I need you to try to learn to love the lush overgrowth of your body. Let it grow wild and untamed as a garden you loved as a child. Love it for the way it sustains you, keeps you warm, goes to such lengths not to let you get hurt. Its only job is to care for you. I need you to try to love it if you intend to love me.
In the pages of Everyday Feminism, an anonymous woman of girth, a size 26, wants other people to stop trying to lose weight and to stop acknowledging their own fatness, except in flattering terms, as this makes her – our anonymous, rather demanding woman of girth - feel bad about herself:
Every discussion about bodies — whether in the media or amongst friends — is about how to avoid the horrible fate of looking like me… When you say that you shouldn’t have eaten that lunch or dessert, or when you announce your new year’s resolution to lose 5, 10, 25 pounds, you are saying that you don’t want your body to end up like mine.
Well, at risk of being indelicate, yes.
I know that all of us are impacted by body shaming, and that everyone has real, valid, deep, hard feelings about our bodies. I still need you to stop perpetuating it, especially when talking about yourself. No amount of caveats or prologues make it hurt me less. I need you to know that I’m taking it personally because it is personal.
So if any readers are planning to drop a few pounds by cycling, or jogging, or walking the dog, or just eating less, this makes you complicit in the sin of body shaming, and therefore an oppressor of those with surplus flesh.
I need you to remember what you know from feminism… that we question social messages and systems of power that dictate what our bodies are and aren’t allowed to be.
Ah, yes. Society’s to blame for that dress that doesn’t fit. And for the prickling annoyance with other people who’d prefer not to be fat, and who, scandalously, do something about it.
I need you to remember what you know from economic justice: that individual work ethic can’t hold a candle to the systems stacked against us. And we can’t attribute poverty to poor work ethic any more than we can attribute harassment of fat people to low self-esteem or weak willpower… I need you not to forget your social justice values when I tell you about my experience.
Because not wishing to be excessively fat is now a form of harassment, apparently. And that weight gain, all size 26 of it, wasn’t her fault because the system was stacked against her. I’m not overly familiar with ladies’ dress sizes, but I gather that a size 26 is more or less Trigglypuff proportions. Or put another way,
Fat enough that some stores for fat people don’t carry my size. Fat enough that some doctors will refuse to see me. Fat enough that getting on an airplane makes my blood run cold.
Which is to say, a size of such impracticality and inconvenience that one might wish to avoid it. Say, with dieting and exercise, and other things we mustn’t mention. And which, needless to say, isn’t ideal if you want your body to “care for you” for as long as it otherwise might.