I’m going to forgo the word picture I normally like to paint as an intro to body positive posts, and just get to the point: my “health” does not give you a free pass to criticize my weight.
Yes, I’m overweight. The only entity who knows this more than I is the waistband of my jeans, so don’t act like you’re the first unique snowflake to notice. You note the weight of myself and others with the tone of judges at a dog show, and when I call you out for fat-shaming, you bring up the socially acceptable, thinly-veiled excuse for being a judgmental twat: “It’s bad for your health.”
Beautiful, isn’t it? Thanks to the well known fact that being overweight affects your well-being in ways that we don’t yet fully understand, you are now given a free license to critique my body and still be called a good friend. Never mind the fact that you don’t “worry” about your friend who just stepped outside for their tenth cigarette that day, or your family member who’s been sleeping a lot more lately.
“Oh, well I’m not talking about you. You’re different.” You say, back-pedalling from the judgmental word vomit you just spewed up into my lap. I’m not. Maybe I’m not AS overweight as the person you’ve decided is worth your concern, but you’ve made it pretty clear that you don’t believe “fat” people are capable of thinking for themselves. There’s a good chance that most of us would love to lose weight, and many of us are trying at any given moment, but it’s not as simple as that. We struggle with personal issues, mental health issues, addiction, dependency, health limitations, disabilities – any and all sorts of reasons that stop us from doing something we want. I must start a diet 4 times a year, but real life gets in the way, and food is a way that I deal with it. It sucks. And it sucks even more when you choose to judge someone’s life based on an issue that is far more than what it appears to be on the surface.
Then there was the time you decided body positivity was “glorifying obesity.” In fact, body positivity is exactly that – positivity. It’s not looking at someone who’s obese and automatically saying “she’s beautiful!” It’s about loving your own body and accepting others no matter what their physical appearance and capabilities may be. It’s not even about one’s weight. It’s about loving who you are in your current state, and finding a way to live with your appearance, even though a voice in your head may constantly be telling you that you’re hideous. Sometimes body positivity is all we have to keep us from breaking down at the very sight of a mirror. It doesn’t glorify anything except a positive mindset that makes us happier and, you know what? Healthier.
Fat shaming is fat shaming, no matter the reasons you choose to back it up with. That person whose health you worry about? They’re worried too. They’re worried that they may never be able to change and that they’ll go through life with whispers behind their back, rather than a network of friends who look past their weight and instead focus on the person behind it. Fat people know they’re fat, and “wishing” your friend would lose weight has a much lesser impact than if you were there for them as a friend, providing positivity and acceptance, instead of constantly watching for that next 5lbs.
Yes, being overweight IS bad for my health. Know what else is bad for my health? Knowing that when my back is turned on the people I care about, you’re picking apart my weight “because you care.” The only thing worse than being overweight is knowing that I may not have a support system who will accept me for who I am. Let everyone just try to find happiness with who they are, because that’s the kind of health that we really need in our life.