Thursday, February 20

"How dare she be fat and unashamed?" A note to haters.

Today, this showed up in my facebook feed:

Here's the criminally accepting post: "It's okay to be fat. No, really." by the beautiful Tess Munster.

I see body-positive posts in my news feed now and then, and it's nice. The comments, however, are not usually that nice.

It wasn't long before a comment sprung up that said, "But being fat really is unhealthy!" 

The comment thread went downhill almost immediately, going from "I disagree" to "You don't know my life, fuck you!" in a couple of minutes. I didn't participate because, well, I was eating all this popcorn...


I started typing a comment though, and it turned into the post you see here.

And this is what I want to say to everyone who jumps from "obesity is linked with disease" to "NO FAT GIRL IS EVER ALLOWED TO LIKE HERSELF, GROSS!"

Sup boo. Just because obesity is linked with disease doesn't mean every fat person's unhealthy. Just like alcohol is linked with disease, but not every person who drinks is going to die of liver failure.

So before you get all "OMG, Adele or whoever can't just go around being fat and happy because she's PROMOTING AN UNHEALTHY LIFESTYLE" just take a breath. Ask yourself how much of that response comes from your culture's innate belief that every woman's worth is based on her looks. Why you feel every woman's body is in the public domain, up for debate. That just by existing she's "fair game" to hateful, baseless criticism. Why you feel she needs to be controlled and put in her place (the chubby corner of shame.) Why it's a crime for a woman to be fat and okay with herself.


When was the last time a plus-size blogger told all her followers to go binge at McDonald's?

Oh, you don't follow plus-size bloggers? You just saw a picture of a gorgeous lady showing her belly that ISN'T CONCAVE OR CUT WITH ABS OMG EW and decided you know everything about her?

How much of what you assume about her is based on the negative stereotypes that INDUSTRIES have put in your head? The black-and-white "before" shots of sweaty, unhappy fat people in baggy clothes eating greasy fries in infomercials. Is that reality? Or is that a caricature that's meant to create an emotional need for the ThunderThighZapper 3000 or whatever?

Infomercials  real life. Srsly. 

So who is that belief serving exactly? Does it make you happy to be judgemental and alienating? Maybe. Does it shame your fat 'friends' into changing? Nope.

Does it make you more likely to reach for Green Tea Slimming Pills when you're at the pharmacy? More likely to buy LuluLemon yoga pants? More likely to sign up with a personal trainer at the gym?

Ding ding ding. You've just let consumerism swallow your empathy.

But wait, there's more!

Maybe you CARE. Maybe you're worried for them, lying awake at night freaking out about all these not-skinny people. How can they walk around and be okay with themselves when they're just so... WRONG?

Maybe you used to be bigger, and losing weight made you happier, so you're just spreading the love? Mm hmm, except that having a personal weight loss experience doesn't make you a doctor, or a psychologist, or suddenly give you the holy scrolls of truth about every fat person ever. It doesn't give you the right to try shame and silence those who have different bodies from you. It's the equivalent of "But I have black friends, so I can't be racist!" and it doesn't work.

Be honest. How much of your "concern" about fat people - fat women, really, because nobody ever debated James Gandolfini's right to exist and be okay with himself when he was alive - is a habit? A mindless carrying on of society's mission to view women as objects. If those objects aren't built right, it makes sense shame them into conforming or at least shutting up, right?

I suppose each person is going to answer these questions differently. The important thing is to question yourself, question your beliefs, research your facts, poke holes in your own arguments before you present them to the world as absolute truth.

And while you're doing that, all the happy fat girls are just going to be out there in the world, frolicking about with their ungovernable thighs, having way more fun than you.