Friday, January 4th, 2013
It’s been a busy holiday season and I know I haven’t posted much. However I was doing some housekeeping stuff on my computer today and found this picture. I have no idea where I found it so I can’t acknowledge the source, but just look it! I know it makes me smile.
Hope everyone is getting along okay. If not, treat yourself to some tea (breast shelf optional).
Wednesday, October 10th, 2012
Shortly after my last post, highlighting the cracks appearing in the research regarding the role of dietary fat and heart disease, a friend posted an article even more damning to the status quo in the medical and research fraternity regarding size, weight and disease (which I at the time failed completely to make the time to write about – sorry!).
In this article from the NY Times, Harriet Brown reports how several studies have shown that not only does obesity not put people with certain diseases at greater risk of death, but seems to actually lower this risk. Diseases like heart failure, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, high blood pressure and – most recently – diabetes. Yup, that darling of fat shaming scare tactics and overly-concerned-about-our-health commentators everywhere.
- “Diabetes patients of normal weight are twice as likely to die as those who are overweight or obese”
- “In study after study, overweight and moderately obese patients with certain chronic diseases often live longer and fare better than normal-weight patients with the same ailments.”
- “One study found that heavier dialysis patients had a lower chance of dying than those whose were of normal weight or underweight.”
- “Overweight patients with coronary disease fared better than those who were thinner in another study”
- ”In 2007, a study of 11,000 Canadians over more than a decade found that those who were overweight had the lowest chance of dying from any cause.”
The article goes on to speculate about possible explanations for what the researchers have dubbed the Obesity Paradox. A lot of the possible theories put forth sound to me like people desperately trying to make the data fit into their narrow world view (such as “maybe thin people who get these diseases have a genetic disposition making them more likely to get the disease and to then die from it” – the unspoken flip side being that fat people who get it are just getting their just desserts). However, one of the possibilities brought up is the failings of the BMI scale.
As anyone who’s read up even a little about the fat acceptance movement knows*, BMI should stand for Bullshit Made Insidious. It’s a useless metric used to fat shame and scare across the world and, more worryingly, across the medical profession. The article points out how it doesn’t take into account fat to muscle ratios, metabolic abnormalities and “other nuances of physical composition” (if diversity of gender, build and age can be called nuances).
Lastly the article focuses on fitness versus weight, and points out how fitness seems to have a much bigger impact on health than size or weight alone. Its nice to see some mention of Health At Every Size, as well.
I am greatly encouraged by the data coming out and although there is a reluctance to accept and sometimes even publish the findings, and although it will probably take a very long time for attitudes to change and for new ways of thinking to filter down to the point where they affect our everyday lives and help address the stigma associated with being fat, I for one remain optimistic.
And, in searching for what I was sure was Kate Harding debunking the BMI* for linking above, I discovered that most of this isn’t even new news, as she links to or mentions this stuff here. From 2006. Oh, well, the diabetes thing is fairly new, and I’m still glad the science is continuing to strengthen the case and that it puts the whole issue back in the public focus.
* I wanted to link to a debunking I’d read when just starting on my fat acceptace journey, but the link provided on Shapely Prose is now broken. However, you literally just have to Google “bmi flaw”. You’ll find a lot of mention of the practical flaws of using the BMI; some advanced reading might be to try and learn more about it’s origin (hint: it had nothing to do with determining “correct” weight for height).
Saturday, October 6th, 2012
As of late, I’ve noticed that some folks in and outside of the fat accpetance movement have some misconceptions about what the movement encourages. Here are some of the myths I’ve come across debunked.
5. Fat acceptance says don’t exercise.
Fat acceptance doesn’t want to control your behavior. It doesn’t want to tell you what to eat, how to eat, what to wear, how to wear it, or what your body should/shouldn’t be doing. Whatever you choose to do with your body is what you choose to do with your body. If you like to exercise, great; do it. If you don’t, great; don’t do it! Your body is yours, and no one should be able to tell you what to do or what not to do. Personally, I exercise. I do for mental health reasons; it gives me a boost of the good chemicals I feel are essential for my mental stability. When I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I worked with my behavioral therapist to look at options other than medication. She suggested exercise because I had mentioned that doing yoga helped me relax and gave me a positive boost. Since then, I have been exercising because I like it. However, any reason is a good reason to do what you want with your body. If you just like it, then you just like. If you don’t like, then you just don’t like it. Fat acceptance wants you to have complete ownership of your body, and whatever that means to you is whatever it means to you.
