Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fat Shame

I wasn't kind to myself.  I believed that I was grotesque, that I was less-than, that I didn't deserve the same treatment as a "skinny" person. 
I believed I was ugly.  I believed that it was impossible for the words "fat" and "pretty" to exist in the same sentence, unless that sentence declared that I was "pretty fat." 
I forced myself into too-tight clothes, feeling miserable and uncomfortable, and desperate to hang onto the notion that as long as I didn't go up a size in clothing, I could feel less ashamed. 
I cried and cried, and cried some more, as I went on believing that my husband would never love me, not fully, not really, unless I weighed a certain amount. 
My journals filled with hateful descriptions of my soft, round, wavy body. 

And I am sad for all that wasted time.  I was lovely.  I AM lovely. 
And I am fat. 

And I am no longer ashamed of the word, as if it were something to hide from. 

Now that I have a clear head, and a rational grasp of the matter, the subject of fat shame enrages me. 

How many times have we seen the former fat guy on TV, holding up a pair of his gigantic pants like some kind of trophy?  Stuffing two people into those pants, and declaring victory over his former chub, while someone else looks on in awe, gasping, as if they'd never laid eyes on a fat person before. 
How many times have we seen the woman standing next to a cardboard cut-out of her former round self, giggling with glee over the fact that she can "wear a bikini now!"?  (She could wear a fucking bikini before, but we'll get to that momentarily.) 
I'm happy for these people.  If they felt so miserable and unhealthy before, then good on them for doing what they needed to do for themselves, to feel better. 
But these stupid scenes do nothing but perpetuate the idea that it's shameful to be fat.  It's wrong to be fat.  It's bad to be fat, and being thin is better.  Those "before and after" pictures...the subject frowning in misery over their own fatness, and then, grinning with glee in their second, "after" picture.  It asks us to accept that one of those things is bad.  That one of those things is unfavorable. That one of those things is just downright shameful.

 What the hell is so wrong with someone being fat, and *still* loving themselves?  What is wrong with feeling confident, or, heaven forbid, even sexy within one's fat skin? 

Confidence?  How dare you, Fatso! 
Does this woman deserve our ridicule, our jokes at her expense?  Absolutely the fuck not.  No more than the black person or the gay person or the tall person or the person missing a finger deserve our ridicule. 

"But, being fat is a choice.  Those people should do something about their unhealthy habits, and then they wouldn't be so fat." 

Maybe.  Maybe it's a choice.  Maybe it's not.  Maybe they have some sort of metabolic disorder that causes their unacceptable condition, and they hate being fat just as much as *you* hate them being fat. 
Maybe they're gluttenous and lazy, and maybe they'd rather eat donuts for dinner than a salad.  Maybe it's been twenty years since they've bothered to take a walk or touch their toes. 
But either way, isn't that *their* business?  Don't they have the *right* to choose fucking donuts over a salad?  Don't they have the right to decide not to take a jog? 

And while we're at it, they have the right to wear a bikini.  In public.  They have the right to dress themselves any damn way they please, and to not have some dirt bag boost his or her ego by making fun of them. 
Truly, that's all it amounts to.  By shaming someone else, by belittling someone else, a person is merely demonstrating their own insecurity, their own foolishness.  A person gains nothing by bashing someone else.  But the person receiving the bashing loses lots...

I grew up being ridiculed for my "fatness."  I was a size ten in 8th grade, and evidently that humiliated my mother enough to nickname me "Fatty Arbuckle", "Two Ton Tilly", and "Thunder Thighs", to name a few.  As a size 12 to 14 in high school, I believed I was sub-par.  I believed I was grotesque.  I believed that because I didn't look like the cheerleading squad, that I was less, and that I deserved less.  I thought my mother was right, and for being "fat", I was very, very wrong. 

I wasn't wrong.  The woman in the picture up there isn't wrong.  Not in the least. 

My diet, not that it's anyone's business but mine, consists mostly of food that comes solely from nature.  Whole food.  Good food.  But I have the same right to a donut, or four, that a thin person has.  If I choose to take a walk or a jog at the park next door, or if I choose to sit literally for hours in front of my TV watching a cooking show, it's my right to do either, and it's not the business of anyone who would shame me for it. 
The argument the fat-hate bullies like to make (to look like less of an asshole) is that it's "unhealthy" for the fat person.  They're worried about their health. 
Well, good.  Then pay for their membership to the gym of your choice, and go start making fun of smokers in the same manner, as their behavior is obviously unhealthy, too.  If they are genuinely speaking out of concern, there would be *action* and not hurtful, ugly words. 

The bottom line is, I'm fat.  I'm not ashamed of that word, and I'm not ashamed of my body.  Of course, I have "bad" days, just like anyone else, and wish I were smaller/taller/thinner/perkier...but I know that I am just as lovely as my thin sisters.  I am just as worthy.  I am just as important, or unimportant as the person who eats lettuce all day. 
My fat does not define my personality, any more than the tall guy is automatically a douche bag because he's tall. 

So in the words of bat-shit Tyra Banks, if you don't like it, you can "kiss my fat ass." 

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