I’ve started this blog, see, because I think this whole body acceptance thing is a big deal and worthy of conversation. And people that know me have started asking questions. Questions like, “Why is it not okay for me to hate fat people but it’s okay for fat people to hate me?”
Now, that’s just me paraphrasing. Summing up Distilling things down to their essential question nature. It’s what people really want to know.
What I tell them is that this is an occurrence known as backlash. When a group has been mistreated and oppressed for a long time, it often happens that the group has a lot of anger when it starts to find a cultural voice. It often happens that the (totally understandable) anger manifests in a generalized hatred for the oppressor.
And so you get people who describe models in truly awful terms. You get people who throw around the slogan “Real women have curves!” as if thin women aren’t real women.
You know, that slogan really ought to be “Real women have vaginas!”
Except, really, even that isn’t general enough to include everyone who is woman-identified. How about this? “Real women have bodies.” Or even “Real people have bodies.”
We all have bodies. Personal aesthetics are fine and great and you don’t have to think a thin person is attractive. Thin people don’t have to find fat people attractive. Personal aesthetics are PERSONAL.
But the anger directed at thin people in general isn’t accomplishing anything. I’m sure, for some people, it’s going to be a really important step on the road to self-acceptance. I just don’t want it to be yet another broken paradigm we are trying to put in place of the current (equally as broken) one.
Let’s recruit thin people as our body acceptance allies. They are being fed the same bucket of horse shit that we are. They have their own body issues. And while we might wish we had their problems, they still have problems. It would reflect well on us not to dismiss them so lightly.
I’m not saying you can’t be angry. Hell, yes, get angry. I get angry about body politics all the time! But let’s direct our anger in a more useful way. That way we won’t have to spend our time explaining backlash to thin people — instead we can spend our time with them showing them how great it feels to be free of oppressive body standards.
A few days ago, I said that fat people are not the enemy. And we aren’t. We are just fat.
Thin people are not the enemy either. They are just thin.
I hope you don’t take this letter the wrong way, fat people. Because, hey, I’m one of you and I know how easy it is to build ourselves up by taking away from others. But we’ll feel better if we build ourselves up on our own merits. Honest, I promise.
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, Social Commentary
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