On many fronts fat discrimination seems to be acceptable, at least to the ones not on the receiving end. People complain about it in the workplace. They complain about it on television and in the movies. They complain about it appearing in magazines, billboards and any other conceivable form of advertising. Many men, women and children feel they are alone when they are discriminated against. Some may not even be aware of what's happened to them. They only know they feel more insecure, violated and inferior.
Fat people are not alone in their fight against discrimination. Actually, I'd like to think of it more as educating rather than fighting. An organization called The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance or NAAFA, as it's affectionately called by those who know about it, has been standing up for people's rights since 1969.
NAAFA is a non-profit "human rights organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of fat people." Their goal is to "eliminate discrimination based on body size and provide fat people with the tools for self empowerment through public education, advocacy and member support."
NAAFA takes a strong stance against dieting and those who postulate that overweight people are unhealthy. They believe stabilizing one's weight through healthy eating and exercise is important but the direction of "dieting" needs to be dropped because "95-98% of diets fail over fives years".
This strong stance extends into the medical community which has become biased towards plus size patients. Many overweight people avoid the system because of the way they are treated when they enter it. They are ignored, badgered and humiliated. Who would want to seek help in an institution such as this?
So how does NAAFA go about aiding the advancement of fat acceptance? According to their promotional material they:
* Work towards providing equal opportunity for fat people wherever obstacles and/or discrimination exist. (Most recently, they challenged the selection practice of Wal-Mart when an internal memo circulated strongly suggesting they avoid hiring overweight people.)
* Disseminate information about the sociological, psychological, legal, medical, and physiological aspects of being fat.
* Advocate and sponsor responsible research about the various aspects of being fat.
* Empower the large number of people regarded by the medical profession as "obese" to accept themselves, to live more fulfilling lives, and to promote acceptance of fat people within society.
* Serve as a forum where issues affecting fat people can be discussed in an unbiased setting.
The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance has come a long way since it was founded in 1969, heck they've even had representatives appear on Good Morning America and Oprah. With them in our court it is just a matter of time before people realize fat discrimination is just not acceptable. Like any movement they need help. To find out what you can do, stop by their updated website. It has a professional new look making it easy to surf and find information. Some of the text is a bit small but over all a great site for learning about their activism, conventions and the latest news and views in the world of fat people. It is possible to end fat discrimination.
Visit The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance.
Take the NAAFA Quiz.