This New Year, Resolve To Stop Casual Fatphobia

by Ly H Kerr

So, hello, brand new year. Unfortunately, it’s also hello to diet talk overload. Yup, it’s everywhere. The diet industry goes crazy in January. Over the years, I have managed to switch off from most of the Weight Watchers ads and gym discount flyers. I basically make it my business to mute the diet industry; I don’t buy magazines that tell me I’m not good enough, I don’t follow social media accounts that constantly talk about weight loss, and I shun brands that use body shaming in their advertising. Of course, I also actively participate the body posi community. This works well for me. However, more and more I am realising that I simply cannot escape the notion that fat is just awful. The problem is that lots of the people I really like and choose to have in my life are, to be frank, fatphobic.
I understand that everyone will not share my views on body positivity. I also accept that other people are free to do whatever the choose with their own bodies. In fact, I am delighted when people find a way to love themselves. However they do it, finding genuine peace with yourself is a wonderful thing, and I applaud anyone who gets there. What I don’t appreciate is having to listen to all the fatphobic crap that others believe in. I will never understand why people think it is okay to express their revulsion of fat people to me, a fat person. If you had brown hair and I repeatedly made negative comments about brown hair, you’d probably feel hurt, or pissed off. Well, surprise, surprise, fat people have feelings too.

You can feel however you like about your own or other people’s bodies. If you want to do slimming world or Atkins or eat raw, knock yourself out. Run and lift and body pump to your heart’s content. If your internal voice mocks and degrades others based on their physical appearance, that probably needs investigation, but it’s still entirely your affair. Once you voice those insults out loud, they become my business, too. And the truth is, I don’t want to hear it.

I do not want to hear how terrible you think celebs looks when they gain weight. I don’t want to listen to your jibes about naked fat bodies in movies. When you talk in disgusted tones about your own fat, you are telling me what you think of me. Your talk of how your own, much-thinner body is not fit to carry a child, or how being fat makes a person a terrible parent, you are commenting on my abilities. Every time you comment “I’m a fat bitch” on picture of food you ate, or tell me what is “bad” about every item on a menu, you are pushing your issues on me.

And here’s the thing: I can’t stop you. You are free to say and feel whatever you please. You can hate your body and my body and Rebel Wilson’s body and Cameron Diaz’s body, too. You can laugh and be rude. You can continue to say right to my face that you find people like me to be entirely undeserving of respect. I presume that often you are oblivious. I get it. Sometimes we are blinded by our own internal struggle. Everyone has moments of complete but unintentional insensitivity. Sometimes, though, you know. You know that you are degrading fat people in front of a fat person. Mostly, we’ll let you get away with it. I know I do. I excuse and ignore. I tell myself you did not mean to be cruel. Well, no more. This is me giving notice. In the future I intend to point out that the body you’re mocking is just like mine. I will tell you that I don’t want to hear about your diet. I will mute you on social media if your timeline is toxic because I can do as I please, too. I choose not to engage in anymore bullshit. I wish you well with your own self-love journey, but I will no longer be party to my own debasement. You do you. I am going to do me.

Published January 10, 2018

Top photo: Wikimedia Commons

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