I recently wrote a blog called 386,170 unhelpful things about the messages that I get from the world about my body. While I was researching it, some of the messages I heard were:
"Fat isn't sexy, it's a fact."
"Men just don't want obese women"
"Everybody knows you can't be healthy and obese"
I don't know about you, but I don't enjoy getting those messages from society, it's frustrating and it hurts my feelings.
Today while perusing some "size positive" blogs I found the following comments:
"Stick women just aren't sexy, it's just gross."
"What man would want a twig anyway?"
"It's just impossible to be healthy when you are that thin, you have to be anorexic or a drug addict to look like that" "Real women are curvy and LOOK like women"
I absolutely understand why people in the size positive community say things like this. It's rare to see people on television and in commercials who look like us and that can be frustrating. We're getting hundreds of thousands of negative messages about our bodies every year and we are tired, angry, and hurt. People with no health credentials feel completely justified in making assumptions about our health. Doctors make the same mistaken assumptions. It's easy to transfer our frustration onto the people who represent "the other side". Sometimes you've just taken all you can stand and you feel like you have to lash out. I get it – I really do, I've been there. That being said:
Knock it off.
If we want people to treat us with respect when it comes to our bodies, we should probably take a pass on bashing other people about their bodies.
If we want people to take a good, hard look at their size prejudices, we should take a good, hard look at our own.
Health at Every Size means health at EVERY size. If we purport that some people are naturally larger, then it follows that some people are naturally smaller. It astounds me that someone who screams "IT'S NOT FAIR" when they are judged as unhealthy because of their size would turn around and do the same thing to someone else.
I want a world of body positivity. A world where everyone is treated with respect and dignity, where everyone knows that they are beautiful, and receives acknowledgment of that from society. Nobody should be treated the way that fat people are currently being treated in our culture. Nobody. So I want change, but not if it means treating thin people like fat people are treated now – that's too high a price to pay.
I believe that if you say that you want a size positive world, you have to mean size positive for everyone. That means not making judgments about others based on their size; sticking up for the model being called anorexic with the same fervor you would use to defend a fat women being called lazy; respecting other people's decisions when it comes to their bodies – even when you don't agree with them.
That's what it means to be the change you want to see in the world.
Trying to hurt someone else in the same way that you've been hurt never works. You can't improve your self-esteem by diminishing someone else's. In the end you won't feel better and now there are two people in pain.
If you want to lash out do something really radical, something that really takes courage: respect every body like it was your own.