4. Fat acceptance is a “women only” movement.
It may seem like the conversation is dominated by women, but fat acceptance isn’t trying to keep men out of a women’s only conversation. Men face an increasingly rigid standard of beauty that is being marketed through the media. We have only begun to see the repercussions of a male beauty standard, as it’s something that folks are just starting to research. Women are usually the ones writing about fat acceptance because there has been a lot of in depth research into the harm female beauty standards cause to women and girls. However, men are encouraged to participate in the discussion. If you are interested in reading fat acceptance writings from men, here are a few to blogs with male/gender neutral FA bloggers:
Fat acceptance also seems to be cis centered, meaning it tends to focus on cisgendered bodies. It’s imperative that trans* individuals are part of the discussion about body image. My one big criticism of the fat acceptance movement is its lack of trans* visibility. I suggest that the fat acceptance community involve trans* bodies in their campaigns because, if we don’t, we are guilty of maintaining a power structure that would like to erase trans* individuals.
3. Fat acceptance wants to reverse the power dynamic between thin and fat.
If you belong to the blogging community–hell, if you’ve logged into Facebook lately–you might I have seen images like this:
These message, in effect, undermines the struggle for fat acceptance. Fat acceptance is not about when thin became hotter than curvy women, what straight cis men find attractive, or the policing of bodies. This type of argument only seeks to reverse the power structure of thin/fat so that fat (or curvy) is favored, and therefore privileged, over thin. Regardless of what the beauty standard is, it’s still oppressive in that one must adhere to it, be shamed if one doesn’t adhere to it, and bodies that don’t fit said standard are seen as not real, good, or worthy. True fat acceptance wants to smash the power structure that says one body is “better” than another. Fat acceptance is about people loving their bodies without having to fit into a standard of beauty: it says that all bodies are real bodies; all bodies are good bodies. Pitting bodies against each other should never be the focus fat acceptance activism.
2. Fat acceptance glorifies obesity.
To me, this myth is nearly laughable. The idea that loving your body regardless of who says you are beautiful glorifies obesity really just translates to “but isn’t being fat bad for you??” The short answer is No, being fat is not bad for you. In fact, fat acceptance is linked to better health outcomes. The fact of the matter is that no one should be shamed about their body. No standard of beauty can tell you whether someone is healthy. Most importantly, shaming someone into being who you want to see is not going to help them feel good about themselves. If one doesn’t feel good about one’s self, one is less likely to care for one’s body and mind. It’s important to understand that the only things being glorified by fat acceptance are self care and self love
1. Fat acceptance demands complete confidence and self-love at all times.
Some mornings I wake up and I can’t look at my body in the mirror. Some mornings I wake up and feel fabulously fat and fierce. Some mornings I wake I and don’t feel anything about my body at all. How we feel and what we think about our bodies fluctuates as often as our moods. No one is asking for complete and total self love, no exceptions, no excuses. Self acceptance is a process; there are challenges we face in that process. Most of the challenges come in the form of self-doubt, insecurity, self-hate, and feelings or inferiority/invisibility. The reason why fat acceptance activists are constantly shouting from roof tops, “Love Your Body!” is because we struggle with loving our bodies on a daily basis. When I say Love your body it’s more like a reminder to myself: Hey, you, don’t be so hard on yourself; see your body for what it is; care for it and love it and treat it with kindness and respect.
In addition, self love and acceptance is more difficult for some than others. No one is giving you a time frame to work in; no one expects you to wake up tomorrow from the slumber of self-hate, bursting with a passionate love for your body. Loving any aspect of yourself is a day to day challenge that requires a plethora of strategies to overcome said challenges. Fat acceptance simply asks you to work on undoing years of shame and self hate through compassion, care, and love. Some folks my not be ready to establish that relationship to their bodies yet. Perhaps there are other things a person needs/wants to accept about themselves before they can begin work on fat acceptance. That is great. Work on whatever aspects of self that will challenge how you see yourself and what you can do. Again, there is no timeline, and there is no one cracking a self-love whip. However you experience your journey of fat acceptance is right.
