A woman’s body is a strange thing, no? A mystery that scientists and doctors don’t actually care enough to really understand. People tell us what to do with them all the time:
Put on make up! Be natural!
You need to loose some weight for your health! You look too skinny and sickly!
Cover it! What are you trying to hide?
It needs to be hairless! Why are you shaving hair that naturally grows there?
You have to have that baby!
If you don’t have a uterus, you’re not a real woman!
Let me continuously tell you everything you should hate about yourself, but I don’t understand why you can’t just love the skin you’re in?
I, like many young girls and adult women, have had (and continues to have) the rockiest relationship with my body. I think as long as we live in our society, it will never be perfect. I’m content will loving it most days, but loving your body isn’t mandatory.
I really enjoyed reading Fuck Your Diet. Chloé Hilliard is so funny and real and one of my good book friends. She talks throughout the book about her struggles with being a big, black woman. Her battles with different diets and exercises, while also giving commentary on how capitalism influences our beauty standard.
The things she talked about have really been ringing true to me lately. Quarantine has had my body, and body image all over the place. I have mostly been feeling fat, and obsessing about this feeling. But what does it actually say about me from being so affected by gaining weight?
I like to think that I am not fatphobic. I love body positivity movements and I like and defend fat girls on Instagram. I used to think of myself as above being biased against marginalized groups, a champion against fatphobia.
But I have recently begun to recognize my biases. I’m all for fat people (actually fat women) until it affects my life personally. I noticed it in my dating and swiping preferences. I notice when people tell me they are fat and I tell them they are beautiful. I notice it when I look in the mirror and feel bad about myself because my stomach keeps getting bigger.
Fatphobia is a bias we don’t talk a lot about in our society. it is deeply entrenched, yet most Americans are considered fat compared to the rest of the world. It is hard to recognized when it is disguised by “being concerned about people’s health”.
I recognize I have a lot to address with my fatphobia, starting with my relationship to my own body. My worth is not determined by a number on a scale (or insert any cliche about body positivity here), but it’s much easier to say that than stopping the thoughts that immediately come when I see increases in pounds, inches around, or clothes sizes.
Getting to the root cause of fatphobia is one of the hardest biases to get rid of in my opinion (that and ableism), especially because it’s so internalized. Loving yourself is hard to do in a society that constantly gives you messages of the contrary. We are not encouraged to be whole here, we are encouraged to keep ourselves as small as possible, chipping away our layers and pieces.
Loving our whole selves, all of the pounds, inches, and pant sizes, is a revolutionary act.