See how I have grouped you in with all the negative stereotypes associated with your outward appearance? Sucks, doesn’t it?
There was a moment in your video that makes me think you’ve experienced body shaming. You make the point that because you are blonde, pretty, intelligent and not looking or a sugar daddy you are atypical. I’m guessing you have experienced the societal bullshit that says pretty girls can’t also be smart. You know what that is? Judging someone on their outward appearance. By telling someone like you that they can’t be smart because of how they look is shaming them for their outward appearance.
And, that’s the thing about #bodyshame. This isn’t just about fat people. It’s about people of all body types. It’s about women who get told they should eat a Twinkie (been guilty of saying that) because they look too thin. It’s about men who get shit because they don’t look masculine. It’s about people with disfigurements who get stared and gawked at when they try to leave their house. Fat women are leading the charge on the #bodypositive movement but, that doesn’t mean it is exclusive to only us. It’s about everybody, and EVERY BODY.
Honestly I highly doubt “Fat Family,” as you described, even existed. You are a comedienne, and probably took something benign and morphed it into something you thought would be funny. But, for the sake of those who don’t understand humor, let’s assume everything you said was true. Your anger, hatred, and discriminatory remarks weren’t out of love. They were because you were inconvenienced. When a pretty blonde is taking way to long to make her Starbucks order because she is on the phone talking about how she got “totally wasted” the night before, while twirling her hair and chewing gum, I don’t assume that every pretty blonde girl is a rude, inconsiderate, asshole who doesn’t care about the world around her. I may be guilty of thinking that of one person in particular, but it wouldn’t right of me to assume that everyone who looks like her is a bitch. That would be negatively judging people on their outward appearance.
Here’s the thing about “Fat Family.” You have no idea what is going on. The only people qualified to make judgements about their health are their health care team. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to “lose weight” the traditional way with joint problems? My husband is rated 40% disabled because of joint injuries sustained while fighting for our freedom. He can’t go hike with me, at least not the same distances I do. Does that make him lazy? Fuck no. You have no idea what “Fat Family” is going through. Maybe this fictitious family of yours all have some sort of degenerative joint condition. Maybe “Fat Family” decided recently they are going to make changes to their life. You can’t assume they aren’t trying because of how they look. You say your video isn’t aimed at people who have a specific medical condition, and yet you aren’t qualified to say whether someone does or not. The fact that you felt the need to clarify this point twice makes me thing you know what you were doing was shitty.
The question I really want to ask everyone, is why does it matter so much? Why is it so important that people who look differently than you hate themselves? Why is it so crucial that you be able to speak down to people with a different body composition?
One of the answers is body currency, which Jes Baker describes in her article, “Why People Hate Tess Munster (And Other Happy Fat People.) Society tells us that only thin, “healthy” people achieve success, love, and happiness. We, as the mindless zombies of society, must chase that unattainable dream. We must throw all of our money, will-power, and self-esteem into this goal. Only then, are we allowed to think of ourselves as decent human beings. So, when someone like me, stands up and say “I’m happy, and gosh darn it I’m a good person” people go crazy. How dare I think positively of myself. I don’t look like the photo-shopped pictures in the magazines. Only models get to be successful, happy, and find love.
Here’s the thing. If shaming people was an effective form of weight loss motivation, there would be no fat people. We are bombarded with images, media, and people like you everyday telling us we are second class citizens because of our weight. Sure, this works for some people (or companies like BeachBody wouldn’t be as successful.) That is also why so many people gain the weight back. Coming at weight loss from an angle of shame and fear only inhibits the creation of healthy, sustainable habits. 95% of dieters gain their weight back within 5 years. If anything, the use of fear and shame as a weight loss tool has contributed to an increase in the amount of eating disorders. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. So, if you want to talk about keeping people around longer, maybe you should look into how messages like yours contribute to unhealthy relationships with food, of all types. (Thank you, anad.org)
Becoming #bodypositive was the greatest thing I ever did, especially for my health. Do you even know what it’s like to go outside your house as a fat person? The stares. The comments. Say what you want, but when a fat person goes to a gym they get more shade than “normal” sized people. You say we should exercise more, and yet the moment fat people try to exercise they are discriminated against. I see the looks I get when I’m on the hiking trail. I’ve been looked up and down, had eyes rolled at me, and even heard a huff or two. Becoming #bodypositive meant that I stopped giving people my power. I’ve come to realize what other people think of me is none of my business, so if they want to huff and roll their eyes that’s their problem. I know longer let other people’s shortsightedness and judgement dictate my hobbies.
Being #bodypositive isn’t about ignoring my health. It’s about appreciating that my health journey is my own, and learning to listen to my body’s particular needs. It means separating my self-worth from weight. Weight is by no means a measure of a person’s self worth.
Here’s the crazy thing. You ready? I eat healthier. I know. I’m fat and I eat salad. Isn’t that just a kick in the pants? Because you are right, I do have one body and it has to take me to the end. My body is a biological machine, and it needs the right fuel in order to operate. I get that. But, if you were to judge me by my size, you would have no idea. I learned that when I truly love something, I want to take care of it. When I started truly loving myself, and my body, I found more motivation and courage to make healthier choices. Who’s to say that “Fat Family” hasn’t started on a path to a “healthier lifestyle” recently. Just because someone is thin doesn’t mean they are healthy. Just because someone is overweight doesn’t mean they are unhealthy. Just because someone is blonde and pretty doesn’t mean they are a dumb, spoiled and privileged.
Here’s an even crazier thing… it’s none of your business. Have you heard of body autonomy? It means I have control over my body and what gets done with it, and to it. It’s the reason people can’t rape me or harvest my organs after my death without my permission. It’s almost means that you don’t get to tell me what I do with my body. I don’t have to justify myself or prove that I am attempting to live the traditionally healthy lifestyle. If I want to eat nothing but coke and fries for the rest of my life, that’s my business.
Honestly, Nicole, I think you are just trying to jump on the #bodyshaming bandwagon in an attempt for views. And, I respect that. Making our way in the digital world is tough, and jumping on trending topics is a way to be seen and heard. I got ya. So, really this letter isn’t for you. It’s for the people who take your video as truth, and permission to be assholes.