“Is it a sin to be fat?”
I asked my friend the question over a cup of Earl Grey and a fresh blackberry muffin. My friend is not fat in the least; she had merely expressed interest in my current writing topic. She laughed and asked how I planned to answer the question. I, having never been accused of being thin, replied: “I don’t know if it’s a sin to be fat, but let me ask another question. Is it a sin to be thin?”
I’ve been thinking about the subject since hearing an interview with author and “fat acceptance movement activist” Lindy West on Mother Jones’ food politics podcast. The conversation features West’s experience with fat-shaming, a topic she discusses frankly and humorously in her 2016 book, Shrill, and at various public events, including a June appearance in Manhattan billed “The Other F Word: The Politics of Being Fat.”
West concluded in her mid-twenties that, in spite of her best efforts, she’d always been fat and probably always would be fat. She was ready to publicly acknowledge her acceptance of herself as fat. Up to that point in her life, the size of her body was something she never talked about with her friends or family. In a 2016 interview with radio host Ira Glass, she gave this explanation for the shameful silence: “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 consistently for your whole life.”
While some of West’s views on the politics of the body differ from a Christian perspective, I’d argue that her voice on the subject of fat-shaming is helpful in correcting a cultural standard that for decades (centuries?) has approved only one variety of the human form.
Bonus feature/laugh of recognition: Kelly Likes to Diet (The Office)
"all I have to do is drink maple syrup, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and water for all three meals..."
In what way do you see your body as a gift from God?