Thursday, September 27th, 2012
If you’re not already aware that this week is weight stigma awareness week then you’d better hurry up and jump on the wagon! Especially since the organization, BEDA (the binge eating disorder association), sponsoring this week has suggestions on how you spend each day. Yesterday was to make art that helps you in your body acceptance journey. Me, I made a painting (primitive, but nice, yes?) According to BEDA, their goal is “to bring awareness to a common and entrenched social injustice that often results in serious physical and mental health consequences for those affected”.
Serious physical and mental health consequences. Let’s get serious for a moment. Teens who even think they’re fat are more likely to attempt suicide and, let’s face it, the fat hate starts early and children as young as three years old show weight bias against heavier people, attributing things such as being ugly, lazy, and stupid. By three years old, people. That’s some seriously early weight hate indoctrination. One study shows that children 5-11 prefer underweight friends and react more positively to underweight stimuli than overweight stimuli (which they, of course, reacted negatively to).
So today is “reclaim” day. Reclaim your body image, reclaim your mental health. Reclaim yourself. Post sticky notes on your bathroom mirror. Make a pin board as BEDA suggests, lf body love quotes and images. Surround yourself with fat art, with fat blogs, with fat people, whatever! Just remember that today is a day for loving yourself absolutely and unconditionally. And don’t forget to look at the upcoming days: recommit and celebrate! Recommitting means committing to take care of yourself, to challenge thin privilege and the weight based industry, to challenge negative thoughts about yourself and others and to recommit to being a fat acceptance activist and participant. And, finally, end the week by celebrating you. Simply you and how wonderful and amazing you are. Get your spouses and friends and family and children involved! Make a list of all the great things about yourselves and pin it to the fridge or in your office. Or just take a you day and relax with some hot tea.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to tell people about weight stigma awareness week- that’s where the awareness part comes in!
Sunday, August 5th, 2012
Cross Post- I also posted this to fiercefatties.com. I just really felt the need to rant about it to more people! I’m tired of being told to go workout, but only in what we, the bigots, pre approve and even then you’re probably not safe. If I walk down the road and get cans thrown at me in a T shirt and long pants, then why the hell not give ‘em something to really look at and sport a hot pink sports bra while I’m at it?
As Ragen Chastain writes in her new book, Fat The Owner’s Manual,
If you don’t work out, we will complain that you are sedentary. If you do work out, we will make fun of you for how you look working out. Now, go out there and exercise because it’s good for your health!
This is a point which she reiterates often, in fact, and for good reason. Fatties just can’t win. If you don’t work out, you get treated like shit for it, but if you do, someone help you, you’re an eyesore to the world. Fatties experience stigma and abuse both verbal and physical and that’s not even mentioning the non verbal stigma such as sideways glances, looks of disgust, or man handling. I’ve been circulating some photos of me at my gym, working out. I’ve posted them and had requests to post them in several places, especially the body positive spaces on reddit.com. Here’s a sample:
You know what the number one comment I get on these photos is? Something along the lines of “My God, why would you wear that?! No one wants to see that!”. Pardon me, but I’ve never actually had a complaint. This may be because I work out at a women’s only gym or that most people are too busy with their own workouts to notice what I’m wearing. People don’t avert their eyes or avoid looking at me, but even if they did, guess who’s problem that is? That’s right- not mine! I’m entitled to wear anything I damn well feel like wearing including a sports bra which, I’ll remind people, I see thin people working out in all of the time.
I’ve even gotten these comments from supposedly body positive people. That I should dress to flatter my body- I’m sorry, I thought I was dressing to workout, not compete in a fashion show. Now, I dressed specifically in this top because it would be going on my body and fat positive blog. It’s only one thing that I wear- my collection also includes several T shirts and stretchy black shirts that I enjoy wearing. This bright pink top makes me feel confident and energetic- just what you need for a work out! There are lots of reasons for me to wear something.. but none of them are to please anyone but myself. If you don’t like what I’m wearing, look somewhere else. If you have to look where I happen to be standing, get the hell over it, I don’t exist to beautify your world, I exist to enhance my own.
