The body-positivity movement needs an attitude makeover.
Why? Because we're still dividing fat people into categories: the "good" fat people, and the "bad" fat people.
"As long as you're a fat person trying not to be fat, that's acceptable. That's a good fat person," Ira Glass, host of "This American Life" said in a recently re-run episode. But if you're a fat person who isn't trying to be thin, who — GOD FORBID — is happy exactly as you are, that's the bad kind.
The only bad thing about this, however, is the way we're thinking about it.
"I always felt like if I didn't mention it, that maybe people wouldn't notice," writer, feminist, and fat activist Lindy West told Glass.
"Or it could just be this sort of polite secret, like an open secret that we didn't address because it felt so shameful," she added. "It just felt impolite to talk about me not wanting to burden you with my failure. Like, 'just give me a little more time, let's not talk about it, and I promise I'll fix it.'"
West also touched on this in her book "Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman." People see fatness as temporary. They see it like an overcoat that's hiding the real you — the thin you.
"The way that we are taught to think about fatness is that fat is not a permanent state; you're just a thin person who's failing" at being thin, West said. West, who has been fat for as long as she can remember, said she used to "live in this imaginary future where, someday, I'm going to be thin."
Many still treat fat people this way: as a thin butterfly who will, one day, emerge from a fat cocoon. And that's not how fat acceptance should work. That's not acceptance at all.
Body positivity is not about categorizing bodies (especially fat ones) as good or bad.
And it's not about waiting around for fat people to wake up, realize they're fat, and decide to do something about it; it's not about asking people to change. (Though if they do decide of their own volition to make changes to their bodies, that's their own business.)
It's about loving your own body and accepting other peoples' bodies exactly as they are right now, regardless of whether or not they ever change.
"At some point I was like, you know, it's fairly likely that I'm going to be fat forever, so why am I putting off figuring out how to live with that?" West said. "Why not try to figure out how to be happy now?"