I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

Fat Liberation Vs. Fat Acceptance



1.the act of liberating  or the state of being liberated.
2.the act or fact of gaining equal rights or full social or economic opportunities for a particular group.


1. the act of taking or receiving something offered.

2. favorable reception; approval; favor.
3. the act of assenting or believing: acceptance of a theory.
4. the fact or state of being accepted or acceptable.

I have found myself becoming more and more political lately. It began when I attended the Queer.Fat.Political. event at the GLTB History museum in San Francisco on July 24th. It was such an amazing feeling to be in the same room as these incredible women who have been fighting the good fat (and feminist) fight all of these years (some more than 30 years!!!). I don’t think anyone could walk out of that place that night unmoved. And I wasn’t simply moved, I was inspired, and I was changed!

Since that evening I have only used the term Fat Acceptance once, in a comment on another blog (but do call me out if I’m wrong). I now prefer and completely embrace and identify with Fat Liberation! I think it points more succinctly and directly to the fact that the fat are marginalized and oppressed. I don’t feel that Fat Acceptance carries the same weight (no pun) as Fat Liberation. It feels better on my tongue and I feel more radical for using it! I also think it’s important to use it in this way as more and more deny the oppression of fat people and even some previously self-accepting/fat-accepting people are now calling themselves all of those old euphemisms: fluffy, chubby, big-boned, etc. *HeadDesk*

For me, one of the most important and powerful steps on my own acceptance/liberation journey was simply taking back the word Fat! I use it every damned day! I have to! I enjoy it! It is such a fabulously simple word, with so much POWER!!! Take that power back for yourself if you can. Get a Fat Necklace and watch as the world stops, stunned in your presence (and shouldn’t they be already?!). Perhaps you don’t feel you need liberating. Maybe you feel acceptance is more of what you’re looking for. That’s totally cool! I’m not saying that there is one way or the highway. For me I just feel more empowered when I think of liberation.

I am not looking for anyone’s approval. I’m not interested in appearing “acceptable” (to whom?).  I AM looking to gain full equality for everyone. I am! I believe that everyone is equal and it’s our society and government and corporations that interfere with that and fuck with our minds and make us believe lies year after year after year. And I’m through with that shit, ya know? And while I still haven’t found the words to approach my mother in law about her big butt comments (not about me, but our niece) I did manage to squeeze in a bit of history regarding women and shaving their body hair. She was only slightly surprised and possibly less interested than I had hoped. Ha-ha! Oh well.

I just hate to think that one day this fat acceptance/liberation thing will disappear. Like a wisp of so much smoke. That over time it will become less and less in numbers, that would soon disband (so to speak) and stop accepting ourselves, fighting for the liberation of fats and even stop using the word fat as a descriptor. I can’t accept that as a future possibility! I CAN’T! It hurts too much to even consider. But I see cracks, I see trouble and I just think that we need to support each other and keep in touch with each other more often and stick together more tightly to keep this movement going! I could be the only one feeling this urgency, but I feel it and I refuse to ignore it.

It’s hard to be publicly fat. I know! But what is harder for me would be to go back to how things were. To hating myself, trying to conform (Ugh! Conformity?! No Thanks!) and getting back on the dieting train? Blegh!!! NO! As much as I feel that my very existence is constantly questioned, I know that that is not how I want to live again. I know that for me to be happy and healthy and productive and my truest self I have to keep fighting the good fat liberation (and feminist) fight! I feel it is a duty, an honor and a privilege to have this path at my feet and I do fully intend to follow it.

10 Comments to

“Fat Liberation Vs. Fat Acceptance”

  1. On August 17th, 2011 at 9:14 am Patsy Nevins Says:

    As one of those who has been in it for over 30 years, I too am all about fat liberation, about rights/access for all, & non-dieting, even if you call it ‘a lifestyle change’, say you want to live ‘healthier’, or (maybe my favorite, aside from the assertion that one is losing weight ‘for a man), ‘for my health.” If you are interested in your health, don’t be trying to lose weight.

    And some of the old feminists of fat liberation have not only been at this for over 30 years, but over 40! I bow in deepest respect & gratitude to the founding mothers of The Fat Underground. I try hard to carry the torch.

