Talking about Fat - Size Acceptance - Body Pride - Disordered Eating
Posted Dec 02 2009 3:19pm
Over at Facebook, my friend Leslie Freeman "has been journaling about size acceptance, body pride, and disordered eating in disability community (especially where it intersects with fat community)." She was opening up a dialogue. I wrote a note for her to start the conversation and I am posting it here. I've added a bit to it and expanded the note. It's ultra-honest, so keep that in mind when reading. I'm dealing with fat and body issues on the medical end - and it's really had me look closer at the ways I am treated and how I treat myself. I thought the only place my weight was a factor was in attracting a lover and romantic relationships. But I now can look back at work or medical situations where it influenced others and caused them to judge me. I was blissfully ignorant until now.
Today on the way home, I caught my reflection in some glass on the train. For the first time, I looked at that reflection and wondered what people saw. Did they see me as a writer, chronically ill babe, lesbian, femme, lover, blogger, artist, reader, honest, friend, daughter, sister, animal lover, and all the other characteristics that make me an individual or did they just see a fat girl on the train and that's it?
I thought I was pretty accepting of my size, it's something I've lived with most of my life. However, I realize I might accept it, but I am not proud of my body at all. I was taught not to be. I envy my friends who have that pride and look to them as inspiration. I find it's hard when you're told that you are disgusting and deserve to be treated with less respect as someone who is much thinner. Being thin is always presented as the magic key that fixes everything - I would be pretty, happy, healthy, shinning, with a great job and lovers falling at my feet. Why people still say this is beyond me, since it has been proven over and over again to be wrong.
I don't think that I am so much a victim of disordered eating. Although to be honest, anytime someone slams me for my weight, I lose any appetite I have and feel sick when I even think about eating. It's a reflex and passes once I calm down thankfully. So, I can see how easy it would be to have an eating disorder, like anorexia.
I think that the disability community as a whole shows more compassion and acceptance for fat people, but there is still discrimination. I see it when people start comparing disabilities, as if there is a better way to be disabled.
I also see different types of discrimination in the fat community. I'm even guilty of it. For example, I can say that I am overweight because of heredity and thyroid problems. That doesn't make me better than another person who is fat for a different reason. It's like saying "I'm better than you. I can't help it, but what's your problem?" I try to be aware of when I am thinking that and try to change my behavior and attitude, but it's hard, since it's an "acceptable" form of prejudice and the most insidious. But it's important that I do it, since it helps to stop a cycle a prejudice.