If you want to see the full set of photos visit my blog.
Monday, July 23rd, 2012
TW for ED, suicide/depression, self harm
Hi everyone, I just wanted to take a minute to introduce myself, Heather, also known as Fat Girl Posing, and tell you a little bit about myself and how I came to fat acceptance. I’ll try to keep it short. As an adult I’m opinionated and creative, something I hope comes through in my posts. I write for my own blog, Fat Girl Posing where I blog about my experiences as a local plus size model, as well as for Fierce Freethinking Fatties under the name hlkolaya and now, I’m happy to be writing here as well!
I’m fat- a deathfat in fact, and I grew up that way. In fact, I was a size 22/24 in 6th grade, only three years after my journey into fatdom. You see, before third grade I wasn’t fat at all. I was a “wiry” child as my mom likes to say, just like my son is now. I wore the smallest sizes and they were still big. So what happened? Well, hell if I know, but the doctors’ best guesses – and these are medical professionals talking about weight so take it, as always, with a few handfuls of salt- are that my body changed when my bipolar symptoms kicked in. Yep, I’m fat and kinda nuts (no, you’re not allowed to say that, only I am), you’d have to be to be in the business of fat activism I guess. So in three years I went from bean pole to, what, a watermelon or something if we’re sticking with food analogies.
So I lost all of my friends, got asked on dates as jokes, got beaten up, even had bricks thrown at my head. I went from the popular girl to the lowest of the low. At at ten, in 6th grade, I first attempted suicide. I’d try again a couple of times growing up. By age 15 I had an eating disorder where I regularly starved myself, abused diet pills, over exercised, and purged. I had also started self harming at that point. It’d take me ten years to overcome both.
How did I do it? For me it was almost overnight. I was at a friend’s house, talking about how I’d managed to get my daily caloric intake down to 350 and she handed me a book and asked me to read it. It was Lessons From The FatOSphere by Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby. I read it, got pissed, stomped around for about two weeks and then a lightbulb went off in my head. It was only a month later when I started my own blog. For me it was the science of it- I’m a science based girl and I couldn’t ignore all of the evidence right in front of me no matter how much I wanted to. I threw out my scale, went into recovery for my eating disorder (then decided to actually tell someone about it and get diagnosed), and became an activist.
I’m a fierce advocate for all human rights and I value intelligence and compassion above all else (one without the other is useless). And that’s me- in a very small nutshell. I’ll probably be doing a combination of photo posts as well as text posts and anything that I find fat and awesome. Thanks for letting me get to know you all. <3
Sunday, April 1st, 2012
THIS WEEK IN FATNESS…
- Michelle talks about listening to your body and finding fullness.
- What I like about Natalie‘s outfit post is the self-reflective discussion about her (dis)comfort in ‘showing off.’
- bronwenofhindscroft looks at the way in which a study about the relationship between chocolate and BMIs was discussed in the reporting of the results.
- Dr. Patty Thomas tries to set up a foundation for discussions about diversity in the fat acceptance movement.
- Ragen explains why “Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine” is a misnomer and suggests emailing them to explain why their fat shaming ad is irresponsible. (Details at the bottom of the post)
- Dr. Patty Thomas relays a request for interviews with people who have been told they are “pre-diabetic.”
…In the News
- Lesley discusses food hoarding over at XOJane. [warning: there's eating disorder talk]
- The Well-Rounded Mama discusses a study done with twins which reinforces the idea that dieting can make you fatter.
- Virginia Sole-Smith asks whether last week’s Vogue article about a woman forcing her 7-year-old to go on a diet reveals our fears about health or beauty.
…In the Spotlight
This week’s highlighted site is Fit Fatties, a site which is focused on creating a safe space for fat people who are interested in discussing fitness. According to the site’s description, “people of all sizes, ages, abilities, and activities have a place here.”
Sound like your kind of thing? Then check it out.
Please, email us your links, suggestions and feedback!
Sunday, March 18th, 2012
Hello and welcome to the first of what will hopefully be many installments of This Week In Fatness.
