For as long as I can remember, I’ve lived in a world that didn’t have much love for fat people. Yes, there are still places in the world where carrying a bit of extra weight is considered attractive but I think most people I know would opt for a 6 pack and inner thigh gap over a bit of muffin top any day. More recently though there has been some change thanks to the body positive people telling everyone to accept their flaws and be proud of their wobbly bits. Ugh, I know they mean well but I’m not that sure I buy into it. As a girl, who like Bridget Jones, ‘will always be just a little bit fat’, I’ve always felt I had a right to be a self-proclaimed fattist the same way gangster rappers seem to be OK throwing the N-word around. It’s not like I go around shouting FATTY FATTY MORBIDLY OBESE FATTY whenever I see a chubby person scoffing down on a bit of KFC (although I may cringe a little or make a bitchy comment to #zlotybaby). That said, I honestly don’t think that anyone is in a position to fat shame another person into losing weight or getting healthy. But looking at the whole issue from a different angle I’d like to question whether we have the right to fat shame ourselves?
Let me start by giving you a bit of the back story. OK, so for as long as I can remember I’ve been on some diet or another hoping that one day in my wildest dreams that I would become the skinny chick that I aspired to be. After almost giving up hope and almost resigning myself to life as a glutton some sort of miracle occurred. Thanks to some wise (?!) dating decisions (and subsequently learning there is a better form of cardio that doesn’t require running marathons) I somehow managed to shed a few tonnes. As is customary nowadays, I decided to declare my achievement on social media with a #transformationtuesday picture. I also took it a step further by adding a pig emoji next to the ‘before’ picture and using one of my favourite hashtags – #fatgirlproblems.
While most people showered my attempt to be humourous about something I think people take too seriously with lots of LOLs, likes and loves, my un-PC way of doing things didn’t go down so well with everyone. One person in particular sent me a private rant saying that posting pig emojis next to fat people (NB – the fat person was ME!) was immature, unnecessary and basically wittering on about why fat shaming anyone, including yourself is wrong. Although, as I said before, I don’t know why people can’t find better things to do than offer unwanted opinions (like the one just expressed above) on the state of another person’s body, perhaps it’s the Brit in me, but I don’t see any harm in a bit of self-deprecating humour. So for all the hard-core body positivists out there here are some of the reasons I don’t think fat shaming yourself is wrong.
It’s MY body
All around me I hear people going on about how they own their bodies and can flaunt them in whichever way they see fit. I am in total agreement. But by the same token, I don’t think criticizing your own body or wanting to change something about it is wrong either. Perhaps you are just over being the ‘fat friend’ or having insecure ‘men’ call you morbidly obese. If getting a revenge body (and associated public declarations about it) makes you even temporarily more happy or confident, then fat shame yourself to your heart’s content I say!
FAT is not a life sentence (it really doesn’t need to be embraced)
There are certain things in life, such as one’s skin colour or gender, which can’t be changed without a lot of difficulty. While these things can certainly be regarded as disadvantageous or unfavourable depending on how you see things, the trouble you’d need to go to in terms of skin bleaching or a sex change are probably too much hassle for most people. In such cases, I think it’s better to embrace and move along with your life. However, when it comes to your body composition, I don’t believe anything is a life sentence. If you have an issue with being fat, it can be changed with the right mix of food, exercise and willpower. So just do it.
Fat-ism isn’t all that superficial
Some may argue that all this talk of weight loss and revenge bodies is superficial. To some extent, sure there may be some fakery involved. But surely losing weight by making some good lifestyle changes that have benefits for your health can’t be all bad? Exercise and eating well have positive effects on your health and outlook on life and even if you need to fat shame yourself on social media into getting started isn’t the worst thing in the world.
Don’t we all have a responsibility to promote positive body image? And where do we draw the line?
If you ask me it’s a matter of perspective. Yes, it is possible to be fat and fit. If my millions of miles of running have taught me anything it is not to judge a book by its cover. There have been many times when I’ve felt like a tortoise crawling in peanut butter as someone who was four times my size overtook me without breaking a sweat (and on the flipside I can’t say I don’t feel like high fiving myself everytime my chubby ass passes one of those gym bunnies with the perfect hair!). Basically, I think a positive body image is whatever you want it to be. If you are morbidly obese and happily running marathons then as far as I’m concerned it’s better than being a naturally skinny person who sits around eating pizza and playing computer games all day (the pizza bit is fine, it’s the gaming I object too!). There are people who are happy, healthy and just a little bit chubby but if you aren’t it’s OK to want to change things and maybe those #transformationtuesday images are just good inspiration for you.
Maybe it’s a case of those who can’t, only criticize
The truth is we’ve all got things we’d like to change and we’re all on our own mission. Whatever it is you are trying to do with your life you experience hurdles as well as turning points. Sometimes the path isn’t linear and as hard as you are working you don’t always see results. So I find there is this tendency to be critical of someone else’s approach to things.
#zlotybaby put things into perspective by giving the following example. Imagine you were earning R5000 per month and had to listen to your friend who earned R10,000 per month bitching and moaning about how broke ass they were the whole time. Sure, it would be annoying. I get that seeing someone fat shaming themselves all the time may be a bit irritating, but I think if it really gets to you then you should just stop following them rather than offering your moral judgement.
People need to stop taking life so seriously (and pigs are super cool!)
The PC police take life way too seriously. Bringing a bit of sarcasm and humour into a world full of drama and misery really isn’t the worst thing a person can do. If you can’t laugh at yourself and the things that people say about you, you are really going to have a tough time in life by making a battle of everything.
And, why exactly are there so many negative associations when it comes to pigs? They are actually super clever and amazing.
So, the point of all of this. I don’t think fat shaming oneself should be frowned upon. If you don’t like someone else’s self-image and feel their use of pig emojis is so irresponsible then maybe just disassociate yourself. Everyone should be left to fight their own battles without any judgement. Being a little self-critical is a good thing, it means we are working on ourselves. So basically, if someone wants to fat shame themselves into being fabulous let them and go fight some other battle.
Alright Rinsers it’s your turn. Is fat shaming yourself wrong? Does everyone have a responsibility to be PC and promote a positive body image? Do you think people have the right to call you out for fat shaming yourself or is that just another form of policing people? Answer in the comments below.