The other day I ate a piece of cake and felt a little bit guilty about it. That might sound like a perfectly normal sentence for a young female to say. Isn’t it? Now I’ve never felt guilty about eating cake before in my entire life, unless it wasn’t my cake. And even when it was someone else’s cake I only pretended to be guilty so I wouldn’t lose friends over it. I’d changed.
I was equating myself with those people who decline a solitary Monster Munch from their friends’ grab bag because they’re trying to ‘be good’. It was horrible. Not because I didn’t want to be like those people, but because I didn’t want to fall into the ‘hate yourself’ trap that society has set for everyone, but more so women and especially young women. I didn’t want to have to eat Special K for all my meals and I didn’t want to fit into a size 8, really. It was never really a priority.
But I felt guilty.
I felt guilty because I’d inadvertently taken in a message which I’d always challenged and discarded. The weight loss and diet industry had got to me and it had made me feel worthless. Worthless like so many people do every day. Yet somehow it’s become taboo for actually fat people to speak about how daft this is. It’s taboo for fat people to be happy with themselves. Hell, it’s taboo for most women to be happy with themselves. Think about that for a second. Then think about how ace you are. I bet you all have really good hair and are excellent at judging exactly how much ketchup to put on your plate, or something like that. Mainly, though, think about how you shouldn’t let anyone shame you for how you look. You especially shouldn’t let anyone shame you for how you look then proceed to make vast amounts of money off said shame. You shouldn’t have to resort to thinking about how great your condiment measuring skills are to feel any sort of pride in yourself or even for confirmation that you’re not subhuman. Fuck that shit.
I’m overweight, yeah, but I’m not unhealthy. And even if I was, who gives anyone the right to judge any other person for something which is so personal. You can’t tell if someone leads a ‘healthy’ lifestyle, or a lifestyle that you approve of by looking at them. There’s a lot of research which shows that, yeah, you can be healthy and fat. Imagine it! I mean I’ve joked before about tricking people into not thinking I’m a vegetarian by being fat, and even though it sounds pretty ridiculous, it’s true. I get funny looks if I dare eat something unhealthy in public. Why do we let this happen? Is it because we’re told to hate not only ourselves for being fat, but other fat people?
Even if you have your own opinions on what is a ‘healthy’ body is, surely you can’t deny letting people have a healthy body image and the chance to not feel guilty and ashamed about how they look. You can’t deny people’s right not to be mentally tormented about their weight.
If you don’t want to be seen as ‘fat positive’, you don’t have to be. Just don’t judge people for their bodies, reject stereotypes about fat people and don’t buy into blaming fat people, shaming them and making them feel guilty. Come on, guys, we’re better than this.