The fatosphere can seem like a big place* and – especially if you’re a bit short on time – it’s possible that you’re not able to keep up with all the great things that are being posted by fat activists and their supporters.
That’s where This Week in Fatness comes in!
The idea of this digest is to provide you with a collection of links to materials that I believe are stand-out examples of what’s happening in online fat activism from week to week. There’ll be a particular focus on blog posts, but it’s my hope that the content – and the format – will be shaped with your feedback in mind. So, please make sure you use the email at the bottom of these posts to share your links, events, websites and ideas.
Without further ado, let’s get into this, the first installment, of…
THIS WEEK IN FATNESS…
- After visiting Independence Hall in Philadelphia, The Fat Chick was inspired to write this Declaration of Body Independence
- Ragen, of Dances with Fat, breaks down some common misconceptions about the connection between obesity and bad health while suggesting that Jumping to Conclusions is Not Great Exercise.
- Fall Ferguson discusses what “health” actually means in the “Health at Every Size” paradigm over at The Association for Size Diversity and Health blog.
- Atchka would like to bring to your attention some amazing athletes, who also happen to be fat.
- The Fat Nutritionist critques a study on the evils of red meat.
- Red No. 3 highlighted a response to white fat activism from People of Color in the fat justice movement.
NOTE: I’m not on Tumblr. I don’t really get Tumblr. So this is an area where I am particularly relying on you all to let me know about relevant materials.
- The Well-Rounded Mama highlighted this survey being conducted about plus size women’s experiences with maternity care providers.
- Ragen is preparing a slideshow for iVillage called “Pictures of Health – Diet Quitters” and she wants you to get involved. She’s also calling for submissions for a “The Moment I Knew I HAD to Stop Dieting” video project (check the bottom of each post for details)
…In the News
…In the Spotlight
This week I want to highlight The Adiopositivity Project, which is an ongoing photography project that “aims to promote size acceptance, not by listing the merits of big people, or detailing examples of excellence (these things are easily seen all around us), but rather, through a visual display of fat physicality.” Check it out. [Possibly NSFW]
AAAAAAND that’s it for the first installment of This Week in Fatness. I hope you find this to be a useful and educational project and that it continues to grow from here.
Please, email us your links, suggestions and feedback!
* Pun completely unintended, but clearly appropriate.
Saturday, September 17th, 2011
Owning my own clothing shop was a real eye-opener.
Pre-shop (and pre-Fatosphere) I hated clothes shopping. Loved clothes, just hated having to find them. You know, going into every shop in the mall and not finding ONE single nicely fitting garment, berating myself for not fitting into the clothes, believing the fault was somehow in my body rather than some randomly-sized piece of fabric. Finishing the day purchase-less, depressed and full of self-hatred.
Oh, I used to come out with some pearlers. ‘It will all be fine when I’ve lost the weight!’, I’d moan, trying unsuccessfully to zip up something that said it was a size ‘curvaceous’ but actually looked like a cylinder stretched over a large pear. ‘If only my stomach wasn’t so fat!’ ‘I’m so vile!’ ‘I’m so gross!’ Blah blah blah – none of it was true and it didn’t achieve anything except to leave me miserable.
Then I discovered body acceptance, located a few good plus-size designers who made clothing that I liked and fitted me well, and concluded that actually I LOVED clothes shopping. I loved trying on clothing that was made for a body like mine. I had no problems when things didn’t fit because clearly it wasn’t anything wrong with my fantastic bod, but just the cut, style, size or fabric of an inanimate object made by somebody far away who had never met me. Oh, but when I found something I loved that did fit? It was heaven. It was magic happy-land, full of fantastic wardrobe selections, being appropriately dressed for any occasion and people saying agreeable things like ‘I love your outfit! I really like your style.’
Somehow from there I fell into clothes shop ownership.
And had a revelation.
Back in those sad shop-hating days, I was not the only person in the world who had loathed finding clothes! I wasn’t the only human in Australia who would make unkind, hate-filled comments about my own body! In public!
Working in the shop some days is like watching a bizarre reality show called ‘When Social Convention Attacks’. It’s a stream of fabulous people from all walks of life, all shapes, all sizes, all abilities, all backgrounds … all coming into the shop looking AWESOME and then just uttering hate all over their amazing selves.
