Friday, 17 July 2009

Radical is not the same as revolutionary

....or renegade, dissident, refusenik, insurgent, seditionary. Radical as in the mysterious "radical fat acceptance" much touted, yet to be located. Over at Shapelyprose FJ's take on the disappointingly pedestrian article about fatness at the New Yorker magazine.

In the comments an interesting thread developed regarding the question, what is radical FA? I've had cause to ask myself this question in the past, because I've been accused of being radical FA or a proponent of.

Which is absurd because;

 a) I am not politically radical by nature

 b) I maintain there is no such thing (yet) as radical FA. 

c) I can't see what there is to be radical about

It feels more like the ideas and ideals of weight loss through dieting and so called fitness, that are truly radical-in a bad way or should I just say extreme? FA is life affirming, you accept what you are in essence, positively, as long as that doesn't require you to mis-use and abuse others or yourself.

Furthermore, the extreme nature of dieting is dysfunctional and we can see this via the amount of mayhem that is directly linked to it. Accepting the tag radical for FA or for a heretofore undefined corner of radical FA, cedes the idea that there is anything rational or reasonable about the view that has acquired mainstream status.
What we need to wake up to is the fact that often irrationality to the point of madness has been defined as the norm and what has been defined as the madness is actually the rational response to aforesaid irrationality.

Radical is a term that has been used as a strategy by the mainstream to flag those who object or point out its degeneracy, as extreme, beyond what any rational person can go. It is very much a label the establishment uses to create panic and estrange the public from other voices they may agree with, given a chance to hear them properly.

This is how its being used to define FA. In the past those accused in this fashion of radicalism or of being radicals, have re-claimed it as a positive, noble vocation. Radical is a term that has come to be admirable and desirable in itself.

Blithely stating FA is radical feels like playing into the hands of those establishment voices that are steering the obesity crisis in terms of shouting fire in a crowded room with exits that lead straight to their pen.

By saying FA is radical before a radical sensibility of FA can properly be defined, you are claiming that where we are-which is still overwhelmingly defined by and relation to mainstream views-becomes part of the disorientation process seeking to limit the progress of FA by claiming its gone further than it has.

 It has the potential to be radical, but isn't yet as it's weighed down by far too much baggage, which is understandable. I don't think from the same perspective as I did when I first got into it. Seeing where we are now as radical, is an illusion. It's solely in comparison to a distorted view. Maybe it's not my forte but strategically, I think we'd be better off point out, how foreign the whole calorie counting as a way of living is.

Actually reminding people that they've been slowly persuaded towards this line of thinking. I still remember when nutritionists were laughed out of town for ordering people to eat this and not that. How do we know the liberating effects of reminding people of what normal eating and seeing movement as integral to ourselves and not some disassociate state of 'exercise', like prisoners in the yard?

Surely the memory of the dignity of having a life, as opposed to a lifestyle has not been extinguished in the collective consciousness, yet? This must be why I don't feel attracted to the term. I don't think its negative, it's a useful word. Just not for a pretty mainstream outlook.

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