable size,’ yet who are deathly ill beneath the surface. They have cancer, heart issues, organs that are not working correctly, immune systems that are trying to kill them or have chronic illnesses that can and will kill them at some random time in the future.
I also know people of assorted ages who are considered ‘morbidly obese’ who are healthy as a horse. People who go running, swimming laps, lifting weights, do bellydancing or do both marathons and walk-a-thons sometimes for many miles.
I was told for most of my life that I was lazy and sedentary and that was why I was fat. Let me list some of the activities that I took part in during both my childhood and my adolescence:
- walking more than 4 miles a day,
- certified as a lifeguard, including the requirement of being able to a minimum of 6 full laps without resting in a standard 82 foot long pool and being able to swim without the use of my arms while holding an equivalent of an adult body,
- swimming 400 laps in standard Olympic sized swimming pool to raise money for a charity, only to have half of that money, not donated because I did far more laps than the people that I solicited for per lap sponsorship,
- biking or walking everywhere I went,
- and of course, protecting myself physically from those who would beat me up or worse.
It took until I started doing water therapy to realize I was never as lazy or sedentary as I was told I was. When you spend two hours doing water therapy exercises in the company of other people doing such exercises you tend to talk. And sometimes we would talk about our childhoods, or the reasons why we needed water therapy. I’ve had supposedly ‘normal sized’ people tell me that I am an inspiration because after five car accidents (only two of which I caused) and two other body injuries I am not living in a wheelchair. Yes, as I grow older, those injuries are reminding me throughout my body that they happened. But some of my fellow patients were recovering from only a single car accident and they could barely move. Out of the six different people who told me that only one woman was of a size that could be considered obese. The amount of activity I have had in my life is actually the main reason I am not in a wheelchair.
Additionally, I have had a number of surgeries. I’ve been told by doctors that because of my obesity I am unlikely to heal quickly. The only surgery that did not heal faster than someone considered to be of a healthy weight is my foot fusion. And the reason that that took so long to heal was not because of my weight. It was because I am a smoker, and nicotine retards bone growth. In fact, when I went for my follow-up appointment after my hysterectomy, I was told by that same OB/GYN who told me it would take me twice as long as a woman of a ‘normal size’ to heal my incision, that I healed in half of the expected time that a so-called normal sized woman would have done. Normal recovery from a hysterectomy is six weeks until one can return to a minimum of activity, and can take up to three months on the outside to recover fully. My minimum recovery time took slightly less than four weeks and I was able to return to full activity six weeks after the surgery. Most women on an average tend to take a minimum of eight weeks after surgery to return to full activity. He had told me he expected I would not be able to return to full activity for almost 6 months.
Do me a favor? Replace fat in this situation with the concept of being disabled. Would you then excuse someone who thinks that because a person is disabled and requesting to be treated with a reasonable amount of courtesy and respect that that disabled person is somehow shaming an abled person by that request? Somehow I sincerely doubt it.
And that exactly what I am fighting for.
It all comes down to the fact that each individual person, no matter how different they may be to the supposed societal norm, is deserving of a reasonable amount of courtesy and respect.
I’m not telling you, you don’t have the right to free speech. But exercising that right still comes with consequences.