From my body-acceptance viewpoint I find it really hard to hear, even though I once came from the same dark place. The thing I find most amazing is that there is no real similarity in the people who utter such things, except that they are all human people. Fat, thin, short, tall, all the gender permutations, all the cultural backgrounds, all the abilities. All doing the socially-acceptable thing of hating on themselves. Yes, even the women who happen to perfectly fit the social beauty ideal, still come into the shop and say dreadful things about their poor bodies.
Initially I was prepared to be offended. I now admit that no amount of self-acceptance will ever entirely reconcile me to a thin person asking me ‘Do I look fat in this?’ I tell the truth: no. (One day a very thin woman looked my fat body up and down, her gaze lingering on my hips. ‘Well, you would say that, wouldn’t you?’ she sneered. That was a tough moment for keeping my professional calm but I managed. I told her the truth again: ’That dress does fit you well.’)
It’s hard to know what to say when somebody asks me if they look fat in the dress and they do, because they are, and they also happen to look great. I am happy to describe myself as fat, but I know many people don’t take it so well. I usually prefer to focus on the fit of a garment, as above. I tell the customer ‘the dress fits you well’ or ‘I think I can find something to fit your shoulders more comfortably’. Oh, I long for the day I can say ‘Yes it makes you look fat: you look GORGEOUS in it!’ and the customer won’t be offended.
I have worked out that there is no point in me showing offence just because somebody has made one of those two-edged insults (my dear, if you think YOU’RE too fat to be allowed out, what do you think of ME?) Sometimes the comments are clearly aimed to offend, in which case it’s their problem, not mine; and just as sensible for me to ignore the jibe and get on with the job. More often, it’s not meant to offend at all. It’s just one of those things that we have been taught to do to ourselves, to punish ourselves to not living up to the impossible ideals of a Photoshop society. Any anger I feel needs to be directed against society as a whole and not individual people.
Most often it’s just dispiriting. When customers blame themselves if a frock doesn’t fit I remind them about the Shop Rule: ‘It Isn’t You; It’s The Clothes’. If a dress doesn’t fit, either the size or the cut is wrong. We simply turn our efforts to finding something that does fit. Why should a wonderful, complex, living body be blamed if a piece of sewn-together, randomly sized fabric doesn’t fit it?
Most people joyfully embrace the Shop Rule and get into the vibe. Some people simply don’t get it.
We understand that everybody is at a different stage in their journey of self-acceptance. It is up to us as the shopkeepers to encourage an accepting and positive environment, and that means finding nice ways to remind people to join in. We tell people about the Shop Rule; we stock different sizes as much as we are able; we use body-positive language; we ask friends and customers to model clothing for us so that the garments can be viewed on lots of different bodies.
We do get people who want to buy a garment that is too small for them because they are ‘losing weight, and it will be inspiration’. While that makes us really uncomfortable, we can’t make customers’ decisions for them, but we usually recommend that people buy in their current size so they can enjoy the garments right now. Our dresses are like puppies – they want to be loved now, not put aside to feel lonely!
We don’t buy into customers’ negative comments about themselves. If somebody says ‘I can’t wear that style until I’ve lost weight’ we tell them up-front to go ahead and try it on, since they’ll look just as lovely at any size. If somebody loves a dress and it makes them happy but they are scared to wear something sleeveless, we will always point out that there are no laws against bare arms in Australia, and tell the customer the truth when they just look really comfortable and good in a garment. And we always come down to Shop Rule no. 2 – You Must Feel Comfortable – by which we mean if you want to wear the garment then you jolly well should!
Having said all this, there is one thing I just can’t bear to hear: negative comments about other people. It’s bad enough hearing perfectly good people trash themselves, but it’s frightening when that negativity is directed outwards.