  2. On August 17th, 2011 at 9:28 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @Patsy Nevins: Yes! And I bow to you, as well! <3 Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  3. On August 17th, 2011 at 12:18 pm vesta44 Says:

    I finally bought the tee shirt that says Fat!So? on it, and I wore it to a baseball game with my husband the other night (he thinks the shirt is cute, btw, says the fat chick on it reminds him of the girl in the cartoon that sings “Oh Wolfie”). I still want the one that says “Fat Bitch” though, I would so wear that one all the time.
    I have totally reclaimed the word “fat” as a description of myself, just like saying I have graying hair, I’m tall, have hazel eyes, and am disabled. None of those are negative things, they just are.

  4. On August 17th, 2011 at 8:19 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    @vesta44: Woo Hoo to the Fat! So? shirt! Fabulous! I wanna get one, too! If you would like to buy yourself a fat bitch t-shirt, might I recommend I have ordered from them (and used their site as my drafted example in that post) and today I got a coupon code for 25% off your entire order (no minimums) CGR817

  5. On August 17th, 2011 at 12:37 pm Jessica Says:

    Love this! I’m not afraid this will disappear since the torch of fat rights has been passed for nearly half a century. What I would love to see is more unity within the movement. It seems both more public and yet more fractured than ever before.

    I think some of the hardcore activists forget to be welcoming to the newbies who are carefully dipping their toes into the water while the rest of us have already eagerly jumped into the deep end. I’d like to see more patience and maybe more sisterhood (and brotherhood — don’t mean to leave the men out). Maybe like NOLOSE has tried to do — have a program with a big sister like person welcoming newbies or shy folks whether or not they are newbies into the fat liberation/fat acceptance family.

    On the topic of liberation vs. acceptance — I want both and I’ll still happily use both. I also still use euphamisms for fat — though I still primarily use fat. I don’t call myself a chunky chickadee because I’m afraid of the word fat. I just like all kinds of positive words for my body since so many negative ones are already used. What I can’t stand is when someone else tells me they don’t like me calling myself fat — like when a thin person is uncomfortable with the word. Fuck that. I am not here to make anyone comfortable with me by pretending to be uncomfortable with the neutral adjective I use to describe my body.

    Thanks for carrying the torch through your blog and through being your fabulous self!

  6. On August 17th, 2011 at 8:23 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    @Jessica: Aw! Thank YOU!!! I have to say, I agree with everything you said here. I mean, the unity isn’t apparent for me right now. Seems to be many small cliques, but little crossover. Perhaps I should offer myself up for guest posting about just that?! And yeah, I meant euphemisms for the comfort of others mostly. I know girls who will say fat around friends but never around relatives or work folks…I get that it can be crunchy, but I feel like there are lost opportunities by making others okay with your fatness. I know not everyone can create those teachable moments, but in a perfect world? Ah, well! Ha-ha! **Hugs**

  7. On August 17th, 2011 at 1:19 pm Mulberry Says:

    Why do you think fat lib/acceptance as a civil rights movement will disappear? What do you see as signs of trouble? Of course there’s hostility, but isn’t that true regarding any civil rights movement? Feminism has always had plenty of detractors and is still around. I personally think the internet has been a great boost to fat lib. We csan get the message out to people who are willing to hear it. We don’t have to feel alone.

  8. On August 17th, 2011 at 8:27 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    @Mulberry: While I agree that the internet has made it so much easier to communicate and organize to a certain degree, I also see less radical acts in general happening. I worry that we (myself included) may get too comfortable with writing campaigns and clothing swaps and forget that activism takes a physical form or more personal (in-person) touch, too! I guess I worded it a bit wongo, but I just mean that it is so easy to get caught up in the online debates and issues and not at least try to create some real life awareness. I’m not even talking about detractors, though I do think that the more heated the debate the better in some ways; at least people are talking about it and having strong emotions over it: more attention! Opportunities for people to look deeper/further than what mainstream media has fed them. I will say that yes, the best part is being lucky enough to reach out and talk to people you wouldn’t have otherwise had the chance to do so. Wouldn’t give that up for the world!

  9. On August 17th, 2011 at 3:55 pm Twistie Says:

    I can’t see you ever disappearing into conformity, m’dear. That simply isn’t on the cards.

    Oh, and thirty years from now when you’re still holding that banner? I fully plan to be standing right next to you raising a ruckus in concert with yours.

    Just think, your niece may not see it now, but the fact that she’s got you in her life, fighting for justice, will more than likely inspire her one day.

  10. On August 17th, 2011 at 8:28 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    @Twistie: Thank you for that! Her memory is so terrible since she’s been here I wonder if she’ll forget us all together! Ha-ha!

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