The word "fat" can be used several ways, for instance "Fat Cat" would refer to someone who is affluent (nowadays the fat cats are known as the 1%). Fat could also mean the best, as in the "fat of the land." In those two examples the word fat is not such a bad thing but when you use fat to describe a person physically, the connotation turns negative. There is a group trying to change the way we view overweight people and hoping to turn a negative into a positive.
The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA)
The non-profit organization, founded in 1969, is run by volunteers and is dedicated to protecting the rights of the heavy-set individual. By working to eliminate body size discrimination, providing tools for self-empowerment through advocacy, public education, and support, NAAFA seeks to improve the quality of life for oversized people.
Their motto is "We Come in All Sizes . . . Understand it. Support it. Accept it." and their vision is "A society in which people of every size are accepted with dignity and equality in all aspects of life." Their mission is to "eliminate discrimination based on body size and provide Credit: morguefile.comfat people with the tools for self-empowerment through public education, advocacy, and support." They also promise that "NAAFA will be a powerful force for positive social change. Using our collective will, talents and resources, we will improve the world — not just for fat people, but for everyone."
NAAFA claims discrimination against fat individuals is “growing rapidly.” They cite reports showing discrimination complaints by adults in the US due to size were at 7% between 1995 and 1996, and grew to 12% by the year 2006. They claim heavy people are subject to discrimination in all aspects of their daily life, from employment to education, to access to public accommodations and adequate medical care.
The organization is hoping to include weight in the Civil Rights Act or create separate federal anti-discrimination legislation based on weight. They are also hoping to include weight as a specific protected category and would like to see anti-discrimination policies of major corporations and institutions include weight.
What about Diets?
NAAFA says the evidence is clear that diets don’t work. They claim 95 to 98 percent of diets fail over five years and that the "$49 billion-a-year diet industry" has a "vested economic interest in perpetuating the discrimination against fat people."
Who's Your Fatty?
Almost everyone has heard the term "Who's your Daddy?" You may have even used it in a playful non-derogatory way, the statement is harmless and no one is offended by it. Perhaps, if people could begin to treat others with respect and dignity, and not look at their physical differences as negative, one day someone could say the sentence; "Who’s your fatty?" in the same lighthearted way, without offending anyone. After all, there are a lot more weighty issues in the world than a person's weight!
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