Some people are just toxic. Two women once looked at our shop sign which mentions sizes 6 to 34, and said very loudly ‘We didn’t even know there was such a THING as size 34!’ (I was scandalized but my business partner calmly replied ‘Of course there is,’ and left it at that, which actually did the trick.) One fantastic customer who we adore, often comes in with her mother, who tells her that she looks ugly in everything, and criticises individual parts of her body non-stop. It’s horrible to hear. And every now and then somebody will come in with a toxic friend or partner who will attempt to vet everything they choose, and try to stop them selecting clothes they love: in the words of one toxic husband ‘You can’t have that, it makes you look porky’ (Grrr, that comment nearly did make me lose my cool). Sometimes a group of friends are dominated by one cruel person who will hog all the time and energy of others while making oh-so-funny comments that undermine their friends’ confidence.
You know, it is amazing how often people creep back later, without their toxic friends, to try things on again in peace and tranquility. Toxic friends don’t win anything in the end …
Trying to keep our little business positive can feel like a losing battle when gorgeous customer after gorgeous customer plays the ‘I’m so …’ game. A game that we are taught to play from a very early age, and which some unscrupulous people use as a weapon to hurt others. It is so prevalent, even people who desperately want to be body-confident sometimes find themselves doing it subconsciously.
Interestingly though, knowing how prevalent it is can actually be helpful. Understanding that nearly everybody does it – seeing it played out again and again and again and again – this helps it to become more visible, more recognisable. Seeing that all kinds of people succumb to self-hatred, that there is no connection whatsoever to what they say about themselves and very evident reality: this has turned out to be valuable in my own struggles not to give in to it.
Next time you’re in the dressing room struggling with a zipper on some garment that just wasn’t cut out for you, try to remember that you’re not alone. All over Australia, people of every conceivable shape and size are doing the same thing, and blaming themselves, and feeling awful about it. Remember that, then take some soothing deep breaths, get dressed again, leave the dressing room, go find your shop assistant and explain that the garment didn’t fit. Ask for something that fits your perfectly good body. And repeat after me: ‘It Isn’t Me: It’s The Clothes’.
And don’t bring a toxic friend shopping!
Wednesday, September 14th, 2011
There is this Italian restaurant here in Perth that serves the most delicious authentic Italian cuisine imaginable. The place itself is small and cosy, and the staff are loud and friendly. It’s one of those places that is always full; so full, in fact, that you can’t even make reservations and instead have to wait in line outside. My partner adores their Cannelloni and I am in love with their Tortellini Carbonara. And yes, I always try to force a Tiramisu in as well and every single time, I am defeated and left with more than half of a plate left.
And even though I could eat their delicious food every day of the week, I started choosing other not-so-great restaurants over this amazing place because every time I go there and line up outside, I look into this amazing little restaurant and am confronted by the reality that I am wider than the spaces between the chairs and tables.
When I saw a couple way in the corner finish their meal and get up to make a beeline to the cashier, I was left with a feeling of dread because I was going to have to attempt to squeeze my way between chairs to get to that table; that stupid fucking table that looked like it was a mile away from where I stood.
I hated it most when I had to actually ask the diners to get out of their seat to let me through. There have been occasions where more than a few people have had to stand up and push their seats forward just so I can squeeze past and be seated at my table.
I hated that. I hated being a disruption. I hated disturbing people while they ate. I hated feeling like an actual elephant in the room. And I really really hated how all I ended up thinking about during dinner was how I was going to have to disturb more people when it was time to leave.
Most of these feelings were put to rest when I became part of the FA community. My whole outlook on the situation has changed now. When I have to squeeze my big fat arse between two chairs and apologise for having to ask the diners to move in a little, I realise now that people don’t actually care; their night has not been ruined by the fat girl who needs to get past, and my night is not ruined by those horrible feelings of embarrassment anymore.
I write this entry not to bitch about how unfortunate it is to be fat. On the contrary, I’m loving who and what I am, and I love my body now more than ever. But there definitely are things we fat people have to think about that the thinner population don’t, and that’s what I want to read about from you, the readers of this amazing blog.
What can you think of that is similar to this situation? Do you worry about going on a scuba diving tour and not being able to fit into a wetsuit? Do you worry about going to theme parks and not being able to go on certain rides? What do you do to overcome these feelings of embarrassment or exclusion? Through our collective experiences, perhaps we can help each other in dealing with these negative ideas by replacing them with healthier and more positive ways of thinking.