Yesterday I read a blog about a Tumblr account dedicated to “Fat Acceptance”. This Tumblr account is essentially photos of overweight and/or morbidly obese people holding up signs explaining a little bit about who they are and why people shouldn’t discriminate against them due to their weight. They say that “obesity is equivalent to homosexuality, race and gender, and should just be accepted as such”. As you can well imagine, this created a rather firey shitstorm of comments from the “You go, girl!” type, right down to the, “Euthanize fat people!” kind. It was a fascinating study in anonymous humanity.

Some commenters pointed out that people aren’t “born fat”, they make the choice to BE fat which is very unlike homosexuality, race, and sex. They were then countered by commenters saying that, in fact, some people ARE “born fat”, in that they have (for example) a genetic condition that predisposes them to obesity. And then both of those posters were challenged by the simple argument, “what are you going to do, ask an obese person if they have a disease or if they chose to be fat, and then discriminate based on the answer? Why can’t we just be nice to everyone?”. Good point.

It would be lovely if we could just have everyone “be nice” to everyone else,  but that’s never, ever going to happen. I believe in love, I believe in The Golden Rule, I believe in Random Acts of Kindness, I believe in kindness. I also believe in the fact that there are some serious assholes out there who want nothing more than to ruin someone’s day. And in my opinion, one the worst offenders is the fashion industry.

So, to the blog, I braved the waters and decided to enter the fray with the comment, “I think what we need isn’t ‘fat acceptance’, but a more realistic understanding of what a ‘normal’ body should look like. Drop the Photoshopping in magazines, and I’ll bet that the rate of obesity will decline“, as that’s what I truly do believe. I think that some people just sort of ‘give up’, because they know that they’ll never, ever be able to look like what they’re now “expected” to look like. No one ever will. It’s impossible, because what we are “expected” to look like is something that’s lab-created, not naturally occuring. An apple will never, ever taste like a Snickers bar.

Magazines should come with warning labels like the ones that cigarette packages have. “This image has been photoshopped. The model you see here is actually 5′ 9″, 148lbs, a brunette with green eyes, and has two small beauty marks below her right eye. We have made her into a 105lb, D-Cup blonde with blue eyes, no body hair, and absolutely no uniqueness to her whatsoever. Please enjoy responsibly”.

People are literally killing themselves trying to look like an ideal that doesn’t exist. Women and girls are starving themselves to death. Men and boys are pumping steroids and destroying their bodies. And they’re doing it to look like what an industry who makes money off of their misery is telling them what they should like.

The worst part of all this is the fact that we all KNOW that this is the case. We get it. We’ve seen the Dove commercials, we know how Photoshop works, we know exactly what “healthy” looks like, and takes to achieve. But we’re still dying. We’re still fighting, we’re still cutting, we’re still trying to change who we are to become something that we’ll never be happy with, anyway.

And there’s the rub. Perfection will never be achieved. Ever. No matter what you look like, no matter what you strive for, you will always think that you need to be thinner, more muscular, less hairy, more pouty-lipped, less wrinkled, better clothed. Change your eye colour, erase your face, inject this, implant that, suction this, widen that. Bleach your anus, wax your balls, tighten your vagina. Buy a better car, use a better BBQ, drink a better beer. Nothing will ever be good enough. Ever.

I understand the concept behind “fat acceptance”, but it’s just something else that’s been added to the ever-growing list of Things That Society Needs to Accept. I’d love to stop the evolution of “ideal”, but the only way that will happen is if we stop evolving the concept of “kindness”.

Just… be good to one another. Regardless of race, sex, gender, wealth, spirituality, hair colour, intelligence, mental health, weight, or anything else that you believe makes someone a lesser human being than you. Strive for kind, not clique.

Oh, to live in a world where we’re not judged by the sandwiches we eat, or the name on the inside of our shoes, or the ‘generation’ of our Smart Phones. To live in a world where we laugh at the absurdity of discriminating against someone who doesn’t use Oneida silverware, or Titleist golf balls, or genuine Tupperware. My god, wouldn’t that be amazing?

Happy Thursday, everyone – go buy ice cream for a friend today.